Archive for the ‘Krav Maga in General’ Category

rcmp

I’ve been at the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) training academy, better known as Depot, for two months now.   My experience here so far has been amazing, and a major part of that is due to my Krav Maga training at UTKM.  Krav Maga has helped me in more ways than one while I’ve been at Depot.  Of course, there’s the obvious, such as doing the Police Use of Force classes, that I have an advantage because I am familiar with being in a combative environment and learning the techniques comes with ease.  But the bigger role that Krav Maga has played for me is the mental strength to keep going forward.  Just like when defending yourself, one of the objectives is to keep moving forward (of course with the added continuous strikes to your attacker) and that’s exactly what I’ve been doing.  Taking on one task at a time and progressively always moving forward.  Even if I’m not exactly sure what to do, doing something is better than doing nothing.  For example, if you need to defend yourself against a person with a knife and your not sure what to do, its much better to do something, like a punch, kick, bite, eye gouge (even if that’s not the correct defence), than stand there doing nothing.

A moment in training that Krav Maga has been the most helpful for me was overcoming extreme physical pain.  One thing at Depot that all Cadets must go through is getting OC sprayed, commonly called pepper spray.  And that day came for me.  I had a bit of an idea that being OD’d was gonna sting the eyes. My thought was that it was gonna feel like the burn you get when sweat runs into your eyes.  Wow, was I ever wrong.  As soon as the OC spray hit my face it didn’t feel too bad.  I blinked once or twice and then BAM! The pain shot through the roof! My eyes completely shut and stung like acid was just poured onto them and my entire face felt like it was engulfed in flames.  But of course, we are tough RCMP Cadets and must run an obstacle course that combined both physical parts and thinking parts.  Immediately when I felt the pain, my Krav Maga training kicked in.  I pried my eyes open using my hands and moved forward and didn’t stop until the job was done.  In a way, I related this experience to one of my belt tests I had done earlier at UTKM before Depot.  It was essentially the same but trade the pain for exhaustion.  Even though I felt so tired during my belt test that I thought I was going to pass out, I still had to keep going.

The “mental conditioning” that Krav Maga teaches is truly something great.  The ability to overcome, fight through and always be focused is very important.  Not panicking in a situation where you need all your energy and focus to get through is something I’ve learned at UTKM and am truly grateful for my instructors sharing their knowledge, experience and skills with me.  Krav Maga is more than self-defense, it’s your fighting spirit.   ”

Editors note: This is not RCMP Training but a comparable scenario. I have been Bear Maced and had a face full of Military Grade Tear gas, it is not pleasant but can be tolerated if the need arises. However, I do not recommend you try this at home or with out proper supervision and medical personel available.

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The Specialist vs the Generalist

Posted: September 12, 2017 by Jonathan Fader in Krav Maga Opinions
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On Sat August 26th one of the most anticipated fights in boxing history occurred. If you do not know what I am talking about, then you live under a rock. For one of the greatest Boxers of all time, albeit not such a nice person, Floyd “Money” Mayweather squared off against UFC Bantam and Feather weight champ Conor “Notorious” McGregor. They would be of course be fighting in a boxing match under the appropriately established boxing rules. In the end, the champion boxer won out with a mildly controversial TKO in the 10th round. Despite Conor’s domination in the early rounds eventually, his gas tank ran out allowing Mayweather to turn it on. However, had this been an MMA fight or a fight with no rules than with out a doubt Conor would have easily won and probably quite quickly.

The fight brought up a good question. That is the one of specialisation vs Generalisation both in life and in Self Defense.

If you follow the traditional academic model, they will often push for specialisation. The entire post secondary structure is set up for this. Take a B.A. with a major, then masters focusing more on that topic and then a P.h.D further specialisation. Because of these or society or at least in the west has been heavily convinced that specialisation is the way to go. As many Millennials will know, all their post secondary education still has them working at the corner Starbucks or some other low paying job. So much for the dream right?

Or how about the trades. I know more people in the trades employed right out of school than traditional education. So are they specialists or generalists? By definition, they are experts usually specialising in plumbing, electrical, frame work etc. However, I would make the argument that the excellent tradesmen are a mix. 60% specialisation in their trade and 40% knowledge in the other occupations. This is because a building requires many trades with many skills all working together to put up the same thing. So a tradesperson that only knows his craft as experience will tell is more likely to make decisions without regard to what the other trades needs are causing problems in building construction.

