The Body: Weapons & Ranges

Posted: March 13, 2018 by urbantacticskravmaga in Krav Maga Principles
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If you seriously intend on learning to defend yourself you must understand range. Range means how close you have to be to another person in order to use your body’s weapons.

  • Long range (LR) – Kicks etc..



Groin Flick Kick 3

Example: Groin Flick Kick/Groin jab. All kicks are long range.



  • Medium Range (MR) – Punches etc…


Eye Flick

Example: Eye Flick. All punch or attacks with extended but not completely locked out arms are medium range attacks.


  • Short Range (SR) – Elbows, Knees, Grabbing etc…


Krav Maga Knee 4

Example: Knee Any attack that can be done from a clinch or control point is a close range attack


  • Control point (CP) – Reference point 1, Reference point 2, Point of Dominance etc..


Reference point 1 takedown grip 1

Example: Reference point 1 control, or live side control. Controls are positions in which you have broken down the opponent and are controlling their body in some way.


As much as you can you should keep your distance in the long range region prior to conflict. This allows you to assess the overall situation while still being able to attack your opponent if you need to.  If you need to pre-emptivley (PE) Strike, you should usually start from your long range as you properly assessed and kept your distance. If you decide you need to fight instead of run, attack in whatever range you are in and begin closing the distance. Once you have done this, you can control, and disengage or control and take down, depending on your skill, objective and what will most effectively stop the threat for the situation.

One of the best ways to become effective at closing the distance and learning your ranges is to spar. While learning self defense techniques does not require sparring, it is a MUST if you are serious about your training.

**Topics under any principle category (EX. Krav Maga Principles) may be updated from time to time so always check in every few months to see if the posts have been updated.



Avoid Injury

Posted: March 6, 2018 by urbantacticskravmaga in Krav Maga Principles
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Another important founding idea of Krav Maga is to avoid injury.


Avoid Injury.jpg

This is of course in jest, but no seriously…


It is both a fundamental principle and expectation that you will do your best to avoid injury in both training and in real life. In the gym, we train hard. We kick, punch and spar, but at no point in training is it permitted to intentionally hurt your training partners or instructors.

On the street, hopefully, all the knowledge you gain in the gym will help you avoid outright fights. However, should you find your self in such a situation you must remember, you probably have a day job. Unlike professional fights who make tens of thousands and sometimes millions to fight. They can afford to take months off to heal, you cannot. If you throw a punch in self defense and break your hand, but you require it to do your job, you may have survived the conflict, but you affected your self negatively because of it.

It is because of this Krav Maga prefers techniques that minimize (but not eliminate) the risk of injury during the conflict.

The most common example of this is how we punch. Kravists should be punching with 45 Degree Knuckle.jpgtheir first 45 degrees in relation to the ground, not overextending their elbows and using their bodies to generate the power. Unlike boxing where there is gloves and which it is acceptable to over rotate the fist for more range and arguably more power. Or wing Chung which uses vertical fists to increase the speed. Kravists choose the middle ground between power and speed so that our punches are more likely to land with the larger two knuckles.

Another example is the concept of soft on hard, hard on soft in which we use hard parts of our bodies on the soft parts of the attacker’s body and soft parts of our bodies on the hard parts of their bodies. An example of this would be switching to a palm strike if we are fast enough to notice they have lowered their head exposing the hard part of the skull. Punch this with bare knuckles and you may break your hand, but a palm strike will deliver the same effective force with limited damage to yourself.

So remember, both in training and practical application a Kravist will always take the past with the least chance of injury to themselves.

Note: Of course it must be remembered, that Krav Maga literally means contact combat of close combat, and accidents do happen. As such it is unrealistic to expect through years of training you will never get hurt. Choosing not to practice or train because of fear of injury is not good at all. This is a common thing as people accidentally get injured and then create a mental block from training. Just remember, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and the faster you bounce back the happier and healthier you will be.

**Topics under any principle category (EX. Krav Maga Principles) may be updated from time to time so always check in every few months to see if the posts have been updated.



Up Coming Seminars & Tests – March 2018

Posted: March 1, 2018 by urbantacticskravmaga in Seminars
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March 17st Knife SurvivalMarch 24th Rifle 01March 31st Orange Belt TestApril 01 Nanaimo Krav Maga Seminar

And here we go..

