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Watch the video. What do you see?

Did you see two antelope locked in battle with a lion charging in taking one out for lunch or did you see the bigger picture and the lesson to be learned?

When we are angry or in conflict it is very easy to get tunnel vision and focused on the threat or perceived threat. This then prevents us from seeing the bigger picture and avoiding danger overall.

If you are in a self-defense situation and are so focused on the immediate threat you might not see their friend circling back and around for the sneak attack.

Or how about this, if you are driving and you are only focused on the road ahead of you and never turn your neck or move your eyes to see other dangers is it more or less likely you will crash? It is definitely more likely you will have a higher than normal chance of crashing if you are not constantly observing everything on the road.

Did you notice that well before the Lion got close, the other Antelope watching the fight stood up? Then before the lion got even closer all of the other Antelope ran? That is because from where they are standing they have a broader perspective of the situation and can see more information.

We as humans often get locked into a specific perspective or thought pattern and while it may be good for the task at hand may blind us to other opportunities or dangers.

Tunnel VisionWhen it comes to self-defense you 100% cannot get tunnel vision. You cannot forget to assess the entire situation around you and look for the best possible solutions to avoiding further conflict. Our goal must always to be to avoid the biggest possible threats, but know that they are there so we can effectively engage them if we need to.

Even in sparring sometimes even though students are supposed to go light I often see two individuals going a bit too hard and they are so focused on each other they cannot hear me or other instructors yelling their names to chill out.

This means that some people are more prone to tunnel vision than others. Do you know who you are? If you are a person that gets locked into tunnel vision under stress, or who focuses too much on one task or thought and not the bigger picture can you learn to take a step back?

Clearly, the antelope who are far less intelligent than humans understand this. The ones who had a broader perspective easily avoided danger. So as humans why do we often act more like the two antelope locked in battle?

You never know, you might be the one who got away or you might be the one with sharp teeth sinking into your neck as the jaws of life come crashing down around you.

Think about it. How is your perspective? Do you see only tunnel vision or can you see much, much more?

 

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If you have not already figured it out from the title this post was inspired by The Game of Thrones episode 3, Season 8. At this point, it should be an obvious Spoiler alert but you know what it has been more than two weeks so if you are a GOT fan, to damn bad, you should have seen it already. In particular its this scene and quote that inspired it.

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In the scene, the red priestess, Melisandre is in a room that Arya Stark and company (The hound) barricaded themselves in to hide from the Wights (Undead soldiers of the night king). Melisandre has a habit of mostly correctly predicting the future and it is clear to Arya that she had predicted certain things in her life security. This advice is a foreshadow for a following scene where Arya is the one who kills the Night King.

To me, the entire episode and this scene reminded me of the nature of self-defense. So let’s get some context or a reminder of the episode.

The entire episode was a lesson on how not to plan for battle as basically everything went wrong. A large portion of the defending army got wiped out cleanly in the first 5 minutes of battle. (I bet if Genghis Khan was leading the battle this would not have happened to the horde) and every line of defense was inevitably overwhelmed to the point of futile efforts. I won’t get into the details of what I didn’t like about this episode or battle (The battle of the bastards was a far better episode in almost all ways) but this feeling of absolute dread and futility might be what you feel should you ever find yourself in a self-defense scenario.

Let’s start in the Macro. In the days when wars were fought out of survival or necessity often it only takes one person who is brave enough, bold enough and crazy enough to do something so unpredictable it changes the tide of war. If you look into any of Israels earlier wars where they were literally fighting for existance you can find tones of such stories in every battle. In this case, that crazy person was Arya whos training and skill finally paid off. Though how she snuck up on the night king with everyone surrounding him is beyond me but ok…

Now let’s take it to the micro. Where you have now been attacked, overwhelmed and you feel helpless and weak. Survival means doing something so crazy, so bold that it is completely unexpected by your assailant. All you have to do really is fight back, fight hard, fight to win and destroy them in the process so you can stop them as a threat and get to safety.

You see as overwhelming as being attacked can be I can most certainly guarantee they attacked because they thought you were not a real threat. For when people see you as a real threat those who are smart will rarely attack head-on. Predators attack the weak, both in nature and in the human world. Those who can fight back, or are perceived as having the ability to fight back are less likely to be attacked.

Krav Maga teaches you to turn the tables on your opponent using pure raw aggression in a controlled and strategic fashion in order to disrupt your opponent’s ability to continue their attack. Then you either escape to safety or you finish them off as needed.

To me, this is what this long-awaited episode of GOT symbolized. The spirit of the warrior defending themselves to win against all odds. The spirit it takes to defend your self when all seems lost. The spirit to know that if you do give up all is lost so you must keep fighting until there is nothing left but the victor.

This is what it means to learn to defend your self either in war or in a simple mugging gone wrong. The weak shall prevail over the strong because they were never really weak in the first place.

So train hard, train smart, overcome your fears and you too can defeat your night king (Demons).

P.S. I hope you never have to use such skills in self-defense but if you do channel your inner Arya and not your inner Jon Snow…

Every month I get a new student who tells me they aren’t in great shape and they might not be able to do the class. I usually just tell them to try it out and see how it goes. Over the years I can only think of a handful of people who actually had to re-think their ability to take the class. For most people simply underestimate their ability to perform physical activities. I have heard reasons from, I have never done this before, too, I am too old. In most cases its all in their heads. The truth is most people are not athletic superstars and probably never will be but they still can train. I know this because I myself have never been a standout when it comes to athleticism. I have written in the past about my struggles in the military physically because I am not athletic. I can do what I do because I train, and get better day by day to in spite of my non-athletic prowess. Did I mention I also enjoy training?

Judo Jack 92 year old

92 year old doing Judo

I suspect the reason so many people think they cant train is partially due to our lazy desk ridden culture where lack of activity is common and where people really do not know what they are capable of. In a city like Vancouver which is a little more active than normal, it means that most people who walk in to do a martial arts class will be just fine.

Even if you are out of breath in the first 5 minutes if you ended up finishing the class you are more than able to continue training. Keep in mind, even the regular students often find themselves out of breath and know sometimes it’s ok to take a break. This means you are probably better off than you realize.

Another reason people often think they are physically capable of training martial arts is that in today’s world of easy access everything people are not often used to pushing themselves past their comfort zones. But hey, you have to start somewhere.

I did mention that over the years there have been a handful of people who couldn’t continue. Almost all of the cases these individuals were severely overweight if not morbidly obese. Unlike many others I won’t sugar coat it, this not a healthy or happy way to live no matter what anyone tells you. This does not mean however you cannot train martial arts it just means your approach will be a little different. In these cases, you have a few options.

  1. Show up to class and do what you can little by little and you will eventually get there even if it takes months or years. It’s absolutely ok if you need to sit out or take breaks. Showing up and training is better than not.
  2. Know that you have the goal of training martial arts, consult a nutritionist and find a suitable workout program to go with a healthy eating style so that you can achieve a healthier weight that will allow you to train martial arts.

