Archive for the ‘Krav Maga Principles’ Category

UTKM Krav Maga Stick FightingSticks or Stick like weapons have been around probably longer than anything else. Where once it was simply a matter of grabbing a branch or twig to keep an attacking animal at distance humans have now developed entire systems dedicated to stick fighting. The thing is, in most cases of self-defense it is unlikely you will actually be in a stick fight rather you will be unarmed and you are faced with an attack with a stick, cane, umbrella, baseball bat or another item that can be wielded like a stick and be considered a blunt force trauma weapon.

The main concern with a stick like a weapon is the impact area. If you get it in the abdomen it will certainly hurt and may do internal damage but will not necessarily stop you from defending your self. If you get hit in the head and if the stick has enough mass it can mean lights out for you. Block a stick with your forearm and you may find your self with a broken Ulna.

On the other hand, if you can get a hold of a stick, or stick-like weapon you may find your self with a great generally non-lethal option to defend your self. How lethal a stick weapon is will depend largely on its mass and what it is made of. Hit someone in the head with a rattan eskrima stick in the head and you will probably daze them. But take a metal crowbar with a hook on it and you could kill them. There is also a very big difference between dense and less dense materials. A truncheon made of ebony, for example, is going to hurt and do much more damage than one made of bamboo, though they would both be terrible to be hit with. The lethality of it would also depend on the intent of who is wielding it and how they wield it.

Either way for self-defense in most cases stick or stick-like objects are a far better choice in the 21st, mostly for legal reasons than a knife or a gun. Of course, if Knives or guns are legal where you live for self-defense then you better be ready to kill with them or else why even bother.

To Deal with Sticks you must understand a few things.

Committed vs Non-Committed as well as blender mode.

Although less important for sticks understanding Attack Types. can be very important is it may tell you how competent the attacker is with the stick.

Difficulty Levels of the Attack Pattern:

  • Committed is the easiest to deal with – Basic Techniques will work well, Running is the best option.
  • Non-Committed is more difficult – Basic techniques, combined with faster reaction time and good footwork will be needed. Running is the best option.
  • Blender Moder – Though far less problematic than a knife, blender mode with a stick usually means the individual is fairly proficient with it and will be harder to deal with. Remember, protect your head above all else.

Stick Like Weapons:

This is mentioned many times so what does it mean. It means anything that can be wielded like a Stick with one or two hands that does not have a blade on it. Items include but are not limited too:

  • Rattan Sticks
  • Short light tree branches
  • Bats
  • Buttons
  • Rolled up News Paper or Magazine
  • Umbrellas
  • Clubs

How each of these can be swung or handled will depend on its mass, Shape, and Size with some being easier to wield than others.

Disarming Sticks:

Unlike Guns or Knives, if you take away the advantage of a stick being medium to long-range and get in close how you choose to disarm it is a little more circumstantial. You can disarm it while the opponent is still standing or you can take them down in a controlled fashion and then take the stick. Really it’s up to your discretion, skill, and the situation.

How to deal with Stick Attacks:

Even though a stick is not as lethal as a gun or knife, it still can be. No matter what happens protect your head and other major hard parts of your body. Remember, soft on hard on soft. If you are going to take an impact or hit it is better on a softer part of your body, but remember, no one said it wouldn’t hurt. This is because if the stick is hard enough and hits with enough force on a hard part of your body it can easily break the bones in that area. If you get hit in the head, however, it can immediately incapacitate you rendering you unable to defend your self. Remember, when dealing with sticks considers the following.

  1. Run – This is always the best option if you are able to. You may not be able to though or you may need to protect others
  2. Use a Stick – If you are able to use a stick or stick-like weapon to counter. Though they may not always be available
  3. Use Weapons of opportunity – Use whatever you can around you to give you an advantage. Use sticks, bags, bricks, jackets, obstacles, and anything you can think of to increase your chances to survive.
  4. Use a Gun – We do not recommend this unless it is life and death. The reason in many places where it is legal to carry a firearm for self-defense this may be considered excessive force and may still mean jail time yourself so be careful and consider the following:
    1. Is it legal where you are to have a gun on you for Self Defense
    2. Do you have a Legal gun on you?
    3. Do you have the required skills to operate the gun under duress
  5. Use hand to hand Combatives – When all else fails, use your body as a weapon. This should always be the last resort when dealing with armed opponents.