So how about Krav Maga or self-defence. Well, in a real fight, it was established Conor would win and that’s because he is a generalist. A good Kravist will be a little good at every style and maybe very good at one, usually striking but not always.

When it comes to self-defense, and I would make the argument in life it is better to be a generalist. Why? That’s Because generalists are far more adaptive to any given situation and can draw from more information and general experience to come to the correct solution for all. When it comes to life or death situations, you do not get to pick what form of attack your assailant will have. Nor do you get to pick when or how. As such being prepared for anything even if your skills are only mediocre in each gives you the greater probability that you will succeed. It’s not like you will be going 12 rounds after all wear a specialist can wear you down. You have 10-20 or 30 seconds to block the attacks and get to safety.

In life, I also make the argument to more of a generalist. While once upon a time the average person had maybe 1 or 2 jobs their entire life meaning specialisation was a requirement now we are probably looking at anywhere from 6-10 or even more jobs in their life. Not only that with technologically advanced life changes so rapidly it can be hard to keep up. By being generalised or less of a specialist, you will have an easier time adapting to a situation no matter what it is as you have not painted yourself into a corner with a specific mindset that limits you when you are outside of your comfortable parameters. This is particularly the case as in the past your entire family were known as the blacksmith or the farmer, and you could make a guaranteed living. Now in the 21st centurury, there is so much competition for almost all fields that unless you are the best of the best then specialising is risky business as you now have limited your options should the world change.

Not only that, the success of a species when it comes to an evolutionary perspective is all about adapting. The environment can change around you, and you may not know why or how, but if you can adapt and change you will thrive. For as they say, adapt or die.

Now I am not saying we shouldn’t have specialists. If I needed brain surgery, I would rather go with the specialist who has done it 100 times that the generalist who has only done it once. What I am saying is that though in particular scenarios such as medical surgery specialisation is needed, in general, it is better to be a generalist. Let the best of the best be the specialists. For everyone else, both in self-defense and in life I guarantee you if you have a more general and adaptable skill set your life will be better off for it.

This video has been circling my Facebook feed for a while. There is much wrong with this scenario and I would like to discuss it, but first, watch and contemplate.

Here are a few things that come to mind:

  1. Never draw a weapon you are not willing to use –

    The police officer had already given the man numerous warnings. The man had already attempted to physically steal something from someone indicating he may be violent. When he drew his taser he gave several warnings and was almost in arms reach. Yet he hesitated. Why he did so I can only guess but the reality is from the moment you draw any weapon lethal or not you must do so knowing that you may have to use it in a matter of seconds. I always teach that hesitation can mean death with it comes to life or death situations. This perhaps is one of the reasons I dislike indecision. In Canada when it comes to firearms safety there is a rule that you should never point a gun at something you are not willing to shoot and the same goes in this case. The officer gave far too many warning for my liking and got far too close to a man who had his hands in his pockets and a history. Thus if you aren’t willing to use the weapon no matter its lethality then drawing it will only make things worse.

  2. Always assume they have a weapon –

    This is one of the basic concepts I teach. Along with assuming they have friends. In this case, a police officer should assume this 100% especially when they refuse to take their hands out of the pocket after so many warnings. Even if it had been a knife the individual would still have been close enough to launch forward with it, remember the 21-foot rule. In failing to make the decision that this individual had a weapon it could have delayed the response of the officer who could have clearly shot the taser in time to at least stun the attacker prior to pulling the trigger (though this would not be a guarantee.)

  3. The proximity is concerning –

    The officer got very close. Drawing the taser means he could have shot from a farther distance, again I bring up the knife scenario. Being this close, however, and with a free hand (not on the taser. The officer could have if he knew how used his free hand to re-direct the firearm or the assailant’s arm just long enough to avoid a shot and deploy his own weapon. It is, however, quite common for police officers to be lacking such skills. Which is especially dangerous the closer to someone you are as with this case. Had he been farther away also it is possibly more shots would have missed due to the fact pistols are hard to shoot and the nature in which the assailant was holding the pistol.

