Archive for the ‘Krav Maga Principles’ Category

Base, Posture, Structure

Posted: November 13, 2018 by urbantacticskravmaga in Krav Maga Principles, Uncategorized
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Sometimes concepts are universal and are applicable to all styles no matter what your beliefs. One such concept is that of Base, Posture and structure. Though not originally Krav Maga and certainly not one we invented ourselves. Though we loosely taught these, when introduced to this concept by Professor Robert Bernacki and his idea of conceptual BJJ we found ourselves incorporating it more and more into our teachings.

When teaching the concepts of closing the distance, and cause pain, off balance and disrupt we often find our selves talk about the structure of your arms to maintain good control or the posture of your opponent and of course our own stance and base. because these concepts appear so universal not just in self-defense but also in engineering and science it seems fit they also are included in general self defense concepts.

Base

240px-Pyramid.svg

Conser the base in this picture your legs in fighting stance, and the apex your head.

Base is the ability to generate force and receive force while maintaining your stance or position. If you are in fighting stance you are in good base, as you can generate force by bursting and you can receive a blow within reason without falling to the ground. Without a good base, it will be difficult to fight or defend your self. Often during sparring sessions during our warrior classes individuals still don’t understand this important concept. Sometimes intentionally or accidentally they cross their feet or legs losing strong base and the ability to resist force. Even when they get hit with a light blow they find themselves on the ground. Not because the blow was particularly strong but because it was perfectly timed and had enough force to overcome the weak base of the one who fell. For Krav Maga having a strong base, means having a strong fighting stance. Lose your footing and you lose your base.

Posture

squat_bar_placement.jpg

Here we see the universal nature of posture applied to squats.

Posture is the position of your spine or your opponent’s spine to take a load. When we burst in towards our opponent and get a control position if they have good base and are resisting we can cause, pain and disrupt with a knee or kick ot the groin which will allow us to break their posture. Once we have broken their posture it will be much easier to control them. If they have good base and posture it will be very difficult to move or control any opponent. We can’t cheat physics but we can cheat biology, this is why Krav Maga applies the cause pain, off balance and disrupt because without this work through it will be difficult to take on opponents larger than us.

Structure

360 block

Structure as used in 360 defense

Structure is the efficient use of your limbs. If we have good structure in our limbs then we can effectively resist force pushed against us. Consequently, if we break the structure of our opponents limbs an turn their limbs into a lever we can easily control them. One of the best examples of good structure in Krav Maga is the 360-degree defense where our arms create a super efficient block while our arms are at a 90-95 degree angle. This allows us to absorb the impact of circular attacks with minimal effort (energy). This same angle can be applied when in position 1 (reference point 1) to control the persons forward motion at the head and neck. Other self defense systems such as Tony Blauer’s SPEAR system would call this the outside 90 and have created an entire system around it. Such is the power of structure.

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The Body: Circulatory System

Posted: September 11, 2018 by urbantacticskravmaga in Krav Maga Principles

Body Circulatory system.jpg

Understanding how the body works is key to being able to defend it appropriately. The reason it is important to understand how the circulatory system works and where the major arteries and Veins are is key when defending against edged or sharp weapons.

For our purposes the 3 major groupings we need to be concerned about:

Neck & Throat

Artery Vein
Major:  Carotid Artery Major: Jugular Vein

Cartoid artery.jpg

 

Hands up is an important concept, as it is to protect our head and neck. When it comes to bladed weapons a well place slash or stab could severe these and cause a bleed out within as little as 6 seconds. These are also the blood pathways being cut off during a rear naked choke. Empty handed we mostly have to worry about being hit in the head or face, but with blades with cannot forget to protect the neck and throat as well.

