Archive for the ‘Krav Maga in General’ Category

Krav Maga and Use of Force

Posted: December 12, 2017 by urbantacticskravmaga in Krav Maga Principles
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This photo is a representation of the complex decision making that needs to occur in a split second in your brain during a violent confrontation. It is meant to be confusing, it is meant to be cluttered. See Stages of mental processing for more.

 

Krav Maga was developed to deal with extreme duress and potential risk to human life, which makes the style very aggressive and functional, However, since its creation, countries have grown and laws have changed. Not all countries have the same outlook on what is an appropriate use of force. In many developed countries, it is expected from trained individuals to minimize their use of force to only that which is necessary. Therefore, know your country’s laws; know what is considered too much force in your country. In some places, the law may consider killing acceptable, so long as it is in self defense. But in other places, that may not be the case. It is up to you, and only you to use your discretion to decide what amount of force is appropriate. Above is a guide to situations in which one should or shouldn’t use force. This is only a guide; we can’t tell you what is right or wrong. Know the laws, and use your discretion.

Understand, that how fast you can react or make a decision is based on many factors such as training, and experience. It can also be determined based on what state of mental awareness you are in. One key is to be situationally aware or at mental colour code yellow. (See Awareness Colour Code for more detail). No matter what your training or experience if you fail to be situationally aware and identify the threat your reactions may be too slow. Add on to the complexity of the decision-making process as seen (above) and you may start to understand why so many are woefully unready to deal with an initial burst of violence.

There is a reason the best Self Defense is to not be there in the first place because the more complex the situation, the more complex the decision making and the more likely there will be an error in judgment. Real life is messy, and mistakes happen, no matter how well you are prepared. This is why unless it is your job to engage practice avoidance and diffusion as a general lifestyle (See The stages of Self Defense).

After all, “You Win 100% of Fights you are not in.” – Nir Maman – CT707 Founder

Use of Force is a term usually to describe a model of one form or another that is a decision making tree to decide when and how to use violence to counter violence. It must be remembered that in the immediate situation and acute exposure to a violent act if you are unable to avoid or diffuse the situation then you must meet violence with violence. There is no way to overcome this it is the time to fight fire with fire. In that one moment, you MUST meet violence hard, fast and aggressive all while applying the appropriate level of force for the level of violence you are dealing with. It will always be messy, it may be full of mistakes, but if you make the correct decisions you will go home to safety.

*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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In addition to being a Krav Maga practitioner, I train in judo and have always been interested in the competitive and tournament side of the sport. While others may love watching a great football pass that leads to a spectacular 50 yard run resulting in a touchdown, I am equally enthralled when I watch a judoka execute a perfect throw on a resisting opponent.  It can be an amazing sight to see.

One thing that I always found interesting was that at the end of a match, several times the judokas would be splayed out on the mat, seemingly exhausted to the point of not being able to move. They would lie there for several seconds until the referee would motion for them to stand up and bow off, thus officially ending the match with a winner declared.  I would think, “How could they be so active and fighting hard just a few seconds ago and now they can’t even move?  They’re young and they’re fit, so how could they be so tired?”.  I spoke to my daughter about this, who is also a judo competitor, and she said she’s experienced that level of exhaustion many times in her tournament matches, or the training camps.  It wasn’t until I experienced the same level of exhaustion in my recent green belt test that I appreciated even a small trace of what my daughter was talking about.

It is difficult for a person to independently push themselves to the point of exhaustion because usually before they get to that stage, they’ll stop and take a break. It’s like trying to hold your breath until you pass out.  There may be some fitness fanatics who do push themselves to that degree on a regular basis, but I believe that for the average person, which I consider myself to be, there are primarily 3 situations which could drive them to the point of exhaustion and beyond.

1) In a test,

2) In competition

3) In a life-threatening situation.

 I heard people shouting “Get up!  Get up!” but it just wasn’t happening.  My spirit was there, I was fully aware of what was going on, but my body was just not responding.

 

In each of these situations, the timing of when the “ordeal” ends is out of your control, so you have no choice but to fight through the pain and keep on going.  Personally, it’s been years since I’ve been at this level of intense situation, if ever, so in retrospect, I found it an interesting experience to be pushed to the point of exhaustion.  During the green belt test, this point occurred when I was sparring one-on-one with someone in the last few minutes of the 3 hour test.  I was already tired, physically and mentally, and I found myself on the ground.  As I was trying to get back up my body, my arms, my legs, and anything else literally felt like 1000 pounds and I could not lift myself up, as much as I was telling myself to continue fighting and get back up.  I heard people shouting “Get up!  Get up!” but it just wasn’t happening.  My spirit was there, I was fully aware of what was going on, but my body was just not responding.  It was like being in a bad dream where you find yourself running through molasses.  I think that was the point that Jon told me later when he thought I wasn’t going to make it and was going to give up.  But slowly, ever so slowly, while trying to punch at the same time, I managed to get up.  I know now that when pushed to your limit, it truly becomes a game of mind over matter.  It would have been so easy to just lie down and think “Who cares.”, but if you’re determined and you refuse to give up, you will overcome things that your body tells you it doesn’t want to do.

