This is part of a series on our instructor training program. To understand this series and how our Assistant Instructor Course and Full Instructor Course works, please start with Part 1.
Introducing Pedro Chong
Pedro Chong is the first student to graduate from our Assistant Krav Maga Instructor Course at Urban Tactics Krav Maga. I met Pedro at the Taiwanese Police University in 2014 through a friend. He is an army officer with the Taiwanese Army (Republic of China) as well as an avid Muay Thai fighter and coach. He also studied International Affairs and Strategic Studies at Tamkang University in Taiwan. Since we have a mutual passion for martial arts, tactical training and shooting, I invited him to come train in Krav Maga at UTKM. Pedro jumped at this opportunity and flew to Vancouver in March 2015.
At the time of Pedro’s arrival, we were still in the process of developing the curriculum and thus his training was different from our current program. Due to his extensive background in military and martial arts, we put Pedro through a condensed program over 10 days, with him practicing in the gym for 12-13 hours a day.
Krav Maga starts when you are completely burnt out, done, tired. That’s when it starts.
… said one of my Krav Maga instructors in the IDF. For Pedro, it seems that his fighting spirit was really tested during his time with us. After the course, he told me that this was more intense and difficult than his Special Forces training in Taiwan. After all, we start each day at 6am or 7am and didn’t stop until 11 pm. Each day consisted of in-class lectures and physical training. Within two weeks, Pedro also went through two 4-hour belt exams – yellow and orange belt. On the weekends, we took him on a series of rifle and shotgun courses in the BC mountains. It was winter and Pedro almost got hypothermia from the unprecedented Canadian coldness. Another new experience for Pedro was sparring with opponents who are much bigger and stronger than him. In Taiwan or Israel, people’s body sizes are quite similar, but in Vancouver where people come from all over the world there is a big size disparity.
Over 10 days, Pedro learned about Krav Maga’s history, psychology, law, combat mindset, firearms training, tactics, kinesiology, and more. He said that he has never encountered a hand-to-hand combat curriculum that is so meticulous about background knowledge, principles behind moves, instructional techniques, tactics, as well as indoctrinating our students with a warrior spirit.
To explain our philosophy, here’s an example from different perspective: iPhone users generally find Apple products pleasant to use for its simplicity, but the engineer knows and understands all the complex technology behind the devices. We strongly believe that at the instructor level, Kravists should know much more than the moves and tactics, they should also understand all the details regarding Krav Maga.
Krav Maga + Muay Thai + Kali + BJJ = Pedro Chong
As a seasonal Muay Thai and Kali fighter, Pedro has powerful hand movements and solid footwork. Despite sparring against students twice his size, Pedro can maintain his position against anyone at UTKM. He is quite amazing at adapting to Krav Maga techniques.
Pedro’s instructional skills are also undoubtedly well developed. He has been a hand-to-hand combat instructor for the Taiwanese (ROC) army and a Muay Thai coach, and now a certified Krav Maga instructor under UTKM. Once, Pedro taught us some Muay Thai in the gym, most of our instructors joined in, and everyone was impressed by the amount of detail he goes into for each move.
His weakness was a lack of grappling experience. For example, during his Orange Belt test, he was choked out by one of the attackers. We recommended that he train in BJJ when he returns to Taiwan. Often, grapplers are comfortable with chokes, locks, and grabs, but less confident with striking; similarly, strikers can punch and kick easily, but are weak when it comes to relative positions, submitting, and escaping. As such, Krav Maga and BJJ work well together to strengthen one’s overall self-defense ability. Ultimately, it is important for anyone doing Krav Maga to have good awareness of their opponent and their own bodies. Cross training in varying types of martial arts can benefit that.
Pedro is now back in Taiwan, with the Taiwanese (Republic of China) military. Although he is unable to hold regular Krav Maga classes, he has shared his knowledge with the army, police, as well as forces in Ecuador. He also continues Krav Maga training in other countries, through military and security agencies.
Our experience with Pedro taught us many things about training instructors and has helped us to revamp the curriculum many times since his graduation. Teaching a condensed version of the program is much too exhausting for both students and instructors, and it will most likely not be repeated in the future. As mentioned in part 1 of this series, our current program is a dedicated mentorship in which we train only a few students over the span of an entire year.
At the time of this being published, becoming a UTKM instructor is by invite only. In addition, the FIC is still under development in order to offer the best possible education for our instructors. We will be opening it up in the future to a few applicants per year. If you are thinking about doing this in the future, please inquire by emailing Josh Hensman at firstname.lastname@example.org.