This was one of the most challenging times I ever had during the early 90's. I was dealing with some of the most professional and capable individuals that you could ever meet. These people if they wished could take you out with a weapon at anytime.
Being one of the first non communists to teach in the history of the Kremlin, I wonder if I can ask to be put in the Guinness book of records!
I was met in the morning by my colleague and student Alexander, who worked for the Moscow Government. We would make our way to the Kremlin in a blacked out window Mercedes. After a short stop and authorisation we entered the building where the training was based.
I stepped into the dojo where for the first time I met the instructors of the Kremlin Guard. Their appearance was calm but solemn, not a smile could be seen. I tried to ease the atmosphere by welcoming them in Russian, not a movement, these people were there only to work. As I looked along the lines I could see many different characters, that over the next 4 weeks I would work with every day.
To set a precedence, I picked out the biggest one in the group and said "hit me has hard as you can", after a few mumbles he hit me in the stomach, I said "no, hit me" and with this he hit me ten times, after which the group give a round of applause. Then I said now I will hit you and he replied "no thanks" in Russian. When the class had finished he came to me and shook my hand, then the commanding officer said to me that he was the Kremlin full contact champion, if I'd known that I would have never asked him to hit me!
The next day as we approached the changing room the door was locked, someone had forgotten the key. A big mistake because heads would roll, one of the Instructors tried to kick the door in many times to no avail, so I said let me try. I concentrated my force on a certain point of the door and with all my might hit the door which duly smashed open.
The C.O turned to me and said, you are the first person to break into the Kremlin and everyone laughed. I entered the Dojo and looked around I counted about 40 instructors, these in turn would teach the Kremlin Militia.
As to training, you cannot deceive these people about what you are. I could only convince these people by a punch or head butt and being strong and truthful, BS would be your certain ticket on a plane back home.
Because anyone of them could most certainly take you out with ease, but they lacked the methodologies, what ever I showed them they would take what they wanted and reject the rest. These people were also experts with firearms, they wanted to know how to take someone out without effort and commotion.
I introduced them to salutation to life*, so every day they would complete 100 for the duration of the month, some of the people told me that they had lost 5 kilos in weight, and would continue to perform them regularly.
* Webmasters note: Sensei George has many names for this exercise which is actually a modified full burpee. After the kick back in the squat thrust one lays down and reaches out with the arms to the front. In effect you are lifting the body off the ground from a prone position for each one, thus making the routine much harder.