Warren Green Belt Tired

I can’t imagine being in a situation like this again, at least in the near future, but I now better appreciate how competitors will find themselves splayed out on the mat at the end of a match unable to get up. I also appreciate more what my daughter has gone through in her judo training and competitions.  If you get the chance where you will be pushed to this point of exhaustion, you should embrace it and relish the opportunity, because it will likely be in a safe environment where there is minimal risk of injuring yourself, or worse.  It’s an interesting experience and you will be surprised at how much you can tolerate and where you discover the edge of your envelope is.  And then the next time, you can push beyond it.  Push yourself, strive for more, keep going and don’t give up!  You’ll thank yourself later.

If you are new to martial arts or have done it previously but are switching schools there are always some dos and don ts. This is of course only my opinion, but it is based on what drives me nuts when new students come. And trust me, annoying your martial arts instructor from the start is not the way to go. Remember your instructor is a human too, and like any relationship sometimes first impressions do matter.

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1. Don’t come in with too many expectations

Everyone thinks they know what to expect especially when they are new, because they researched it on the internet. Or they know exactly how things are going to go. This is not true.

“What you found on the internet, may infact, be bullshit.”

 

Every school is different they have different standards, expectations and cultures and what you found on the internet may, in fact, be bullshit. The best thing to do is show up try out some classes see if its what you like and if so keep going.

If of course, you had previous experience in martial arts for the love of god please don’t talk about the way your old school did stuff. If you were able to keep training there or you liked training there then why aren’t you training there? Again, every school is different, and some are the right fit for you and some are not. So accept the new schools’ culture and ways (if you like it) and leave your old school where it belongs, in the past.

2. Don’t tell them you are serious and are going to train all the time if you are not

This one drives me insane because it happens all the time. I think people just don’t understand how much energy it takes to train all the time. If you have school, work and a family, life gets in the way and sometimes you cannot train as much as you think you can.

But more importantly, Actions speak louder than words. I don’t care who you think you are, I don’t know you and no I DON’T trust you. If you tell me “man, believe me, I’m going to be in here every day,” I WILL assume you are full of shit because 9 times out of 10 I hear this the person is full of shit.

The person who says nothing and is training 3-4 times a week is the person who I will trust when they say they are going to do things.

And no I don’t care what your reason is for not showing up because all I see is you are not showing up. If you want to make the time for it, you will, no excuses.

3. Don’t ask for special discounts just because it’s you

No you are not special and I don’t care, if I wanted to give you a special discount I would. Aside from that, if discounts are not listed don’t ask. Are you my family? or longterm friend? if the answer is no then you are not entitled to any discount (and even then they sometimes are not) because it is a business and until I build a relationship with you, you are not my friend you are a student. So stop asking, it is rude and it is annoying.

Of course, if discounts are explicitly listed, and you are entitled to it, then prove it and you should receive it. For example, I offer 30% off a first program for military or LE etc. (even though most of them never come to train because of time or other reasons.)

4. Don’t complain about the price

It is a business. Period. And unless prices are abnormally high for the region the prices are what they are for a reason. See above regarding discounts. But just like you the business owner may also be struggling, so it is again rude to complain about pricing. Maybe in other cultures where haggling for prices is the norm but in Canada and much of the west it is not acceptable behaviour so don’t. It is insulting to your instructor and school. Plain and Simple. And don’t try to find ways to be cheap about it, because that is even worse. If you like what a school is offering, then pay for it. If it is expensive for you and you want to do it then learn how to prioritise your spending so that it isn’t an issue.

5. Don’t ask why you aren’t getting better if you never show up

Seriously, Show the FUCK up. Again actions are louder than words, and I don’t care what you tell me. If you want to get better, then please know that once a week, or once every few weeks is not good enough to get proficient at anything.

Sure I offer once a week options for people who have busy lives. I would rather you train than not train even if it is once a week. But as long as you know you will not get good fast then it is ok. Stop asking how to get better if you are not training 3-4 times a week because other factors beyond its because you are not training enough.

6. Do not put your instructor on a pedestal

Your instructors are humans, don’t expect anything from them other than being a good instructor. If they are not then going somewhere else, otherwise they are subject to everything life has to offer same as you. If you dont like who they are as a person, but they are really good instructors than you are in fact getting what you are paying for. If you dont like who they are as a person either choose a class in the same school that someone else is teaching or go somewhere else. Because if you put an instructor too high up and one day you see a side that you don’t like then this may affect your ability to train at the school you like. So be realistic and understand that it is about how well they teach you and make you better more than anything else.

This is only a few items, and I am sure I can think of more, but these are some of the things that have come up over the last few months and I feel like they should be adressed.