Hand to Hand Combative Strategies

  1. Distance & Timing– Maintaining your Distance is key as the opponent with a stick can get you at a greater range, with greater impact than you can. You may have to jump back, sideways rapidly or bob and weave at speeds you didn’t think you were capable of. Thats why its better to just stay out of range until you are ready to strike. The timing is equally important especially if the opponent is hyper-aggressive and quick in nature. Mess this up and you are going to get hit. If you do though, close the distance rapidly without hesitation.
  2. Explode In – when you are ready to move you need to move fast, you need to move explosively and you need to move without hesitation all while protecting your head and face. A common method is the Universal shield. At UTKM we only advise this move when you are close and that is chambering the attack or if you are not sure what the weapon is exactly but it must be close or medium range only. Any other time or as we recommend in general the standard Krav Maga Dive defense. It keeps you aligned while allowing you the optimal position to explode forward all while protecting your head and neck.
  3. Control the weapon arm – once you are in, control one or both of the weapon arms. Now that you have taken away the advantage of the Stick Weapon, assert your dominance with Retzef while Causing Pain, Off Balancing and Disrupting them.
  4. Standing Disarm – Either rapidly or after they are mildly subdued but still standing you may disarm the weapon using any reasonable method you know. If this fails you will need to apply more compliance techniques and move on. If you were able to take the stick you can now use it to defend your self.
  5. Takedown and Control – If you are unable to disengage due to the attacker, the environment or your Job then you must take them down. This must be done in a manner in which you maintain control of the weapon arm and take them to the ground while you are still on your feet and have put them into a control position.
  6. Controlled Disarm – Now they may be disarmed. Unlike a Knife you can focus more on controlling the assailant though controlling the weapon are will still be important. This is because it will be harder for them to do significant damage if they are not in a dominant position but do not forget they still have a weapon. The faster you can get it out of their hands the better. Do not forget you must still be aware of possible additional attackers and may need to rapidly disengage which is another reason to get the weapon. Once you disarm it, put the weapon somewhere on your persons that is safe. While throwing it away is an option, it may allow others to pick it up.

How to Use a Stick Offensively

If you are looking for a comprehensive guide on how to use a stick then this is not it. The UTKM Krav Maga approach is simple. For more in-depth stick fighting practice one of the many variations of the Philipino martial arts like Kali, Eskrima, Arnis.

For us it is simple. Target the head or hard surfaces like the clavicle, elbows and arms, ribs, or Knees. AstrixOur attack Pattens are simple, think an Astrix with six striking angles both forehand and back with a Jab or thrust. Just like any other style a flick of the wrist mixed with good footwork turns this into a formidable weapon indeed. It should be reminded once again though that while a stick-like weapon is preferred for general self-defense especially in the west due to their less-lethal nature they can of course still be lethal if you know how to use them and have the will to make them so. 

 

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UTKM Krav Maga Gun Disarms.jpgThe gun is the tool that changed the world. Where once only the wealthy and elite had the time to train for hand to hand combat while the rest were to busy just trying to survive when the firearm arrived it made it so that the everyman could more reasonably defend themselves. It also changed how we fight wars, as no longer could war be fought on the bravery of the full-on cavalry charge. It really changed the world and it many ways slowly led to the democracy we have today, as we consider them the great social equalizer.

From a fundamental self-defense perspective though, what is a firearm? It is a straight line attack that offers an attack range greater than that of our bodies’ normal capabilities.

From a technical standpoint disarming guns is easier than dealing with knives. However, it is rarely as easy as you think. What if the opponent resists or you miss the initial disarm. When things go wrong, which we should assume they should, you will need to revert to your fundamental hand to hand combat skills while gaining control of the weapon in question. This, despite what many Krav Maga organizations imply, makes firearms disarms more advanced in nature and should not be for beginners.

Disarming Guns:

You must remember that Guns are a long-range weapon, and thus, you will only be able to disarm them if the attacker has been foolish enough to get within arms reach and has failed to control you in a manner that would prevent you from moving to disarm. This would include both Pistols and Rifles.

Disarming rifles is actually far easier than disarming pistols due to the size difference. Pistols are meant for shorter range engagements than rifles which makes them more dangerous in the closer ranges we need to be to disarm them.

