Episode 67 – Toby Reyes, Martial Artist, Friend and Multi Episode Guest
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Toby Reyes is a lifetime Martial Artist who is an Expert in Arnis and has also focused his training in BJJ and Kickboxing. He was previously on Episode 2 and Episode 42 where you can learn a bit more about his background (These episodes only available on http://www.utkmblog.com). In This Episode I catch up with Toby and we discuss what’s going on in the world from Covid, Politics, The Economic System, Cryptocurrencies and Block Chain.

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TransLink offers a number to call or text if there are problems/emergencies. (source)
Transit Tales: Thoughts on My Evolving Transit Experiences Audio by Jonathan Fader

As a young adult without a vehicle, I take transit a lot. To school, to work, to Krav Maga, at all hours of the day and night (I cannot begin to tell you how many podcasts I’ve listened to.) I’m actually writing this on the bus, perhaps fittingly, but that’s more because I have a tendency to procrastinate. I started relying of the bus when I reached my late teens and my parents didn’t want to drive from Langley to Richmond anymore. So instead of a one hour drive to UTKM, it was two hours spread across one bus and two SkyTrains to be able to keep up my training. And as a young teenager with no social life, I went “cool” and proceeded to download a ton of music. 

Suddenly having a lot of time to waste, I had to find ways to entertain myself. I personally don’t like studying or doing work on transit unless I absolutely have to (procrastinating strikes again). So in the beginning I used to bring books to read, but I would get too distracted and be more likely to miss stops. So situational awareness, that thing that Jon likes to beat into our heads in class? Nah. So headphones and podcasts! I started listening to the UTKM podcasts, and countless more from there. I really only listen to podcasts on transit, as they require some amount of focus but I can still be paying attention to my surroundings. I’ve talked to some people who prefer being able to hear what’s happening around them, which is fair. I just need something to do before my thoughts spiral into madness. As a tactical compromise I listen at a low enough volume that I can hear what I’m listening to, but am still aware able to hear if something is happening around me. 

Thanks to years of Krav, I now factor in threats when I chose where to sit. Thaaaaaanks. On the SkyTrain, I’ll take the single seats and sit however I need to so that my back is to a wall or barrier. I don’t like standing in the middle of the SkyTrain if I can stand against the door. On the bus, I do the same thing, but I’ll hide in the back of the bus. Yes, I’m further from the driver and the exits, but I can see everything and usually people will fill up the front first anyway. I also have the problem of needing to transit to Vancouver for work now, which is another two hours… one-way. Having given up on getting a good night’s sleep on weekdays means I have dozed off on transit more then I would care to admit. This hasn’t resulted in any problems yet, but I still wouldn’t recommend it. That’s when choosing a safer place to sit can be helpful, because I do not want to sleep when someone is sitting beside me. I tend to not actually fall asleep, rather I just doze, opening my eyes every so often to make sure I haven’t missed my stop. If you are going to sleep though, make sure there is a decent amount of people around and that you have a way to wake up before you need to get off. Taking out headphones so you can hear more clearly could also help, and is generally a safer choice. Just remember that choosing to sleep is putting yourself in White, in a public area. 

Then there’s the delightful people you get to meet. Ugh. There’s a few different types of people, some more tolerable than others:

  • There are people who come up and ask for money or food. I don’t tend to carry cash and I say so, this usually isn’t a big deal and they move on.
  • Then you have people “selling” something. Whether it be their religion or a cause, they stand outside of stations and try to give out fliers. Don’t look, don’t engage, just keep moving, throw out the flier later, whatever works. This type are unlikely to hassle you or escalate the situation.
  • Then you have transit police. I honestly don’t see them a lot unless they are dealing with an issue or the SkyTrain is closing. 

Story time!

I had one person who was bothering me about buying him food. Not to judge, but he looked pretty rough. He went to go sleep once I agreed, ’cause it’s ten bucks and I had a bit of time before my bus, so whatever. He was standing over me, dozing, while I was sitting down. I was leaning away ’cause, yeah, that was an uncomfortable situation. It must have looked bad to the other man in the SkyTrain car with us, ’cause he came over to ask if I was okay. We get to my stop, and as the guy was still sleeping I just got up to leave as fast as I could. And there, waiting outside the door, are an officer and a medic. I just leave as they go into the train because I don’t want to be anymore involved then I am already (1st stage of self-defence: Avoidance). I figure the second man could let transit police know enough about that guy. Thanks, random stranger! I would not have done it so I appreciate you doing so.

Lastly, as a young female, I’ve had guys come up and start talking to me. If you, as a male do this, you can fuck right off.

I’m not joking.

