Youth Development Lays the Seeds of Possibility

05 July 2022:

Some two decades ago a youth development programme took place leaving a lasting legacy. On the 9th December 1998, the West Coast was home to a youth development programme aimed at almost 100 children from impoverished backgrounds. The South African Navy base, SAS SALDANHA hosted the programme which was initiated by then Sub Lieutenant Claudio Chiste of the Military Academy.

Amongst these children was a young 12-year-old, Jemaff Samuels.

Years later the significance would slowly reveal itself.

Jemaff now a 35-year old family man recalls how he was positively impacted, “At the time I did not think it changed my life. However, as I think about it, it did inspire me to want to live a healthy life. A life of discipline. To be more physically active. I realized that I had developed in interest to join the military or Navy”.


LINED UP AND READY: Youth participants being drilled in the basics in boxing.
The focus was primarily on discipline and resilience. These transferrable skills are relatable to real-life challenges.

Using Youth Development for Social Upliftment

From a social development perspective, Jemaff feels that impoverished communities such as the one where these children come from could benefit from more of these programmes. Poverty is rife with gangsterism ever present.

Jim Rohn famously stated, “You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with”.

Whether you agree that this number is statistically correct, the reality is that we are influenced by our surroundings. According to research by social psychologist, Dr David McClelland of Harvard University, the people who you habitually associate with determine up to 95% of your success or failure. We have the ability to actively construct our environment, rather than rely on chance. Mindset plays a key role. Developing a mindset of resilience and growth is the differentiator.

Although Jemaff did not end up joining the Navy, his learnt self-discipline enabled him to step up when he needed.

Everyday Challenges: Bullying, Gangsterism, Drugs & Murder by decapitation

For many the everyday brutality and challenges resemble a Quentin Tarantino movie. Bullying was a major issue whilst he was growing up, with Jemaff finding himself on the receiving end. However, one day he decided that was enough. He followed a discipline lifestyle of hard training, involving push up and sit ups, increasing his size and strength. He soon became a force to be reckoned with. The bullying stopped.

A second example is illustrated by his actions after he saw many fall prey to the evils of drugs. He wanted more out of life. After perseverance, he successfully completed his studies in IT and Marketing and currently works for Mweb in Cape Town where he resides with his wife and three children.

Jemaff recalls the tough sparring encounter he had on the development programme, which thankfully was an even match. Jemaff adds that his sparring partner for the day, Sakkie ‘Afrika’ Bies suffered a gruesome murder being decapitated by gangsters. The case of Sakkie is sadly not unique. Our environment and what we are exposed to influences us. This leads him to conclude that the community had benefitted greatly from this initiative, emphasising his point for the need to have more such programmes. Another inspirational story is that of Jemaff’s cousin, Warren Raadloff, who also attended the outreach programme. He is currently completing his degree in Mechanical Engineering.


SQUARING OFF: Claudio Chiste and Jemaff Samuels meet up for the first time 24 years after the youth development programme.

Boxing 400x200

Champion in the Making: Meet the Lion King

Meet an African Champ: Introducing The Lion King

The unbeaten prospect who aims to set the ring alight…

WTC: Who are the important people in your life?
My family (father, mother, brothers and sisters) and all my friends. I give a lot of importance to my friends because I regard them as my second family.

WTC: Who inspired you to get into boxing?
The first person who inspired me to get into boxing is my father, George Yav. Then there is also people like Clairere Masinga, my master coach Mbo,  Mpya Mogard and Mbala Sibor…

WTC: Who is your favourite boxer?
My all-time favorite boxers are Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali. My current favourites are Floyd Mayweather, Canelo Ilunga Makabu Lumpungu Élie and Alex Kabange.

WTC: What have been your highs and lows in life?
My low is that I’m looking stability in my career as I really want to go far in boxing.
My high in South Africa I would say are my 4 fights, 4 victories (all knockouts except one). To talk is easy, the real performance is by doing.

WTC: One of the benefits from partnering with Joe Esau, Claudio Chiste & John Jantjies, is that Joe is well embedded within Cape Town, John a highly accomplished trainer and Claudio a Mental Toughness coach, with both John and Claudio former boxing champions. Prior to this partnership, did you have a mental training regime to get your mind ready for a fight?
Just by being with them I am able to learn, continuing to add to my knowledge. We are still in the beginning of our relationship, in time, you will see for yourself. I consider myself fortunate to have met them, I generally don’t talk a lot about them… I rather let my actions speak. In terms of being ready for a fight?
Well… I am always ready to fight anyone.

