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

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

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:

Post match flanked by hubby

Warrior Training Centre leaves its mark with female debutante boxing star

Apart from the odd bruise during one of London’s major Ultra White Collar Boxing charity match held on 24th November 2018, one of the stars for the evening, Laura Moffat, successfully won her match in her boxing debut.
Laura before the match

Weeks before the bout, the WTC’s Claudio Chiste had a training session with Laura in London to work with her on the focus pads and provide pointers in the build up to fight night.

Reflecting on this, Laura said she felt humbled by the offer to be trained, and grateful time was found despite a busy schedule. She added, “I’m no real boxer and for someone of his experience to take this seriously enough to come and train me, I have to say I felt honoured. He has a very calm nature which I think is important as an instructor, it took him seconds to look at my shadow boxing and analyse my strengths and weaknesses and gave me tips for my fight, which seemed to work. Also keeping it simple. For a first fight it’s impossible to remember too many strategies, so focusing on less things made me feel more confident.”

Focused energy yields results
Laura is regarded as an inspiration in the UK martial arts scene, but it wasn’t always that way. She had been battling with mental health issues, anxiety and depression namely, for several years, which Krav Maga actually helped her deal with in many ways. At the time of signing up to the boxing challenge she had hit a rough patch and needed a goal to help her refocus and work towards some sort of achievement, needing the adrenaline and to feel alive again and face her fears. She also wanted to know how she would actually do in a real fight, after a couple of years of aggression drills in Krav, she wanted to put her aggression to the test. Lastly, her aim in life is to inspire people and prove that life doesn’t stop because you have children or are married, contrary to many peoples belief. She especially wants her daughter to know that. If you want to do something, do it and don’t worry what people think, the people that matter will support you.

Claudio taking Laura through the paces in London

Asked on how she felt after the fight, Laura commented, “I am very happy that I have won, I am absolutely ecstatic and still buzzing. It’s the greatest feeling in the world but I think I would’ve felt a winner even if I’d lost. Winning was a big part for me at the beginning of the journey but I have realised that it isn’t all about winning the fight, it’s about the experience and the people that support you along the way, the people you meet on the journey and finally the realisation that you have more people that are there for you than you thought. It’s the best feeling in the world.”

The very next day, she passed her P3 exam (Practitioner Level 3) in Krav Maga with one of the UK’s leading clubs, Krav Maga Combat Academy (the WTC’s affiliated training centre).

The evening succeeded in raising GBP 9,000 for cancer research. The odd bruise on Laura will heal, with the indelible mark in the fight against cancer remaining.

Post match flanked by hubby