Archive for the ‘Urban Tactics Krav Maga’ Category

Hey everyone, my name is Justin, some of you reading this may know me from class as we’ve most likely trained together or I’m sure we will at some point in time if we haven’t as of yet, or maybe you are someone reading this who is just interested in learning Krav Maga. I just wanted to share my experience of Krav Maga with
you and a little bit about my journey. I hope you enjoy the read.

About me

I started Krav Maga with Urban Tactics in the year 2013 and it has been an amazing ride. Amongst going to classes, I have taken part in various seminars and courses around knife survival, knife defense, military krav maga, pistol disarming, and tactical shooting, all of which the UTKM had to offer, and I have also had the pleasure of learning from Moshe Katz who is a 7th dan black belt in Krav Maga and one of Itay Gil’s top students. (I suggest you look them both up if you dont know who they are). I originally joined Krav maga because I have always liked the military approach to hand to hand combat, and what I observed about Krav Maga is that it was very practical, tactical and super effective, and the most applicable self-defense system to get the job done.

Growing up as a kid I have always had this vision of myself being this special forces soldier with a set of ninja skills to take on any opponent, at 8 years old my favourite all-time movie was Commando with Arnold Schwarzenegger (a MUST watch if you haven’t seen.. total classic) I used to want to be just like him and would copy him in every way. I used to walk around wearing army pants, a military camo vest, a green beret, I would paint my face with real army paint that I got from my dad (who was in the military when he was younger) and I would strap up toy guns all over myself along with plastic grenades and I would literally walk around like this. My mother would be so embarrassed and tried to stop me but I wouldn’t take NO for an answer!

As for martial arts, around 13 I did Karate for a very short time but didn’t stick with it. Finally, in my 20s, I started Krav Maga. I still have a vision as I did as a kid, but a little less crazy.

Today much like as a kid I draw inspiration from fictional characters. Examples of my adult inspiration are James Bond, Jason Bourne and Jack Bauer from the show 24. Like them, I aspire to be able to move, think, and enter a combat situation and be able to handle myself like they do and complete the mission!

I think in life it’s great to have a healthy imagination, and I’m a true believer of the quote

“If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it – then I can achieve it”

One of my favourite Bruce Lee quotes that really touches the core of my soul is

“As you see in your heart, So shall you become”

and this last couple year I’ve broken through a lot of barriers mental and physical and I feel like I’m living proof of that. Not to mention my vision for who I feel I’m meant to be is definitely becoming a reality. As for being like JasonBourne, James Bond or Jack Bauer; I am already there in my mind and in my heart, I just need to brush up on some techniques and work on some areas to get my body up to speed! I aspire to be the next upcoming real-life JB. Justin Blinkhorn! and be the best version of myself that I can possibly be. So if you see me in person, you can ask me if I am still moving towards this version of my self so that I can stay accountable. Please keep me on my Krav Maga toes!

My Journey in Krav Maga

I will admit, I wasn’t always consistent in Krav Maga from the beginning, sometimes I let life get in the way and had trouble prioritizing it as much as I could have from the start of my journey. Growing up in the city of Vancouver it’s also very easy to fall into the party life style, I eventually started battling with alcoholism and addiction in my early 20s which was the main issue that hindered my growth and slowed my progress. I have hit a rock bottom quite a few times in my life due to those experiences, but I have learned more from those moments than traveling down any easy road in life.

When you endured adversity through moments of darkness, manage to dig deep within yourself, and climb back out, you will find out what your truly capable of.

To me, that struggle and light at the end is extremely beautiful. Despite the road being tough at times, I’m thankful for the setbacks and the mistakes (which can be our greatest teachers) and I truly believe there is no force powerful enough to ever keep me down, as in this journey and through those struggles I unlocked  superpowers within myself I could have only dreamed of as a child.

In 2016 I saw a movie that really resonated with my life more than I can explain in words. This movie called Man Of Steel (which is the latest Superman remake). When I saw this movie, I saw a character, that if he decided to, could do so much good in the world and despite evil forces trying to corrupt him and lead him astray. He battled his demons, blasted through resistance and became the man he was destined to be. I can relate that movie to my life in so many ways, and to that character in a sense that I aspire to give people hope. If you are someone reading this who is struggling in some sort of way, hang in there and keep fighting, never give up.

Another favourite quote of mine (and Jonathan uses this in class regarding why we do breakfall techniques) is

“Why do we fall Master Bruce?
..so we can learn to pick ourselves up again..” (Story of my life)..