Claudio Chiste Boxing TrainingMain photo: Lion King and Claudio Chiste

WTC: How do you separate family and sports?
The family for me is very sacred and boxing is a passion for me!
They are both important to me and I regard them as complementing each other, rather than competing with each other.

WTC: What are your views on determination?
I am determined to be a champion one day. Watch this space.

WTC: Can you share how you focus in preparation for your fights?
In preparation for my fights, I have 100% focus on my fight, at times even forgetting myself because I give all I can to get what I want.

WTC: In preparing for a fight how do you separate between family and sports? is it difficult?
It is not easy. However, once I decide I really want something I am able to take on what may seem impossible for many. This may be difficult at times, but throughout the journey I keep thinking about my desired result.

WTC: What is your favourite food?
My favorite food is Congolese food specially pap fish and pondu (le failles de manio)

WTC: Who is your favourite actor?
My favorite actor is the Congolese comedian Lady Esobe and Jean-Claude van Damme



WTC’s Founder Elected New Chairman of Coaches & Mentors of South Africa

WTC’s Claudio Chiste has been elected as chairperson of Coaches and Mentors of South Africa, Western Cape (COMENSA) at the regional AGM.

“I am delighted to be elected to be Chair of the Western Cape Chapter of COMENSA. This is a great honour as COMENSA is the only SAQA-recognised non-statutory professional body for coaching and mentoring. I would like to thank the outgoing Chair, as well as the outgoing Secretary, for their hard work over the last year. I plan to be able to be an effective representative for coaches and mentors in the forthcoming year. Adding value to the professional development of our members and responsive to their needs.”

Claudio is Leadership & Mental Toughness coach, focusing on improving performance at both individual and team level. His unique coaching model draws upon techniques from his varied background in human development ranging from being a military instructor, qualified Krav Maga Instructor (qualifying under Professor Itay Gil), a Master NLP Practitioner, Master Life Coach, COMENSA Credentialed Practitioner Coach and a Firewalking Instructor. This has proven effective for the leader who wants to step into his power and live with purpose, as well as the organisation wanting to improve their teamwork.

Star College and WTC Krav Maga

Self Defence Classes to Empower Female Learners at Star College

Crime is a real problem. Krav Maga is a real solution.

Krav Maga is fast becoming the self defence of choice for women around the world, who are looking for an effective, easy to learn system aimed at defending oneself against an attacker who is bigger and stronger. Jennifer Lopez, Angelina Jolie and Britney Spears are amongst the famous women who trained in Krav Maga. Jennifer Lopez took it up for her role in the film “Enough”, with Angelina Jolie also learning techniques for the film “Tomb Raider”. Britney Spears reportedly took up Krav Maga after feeling threatened by a stalker. Those who have seen the Clint Eastwood movie, “Million Dollar Baby”, will know Hillary Swank plays the part of a female boxer, perhaps lesser known is that she trains in Krav Maga affirming that it is a great way to stay fit, adding, “You punch, you kick, you also learn how to get out of a choke hold. I love, love it.”

The Warrior Training Centre (WTC) provided a self defence seminar to Star College Sybrand Park to 70 female learners. The key focus was first on mental preparation ensuring a strong mind to be able to remain in control and avoid conflict. When avoidance is not possible, effective defences to the most common street attacks were taught, to be used only when absolutely necessary to act (to save their lives, or that of their loved ones).

Initiatives such as these have increased in light of the recent drive to raise awareness for femicide, as our beloved country of South Africa is left reeling with the recent headlines of high profile murders of a UCT student and a boxing champion. The seminar provided a “taster” of the more comprehensive programme covered in the 4 week course (Basic) and the 8 week option (Practitioner), structured by way of two hour lessons carried out on a weekly basis. Having the course spread out over 4 or 8 weeks, facilitates the retention of information, as techniques are continuously reinforced.