Arms & Shoulders

Artery Vein
Major:  Brachial Artery

Major: Subclavian Artery

Minor: Radial Arteries

Major: Basilic Vein

Major: Subclavian/Axillary vein

Minor: Radial Veins

brachial-artery.jpgThese locations are general targets of stabs and are generally only targets of individuals who have fairly good use of offensive knife tactics. The brachial artery and its pairing veins run under the bicep and armpit and are generally easy to defend as they are quite deep but a well place targeted stab could cause a quick and fatal blow. Also, the subclavian artery and matching veins are located just under your clavicle bone. Stabs to this region could also target the heart and lungs depending on the length of the blade. As these are closer to the neck an missed ice pick attack to the head cut slide lower and end up in these fatal places. We also have our radial arteries and matching veins, these run in the soft tissue of the forearm. We often think these will be fatal wounds if cut or slashed but generally (barring extreme damage) bleeding can be stopped with good direct pressure. Never the less in the presence of a bald you should avoid exposing the soft sides of your arms and palms.

Legs & Groin

Artery Vein
Major:  Femoral Artery Major: Femoral Vein

femoral-artery-6-638.jpgMuch like the Arteries and Veins in your neck, these can be disastrously fatal if they are severed. The good news is that they are deep in the tissue and hard to reach most of the time. The bad news is if they are severed it can be exceptionally difficult to stop the bleeding without immediate advanced medical attention. Because of this, we choose to avoid exposing it as much as possible when a blade is out. This is one of the many reasons we prefer a low line sidekick as opposed to a front kick when dealing with knives. Although both can be acceptable options.

Learn to walk in peace

Posted: September 4, 2018 by urbantacticskravmaga in Krav Maga Principles
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so one may walk in peace.jpg

When asked what the purpose of Krav Maga was and what he hoped for his students, Imi Lichtenfeld Quoted as saying,

“so one may walk in peace.”

To us at UTKM, this means so much, in such a short sentence. As Einstein also famously said,

If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself

or more precisely, if you can’t explain it simply, you do not understand it. So for Imi to explain so much in so little means he really must have understood what he was doing.

To us walking in peace means you have balance and security in your life so that you can walk day to day knowing you have the knowledge and skill set to deal with anything life might throw your way.

The obvious to this is the physical. By attending Krav Maga classes you are literally learning the physical skills you need to know where you stand in a physical confrontation.

The less obvious is the mental aspect. Krav Maga can help train your mind and nervous system to become accustomed to stress so that when you are really stressed you are no so overwhelmed.

For some people taking classes is not enough, perhaps you are coming to learn the physical skills to overcome a past traumatic experience. If the class is not enough we of course always recommend you work with an appropriate mental health professional, and of course, with your permission, your Krav Maga instructor and mental health advisors can work together to help you become stronger.

walking in peace could also mean how you look and feel. While Krav Maga’s goal should never actually be fitness, it is certainly a secondary factor or any regular physical training. The more you train Krav Maga, the fitter and healthier you will be. This will, of course, make you feel better on the inside and be confident knowing you look better on the outside. No matter what your stance on such things, it is never wrong to be fitter and healthier.

So no matter your goals, know that the main goal is to teach you to have not just outer peace but also inner peace, albeit Krav Maga’s methodology is a little different than say meditating on a mountaintop for 10 years but they are effective none the less.

So ask your self, are you ready to walk in peace. If so, come, train, be consistent and you will be happier, healthier and know you have the ability to defend yourself both mentally and physically.

Create Space

Posted: August 28, 2018 by urbantacticskravmaga in Krav Maga Principles
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Create Space push kick.gif

A Push Kick is one method of creating space

Creating space may be the difference between successfully defending yourself or unsuccessfully defending yourself. This is because of the concepts of Action vs Re-action in that action is always faster.

Creating space gives you time and time allows you to have more time to assess and make a better more appropriate reaction. After all, in our 3-dimensional world, don’t forget that time makes our 4th dimension and thus all movement whether it be action or reaction is dictated by such physics concepts. Who said you didn’t need to understand concepts like E=MC^2 but now at least you can make a connection with the practical application.

