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Keep your Hands Up!

Posted: April 26, 2018 by urbantacticskravmaga in Krav Maga Principles
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Keep Your Hands Up! Keep Your Hands Up! Keep Your Hands Up!

 

Passive stance.jpg

Hands up in a Semi Passive Stance.

 

If there’s one thing you need to learn on your first day of class when learning Krav Maga other than avoiding the fight it is KEEP YOUR HANDS UP!

Keeping your hands up to protect your head, face and neck is such an important principle that it changes how we do a lot of techniques in Krav Maga as compared to other styles.

A boxing Jab or Cross and thrown from certain boxing guards may be faster or more powerful but they leave your head exposed (such as a low guard) and unless you are a master of head movement it is foolish to drop your hands in this fashion.

The same principles of Cause Pain, Off Balance and Disrupt the mental process we apply to our assailants can also be applied to us. Therefore we must do what we can at all times to protect our head, face and neck.

If we assume there are multiple assailants, this changes how cautious we need to be in keeping our hands up. Your skill as a striker may be sufficient to drop your hands against one opponent but now with your hands down, it is easy for their friend to sneak up and punch you in the side of the face.

The other thing is, keeping your hands up is an easy basic defence if you do not have the skill to apply other methods or strategies. At least you can protect your head, face and neck long enough to fight your exit and escape.

Note: keeping your hands up should never obscure your vision to the point you can no longer see the threat. If you lose track of the threat then your reaction time will be dramatically slower when attempting to deal with it as you must not re-identify the threat via the mental processing model which takes the time you do not have.

If you have never had your Krav Maga instructor tell you Keep your hands up then perhaps you need a new instructor.

As mentioned this concept is so important it changes how we train, as we will sacrifice speed or power in order to maintain at least one hand up at all times. If your hand is not punching, or controlling or doing something to cause pain, off balance, or disrupt then it should be up protecting the vitals as repeated many times.

This idea becomes even more important when knives are involved as that hand up protecting your neck and face could be the difference between life and death as one sharp blade across your carotid artery could mean the end of everything.

So if you haven’t gotten the point yet. KEEP YOUR HANDS UP!

Critical Thinking – The first step to self Defense

Posted: April 24, 2018 by urbantacticskravmaga in Krav Maga Principles

What is Critical Thinking? Well according to Wikipedia it is this:

Critical thinking is the objective analysis of facts to form a judgment.[1] The subject is complex, and several different definitions exist, which generally include the rationalskepticalunbiased analysis, or evaluation of factual evidence. Critical thinking is self-directedself-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking. It presupposed assent to rigorous standards of excellence and mindful command to their use. It entails effective communication and problem solving abilities, as well as a commitment to overcome our native egocentrism[2][3] and sociocentrism.

It could also put into different terms like this graph does:critical-thinking-worksheet

To me as it relates to our application it is probably one of the most undertaught skills not just in Krav Maga and self-defense but also in the education system in general.  The truth is about reality principle based self-defense systems like Krav Maga is that we understand we cannot actually give you all the answers. Because in that moment of violent confrontation we cannot be there to whisper in your ear to technique 1a then switch to 3 c etc…  If you as a practitioner has not learned to critically think under pressure in that moment of need to make the most correct possible decision to avoid injury or death then there are not enough techniques in the world that can save you. While we can pretend that techniques alone are infallible this would be a lie. There are simply too many factors to consider such as opponent size, speed, and skill. Other things to consider is your own body and nervous systems reaction to the stressful situation which may help or hinder your response times.

Some students come in and already know how to critically think, but most do not. Some can learn and get the idea as thing go along others need to be spoon-fed the information bit by bit. While there is nothing wrong with having a different learning style or pace you must understand that if you cannot get your head away from the what if questions then you may not truly understand how to critically think.

The What if this…line of questioning happens for two reasons. Either,

  1. You are new and are eager to learn, but fail to understand that though krav maga is easy to learn there is still a learning curve and it could take weeks, or months to get your head around the concepts or principles
  2. You simply have not for whatever reason developed critical thinking skills through training even after many years.

At Urban Tactics, if you cannot critically think there is a good chance you may be stuck at the white or yellow belt for quite some time.  This is not meant as an insult but is meant to protect you from your self. If you think you are more skilled than you are and you attempt to do things or deal with situations you may not ready for then you will most likely get hurt or worse. Again it is nothing personal but know that those who always ask what if, you cannot wait to understand the whole process, or just have difficulties with conceptual learning then you are going to have a harder time learning what Krav Maga really is in the first place.

Critical thinking, however, is not just specific to self-defense situations it can be applied to all things in life. The better you are at critical thinking the less likely you are to be scammed. Or to accept a bad deal or a myriad of other things. Critical thinking is not just the bases to self-defense, as the definition suggests it is the most complete method or strategy to quickly problem solve an issue even if it is something you have never encountered before.

