British Parliamentarians Offered Free Israeli Martial Arts Training Following Shooting, Stabbing Murder of Labour MP Jo Cox
Free training in a popular Israeli martial art used by IDF special forces and the Mossad is now being offered to British parliamentarians by the company normally employed to coach them in lobbying and speech-writing, the UK’s Daily Mail reported on Sunday.
According to the report, in an initiative spurred by the horrifying stabbing-and-shooting slaughter of MP Jo Cox two months ago, lessons in Krav Maga – Hebrew for “contact combat” — have been available to the legislators since last week. Two MPs and 18 assistants attended the first session, provided by the company Parli-Training, whose founder, Mendora Ogbogbo, told the Daily Mail that, following Cox’s murder, the particular type of Krav Maga being taught involves “disarming and running,” rather than “confronting.”
“They are not being taught how to fight,” she said, describing one technique called the “rhino” — “where they know how to cover the vulnerable parts of their heads when someone is punching them. This will give them a vital three or four minutes before someone intervenes.”
The 10 most common attacks against which the MPs are being taught to defend themselves with Krav Maga – a combination of judo, aikido, boxing, wrestling and street fighting – include blows to the head and stabbing.
“We also teach a method where if someone is lying on top of them in a fight, they can wriggle from under them and run,” Ogbogbo said, adding that the next all-day session to which parliamentarians have been invited will take place on November 10.
Cox, the Labour MP for Batley and Spen, was killed on June 16 in Birstall, West Yorkshire, shortly before she was due to hold a meeting with her constituents. A 52-year-old man, Thomas Mair — who shot and stabbed her multiple times — was arrested and charged with her murder.
It was the first killing of a sitting British MP since the death of Ian Gow in 1990, and the first in which the victim was a woman or Labour member.
According to the Daily Mail, a number of MPs’ constituency case workers told Parli-Training that they regularly face threats of violence from angry constituents.
Krav Maga was developed by Jewish boxer and wrestler Imi Lichtenfeld, who used it as a means of defending Jews against antisemitic rioters in Bratislava, in what was then Czechoslovakia, in the 1930s.
In the late 1940s, following his migration to Israel, he began to provide lessons on combat training to members of the Haganah Jewish paramilitary organization in mandatory Palestine, the precursor to the Israel Defense Forces, created as an official army after the establishment of the state.