Either way, if your goal is to train martial arts then you can do it, even if you have to reach a separate goal prior to training. If this is the case you will have a happier time after knowing you achieved multiple goals.

So no matter your age, skills or background so long as you live a healthier lifestyle, or want to change to a healthier lifestyle and have reasonable mobility you should have no reason to think you cannot train. So get on google, find a style you like, and get training.

After all, everyone deserves to walk in peace.

 

I have a feeling this post is going to have many cliche’s. As much as we like to hate on cliches because they are unoriginal, they have much truth to them. They are cliches because they are the things we know but choose to ignore because we are a curious species always pursuit of more. And besides who likes being given the answers directly? According to psychology, no one. People generally prefer to be guided to find their own conclusion rather than be given the obvious answer. As an instructor, it is a difficult thing to swallow and yet its how we operate. As I grow older I seem to be letting people find their own path a little more and I hope one day to have the wisdom to know right away who will learn how.

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On my path to find that wisdom I am re-listening (Yes, I do audio books, so much more efficient) to the Jocko Willink‘s book The Dichotomy of Leadership, the best selling sequel to his original book Extreme ownership. The second book as far better than the first as it clarifies somethings from the first one, but dont believe me even Jocko thinks its better.

As they say if at first you dont succeed, try, try again. Or if you make a mistake it’s ok, just learn from it and do better next time. See Cliches.

Anyways, back to my point. In listening to the book again a line stuck out at me. Since it was an audiobook and I can’t remember the time stamp I am going to paraphrase.

It goes something like this, People often want to learn the advanced tactics over building solid fundamentals. 

This is something I have seen many times, especially in the Krav Maga world. I am fairly sure I have written about this before but since it came up again I guess its time to write about it again.

Krav Maga is known for its firearms and knife related self-defense. These are the things people always want to learn, yet they are not the fundamentals no matter who sells it to you.

Occasionally I will get a student who has a previous Krav Maga or Martial arts background. The question is often, when do I get to do the weapons stuff. Or the stuff I saw online? I usually ask them about their background first and go from there.

If you are from another background, dont you think you should take some Krav Maga classes first to get to know what’s different between the styles? Also just because you saw something online dont presume to understand Krav Maga without actually practicing it. First, unless you have been training for 10+ years it is unlikely you are as good as you think you are. Second I dont go to other martial arts and expect to start anywhere other than the beginning. If you want to take regular classes then do so, if not I suggest private lessons, though I am picky who I teach what.

If you are from a Krav Maga background then I hope you can understand that not all Krav Maga curriculum is the same. Many people don’t know this because they dont usually train outside of one or maybe two organizations. If you did you would know what I teach at UTKM is an amalgamation of different organizations curriculums simplified to be more efficient. Which means no matter your Krav Background if you want to rank up under me then you have to learn the UTKM way. Of course if after assessment it turns out you are as good as you think you are in Krav then I will gladly reduce your hours between each rank. But you still need to understand how UTKM works first.

Either way, the scenario is the same. They dont want to spend time working on the basics. The basics you must remember are the foundations of everything. To me, if you can barely punch, kick, move or fight the gun disarms are not as easy as you might think. You must be sure of your foundations less you regret it later.

Speaking from personal experience learning BJJ I can say not learning and mastering fundamentals early is something you will regret later. In my earlier belts, White and Blue, I jumped around gyms, did open mats and had little structure to my training. I was also injured at blue belt which meant limited training. All these things meant I missed out on developing solid fundamentals, as such now at purple belt I am struggling to catch up to those at the same rank. Don’t get me wrong I fully intend to catch up and train more but its something I could have easily done in the past had I trained properly and focused on the fundamentals.

So, fundamentals are important even if you dont think so. No matter your experience or background when you walk into a new place respect their fundamentals. If you don’t like it then go somewhere else if you do then train and do so humbly.

Another cliche is to lead by example. So I will give you an example. Recently the local Krav Maga Global club held an open seminar for group fighting and multiple attacks. The Instructor was GIT Expert 2 Natasha Hirschfeld who was a wonderful instructor. Both she and the other instructors noted that there were so many new students they were most likely going to start with simple Krav basics. They seemed apologetic but it didn’t matter to me, for when you teach a lot sometimes you dont train as much as you should. Though I couldn’t stay for the whole time I enjoyed reviewing some basics. I even picked up a new warm-up game or two.

You see if you go in with an open mind even if you are practicing the fundamentals you will always learn something new if not simply move your way closer to the 10000-hour mastery principle.

There is a reason that in most martial arts even ones where a black belt takes 8-15 years to get on average that they also say the same thing. That they started to learn more at black belt than they did in all the training before. I think this is because they finally mastered the basics they can see other things they missed before.

The basics like any skill take a lifetime to master in any style yet they are what matter the most. Especially in Krav Maga as its the basics that will most likely save your life should you ever find yourself in an unwanted violent conflict.

So if you regularly train, or are coming to train, respect the basics and practice them until you achieve mastery no matter how long it takes.

 

 

Before you judge don’t think I am some profound pathological liar. In fact, most of my close friends have accused me of being too honest and without a filter. This has certainly always been a challenge. There are those like Sam Harris who think you should never lie no matter how uncomfortable it may be, to be honest, or those like Jordan Peterson who think you shouldn’t lie but omitting somethings sometimes is probably a good idea for certain social situation. The general consensus is usually dont lie. Day to day I probably am too open with my thoughts, but when it comes to Krav Maga I have learned that lying can be a useful tool.

just-remember-its-not-a-lie-if-you-believe-it-36472280When I was in the IDF, there were often times when we were told one thing but another thing happened. The most memorable one was when we were on a week-long, particularly difficult training exercise. 2 days in we had run out of food because we can only carry so much. Normally they would bring food for us, but 24 hours later there was none. 48 hours still none. They had told us that it was coming and don’t worry, 72 hours later and we only got food when we got back to base.

It was a fun week.

It was also a week that taught me a lot about leadership and human nature as when someone is sleep deprived, physically tired and hungry you start to see the true character of people.

Later we were told that we didn’t get food on purpose. You see the IDF learned in the second war with Lebanon, that sometimes supply trains get disrupted and if you are a soldier entrenched behind enemy lines sometimes support just isn’t coming. The strategy of telling you that it is coming in their minds is to give you hope, then purposefully not bringing it to you is to strengthen you mentally for situations where things are not what you thought but you still have to keep going. The IDF learned that much like Napolean did that an army marches on its stomach. But sometimes in life, love, and war things do not always go as we would like. So the IDF decided to prepare its soldiers mentally for the all too a common situation where the supplies just aren’t coming including food.