Disarming a gun unlike knives should always be done from the standing position and takedown attempts are strongly not advised as you may lose muzzle control in the process.

How to deal with Gun Attacks:

No matter the type of the gun the main thing to consider is your range from the attacker and what tools you have in your proverbial toolbox. Other things to consider are if the attacker is an active shooter or a static threat.

Active Shooter

  1. Run and find Cover – This is always the best option if you are able to and are unarmed. If they have a You may not be able to though or you may need to protect others
  2. Use a Gun and SHOOT BACK! – In Israel, this is a real knife defense. However, you need to ask your self the following.
    1. Is it legal where you are to have a gun on you for Self Defense
    2. Do you have a Legal gun on you?
    3. Do you have the required skills to operate the gun under duress
  3. Charge them – This does not mean charge them head-on, but this could be a possibility if they are a terrible shot particularly with a handgun. If they have a rifle then charging head-on is not advisable. BUT, the faster the threat is taken down the faster everyone is safe. If more than one person come from different angles and charge and jump on the attacker it is the fastest way to stop the threat. Just know, there is no guarantee you will not be hurt thus this is not a decision to take lightly. Fundamentally, you must overwhelm them by Causing pain, Off Balancing and disrupting all while getting control of the weapon.

Another thing to consider is other people. There is a belief in gun disarms that you must never point the gun at anyone but the attacker. While this is certainly preferably trying too hard not to point it at other people during the attempt may result in hesitation and failure. So long as you do not get shot you can stop the threat which is the main goal. If someone is an active shooter then their goal is to shoot as many people as possible. By going for them and the gun you will 100% reduce the overall casualties and if you think otherwise you may not understand the mentality of such people. If you do disarm a gun from an active attacker and in the process, someone else gets shot, just know it is NOT your fault and you did the right thing.

Static Threat: Disarming a Gun

If you are able to get close enough to actually get a hold of the gun or weapon in question then you are in luck, your attacker has failed to take advantage of their strategic advantage of range.

These scenarios may also be the time you regret not taking acting classes. This is because a person with a gun who is close may not be looking to actually shoot you, but they may also. You may need to act in a manner that allows you to get in range. Some times you have to feign weakness or play along with what they want.

With that being said, the ideology that “Just do what they want”, is always the correct decision is incorrect. It MAY be the correct decision, but it also may mean your death. Only you will know. Sometimes they may leave after you do what they want, sometimes they might just kill you because it’s easier not to have witnessed or sometimes they just might panic and shoot you accidentally. This is why in Krav Maga we must stop the threat before it becomes worse.

It is also important to remember the Gun as a weapon operates on the straight line which means you need to get off the centerline either by re-directing the gun or getting yourself off the centerline or both. One thing to remember is that fine motor movement is not preferred in Krav Maga, yet when it comes to guns you may need to grab the gun. It is important then to remember, you must first push it off the centerline and then grab it. At speed, it looks like one step but it must always be two distinct steps.

Regardless, at all points, you MUST control the Muzzle direction as it is the dangerous part.