I can guarantee you are making someone feel uncomfortable and they are talking to you because they don’t want to be rude.

When I was younger, this used to scare me. As I’ve learned more Krav, I’m more confident in my ability to stop something bad from happening, but it’s still awkward for me. As someone who was raised to be polite (and due to the way women in our society are socialized), shutting down strangers I don’t want to talk to is difficult, but it is something I’m working on. Don’t let people get harassed on transit if you see it happening; be like the man in my story. Translink now has a posted number you can text if you are worried about something that’s happening if you take transit in the Lower Mainland

That’s all I got. Be safe. Try not to become too paranoid, like myself, as staying in Orange too much can also be bad. Go read the post on the colour code if you don’t understand what I’m saying. Don’t bother other people. Also when you complain about how far away Krav is from your place, remember that I used to take the bus for four hours for a one hour class.

Written by: Karis M. – UTKM Green Belt

If you would like to submit a story about your transit experience in relation to self defense or violence please make submissions to info@urbantacticscanada.com . Min 500 word. Published Submissions will be rewarded with 3 months free access to UTKMU.

For training online visit www.utkmu.com. If you are in the Metro Vancouver area, come learn with us in person, sign up at www.urbantacticskm.com

This week’s Krav Maga curriculum: Mar 1st-7th

Posted: March 1, 2021 by urbantacticskravmaga in Weekly Curriculum
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Learn more at www.utkmu.com

Episode 67 – Blogpost Series – Seek Balance you Must
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In this episode Jon goes over the blogpost series, “Seek Balance you must” it is a series on balance drawn from the Grey Jedi Code of Star Wars and expands to physical, mental and family. Balance is something you must seek in all aspects of your life to be happy, healthy and thrive. This is but a tiny spec of what could be covered on this topic but enjoy non the less.

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The podcast is drawn from the following posts:

Additional links as mentioned in the podcast:

https://thedolcediet.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ketogenic_diet

https://www.foundmyfitness.com/about-dr-rhonda-patrick

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mindfulness

https://www.audible.ca/pd/12-Rules-for-Life-Audiobook/B0797YRW4L?source_code=GDGGB127072020003J&gclid=CjwKCAiA6aSABhApEiwA6Cbm_3jMLqoA8lMUH21nCyGfHdYcTZemarp68ZWqpqOVe7yUnmRXlUtfCBoCHY4QAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

https://ddpyoga.com/

Audio by Jonathan Fader

This style of Krav Maga may actually be the most common nowadays. With numerous LARGE organizations, like IKMF and KMG, running massive programs all over the world, with schools in 200+ countries. What a civilian program looks like will vary WILDY from organization to organization and country to country. It is a topic of much contention as many, many Krav Maga schools, for the sake of money, have become more akin to “belt factories” or “McDojos,” which in some cases have given Krav Maga a black eye and in others have increased it’s popularity.

Civilian Krav Maga

A major difference between civilian and other styles of Krav Maga is that often you are often starting with people with no experience; people of all ages and physical capabilities. Some students are attracted to the system because they heard Krav is the best, or they want to prepare themselves for police or military careers, others start on account of an unfortunate encounter, like bullying or assault, and they want the power to better defend themselves in the future.

Another difference is the use of ranking is commonplace, as compared to styles or organizations that focus more on police and military. I think ranking is a MUST in a civilian program, this is because humans need goals, and a sense of progress. Especially in a world full of distractions. While many military and police Krav Maga experts turn their noses up at belts, I think it is a mistake. In particular as an organization grows, people need structure and ranking. It’s just a reality, just like aggression is needed for Krav Maga to be Krav Maga; it is just a reality. The reality of people is what it is, so if you like reality then ranking is a must in a civilian program. There must be measurable progress and you must be able to build people from nothing to something, or, as I like to say, from everyday citizens to everyday warriors.

The Why

If Krav Maga is so anyone can learn to defend themselves and learn to walk in peace, any program must be developed with the widest possible audience in mind. You will get people who are less physically skilled, people of all ages and sizes, so the program must be designed to build people up. This does not mean you cant do balls-to-the-walls periodically, as without this experience it is not Krav Maga. Unfortunately, the reality is that in many countries people can’t or won’t train like the military will. Thus you must build people up physically, mentally, and technically, so they can better handle the more traditional Krav Maga training as they progress.

As mentioned ranking is a must, because people need a sense of achievement. If you, as an instructor, want to develop a larger group of people you will need to give this sense of place and progress to your students. The problem arises if you water it down and make it too easy. I have ranking, but my tests are so hard most people quit after earning their first belt. While this is bad for business, I take pride in knowing I am probably doing something right.