A similar situation occurred in the 1973  Yom Kippur war where Israel was caught off guard by overwhelming numbers. They were told help was on the way, to give them the hope to keep fighting. The truth was, help wasn’t coming at least not for a while. Those who were on the front line did the thing that Israelis often do and beat the odds and held the line until help did come..eventually…

You see, by lying to people for the purpose of strengthening their mental will you can force them to dig deep and adjust. On lie you can tell is the lie of hope, for example saying that there are only 20 seconds left (when they cannot see the clock) but really there is a minute left. Time is relative so they may perceive it however they want but giving them the hope that the time is less than it is will keep their minds in the game.

Or you can tell them a lie outright and change your mind to shift the parameters. In this case, you are getting people used to the disappointment that things dont always go the way they are supposed to just like in real self-defense. In this case, you are training peoples brains to become accustomed to this horrible feeling. So that in the hopefully never case that a life or death situation occurs their brains have adapted enough to avoid code black so that they adapt and continue to survive.

I remember a Yellow Belt test I ran long ago. One of the individuals was a particularly fit person who happened to be a Canadian Forces Drill SGT. Of course, he was used to the slightly more predictable CF which has a more traditional military model. They were asked to do a certain amount of push ups, sit ups and squats. The individual of course dutifully did the number asked (which is a fair amount) and in perfect form might I add. When they finished, the test was still not ready to move on to the next section so they were told to double it. They did not respond well. Mad because they did what we asked of them and still had to do more? They, of course, we’re missing the point. Most people do not actually finish the initial amount. The amount is an arbitrarily high number too much for most. The goal is to push people past their limits and adapt. In this case, the individual not used to this methodology was clearly not, pleased. They, of course, finished the test but it highlighted how most people deal with sudden and unpredictable change. Not well.

So you see when it comes to good Krav Maga training. Lying may need to be part of it. It throws uncomfortable curveballs both mentally and physically to the students and forces them to adjust whether they like it or not. Exposure to uncomfortable stimulus trains the brain to learn to deal with them better. This same concept is often used to cure phobias by slow gradual and safe exposure. So lying is simply exposing students to the uncomfortable nature that is an unpredictable conflict. Your would be attacker might tell you, you will be safe if you just go with them, but of course, this is a lie. They might say if you dont fight back you won’t get hurt, this is also often a lie.

Being ready for anything mentally or physically is always a challenge. Most people have no problem with the physical relatively speaking. But the mental aspect can be harder.

As I mostly teach civilians I can’t really deprive them of sleep and food as the army did, but I can push them physically and mentally by playing with their emotions to train them better. So when it comes to Krav Maga, yes a little lie can be a good thing.

The lies I tell you as an instructor is for the one goal of helping you learn to walk in peace.

Disclaimer: I am not an expert on these topics, it is simply a run through of what was covered and some of my own thoughts on the matter.

Every once and a while Facebook’s creepy targeted ad actually shows me something useful. In this case, it was a talk to be given by former CSIS head Richard B. Fadden hosted by the CIC. And yes, it is CSIS, NOT ISIS. I say this because I know there are many Canadians or other individuals reading this who may have never heard of CSIS. For those of you who do not know CSIS stands for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, or to give you a better idea, they are the Canadian CIA. This means one of two things, either Canadians know less about how their own country works than they think. Or CSIS is very good at what it does in protecting its citizens on the down low.

This was one of the points that Richard opened up and closed with. Canadians feel too safe and do not feel the need to fund things appropriately. Or as I am not paraphrasing, If you dont feel thretened you won’t give the governments permission to do what they need to do.

Hard times...jpgFor me, if Canadians don’t feel threatened then they won’t sign up for Krav maga because they feel they do not need to learn self-defense. (The ability to defend yourself is something you should learn regardless of whether you live in a dangerous place or not, for it is better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war.) While not a perfect analogy I think it stands true. Whether you like it or not there is the saying. Hard times create strong men. Strong men create good times. Good times create weak men. Weak men create hard times.

Or more precisely if you have to face adversity you will be more resilient to adapt and do what needs to get done to survive.

A good example in Canada is that the Canadian military struggles to find the money for procurement of new equipment. However, in modern times even when we were at war, and yes Canada was in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria (Mr. Fadden confirmed this if you think otherwise…), Canadians don’t really feel it at home because we are safe. Just so you know, all parties in Canada struggle to justify military spending to the public who has no taste for it. To me, and my friends in the military this is a terrible strategy for any country in the long run.

At this point, you may be asking, what was the talk actually about. Well, good question.

The actual title of the talk was:

Threats to Canada’s National Security: Russia, China, and the Leaderless West.

Any guesses what he talked about most?

Russia

It’s all Russias fault!?, no I am just kidding. What he suggested was that when it comes to western global security China is a much bigger threat than Russia. To paraphrase. Russia is a rogue state, but it is still containable through sanctions and other diplomatic channels. They have a weak economy but still, have a nuclear arsenal which keeps them a global player.

I would also say at the moment at least their biggest asset is Putin as a statesman. And despite what westerners may think, and Mr.Fadden confirmed this, is that Putin is very popular in his own country.

Evidence suggests that yes, Russia does mess around in global affairs. While they did not “HACK” the 2016 US elections as was suggested by the media. This would mean they physically change the election results, which is not what they did. Instead, they used legal avenues and shenanigans on Facebook to manipulate some public opinion. A strategy that was first tested out on their own population regarding the Crimea annexation and possibly the semi-civil war in eastern Ukraine. Which by the way is the first time a state straight up annexed another state since WWII, yet without going to war there wasn’t much anyone could do about it.

I would think Russia has shifted to this strategy because as the cold war showed, from an economic standpoint they cannot realistically keep up in a traditional military sense. Nor would I suspect they would win that war. Mr.Fadden indicated that this is indeed true by the fact that the Russian military is shrinking, though it is improving and upgrading the skills and technology which means smaller groups can be more efficient and harder to deal with. Beyond the standard military operations, they seem to focus more on psi-ops for the dissemination of information that is misleading or incorrect. Something I should add that many western media are adopting, though I suspect it is more for the income generated by the click bate nature of their articles. As Mr. Fadden suggested, this kind of shenanigans would have occurred regardless of Trump running for president. Despite what the media and the public sphere seem to think, this is more Russia being Russia than anything.

He also briefly mentioned Russias role in Syria suggesting that they were more of an annoyance and slowed the progressed in the eventual defeat against ISIS, which according to the media has recently fallen. And that yes, Russia is Mucking about in Venezeuala which goes against the Monroe doctrine which is why the west (America) is so uncomfortable about it.

With regards to Russia, unless you are a former USSR state in eastern Europe then Russia is more of an annoyance trying to stay relevant in an increasingly crowded world. If we in the west really wanted to stick it to russia we would move faster away from fossil fuels and natural gas and more towards renewable energy as without the demand from the west, and China Russia’s economy would most likely collapse again. (FYI Nuclear Energy is the best for global climate change, but if you don’t trust me, ask a scientist…)

China

This brings back us back to China. As Mr. Fadden explained they are a true adversary at this point. They are incredibly economically strong and can affect the economies of the west through trade. Have a strong military power and the main power in Asia regardless of whether you like it or not. The issue with China is that in many ways they can play by their own rules.