  1. Get Off the Center Line by Re-Directing the gun– The first goal is to get off the center line while immediately controlling the weapon. If it is a modern pistol then and it is appropriate based on the range you should have no problem re-directing then grabbing the pistol as you will be grabbing the slide, not the barrel. If it is a revolver or certain long guns, then grabbing the barrel is strongly NOT advised in which case you may consider the next step as your first step. Many disarm, especially with rifles teach grabbing the barrel first. However, this is a deeply flawed strategy especially with a rifle, as grabbing the barrel will not stop the gun from functioning and even if you are off the centerline even after one shot it will be extremely hot which may cause you to let go prematurely. If you cannot safely get a part of the gun that is plastic, composite or wood then move to the next step.
  2. Get Off the Center Line by Re-Directing the Weapon Arm – If you are unable to get the gun in your first move, then you must re-direct the weapon arm. It is also even more important especially if it is a pistol then you get your head and body off the centerline as well. The reason’s this needs to happen is the gun its self is too close to safely re-direct and grab, or you missed the gun and had to go for the arm.
  3. Control the Weapon Arm(s) – Once you are safely off the centerline you must firmly control the weapon arm. While your goal is to disarm the gun as fast as possible against a strong or aggressive person this can be difficult thus it is imperative that you control the weapon arm so that you remain off the centerline.
  4. Disarm the Gun– This must be done as fast as possible as the quicker it is done the quicker the threat is reduced. The individual may still be a threat even without the gun but at least it is out of their hands. There are only a few positions you will end up in with either pistols or long guns so remember what they are so that no matter what happens in a disarm attempt you can identify the position and do the correct disarm. Either way, Control the Muzzle while you are doing it preferably pointed at the attacker when possible.
  5. Create Space and Assess – Once you have the weapon you must immediately create space. Remember the advantage of the gun is a range, if you stay close you could also be disarmed. Disarming a person does not stop them as a threat so you must be ready to deal with them appropriately.  This step can get a little complicated depending on your skillset and the scenario but here are a few:
    1. Back away with your nonshooting hand up in a defensive position, with the gun down. This is best for civilians. Remember, if you disarm the gun and then immediately point it at the attacker and then the police show up who do you think will be the problem? Prior to this keep the space and be verbally dominant.
      1. A. In a situation where you have disarmed the gun but didn’t create sufficient space, use the gun as a blunt force weapon. Metal, composite and wood hurt far more than a fist. This must be a step as the assumption you can always use the gun as intended is not always true. It may not be loaded, or even functioning thus this becomes a great option to do massive damage to the attacker.
    2. Create space and tap, rack and be prepared to use the gun. This is the standard advice often given. If the gun was loaded or had ammunition in it and is functioning this could be the answer. Tapping and “Racking” or chambering a round may act as a deterrent to the attacker. However, if they attempt to call your bluff then you must be prepared to use this option. If you are not, then you better be prepared to move back fast as you attempt to maintain space.
    3. If you have your own firearm after you disarm and create space. Draw your own firearm. It is preferable to use your own as you know what state it is in at all times (or should). This option can be slow especially if there is not a chambered round. It also means you might also only be shooting from one hand which will decrease your accuracy.

Regardless of which option you need to do it requires good assessment. This is a second by second decision-making process based on your skill, the attacker, the environment and many other factors. The correct decision is very relative and can be difficult to make. The one thing to remember is DO NOT hesitate. Make a decision fast, and hope your training if you have any kicks in.

These many reasons are why at UTKM we do not consider anything firearms related as beginner material and are limited to advanced students.

Krav Maga 360 Knife Defense from BelowOften people think the most problematic weapon to deal with is the gun, yet ask most experts and they would say the knife is far worse. Knives are readily available, are easy to create from a variety of things and can be an effective and fatal tool in the hands of anyone.

On average a mass knife attack will see hight casualties than other types as they are silent and require little skill. When a gunshot goes off and there are screams people know to run. But when screams are heard and no one knows what to do, there is often a delayed sense of panic and by then it may be too late.

To deal with knives you must first understand Attack Patterns:

Committed vs Non-Committed as well as blender mode.

After this, the basic knife principles are based on the Attack Type. To Survive an attack know the following

Difficulty Levels of the Attack Pattern:

  • Committed is the easiest to deal with – Basic Techniques will work well, Running is the best option.
  • Non-Committed is more difficult – Basic techniques, combined with faster reaction time and good footwork will be needed. Running is the best option.
  • Blender Moder – Novice and Advance techniques may work if you are committed without hesitation. Running is still the best option.

Disarming Knives:

While many styles of Krav Maga and other Martial Arts will teach a knife to disarm while both parties are standing, UTKM does not teach this nor endorse this approach. A person with a knife may be faster, stronger or more aggressive and attempting to control at the wrist will preventing their advances and disarming the knife is more about luck.

We only teach and practice disarms when the attacker has been taken to the ground and reasonably been controlled. This is because they have now lost a vast majority of their explosive energy. It also makes it easier to run without them catching up as well as allows for control and arrest techniques all while keeping others safe.

How to deal with Knife Attacks:

No matter the attack pattern or type dealing with knives always starts with these options, If they are not an option in this order then you must use your hand to hand combat skills.

