Last morning run. Maybe. I walk outside to see the stunning sight that I only see when I walk out of our living area. Tomorrow our test begins at eight o’clock and my trip here will be nearly concluded. So if I want to run it will be earlier. I prefer to warm up on my terms and my way. But man do I really like to sleep. Throw on the mask, beat feet, and jump in the sea. The warm water feels refreshing on our fatigued muscles. The morning crew didn’t linger long. Back out of the water we get cleaned up and head to breakfast. The place where we eat serves new food that I’ve never seen before. Picture a dark and extra moist tortilla rolled up and cut into Twinkie sized pieces. Whatever it was alone it was bland. A chili sauce was provided to give it some kick. It was a pleasant change to the normal eggs, salad, and cheeses. Eight thirty comes around and our group makes its way to the training hall.
Director of Hong Kong Derek Poon’s handiwork is scattered through out the crowd. Derek has been providing sports medicine triage and treatment to all the participants of camp. RockTape in unique digital camouflage, Union Jack, and bovine print are dotted on arms, legs and other body parts. He provides this service out of his kindness only asking for donations to a local leukemia charity. Anything to continue the training on this path everyone started months and years ago.
The GIT line us up as we begin the training. We break out into groups for our specific levels for one last pass through before we work the families. Everyone’s brain is at capacity. So much amazing information learned from working with so many people that my face is hurting. No, it’s not from being punched by Jason Carrio, director of Florida. If you haven’t seen the picture just hunt around the FaceSmash (FB) and I’m sure you’ll find it. It is a perfectly timed picture to say the least. My testing partner Paula Meyers and I begin the families section after a rough training time through our curriculum. Like I said, my brain hasn’t completed processing information.
We look through our newest tool for the families and start reviewing the content that I haven’t worked in a while. Mostly rifle threats and ground work. Slowly at first, then we speed it up a little. As we work my brain continues to misfire so we ask GIT Megan Berkman to refresh our minds.
Megan was a pleasure to work with and was very patient with me which is a plus on the last day before evaluation. We get a few pointers and by the end of the training day, I’m mentally spent. Smiling we depart the training hall en route to the beach for a few minutes before the camp summary and dinner.
The summary is a question and answer session from all the participants about what was good (we keep doing it), what was bad (change/get rid of), and the overall pulse of the course. When I attended camp in 2011 with my teammates Miki and Marcus my only complaint was the food. At the time it was hard to transition from an athletic focused diet to near vegetarian in 24 hours. Head of the IKMF, Avi Moyal, took it into consideration and the food has improved every single camp. This allowed us to train hard knowing we would be able to eat what we needed to repair, replenish, and refuel our bodies. The food has been great and the amenities have been calming. For once I didn’t have any complaints! Whenever I come to camp I don’t expect creature comforts. I’m here to train, learn, and get better. This allows me to make my students better than I am. Around the room it was about the same opinion. Far more praise than criticism. It has been by far the finest training event that the IKMF has ever put together. According to Avi, this camp was six months in the making, and it shows. Logistics, support, scheduling,….everything.
After the camps “round table”, we gather for what must be the best meal I’ve ever had in Israel. Before the meal small glasses of wine were passed around and a toast was made by Avi celebrating the vision of Imi and the 20th anniversary of the IKMF. It gave me goosebumps.
Now about that dinner…
Lamb and chicken kababs were bountiful and devoured. Stuffed grape leaves and cabbage were a favorite of mine but the cauliflower was amazing. I should have asked for the recipe. Dinner was not adequate. It was perfect. A perfect (near) ending to an outstanding camp. Warriors and fighters from around the world gathering to feast before our upcoming test of will. It’s hard to find this kind of camaraderie outside of the military and it’s difficult to explain. Come to camp. Feel this energy. This amazing drive towards a common goal where everyone hopes you succeed just as much as you want them to. Come to camp. You may only do it once but it will be a trip of a lifetime. I am so fortunate that I have the support of my amazing and much better half Crystal for putting me on this path. So if you’re reading this babe, here is a very public THANK YOU. I couldn’t do it without you.
Alright folks. I’m signing off. Time for shower and sleep. Tomorrow will be an inspiring day. Good luck to all of my IKMF USA: Paula Meyers, Drew Goodwin & Nancy Stroud of Warrior Elite Krav Maga, and Jason Carrio. You won’t need it. To all of my new again and new friends, I’ll see you on the flip side.