For example, if a company in Canada or US is looking to do a deal with a company in China it is the resources of the western company vs the resources of the Chinese company + the resources of the state. As Mr. Fadden explains that in China, especially when it’s dealing with international deals, the moment the government of China wants to get involved it will and as a company in China you are obliged to let them. So a company in the west must stick to the rules and regulations of the land regarding their deals and the Chinese companies can essentially do what they want. It is my understanding that despite what you think of Trump on the topic of China and their trade practices he is most likely right.

Unfortunately, as China is a real threat to global security many politicians are perhaps too afraid to stir the already awakened yet crouching tiger in fears they release the hidden dragon.

Mr. Fadden also explained that when it comes to espionage, mostly digital, China is king. They do so with little regards to what the west thinks and the west has little power to stop them much of the time without going to war. Which, no one wants, including China and Russia. This means every time China, or Russia does something there is little the west can do to correct them. As mentioned sections have much more effect on Russia than China due to the differences in trading needs and the economy overall.

So what has China done that Mr.Fadden could openly talk about without us having full clearance?

Over the last few years, there has been over 1 Trillian USD, stolen from IP related attacks that are mostly from China. A Canadian fighter plane design was stolen then a replica or near identical version was produced (I didn’t even know Canadians did fighter planes anymore, which makes me think it was stolen from Bombardier). There is the noted case where a Saskatchewan Pot Ash company was looking to do a deal with a Chinese company and they had their servers hacked, their Lawyers servers hacked and government agencies hacked all regarding the company by China. This, of course, killed the deal.

China through both legal and illegal means is expanding its power mostly through economic means. They are the key power of influence in Asia and are a big financial sponsor of Africa loaning out money they know will never be repaid. Which asks the question, to what end are the doing this? Power, Control, or resources? Probably all of the above.

There is also the tension regarding the South China Sea between China and all its southern neighbors in which China basically says it’s theirs and other say not but if China really wanted to take it out right it could. Which makes everyone very uneasy.

And of course, if you pay attention to the news Canada is caught in between the spat of the US, China, and Huawei as we are currently detaining one of their executives on behalf of the Americas. In America, most major carriers dont carry their phones as they are worried about spying software. This according to Mr.Fadden is a legitimate concern and perhaps Huawei phones should not be allowed in Canada in a similar fashion. Yes, the phones look amazing though I suspect its mostly stolen tech and full of foreign spyware. Although Google and Apple basically do the same thing at least they still have to follow the laws.

The question you have to ask your self regarding China is if the intelligence and economic community think its a bigger threat because generally, they do what they want. Why is the media so silent on this matter. Why do most of the public, and media focus on Russia? This is a question I am not sure about though I am sure it has something to do with money and politics.

Global Terrorism

This is a topic that seems to have been quieted publically as the media seems to focus more on the idea of white supremacy as a problem rather than just a general terrorism as a problem. Mr. Fadden focused more on Islamic Terrorism and how it is less of a problem now but still a big problem.

He mentioned a magazine called Inspire, which is an Al Qaeda magazine in circulation. Remember Al Qaeda. You know, The perpetrators of 9/11 and who Osama Bin Laden was part of? Yes them. They are still around, in various forms globally and are still a problem. Unlike ISIS which was localized Al Qaeda is compartmentalized globally so still has not gone away and is still a problem.

One thing he mentioned that for a while the advice of such magazines was that if you want to help their global cause, dont go to Syria to help ISIS, Don’t go back “home” but stay in the country you are in and cause trouble. That means if you are a Canadian who wanted to fight for ISIS, rather than do that then stay home and cause havoc. This could be one of the reasons we saw the problems in many western countries where the attackers lived in these Countries, such as the US, France and to a lesser extent Canada.

He did say though, that the last Non-Muslim Country the west entered was Grenada in the 1980s. So he can understand why the Muslim global community is annoyed with the west as it seems that they are the only group being targeted at the moment. Which brings us to the last topic. Canada.

Canada’s roll in the world

In most countries, Canada is well respected and liked. In the 20th Century, we had major roles in both World wars and were involved in major global events.

He suggested that while Canada was once an upper tier Middle global power we are now a lower tier middle power. This is because Canada is very poor at building foreign relations and really is not doing much to help the world in an active way. An example was the poor decision recently to leave the Mali mission despite the complaints from the military and what I can imagine would be most sane advisors. An no I dont believe simply throwing money at other counties or problems (like is currently happening) is in any way strong or good leadership. Real leadership should always be something active not passive.

I think this issue is related to what was stated near the beginning in that, Canadians feel too safe and do not feel the need to fund things appropriately.

Canada may actually be at least for the time being one of the more functional democratic western nations. We are relatively physically isolated from other countries globally with the US to the south for some safety. Though Russia does regularly test our Sovernty with regular tests to our airspace scrambling Canadian fighter planes all the time to push the Russians back (An annoying and stupid global game of cat and mouse). Despite perhaps what some politicians might want you to think, Canada is a very safe place as compared to other countries. We have someone decent socialized health care (though I don’t know how much longer that will hold up with the way it’s being managed) and we have many other benefits that other countries would love to have. Because relatively Canada is a great place most Canadians find themselves in their selfish little bubbles caring little of the world other than to simply travel and post photos for the Gram.

I dont think we need to be some major global player like the US but I think that Canadians should care a little bit more about what their government’s foreign policy is or lack thereof. When I talk about these topics with most Canadians they seem woefully misinformed or woefully uninterested. Which for such an educated country is fairly sad.

Mr. Fadden said that when he traveled the world, as a representative of Canada, Foreign dignitaries always welcomed him politely but were dismayed that a Canadian PM never visits or at the very least high-level Cabinet ministers. From a foreign policy standpoint we generally dont bother, but I suspect it because the Canadian public really doesn’t like this kind of global spending so most politicians oblige by not bothering.

I know most of this doesn’t matter to you, although if you have read this far perhaps it does. But if you do not want Canada to fade into obscurity in the long game perhaps you should care a little bit more about the world around you. (DO remember, Much like the Dutch East India Trading company, for a time the Canadian based Hudsons Bay company was a major global economic hub in the western world, thus historically Canada at times played major rolls.)