The WTC’s Chief Krav Maga instructor, Claudio Chiste, is also a Leadership and Mental Toughness Coach, who after nine years in the military and ten years in the corporate world is now coaching individuals to be a better version of themselves. In addition to the self-defence, emphasis is placed on improving mental skills, including how to:

1. Control your emotions: Stay grounded, stay humble.
2. Conduct regular check-ins on both mental and physical well-being
3. Set high, realistic goals.
4. Create micro-goals towards your goals
5. Visualise your goals, mentally rehearse your micro-goals
6. Manage anxiety effectively
7. Use positive self-talk
8. Deal effectively with people
At the WTC these mental skills are combined with self-defence through reality-based, purposeful practice.

THE WTC TEAM: From left to right. Mo Adams, Edwin Nel and Claudio Chiste

Krav Maga Students lined up and ready

Inaugural WTC Grading Ceremony for Krav Maga Cape Town

The End-of-Year club function turned into a celebration for more reasons than one, as the Krav Maga Cape Town club celebrated its one-year anniversary and the inaugural grading ceremony was held. This was an occasion for the club students, who have worked hard throughout the year dedicating their weekends, to share their accomplishment with their friends and family as they received their certification. The following club students received their Practitioner Level 1 (P1) certification.
• Edwin Nel
• Dylan Whittaker
• Vito Paparella
• Frank Ruggiero
• Mo Adams
• Marc Waller

Krav Maga Students lined up and readyLined up and ready!

Marc Waller being awarded his P1 certificate

Rank patches being presented
Following the awarding of certificates, rank patches were ceremoniously presented

Special Connection with Guest Speaker from SAS MENDI
The Guest Speaker for the grading ceremony was South African Navy Commander Leon van Zyl, Second-in Command SAS MENDI, who shared his experience in military operations and leadership, being a strong advocate of transformational leadership. Currently the 2IC of a frigate, where he is responsible for training and discipline, his views were exceptionally well received by the WTC club.

Guest Speaker: SA Navy’s Commander Leon van Zyl with WTC’s Claudio Chiste

The SAS MENDI is named after the SS MENDI, which sunk over a hundred years ago, in what still today South Africa’s worst maritime disaster with the death of 616 Southern Africans (607 of them black troops) and 30 crew. The significance of this tragedy is easy to fathom when we consider that the date of the sinking has been chosen as the official Armed Forces Day of the national defence force. To coincide with the 100-year anniversary, on 8th August 2017, the WTC Chief Instructor, Claudio Chiste, who was then England chairman for South African military veterans, lead a dive team to gently place a commemorative granite dedication -at the wreck site. The dive is not an easy dive as the wreck lies 10 nautical miles out at sea from the Isle of Wight, lying at the bottom of the ocean, which is turbulent most of the time. The plaque contains a dedication to those that perished on that fateful day for the memory of our brothers to live on. For Further reading on this dive, also see:

SS Mendi today - aeria view and Rev Isaac Williams Wauchope DyobhaSS Mendi Today (aerial view): See insert photo for our hero, Rev. Isaac Williams Wauchope Dyobha (1852-1917), who called all to the death dance

Isaac Dyobha, who had previously served as a Minister in the Congregational Native Church of Fort Beaufort and Blinkwater, is reported to have calmed the panicked men by raising his arms aloft and crying out in a loud voice:
“Be quiet and calm, my countrymen. What is happening now is what you came to do…you are going to die, but that is what you came to do. Brothers, we are drilling the death drill. I, a Xhosa, say you are my brothers…Swazis, Pondos, Basotho…so let us die like brothers. We are the sons of Africa. Raise your war-cries, brothers, for though they made us leave our assegais in the kraal, our voices are left with our bodies.”

Moments before the commemorative dive - 20 Kg plaque ready for dedication to our heroesMoments before the commemorative dive: 20kg plaque ready for dedication to our heroes

SS Mendi today - close up - with plaque placed gently on the site of wreck
SS Mendi today (close-up): With plaque placed gently on site of wreck – see insert picture

Honour - Commander Leon van Zyl presenting Claudio Chiste with the Ship
Honour: Commander Leon van Zyl presenting Claudio Chiste with the Ship’s Badge of the SAS MENDI

Claudio presenting at PMI event

‘Warrior Leadership’ for the Project Management Institute’s 50th Anniversary

The project Management Institute (PMI) recently celebrated their 50th anniversary in style at the De Zalze Lodge, with the WTC’s Claudio Chiste invited as guest speaker to present a talk on Warrior Leadership at the PMI’s Western Cape Chapter (other guest speakers included the co-founder of Snapscan and Luno Crypto, Carl van Wyk). The highly regarded PMI, with its head office in the USA, is regarded as the gold standard among project managers, well known for publishing the Project Manager’s Body of Knowledge, which describes the practices that are common to “most project, most of the time”.