Despite my journey being treacherous at times. It shaped me into the human being I am today and I’m very thankful for it. Struggle and adversity build strength and make us stronger.

Justin in 2013 or 2014

Justin is the farthest face in the background that is visable.

This year has been a special one for me, I woke up one day in January 2018, weighing at 223 pounds, I looked deep in the mirror one morning and said to myself

“The time is now, you know what your capabale of, get after it, lets do this” and since that very day I never looked back.. I’ve currently lost 50 plus pounds,
I am the fittest, fastest and healthiest I have ever been. I have changed my lifestyle in all areas of my life, I’m always eating right, I started running like a mad man, swimming, going to classes and not falling off track, and I tell you one thing, discipline equals freedom! #jockowillink and I am the happiest I’ve ever been.  And all because I changed how I saw myself and my approach from what look in the mirror. If I can do it then so can you!

I want to give a special thank you to Jonathan because he has always pushed me to better myself, and earlier this year he said “tell you what, if you keep coming to class as you have been and you reach that weight goal of yours, we will set up your orange belt test” and right at that moment I was like lets do this ! I knew this year I would take my orange belt test, but I had to prove to Jonathan that I had the consistent dedication with no fluctuations, and I’m grateful he gave me that incentive!

I’ll tell you one thing, there is nothing more frustrating than being a yellow or white belt meeting the minimum requirements but being held back from orange belt because I was not consistent or committed in my training to gain the minimum skill and attitude in order to progress further.

I may have been the senior student that took the longest but it made it that much more special.

Everyone’s journey is different, and I currently just acquired my orange belt and I have 300+hours of training with Urban Tactics under my belt and I feel very confident on my abilities. One thing I also do that’s helped me so much in my life, is tracking, everything from my timing of sleep, what I eat, exercises, Krav Maga, daily routines, etc. So, get a pen a paper, it will help you stay accountable and monitor progress in all areas of your life!

The Orange Belt Test

Coming up to the Orange belt test, I met my weight goal of 170 pounds just a couple days before! The exact day I did my Orange belt test also marked my 6 months sobriety date, which made it that much more meaningful! Believe in yourself, back that belief up with action, and you too will see what the universe will give you in return!

The day of the orange belt test, this was a day I had envisioned for so long. I showed up early, there was a yellow belt assessment going on and this allowed me to warm up. Then it was my turn.

The written part was fairly easy for me as I’ve been going there long enough (I would hope to know these things by now) (lol). Next, we worked on techniques from the white belt to yellow belt curriculum for about an hour or so, I went in with extreme energy right from the beginning and gave it my all. I went full force to the best of my ability, then after that first portion I was definitely getting tired but I knew the next section would need full attention.

The famous Circle Of Power, which also has the nickname “Circle Of Death”, basically for 10 minutes straight you’re in the middle of a big circle of about 10-15 students as they each take a turn coming at you with an attack, everything from boxing, knife threats, knife attacks, chokes, bear hugs, anything and everything. Around the 7 minute mark, one of bigger sized students slipped behind me with a rear-naked choke and was super swift and fast about it and I didn’t see it coming or have time to tuck my chin, I could feel the lock, tight as can be around my throat, now at this very moment you have two options:

One, If they don’t lock it in full you can do a basic escape and counter-attack, but if they are skilled and have you fully locked, you’re in a very dangerous position, (at this moment I was already super tired and when that lockset in I could feel the world
shrinking around me)

There is a second move you can do if they lock it in which is also used as a ‘headlock escape’, that involves: striking the groin, getting them  to bend down and use your other free hand to try and peel their head back hopefully being able to dislodge their grip and take them off balance.

However, this one student wasn’t going to give it to me easy ! I had to strike the groin a couple times but during that moment I wasn’t able to continue engaging, my face was turning blue, and I was in extreme trouble. He finally let me loose and I fell to the ground choking and coughing, but I got right back up again. A few moments later I felt my adrenaline race, and I fought as hard as I could for the last few minutes with passion and energy.

My whole neck and esophagus were sore for about 2 weeks after and I couldn’t swallow without feeling a lump in my throat.

There is a lesson learned: Rear naked chokes can be extremely difficult to deal with and if the assailant is trained with a skillset, and you didn’t see it coming. I don’t care how skilled you think you are,you are in deep trouble! My best advice is be aware of your surroundings, see it before it comes to avoid being in that position; and if its too late; then you need to rely on speed and aggression!