Let’s be uber honest; I’m a 36 year old woman with zero martial arts training. Before I joined Urban Tactics and for the last six years, I was hyper-focused on my academic achievements. Sadly, I let my health and weight drastically decline, consequently gaining 45 pounds because, well, balancing life is difficult. I tired of the gym thing; it felt empty and to be frank, an absolute waste of time. Being that I’m a woman who has no time for useless activities and with a long-standing interest in Krav Maga, it made sense to try it out.

jen test.jpg

Jen During her yellow belt test


With a bit of research, Urban Tactics seemed like the only place in the lower mainland offering an authentic Krav Maga training system and it turns out to be true in my opinion. I started Krav Maga in February 2016. From the first free trial class, I was hooked and at times I still feel like all I can think about is KRAV. What kept me coming back is the supportive and knowledgeable instructors, being pushed both mentally and physically and the comradery/sense of community emanating at UTKM. More importantly is the fact that Krav Maga is an extremely effective self defense system that combines my love for firearms and martial arts. Also, I am benefitting from the positive side effects of being 20+ pounds lighter with more muscle mass! No matter your shape or size, Krav is doable!

A quick google search and you can find evidence of shooters or knife attacks on public transit. Keep your head up and assess, assess and assess because your life is more important than a tweet.

Before I talk about the epic yellow belt test that nearly broke my mental capacity to fight, I want to touch on the real everyday reason to train in Krav Maga. Violence! In the words of Jonathan: “Situational awareness!”  We’ve all heard him utter those words and laughed, but it’s important.. very important. In this day in age, people are so consumed by their smart phones that it makes for easy targets in public. A quick google search and you can find evidence of shooters or knife attacks on public transit. Keep your head up and assess, assess and assess because your life is more important than a tweet. Krav Maga has opened my eyes a bit more and may have made me slightly more hyper-vigilant, but I see that as a positive side effect of training.

Declaimer: Please don’t take what I am going to say as a sweeping generalization of people suffering or struggling with mental illness because I in no way shape or form want to perpetuate stigma. In truth, anyone well or unwell has the potential for violence! If anything, people under the influence of illicit drugs/alcohol can be the most unpredictable and dangerous.

As a Psychiatric nurse, I am faced with the real and raw truth of violence. I’m not going to get into details; you can let your imagination do that. That said, in the short time I have been a nurse I have been physically assaulted three times, once leaving significant bruising. Nurses are at high risk of being victims of violence at work due to the close proximity in which we deliver care. Although my number one weapon against violence or potential thereof is my communication skills, Krav has given me more confidence in my nursing practice. Because of Krav Maga, I am more aware of my surroundings, constantly assessing and hands UP! In a semi-passive stance if need be!

Please note that we also have the luxury of security guards who are there to protect us. Thank you to them each time they respond to our calls! Shout out to my fellow Krav-Mate and a guard I worked with at St. Paul’s; Thanks Marco! Funny enough, Marco and I tested for yellow belt together!

Now, the yellow belt TEST..

Well, after a year of training, and being somewhat content to continue as a white belt, I was invited to test for yellow belt. My first thought, “EEK what? “ I have to admit, I wanted a bit more knowledge and to time to practice the curriculum and I’m aware I can’t hold a candle to some of my classmates’ technique and physical stamina, so the test invitation literally terrified me. That said, mentally I am not a quitter; if I set my mind to something – it’s as good as done. I had one month to prepare, so insert more training than normal, running, conditioning, practising at home, trying to eat clean and NO Drinking (well, I cheated on that one day).

The body will try to tell you to give up, but you have to just keep fighting, running, defending.

Fast forward to test day! To anyone preparing for the test, I honestly don’t know what to tell you, other than train harder! Yes, you will test with others, but it’s honestly a solo trip that will have you digging deep into your mental strength and stamina. The body will try to tell you to give up, but you have to just keep fighting, running, defending.  My first round of sparring, I was delivered some pretty heavy damage to my shin. I almost gave up, my face was leaking tears but I just kept thinking:

jens leg.jpg

Jens Leg, post test, Mostly curtesy of her Bf. Also a UTKM student. (It was all during the test don’t worry)


Retzef! (Hebrew for continuous attack)

Don’t stop attacking!

In real life you don’t get to give up. You have to fight for your life, and isn’t that what Krav Maga is all about..

Keep It Simple, Keep it Linear

Posted: February 27, 2018 by urbantacticskravmaga in Krav Maga Principles

One of the founding principles of Krav Maga was to keep it simple, easy to learn and base it off of natural body reactions and movements. This is the principle that makes Krav Maga so easy to learn as you practice regularly unlike other styles that have a steep and long learning curve.

By keeping it simple, it is far easier to train the nervous system to respond appropriately under duress. If you have trained for a limited time but have learned a 1000 techniques it is unlikely under stress you will be able to function in a realistic manner.

As Bruce lee famously said

I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.