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A few days ago my brother sent me an email in which he wrote, among other things, the following:

“On Broadway I just passed a big 1st nations guy who was shifting back ‘n forth on sidewalk blocking a young Chinese women from passing. 1st of all I thought it was just play, even thought perhaps they knew each other.  I simply walked past them, looked back and realized he was harassing her.  Just at this moment her Chinese guy friend caught up with her, didn’t say anything, and the 1st nations guy continued on his way. I heard her say to her friend (in Chinese), “that was really scary”.  It was over in less than 10 seconds.

If he kept harassing her, I would’ve gone back and said something like “is this guy bothering you”, but I would’ve kept a distance. I would never get into physical confrontation, except for immediate family.  You often wonder how you would react.”

It started me thinking about his statement of “You often wonder how you would react.” How would I have handled the situation?  In spite of the years of self-defense training I’ve had, I know that nothing will prepare me for actually being in a situation like that in which a wrong decision can have potentially disastrous results, and not just for myself.

I decided that since it’s impossible to know exactly what I’d do, I would break down some key actions that, knowing myself, I am positive would happen and then go from there.

  • I’m positive that I would have helped out. I know that I wouldn’t have been able to just walk away and ignore the situation, knowing that someone needed help. Would I have been scared? Absolutely. But the adrenalin would have started flowing and my senses would be up.
  • I’m positive I would have stayed with the woman until other help came, or I was able to get her out of the situation.
  • I’m positive I would have tried to defuse the situation as much as possible, and getting into a physical confrontation would have been the last resort.

Now for the parts I hope would happen:

  • I would hope that my training would have kicked in and I would have watched for friends of his, and watched for a weapon.
  • I would hope that I would keep my hands up in a semi-passive stance, while starting to put myself between the guy and the woman, and slowly distance us away from him.
  • I would hope that I would think about weapons of opportunity, be aware of the limitations on me that would constrain my movement, and look for exit points.

The problem with facing unknown situations in real life is that you have no idea that it’s going to have a happy ending. It’s not like a commercial break is going to start in 30 seconds that will break up the tension so you have time to go for a bathroom break.  It’s real life and it’s happening at that moment.

Think about your own training, your own temperament, and your own ability to assess unknown situations. In my case, I hope that at a certain point my training would have taken over and I would have made the best of a bad situation.

In your case, what would you have done?

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Krav Maga is a system based on reality, or at least it should be. The real world is dirty, and our continued belief that people are all good, or they are all stable, or they are perfect is a false narrative. Its just not real, and we need to stop believing such things.

Sure. Some people don’t drink, do drugs, party or do anything that some people might consider enjoying life. The reality is, however, anything but as the majority of people are not “pure” in the traditional conservative sense. Look at the current scandals in Hollywood. These people who are the “leaders” of culture at least in North America and being uncovered to be real people, with faults and dirty secrets. and not the pure people we keep pretending they are.

My point is that life is messy, people are messy, and things are rarely what they seem.

Krav Maga is no different. Though there are many problems in the Krav Maga world one of the issues, I would like to discuss is the idea of the puritan Krav Maga Instructor.

Often, traditional martial artists who have been doing it for years find Krav Maga. For one reason or another, they decide they are going to teach it or integrate it into their programs. Of course, if you taught any traditional martial arts, your mentality and school culture will be heavily ingrained in that styles culture, which may not be realistic in nature.

Take the Bushido code, for example, an ideology that is more modern in many ways than we like to think. If you as instructor adhere to it strictly in your life and school and yet teach Krav Maga, I am not sure if you understand how to teach Krav Maga.

“Do you really understand the reality that is Krav Maga and the violence associated with real self defense scenarios?”

 

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting people go to any of the following. However, if your life is too pure I ask, do you really understand the reality that is Krav Maga and the violence associated with a real self defense scenario?

If you have never had a drink. If you have never done any drug(s) (coffee is a drug ) or even have never been around drugs. If you have never been in a fight or have seen a fight in the street. If you have never been exposed to the harsh realities or hardship that so much of the world has to deal with like being broke, being hungry or you have never exposed your self to the abuse that some people have had to endure, are you really equipped to teach real Krav Maga?

Real self defense is dirty, real self defense isn’t preatty because real life is neither of those things. If you don’t at least understand these aspects of life I am not sure you are equipped to teach any form of self defense let alone Krav Maga.

Again, I am not saying go on a bender so that you can understand what so many people have experienced but what I am saying, if you were never exposed to the real world then perhaps you do not understand as much as you think you do.

A saying that I like in one variation or another is as follows.

“A fool repeats his mistakes. A smart man learns from his mistakes. But a wise man learns from the mistakes of others.”

 

In the context of this article, it means that you don’t have to experience it personally but at the very least expose your self to the harsh realities of the real world that so many people have to deal with.

If you have never gone hungry for a few days, if you have never even been around people on cocaine or other drugs. If you have never left your suburban neighbourhood and taken a walk down a dark alley where it’s not so nice, then I ask again. Do you understand the harsh realities of the world? I think not.

If your life has been too pure, you may be lucky, or you may be a fool, but I think you shouldn’t be trying to teach self defense of any kind because I genuinely believe you don’t understand.

