Why I compete, even if I don’t win

Posted: February 22, 2018 by Jonathan Fader in Competition
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First off, before anyone freaks out, no I am not competing in Krav Maga. Nor do I support competitions in Krav Maga. The reason for this is history. With all martial art styles, the started for the purpose of self-defence once they start competitions they often quickly become a sport and lose much of the practical application.

As I advise all practising kravists what you need to do is cross train to further develop your skills. If you do, you may find one of the other styles that are more sports-oriented will offer you an outlet to get that competitive bug out of the way. I recommend, MMA, BJJ, Judo, Wrestling, boxing and kickboxing/Muay Thai.

Jonathans Bronze.jpg

For me, BJJ is what I like and practice and compete in. So why do I compete considering the following:

  1. I am not nor have I ever been a naturally gifted athlete
  2. I am not by any stretch of the imagination the best in my division
  3. I am not a super competitive person who must win.

Yet, I still compete. I have many students, or have talked to many people who just don’t want to compete because they know they won’t win and to that, I say so what?

I see three general categories of competitors.

  1. Tha Natural Athlete – to these people, winning may be everything, It has either become normal to them because they are simply better physically and it has become their standard, and competition is their outlet to show off their talents
  2. The Committed martial artist – These people may not be the best physically but they still win. They are in the gym almost every day training and honing their skills. To them, it is a lifestyle and a way of being.
  3. The Casual Martial artist – Someone who trains on a casual basis but still compete because it seems like fun.

No matter what group you are in there is something they all have in common when it comes to competition. Win, lose or Draw every one comes out of competitions a little better. For no matter the outcome you will learn something.

Maybe despite winning, you almost lost and found a hole in your game or strategy. Maybe you lost not because of skill but because of your cardio. Maybe you lost because the skill in your division is simply higher than where you are at and you need to train more.

For me personally, I check all of these boxes. Due to a variety of reasons, I haven’t been able to train hard enough, for a long time my cardio was shit and there are definitely lots of holes in my game. The thing is even though at least for now I know I  probably won’t win, I will still compete.

I always come out of competitions learning something new. and I always work towards fixing it. So far every competition I have for the most part, even if I wasn’t happy with the results the reality was each time I was a little better.

Over the last several competitions I have been working my cardio and each time I am a little less tired. So despite not winning gold, I have improved my self.

Over the last several competitions I have been working on my game and each time I am a little closer to implementing it and I have improved myself.

Over the last several competitions I have identified what I am doing wrong both defensively and offensively and I have improved myself.

While I fully Accept that I was and always will be a better coach and instructor than competitor I still plan on competing.

For me, It’s not about the winning, although as I am only human, It would be nice, it’s about being better every day. While I fully Accept that I was and always will be a better coach and instructor than competitor I still plan on competing. On that note, a coach or instructor who encourages their students to compete but has never competed or doesn’t compete may just be a hypocrite. As coaches, we tell them winning doesn’t matter, but then some fear competing cause they know they won’t win. But if winning doesn’t matter then why do you tell your students that and why don’t you compete? Being a hypocrite is the worst and is something I hate passionately.

So I compete, win lose or draw, I always improve and perhaps one day I will start seeing gold, and if not, its no big deal. The goal is improvement and competitions are one of the best ways to push your own personal boundaries and comfort zones and grow a little bit every time. For if you won’t, or refuse to push your comfort zones, you will never grow and be better.

I can only ever encourage everyone to take the same path, but even if you don’t, I will keep training, keep competing and keep getting better.

So get out there, and do not fear to lose. Just compete and have fun.


Avoid the Ground

Posted: February 20, 2018 by urbantacticskravmaga in Krav Maga Principles


Attacker has knife

you want to arm bar me? Heres a knife.

The ground and Krav Maga have a love-hate relationship. As a General rule, we avoid it. We never intentionally go to the ground. The only reason we should be on the ground is that we tripped, slipped, fell or were forced by an attacker. Our goal, when it comes to ground fighting is a simple one. GET UP!, no really, GET UP AS FAST AS YOU CAN and back to your feet.


Whenever we do end up in a grappling entanglement on the ground the goal is to go from a worse position to any better position, to a neutral position, whereas no one person has an advantage and back to the feet again. Even in that short description of our strategy, it can actually be quite complicated. Add in the fact they could have weapons or friends, the ground becomes an exponentially dangerous place no matter your skill.


Attacker has friends.jpg

On the Ground, it can be easy for other people to join in. The head kick is a common attack.

Another reason we must avoid the ground is that despite things that are commonly believed in Krav Maga like, “I can just punch them in the groin, or Poke them in the eye” it must be remembered that your attacker can do the same thing to you. If you are not proficient on the ground or have never trained with a high-level grappler than you may be completely overestimating your ability to get up as many of our students find out regularly.


Lastly, Size matters, no matter what anyone says. If a larger opponent can knock you out easily standing up they will have a far easier time pinning you to the ground as they have now taken away your only major advantage. Speed and skill and the ability to be explosive. Granted a proficient small attacker can outclass a larger opponent but there is a point of diminishing returns.