Once you have built people up in the various aspects you can then work on pushing them mentally and physically. Often in modern times people do not face as much adversity as they think they do, particularly in the Western world. Driving people to feel what it means to be pushed to their limits is super important to better prepare people, but they must be convinced to do so. Unlike military or police where it is assumed they will do it, the average civilian needs to be gently massaged through smaller periods of intensity until you can safely put them through an hour long class that is non-stop.

In my opinion this is an area many instructors struggle with, they do not know how to balance their class based on it’s composition. How you teach a full class of all new people is very different from how you teach a mixed class of skills or a class full of more experienced individuals.

One big advantage of civilians is the amount of time on average you have to work with them to develop all of their skills, including technical accuracy. While, yes, most people won’t stay more than 3 months, the core of people you will probably have for years even if they only train one day a week. This means that a general skill development becomes more viable and more important, as for most people the use of lethal force, while sometimes needed, is generally not on the table (though cannot be neglected.) This is why those who train in civilian schools (assuming it’s a proper school) often are better overall practitioners than those who were in military units. Though the military individual will often have the advantage in the physical and mental, a civilian may be able to quickly pick apart the technical holes of the military-only practitioner.

For civilians it really needs to be a lifestyle, just like a military one, albeit a different one; the goals are different initially, but in the long run someone trained as a civilian will eventually learn all aspects of police/security and military application. That is, of course, dependent on the organization and the instructors available to them.

The How

This is simple. While in a military setting I can simply run an aggressive combat focused boot camp, and police I can set up scenario and job-specific training, a good civilian program needs a simple, well-structured, easy to follow, ON PAPER, curriculum that develops people from nothing to Something.

How this is done and what techniques are included can vary wildly. In the UTKM curriculum, white belt (beginner) is the intro and basic techniques. Yellow and Orange (novice) continues development of more combative skills, such as wrestling, and further improves the basic skill. Finally, Green-Black belt (advanced) focuses on police and military application.

Many organizations will hold basic techniques, like a roundhouse kick, at a much higher level, but the reality is if the kick cannot be quickly learned, early on, as a foundational skill, then it’s probably not a very practical technique for most people.

Another consideration in any civilian program is that it MUST be principle-based, as originally intended, and not technique-based. Too many organizations focus too heavily on techniques at the expense of the other important things like aggression and strategy. Others simply teach as they were taught and don’t actually understand beyond “this is how you do the technique.” A deep understanding of the how and why is super important for any instructor in the civilian world, and this includes the other aspects or styles of Krav Maga.

For the civilian program an emphasis on consistency is important. While in the military it is not a choice, you receive the training your receive, and with police some training is mandatory, but for civilians there are many distractions and a student may wane from the path that they had originally set out on. An emphasis on development takes time, it becomes a constant message, in particular for the average person who isn’t naturally talented.

Lastly, a civilian program must be balanced and go hard or soft, fast or slow, depending on who’s in the class and what the average stage of development is. Because people may train for years you cannot always go balls-to-the-walls, military style aggression, or you will destroy yourself. But you also cannot always go “slow is smooth, smooth is fast” drill work, which is common in traditional martial arts styles. There must be a balance, bringing up all aspects of development from mental, physical, technical, and, of course, building aggression. Many programs fail to do this and only focus on one area over the others, based on the skillset and knowledge of the instructor.

Conclusion

Most of you reading this probably fall into the civilian category. Even if you do not, you may have limited experience with Krav Maga, whether it was taught to you in the military or elsewhere. A good program MUST develop aggression and be hard sometimes, MUST develop technical proficiency, and MUST, at some point, teach all aspects of Krav Maga application, from military to police/security, as well as day-to-day general self-defence.

As a civilian looking to train Krav Maga, I advise that you don’t just go to the first school you Googled. Look into the instructor, their background and training, and the philosophy driving their curriculum. Is it wide and diverse or is it only from one source? Do they know other styles of martial arts? How long have they been around? Did they have other experiences, such as police and military backgrounds (though not required)? Do they have a structured program and how is it laid out?

Something to watch out for is a structred program that is actually based off of another style. If they don’t have a patch system or a belt ranking system, it is likely they are integrating other styles into their teachings, which may violate the principles of Krav Maga.

Another thing to be wary of is if they are selling it as “military Krav Maga.” They may have an awesome pedigree, but there is a good chance they will fail to develop you technically and will only ever run a boot camp style class; which for long term growth really isn’t appropriate. Unless you are training for professional application (and even then) you don’t always need to go hard, though if it’s not in the program at all then you have a different problem.