One of the reasons this is an important thing is because many people are attracted to Krav Maga because they have been exposed to these realities and they want to learn how to protect themselves from the real world better. So if you have never been exposed to any of it and you live your life according to any kind of puritan code then how can you possibly relate to the majority of your students? I just don’t think you can, and I think you are doing a disservice to them.

Of course, if you only teach to people like you then perhaps you are ok, but I just don’t think these kinds of schools properly prepare people for violent conflict of any kind.

If you are a student, ask your self, does your instructor really understand the real world?

If you are an instructor, ask yourself, do you really understand the real world?

If you are honest and the answer happens to be NO, then perhaps you should either get some more experience or do something else for a living. and for the record, age is not always a factor when it comes to experience. Though it is a correlation, remember correlation does not equal causation. I have met some 12 year olds who have experienced more in their lives than some 50 year olds, for good or bad.

Just my two cents.

 

On September 30th I tested for my green belt and, as with most important things in life, while the test itself was only 3 hours, the culmination of events leading up to the test was far more involved.

Warren Green Belt Certificate

Firstly, a bit of background on myself. I joined UTKM when the school first opened, and while I was just one of several students in the first class, I’m pretty sure that I’m now the only one from that day who is still taking Krav Maga with UTKM.  It’s understandable because circumstances constantly change and life throws curve balls, and for whatever reason people move on.  In my case I’m fortunate because I’m at the stage of life where it’s generally predictable, e.g. job, family, home, so I’ve been able to continue learning Krav Maga fairly consistently for the past few years.

In the beginning, I was diligently attending classes twice a week and attending the occasional seminar, took the yellow belt and orange belt tests within the first couple of years, and even earned my PAL license as a requirement for eventually taking the green belt test. However, as time passed and I was feeling more familiar with the curriculum and life became busy with the judo activities for both my daughter and myself, I cut back to just once a week.  Then once a week became once every two weeks, and soon there were occasions in which I didn’t go to class for over a month.  I had plateaued and I knew it.  Interest was down, and I felt like I was just going through a rinse-repeat cycle in the classes.  One instructor understood what I was going through and he advised me to “Finish the mission.”, i.e. get my green belt.  Although the belt levels progress beyond green, attaining the green belt is a significant milestone because it meant that I had passed the physical and technical curriculum of Krav Maga and would then move into the more advanced strategies and techniques. There would be less emphasis on the physical requirements, and sparring would be optional and not mandatory.  Still, I had lost motivation to progress and, truth be told, I was thinking of stopping altogether.

What finally made me start thinking about taking the green belt test was that I was noticing how many more yellow belt and orange belt tests were being scheduled. Soon the “yellow and orange belt class” started growing from just a couple of students to then a handful, and there were more frequent announcements of students progressing through the belt levels.  On one hand I was realistic enough to know that my prime objective in taking Krav Maga was to learn how to protect myself and my family, so officially attaining the green belt didn’t mean much to me, but on the other hand I wanted to be recognized for my experience and the knowledge that I had acquired over the years.  Another (scary) thought that crossed my mind was that I was getting older, and while age shouldn’t be an excuse for not being able to achieve anything, it is a reality that physical activity becomes more challenging with age.  I turned 54 at the end of October, so the window of opportunity was starting to shrink and I knew that if I didn’t take the physically-challenging green belt test soon, it would likely never happen.  Plus, Jon wouldn’t stop hassling me to get it, so I finally relented and scheduled a testing date.

Warren Green Belt RunningI had 6 weeks to train for the test, and come hell or high water, I was going to be ready for it. Jon told me one time that one of his biggest annoyances is when people don’t follow through on what they say they’re going to do, so once I put out the date I was committed to meeting the challenge and not letting him down.  Since I was already confident that I knew the techniques and the curriculum and would only require a refresher, I was aware that the physical requirement of the test would be the bigger challenge.  The warm-up for the test is 75 push-ups, 85 sit-ups and a 2 km run, and that’s even before the technical part of the test begins.  I usually commute to work by bike, and even though it’s only 6 km each way and it gives me a bit of a workout, I knew it wouldn’t be enough.  I despise running so for me, it was a very big psychological barrier to hit the track and start training for the test.  The first time I ran 5 times around the 400 meter track I was tired, but not exhausted, so I knew if I kept it up it would only get easier once the test day came.  I also began doing push-ups and sit-ups at night, and while in the beginning, I couldn’t reach the required number, after a couple of weeks I was doing 90 push-ups and 90 sit-ups.  I also began eating healthier and cut out the junk food, sugary drinks, snacks, and over-eating.  The results began to show, and I dropped 6 lbs while I was training for the test.