Despite that, the test wasn’t over yet. The final part of my test was five 2 minute sparring rounds with different opponents who are hungry to lay the smackdown and at this point, you are most likely running on an extremely low fuel supply. But at last it was over, I had made it through the battle and got my orange belt! With blood, sweat, and tears, it was well earned, there definitely was some emotion involved that day, very happy emotions!

Krav Maga has served me very well and really symbolises all the things im fighting for in my life and is something I’m very passionate about and definitely occupies a huge space in my heart. Getting my orange belt is essentially just a launchpad. I’m going to keep up the grind and continue working towards being the best Kravist I can be, this is only the beginning. I’m also very passionate about wilderness survival and the outdoors, I aspire to live a life of adventure!

-Written by Justin Blinkhorn UTKM Orange Belt

Justin Orange Belt.jpg

P.S.

As Jonathan suggested I start a UTKM Vancouver running group, so if you want to come running, check out the group on UTKMs Facebook Page. I will be conducting 2-5-10km runs. This year I took running to a whole new level; running up to 50km at a time and I’m looking forward to covering some proper distances this year.. which I find is a huge secret to my success, for body and mind. Jonathan told me recently “When you first came to class, if you had told me you’d be the guy to run 50 kilometers at a time, I would think you are out of your mind!” lol ! #getafterit!

 

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AMIT and JEFF

Can you see how tired they are after the 4 day course. But great success! Amit and Jeff.

I recently went down to Petaluma California to attend the IKF instructor course. I completed the four-day course and was honoured to be given the IKF instructor tag. I have been training since I was sixteen in the gym and at nineteen I was introduced to Krav Maga. Due to jobs, I have had in my life I have not been able to always be in the gyms training with instructors or be there for the tests to take the next level or belt. I have constantly been held back because of this. I was getting told by instructors and fellow students I don’t show up enough, I need to make sure I’m there for the tests and put in the hours, etc. What killed me is that no one ever acknowledged that I trained every day. When I was out on the rigs for weeks or months at a time. Every day I was in the gym whether it was the small little camp gym or I had to drive an hour into town to train 5pm or 3am I was there. Putting in those hours practicing everything I learned in the classes that I was able to make it too. The reason I’m telling you all this is that it may just be another certificate or belt or badge to you, but this one means the world to me. It means that all those hours, days, months were worth it. It finally allows me to feel proud of what I had been doing and all the effort I put into my training. Yet as much as I’ve been holding this tag close to me I truly love what Amit Himelstein( IKF head instructor) said to us. He said to enjoy this day, feel proud but then go home find a nice place to hang it and get back to the gym! He said this tag or a belt or badge is only worth anything the day you receive it. After that, it’s on you to keep it up, keep bettering yourself every day. Don’t show me your belts and badges show me what you can do! This hit me hard cause it’s how I have always felt. Everyone had more badges, better belts, etc. And to be honest it sucked to see someone who can afford private classes or that had a regular job could acquire what I was chasing for years in months…. but as far as I’m concerned the belt is just to hold up your pants. What you put in is what you get out of everything in this life. People are always gonna be able to look at the wall of your accomplishments in awe, they will never appreciate all the time it took you to get them or truly earn them. These four days were the hardest days I’ve ever experienced and at times I honestly thought maybe I wasn’t cut out for this but I pushed myself to new levels and left every ounce of myself on those mats. I didn’t care if I got the instructor badge or not. I was already just so truly proud of myself, I had won the battle against myself. I am one of fourteen in Canada who have this certification and I am not one to gloat but I earned this and I’m damn proud of it! Thanks to some new found friends and a heart to heart with the brothers and sisters from my own club Urban Tactics Krav Maga I realized I needed to allow myself to enjoy these wins and stop being so hard on myself. I wish all who read this to have a challenge like this come your way that allows you to learn something new, mostly about yourself and show you it is possible and all the time you put in when no is looking means everything! Keep training, keep growing and celebrate yourself!

Written by – Jeff Dyble

@Teamg.ijacked on Instagram

www.gijacked.ca

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JEFF IKF dogtagNo matter what kind of hobby you have, if it is painting, repairing cars or, as in my case, self defense/ martial art – the key to be successful is to keep practicing, keep learning and have an open mind. And also be humble – everybody can teach you something.

At the beginning of June, I went with Jon (Lead Instructor of UTKM @theponderingkravist), Jeff Dyble, and Oliver M. to Petaluma, California. They drove down, for the sake of our friendship I decided to buy a plane ticket. In Petaluma, we trained for four days straight, usually 7-9 hours a day. The heat was intense but so was the training, keeping myself hydrated was only one of the challenges I faced.