The primary objective for project managers is considered to be the ability to a complete a project which complies with the client’s objectives. This is not possible without teamwork. The team need to work according to specific goals, meeting criteria at a specified time. The team assigned to the project may be likened to a tribe; a community of people, which are clearly bounded and stable. The leader of a tribe would need to possess certain qualities to ensure sustained success, a blend of traditional leadership (ensuring survival) and servant leadership (to avoid the temptation of usurpation by their followers), with a focus on engendering a sense of leadership among each member of the tribe by taking ownership of their assigned responsibility, no matter what the level of “importance”. In the ecosystem of a tribe, all tasks could have an impact. Not waking up in time for the hunt could impact could result in the tribe not having a meal on that day… Enter the concept of Warrior Leadership. There is an enormous amount of leadership theory in the public domain, warrior leadership takes a radically fresh look at leadership, looking at it in its “pure” form, cutting to the bone of what it takes to lead and succeed. 

Third from left: Carl van Wyk (Co-founder of Snapscan and Luno Crypto)
Fourth from left: Claudio Chiste (with host Melvin Engelbrecht)
Seventh from left: Joubert Tulleken (civil engineer)

Group Photo: Some PMI Members pose with Speakers and Guests

The PMI’s Ayanda More with Claudio

Staring in the Eyes of a Warrior Leader: King Moshoeshoe
The thought of a warrior often evokes images of a man clad only in animal skins, running around with a spear and shield in hand. This however is to be regarded merely as a symbol of the power of human spirit, to overcome obstacles and adversity, with primary reliance upon a strong mind-body connection, not having the comforts and luxuries often associated with the world of convenience we live in today.

Our history abounds with examples of warrior leaders which adapted and overcame, prevailing in the face of adversity. Moshoeshoe, being a fine example of a leader who built a powerful tribe from scratch, displaying well centred warrior leadership. He reportedly took in the destitute and down and outers, on condition they shared his values and recognised him as their paramount chief, building his tribe into what is today the Basotho nation. His nous for strategy ensured that attacks were repelled from mighty foes such as Queen Mmanthatisi of the Tlokwa, Ndebele (formerly part of the powerful Zulu kingdom headed by King Shaka), the Boers and British. Even after the fiercest of battles, he was known to show diplomacy to his foes, winning over hearts and minds.

Based on Jung’s archetypes, it can be said Moshoeshoe displayed centred, well-balanced warrior-leader characteristics

Guest of honour Deputy Minister for Rural Development Mcebisi Skwatsha

The Return of the Springbok Haka

There was a time when the South African national rugby team, the Springboks, used to perform a Zulu war cry, since been called the “Springbok Haka” or “South African Haka”. This was reportedly last carried out at an official ceremony in the 1950s, after this practice was sadly stopped by the nationalistic government of the day. For the first time since then, it was carried out at an official event. The Warrior Training Centre (WTC) trained Martial Arts Display Team once again performed this cherished war cry on the 6th December 2018, as part of the Youth Leadership Development Programme (YLDP) graduation parade of c. 600 young South Africans.

Guest of honour Deputy Minister for Rural Development Mcebisi SkwatshaGuest of Honour: Deputy Minister Mcebisi Skwatsha for rural development.
Photo: Helen Galanakis

The first phase of their training was held at Thaba Nchu NARYSEC College run by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform and the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) for the final phase held in Saldanha. The WTC trained these young future leaders in self-defence and the fundamentals of warrior ethos, to have a warrior mindset as a life tool to overcome challenges that they may face later in life. This self-defence training formed part of a wider leadership programme, with the overall aim of empowering them via discipline, entrepreneurial skills as well as social development and upliftment skills. These are integral to the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform’s youth leadership development programme. Overall and in conjunction with the SANDF, the programme aims to build character by focussing on leadership, discipline, teamwork, volunteerism and patriotism.