In the stages of self defense the order is important as the earlier in the stages there is more time and more space for better decision making but as you go down the scale there is usually less space and less time to react thus making it more difficult.

For example in avoidance (A) running or walking the other way will give you space. In Diffusion (D) stepping back with your hands up will create space, though be aware of whats behind you as stepping back might not always be an option. In pre-emptive self defense (PE) techniques will help create space but this may also escalate the scenario. Techniques such as the push kick, educational block or throat jab etc are things that will cause pain, off balance and disrupt enough to effectively create space in a quick manner. Of course, if creating space has only escalated the scenario and we have now gone into full Fight mode then we can no longer create space and as we go on the offense must maintain tight control to prevent the attacker from being able to use space to reset and go on the offensive.

Another way to discuss this is through grappling terms. If I am on the defensive, I need to create space to get to my feet (technical stand up) or create space using wedges and levers to re-guard. Contrary if I am on the offensive I need to take away space, while maintaining pressure and control to achieve my desired results.

Remember, if you can create space, so can the attacker. In the end, whoever acts the quickest with the best most effective strategy will come out on top most of the time. But at least if you have space you are more likely to make the correct decision.

Situational Awareness

Whether it be for Krav Maga, real self defense situations or just life we always need to be situationaly aware and assess, re-assess and assess some more to ensure at any given moment we are making the correct decision bases on the information we currently have. Short of being clairvoyant it is unlikely that in anyone point in time you will have all the information to make the perfect decision. Yet, we still need to make a decision and when it comes to self defense it is a decision that needs to be fast. All this while processing all the factors in the use of force decision tree and more, while dealing with our fight, flight, freeze mechanisms and attempting to act before our assailants.

As to our knowledge humans have not developed superpowers, the best way we can make the best decision is as mentioned to constantly assess for new information. In a self defense scenario we have to rely on our senses and experience to collect this information.

  • Sight – Can you see another assailant? Can you see a weapon? Can you see a clear exit path to safety? etc…
  • Sound – Can you hear another assailant? Can you hear police coming? can you hear gun fire? etc..
  • Feel – Can you feel the assailant resisting more or less? can you feel your control of your body or loss of it? Can you feel injury?
  • Smell – Can you smell fire? can you smell the release of toxic chemicals? etc…
  • Balance – do you still have good balance? is your balance compromised due to trauma or substances? etc…

Though you should not limit yourself to just these senses, they are most likely the ones you will rely on the most in a self defense scenario. At any point a scenario can go from fine (safe) to not fine (not safe).

Maybe you had the situation handled with one person as you effectively deployed stage 2 self defense (Diffusion) and talked the person down but then their friend showed up and they now have a higher than before self confidence and become more aggressive with the help of their friend. Now the situation is quickly changing into something worse. If you fail to assess correctly and avoid (run) or pre-emptively strike you may find yourself at the end of a sucker punch or worse.

Often, new students get so fixated on the techniques they forget that they may need to adapt in the moment based on new information.

For example a common mistake for beginners is they forget to disengage and create space even after they have clearly lost control of the situation. Yet they continue to attempt to gain control even though the tactile information (sense of touch – feel) has told them they can no longer safely control the person. This is because they know they are suppose to gain control by moving through the situationaly appropriate ranges but forget that new information has changed the strategy from attack, to avoid.

Whether new student or experienced failure to accept new information from constantly assessing the situation as it unfolds can mean going from a “successful”* violent encounter to an un-successful one.

So remember, Assess, Assess, Assess but don’t take to long to make a decision as after all, hesitation could mean death.

*Really, a successful violent encounter is to avoid it in the first place but in the absence of this possibility, a successful one could be considered one in which you escape alive and with minimal damage to yourself or loved ones.