My training regimen seemed to be going well, and then a snag happened. During a class another student puts my head in a guillotine choke and wrenched back on it, and after that my right arm started throbbing and hurting.  This also meant that I couldn’t ride to work anymore so I was afraid that my cardio would drop like a rock.  I went to a physio and he diagnosed that I had pulled a muscle in my neck which resulted in a pinched nerve in my arm, and that’s why I was feeling the pain.  With only two weeks to go before the test, I started seeing the physio as often as I could to try and fix the problem.  After 4 sessions I was still feeling pain, plus I wasn’t sleeping at night where I often wouldn’t be able to fall asleep until past 4 AM, but was still having to get up at 7 AM for work.  The last week before the test I was still seeing the physio, and while the pain had somewhat abated, I knew I wasn’t going to be fully healthy come the testing day.  Still, I diligently continued to keep up the push-ups and sit-ups regimen and also hit the track whenever I could.  The main thing that kept me going was knowing that once I passed the test, I could stop training and wouldn’t have to run around the track anymore, hopefully for the rest of my life.

Test day came, and I did the push-ups, sit-ups and 2 km run with relative ease. However, in retrospect from watching the videos that my daughter took, it was apparent that my sit-ups suck and look more like crunches than full sit-ups.  So one takeaway from the test is that I’m now going to do sit-ups on a regular basis and ensure that they’re proper full ones, instead of the sucky ones that Jon graciously allowed as acceptable on test day.  What came as an unpleasant surprise was that going through the techniques took much longer, and tired me out much, much more, than I had expected.  I thought I was going to whiz through those and get quickly to the sparring part of the test but Jon asked me on many occasions to repeat a technique again, and again.  It became very tiring and by the time the sparring section came, I was both relieved because I knew we were getting to the end of the test, but also dreading it because I knew I didn’t have many physical reserves remaining.  In short, I was very tired.

The last part of the test consists of sparring components which add up to 20 min, with a few minutes rest between each of the 3 sections. In regards to physical activity, one thing I noticed about getting older is that the recovery time takes much longer than when you are in your 20s. While a 20-something person may need only 3 minutes to recover from a strenuous physical activity, in your 50s you may not be able to recover to the same degree unless you had 10 minutes or more.  Still, if that was the test requirement, I was determined to abide by the rules and not ask for any special allowances just because of my age.

Warren Green Belt technique.jpgThe first component of the sparring was to fight 5 different opponents for 1 minute each, with body and leg shots only. At one point Jon tagged my daughter as one of my opponents, and unfortunately, my gross motor movements took over and I threw a couple of punches to her ribs that slightly winded her. She told me later that it got her angry so she started swinging back at me as hard as she could, while I regained my senses and purposely held back.  Nothing like a good father-daughter brawl to strengthen the paternal relationship!  I managed to survive with most of my limbs intact, however, the last round was with Jon and he kicked so *hard* that I still felt the after-effects of his kicks for days.

The next component of the sparring I knew would be my biggest challenge, and that was to survive 10 minutes of attack after attack after attack. It would be relentless and I knew that if I could get past it and have enough energy for the last component, I would be home free.  For some reason, perhaps because I was already in a dream state since I was so tired and I was acting purely on adrenaline, I have no idea where the first 5 minutes went.  All I remember was the countdown for 3 minutes left.  However, I was so exhausted and physically drained by that time that whenever I was down on the ground, and people were shouting at me to get up, my body felt like a thousand pounds and I could hardly move.  Jon told me after that he thought I was going to give up but in the end, I fought through the pain and struggled slowly to my feet while throwing feeble punches at my attacker.  I remembered that Jon had told me that the purpose of that part of the test was not to demonstrate clean techniques but to survive.  Keeping that thought in my mind, I was determined to survive while the clock counted down the last few seconds.

The last component of the sparring was to have 5 rounds of 1 minute each with each attacker. One minute went by, and then another, and I knew that I was seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.  While I had zero energy left and nothing more to give, the thought that went through my head was that I was going to dig deep for additional reserves in the last couple of rounds and try to finish strong.  It must have worked because my daughter told me after that I looked stronger in the last two rounds, and my last attacker also said he was surprised that I was still getting some punches through to him even though I was clearly exhausted.  If this was a real-life scenario I still would have been beaten, but I would have had some solace in knowing that I was beaten by a stronger, more rested opponent, and it wouldn’t have been because I gave up and beat myself.

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So that’s the story of my not-so-pretty journey to attain my green belt. I did it, and while I have no doubt that my fellow green belters, and future ones, will be more successful candidates, I faced my limitations honestly, gave no excuses, asked for no allowances, and did what was asked of me.  And knowing that allows me to be content with myself and feel that yes, I earned it.

And in the end, I guess that’s what’s most important.

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Being a Cop: Train First, Apply Later

Posted: November 14, 2017 by Jonathan Fader in Krav Maga Opinions
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Are you Ready? Because he was.

 

So you want to be a cop? If this statement applies to you, then you need to ask your self if you are properly prepared to become a police officer. You should know it is one of the most stressful jobs with a very high rate of PTSD, stress, alcohol abuse and more.

Every year I get numerous people tell me they would like to be a police officer. Half the time they are fresh out of high school, I usually roll my eyes as they are idealistic and still believe the law and justice are blind as it is supposed to be. The reality is not. Thankfully in Canada, the RCMP and almost all police forces will not take people fresh out of high school. They usually want people 25 and older with life experience and bachelors which are all great requirements to set in place. This is because, with such requirements, the individual has had time to grow, experience and get a bit of an education. After all, no one wants a meathead cop with no life skills or education.