Wrap Up

So as always I do, I try to relate things back to Krav or self-defense. Most students roll their eyes or insult me in their heads when I go on a rant in class for the million times. I do this because I care. I understand that real self-defense is not just Kicking or punching. It is understanding the world around you and all its complicated intricacies. Canadians love to travel but often travel without the thought of what is going on the countries they are visiting. Didn’t know there were minor political problems going on in the country you are in? Oh well too bad now you are stuck in the middle of a civil war? Didn’t know the country you are in doesn’t care that what you just did is legal in your country, oh and by the way there no extradition treaty. Now you are stuck in a foreign jail for 20 years…FUN!. Or my favorite example (ROLLS EYES HEAVILY), someone I know said they felt unsafe traveling to the US because you know Trump and racism so instead decided to go to Jamaica, Which is so much safer…It is not. The same individual also mentioned their hostel had an 8pm curfew…hmm I wonder why…

I have often heard even from those close to me that they don’t care what is going on in the rest of the world, the country or over there because it doesn’t affect them directly. Unfortunately, this is a failure to understand how interconnected everything is. What China does and how it acts matters because it definitely affects trade. Remember, if everything is made in China which makes it cheap they could mess with it forcing our governments to act or vice versa thus things become more expensive. Or perhaps you are a citizen of both countries and now you are stuck in the one you least prefer because of some global shenanigans that you thought didn’t affect you.

Being good a defending your self is not just physical, it’s about being informed, educated and using appropriate critical thinking skills so you can navigate this complicated world and come out better than you were yesterday and in one peace.

I hope that this commentary has given you some food for thought and hope that today you may walk in peace.

Learn to hit curve balls

Life as we know it is rarely a smooth journey. We might not always get where we want to go or things might not go how we would like them. Sometimes your day is wonderful, sometimes it is not.

But sometimes a life event might hit you like a tonne of bricks. From the death of a loved one to a break up to the loss of employment to your favorite Netflix show ending. Some of these are more tragic than others but from person to person the effects may feel the same. Perhaps a sense of loss. Perhaps the feeling of emptiness has washed over you. Or even you feel without purpose. If such an event happens what can you do?

First, I think its totally ok if you need time for your self. A little time for quiet and lack of stress to help calm your nervous system might be exactly what you need. It can however easily spiral. If you find your self for more than two weeks in such a state especially if it feels more like depression than quiet reflection then it may be time to get help.

Luckily for you, if you are reading this you are probably one of the lucky ones. You already have one of your best medicines. The fact your do Krav Maga, BJJ, Karate, Kickboxing, kung fu or insert your style here. (Please note that if you feel something is seriously wrong, please consult your doctor or mental health professional preferably someone whose the first reaction isn’t to just prescribe something).

What you may fail to realize is that your martial arts school is not just an outlet to let of attitude-change-life-quotes-Favim.com-1657043.jpgsteam physically but it is also a social group which you belong too. You think you dont have friends? well, you do if you train martial arts. It is unlikely that in the entire group of people you regularly punch in the face or try to choke out you can’t find one or more people to find support from. And you might not even need to take it that far. Simply being around other people that you like for an hour or two a day will most likely help you feel a little better.

Perhaps you learned something new that gave you a sense of accomplishment to lift your spirits. Perhaps you met someone new and you taught them something and that lifted your spirits. Perhaps simply being with people knowing you are doing something rather than sitting alone with a drink helped you out. You never know what it is but something will most likely help you feel better even if only a little.

Yes I know, you may not feel like going, you may still feel immense pain inside but you need to force your self to go and train. Just do something with people around.

I can speak from experience as recently something happened that I was less than thrilled about and while I took some time for my self I told my self ok nows the time to train. I then went to all the classes I could fit in my schedule and I can say I definitely feel better. I found the support I needed, and the sense of accomplishment by training the amount I would love to be on the regular.

I know I am not the only one as at any given time one or many of my students are going through a hard time. Usually, they stray away from training and I encourage them to come and train. Lately, I think the environment has been a good one and more students seem to be coming when they are having a hard time. Just know if you haven’t figured it out by now I think this is the right thing to do.

Of course, there is always a caveat. An outlet to make yourself feel better can always spiral into an addiction. Yes, you can train too much. If you train so much that everything else in your life falls to the wayside that perhaps you can train a little less. Especially if it’s not helping you achieve other goals in your life. The other thing to be aware of is physical burn out. Know your limits stick within them. Sometimes in order to hide the pain people train so much, they end up breaking their body down in a way that is just not healthy. So you always need to do little mental and physical checks to see if you are training the appropriate amount without totally overcompensating.

For example, in a normal week, I might train 2-4 times. This past little bit I have been training 10+ hours a week. Though I feel much better mentally I can say that physically its time for a break. So as I sit here writing this I am also taking 2 days off so that my body has proper time to rest.

So just remember, its the journey that matters the most. Learn what you can and strive to grow and learn. But most importantly be happy, or as happy as you can be in the process. Sometimes it will happen in leaps and bounds and sometimes only millimeters at a time. So long as your forward momentum overall is still going forward then things are probably not as bad as they seemed. So when life throws you a screwball, train more, be around a supportive group of people who have the same goal and remember you are here to train Krav (Insert other martial art) so that you may learn to walk in peace both inside and out.

Foreword: This article was originally published on this blog on June 09th, 2016. However, it still holds true. It has been partially edited to be a bit more up to date. In the wake of the tragedy that occurred on March 15th, in New Zealand where 50 people lost their lives, the NZ Government responded by announcing strict new rules banning many commonly owned types of firearms including most semi-automatic rifles. I am not familiar with NZ laws or due process but this is a sweeping overreach of power in my opinion. While this was a tragedy, an emotionally driven policy is rarely a good idea. A quick search on wikipedia shows that the last time there was a massacre involving a firearm in NZ was in 1997. This would suggest that such events are not common in NZ and this is, in fact, an emotional, politically motivated driven decision. Generally speaking, when you actually look into detailed breakdowns of stats from organizations like the FBI, RCMP, Stats Can or any major government body you will find that the truth rarely matches up with the anti-gun grab narrative that is often pushed. In fact, a quick search can usually find that top law enforcement agencies rarely support outright gun bans. I just did one and found one in which the RCMP commissioner does not support a handgun ban in Canada. Despite this, the current government is trying to push one to gain mostly political favor in certain municipalities (Mainly Toronto, which has a gang problem) which have failed to resolve gang violence issues. I will, of course, be perfectly honest, I am not going to in-depth research to find the stats around this, but if it matters to you they generally are not hard to find. Also if you look into most mass shootings in western countries they are often preventable as the individuals who did so are usually mentally unstable or often regularly are fairly open about their opinions and willingness to use violence. Often, gun grab policies are to appease a particular group of individuals who are loud and emotional and have not bothered to look into the facts.  The irony is they often speak of being scientific and fact-based yet the facts are gun grabs are rarely based on facts because the facts do not support them.

Joe Rogan famously said, referring to America ” This country has a mental health problem disguised as a gun problem. And a tyranny problem disguised as a security problem.”

This is very close to the truth. When politicians are not sure how to fix a problem they usually tighten the rules, ban more things and make things difficult for those who didn’t do anything wrong because it’s generally easier for them.

Ok I lied, since it was so easy to pull up some stats here is a report from Stats Can on firearms violence in Canada from 2012 (Yes a little out of date but still fairly relevant) Generally you really have to pay attention to these kinds of reports as they often mix things to make firearms crime look worse even when they are supporting firearms owners.