  4. Luck had every thing to do with survival –

    Luck had every thing to do with survival – This officer clearly misread this situation and was extremely lucky. As mentioned above pistols are difficult to be accurate with out training but at point-blank range which this was can be deadly. THe officer is lucky that he turned in time to avoid any fatal shots. Sometimes when you make the wrong decision, or even if you make the right one the difference is only ever luck and nothing more. Never forget this.

 

If you have more videos you would like me to analyze or comment on sent the links to info@urbantacticscanada.com

 

There is a myth among the public that a quick seminar can teach you everything you know about self-defense. Quite frankly this is a lie. I bring this topic up every once in a while and I am sure a repeat myself but it comes up so much when people ask me about seminars it’s worth repeating.

No, you cannot learn much in a 2-hour seminar that attempts to cover the entirety of Krav Maga. So please stop asking me and stop asking any serious self-defense expert. Yes, Krav Maga at least is easy to learn but not that quickly.

at my schools though I do offer seminars but they are topic specific seminars. Each topic ranging from knife survival to clothing and weapons of opportunity is usually about 4 hours. Usually, In this time I will cover as much of the UTKM white-Orange belt curriculum that pertains to the specific topic and as much of the advanced application I can pending the skill level of the participants. However in reality, for each topic, I could probably run a week long seminar and still not cover everything.

The purpose of the seminars at UTKM is to give a broader more complete perspective on the specific topic that might other wise take months of a regular training to get. They are also to help new students understand how much there is to learn and how much practice they will need and for the more advanced students to refine their skills and also learn something new.

It doesn’t matter if you have done the seminar before with the same instructor or a new one. There are always new ways to approach things and new drills to practice. Especially as there is so much to learn about each topic. I have never gone to a seminar I have already been too and not walked away with at least something new. And to be honest, even if you learned 100 new things the reality is you will probably only remember a 10th of it so even if you are learning the same things you will still probably walk away better for it.

Remember one of UTKMs core values is to never stop learning and growing so to all former, current and potential new students when time and budget permits always come to our seminars or other peoples seminars when you can.

Life:

noun
1. the condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death.
2. the existence of an individual human being or animal.

You have to want it

But what is life really? This is a question so many of us ask our selves, as is simply existing life or is it something more.

As always when teaching students Krav Maga inevitably come students that are not quite aggressive enough. Upon teaching one student recently I told them, “cmon you have to want it. ”

You have to want it more than youre afraid of itThis got me thinking. In Krav Maga, wanting it is committing in an aggressive fashion apply Krav Maga principles and retzev while being relentless until the threat has stopped. In this case, wanting life is due to an immediate threat to life. If you hesitate or let up, there is a good chance in a violent situation things might not go your way. In Krav Maga, wanting life is about commitment to your action, in an almost singular focus driving forward with constant pressure until you are sure your life guarded. In such cases, you wanted your life bad enough to do what it took to survive.

In some ways, you might say I have adopted this attitude towards many aspects of life, hence the saying Krav Maga is a lifestyle and a way of thinking.

As an instructor, teacher, coach or what ever title some wish to give to me, I find my self often giving out advice to students or people outside of Krav Maga class. Sometimes it’s wanted, and sometimes it’s not wanted but needed. The thing is my advice often ends up being the same. You have to want it!

On Mental Health:

I often tell people the story of my manic depressive episode, which I won’t go into lengthdesire-to-change here. But for me, it was a 2-3 week period where things were not the way they should have been. After realizing things were not right, I got my self off the couch, I got my self-help and I did everything for my self to get better because I wanted to. In my case, those around me didn’t know how to help or didn’t recognize a problem so I did it my self.

Often when I talk to students or people about mental health issues, I will listen and in the end, the advice is always the same. How badly do you want to get better and what are you going to do about it. The choice is simple, you have to want to get better and you have to take the actions (not words) in order to get better. The choice is easy, the execution is hard, and so many are too fearful to make the required changes. In such cases, can’t is often won’t (Though in some cases biology wins out and medication or other things may be required to create a baseline level)

 

 

Mental health can be tough, and for some, they need out side help. But remember, YOU HAVE TO WANT IT. YOU Have to get better and YOU have to take the actions to make your life the way YOU want it.