There are a lot, and I mean a lot of garbage schools out there, and even more garbage instructors. Remember, just because someone can do doesn’t mean they can teach. And just because someone isn’t the best themselves doesn’t mean they cannot help develop you.

The goal of Krav Maga is to learn to walk in peace, so make sure you research and find what you are looking for. Krav Maga for the civilian however, cannot be casual. Though it is easy to learn to be good enough to defend yourself most of the time, true proficiency will require constant training over years. Though it can be argued that slow, consistent training will produce better results overall than hard condensed training, since if you don’t use it, you lose it.

Written by: Jonathan Fader

For training online visit www.utkmu.com. If you are in the Metro Vancouver area, come learn with us in person, sign up at www.urbantacticskm.com

This week’s Krav Maga curriculum: Feb 22nd-28th

Posted: February 22, 2021 by urbantacticskravmaga in Weekly Curriculum
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Learn more at www.utkmu.com
Episode 66 – Marcus Torgerson is an IKMF GIT member and E3 and has been doing martial arts most of his life with host Jonathan Fader
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Marcus Torgerson is an IKMF E3, and Global Instructor Team member who has been doing Martial Arts since the age of 10. He completed the IKMF instructors course with Master Avi Moyal in 2005. Marcus combines his real life experience of working 20+ years in night club security with Krav Maga. Because of this experience primarily in Vancouver Canada he was a reference in the book A Doorman’s Memoir – Tales of Friendships by Brent Lymer. He was also featured in the Book 100 Deadly Skills – Combat Edition by Clint Emerson . Marcus also happens to be on of the host’s Jonathan Faders earlier Krav Maga Instructors when he was still in Vancouver. Marcus’ tagline is “Walk with peace in your heart, love in your soul, and violence in your head.” In this episode we discuss Krav Maga, Martial arts Business practices, life philosophies and more.

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Control and technique under duress is especially important for law enforcement. (source)
Audio by Jonathan Fader

Police oriented Krav Maga may be one of the most underdeveloped areas of Krav Maga in general. While it overlaps heavily with security and VIP approaches, as there are many similarities, there are also many differences. While some organizations will excel at teaching Police oriented Krav Maga, like IKF and CT707, others may not, as there is not always a high demand. While military protocols and acceptable use of force are fairly standard globally for military, this is not the case for police and security. What is acceptable in one country may not be acceptable in another, thus making it difficult to have a general program as well as win specialized contracts. Many organizations do offer VIP security training, which is similar though things like “3rd party protection” will be more of a focus for security than police. So, depending where you are you may have to learn a military approach and combine it with a security approach, then mix it with other things to put together a good base for policing applications.

Police and Security Krav Maga

The main difference for police, and more so for security, when compared to military application is the fact that it is considerably less appropriate to use lethal force. Police certainly have the legal ability to use lethal force in extreme circumstances, but in general it is frowned upon by the public. This creates serious issues when it comes to making decisions. For security application it really depends; if you are doing security for the Cartels, then you are basically applying military Krav, but if you are doing security at a mall, unarmed, then it is safe to say that your best tool is your pen and paper, and maybe a camera, as your authority to use force is often limited (and lethal is definitely off the table.)

So what is a big difference between this and other styles of Krav Maga? Other than acceptable levels of use of force it is also assumed that punching and kicking people is generally off the table for police and security, which means that this kind of training needs to focus significantly more on grappling skills and arrest and detainment protocols. Arrest and detain are a large portion of your job, you show up to de-escalate or arrest and control. This is largely why police specific Krav Maga is lacking, as up until recently grappling was a weak skill in the Krav world, and even if you were in the military your arrest experience may be limited. Thus it is often assumed other aspects of Krav can be applied to this aspect just as well.

The problem is that when it comes to grappling you cannot just be aggressive, you actually need skill, which takes time to develop. It also means that if a police force has the choice between teaching wrestling/Judo/BJJ over Krav, they will often choose the former set of styles, as the image of Krav tends to be more aggressive. This means it creates hesitation over the adoption of a program that includes this mentality. The issue with this is finding an instructor that can adapt grappling for police and security situations, which may include a struggle over weapons, which often leads to problematic technique choices and strategies. Experience in the field of application is something to seriously consider when hiring a martial arts instructor for police and security.

The Why

So why does it need to be different other than the lethality? If it wasn’t clear already, it is because of legal restrictions and what public considers acceptable. If a police officer or security person simply punches a person to gain control as may be required according the how our nervous systems work, it may be perceived as excessive force. This means that punching and kicking are often not options as the public, politicians, and lawyers often remove it.