Figure 2, shows a break down of violent crims with firearms vs other weapons. It clearly shows firearms comes second. Additionally, the term homicide often includes accidental death or death due to legitimate police activity which often skews the actual data.

If you looked into it further to update modern firearms-related crimes you would find it is mostly Gang related and generally involves illegally purchased firearms which means the individuals broke the law simply by having the guns.

Chart 5 also shows the majority of homicides (remember the earlier definition) are handguns. Simply by taking a handgun somewhere, it is not supposed to be, such as in your pants in public you would be breaking Canadian Law. Based on this alone banning semi-automatics would not be justified in Canada at least would not be based on any facts. It is likely that in most places that have major gun restrictions, they will be heavier on handguns based on the fact they are easier to conceal. I suspect, putting the March 15th event aside in NZ you would probably see a similar trend.

Chart 6 also states that most firearms homicides are gang-related. Which to this day is most likely also accurate. This means if firearms crimes are gang related for the most part then it would be a failure of government policy or police activities to curb gang violence and not anything to do with stricter gun laws. Gun laws in Canada are already tough enough to prosecute gang members using guns in such a fashion.

It should also be noted that recently, in Canada, many types of firearms deaths have been reclassified as a “misuse of firearms” this includes suicide, homicide, and accidental death. According to the manufacturers and the courts, this is not what they were designed for thus it is a misuse of firearms. Keep in mind even self-defense deaths are still considered homicides. This means that future stats my just lump everything together under this term without really breaking down the data openly and truthfully. See how confusing and misrepresentative stats can be?

While I could go on and on about this in-depth ( I don’t want to because I’m not writing a research paper) the facts are that the fact shows that stronger gun laws don’t do much to curb already illegal behavior. Mentally ill people should be blocked from having guns, yes, but if they go the illegal root like the gangs do then increase the laws more doesn’t actually do anything. Anyways, I thought I would add some additional context prior to the original post which discusses why in my opinion it is important that everyone has firearms to prevent tyranny and other things. (It should be noted that in almost all cases resulting in firearms used in Canada in self-defense you will face criminal penalties. WHich means having a firearm for self-defense in Canada is not considered legal or an appropriate reason to have firearms. An while I do not agree with this, it is the law and is not at this point debatable)

 

ORIGINAL POST (Edited for spelling grammar and updated some irrelevant items as contextual to today.)

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Note: I have since watched all seasons and it is a great show.

A while ago, I saw a preview of the AMC TV series Into the Badlands. Something has happened to create a world without guns, and with guns no longer available, the old ways of martial arts came back. Those who are able to train or control those who could fight have become warlords. While I still have yet to see it (waiting for it to appear on Netflix), the premise of the show got me thinking.

This means that the ability to teach or train martial arts and hand-to-hand combat would become a highly sought after commodity. It is likely that many of the best trainers would then become available to the highest bidder, or to those with enough power to control the trainers–much like the character Hundred Eyes from the Netflix original Marco Polo: One Hundred Eyes who has Kublai Khan holding power over him.

As such only those with power and money could afford to train armies and fighters. Sound familiar? Seems like a repeat of human history to me. In the past, kings and queens of Europe and emperors of Asia held power because they had the trained warriors and money. Meanwhile, the average person did not have the time to train properly since they needed to do other work to provide for themselves and their families. As such, martial arts training was a privilege, and the poor or less fortunate would be at the mercy of the upper class who could afford to spend time training.

 

So how does this relate to guns being a social equalizer?

Why is this relevant today? In today’s 21st-century-internet-media-driven world, stories surrounding firearms and gun laws easily take over news streams. Everyone has an opinion when it comes to guns and what should or should not be allowed. In addition, with the upcoming US presidential elections, as well as recent UN small arms treaties, it is likely people who believe in the right to own guns will be louder than ever.

For example, I am such a person who believes that any human being of sound mind, no criminal record or history of violence, and with proper training should be allowed to have guns. I write from Canada where the gun culture is radically different from the US, and where possessing firearms is not considered a human right–though I think it should be.

Any human being of sound mind, no criminal record or history of violence, and with proper training should be allowed to have guns.

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In America, the founding fathers enshrined gun laws into their constitution the Second Amendment. The way it is written leaves some room for people to debate who can and should own and use firearms. However, often times people get too caught up in semantics and forget the intent with which something is written, and thus its true meaning. To me and many gun supporters, the reason is clear–to give the average person the ability to easily defend him or herself against oppression and tyranny.

Real knife defense is simply to shoot the person, assuming they are aggressive and non compliant.

In Krav Maga, we have hand-to-hand combat solutions to deal with knives. However, people should remember that in Israel where Krav Maga was developed, real knife defense is simply to shoot the person, assuming they are aggressive and non-compliant of course. The reality is that hand-to-hand combat solutions are last resorts in the event of an emergency, and using a firearm is a much safer method for such a defense scenario.

Being for social equalization and firearms go hand in hand

Imagine a government with a large army, well-trained in both hand-to-hand combat and strategy, who is determined to oppress its people. Opposing the government is a group of farmers living in the mountains who simply wish to live a free, happy life. If these farmers have guns, I guarantee you they can make a stand. Without guns, though, it is likely that their stand for freedom would fail.guns6 Source Shooter Jobs

Why? Guns give the ability to strike from afar. The “enemy” will be forced to re-think their strategy, as now they may face unacceptable losses. This scenario is quite plausible in reality. For example, in Afghanistan, the locals were able to hold off both Russian and American forces in two different wars simply by having guns to defend themselves.

In the world before guns (or a world with no guns like Into The Badlands), it was arms and legs, swords, and bows and arrows. These take significant time and training to become proficient, and it limits people’s ability to use them to defend themselves or hunt. On the other hand, guns can be learned in a relatively short amount of time, which renders everyone on equal grounds when it comes to general defense.

guns5 Source FB group Right-Winged Birds of Prey

Guns protect the the weak and less fortunate from being controlled by the wealthy and powerful.

From a military perspective, an army is far more likely to engage a group with no firearms because that is an easier target. A group with firearms means that the army must think twice and create a better tactic before engaging.

Therefore, guns are the great social equalizer. Guns protect the weak and less fortunate from being controlled by the wealthy and powerful. Historically, guns and the ease of access to guns has fundamentally changed how rulers controlled the world, as they could no longer use force and fear mongering. Resistance was simply one gun away.

Why being anti-gun doesn’t make sense

So now, left-leaning (politically) individuals often claim that the government is corrupt and unjust and whatever else they think, AND they are also anti-gun? That is the epitome of hypocrisy.

So the government decides to clamp down and initiate martial law because they think the left-leaning individuals are out of control. However, left-wing voters opted to get rid of guns. Now, citizens can be easily overwhelmed by the government and hard pressed to protect and defend themselves because the government has all the guns and the people do not. This concept goes on both sides of the political spectrum as historically tyranny occurs when the power of the people to defend themselves, legally or physically was rapidly or slowly eroded away.