On Entrepreneurship:

You have to hard workOn this topic I often find myself banging my head on the wall because I see the same thing over and over. I see people who like the idea of being a business owner or entrepreneur but fail to understand what that means. What it means is working 60 + hour weeks, working second jobs, being your own marketer, being your own carpenter, being your own driver, being your own well EVERYTHING. Why? because unless you are lucky enough to get large investments and I mean LARGE investments you will not be able to hire the people with the required skill set and drive to do those things for you. Because trust me, the people who can are worth a lot. Volunteers and helpers unless they are as driven and hard working as you will often just be a hindrance or at the very least a great source of frustration.

So you want to be our own boss, and take your life into your hands. Well, guess what, YOU have to want it. YOU have to do more work than you ever imaged. YOU will deal with the hardships and the millions of non-stop obstacles that other people and the world will throw at you. Belief is not enough if YOU don’t do the work.

There was a myth propagated a while ago by the book The Secret that many people bought into that if you simply believe you will get what you want. The issue is the common thread among all the people used as examples was that they all put in lots and LOTS of hard work and time.

If YOU aren’t willing to put in more than you thought you would and YOU are willing to forgo your social life or other things to make YOUR life the way you want it through business and entrepreneurship then YOU are only lying to yourself. so are YOU going to want it bad enough for your own life’s sake?

In General:

I could apply this to numerous other situations but in order to simplify it and keep this short, I will say, in general, YOU need to want what ever it is you want. So long as you keep it legal, and do not physically harm anyone in the process then YOU need to do what ever it is YOU need to do to get where you want. YOU want to survive a violent situation, then YOU have to want it by applying the appropriate force and strategy even if it hurts or is not comfortable or pushes your boundaries. YOU want to get better from mental illness then YOU need to take charge and make the required actions in your life including hard changes to get better. DO NOT BLAME YOUR MENTAL ILLNESS, or use it as a crutch or excuse. YOU need to take charge and move forward. YOU want to own your own business so take charge of your life then YOU need to do the work until it has been built into something more. No excuses, YOU just need to do it and move forward. YOU, not other people.

So life, do YOU want it?

This is part of a series on our instructor training program. To understand this series and how our Assistant Instructor Course and Full Instructor Course work, please start with Part 1. This post is a self-introduction from one of our current Assistant Instructor candidates.

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When I first started Krav Maga about 2 years ago, it quickly became a passion of mine. Krav Maga has since then developed into a way of life for me. My name is Vick and I am a current Orange Belt at Urban Tactics Krav Maga. I grew up in Surrey, BC and have spent most of my life there. Even though Surrey may have a pretty rough reputation, I must say that I love it. That’s my hometown and it always will be.

 

Alongside Krav Maga, another passion of mine is health and fitness. I love hitting the gym and being in the “zone”. Something about lifting heavy weights, having good music blasting in your ears, and getting an intense cardio session gives me a feeling like no other. I believe everyone should experience this feeling. Just getting in some sort of exercise for the day is a great mood booster and gives you that positive outlook on life to solve all of life’s hurdles.

I have had no other martial arts training prior to joining Urban Tactics. I have been built from the ground up and can definitely say that Krav Maga has made me into a better overall person in all aspects of life. Krav Maga interested me as seemed to be more of a tactical self-defense system as opposed to a sport fighting martial art. I love the tactical aspect that Krav Maga brings. It combines the hand to hand combat with firearms training and brings that real-world training that I wanted.

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I have had a great experience training Krav Maga at Urban Tactics. All the instructors have provided me with the best knowledge and their teaching methods are very easy to understand. The ranking tests are my favourite part of our gym. It truly tests you as an individual as you must bring out the most physical, mental, and technical toughness you have. This is something I really enjoy. The most important thing that I have learned while training at Urban Tactics is applying principles and critical thinking. Being in a situation that is unfamiliar and not knowing what to do is scary. That’s why learning and applying the principles is so important and is definitely the most important thing I have learned alongside critical thinking. Critical thinking can be used in all areas of life, not just self-defense. It has taught me to look at situations on a deeper level and get a better understanding. This is helpful no matter what you do in your life. This is how Krav Maga has developed into a way of life for me.