The average young person who wants to be a cop usually has between 5-8 years before they will even be near a gun and badge (again I can only speak for Canada, though I know much of the USA has issues with low standards for being a police officer). So what is an ambitious young person to do with all that time? Aside from the obvious which is get a BA, the less obvious is get trained in some form of hand to hand combat style and shooting for tactical purposes.

Unfortunately not enough people do the later of the two as they assume wrongfully they will get enough training in the police academy of their choosing.

In my experience, this is a dangerous mentality as most police academies do not spend sufficient time on hand to hand combat and when they do are often teaching antiquated or terrible techniques. I say this because almost everyone I know who goes in with previous training is often shocked at what is taught and can think of a million reasons why it is garbage. I even know one individual who was a high-level grappler with MMA experience tell me they had to sit them self out during that hand to hand because the refused to do what was taught. (They still became a police officer, so don’t worry.)

With regards to shooting, while all candidates need to qualify on their pistol, in Canada at least, after they become police officers they usually get little range time to keep their skills up. Assuming that once you are an officer of the law, you will time to continue to train is also false.

In Canada, the RCMP at least are subject to 4 days of 12-hour shifts with four days off. However, they end up doing a lot of overtime, due to the poor way in which the organisation is structured. Add on family obligations, rest and other general tasks and training usually falls away as a priority. This is a dangerous mistake, as skills can be lost and is not beneficially to you as the officer, or the public you are sworn to protect.

So what is an ambitious young person who wishes to be a police officer to do right out of Highschool? The answer should be obvious by now. Train! Get that BA if it’s a requirement, and get some general life skills or field experience such as volunteering for community policing or do security. But above all else TRAIN! If it is going to be 5-8 years maybe even longer before you become a police officer that is more than enough time to attain a Blue, Brown or Black Belt in any particular appropriate style.

Of course, I prefer, Krav Maga, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo or other styles suitable for policing but the reality is training in combatives is important for you to understand violence and be competent enough to apply it appropriately as a job when under duress, which you will be constantly.

In the end of the day, Grades mean nothing when you are approaching a violent suspect or criminal and will do nothing to protect you but proper training will. In addition to hand to hand combat, it is advised you put in the time at the range or at the very least practising dry fire with pistols, shotguns and carbines as these are the platforms most police will need to know.

So you want to be a cop? Great, I hope you make a great one. But if you are fresh to the adult world put together a proper plan to give you the correct skills that you may not actually get in the police academies even though they are ones you need. And Trust me, you will not get proper training to the level you require. Much of the training you will get is to do with the laws and paperwork. If a training academy is only 3-6 months long how can you possibly attain proper proficiency in hand to hand combat or shooting when mastery takes far longer than that. So would you risk putting your life on such a limited amount of training? I certainly would not.

Your plan should include, getting an appropriate education, getting into shape and achieving high physical fitness and training yourself properly in Hand to hand combat and shooting PRIOR to becoming a cop. Again, trust me, you probably won’t have much time after, and by then it’s too late.

So you want to be a cop? Train now, Apply later.

On this Haloween day, this seems an appropriate topic. On Halloween, we dress up as things we might not actually be. We pretend to be things we are not to fantasize and step out of our personal reality if only for a brief moment. Perhaps we dress and act as we wish we could be, and for a brief moment, we are allowed with out judgment to be just that. So how well do you know yourself based on what you do for Halloween, do you know yourself as well as you think? or just like Halloween are you just pretending.

 

Sun Tsu Quot Art of War.jpg

 

Sun Tsu is a Chinese military strategist who lived thousands of years ago. There is still much debate about who the person really was but one thing is for certain who ever they were they managed to leave a legacy longer than most. The quote above is from the Art of War. A book on military strategy and philosophy still taught today in Military academies around the world.

Personally, I think it is one of the few pieces of literature that should be mandatory to learn and study at some point in everyone’s standard education. For these lessons can be applied to far more than just war. They have been applied to business and relationships and pretty much every interaction that involves interpersonal connections through out history whether people know it or not.

I believe that everything there is to know about being human was already learned thousands of years ago the various ancient civilisations that once were now gone but not forgotten. Though have we forgotten that which is most important? Sure we know a bit about ancient history and philosophy, but as humans, we seem to be constantly relearning the things they already knew.

So thousands of years ago, Sun Tsu, knew that knowing one’s self is the most important thing to victory. For most humans, Ego is the enemy of Self. It can prevent a person from looking within and accepting who they truly are whether they like what they find or not. Accepting yourself. Accepting your limitations. Accepting your skillsets. Accepting what you can and cannot do, can only come from knowing one’s self.

For some, this is easy. For others, it is a long and painful journey. No matter who you are, however, it is a journey you must take if you ever hope to succeed.

One of the first and hardest questions you have to ask is, do you like who you are as a person. If the answer is yes, ask again, are you lying to yourself? If the answer is no, they find out what it is you don’t like about your self.