“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

MARTIN NIEMÖLLER

Thus, if people are for equal rights, for social justice, and for general equality, then they should also be for reasonable gun access. There should be rules and regulations around gun access, licensing, training, ownership, use, and so on. However, simply saying guns should be taken away from everyone just because they are dangerous or “scary” is unreasonable. Guns, like anything, are tools created by humans to make life easier.

guns8 training and regulations

This is an example of a possible reality.

Online I follow many different Krav Maga Organizations. Often you can see people have left one organization for another. In my opinion, the two real reasons people leave is accessibility or issues with the instructor and they find someone they jive with better. However, people don’t always see it this way. Often they claim that they left because their organization was withholding information, which dont gets me wrong may be the case. The thing is “withholding” information might not always be what you think.

Withholding knowledge using a paywall

First, let me discuss the bad kind of withholding information. The bad type of withholding information or let’s also insert rank here is to do with money. If the reason you dont want to teach specific techniques or approaches to people is simply that you want them to have to pay or “earn” there way up then this is not great. While paying for testing or other things is not inherently bad it is if you only want to teach people things whom you’ve collected X amount of money from.

So let’s call this a paywall method of withholding information. Sometimes it is intentional which is, of course, immoral and in most cases just wrong. Whereas you only teach things after they have shown loyalty and regular payments over X amount of time then they have “earned” the right to learn it.

Another paywall that is not malicious or intentionally is the logistical paywall. Whereas, certain training especially the higher level stuff is only offered in Israel or specific countries. This requires individuals to pay thousands and thousands of dollars to access this training. In some cases, if a head instructor of an organization or their top instructors never leave Israel to teach and train people in a meaningful way then this will inherently limit the access of students to that particular organization. To me especially if an organization is considered a global leader then this is just laziness on the part of the instructors and organizations.

In other cases, it is regarding legalities or logistics. For example, many, many organizations hold their higher level of firearms-related courses in Poland or other eastern European countries. In this case, it is usually to do with legal considerations. The countries where these are hosted have relaxed laws allowing individuals from any country (usually) to come and train properly. Israel, for example, isn’t a fan of people from every country coming and learning advanced firearms tactics (Feel free to correct this if it is wrong, but this is my understanding.) Here in Canada, most ranges are not willing to allow people to do the kind of live fire drills required to achieve proper training. It is usually to do with Lawyers, Insurance companies and well because they dont trust you. In this kind of payroll scenarios, it is more of a necessity than anything and the more governments globally restrict such training the harder it will be to do properly.

Withholding knowledge because they just aren’t ready

pai maiThe 2nd kind of withholding knowledge is the proper reason to withhold training from someone. Just because someone wants to learn something, or feels they are ready to doesnt mean they are. ENTER THE EGO!!. Of course, this too can be abused but a good martial arts instructor withholds training, or ranks because the student for whatever reason may just not be ready even they think they are.

Sometimes, not being ready isn’t just about physical abilities but also mental or it could be an attitude thing. A good example of this is Jon “Bones” Jones, the UFC lightweight king. While he is an amazing fighter his personal life is a mess. The story goes that he despite having good skill his BJJ instructor withheld a rank from him because of his overall attitude and life decisions.

Remember, sometimes training martial arts and yes EVEN Krav Maga isn’t just about the physical it’s about becoming a better person.

An example is a common complaint I have heard and have experienced is when either very athletic persons or very big aggressive persons do well in sparring but are held back or chastised because they didn’t control themselves. The response often is that I am bigger so I can’t control my speed. Or its because I’m better than those guys and you dont want to admit it. This is of course bullshit.

The person was held back or chastised because they failed to listen to instructions, failed to consider the safety of their training partners. And failed to understand that if they truly were as skilled as they thought then they would understand you can go fast without having power and you should be able to control the fight easily. Yes, it is Krav Maga and aggression matters but no one wants to train with an uncontrolled asshole. If thats what someone wants then there are tones of meathead gyms out there who dont care about brain trauma or helping you be a better person.

This is why a well-structured ranking system can help determine if people are ready for different things. For example, at UTKM it is broken down as such.

White Belt – Beginner. Moving, Kicking, Punching, Sparring and thinking for Krav Maga

Yellow & Orange Belt – Novice.  Refining and advancing striking, grappling offense and defense, Basic weapons

Green Belt  to Black Belt – Advanced – Job specific training such as police and military, advanced weapons, arrests, and control, firearms training

The way I look at it if you can barely punch or kick I am not really comfortable teaching you firearms stuff. Other times individuals come in with backgrounds but they are not familiar with our curriculum and thats the only reason they get held back. Other times i get individuals who are physically gifted but have been told to work on other areas and until then they will be held back.

A good curriculum and structure will “withhold” knowledge because the goal is to develop each individual appropriate to their own pace. Some people will move through fast others slow. If you think its not fair thats because it’s not. I wish I had been born a natural athlete but I was not. It just the way it is. To each his own.

If you feel your instructor is withholding knowledge unfairly you have two options

  1. Train somewhere else – Maybe it’s just you and your instructor are not the right fit. Find another gym teaching your style and grow from there. It is true the instructor might just be an asshole (hopefully not). or you might have to consider number 2.
  2. Let go of your ego – Maybe the instructor knows or sees something that you dont want to see or accept. If this is the case it may take some soul searching but the answer is to complain less and train more. Eventually, the progress will come.

When it’s appropriate to teach advance knowledge early

Sometimes it may absolutely be appropriate to teach advanced knowledge early. It is always a city by city thing or person to person thing but it shouldn’t be open to just everyone. Here are just of few of my thoughts as to when it is appropriate to teach advanced knowledge early in Krav Maga because after all it is about giving people the skills to properly defend themselves and really there is no one size fits all.

  1. Seminars  – I dont mind teaching advanced topics if I have the appropriate time to give the basic setups or context. Usually, if I run my own seminars on advanced topics I want to do 4 hours plus. I understand this is too much for most people but if you have only been training for a bit doing a one-off seminar for an hour is not really going to teach you anything useful. If I do teach shorter seminars its more about general basic concepts and knowledge with a little training but I will always stress this is a “Crash Course” and that people shouldn’t now think they know Krav Maga.
  2. An individual requires it for specific training or goal – This is great for individuals who need to prepare for something. This would be during private lessons where you can focus on the specifics that the client needs. I have had individuals want to get ahead of police or military training. Because it’s usually a dedicated individual who is training a lot they will be on a quicker learning curve. This is also sometimes people who have train a lot of Krav Maga in the past but want a refresher course. Because of its usually one on one attention, it’s easier to know if they really understand not just the technique, but the context and application. As well as do they understand their own skill level.
  3. The city you live in has a specific threat – Let’s be realistic I live in Vancouver, Canada and there really isn’t a rush to learn advanced topics due to specific threats. However, if I said living in a place like mexico I may have special days every month where we cover things like gun disarms and gun safety. It would be up to an instructor whether this was part of their regular curriculum or whether its a seminar but in these cases, because there is a real need to learn the material then it would not be appropriate to not teach it.