The ground and fighting on the ground is complicated and dangerous period.

This is one of the reasons at UTKM for a Black belt you are required to supplement your Krav Maga training with Grappling and a blue belt in BJJ or equivalent is mandatory. Why, because it takes that long to be proficient on the ground and must be taken seriously.

So long story short, stay off the ground and don’t ever let your opponent put you there in a self-defence scenario. Because it quite possibly could be the end of the fight for one or both of you.

**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.


Road To Orange Belt

Last year in March I started the assistant instructor course at UTKM, together with my fellow sufferers Andrew and Karch. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the Friday classes, I definitely learned a lot and I also enjoy teaching. I even like most of the students. But it is a lot of commitment.

Recently Jon sent out the monthly Warrior News by email. He is almost ready for the next batch of aspiring assistant instructors but he also requests that if you are interested in becoming an assistant instructor you have to talk to either Andrew, Karch or myself to get an idea of how much commitment we are talking here.

I’ll be honest, It is a lot!

Not only are you still attending regular classes, you also have to add a minimum of 4 hours per week dedicated to the course. And when I write minimum that means that it is actually more. Get used to the idea that one night or more a week, will be dedicated to endless PowerPoint Presentations. Not to forget the extra days where review and catch up is needed as one or more of the participants missed a regular class. And the Saturdays that you are going to spend doing firearms’ or other seminars.

And then there are the written tests, Did I mention there are tests? Many of them, some which took at least 3 hours to complete. While you are busy writing your hands off, Jon circles the table like a shark always trying to distract (because, you know, Krav Maga). Did I mention test? I would say more like endless “Essays” that test your ability to critically think without a hint to help with memory recall.

Just memorizing is not enough, you have to come up to your own conclusions, explain your own thoughts. I still have to write my final exam which will cover everything we’ve learned so far. Not intimidating AT ALL!

Picture: Petra Helping out in a yellow Belt test, knowing one day she two may have to run a test.

And then the orange belt test.

The last few months I’ve been dealing with some health issues and I’m not Feeling on top of my game. To be honest I haven’t Felt on top of my game for quite a while. I sometimes even feel I’ve peaked already which is, of course, not true. At least I won’t allow myself to think like that.

But I still Need to get a reminder that I still can do it, kick peoples’ asses and spar even with the heavy hitters like Quinn or Jeff (chose one). But that means work, again. And commitment. Jon is helping me a lot by offering conditioning classes and while I’m huffing and puffing on the assault bike distracting me by rambling about the city or politics.

Why am I doing this? I like the teaching but also the physical aspect of Krav Maga. Learning to fight and how to defend yourself is very important. At least for me, I was raised to be independent. I’m definitely not a Pilates Person. I like throwing or hitting People. The idea that women are inferior to men is bullshit and if there are male students who think they don’t have to take me seriously will be taught otherwise. And I hope to encourage more women to join the gym.

Krav Maga is helping me also with my mental Problems – I’m off my medication for almost half a year now. It wasn’t always easy but working on becoming an assistant instructor, teaching and now working on my conditioning for the orange belt gives me purpose and helps get me out of bed in the morning. The conditioning classes with Jon are tough but they remind me that I’m still strong. It might take me a bit longer to get back into the game but I WILL get there!

I also understand why Jon is doing this to himself and us – he wants to give us as much Information as possible so that we can be confident on the mats, knowing what we are doing and that the techniques we are teaching to you make sense and also to Keep the high Standards of the School. I myself decided to Train at UTKM because of the good Reputation that the School does have.

If you want to become an assistant instructor at UTKM – please go ahead, but be warned, you will Need lots of Stamina to get through. But is it worth it? The answer is a big fat YES!

Editors note: The Assistant instructor course is currently only available to local UTKM students.


On February 3rd 2018, myself and three other students tested and received our yellow belts from Urban Tactics Krav Maga. Each of us was pushed to the limit of our physical conditioning. We were tested, not only on our technique but also on our perseverance and willpower to fight through the fatigue and keep going. It was a sweet victory for the four of us, one that came from many months of preparation and training. Luke Testing for his Yellow Belt.jpg

I first attended a class at UTKM about seven months ago. After my first lesson, I was hooked. The gym has a very welcoming and inspiring atmosphere. The classes are structured very well, allowing newcomers to immediately participate in fun conditioning exercises and combat practice. The fundamentals are clearly explained and demonstrated, and the class is put through a series of exercises to practice the techniques. Newer students are often paired with advanced students, who help them out with tips, and the teachers are always near-by to offer specific advice.

The Warrior classes end with light sparring matches, which gives the students the opportunity to practice against each other in a controlled and supervised setting. I found this part of the class to be very helpful for improving confidence and stamina. Sparring offers a simulated reality that allows the student to practice under stress, in a paradoxically comfortable environment.

There is a strong sense of community at UTKM. A certain essence of camaraderie is formed after hours of training together and leaving our hearts out on the mat. Students are not only encouraged to participate; they are encouraged to contribute, and that inspires us to help each other learn and excel.