**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.

Gross motor movement over fine motor movement

Posted: July 31, 2018 by urbantacticskravmaga in Krav Maga Principles

By now you should know that when taught correctly Krav Maga should be a principle/Conceptual based approach to self-defense (Other styles can be as well, such as BJJ). These are of course guidelines who to move and think for optimal results. Sometimes these principle’s clash and this is one of them sort of.

Gross motor movement grab.png

Gross or fine motor movement?

One of the big ideas in Krav and well, life is to Keep things simple and rely on natural body movements. One of the most natural movements we have is to Grab. It is after all a big key in the human evolutionary process when we developed the opposable thumb. This means our hands, and bodies are wired to grab. The problem with grabbing is that it is a fine motor movement and as a general rule we prefer gross motor movement over the fine motor movement.

First, let’s define the two:

Fine motor skill (or dexterity) is the coordination of small muscles, in movements—usually involving the synchronization of hands and fingers—with the eyes. The complex levels of manual dexterity that humans exhibit can be attributed to and demonstrated in tasks controlled by the nervous system. Fine motor skills aid in the growth of intelligence and develop continuously throughout the stages of human development.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fine_motor_skill  (Accessed July27th2018)

Gross motor skills are the abilities usually acquired during adulthood and older age as part of a child’s motor learning. By the time they reach two years of age, almost all children are able to stand up, walk and run, walk up stairs, etc. These skills are built upon, improved and better controlled throughout early childhood, and continue in refinement throughout most of the individual’s years of development into adulthood. These gross movements come from large muscle groups and whole body movement. These skills develop in a head-to-toe order. The children will typically learn head control, trunk stability, and then standing up and walking. (Humphrey) It is shown that children exposed to outdoor play time activities will develop better gross motor skills.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gross_motor_skill  (Accessed July27th2018)

So why if grabbing is a natrual movement should we avoid it if we can?

The issue with fine motor movement is that when the Fight, Flight, Freeze mechanism kicks in, and our blood starts flowing, pupils, dilated and the adrenaline starts pumping our fine motor movement starts to decline in its performance ability.

This means that if we are surprised, or startled for most people fine motor movement may fail in that moment. Because of this Grabbing should never be a primary motion, but a secondary or tertiary. We cannot completely ignore grabbing because it is so ingrained in our physiology but under duress just like eye site it can fail use due to the speed and stress of the situation.

As mentioned in a gun disarm video analysis, this is a time when we must grab but as a secondary movement. A gross motor re-direct should be done first as the primary movement then the grab as a secondary movement. Often under speed, it will look like just a grab for beginners it should be noted it should not be.

This can also apply with knives or any other weapon. When we reach to grab we are often too far away to be effective and have most likely compromised our balance but had we relied on our gross motor movement and a burst to overcome as primary movements we will most likely be in the correct range even if we mess up. Sounds complicated we know, but just trust us.

We have worked with many Krav Maga organizations from around the world and have noted that when things speed up, it is far less about grabbing and more about aggressive speed and yet the techniques we see (Especially with weapons) often involve a grab.

But if we know fine motor movement can fail us, and we know stress and speed reduce the chance of success why not practice from the start with a focus on gross motor movement as the primary movement. If you do, you will most likely start to see higher and higher success rates for the average person no matter what the technique. Of course, like much in Krav Maga, if you don’t know how to turn on that Fight, no technique or concept will help you in the moment.

So remember, when it comes to self-defense being gross is the more appropriate action…

When in doubt: Head or Groin

Posted: July 10, 2018 by urbantacticskravmaga in Krav Maga Principles, UTKM Principles

So you’ve been practising Krav Maga, self defense or another style for a while and you are starting to realize that sometimes under distress you cannot get the technique to work. Sometimes, it’s because the technique you are being taught works for most people but not you. Other times it is a matter of a physical size difference. And other times its because in the end of the day under distress techniques can fail.

It is not that they are bad techniques, they are good high percentage techniques but the truth is techniques can and do fail even if they are more likely to work than not.

