Posts Tagged ‘Armorer’

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Florian Garel is an old friend and training partner of mine.  He is a seasoned Muay Thai, grappling, karate practitioner, instructor and active MMA fighter signed under “One FC“.  Before you step into the dojo you can see the classes though the clear glass. You can see either a bunch of little kids doing kicks and punches alone with Florian in a Zendoaki Karate gi, or you will see a bunch of MMA fighters boxing each other and doing take downs.

In truth, I have rarely seen any dojo  has such an open view to the outside world as Florian’s gym. Many times people will stop and just watch the practice in amazement, especially in Taiwan, a society that values harmony and peace over aggression and prowess of fighting. Children were often taught not to be physical with each other and keep their hands to themselves. Wrestling with friends in mud is an image that only exists in Hollywood movies, but the society is changing. More and more of these audiences are jumping into the practice of MMA and Full Contact Karate.

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The dojo is not big and is about 1000 square feet. There is no lavish equipment but only the necessary gear such as mats, punching pads and other important stuff. It reminds me of the old school MMA gym, and people are here to train and to fight.  Florian’s regular MMA class is not big, generally 5 to 8 people, but many local Taiwanese Pro and Amateur MMA fighters train there with Florian. This speaks to the quality of Florian’s teaching. I participated in several of Florian’s MMA classes and I have to say that Florian has excellent instruction when comes to takedowns. This might surprise you, but the first time Florian and I fought was in 2008, and I was the one taking him down with my superb Judo skill. Now, after years of Sambo and pro-MMA fights, I am the one who can benefit from Florian’s teachings.

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Florian’s take down and grappling style is based more on Sambo and wrestling instead of grappling. It is more active and focuses on getting on top of the opponent. It is also a very MMA focused type of grappling instead of the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu that I practice and see. The tempo is much faster and techniques are less refining but brutal – Russian style. This is the beauty of Taiwan. It seems to attract styles from around the world instead of limiting to one style.

The teaching style of Florian’s class is considered as Linear Teaching. Florian would teach one technique and then the modification, defense, and so on and so on. From my experience this is the best method of teaching, and Royce Gracie used the same teaching method at the seminar where I was his assistant. Students spar and perform takedowns against each other using the right amount of force and technique and no one has an ego there. Students’ behaviors in sparring reflect the instructor’s attitude and ego, and I have to say Florian does a better job than me.

It is a true United Nations at Florian’s school. You will spar with Pilipino migrant workers in boxing, roll with Canadian MMA fighters, and do ground-and-pound with local Taiwanese students. Martial Arts truly bring people together and bridge the gap of language.

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Zendokai Karate Association in Japan was founded in 1999 by a great Karate Master Mr. Takashi Ozawa. Zendokai Karate is a type of sophisticated Multi-Martial Art based on Japanese Karate that includes punching, kicking, grappling, throwing, and joint locking techniques, while standing and fighting on the ground.  The easiest way to describe Zendoaki Karate is that it is MMA in a gi with some karate moves.

1147749_613530242023622_1767328248_oAt every Saturday Open Mat you will see guests from other dojos coming to train at Florian’s school and he would train with other gyms as well. This is Taiwan. It has a small population when it comes to Martial Arts and even a smaller population when comes to MMA and grappling, but the people are really close and there is a brotherhood among everyone and seldom will you will see rivalry between gyms as you sometimes see in North America. When the community is this small people need each other to survive. For Taiwanese people, it is a far cry from “don’t make physical contact with others”, to rolling on the ground trying to tap each other out. A lot of things have changed and, in my opinion, for the better. I hope…no,I know Florian’s MMA and Karate dojo will prosper in Taiwan because this is what we need.

Written By: Borki Yony

Photo By: Zendokai Karate ( Taiwan ) & Florian Garel

Zendokai’s website & facebook : https://www.facebook.com/taiwan.zendokai?pnref=lhc

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If I say Urban Tactics Krav Maga is one of the most diversified and dynamic Krav Maga schools in North America, I think there would be very little dispute. Other than having been certified under 4 International Krav Maga Federations, one of our specialties is firearm training and Krav Maga techniques related to firearms, from firearm disarms, tactical shooting to military Krav Maga. We are privileged to have extensive knowledge from our military background as combat arms soldiers and shooting instructors in the Defense Industry.