Being in a situation that is unfamiliar and not knowing what to do is scary. That’s why learning and applying the principles is so important and is definitely the most important thing I have learned alongside critical thinking.

IMG_2098Once I was given the opportunity to be a Krav Maga instructor at Urban Tactics, I quickly jumped on it. I really enjoy teaching as a general interest, however being able to teach a field that I am highly passionate about, makes me very happy. I love being able to share my knowledge that I have learned with current and future students, developing them in every way that I can to make them better. My experience with the instructor course has been awesome. Jon is an incredible instructor and highly knowledgeable. It’s easy to keep engaged in the material when it is interesting and the instructor keeps it a fun learning environment.

Over the 2 years, I have trained Krav Maga at Urban Tactics, I have had the best experience. It has developed my physical, mental, and technical abilities and has created an overall better way of life for me. Being an instructor is the best way to share all of this with students and develop them further and create better people each and every day.

-Vick

This is part of a series on our instructor training program. To understand this series and how our Assistant Instructor Course and Full Instructor Course work, please start with Part 1. This post is a self-introduction from one of our current Assistant Instructor candidates.

Petra-My name is Petra and I’m the cat lady on the team. I moved from Germany to Vancouver in December 2012 (my hometown is Seifhennersdorf.) Yes, I’m a German doing Krav Maga.

In 1986, I entered school and my parents decided that I need a balance for all the studying and educating my mind was doing and because the Judo Dojo was the closest sports facility where I lived, I ended up doing Judo. And because we don’t quit, I didn’t quit doing Judo till 2002 when I graduated from university and life kicked in. My knees and other joints are still thankful for that break.

I heard about Krav Maga before but kind of ignored it, only later I read more about it and found it quite interesting. One day my roomie (in Vancouver) was searching the Groupon site and because I was sitting next to her I saw a Groupon for Krav Maga at a gym in downtown Vancouver. I went there and did a free trial class, couldn’t move for a week and came back. This was in December 2015. I knew so little then. In September 2016, the classes got discontinued and I needed a new gym. I asked around and a friend of mine told me about two gyms that offer Krav Maga – one downtown but he said if I wanted to train real Krav Maga I should go to UTKM. And so I did. Now I’m here.

My experience with Krav Maga

I find Krav Maga very applicable for real life situations. It is not only the techniques but also the mental aspect, e.g. assessing situations, recognizing the threat, etc. The big difference in comparison to classic martial arts like Judo is that you don’t have to train for years to apply the techniques. The system is simple and works with natural instincts.

I personally don’t think that most martial arts, as they are usually taught, are that great for self-defense. First of all, there are rules and there is a code of honour that both sides respect, usually you only deal with one opponent at a time and there are no weapons involved. Rules and codes of honour don’t work in a street fight. You always have to expect the attacker to have weapons and/or friends who are going to help them if they are having trouble mugging you. When I was taught self-defense as part of the Judo schedule, it didn’t cover the four stages of a violent situation (avoidance, diffusion, pre-emptive, reactive) or to avoid the ground.

These are just a couple of things right off the top of my head. Don’t get me wrong – I love Judo! And I’m still benefitting a lot from the training that I have received, but as somebody who started out as a more traditional martial artist, I learned that Bushido (武士道) – the way of the warrior – is different from self-defense. But it is great because I can be both – a Judoka and a Kravist. I know I’m getting here a little bit into the philosophical aspect of martial arts and I hope that you can follow my thoughts.

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Moving here from Germany by myself means that I don’t have too many friends or a social network at all. UTKM has a great community and I feel comfortable training here. Yes, I like most of my fellow students.

One day, still with my white belt, our Lead Instructor Jon asked me if I wanted to become an Assistant Instructor. It was definitely something I had in mind, but I didn’t think of myself being ready. There are still so many things I have to learn. But apparently, we will cover many of these things during the course.