This is because practising the same simple movements over and over again means proficiency. Drilling the techniques slowly and then faster under stress trains and refines your reaction to being faster and faster.

Another analogy of more modern times is the toolbox. If you have more tools in the toolbox it is likely it will be messy and harder to find the tool you need. But if you only have a few tools, the ones that are only required for the job it will be far easier to pick it and do the job right.

In the Krav Maga world, some organizations adhere to this still, and some do not. Its ok, to learn tones of techniques if you are planning on training for the long term, but like all martial arts most people tap out after 1-2 years. Which means if you really want to defend yourself you must have practices 10000 times the same techniques for them to be effective.

Keeping it linear is more in line with keeping to natural body motions and logical attack patterns. Why add fancy circular motions that while looking nice take longer than a straight line approach would have taken. Remember, the faster you off balance, disrupt or cause pain that faster you can stop the threat. But if you add beautiful yet complicated movements it is possible for the attacker to turn the tables on you.

So keep it simple stupid, and lather, rinse and repeat what you need to know for your basics. If of course, you decide to train for the long haul then you can start exploring more complicated techniques.

If you have trained with various Krav Maga schools and organizations you may understand, but if you have trained only with one school or style you will probably say, “Isn’t all Krav Maga the same?” The reality is, each organization takes a slightly different approach to Krav Maga. If they maintain the core principles of Krav Maga then it is still Krav Maga, but if they stray too far and integrate too much of another style from traditional martial arts, forgetting the principles of Krav Maga then they are not teaching Krav Maga. We have noticed that there are two trends in the Krav Maga world that are mildly conflicting, and they are:

  • Keep it as simple as possible – This actually falls in line well with basic Krav Maga original philosophies. In reality, when you are stressed, you are going to react with your instinctual or highly trained response. Which means the simpler you keep it, the easier the system is to use in real life.


Pros Cons
§   React with ease without thinking

§  Overwhelm your opponent quickly

§  One size doesn’t fit all

§  People come in different shapes, sizes, and strengths 

  • Have an answer for everything –
    This makes sense because in real life you have no idea what is going to come at you. What if your attacker’s style is something you are not familiar with and have no idea what to do. Understanding every possible scenario and having an answer for it can be beneficial, if you have memorized everything and have trained sufficiently to be able to act appropriately.
Pros Cons
§  There won’t be a scenario in which you don’t know what to do in theory §  Learning a move that simply works is pointless to an overall strategy

§  You won’t know what to do unless you learn the application of self-defense

§  You are probably closer to the one who learned 10000 kicks than practice one 10000 times.


  • Our solution – We recognize that it is a balance of the two, though we learn more to the original philosophy of keeping it simple. Our curriculum and teaching style is one in which it forces the student to think. We cannot always be there to guide you so instead we give you a basic framework and strategy with which to work. Remember, asking us “What if this or that?” will always result in the same answer, “It depends”, as everything is based on the situation and your assessment of it.

While we teach you basic moves and ideas it is possible you will encounter something you have not seen before, in which case it is up to you to adapt and plug in a move that fits the strategy. In the early stages, we may teach a few options on how to deal with a specific situation. As you develop your skills we simply ask that you pick the one that works best for you and get good at it, but still, remember the other options just in case. We also often add in new moves as Krav Maga is meant to adapt. However, if a move does not fit into our strategy and is just another move we scrap it. Remember, “Keep it simple stupid”, but what works for me may not work for you, but follow the Krav Maga strategy and principles and you will be just fine.

**Topics under any principle category (EX. Krav Maga Principles) may be updated from time to time so always check in every few months to see if the posts have been updated.


Why I compete, even if I don’t win

Posted: February 22, 2018 by Jonathan Fader in Competition
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First off, before anyone freaks out, no I am not competing in Krav Maga. Nor do I support competitions in Krav Maga. The reason for this is history. With all martial art styles, the started for the purpose of self-defence once they start competitions they often quickly become a sport and lose much of the practical application.

As I advise all practising kravists what you need to do is cross train to further develop your skills. If you do, you may find one of the other styles that are more sports-oriented will offer you an outlet to get that competitive bug out of the way. I recommend, MMA, BJJ, Judo, Wrestling, boxing and kickboxing/Muay Thai.

Jonathans Bronze.jpg

For me, BJJ is what I like and practice and compete in. So why do I compete considering the following:

  1. I am not nor have I ever been a naturally gifted athlete
  2. I am not by any stretch of the imagination the best in my division
  3. I am not a super competitive person who must win.

Yet, I still compete. I have many students, or have talked to many people who just don’t want to compete because they know they won’t win and to that, I say so what?

I see three general categories of competitors.