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50 cal, the author’s favorite gun during his service with CDN Army

However, sometimes when we ask our civilian students at our Krav Maga school here in Vancouver if they would like to participate in some of Krav Maga seminars related to firearms or Firearm Possession Course, some of them ask “Why? What’s the point to learn about guns ? I will never use it.“  ” what’s the point of using guns as cold steel weapon? I will just shoot the guy. ”  Many Vancouverites do not own firearms nor have an interest in it. I was amazed with these students’ response that they do not want to participate because they think any form of firearm training is not useful in a real life threat.

Let us be clear about something:

  1. Armed robbers or other bad guys do not attack their targets with their bare hands. They always want to achieve superiority by having either a knife or a gun; only honorable people fight in equal amount of forces and let their skill determine who the winner is. Bad guys are not looking for a fair fight; they are looking for an easy pay day. If, unfortunately, you end up at the end of barrel and you faint at the first sight of a gun, the chance of you acting calmly is pretty slim. Knowledge is key to calmness and being collective under pressure. To know what type of firearm and the condition of the firearm is vital to survival in dealing with an armed assailant.
  1. If you disarm someone‘s firearm you need to know how to use it, even if you want to disable the gun to prevent the bad guy from using it again. You need to know how to do so fluidly and accurately under stress. Over and over again I see Krav Maga schools or other Krav Maga instructors teach people how to disarm attackers with a gun, but their immediate actions after the disarm makes my heart skip a beat.  Most of them clearly do not know how a real firearm functions, different functionality between a revolver and semi-automatic pistol, nor how to point the gun at the person if they chose to take lethal action. Just because you point a gun at an attacker does not magically make this person stop from taking the gun back or to attack you again. Do you have the will and skill to fire a gun if you chose to and, if you can hit accurately the bad guy, without hurting the bystanders or yourself? If you do not wish to shoot someone, how do you use guns as cold steel weapon and combine with Krav Maga moves ?
  1. Since almost most Israelis have served in the IDF; firearms have always been part of general Krav Maga curriculum from Day One in Israel. After all, almost every 18, 19 old Israeli youth can take apart, put it back a M-16 and be confident with it on the range. Most North American Krav Maga students and instructors cannot rival Israeli Krav Maga student and instructors’ firearm experience. Nonetheless, In order to learn the full system of Krav Maga, you better be good at firearms. You need to learn how to shoot it, disassemble it, then finally disarm it if you have to. Firearm training is a serious issue and takes lots of training time; more so than any other aspects in Krav Maga. People generally need lots of range time with guns to eliminate the fear of the “Boom Stick“, but also be confident that guns are merely tools and be comfortable with them as extension of their limbs.
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Are you Ash or Villagers ?

Last but not least, we do Krav Maga for a reason. We do it not for fitness or completion but to protect our lives. My friend, you want to ask yourself: Is there ever enough training when it comes to protecting your lives, especially about the most efficient killing tool created by man?

Written By: Borki Yony

Edited By: Warren C

Ottawa Shooting 20141022For those who do not live in Canada, last week there were two separate attacks against Canadian soldiers in Ottawa and Quebec. The one in Ottawa especially hit home for me. The death of Cpl Cirillo of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada, Hamilton upset me deeply.

I have worked in a similar position as Cpl Cirillo at Parliament Hill from 2005 – 2007 as I was a member of the Capital Ceremony Gun Detachment. We provided ceremony gun salutes for diplomatic occasions and important events such as Police Memorial day on the right side of Parliament Hill.  For three years, I did that about twice or three times a month on top of my regular army duty as an army reservist. All of the soldiers who work at the Parliament were unarmed and the most dangerous thing to us was the chilly wind of Ottawa during the winter, or the hot sun during the summer. Life was good and peaceful. You felt pride and sense of duty wearing your uniform representing Canada. The dying and pain of our brethren in Afghanistan seemed very far away from where we stood.