I was thinking about why I want to become an instructor. Self-defense is definitely one aspect of it, but I also want to help people to become more confident. Especially, women tend to be very hard on themselves and I want them to know that regardless of age or size – you can learn to defend yourself. Just be patient and take your time. Nothing happens over night and it is better to move forward with baby steps than not moving at all. I consider myself lucky because my parents never told me that there is anything I cannot do because I’m a girl, and my dad (I’m very proud of my dad because although he was born 1930 he always had a very modern point of view) would have kicked my butt if I ever caved before one of those idiots who believed that they are better only because they have the XY chromosome pair. I understand that physically the average women is not as strong as the average man, but that doesn’t mean you cannot put up a fight when getting attacked. And also ladies – get used to the fact that there is no knight in shining armour coming to rescue you. Get your butt up and learn to take care of yourself!

So far, the Assistant Instructor Course has been interesting.

We’ve learned about the history of Krav Maga, different schools, etc. – very confusing BTW. We have also learned a lot of things that happen in the background of a Krav Maga school, e.g. admin work. And of course, we’ve learned about teaching. But most importantly for me, it’s that Krav Maga is a sophisticated system and covers more than physical training.

Once I’m ready to teach (of course supervised at first), I already have some “fun” games in mind and I’m really looking forward to that. But first comes the orange belt test which scares me, but I’m also excited – if that makes sense.

Hope to see you in class!

Petra

This is part of a series on our instructor training program. To understand this series and how our Assistant Instructor Course and Full Instructor Course work, please start with Part 1. This post is a self-introduction from one of our current Assistant Instructor candidates.

In the beginning there was darkness, a black hole of nothing. Then in the light, there was Krav Maga. As silly as this may sound, this is Krav Maga for me. My name is Karch Tan, and this is my crazy reason to why I decided to listen to our Lead Instructor, Jon and become an Assistant Instructor.

It all started in a far away time, in the summer of 2010. It was a summer like all summers, you know the kind. The summer where you find yourself and discover new things. This was the summer I found out how big of an asshole people could be, it was the summer in which I got mugged. Without getting into too much detail, I’ll sum up the whole experience with two feelings: fear and frustration.

Fear. You hear about these kinds of things happening to other people, but you never expect it to happen to you. I grew up living a safe neighborhood, where nothing really ever happened. Deluded in my self-awareness of the world, I always thought the best of people, and boy, was I ever wrong.

Frustration. I was angry. I was angry at the people who took my money, the people who threatened to spray me with bear mace and beat me up. I was angry at myself. I was mad because I was helpless to do anything. I was mad because I couldn’t stop thinking about what happened and what I could have done. I was mad at all the “what if” scenarios going across my head. What if I was with my girlfriend and they wanted something more than money, what if they did attack me without provocation, what if I did attack them, would I have won?

This led me to a fun road to some extreme paranoia and anxiety. I started to become more secluded, never wanting to leave the house. I was afraid of the people at my school. I knew it was becoming unhealthy for me, and I had to do something about it. A friend suggested on taking martial arts, which began another fun journey with me bouncing around from one martial art to another.

It began with Taekwondo, which I did for half a year. While I enjoyed what I was learning, it just didn’t seem practical and felt too traditional. Then I went and tried a couple of months of kickboxing and Muay Thai. This felt more like my style, but I still felt like it was missing a certain… Je ne sais quoi? After months of trying to find a martial art to satisfy my refined taste, I was ready to give up. Until I saw a rerun episode of Spike TV’s Deadliest Warrior, the episode pitted the Navy Seals against the Israeli Commandos. The show talked about the aggressive martial art that the Israelis used called Krav Maga. Remembering that I had seen a couple of gyms during my search, I decided to look for a gym and try out a class.

 

Fast forward to my first day of Krav Maga. We were asked to drill a situation where a person has a knife pointed at you. The instructor quickly demonstrated slapping the person’s knife hand away and quickly kicking them at the groin. And that was it. It was simple and it made sense. No extra complicated moves. He wasn’t giving us 4 other different ways to do it from different angles. It was simple and effective. With that I knew, Krav Maga was going to be different. What they were teaching was practical. Anybody could do it and it was easy to remember. With that, I knew I had found my cup of tea.

walkinpeaceSo why did I decide to become an instructor? The generic answer would be to tell you that I want to teach people to be safe, and so they could safely get home at night to see their loved ones. However, in reality, nothing is that simple. I hated the feeling that I had to go through after getting mugged. The frustration, the self hatred, the fear. I would never want anyone to go through that kind of pain or experience and I know that I’m no superhero. I can’t simply appear where ever someone is about to get mugged or about to get into a violent situation. The best I can do is to teach someone to protect themselves and to give them the confidence they need so they can walk in peace.