A key thing to remember is that Techniques in themselves are the last step to any good Krav Maga or self defense approach. Before you have to actually use techniques you should have practices things like critical thinking and the stages of self defense.

But if you ever find your self either in practice or in the street struggling to do the technique you were taught. Don’t worry just remember this simple principle.

When in doubt hit the groin or the head.

Football in groin.gif

No matter where you are even if you are dazed and confused orient your self-based on which is easiest to access. If you are going for the head, punches, palm strikes and hammer fists are all good options. Remember that go for the eyes in particular.

If you are going for the groin punches, palm strikes and you guessed it hammer strikes are also appropriate. If you can you can also grab hard but just know this may cause a panic response from the person where they try to end you, rather than a hit and release response.

Either way, if everything goes wrong, remember techniques are at the bottom of the self-defense totem pole and they can fail so always fall back to simple principles like this one.

Simultanous Defend & Attack

Posted: June 12, 2018 by urbantacticskravmaga in Krav Maga Principles
Andrew does 360

360 defense in action

Defending and attacking is not a concept to specific to Krav Maga but it is something that one should try to do when possible. The reason is simple. Efficiency.

The quicker you can overwhelm your opponent by off-balancing, causing pain and disrupting while applying Retzev and protecting yourself from the initial attack the more successful you will be.

Of course, it is not always possible to do both for if you were not paying attention and were in condition white it is likely you may only be able to defend initially until you can fully “activate” and enter into full Krav (“Fight”) Mode.

The concept of defending and attacking simultaneously is the ideal scenario and can often be seen in such techniques as the 360 defence where we try to both block, burst and strike as closely together as we can.

Whether you can or cannot totally depend on your readiness level, skill level and general physical response times. The more techniques you can apply simultaneously (or close to) defence and attack principles the more likely you are to survive a given situation.

It should be remembered, however, that if you are applying this concept you are at stage four self-defence, Reactive, meaning you failed or were unable to apply the previous stages.

Like many of the Krav concepts or principles this is a guideline and while it should be applied where possible you still must be able to adapt when circumstances change. At the end of the day what you do in a violent confrontation will be considered a success if you managed to make it to safety with minimal damage.

**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.

Hard on Soft, Soft on Hard

Posted: June 5, 2018 by urbantacticskravmaga in Krav Maga Principles

Hard on soft, soft on hard is a simple concept in Krav Maga.

If you are going to hit a hard object or let’s say a hard part of the body then you should use a soft part of yours, contrary if you are going to hit a soft target or part of the body then you should use a hard part of your body.

punch-to-nose.jpg

In the Street, of course, this would be bare-knuckle and would be hard on soft.

This, of course, is more of a guideline to help you avoid injury to another important aspect of Krav Maga.

The classic example is if you are going to hit someone in the face say to the nose you should hit them with a closed fist with the hard 2 large knuckles. However, if you notice they are tucking their chin to change the target to their hard forhead you should switch to a “soft” palm strike instead. Again the main goal is to avoid injury more than anything as if you were to punch with the knuckles to the crown of the head full force it is likely you will break your knuckles as the forehead is harder.

You could make the argument that this is similar to tai chi yielding concepts. You could also make the argument that you can simply toughen up your body using hardbody training techniques seen in classic Okinawan Karate or other similar styles, however, this takes far to long for the average Krav Maga practitioner. To properly do hard body training to kill the nerves on the surface and increase bone density it takes dedication and time often in the length of year and years to get the desired result. As Krav Maga is supposed to have a quick and easy learning curve most schools would not want to wish to take the time to do such things.

Again the Hard on soft, soft on Hard is a guideline more than a rule but it can save you to fight another day by preventing injury. For defending yourself for survival is great, but in the modern world breaking a hand in the process could become problematic for anyone who needs them to work.

Keep your Hands Up!

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

 

Passive stance.jpg

Hands up in a Semi Passive Stance.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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