Generally, when the answer is no, you have two options.

  1. Change your self –Change that which you don’t like about yourself or your life no matter how hard so that you can become the person you want to be. The journey can be hard, harder still if you let your ego overcome and allow yourself to lie to yourself on what you must do to change.
  2. Accept your self for who you are – The positive side is you may find the path to happiness shorter, the negative is if you have attributes that others find problematic, you may constantly find stress in interactions with others. However, if you truly accept yourself, you won’t care.

Regardless of which of these two routes you take, as both are correct answers, once you know yourself and accept yourself, you will still face numerous external challenges. People will often accuse you that you don’t know yourself that well, even if you do. Sometimes a person fails to articulate effectively how well they know themselves. Or worse, they fail to take the steps necessary to show others.

The later of these statements usually applies to people stuck in option One. They know themselves, don’t like themselves but don’t know how or are unwilling to truly make the changes necessary. In my observation again it is usually ego that prevents people from knowing and accepting their limitations. YES, you have limitations and NO you cannot do what ever you set your mind to no matter how much you believe, because no you cannot defy the laws of the known universe or the reality of the world around you.

While choosing option 2, because you don’t care, you will be called egotistical along with numerous other names. Or the classic, let me help you. Sometimes when a person says they don’t want to be helped its because they don’t. Though it should not be confused with a person who doesn’t want your help because they are letting their ego get in the way. Since we do not mind readers, you will never really know which applies. Know the issue with option two is that sometimes it can be quite isolating, but this too is something you must accept should you wish to be happy.

Another big problem is keeping things realistic. Sometimes belief in one’s self can blind. You must not confuse ego, with evidence based beliefs in one’s self. It can be again, a difficult line to tell. If you know yourself, but are 5’6 and know you want to be a basket ball player in the NBA then chances are you are lying to yourself about the reality of the world you live in. Part of accepting yourself is knowing legitimately what you can and cannot do and what is realistically possible. Believing anything else again is a lie and will only lead to more self-doubt and misery. Accepting such realities can be a hard thing, but it is something you must too if you truly wish to know yourself.

Though I am sure this post is nothing but words on a page to you and will do little to bring some introspective reality into your search for self and happiness within, Know this. Everything that has ever been needed to know about being human has already been learnt. You just need to open your eyes, look within and accept. Accept what the ancients already knew, that accepting one’s self in all the beauty and ugliness both within and without is the only true path to happiness and ultimately personal success.

Side Note: Being happy with being morbidly obese is not ok. Or being happy with other things that affect your health in a way that is overtly negative, outside of moderation is also not ok.  You are not doing your self, or your loved ones a favour and continuing to believe other wise is you simply not willing to do the work to overcome your ego and be a better version of yourself. So please, stop with this kind of nonsense beliefs.

Krav Maga teaches aggression which allows you to over come your opponents no matter the size? Sound familer? Or how about this. Learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu will allow smaller people to beat bigger people every time?

While partially true statements they only show part of a much larger picture. Believing either of those two statements out right can be dangerous. Like everything else, we must approach it with realistic eyes and not beliefs that baseless in reality.

So let’s start with the basics.

Time for some Newtonian Physics! Which I am by no means in any way shape or form an expert on considering I didn’t even take high school physics and yet some how came to understand through practising martial arts. Yay Practical experience!

Newtons Second Law: In an inertial reference frame, the vector sum of the forces F on an object is equal to the mass m of that object multiplied by the acceleration a of the object: F = ma.

Newtons Third Law: When one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction on the first body.

So what does this mean? It means, there is a reason there are weight classes in professional fighting. Of course, if a person who is 100lbs has 5 black belts and has been training for 30 years, they will most likely win a fight against a person who is 200lbs with 0 fighting experience.

However, an individual who is heavier and has more mass can because of physics exert far more force with relatively less energy. If a person who is 100lbs hits a person twice their size, they will have to hit considerably harder to do significant damage compared to the opposite. For them, the larger opponent with out even doing anything is exerting and force back simply by having mass.

This is the reason we target soft targets in Krav Maga, like the groin, the throat and the eyes. By using Biological weak spots, we are not ignoring physics just finding a “cheat” around it.

However, in training, we should never intentionally be trying to hurt our training partners. As such, we should always take physics into account to avoid mass related injuries and unnecessary head trauma like concussions.

In Sparring, we often tell our students to go 10% as we want them to work on range, speed, technique, movement etc. rather than trying to kill each other every time. This means that a 200lbs person’s 10% when sparring a person who is 100lbs also going 10% they are not equal in force due to their mass and size difference. So really to encourage a healthy training environment the larger person might actually need to go 1% of their power

So what does this mean in real street situations? It means that just because you have training and skill that aggression and speed alone cannot always overcome larger opponents. And believing anything to the contrary can be dangerous.

Imagine a scenario where you are 100lbs, and for whatever reason, you cannot use the biological cheat to down your opponent, it will be a momentous feat if you can overcome a much larger opponent with strikes alone. While not impossible it may take far too long for practical self defense.