The death of Cpl Cirillo changes all that.  A terrorist hits home and we were not prepared; not at our home, not at our nation’s capital. Canada is one of the most peaceful countries in the world. Except for the War of 1812, almost all of our military operations were launched on foreign soil instead of against foreign invaders on our soil. We Canadians do not know what the meaning of being scared is. We do not worry if the bus is going to blow up or if there will be a rocket landing on our roof. We are naive and innocents We live our lives not worrying if someone will deprive us of our lives in the next few seconds. Canadians who dare to venture outside of our comfortable nation know that we Canadians are fortunate and blessed. We live in Elysium.

Everything has changed now, and I have to admit that I am scared. We are facing a new type of enemy who do not wear uniforms and they live among us. They are not criminal. They are not cowards and they have very little regard for other people’s lives. How do you combat that?

 By not giving in, we can be fearful of the events but we do not fear those who wish us harm. If we are fearful of the event then we are aware of the situation. Emotion is normal and those who say they have no fear are either ill-informed or lying. As living creatures we fear death, but that makes us more careful or  allows us to cherish our time on Earth more. Those who train will train even harder and be thankful for everyday we have on Earth. Now we have a purpose for why we train Krav Maga. We do not rely others to protect us and we are the guardians of our safety and captains of our fate. We are not lambs but lions. We fear for our lives but fear will only drive us to move faster, scan wider and punch harder. We want to live, and we want to save lives. That is why we will triumph over terrorism by doing exactly what terrorists expect us not to do; to live under the sun with our chin high. 

Written By: Borki Yony

Edited By: Warren C

Gaza Flotilla Raid on May 2010, is a good example of a failed military operation and it also shows the limitation of Krav Maga ( hand to hand combat ).

Footage of the instance

Footage of the IDF Krav Maga training

Background:

On May 31, 2010, Shayetet 13 took part in Operation Sea Breeze or Operation Sky Winds against a flotilla trying to break the blockade of Gaza. The commandos, armed with non-lethal weaponry and 9mm pistols as sidearms, abseiled from helicopters and boarded from speedboats, and apprehended five ships with mostly passive resistance. Aboard the MV Mavi Marmara, the commandos were attacked by dozens of activists armed with knives, iron bars, slingshots and improvised weapons, and allegedly with firearms, including those seized from commandos. Three soldiers were captured, carried below deck, and were temporarily held in a passenger hall. The commandos initially used non-lethal force, but after this proved ineffective, they opened fire with live ammunition and seized control of the ship. Nine activists were killed, and several dozen were wounded. Seven commandos were also wounded, two of them seriously. International condemnation of the action followed.Subsequently, S’13 commandos boarded and seized the aid ship MV Rachel Corrie with no resistance.

1. Group fighting

“You are simply not going to win over a mob.” Plenty of Kung Fu movies instill false ideas of a 1-vs-Many situation. In these films, the Kung Fu master is able to fight 10 – 50 people all by himself easily and effortlessly. As you can see in the footage, it only exists in Hollywood. Shayetet 13 is among the top 3 special forces within the IDF. Members of Shayetet 13 are the finest soldiers IDF can offer and these naval commandos are probably the most aggressive and fearsome of all. One of its unofficial mottos is “When force does not work, use more force.”  The Krav Maga training of Shayetet 13 is as brutal as any other spec-op unit, if not more. However, these soldiers are human, just like you and me.

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Let’s look at it more closely. A soldier is able to do 5 moves in one second. These moves include most Krav Maga techniques: e.g, elbow, fist, kick, etc.  Each member of a mob can do, for example, “about only 3 moves because of sea sickness, lack of training, etc.”

In the film, each soldier was attacked by about 10 -15 mob members at any moment. 15 x 3 = 45 moves, so a soldier can only do 5 moves countering 45 moves by a mob in one second.  5 vs 45.  You see why being a Kung Fu master or top Naval commando makes no difference in front of a mob?