  1. Run – This is always the best option if you are able to. You may not be able to though or you may need to protect others
  2. Use a Gun – In Israel this is real knife defense. However, you need to ask your self the following.
    1. Is it legal where you are to have a gun on you for Self Defense
    2. Do you have a Legal gun on you?
    3. Do you have the required skills to operate the gun under duress
  3. Use Weapons of opportunity – Use whatever you can around you to give you an advantage. Use sticks, bags, bricks, jackets, obstacles, and anything you can think of to increase your chances to survive.

Attack Type: Straight Line

  1. Re-Direct the Attack – It is preferred that you re-direct so that you end up in Reference point 2 (Dead Side), but you can also redirect to reference point 1 (Live Side), but you must be quicker and add in an extra attack.
  2. Control the weapon arm – Control the arm holding the knife while Causing Pain, Off Balancing and Disrupting your attacker.
  3. Disengage – Safety and forcefully push your opponents away ensuring it is not easy for them to slash back. Keep your hands up, create space and run.
  4. Takedown and Control – If you are unable to disengage due to the attacker, the environment or your Job then you must take them down. This must be done in a manner in which you maintain control of the weapon arm and take them to the ground while you are still on your feet and have put them into a control position.
  5. Disarm – Only now they may be disarmed. No matter what happens on the ground your focus is to get control of their weapon arm and get the weapon away from them. However, you must still be aware of possible additional attackers. Put the weapon somewhere on your persons that is safe. While throwing it away is an option, it may allow others to pick it up. It should also be remembered that the knife is evidence and should be easy to find after the fact.

Attack Type: Circular

  1. Block the attack – Block the Attack with good technique and structure (360). Ensuring that you are exploding in if it is high, and getting your lower parts out of the way if it is low.
  2. Control the weapon arm – Control the arm holding the knife while Causing Pain, Off Balancing and Disrupting your attacker.
  3. Disengage – Safety and forcefully push your opponents away ensuring it is not easy for them to slash back. Keep your hands up, create space and run.
  4. Takedown and Control – If you are unable to disengage due to the attacker, the environment or your Job then you must take them down. This must be done in a manner in which you maintain control of the weapon arm and take them to the ground while you are still on your feet and have put them into a control position.
  5. Disarm – Only now they may be disarmed. No matter what happens on the ground your focus is to get control of their weapon arm and get the weapon away from them. However, you must still be aware of possible additional attackers. Put the weapon somewhere on your persons that is safe. While throwing it away is an option, it may allow others to pick it up. It should also be remembered that the knife is evidence and should be easy to find after the fact.

Attack Pattern: Blender Mode

At any point the attack type and pattern can switch to the hacking, slashing and stabbing that is blender mode. It also means you may have lost control. If the first 3 options have failed you have limited options as the attacker can switch the attack angle and speed to rapidly to try to control or stop the attack.

  1. Maintain your distance – You must manage the distance between you and the attacker, you often need more space than you think especially against an aggressive attacker.
  2. Cause Pain, Offbalance, Disrupt – You must do something to cause a brief delay in their attack for this is your chance. The UTKM preferred method is a low line side kick, but anything that gives you a chance without serious harm is acceptable.
  3. Explode in with hands up – You must decide to go and when you do you need to move without hesitation. It may look ugly but so long as you protected your vitals and got to the next step you did well.
  4. Control the weapon arm – Control the arm holding the knife while Causing Pain, Off Balancing and Disrupting your attacker.
  5. Disengage – Safety and forcefully push your opponents away ensuring it is not easy for them to slash back. Keep your hands up, create space and run.
  6. Takedown and Control – If you are unable to disengage due to the attacker, the environment or your Job then you must take them down. This must be done in a manner in which you maintain control of the weapon arm and take them to the ground while you are still on your feet and have put them into a control position.
  7. Disarm – Only now they may be disarmed. No matter what happens on the ground your focus is to get control of their weapon arm and get the weapon away from them. However, you must still be aware of possible additional attackers. Put the weapon somewhere on your persons that is safe. While throwing it away is an option, it may allow others to pick it up. It should also be remembered that the knife is evidence and should be easy to find after the fact.

Base, Posture, Structure

Posted: November 13, 2018 by urbantacticskravmaga in Krav Maga Principles, Uncategorized
Tags: ,

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 a 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 to 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 opponent’s limbs a 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 person’s 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.

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
Tags: , , ,

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
Tags: , ,
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.