The instructor course is incredibly humbling. It tells me that I have a long way to go and that I still have tons to learn. It’s eye opening to see how much an instructor has to keep in mind when they teach. Diving deeper into the ideas and constructs on what a UTKM instructor is suppose to teach to their students: not only technical and physical aspects, but also mental aspects. This helps to put into place the puzzle pieces in my head of what I have been learning about becoming a better martial artist. My only complaint about the course is the lack of multiple choice questions on the tests.

This blog post is written by one of our female students who wishes to remain anonymous. Names in this article have been altered for the sake of anonymity.

I have been doing Krav Maga at Urban Tactics Krav Maga for a few months now. I am a 46-year-old mother of three: a teenage daughter and two adult sons. I started Krav partly because my family does it and partly because I work as a paramedic and occasionally find myself in some tense and even dangerous situations on the job.

Another student in our class recently came across an advertisement online for a women’s only Krav Maga class and asked me what I thought about it and if I would write a post on the subject.

When I consider a women’s only self-defense class, it seems counter-productive to me. I understand women’s only dance or yoga classes. Some people feel uncomfortable exercising in the presence of the opposite sex and that’s fine. Self-defense classes, however, seem to be based in self-defense, first and foremost. That’s the most important thing.

In the first class that I sparred with a man, I hesitated. I was not aggressive. Partly, it’s because I was taught as a girl to be demure and to let the man lead. The thought also went through my head, “what if I hit him hard and he hits me back hard?!” Which is what could happen in real life, of course. It could happen to me at work, or to my daughter who is going about her teenage life in a crazy world. Attackers don’t wait for you to be ready or get over your conditioning just because you are a girl.

I learned that techniques work differently when used on people who are larger – or smaller – than myself. I wonder how a woman who has never practiced against a man would overcome her natural psychological reactions to such a different kind of opponent. How would she learn that some techniques simply do not work the same way on someone considerably larger or stronger than themselves and that those techniques must be modified?

In the real world, things will not go well if your reaction speed is slowed because you face an opponent you are really unfamiliar with or your situational awareness is less because something totally new is happening to you. You will most probably hesitate and get hurt. Krav Maga teaches us not to hesitate and to do whatever it takes to survive against an attacker. Against anyone trying to hurt us. Gender-specific schooling doesn’t really work well with that goal.

I have now practiced and sparred with both men and women and I hesitate less each time. I use different moves depending on size and aggression level of my opponent.

Krav Maga has taught me that self-defense is about awareness and reaction speed before technique and force. Technique and force are important, but great technique doesn’t help you very much when you’re already on the ground due to not being used to fighting a certain kind of opponent.

We all learn best by doing and practicing any kind of self-defense is better than none. However, self-defense techniques should be able to be used reliably, without hesitation, in any situation and against anyone who is trying to hurt you.

Since the internet was made publically available, it has changed the world in so many ways. In general, it has increased the connectivity of ideas and thoughts, which can be positive but also gives the ability for any idiot to have a voice. Don’t get me wrong, I am generally for free speech, but now with so much information, it can make it difficult for the average person to know what’s what.

For martial arts, I think it has been a good thing. For a long time, individual styles have been isolated to specific regions and cultures. Through the advent of the internet, it has allowed a mix of martial arts ideas and thoughts to arise all over the world. The internet is probably what helped MMA expand so rapidly, for instance.

Now, in the world of martial arts, this means that it is time to adapt or die. It also means that anyone can put up their videos, whether good or bad and sell their brand of martial arts.

For some videos like the ones below, it can be easy for the average person to decern bullshit or not.

But for other videos like the following, it can cause confusion to both those in the know and those who are not in the know.

I came across the above video on a page for one of the numerous Krav Maga organizations I follow. This video faced criticism in the comments section and rightfully so. However, some of the criticism had me concerned mildly.