The Build up
After the WTC trained the YLDP in self-defence – with the assistance of the UK’s Krav Maga Combat Academy for the first phase of training where almost 600 were trained at once – a selection was held by way of fun competitions testing perseverance, to determine the suitable candidates for the display team. Of the almost 600 group, 30 were selected. The training was demanding as it required hours of effort and perseverance, with natural attrition resulting in the official Martial Arts Display team consisting of eight dedicated and deserving “warriors”.

YLDP Martial Arts Display team with their completion certificatesYLDP Martial Arts Display team with their completion certificates.
Photo: Helen Galanakis

The display kicked off with the forgotten Zulu war cry, once performed by the Springboks being performed with passion. The war cry and the display were notably well received as evidenced by the rousing reception from those in attendance. World Cup winning coach Jake White made headlines in 2007 when he called for the revival of the Springbok Haka, pointing out that the history books show that the Springboks did indeed perform a Zulu war dance in major matches whilst on tour. Just as the battle tested Zulu battle cry of the advancing impi would have had a blood curdling effect on the mightiest of opponents, it would have had a heightening effect on the advancing impi, strengthening their warrior spirit. When incited during battle, it called upon their ancestors to bestow upon them the strength and bravery of fallen Zulu warriors. The most famous battle cry being King Cetshwayo’s “Usutho!” which would have no doubt roared at the Battle of Isandlwana.

WTC Claudio Chiste said, “In this current chapter of honouring Forgotten Valour of many of our heroes who were denied honour in the past, or have since been forgotten, this is one further step towards embracing our proud warrior heritage. We are a warrior nation. I would like to see more of our sports team follow this initiative, particularly our national teams, bringing our war cry back to life”

In addition to self-defence, the team were taught about the “Warrior Ethos” and that to overcome adversity one needs to have “fighting spirit”, therefore the self defence also served as a metaphor for the ability to overcome: A valuable lesson for these youth who are only at the start of their adult life.

YLDP graduate Sheroleigh Wilschut said “I think I have really learned valuable life skills which I can use for the rest of my life… feeling empowered. I feel if anyone were to attack me, I could now safely and confidently defence myself”
The next phase after the graduation, these young graduates will be deployed to working environments, in either the public or private sector, to further sharpen their “employability skills”. Some will find themselves interned to the sponsor department.

This was the eighth YLDP intake which has had more than 4 600 young people attend its courses, the majority of which are staged at SANDF bases where qualified instructors supervise all training. Medicals are conducted before training starts by SA Military Health Services to ensure students are fit for the physical rigours of the course.

Watch the video of the Zulu war cry here:


This exciting news also featured in The SouthAfrican, see:


Mental Toughness Training for Sinenjongo Rugby Team

The Warrior Training Centre (WTC) conducted Mental Toughness training for the Sinenjongo High Rugby team. Rugby is a sport well known for high-impact collisions, in which players have to exert extreme force in pursuit of the ball, whether directly or by colliding into the opposing player. Injuries are frequent, with the probability of a player being injured in a season as high as 90% in some studies. It is only fitting that rugby players train hard to build strong and conditioned bodies. Equally, the mind needs to be strong.

Sun Tzu summed this up when he stated “The Victorious warrior wins with his mind before going into battle”
Roman Legionnaires would routinely carry c. 13kg of weapons, armour, and equipment over long marches of almost 60 km per day and into battle. King Shaka would reportedly make his Zulu impi warriors run 50km each day – with little or no water – barefoot in the scorching sun as preparation for battle.
The modern-day paratrooper could carry up to 80 kg of external load, depending on the mission, marching hundreds of km.

However, you carry a gym bag, or a shopping bag to your car…
Even though the modern world may not require us to carry 13kg or 80 kg of external weight everywhere we go, this does not mean we can’t build our mindset and our corresponding bodies to get back to our roots as warriors. The WTC’s “Mental Toughness of a Warrior” training does just that.

The training was conducted over two parts. The first part consisted of theory, where an overview of South Africa’s warrior heritage was provided and the neuroscience behind mental toughness was explained. The second part consisted of the practical phase, where the rugby team endured Navy SEAL type training. On hand to provide the training was WTC’s Claudio Chiste, himself a former combat officer in the Navy, and special guest instructor, Commander Michael Vrey from the South African Navy. The training was conducted on Milnerton beach, focusing on getting the team to being “comfortable being uncomfortable” and teamwork. Evolutions varied from sandbag exercise to cold water resistance training.