Remember, while the first step of any good self defense program should be avoidance, you can only avoid situations no matter what they are by applying critical thinking based on the information you have and which is being presented to you in the moment. Failure to critically think (or to pay attention) is often the reason you failed to avoid the situation in the first place

So before you are too hard on your self as to why you just are not getting it, or your instructor is getting mad at you, know it may have less to do with your technique than you think but more to do with your lack of understanding as to your application. But the only way you will know is by critically thinking in the first place. Then you will know if its really your instructor, or if its your self that is causing the block in your progress.

Critical thinking is the key to good Krav Maga, Good Self Defense, and good problem-solving. So like everything, you must first start with your mind and work your way out.

So remember, you are not just learning a set of techniques, you are really learning to think for your self to have high-level problem solving so that you can avoid and or deal with any violent or nonviolent situation that may come your way so that you truly may walk in peace both mentally and physically.

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

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Warriors Den Podcast

Download on iTunes Today! https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/urban-tactics-krav-maga-warriors/id969549693?mt=2

 

Jonathan at Rob's school in Nanaimo with other visting students

Jonathan with Rob and other Visting students.

Rob Biernacki is a BJJ black belt who can often be seen alongside Stephan Kesting, (who we dad a podcast with back on episode 19 a long time ago.) on his Youtube Channel that supplements grapplearts.com. Since his first appearance on Stephans channel, Rob has the unfortunate luck of losing his school due to a fire. He has since then, come back bigger stronger and maybe faster with a new school in the same City of Nanaimo BC. Rob is well known for his ideas on a conceptual approach to BJJ both in practice and teaching. He recently launched a new online academy where everything you would learn at his school can be learned online (assuming you train BJJ under an appropriate instructor). His online academy can be found at www.bjjconcepts.net  or you can check out his school’s webpage at www.islandtopteam.com. If you are one of the many possibly millions of people who find BJJ a monumental task to understand Rob’s concepts and ideas might be the place to start as he has simplified the approach to jiu-jitsu using fundamental universal concepts. You can also find Rob on Instagram @islandtopteam.  To top it off, Rob was voted #1 BJJ instructor in Canada and #3 in the world in 2014.

 

 

On top of Straight line vs circular attack types, we now expand in to attack patterns. Attack patterns are essential how they are implementing the attack and at what speed and tempo. As a general rule, we have 3, Threats, Committed attacks and Non-committed attacks. For bladed attacks, we add a third called “blender mode”.

  • Threats- A threat is a static motion rather than dynamic. If someone is holding a knife to you, this is a knife threat. If someone has grabbed you but is only holding you it is a threat. They have yet to put any kinetic energy into their attempt other than the initial motion. But don’t get it wrong, if you attempt to do something and mess up at any point their threat can become an attack.

 

  • Committed Attacks – A committed attack is linear. It follows a direct path from the attacker to the intended target on a person. Committed attacks are usually due to an emotional reaction or because an attacker has decided or committed to a specific attack. The 360 defence, for example, is designed for committed attacks like the “ice pick” or “Prison shank” style attack. These attacks go from outside in and downward or upward. Attacks like bear hugs are also committed as the attacker is going from a static, to forward grab and slam and there is a specific attack pattern.

 

  • Non-Committed attacks – Non-committed attacks are any attack which do not follow a linear pattern. A basic Non-committed attack, adds a retraction to the attack rather than a telegraphed “committed” attack. They may start in one direction such as straight, then retract for another attack or quickly change to something else. They can come from up, down, left or right. The intent is the same as a committed attack, that is to harm the intended target, but there is no set way. Hacking slashing knife attacks are an example of a non-committed attack. When dealing with a non-committed attack it can be a battle of Action vs reaction until someone wins. As such you must reset their mental processing and do damage to them as fast as you possibly can prior to progressing to control. 

     

    Because of action vs reaction concepts, the more your brain has to process the harder it is going to be to formulate the correct action to stop the attack or threat. Thus the more complex and non-linear an attack the harder it will be to deal with. Because of this committed attacks are preferable over non-committed attacks when it comes to a defence perspective. However, from an attacking perspective, a non-committed attack is preferable as it has a greater chance of succeeding. If you encounter a non-committed attack the best idea is to simply create distance and run and if you cant run, you must find a way through strategy, technique and aggression to overwhelm your opponent.

  • Blender Mode – Blender mode is reserved for a Non-Committed knife attack which is both stabbing and slashing in a fast motion. This essentially created a wall of “blender blades” which is not safe to approach. The attacker either started like this or you screwed up your initial defence, and they went from a simple committed lunge to a non-commited straight line attack to blender mode. These are the times when it is best to use a weapon of opportunity.