Closing

So before you decide to leave a school or organization because they are “withholding” information. Really think about the reasons for this. If it’s simply a matter of logistics then it might not be the instructor or schools fault. If it’s just a matter of you not getting along with the instructor then nothing wrong with changing schools. I myself have done this because I just didn’t vibe. If this is the case, dont make a big deal about it especially if they are legitimate it’s just a people thing. If you feel through the school just wants your money think about it if it is actually true or not. People sometimes make this accusation here in Vancouver, but they are considering that it is an expensive city for everyone, this includes commercial rent. Lastly, really consider is it perhaps that you just aren’t ready. I understand people hate to accept their skills or limits but sometimes we need to, and only then can we really progress.

No matter the case I hope you can learn to walk in peace and have a great day.

The guys at UF PRO have some great videos. Previous I looked at their gun disarm video and gun vs knife videos. A student sent me this and asked me to break it down.

Many of the techniques or concepts in this video are similar or close to what I teach regularly albeit with some differences.

One of the most important things they are doing in this video which I and many others 100% agree on is that once a bladed weapon is drawn if you cannot run (the best option) you must first get control of the weapon arm and then go after the person as a combative. Without control of the army and quick or rapid movement can be catastrophic to your self or others. Other than this I will break down my thoughts on each sequence.

0:22 – Upward stab (prison shank style)

There style with the grabs is the only thing I am not a fan of. Yes, it’s a natural reaction but if you have already identified enough any grabbing as an initial movement can be very risky especially under duress. We generally prefer gross motor movent over fine motor movement, especially for an initial movement. Inevitably as we are designed to grab you might have to but only in secondary or tertiary movements. Other than that the strategy of getting the knife arm and controlling it is great. What you do after that really depends on your style I suppose. In this sequence all attempts were succesful. Keep in mind he knew the knife was there and what attack was coming which could change the outcome if you were not expecting it.

1:11 – Slashing (We call “blender mode”)

In the first version, he inevitably takes cuts to the arms on multiple sides. This is to be expected in such a case especially if you stay in slashing range. I also am not a fan of putting palms and the soft tissue of the front of the arm towards the attack. While it is unlikely to be fatal it may limit your ability to deal with the attacker after. I would much rather take slashes to the sides or backs of the arms. In this case, as their strategy is to gram the arm then it does make some sense. Still getting get in the arms no matter where is far better than taking it to the face or neck.

At 1:41 the second version of this attack is launched. When they slow it down you can see why it is so hard to grab as an initial attack. Another reason why grabbing can be problematic. It also looks like he took a slash/stab to near the brachial artery which if severed can be a big problem.

If you take to long your attack can wise up and escalate there attack. If you are going to go in go in aggressively, with your hands up of course protecting your neck and face. Otherwise, you may be relying too much on the attacker making a mistake. Personally, I would much rather be out of range in the first place before I make a move. Yes, I know timing will still be a big factor.

At 2:05 they start the third attempt of this technique. Again you can see trying to grab trap or pass at speed is very difficult. There is a reason we call these attack blender type because if you try to follow the knife it can be very hard and if you look closely if the attacker or defender even tripped or misstepped the defender leaves their body quite open to a stab.

Don’t get me wrong, in the event you need to use this defense and it works with minimum damage then its great. It requires a great bit of skill, confidence and the right level of thinking at the moment to succeed. For beginners who encounter this kind of attack after you have identified it defend appropriately but create space and run. Use weapons of opportunity if you can. If not, attempt to attack disrupt, off balance or cause pain. A tool we use is the low line sidekick to get a pause in the attack so that we can gain control of the weapon arm. Again, waiting for the attacker to mess up may be too late, try to cause your own opening. The kick also requires skill but keeps your vitals well out of the way. I understand this option may not be preferred by many but personally, I wouldn’t stick my hand in a blender. Would you?

2:30 – Slashing & Stabbing (We call  the “Decepticon blender mode” or the “Game over man”)

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In Israel real knife defense is to shoot them… just saying.

Let’s just say this is a worst case scenario, they start slashing rapidly realize they haven’t killed you yet and rapidly change to the stabbing.  This would be like if your blender unsatisfied you did not stick your hand in it, gave up its ruse changed into its true form a mother f**king Decepticon and started shooting lasers at you.

 

In the first attack series when the switch happens there is a slowdown or hesitation, which allows the defender to get the arm. This would be the best case scenario but is not always what will happen. This might have been a subconscious reaction or an on purpose to let them get control. Who knows. Also, the position of the knife right at the groin, once he does get control, makes me nervous. Some of my more vicious students would most likely remind you as they stab you while laughing hysterically in the groin multiple times…

3:08 round two. This time he gets stabbed which as I mentioned above is likely if they dont slow down. YAY DECEPTICON BLENDERS!

3:34 Round three. hmm, notice a pattern. This is the most likely scenario with this attack pattern if you are unsuccessful in getting the weapon arm immediately. Another reason why it is preferable to create a lot of space because your margin for error is slim to none otherwise. Also why we prefer that low line kick. A smart and aggressive attacker will vary their attacks to counter your defenses, your decision-making time to act is a very, very small window.

4:05 – Attacking from a drawn knife

My first comment is, always assume they have a weapon. If they are fidgeting or moving near their belt line this is a good indicator. If this is accompanied by aggressive behavior it’s better to act before they can draw a weapon. Don’t wait. Strike first and justify after. In these videos, you can clearly see a knife in which case if you are a civilian you should have run already and if you are LE or military if you did not already verbalize to get down on the ground then you may be engaging first. Of course, if they aren’t trying to stab you yet lethal force is not recommended. As soon as they go for that knife then it would be.

The first attack is easily defended, although thats because he knew the knife was coming at some point. Again outside of the demo, I would have engaged in takedown and control options prior to them being able to draw. The hesitation after the draw made the defense easier. In this case, the kind of hesitation is certainly a possibility.

Rounds 2-4 are all the same. Each scenario the aggression escalates but there is a relatively clear draw. Allowing the defender to get the weapon arm.

6:05 round five. The attacker is charging ineffectively off balancing and overwhelming the defender, who then misreads the situations and goes for the wrong arm allowing the attacker to succeed. This is a likely scenario with an aggressive attacker. It can be hard to get the weapon hand especially if you were not expecting a knife at all. You can deal with the opponent on the nonweapon hand but requires getting behind them which is very hard against aggressive attackers.

This is why the advice will always control them before they can draw. Attackers will usually but not always indicate via body language that they have a weapon if the situation starts from a static scenario. If it is not static is can be very difficult so you must be sharp with your movements and your decision making.

Bottom line is regardless of what scenario its really best not to go empty hand against enough.

I hope you enjoyed this breakdown.

PS. If you are local I will be doing a seminar on April 20th in Surrey where I will be looking at a few of these scenarios as well as some basic gun disarms.