I signed up for the IKF Seminar couple of months ago and kept asking myself if I really want to do that. Whenever I watched videos of previous seminars the participants always seemed to be those big special forces guys. I try to be realistic with myself – I’m not a very athletic person and it took me long enough to accept the fact that I’m not 20 anymore which means my recovery period is longer. I was worried if I survive the seminar but I also wanted to push myself to see how far I can go.

Day 1 – the four of us arrived at the gym. I was the only women in the seminar and I was aware that I’ll be watched. Then training started with a little bit of a warmup and Amit started demonstrating techniques for us to train. There was a lot of choking and eventually coughing that day. At the end of the day my throat hurt, I could barely swallow my food. The soreness would kick in the day after. And I learned that not only rugs can cause a rug burn.

Day 2 – I was sore, my thighs were hurting when I discovered the rolling pins in the gym. They use them for shin conditioning, but they also help with sore thighs.                     When training I made sure to switch partners and train with different people. After our regular hours of training, Amit added 2 more hours of groundwork which was a lot of fun, although getting up got harder and harder. My legs were sore and quick movements were not an option that time of day. I still tried my best – I wanted to learn as much as possible!

Day 3 – Subconsciously my body accepted that’s what it is for the next days and I felt surprisingly chipper. Another day of fun in the gym! What I really liked were the different warmups Amit made us do. That day we did a lot of punching and kicking, Amit showed us some fun combos and Jon and I are now bruise buddies. He kicked me in the elbow which then quickly gained in size and colour. And I think my leg left a mark on his upper arm. In the late afternoon, Amit made us do a trial run for the street test (it is a bit like the gauntlet for our yellow belt test but inside and without sparring). At the beginning, Amit spun us (which I struggled with, the mat almost got up and hit me in the face) and the first thing we had to do hit the pads – have fun aiming for them! After we all went through that Amit gave us shit for our bad performance.

Day 4 – I enjoyed especially the warmup. We did a lot of tumbling and gymnastics. Back when I was half my age I did a lot of that like handspring etc. I was always curious to see if I can still do that but was hesitant. Being pushed that day actually helped me to give it a try and after a couple of failed attempts, I was back in the game! Amit also showed us a wrestling drill called The Cross – you know when we always say “Don’t roll over your head!” – for The Cross this is exactly what you do. It was one of those Fu** it moments when you don’t think much about it and just do it. The big finale was the Street Test, this time we had to go twice, each time being spun before we went. This time the mat stayed down.

And then we received our dog tags.

Amit as an instructor is straight forward and will tell you honest to your face if you suck. After living in Vancouver for 6.5 years I found that very refreshing. He is fair and of course very knowledgeable. He will explain why he does things a certain way and is there if you have any questions or need help. He is not for millennials who have that need of instant gratification – you have to work hard, there is no short cut and to get good at something it takes lots of training, lots of repetition and there is not a lot of praise. I enjoyed his style of teaching a lot, I have a new technique I really like – the Russian Twist (I know, it sounds like a cocktail).

It was a great experience for me! Our group was just awesome – I really enjoyed hanging out with those guys after training, watching the UFC fights or simply have dinner! They called us the four Canadians and I’m very ok with that. Our group was very diverse – all kinds of backgrounds, everybody was super nice and I felt welcome.

The four of us also represented our school well which makes me proud and I’m also very happy with my own performance. I don’t care much if I’m the only woman in a group, I only want to be treated like everybody else, no special treatment. I worked just as hard as everybody else. It gave me an idea where I stand and what I have to work on. I also had a great time with Jon, Jeff and Oliver – thank you guys – for sharing your food on the first day with me and Jon for picking me up in the middle of the night and later dropping me off at 3 am at the bus stop.

At the end of the seminar, Amit said that we are now part of the IKF family and that we will be there for each other. It made me think – as long as I can remember I’ve been told to be self-sufficient, independent. After a shitty relationship and other disappointments, I was so busy holing up and keeping everybody at arm’s length that I totally missed the fact that I’m already part of a family – as corny as that sounds – but UTKM has become a family to me. Now I only have to get used to it.

I also feel grateful because the seminar brought me closer to my community at UTKM, I finally understand that there are people who care about me and I can rely on. I also feel grateful for my Judo background – it helped me a lot!

A big thank you to all participants of that sweat marathon – I loved hanging out with you! See you next time!