This February, I had the pleasure to host Lior Offenbach’s combat Krav Maga instructor course and his Law Enforcement and civilian seminar here at Urban Tactics Krav Maga, Vancouver. The instructor course is 7 days long and each seminar is 1 day long. Lior and I shared the same teacher, Mr. Zeev Cohen. At Zeev’s school, I saw how a normal Israeli Krav Maga class should be conducted; tough, aggressive, no time wasted……etc. Enormous gratitude to Lior who is willing to come to Vancouver where most other big Krav Maga organization would not want to come because of population density. Overall this was my 7th Krav Maga instructor course in my Krav Maga career and it’s interesting to compare Lior’s course and teaching method with other instructors and courses I received in the past.
My Krav Maga Instructor Training History so far:
- IKMF civilian instructor course part 01- Netanya – Avi Moyal, Gabi Noah
- IKMF civilian instructor course part 02 – Montreal – Avi Moyal, Thierry
- IKMF civilian instructor course part 02 and G2 Grading Test – Hong Kong – Avi Moyal
- IKMF civilian instructor course part 01 – Taiwan – Avi Moyal
- KMG Military Krav Maga instructor – Serbia – Eyal Yaniolv, Moran Laskov
- CT 707 Krav Maga instructor – Buffalo City – Nir Maman
- Combat Krav Maga – Vancouver – Lior Offenbach
This is not a fighting course. I do not recall sparring even once during this course which is similar to most of my previous Krav Maga Instructor courses where sparing was kept to the minimum. The reason for minimal sparring is this is an instructor course; not an operating course. As an instructor and operator in combat fighting, you should already have enough operating experience in Krav Maga or other combative sports or systems before taking this course and you should be sparring and/or fighting on a weekly basis anyway. In Lior’s course, we spent about 60 percent of our time on technique and 40 percent on teaching each other the new techniques we learned as a class. During that 40% teaching component of the course, participants use each other as students and practice teaching classes over and over again. Of course, Lior is staring at the student acting as instructor like a hawk; looking for every little mistake.
Learning the technique is a tiring process but for most it is more tiring trying to learn how to run a class in a fast pasted, no nonsense Israeli Krav Maga manner. The hardest part is you are literately re-teaching what you just learned a couple hours prior to your fellow classmates. During the teaching phase Lior will push your buttons, stress you out and ask random questions to simulate what you will face as an instructor in a real class.
Lior covered every detail of every phase of the class; from the “wow factor to anchor the audience (students) to how to cut techniques into manageable training steps so both the instructors and the students can remember.” If you are fortunate enough to take Lior’s Krav Maga classes you will be amazed at how smooth things are run and that is because Lior is like the “Steve Jobs” of the Krav Maga world. He does all the hard work in the background so things operate smoothly for the public. After all, Lior taught a couple hundred people per class every night while he was operating a Krav Maga school in Tel Aviv.
Overall there was about an 80% overlap of technique that I already knew and 20% was either something new or a modification; but there was a lot of key elements and vital information on Krav Maga techniques and tactics only a seasoned and street experienced police officer and Krav Maga expert would know. I have to say I have never met any Krav Maga instructor with so much experience in actually using “Krav Maga” in real life other than Nir Maman.
I mean no disrespect to any instructors I have learned from in the past but I can categorize instructors into a few categories:
All Krav Maga or other system instructors have these three roles in them. The only difference is the percentage of each element they embody. Lior scored superb in both the technician and teacher elements but he scored extremely high in the warrior section. Coming from a sports combative system and army background, I often get into debates as to whether or not Krav Maga is a “ Self-defense “ system or a “ Fighting “ system as its name translates to, “Contact Combat”. Personally, I think the big Krav Maga organizations are leaning more toward the “ self-defense “ and “ technique “ approach rather than the hardcore warrior training as in the old school Krav Maga. Lior’s presence in this community is a welcome fresh breeze to those who still believe that Krav Maga can be combative as well as defensive in practice.
Lior is a big fan of the generalization of attacks versus creating hundreds of thousands of defense techniques against hundreds of thousands of attacks – why not use what works? For example, almost all of the techniques against empty hands attack can be converted into attacks from knives.
Most good instructors point out that too many choices confuse people – Hick’s law. Of course there are specific threats that need specific techniques. Lior challenged us, especially those who are instructors already, to question what techniques we could take out of our syllabus to make Krav Maga even easier to learn for students.
According to Wikipedia:
Hick’s law, or the Hick–Hyman Law, named after British and American psychologists William Edmund Hick and Ray Hyman, describes the time it takes for a person to make a decision as a result of the possible choices he or she has: increasing the number of choices will increase the decision time logarithmically. The Hick–Hyman law assesses cognitive information capacity in choice reaction experiments. The amount of time taken to process a certain amount of bits in the Hick–Hyman law is known as the rate of gain of information.
Strong Base as beginning to everything:
One thing that most Krav Maga or martial arts instructors overlook is the importance of a strong base. For Lior, without a strong base you might as well roll over and accept your fate because all upper body defenses require a strong base in order for these defenses to function. The first step for all of our moves during the class is a strong fighting stance and base. Some traditional Chinese martial artists comment that the way Combat Krav Maga focuses so much on the base almost reminds them of the old school Chinese Kung Fu from 1890 – 1944 when people were using Kung Fu literately to fight for their lives on daily basis. It is a high praise consider at this period of time Chinese Army were using giant sword facing the Japanese Imperial Army and god fathers of modern combative such as Mr. Fairbarin and Sykes were horning their street fighting skill on the street of Shanghai.
Adding pushing and pulling movement to all attacks:
As mentioned before, I learned most of the techniques covered in Lior’s course in previous other Krav Maga instructor courses; but adding pushing and pulling movements from/to the attackers changed the dynamic of those techniques. Honestly speaking, it is unrealistic to think most attacks will not come in force. Unfortunately, few Krav Maga instructors consider [that] when they teach their students and I have to admit, I am “guilty as charged” as well at times.
Overall this is not a super physically demanding course but a superb mentally demanding course. The seminar on the other hand is both tough and physically demanding. Lior is very detail orientated when it comes to teaching every technique. A move is not just a move and a technique is not just a technique. In Combat Krav Maga there is a lot of detail, physics, psychology, etc., behind each and every one of those moves. After all, the devil hides in the detail and after learning those details and being able to perform without thinking, we shall fight like devils – just like Lior.