Training on beach sand builds your strength, stabilizing muscles and coordination. Compared to running on the pavement, running on the beach is not only much harder (building stamina), it is also more effective. Your muscles have to work much harder than usual. This helps your body develop a natural running form, whilst working your core.
Military style training with elite military units for rugby teams is nothing new. Under Sir Clive Woodward, England rugby team became world champions in 2003. In 1999, in his build-up training to the World Cup, Woodward had taken the national team down to the Marine base in Lympstone, giving them a first-hand look at the kind of commitment required to be a Marine. This was to lay the foundation, with a similar sense of elite culture becoming increasingly prevalent within the England squad over the next four years. This was evidenced by players being ultimately chosen on the basis of whether, like the Marines, their colleagues would be prepared to ‘go into battle’ with them.

Woodword went on to say training with the Marines was key to his side winning the 2003 Rugby World Cup, recalling the words of a senior Marine: “Ok, if you want to hear it, there are men in your squad who we wouldn’t go into battle with. It’s not about their skills, it’s about their attitude and effect on the team.

This sentiment was echoed by Brian Ashton, who in the build up to taking England to the 2007 World Cup Rugby final, had taken his squad to train with the eilte military unit, the Special Boat Service (SBS), stating, “The modern military and top level sporting environments have much in common, although it is obviously more important that they get things right more often!”

Indeed, in high-pressure combat situations just one negative trait of a player could sap the energy from the whole group, destroying a whole team. The chain is only as strong as its weakest link. The practical phase of the training with the Sinenjongo rugby team specifically focused on teamwork and communication during high pressure situations.

Navy-style beach training to reinforce teamwork

The programme ended on a high, with a fitting ceremony where certificates were presented before more than 1,000 pupils of Sinenjongo High, overseen by the the principal, Mrs Khuselwa Malinga-Nopote, and Sports Teacher, Luvuyo Zulu. After receiving their certificates, the Sinenjongo rugby team performed the famous blood curdling Zulu war cry once performed by the Springboks, “Jimilayo”, to the delight of the roaring crowd.

Sinenjongo Rugby Team Proudly Display Their Certificates.
Back row (from left to right): Enzo Gxokhwe, Gracious Banda, Qhama Qothoyi, Gugulethu Jantjies, Mellok Chirwa, Oyitando, Zubenathi Ncwadi, Odwa Thandiwena, Zwelibanzi, Kudzai Mamvura, Siphamandla Feni, Samkelo Sohma, Chieftan Sabawe (coach). Front row (from left to right) Claudio Chiste, Mr Diego Chiste, Lukho Mndayi, Mr Luvoyo Zulu, Asanele Msomi, Athenkosi Tshomo For further press articles on this, see:
Pupils gathering moments before the award ceremony

Claudio Chiste training Saldanha Rugby team

Saldanha Rugby team maintain conditioning with WTC’s Krav Maga training

The word is spreading that WTC’s Krav Maga training can help you achieve your strength, health, and fitness goals by using basic Krav movements alongside other aerobic and resistance exercises.

Recently the pride of Saldanha, Saldanha XV, won the ‘west coast trophy’ after defeating their bitter rivals, Vredenburg. (see article covering this). This has served as an inspiration for young aspirant players, but also for the broader community.

Fighting Fit
To maintain conditioning during the holiday period, the Saldanha team showed commitment by not letting themselves go during the “off season”, opting instead for Krav-based fitness training. The team were exposed to a range of exercises from high intensity aerobics to strength and resistance training using primarily their body weight.

The benefits of WTC Krav Maga for Sportsmen
For Krav Maga self-defense training, one is taught to use all the body’s natural weapons, namely the fists, elbows, legs, feet and head (if absolutely necessary)— with devastating effect.

