Inaugural elite warrior “HAND-TO-HAND COMBAT” course a success

On 22-25 May, the inaugural Elite Warrior training course was held at SAS SALDANHA led by Senior instructor of the Warrior Training Centre, Claudio Chiste. Participants consisted of instructors from the Maritime Reaction Squadron and the PTI branch.

The programme focused on techniques to ensure optimal mind-body connection, adhering to the principle that to have a strong, healthy body, a strong healthy mind is needed first. This principle so eloquently captured in the words of the world’s greatest military strategist Sun Tzu:
“The victorious warrior wins with his mind before going into battle.”
Why does this matter? If you want to win the war, you have to be a warrior.

Team lined up for training drills.

Participants were taught about the Elite Warrior Mindset, and the techniques to evoke the warrior within. Following the forging of mental toughness and high performance, participants were taught Hand-To-Hand Combat (both armed & unarmed combat). The course was taught at Level 1 (Part 1 of 3), with accreditation by the UK’s Krav Maga Combat Academy.

“It is very motivational and this courses needs to be introduced to most of the SANDF members, because it helps not only self defence (but) it motivates people how to achieve their goals and prepare for worse things in life” said one of the participants.

A warrior mindset is of primary importance in one’s ability to overcome a challenge. In hand-to-hand combat, one must have the attitude that he will defeat the enemy and complete the mission, no matter what. In any combat situation, one must have the frame of mind to survive above all else; the prospect of losing cannot enter one’s mind. Key focus on forging mental toughness to succeed at an elite level. This needs to be in a sustainable way – to ensure mental readiness at all times – to achieve high performance whenever the need may arise, in all aspects of one’s life, be it professional or personal.

Participants go through striking and counter-attacks.

Claudio is a former Combat Officer who served as XO of SAS FLEUR in his final appointment, for a brief period as the Acting
Officer Commanding before the decommissioning of the so-called “workhouse of the navy” (affectionately known as the “Mighty Fluff”). During which time he was the Navy boxing representative winning the Western Cape Light-heavyweight title, as well as the Western Province title making it to the SA championship final. He then went on to qualify as a Fitness Instructor, Master Life Coach and an instructor in the highly regarded Krav Maga – the official self defence system of the Israeli Defence Force – under Professor Itay Gil, the chief instructor of the elite anti-terror unit of the IDF.

Claudio is the Senior Instructor at the Warrior Training Centre, focusing on optimal mind-body connection, the component dealing with the body (hand-to-hand) being recognised by a leading UK martial arts academy, the Krav Maga Combat Academy.

Officer Commanding thanking WTC Training Commander Claudio Chiste. Photo credit to Helen Galanakis

After a period overseas, where he excelled in his post-navy endeavours – highlights include winning the South African Business Leader of the Year award from the Chamber of Commerce, the Highest Contribution Award from the military veteran community and the Best Shipping Network in the world Award in his capacity as chairman of the network building to be the world’s leading networking association – he has since returned to his beloved South Africa. He is passionate about sharing the mental toughness and high performance techniques which helped him lead a balanced, centred & successful life…

Claudio stated “I would like to add value to the SA Navy in particular, which helped me in my development. It’s time to ‘give back’, whether it be to provide a follow on course from time to time, or possibly even as a reservist to be involved on a more regular basis.”

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