I first heard about UTKM through some friends who had trained there. I decided to take Krav Maga lessons after having a close call with multiple potential attackers. The situation was luckily defused before any punches were thrown, but the unexpected hostile encounter was an eye-opening experience, one that left me realizing how vulnerable and unprepared I was to defend myself in a violent situation. It made me realize that avoidance is sometimes not an option when it comes to confrontation, and being caught unprepared to fight is tantamount to being at the mercy of your attackers.

Violence is real and everyone has a relationship with it. Most of us try to ignore its existence. Many of us fantasize about it, or live it vicariously through movies and video games. Because we think of ourselves as peaceful people, we tell ourselves that violence could never happen to us; that we are morally above it and can simply choose to opt out.

If we do however find ourselves staring face to face with a would-be attacker, it is only through exercising our own violence that we may reclaim our peace.

Violent situations force us to become either Warriors or Victims; there can be no in-between. Training in Krav Maga is the ultimate equalizer against any evil we may face. Don’t allow your attackers to have a monopoly on violence.

Luke Olson a UTKM Yellow Belt.jpg

Become a Lion. Become a Hero.

-Luke Olson

They say in life that if you assume, you just make an ASS out of U and ME. The problem is, sometimes assuming could save your life. Just like in life, we have to make certain assumptions in Krav Maga to ensure our maximum survival in any situations.

Assume they have a weapon

Assuming that your attacker has a weapon even if it is not readily identifiable could save your life. This is because, when weapons are involved it changes what should or should not do with regards to controlling a person or your tactics. Obviously, if you know there is a weapon you will not fall into such traps but if you don’t see one, but assume they have one then you can also avoid such mistakes.

An example would be controlling the arm. In wrestling, it is totally acceptable to under hook the opponents arm above the elbow near the shoulder. This is often called a Whizzer. Unfortunately, while such a control may be great at controlling their body, it does not, however, control their arms ability to bend at the elbow. A motion, perfect for stabbing and slashing. You may get your Whizzer control, but maybe it was dark, and maybe you didn’t see the weapon, now you assumed incorrectly and your control is no longer sufficient for weapon control. In this particular case, a better control must immobilize their arms ability to stab or slash. Just like in splinting for first aid always isolated the joints below and one above. If a person has a knife, they are holding the knife which essentially eliminates those from moving, so you should do your best to control near the wrist and prevent the elbow from moving easily.

This is just one example, however, assuming they have a weapon drastically changes your acceptable control mechanism and your tactics.

Another example would be if you are a sports striker, say Muay Thai or kickboxing. You decide you want to “dance” with your attacker because you recognize your skillset to be far greater. However, you failed to assume they had a weapon and you go for a clinch controlling their head and neck. They’ve had enough, they pull a weapon and next thing you know your guts are all over the floor.

Most styles, fail to assume this and train for it appropriately. Your style may be perfect for unarmed, but if you have little to no experiences with knives or guns you may have a problem. See the example in this tragic story here. In this case, the weapon was identifiable, but it still wasn’t enough.

Weapons change everything.

Assume they have friends

Another thing we need to assume is that the attacker travels in groups. Remember, in the real world there is no ref, there is no cage and any person even not their friend can jump in. You could agree, to a fair fight for example, and you start to win, but their friends think its unfair and jump in and you went from winning to losing.

Or you got away from the initial attack but forgot to scan and look around and didn’t see the other attacker 20 feet away who now lays you out because you mistakenly thought you were already safe.

Forget Honor, forget rules of engagement and just assume that their friend is ready to cold-cock you in the back of the head. Because failing to constantly check for more than one attacker, could turn a “good” encounter with violence into the one we all fear. Worse yet, if one person has attacked you and there is a group it is easy for mob mentality to kick in and normally peaceful “friends” now become bloodthirsty goons.

So remember, until you are truly away to safety, assume there is another attacker

Assume it didn’t work

While we try to use the most efficient reliable techniques, in the end of the day you need to remember. Techniques can fail, or you could miss, or they could be better. It’s because of this, we have strategies like Retzef and Cause pain, Off Balance and Disrupt. If I assume that what I did for whatever reason was not sufficient to stop the threat then I must always Continue constantly, while maximizing my effectiveness until the threat is in fact stop. Words do not always work, no matter how much we would like, so then we must continue our strategy. The same however can be said for violence, if it doesn’t initially work, we either need to escalate or escape to fight another day. The truth is, that in the moment we don’t really know until the dust has settled. So, it is a safe thing to assume that would you did, didn’t work so that you don’t prematurely stop and end up the losing end of the fight.

**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.


New Yellow Belts – Feb 03 2018

Posted: February 3, 2018 by urbantacticskravmaga in Testing
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Congrats to Vlad, Marco, Jen and Luke.

February Seminars

Posted: February 1, 2018 by urbantacticskravmaga in Seminars
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Gun Disarm Seminar Feb 2017

Tactical Pistol 01 February 2018