It also means that for smaller practitioners it is probably a good idea to cross train Krav Maga or other forms of practical self defense training with some kind of Grappling. I recommend BJJ of course, but other types are also acceptable. This is because with little effort a much larger opponent will have an easier time putting you on the ground either intentionally with skill and technique or unintentionally with simple physics.

So remember, because of the laws of physics size DOES matter in hand to hand combat situations. The smaller you are, the more you need to train to raise your overall skill level to cheat physics safely.

Don’t feel bad though, being smaller or shorter as a human I have heard means you get to live longer as your heart has to work less against gravity through out its life. (Fact Check Please) Though, even if its proven wrong I will still like to beleive it to justify being short…

So remember, No Groin, NO KRAV MAGA!

Every morning in the wild a gazelle awakens. One thing is for sure for the gazelle for that day, as every other: She must run faster than the fastest lion. If she cannot, she will be killed and eaten.

Every morning, a lion awakens. For the lion, too, one thing is certain. This day, and everyday, he must run faster than the slowest gazelle.

Whether fate names you a gazelle or a lion is of no consequence. It is enough to know that with the rising of the sun, you must run, and you must run faster than the day before, for the rest of your days, or you will die.

We all have to run; run the race of life. – An African Poem, Race of Life, Netflix 2017

Occasionally instead of putting on my usual Netflix debauchery, I find it soothing to watch a nature series or documentary. Recently, I started to watch the shot Race for life on Netflix. The beginning starts with the poem as written above.

Of course, I have seen variations of this quote prior usually on motivational posters or in business guides, but this is so far my favourite.

It seems to me despite what the Lion King taught us about the circle of life, the newer generation either do not understand it, accept it or simply ignore it. This two is applied to evolution and how it operates. There is a common myth believed by most that evolution has some kind of definitive set end goal. The truth is it does not. It is simply a mechanism following some kind of not tangible universal code based on the principles of action and reaction.

For the gazelle to avoid the lion it developed speed and agility, and for the lion to catch the gazelle it must rely on explosive power, strength and strategy. Evolution is simply the action of one species or entity reacting to its environment or predators so that it can best continue to exist as a species. The saying, Adapt or Die could never be truer.

As you can see above, each species reacts to the others defence mechanism so that it can better survive.  – Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder

When it comes to the environment for example, though I fully support sustainable practices, it is also a myth that the environment must stay in a constate static state. With or with out human intervention or existence it operates on an action reaction potential. Species have lived and died for millions and millions of years prior to human existence because they like us now operate based on the same universal code that guides the evolutionary process.

Let’s take a look at the free market and apply the evolutionary process as well. Cars to be specific. If you look at any decade you can often see a distinct style and specification for cars. There was once a time for example when big cars with big engines were popular. Now it’s all about fuel efficiency and safety. So how do the evolutionary principles of adapt or die apply here? Simple, Auto makers must adapt their product lines to which are being sold based on the consumers purchasing power. If an automaker continues to make the same thing because that’s what they are known for unless they are trying to be a small niche market, they too will most likely die because they failed to adapt. As the consumer no longer demands the product that they are offering.

We can sit here and pretend things will always be the way they always were or are but this is foolish as this does not seem to be how things work, anywhere.

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I recently wrote an article called The Specialist vs the Generalist. One of my students told me there definitely needs to be specialist which I do address albeit briefly, and yes I agree. However, just like in nature specialist do not adapt well to change. Usually, species that are overly specialised will parish should anything drastically change such as their food source adapting to them or the environment changing. While species that are more generalistic in nature can either adapt to the new settings, such as find a new food source. or move to a new location and adapts as has happened many times in the past. For example species in the past that were once land dwelling but are now aquatic or were aquatic but are now land dwelling.

I again make the argument that for the time being humans when compared to other species are in general generalists.

As always I like to connect things to Krav Maga and Self defence when possible. In a given self defense situation, it is unlikely that things will go according to the way you trained in the gym. And this is to be expected. A good Kravist can evolve and adapt in the moment based on their training, experience and ability to survive any given situation. This is why I focus heavy on critical thinking in training in addition to our moves. The ability to critically think in the moment gives you the greater chance to evolve and adapt while still applying Krav Maga principles like retzev (Continous Attack).

This is probably why so many traditional martial arts fail to be practical in realistic self defense. They chose to stay rigid and strong to the cultural and regional beliefs or methods that did not apply in other areas of the world. Or they adapted in the wrong way to focus more on sports application thus making them less adapted for the street.

I really do not know, at least on an intrinsic level why people fear change so much. I guess it’s currently a primal reaction that we are having difficulty evolving out of. The reality is, whether you are a gazelle or a lion, rich or poor, black or white, a planet, a sun the universe. If you cannot adapt to the change around you, you will only struggle, stagnate and die (literally or figuratively).

So just like the Gazelle or Lion keep on running and learn to adapt in a way that gives you a long, healthy and meaningful life.