In the game of rugby, players are taught to use their body to protect or attack the try line. Similarly, in Krav Maga, the focus is on protecting your body, as you would the try line, whilst being aware of dangers with the necessary skill to execute solutions to any dangers which may arise. Just as a rugby player on the attack with the ball darting for the try line may wish to side step an opponent to avoid being tackled, in Krav one is to be alert and skilled enough to be able to sidestep potential danger. This training could benefit not only the agile winger in the backrow, but members of the forward pack alike as the ever competitive modern game places further demand on all fifteen on the team to possess speed to effectively execute tackles and gain territory to score tries.

The WTC Krav Maga training sessions are designed to provide an all-over body workout, from high-intensity cardiovascular training (to improve stamina to get through games), to strength and conditioning (to improve the defensive side to your game).

WTC Krav Maga training system also helps you from a neuroscience perspective, improving your brain’s neuroplasticity. Stress drills in Krav improves your ability to think under pressure, serving to improve the speed of your natural reactions. These drills improve awareness, promoting self-discipline – with an emphasis on controlled aggression – which is essential on the rugby field.

Krav Maga is not a sport, as is Karate, kickboxing or Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). Krav Maga is a way of life. With this in mind, WTC training sessions are purposefully designed to be fun, educational and physically beneficial. Krav Maga was developed for soldiers preparing to go out on the battlefield, what better physical and mental training for warriors preparing to go out on to the rugby field?

The dedicated Saldanha rugby players flanked by instructors Matt Leach (Krav Maga Combat Academy) and Claudio Chiste

Christine Malan

‘Warrior Leadership’ Development Programme for the military

The SA Navy’s Military Training for Ratings Part 2 (MTR2) had WTC’s ‘Warrior Leadership’ course as part of their formative training.

Leadership, simply put, is about leading people. In most organisations this typically tends to manifest itself as the leader-follower model. There is a well-known saying which I used to hear leaders of men say, “either you follow, or you get out the way.”

In a military organisation, the general is the most senior leader. Legendary military strategist, Sun Tzu, believed there were no bad soldiers, only bad generals. After a battle, if the performance was not to his satisfaction, he would reportedly have his generals executed, not his soldiers.

In the Art of War, Sun Tzu backs this up by stating, “When the general is weak and without authority; when his orders are not clear and distinct… the result is utter disorganisation.”

David Marquet, Commander of the nuclear submarine Santa Fe, decided to reject this leader-follower model, and to implement his own “leader-leader” approach among his submarine crew. He contends that leaders should be at every level of an organization and strived to change the mindset of sailors trained in the leader-follower style throughout their naval education. This boils down to taking ownership. “I don’t know of a finer model of this kind of empowering leadership than Captain Marquet.” Stephen Covey, author of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective people.

When leaders take ownership, taking personal responsibility for failures, subordinates see this being emulated throughout the chain of command. When leaders drive their teams to achieve a higher standard of performance, it’s not what you preach, it’s what people see you doing and also tolerating. When setting expectations, if substandard performance is acceptable without anyone being held accountable – the poor performance becomes the new standard. Essentially engendering a culture of trying to fix problems, rather than trying to figure out who to blame.

In the words of Nelson Mandela “lead from the back – let others believe they are in front”.

As the cohort of MTR2’s embark on this new phase of their naval careers, entering “middle management” roles, the first step before implementing this leadership model is to know thyself, implementing “personal leadership” within their own lives. Knowing yourself, in terms of what your strengths and limitations are, what stimulates you, what your boundaries are and what drives you ensure that you can live a congruent life, expressed as authentic leadership. Mastery of self (personal leadership) begins before of all else.

Personal leadership
Authentic leadership requires one to take total responsibility to discover one’s own destiny. The starting point of which is to know what your personal values are, having yourself validate these – without seeking outside validation. Your values form the foundation of your behaviour.

“I found it (the WTC leadership course) very inspiring and it helped me revise a few aspects in my life in order to grow.” Leading Seaman Christine Malan.

WTC’s Claudio Chiste said, “Much of the self-defence (Krav Maga) and mental strength techniques are to serve these graduates not only to get through this process, but to also serve them in the everyday life later in life well beyond this graduation day”.

In addition to self-defence, the team were taught about the “Warrior Ethos” and that to overcome adversity one needs to have “fighting spirit”, therefore the self-defence also served as a metaphor for the ability to overcome: A valuable lesson for these youth who are only at the start of their adult life.

Warrior Leadership training for military leaders in the modern era is not a new concept, with this being well established in the US Armed Forces: