How not to get murdered

28 August 2017 - 07:36 By NICO GOUS

"If I want to become a painter, I'm not going to learn to paint on the computer; I'm going to paint on a canvas."

Herman Mostert, 22, is not talking about painting. He's talking about your body entering a primal state in which you either fight or flee.

He grew up on a farm close to Cullinan, Pretoria. He did a 14-day training course under the tutelage of Idan Abolnik on how to defend himself if attacked on his farm.

Abolnik said: "Fear, panic, tunnel vision, shock - we all are going to have it. What I teach is not to freeze, to understand what you are dealing with, to see the opportunity for survival."

Abolnik, 41, joined the Israeli military in 1994 and trained soldiers in Spain, the Netherlands, Britain, France, Italy and the US, and the South African police. He first offered his programme to farmers in 2005. He believes farm attacks are terrorism.

"The people are much more professional, much more well-trained. Their motive is much stronger.

"Torture's got to be involved. Cutting body parts has got to be involved. Rape . and maybe then they will kill."

The training covers arresting techniques, weapons, information gathering, hand-to-hand combat and bush and urban warfare.

The course participants went to the SWAT National Firearms Centre, in Zwartkops, Centurion, on Thursday for their final day.

“This is not easy. It is not nice. It is painful. We get hurt all the time”

They were tanned with dust and dirt. White dressings covered bruised knees and elbows, and bore specks of dry blood. One or two were limping.

Potchefstroom, North West salesman Henk Coetzee, 38, said: "This is not easy. It's not nice. It's painful. We get hurt all the time."

He said he was training to protect his family.

"They're the most important thing for me - I will protect them with everything I have."

The men train in a small dilapidated building with many small rooms at the shooting range. One of them is armed with a 9mm pistol. He creeps around a corner, fires two shots and retreats to reload. But he did not take sufficient cover when he was reloading and Abolnik is unhappy.

"There are superheroes here. They change magazine but they don't take cover. Again. Move!"

Gerdus du Plessis, 25, is a vegetable farmer from Nelspruit, Mpumalanga. He joined the training after a neighbouring farmer was stabbed 40 times on his farm and died.

He wants to share his knowledge with others so that "when they're alone, far from the police, they can help themselves".

Abolnik will offer the training again in October. It costs R20,000.