Krav Maga was something I had only heard about recently, when a friend of mine mentioned that he knew someone who taught it. My friend put me in touch with this guy, Raphael Yadgaroff, and we soon arranged a time to conduct an interview.
One of the primary things that interests me about martial artists is the winning mentality that they often possess. Whether or not one is interested in martial arts , these positive outlooks can be applied to any area of life.
Raphael is a Krav Maga Instructor based in the Kent area. Periodically he holds classes and seminars in Canterbury and Whitstable, and he has also been able to travel to other areas in Kent.
Raphael began his martial arts training at the age of eight by taking up Shotokan Karate for three years. When he started Krav Maga at the age of 16, he decided to back up the knowledge he had acquired with other martial arts. Currently, he has trained in Jui Jitsu, Nin Jitsu, Muay Thai and Chinese Freestyle Kickboxing, Boxing, Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), Brazillian Jui Jitsu (BJJ), Shoalin Kung Fu and S.P.E.A.R. (Spontaneous, Protection, Enabling, Accelerated, Response) System.
Raphael made the decision to train in Krav Maga since it offered a more evolved and practical approach to dealing with realistic confrontations, including situations involving weapons and multiple attackers.
Raphael is a recognised instructor with the British Combat Association and is presently teaching his main class at the Fighting Lions Centre of Excellence in Whitstable. He has taught members of the British Army and Police Force, as well as Door Security Staff. He has also taught a seminar for girls at Spires Academy in Sturry. In addition, he has taught the control and restraint portion of the Task International Close Protection Course.Questions
Q: What Motivated You To Study Martial Arts ?
A: I started Krav when I was about 15 or 16. Basically I just decided that I would get some training in and learn to fight. I got into a fight in Primrose Hill in London, and I realised I had no clue what I was doing. I found out that my biology teacher was an instructor, so I spoke to him and started a class. It went pretty well from there. I found I had a natural talent for it.
Q: Why Krav Maga?
A: Well, it was a system that he taught, and I also looked into it after that. It looked like a very good system to work with, a reality based fighting system. I didn't want to do a martial art. I had done karate when I was eight, and I couldn't connect reality to it. I was in a karate lesson, and it didn't go out of the lesson. When I was doing Krav, it was all about when you're in the street and when someone comes up to you. It seemed more practical, so I chose Krav.
Q: You Have Competed In Cage Fights And Grappling Competitions, How Did This Come About?
A: When I started Krav Maga, I didn't want to be one of those instructors who just loves his system; instead, I wanted to look out for what else was out there, what else was effective. The chances are that if you name a martial art, I have done it. I have studied Karate, Brazillian Jui Jitsu (BJJ), Nin Jitsu, Krav Maga, Muay Tai, a different style of Krav Maga, Shoalin Kung Fu, Boxing, Kick Boxing, S.P.E.A.R system and other reality based systems, I think there are a couple more in there, but I can't remember them off the top of my head.
I have always found that MMA, linked with Krav Maga, works very, very well, especially because, at the end of the day, MMA is still very all around. It's stand up grappling and groundwork. With Krav Maga and its movements and ideas, they together make a very effective system. That's why I keep doing it, the cage fights, the grappling competitions and the training.
Q: Tell Us About How You Feel Before A Competition?
A: Good, I feel very... my heart races up! Weak, but strong at the same time... After all the Krav Maga I have done, I have trained myself to get into a very different mindset to what I have normally when I walk about my life. If I become threatened, it's like a switch that goes off: I go into, like, a kill mode. That's what I try and teach my students, how I feel when I get into a cage fight. I don't think, "I am going to have a competition here". I think, "I need to kill the guy in front of me. I need to finish him".
Q: How Do You Feel After A Competition?
A: It depends if I win or lose. I haven't lost yet, so I don't know about that. I usually feel pretty good afterwards, pretty happy. Then again, sometimes I want to get back in and finish him because he is still walking . This, in my eyes, as a result of Krav Maga mentality, doesn't seem right. He shouldn't be able to get up.
Q: What Kept You Going During The Set Backs?
A: With Krav Maga especially, the idea we try to teach our students has kept me going: the idea that you could have your arm broken, and if you need to keep fighting, with a broken arm, then that's the position you're in, and you don't have a choice about it. I have had knee operations. I have torn rotator cuffs. I have had bones taken out of my hip and put back into my knee. At the end of the day I think, "If I get attacked today, and I have got to protect someone I love, then I am going to have to fight like I am now". There is no point trying to take it too easy, but obviously training is still training, so you do have to be safe.
Q: At The Beginning Of Your Career, Who Were The Most Supportive People Around You At The Time?
A: My two best friends, Ben and Alex, were the most supportive. I started Krav Maga with them, so naturally having two of your best mates do it, they were people I spent all my time with going to the classes. We kind of made each other go. I was also very good friends with the biology teacher, and seeing him in lessons, as well, made me want to go more to Krav Maga. He would say, "Come on! Comedown!"
Q: Where Does Your Drive And Passion Come From?
A: My drive is the idea that it is something that I am good at and also that any day and at any moment, I could be fighting for my life. I don't want to be caught off guard. I am not ready to die. I love my life.
Q: Do You Believe In A Higher Power?
A: No, not really. That is a very different question. I don't believe in a god, but the idea that something could be out there... yeah, fine, but I am not religious.
Q: Where Does Your Inspiration Come From?
A: It's just from myself. I have always wanted to do it for me. I never wanted to do anything in my life related to my martial arts just to prove something to someone else or for someone else; I will only do it if I want to. Because I am a driven and motivated person, I have always achieved my goals. I said I would have a cage fight, and I have had one. Now I am training for another one. I will do it because I want to. People don't force me to do things that I don't want to because it is not a good mentality through which to live your life.
Q: What Do You Think Are The Most Important Elements To Being Successful?
A: Drive. As long as you're driven to do it, and you put your mind towards it. Go for it. Give it a go. There is nothing stopping you. If you want something to stop you, you'll come up with the excuse. If you want to do it, you'll come up with a way to do it.
Q: What Are Your Future Plans?
A: At the moment, I plan to pass my driving test and try to teach Krav for as long as possible, even try and get it to be a bit bigger in the area. Since I seem to have a very good business going on at the moment, I am going to try and improve on that.
Interview By Oliver J R Cooper
I had seen Raphael in a few pictures, but this didn't fill my mind with too many impressions. As I had met three martial artists already, I was curious as to what this Krav Maga instructor would be like.
When I met Raphael, I could see that he was younger than the rest of the martial artists I had interviewed. During the interview, however, I saw someone who was direct, confident, passionate and self-motivated. I sensed that he likes to be occupied and that to do nothing would simply frustrate him. There was also a'rawness' to his nature and a great desire to move forward in his life.
I would say that the success he already has in his life, coupled with the mentality that he has, will lead to greater and bigger successes for Raphael.
Views From Raphael Yadgaroff
Firstly, I would like to thank Oliver for taking the time to interview me. Oliver is a very good at conducting interviews. His laid back approach and calm attitude puts you at ease and allows you to just answer the questions without worrying about how you sound. I wish him great success in the future.
My name is Oliver J R Cooper and I have been on a journey of self awareness for over nine years and for many years prior to that I had a natural curiosity.
For over two years, I have been writing articles. These cover psychology and communication. This has also lead to poetry.
One of my intentions is to be a catalyst to others, as other people have been and continue to be to me. As well as writing articles and creating poetry, I also offer personal coaching. To find out more go to - http://www.oliverjrcooper.co.uk/
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