Enter the grappling. A police or security officer’s best bet is grappling, which ultimately will give control, with minimal damage to the opponent, and is already on the path to an arrest. The key is keeping it simple, using basic techniques that have a high percentage success rate for most people, and will function with weapons or multiple assailants. Another reason why the grappling aspect is more acceptable for this application (which goes against our general “do not go to the ground” rule) is because there is often more than one officer/agent/guard and it is, in many cases, not assumed to be a life or death situation. This means you have more freedom to go to the ground while one or more of your partners stands guard and can do crowd control. Having available support is something that is not always possible in the civilian world or practical in the military world (though sometimes needed). So the why is fairly straightforward, thought the training needs to be tough physically and mentally, as it is a tough job, it needs to focus less on the aggression and more on the control; which ultimately leads to a higher level of skill requirement than the military might.

The How

So how would I run police training? One thing I always ask for, but rarely get, is to start unencumbered and work up to officers training with their duty gear on (unloaded pistol, of course), as it is very different training with gear on than without. Usually a fear of injury or damage to mats is often why this does not happen but should.

I would also work on training that mixes up the heart rate, from high to low to high to low, etc., in order to simulate how a real life policing situation impacts the nervous system. The intensity of this would depend on the physical capabilities of the officers or security being trained. Often this is much lower than it should be, but if someone drops dead during training it’s not very good for business.

Given the time I would show every variation of police specific takedown that I teach, whether they be drawn from Krav, wrestling, or BJJ. While judo is great in many places, it too may be considered excessive force and it’s high skill requirements make it difficult to teach in a short time. I would also focus on drilling actual arrest techniques against resistance, as this is an area many officers struggle with, particularly right out of the academy.

I would limit myself to only teach specific striking techniques, ones that are considered less aggressive and modified general application strikes. While regular techniques should be taught given the time, as to develop overall skill, if time is limited there is no sense in teaching someone a technique that would only get them into trouble. It has actually taken me quite some time to create police/security friendly techniques from what was traditionally taught in Krav Maga, which shows the difficulty in crafting police/security specific training, as so many of the normal Krav options (eye strikes, groin kicks, etc.) are no longer on the table.

Conclusion

If it wasn’t clear in this post, it certainly should be clear in my series on policing (1,2,3,4,5) that police and security, where they are allowed, actually need the highest level of hand-to-hand combat and unarmed training. Unfortunately, as we know they often receive surprisingly inferior training. Unlike the military, lethal use of force is not on the table as much, which means using other tools, like a taser, when possible; but in practical reality it’s almost always going to get physical. A quick search on YouTube can find video after video of interactions gone wrong for the police or security, because they were easily overwhelmed by the assailant. Police need more training, at more frequent and regular intervals, to develop and maintain the level of skill required to be proficient for their own safety and the safety of those they are trying to detain or protect. While it would be great to work on the physical and mental toughness, again due to time constraints and operational practicality, more time needs to focus on the technical aspects, in particular controlling another person safely and effectively and learning to arrest those who do not want to be arrested, without hurting then.

Perhaps when more Krav Maga instructors become more proficient at grappling, and integrate it into their programs in a way that doesn’t just look like MMA, then we may see Krav Maga be adopted as a style more and more by police forces outside of countries that allow police to employ extreme force.

Of course, a proper program will integrate this into the training because at some point even a civilian may need to safely detain someone. Even if it just means detaining an out of control person at a party until the police show up (something I have had to do before).

So, should police train Krav Maga? Absolutely, however, make sure you know your force’s policy, the laws of your country, and what you can and cannot do. In the case that you need to adapt the system, know what your restrictions are and how to modify the techniques and training to your needs. However, keep n mind that even police and security may face life and death situations, so don’t forget to train the mental and physical aspects, as well as the aggression, as much as you can.

Written by: Jonathan Fader

For training online visit www.utkmu.com. If you are in the Metro Vancouver area, come learn with us in person, sign up at www.urbantacticskm.com

This week’s Krav Maga curriculum: Feb 15th-21st

Posted: February 15, 2021 by urbantacticskravmaga in Weekly Curriculum
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Learn more at http://www.utkmu.com
Episode 65 – Blogpost Series – The Four Stages of Self Defense
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In this episode, Jon goes over the blogpost series, “The 4 Stages of Self Defense” it is a series on the basic strategy taught at UTKM when decided what to do when faced with conflict or violence. The strategy is only one piece of the puzzle and it covers a few other important topics and concepts prior to diving into the main topic. In each stage of self-defense real-world examples are used to emphasize each stage. Remember, Avoid the fight if you can and fight when you must but know when which is which.

The podcast is drawn from the following posts:

Other posts used for this podcast:

Other sources used:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OODA_loop