About six months ago, local YouTuber Hafu Go (firs name: Hafu, last name: Go) spent 24 hours with our Lead Instructor Jon Fader, our assistant instructors, and a few students at UTKM for an installment of his I Trained / Survived series of videos.
Hafu is known for his lighthearted and good natured approach to some pretty intense training. He’s fit and willing to actually try things that others only watch videos about. For example, in one of his more recent videos, Hafu tied a 2.8lb rock to his man parts and dragged it 100 meters as part of a seven-day training regimen to develop the legendary Kung Fu Iron Crotch. Intriguing, but also hilarious, Hafu gets credit for never quitting. He’s also one of the few YouTubers whose comments section is actually positive and encouraging.
So first, go watch Hafu’s Surviving 24 Hours with a Krav Maga Master video and then, if you have the presence of mind to return here after hours of various Hafu Go and related-content rabbit holes, allow me to share some commentary on a few specific highlights.
Are you back? Good. Let’s begin.
First of all, let’s talk about the video’s title. “Surviving 24 Hours with a Krav Maga Master” is extremely clickbaity in its choice of words, but is thematically consistent with his other videos, like Surviving 24 Hours With A Shaolin Kung Fu Master. In many traditional Krav organizations there are neither ranks nor belts, additionally rank is not consistent from organization to organization, therefore a Krav Maga Master is not really a thing. A more proper title might be, Surviving 24 Hours with an ex-IDF Soldier Who Has Committed to a Life-long Pursuit in Combatives Training with an Israeli Action-Oriented Self-Defense Mindset and the Betterment of Others, but it doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.
Second, the training regimen. Hafu’s intro to Krav has a decidedly military slant to it. The drill sergent barking, the bad food, and the pointless late night patrol mimic Jon’s experience in the IDF, albeit for a relatively brief 24 hours. Hafu didn’t have to endure 45°C (113°F) heat in full battle gear, nor did he have to deal with potentially life threatening mobs and the fog of war. At UTKM there is an aspect of intentional discomfort and a stricter sense of urgency, but it isn’t (wistfully for some) military bootcamp.
Over the course of 24 hours you witness Hafu’s “this is so intense; this is so hard” statements progress from a whiny tone to a more determined one. Krav (at least at UTKM) is training for actual self-defense. It’s not meant to be a “fitness first, skills second” exercise. Developing a sense of determination and intent are at the core of Krav, and stems from the existential origins of the Israeli nation. As per Jon, “When you can’t run, you fight.“
Which brings us to another observation: Aggression. Hafu’s level of aggression is typical of most of us mild-mannered Canadians. We are trained and molded to be nice, defanged some might say. For Vancouverites particularly, our character builds start with negative -2 Constitution, -5 Aggression. No one likes to get kicked in the nuts, let alone kick a total stranger in the nuts, and so his response is understandable. But when the knives come out and the attacker is determined to stab him, Hafu doesn’t have an instinctive aggression upon which to draw his physical response. Bad guy is going “blender mode” on you, you can’t talk your way out of it, and so Jon says, “So you need to burst. You need to make her not want to,” or “You’re not convincing her to stop moving forward.“
There’s a lot to say about this which we won’t get into for this post. Suffice to say that dialing up aggression is not something people can easily do or are comfortable with. But with training it’s possible. Moving on…
The last 40% of the video is dubbed “the final test.” It’s actually a modified version of our Orange belt test, and is mostly representative of what UTKM students are expected to do. Hafu did in 24 hours more or less what someone with 1.5-2 years of training would do, minus the proper technique, knowledge of theory, muscle memory, practice, etc.. But he didn’t quit. His round 2 sparring partner is Assistant Instructor Karch Tan; here I believe we’re seeing a Level 3 Karch, though he has been reported to appear as Level 20 “Boss Karch.” I’ve faced a mere Level 1 Karch and I literally ran away at one point because I just didn’t know what to do.
In the end, Hafu is done. The layers of humor, laughter, and curiosity have been burned away in the crucible of relentless “violence.” For a brief moment there are neither pleasantries nor comradery, just raw will and the burgeoning realization that he can endure and survive something at a level which he thought previously not possible. Hafu closes with, “I feel like this entire experience changed me permanently… It expanded what I thought I was capable of. And it makes me more confident in the future.“
And that is what UTKM-style Krav Maga is designed to do; stretch you, push you, and turn the Lamb into a Lion.
Written by Danny Y. – UTKM Yellow Belt
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