Training with Ryan Hoover at Alaska Krav Maga & Fitness in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Training with Ryan Hoover at Alaska Krav Maga & Fitness in Fairbanks, Alaska.


Friday, June 8th. It was a wonderful, sunny morning as I commuted to the gym. Ryan Hoover was in town for a weekend long seminar which I was looking forward to. Mr. Hoover is a "who's who" in the personal protection arena and has had several endorsements as well as many uploaded videos on YouTube.  This was shaping up for a great learning experience.


    Arriving at the gym I was greeted by the smiling faces of AKM staff. Everyone was full of anticipation and wondering what the day’s events had in store.  I approached Mr.  Hoover and introduced myself he had a smile and seemed genuinely friendly and ready to answer any questions that I had. He assured me that he did like questions and to "ask away" if anything needed clarification, a good thing in my book.


     We formed up and started doing some warm up exercises with our partner (Phil). Hoover was explaining that he likes to perform warm ups that were practical and worked along with his training methodology so there is no wasted moments or techniques.  After some warm ups we went into some of the drills. These where designed to be simple to perform, simple to remember while using gross motor functions. Hoover is truly a KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) believer.


     During a rest period, Hoover went over the philosophy of his operation.  He described that his style, or program, was designed around an oblivious individual entering the gym. A person who has had no experience in martial arts, or has never thrown a punch in anger or self defense.


"These folks don't know what to expect.  The fact that they have shown up to your gym shows that they are willing to jump the hurdle. " Ryan Hoover


    Hoover described that he wants to bring folks to an outright, true sparring level. This takes time however since getting hit in the face is a daunting proposition for most folks. Hoover described how he works with folks to overcome little fears by taking things in small, incremental steps. This allows confidence to build as their skill improves.


    We performed more drills which were combinations of earlier drills with some building techniques on top. This is a good approach in my opinion since options in true times of duress are in short supply and you "Go with what you know". We finished the day with some "burner drills" that Hoover states he likes to do at the end of class. This helps with conditioning as well as team building.


   Knife Seminar.

    "There is no such thing as a knife fighter. You are fighting....with a knife in your hands...but it is still a fight." Ryan Hoover


    The knife seminar was truly refreshing.  I have been to several in my time and this one was straight to the point with no frills. The techniques were similar to the empty handed techniques we learned earlier in the day. This approach allows someone to fight empty handed as well with knife in the hands.  Again keeping to the KISS mantra.


    "We are "knife fighters"!  What does that mean?  I don't know what one is!  Sounds like a short lived career to me!"  Ryan Hoover.



  I arrived at the gym to see a familiar faces.. AKM staff smiling while holding their breath from being sore and tired. Many were talking about the previous day and were eagerly awaiting the day’s events.


    We recapped Fridays training and covered any questions that folks had. Hoover welcomed any questions we had and was making sure we understood his ideas and his philosophy.  Without further to the days training.


     Training was like Fridays but it was tuned up a notch. We moved around with various partners so everyone could get some time with different styles, strengths and weaknesses.  This a great approach since personal protection doesn't discriminate when you are attacked.


   "Big strong people do big strong things! If you aren't big and strong you have to be better!  That's just the way it is" Ryan Hoover.


     We performed several more drills that allowed simple kicks, elbows and knees to be involved. Once we performed several repetitions, we performed "burn out" times. On each discipline!  This was very tiring leaving staff members short of breath but in good spirits.  At the end of the day we had a discussion about his program.  Several topics came up: when do we incorporate certain moves/techniques?  How do we determine if a student is getting the best experience?  Are they truly learning? Etc. As well as some signs that things may not be going well and how to correct them. This is so the student can get the best possible experience and continue to grow. Hoover said this was important to him due to folks having such a great differences in skill level and that they learn at different rates.  The day was done. I was sweaty, smelly but had a good experience. I always try to keep an open mind when I go to training classes or seminars.  I try to learn what I can and incorporate it into my skill set. 

     This seminar was good because it didn't sell a romantic idea. It was a down and dirty approach to things which was refreshing.  Remember. ....KISS


Written by Rick (AKM staff)

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