First, let’s start with the valid concerns:

  1. I am generally against women only classes due to the unrealistic nature of the attack scenarios often presented. On the bright side, I did see a male in a demo which seemed to be an instructor, but it is unlikely he was attacking with realistic pressure or aggression which causes an unrealistic expectation for a woman in their ability should they ever need to defend themselves. There are some other males, but again the pace of and training of this class seems to be oriented to the woman. Personally, I see no difference in training women vs. men. It’s just a matter of building every individual into the best version of themselves. I structure my classes the same regardless of the balance of gender in my class. Also, if a woman is uncomfortable training for violence in and around men, it is a consideration that some form of counselling may be advised. Women need to understand that whether right or wrong, most attackers will be male and bigger and stronger and often more aggressive, so they must train for reality and not ideas or fitness. In addition, I refuse to teach people who demand that I cater to their version of self-defense. A colleague of mine was recently asked to teach a Krav Maga class without any reference to violence or anything that may seem traumatic. Remember, as Bruce Lee said, you are ready to learn when your cup is empty.bruce_lee2
  2. It is unnerving fact that many people only seem to want to learn self-defense when violence around them rises, rather than preparing for it even during peaceful times. Remember, Krav Maga is so you may walk in peace. Even during times of peace, you should learn and practice. With that being said, Anti-Semitism against Jews never went away and is on the rise in most countries again. Though in Canada, it has a low occurrence, this is probably why so little Jews (at least in Vancouver) participate in Krav Maga or other martial arts. Remember, it is better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war.
  3. Praying isn’t going to save you in a violent situation, only violence will. If you aren’t training properly with aggression you may be in trouble. Also, while Krav Maga is not about fitness, being in reasonable shape to act and move quickly is important for proper self-defense. The reality is in a given situation, you may have to run for a few kilometres and the techniques and athletism shown in this video is slow and sloppy. So how prepared are these woman really? This doesn’t mean they cannot become something more, but the training needs to reflect this and in this section of the video at least it does not.
  4. Some of the techniques shown, such as the “cavalier” or knife disarm are old and risky especially for such a group of people. The fact that numerous Krav Maga organizations still use such techniques is shocking to me as to much can go wrong with them.

Now, I have a couple of thoughts regarding some of the comments I saw on the page where I found the video:

  1. Something is better than nothing. Even if this training is mediocre and unrealistic, it is a start.
  2. The people on the page seemed unfamiliar with the older cavalier technique. This is a historical Krav Maga technique and should be known by all practitioners regardless of whether or not you like it. The fact that they were unfamiliar suggests the individuals of this organization very rarely train with other organizations and lack perspective in Krav Maga. It also shows that they are not familiar with the historical development of Krav Maga. To me, this is bordering on an insular and cult-like mentality, which I am strongly against. I always encourage individuals to cross train, even when they are not convicted of another organisations abilities or moves.

Now, of course, the folly of the internet is releasing a video without proper context. I very rarely like to release a simple clip without some kind of explanation. If you show too little of a specific move or concept without full background information it is very easy to pick apart on the internet. I see videos all the time, from people I respect, that I think are ridiculous because there is no context.

Especially for Krav Maga, a move or concept should be fully fleshed out. If it is a move, you should show it both in slow motion and in its full speed application. This way, it solidifies the argument you are trying to make. I get it that people do not wish to give away to much for free, but the reality is if you release one bad video, it can be picked apart easily by those on the internet.

Let’s be honest, the quality of your video matters as well. A flashy, well-produced video, even if it isn’t that great technically, can draw out the sales. But if you have the money for such a video, why not produce something that also shows off technical prowess under realistic stress and conditions?

The internet unified the martial arts community and the world, and yet we are still so divided. Krav Maga, for example, is more fractured than ever. There are so many schools and organizations some which are better than others, but most which are garbage. Too many people pretend to know what they are doing and still get students because of the content they release. In addition, in many cases, the fact is they have a captive audience from a group of people who may not have the proper perspective or background knowledge when it comes to Krav Maga or self-defense.

Beware of videos on the internet, which can make or break you as a self-defense practitioner. Put content out there with some discretion and make sure it doesn’t misrepresent you if you are good, or over represent you if you are not so good. Although, you probably don’t even know…