  1. Tha Natural Athlete – to these people, winning may be everything, It has either become normal to them because they are simply better physically and it has become their standard, and competition is their outlet to show off their talents
  2. The Committed martial artist – These people may not be the best physically but they still win. They are in the gym almost every day training and honing their skills. To them, it is a lifestyle and a way of being.
  3. The Casual Martial artist – Someone who trains on a casual basis but still compete because it seems like fun.

No matter what group you are in there is something they all have in common when it comes to competition. Win, lose or Draw every one comes out of competitions a little better. For no matter the outcome you will learn something.

Maybe despite winning, you almost lost and found a hole in your game or strategy. Maybe you lost not because of skill but because of your cardio. Maybe you lost because the skill in your division is simply higher than where you are at and you need to train more.

For me personally, I check all of these boxes. Due to a variety of reasons, I haven’t been able to train hard enough, for a long time my cardio was shit and there are definitely lots of holes in my game. The thing is even though at least for now I know I  probably won’t win, I will still compete.

I always come out of competitions learning something new. and I always work towards fixing it. So far every competition I have for the most part, even if I wasn’t happy with the results the reality was each time I was a little better.

Over the last several competitions I have been working my cardio and each time I am a little less tired. So despite not winning gold, I have improved my self.

Over the last several competitions I have been working on my game and each time I am a little closer to implementing it and I have improved myself.

Over the last several competitions I have identified what I am doing wrong both defensively and offensively and I have improved myself.

While I fully Accept that I was and always will be a better coach and instructor than competitor I still plan on competing.

For me, It’s not about the winning, although as I am only human, It would be nice, it’s about being better every day. While I fully Accept that I was and always will be a better coach and instructor than competitor I still plan on competing. On that note, a coach or instructor who encourages their students to compete but has never competed or doesn’t compete may just be a hypocrite. As coaches, we tell them winning doesn’t matter, but then some fear competing cause they know they won’t win. But if winning doesn’t matter then why do you tell your students that and why don’t you compete? Being a hypocrite is the worst and is something I hate passionately.

So I compete, win lose or draw, I always improve and perhaps one day I will start seeing gold, and if not, its no big deal. The goal is improvement and competitions are one of the best ways to push your own personal boundaries and comfort zones and grow a little bit every time. For if you won’t, or refuse to push your comfort zones, you will never grow and be better.

I can only ever encourage everyone to take the same path, but even if you don’t, I will keep training, keep competing and keep getting better.

So get out there, and do not fear to lose. Just compete and have fun.

Avoid the Ground

Posted: February 20, 2018 by urbantacticskravmaga in Krav Maga Principles


Attacker has knife

you want to arm bar me? Heres a knife.

The ground and Krav Maga have a love-hate relationship. As a General rule, we avoid it. We never intentionally go to the ground. The only reason we should be on the ground is that we tripped, slipped, fell or were forced by an attacker. Our goal, when it comes to ground fighting is a simple one. GET UP!, no really, GET UP AS FAST AS YOU CAN and back to your feet.


Whenever we do end up in a grappling entanglement on the ground the goal is to go from a worse position to any better position, to a neutral position, whereas no one person has an advantage and back to the feet again. Even in that short description of our strategy, it can actually be quite complicated. Add in the fact they could have weapons or friends, the ground becomes an exponentially dangerous place no matter your skill.


Attacker has friends.jpg

On the Ground, it can be easy for other people to join in. The head kick is a common attack.

Another reason we must avoid the ground is that despite things that are commonly believed in Krav Maga like, “I can just punch them in the groin, or Poke them in the eye” it must be remembered that your attacker can do the same thing to you. If you are not proficient on the ground or have never trained with a high-level grappler than you may be completely overestimating your ability to get up as many of our students find out regularly.


Lastly, Size matters, no matter what anyone says. If a larger opponent can knock you out easily standing up they will have a far easier time pinning you to the ground as they have now taken away your only major advantage. Speed and skill and the ability to be explosive. Granted a proficient small attacker can outclass a larger opponent but there is a point of diminishing returns.

The ground and fighting on the ground is complicated and dangerous period.

This is one of the reasons at UTKM for a Black belt you are required to supplement your Krav Maga training with Grappling and a blue belt in BJJ or equivalent is mandatory. Why, because it takes that long to be proficient on the ground and must be taken seriously.

So long story short, stay off the ground and don’t ever let your opponent put you there in a self-defence scenario. Because it quite possibly could be the end of the fight for one or both of you.

**Topics under any principle category (EX. Krav Maga Principles) may be updated from time to time so always check in every few months to see if the posts have been updated.