A truly remarkable event. ACT chief instructors (Alex Zhelezniak and Noah Gross) along with some veteran students and instructors (Shimon Klein, Tal Merkel – instructor, Sasha Gilelah- instructor) were invited to the biggest Ninjutsu school in Israel, the Akban Academy led by Yossi Sheriff.
Akban Ninjutsu Academy is a great school counting close to a thousand students and is renowned for the tough physical and mental training regime for the trainees. Suffice to say that there are 24 hour long training sessions in the desert with nonstop sparring sessions for hours sometimes with full gear on.
The school is also very well known for not sticking to dogma and cross training with the best representatives of different martial arts in the world, be it in BJJ or Katori Shinto Ruy, be it boxing or grappling or even European weaponry (one of Yossi Sheriff’s passions).
The ACT team was invited for the realistic approach to weapon combat be it with Oriental arsenal (Katana, Yari) or be it with the Hand and a Half sword or Filipino Bolo.
It was definitely a challenge facing dozens of black belts who love nothing more than to fight and so in we went into the Lion’s den with our respective stomachs, well, in quite turmoil, to say the least.
The reality exceeded all the expectations. Not only were we greatly received but also it was a pleasure to watch fighters improving their skill “on the fly” as they were fighting with our instructors. After the demonstration when EVERYBODY had a go at Alex or his instructors with ANY weapon (Katana, Spear, Hand and a Half sword, Machete) and everybody understood the tactics involved and the differences in styles, the studies began. We concentrated on the sword and spear techniques, ventured briefly into sword against spear and delved into the realm of multiple opponents’ scenarios. As it happens AKBAN practitioners take nothing for granted and so it was on Alex Zhelezniak to show in real time what works and what doesn’t when facing difficult odds. And so the final chapter of the seminar was Alex fighting against different pairs of fighters armed with different sets of weapons, ending with a 1 vs. 3 opponent’s bout.
After that team ACT had no strength left literally and so the event came to a close after a few words about the realities of weapon combat learned in the process. A lot of friends were made that day and we would like to thank all the participants and fighters; you honor us with your passion and will to learn and test yourself. Merav, Amir, Gai, Nadav and everybody thank you so much.
We thank Yossi Sherif for making this happen and for his complete and utter lack of ego. Yossi was the first person into the fray of sparring with ACT representatives to show his students what it was all about. To fight like that with no concern in front of the whole school means one thing only, Yossi has tremendous warrior spirit and understands the meaning of Budo like few people do.
More thanks go to Yossi for inviting ACT to give regular lessons to his school in Jerusalem which we happily accepted. All in all one of the best events we have ever had and we are looking forward to continue working with this great martial organization where the traditional and modern collide and fuse into a wonderful mix of combative knowledge.