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2. Space & Environment


Human beings are unable to deal with attacks from all angles. In this instance, the commando fast roped down, and in the middle of the rope he was quickly overwhelmed by the mob. Generally speaking, attacks can come from the front, left, right and rear (4 angles) but most of our senses are only equipped to deal with attacks from the front. Although it might be a mission requirement to fast rope in the middle of the deck, the commandos were unable to use walls and other obstacles to funnel the attackers into a more manageable angle.

gaza-flotilla-hamas-terrorists-03_425In the video you can see commandos were thrown off the deck by the mob. In a fight, the environment is neutral. It can be used against your enemy or you. The environment takes no side.

3. Use of weapon

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some of the weapons found on the ship. The dangers of these item is irrefutable.

It is the saddest thing to see some martial art & Krav Maga instructors instilling false confidence to their students regarding the power of empty hands. IDF soldiers were attacked by metal rods, knives, fists, stones, etc. Every blow is potentially deadly to a human body. In situations like this almost every military and Law Enforcement in Western society allows its members to use deadly force. The idea of using non-lethal devices or Krav Maga to fight off this kind of situation is simply unrealistic and ludicrous.

4. Underestimate the threat

Prior to Shayetet 13’s commandos boarding MV Mavi Marmara, they had boarded several other vessels, and faced no trouble. The commandos were under strict orders not to use lethal force from the higher ups and were doing search with paintball guns and pistols. The situation quickly went out of hand even before the commandos boarded the ships. The mob is swinging the rope which commandos roped from and some of commandos actually fell from the middle of the air. It is unsure if the commandos got complacent because of the previous operations on other ships but the head of operations and the IDF higher up definitely got complacent and underestimated the unpredictability and aggressive nature of these passengers on board. The threat is very real even when you are at overwhelming odds on your side: Navy vs civilian yards, commandos vs civilians.

Gaza Blockade Soldier Photos

Conclusion:

As one of my instructors Nir Maman ( Krav Maga and Counter Terror specialist ) once said, “The essence and tactics of Krav Maga in IDF is the same as how we shoot, how we clear rooms and deploy in battle ” In North America, many civilian instructors have emphasized too much on the hand-to-hand aspect of Krav Maga and failed to recognize that Israeli Krav Maga mentality is always about using superior weapons over the enemy.  “If the enemy has a stick, I have a gun. If the enemy has a gun, I have a tank. If the enemy has a tank, I have my F-15. Krav Maga is not a martial art and is not about fighting equally but a system about neutralizing the threat with superior forces with minimum of losses at your side.

The Gaza Flotilla Raid is an excellent example of the one time that the IDF underestimated the threats and did not deploy enough forces accordingly.  A mistake that almost cost these commandos’ lives.  The same can happen to us, so as Krav Maga practitioners we should acknowledge that we are not invulnerable to harm and our tactics can be flawed.

Written By: Borki Ben-Yony

Edited By: Warren Chow

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Ryan and Steven Segal on the set of True Justice.

Ryan Stacey is a friend of mine who I served with in my previous Army reserve unit, the British Columbia Regiment (Duke of Connaughts Own). Ryan has one of the most unusual and interesting jobs in film industry. He works as an armourer for movies and film. iRobot, Underworld, X-men, Shooter, Stargate SG-1 and Supernatural are a few examples of the movies and T.V. series that Ryan has worked on. I recently had an opportunity to visit Ryan on the set of Steven Segal’s latest T.V. series True Justice and interviewed him about the exciting life of an armorer in the film industry.

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Ryan and Mark on the site of the movie ” Shooter ” which is filmed in BC

Borhan: Can you briefly explain the difference between a gunsmith and an armorer ( weapons specialist, weapons coordinator or weapon master)?

Ryan: In a firearm film service company, a gun smith is usually the one who modifies the firearms for the film and an armorer or weapons specialist is the one who works on the film set handling firearms, overseeing safety and helping choreograph the action that involves firearms. Also, unlike being in the military you only have to familize in few weapons, being an armourer in the film industry you must be able to work with anything from a musket to an assault rifle or even a howitzer!

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Weapons used in the movie ” Sucker Punch. ” You can see chairs used by the main actress from the film in the background.

Borhan: You participated in the film Push with Hong Kong’s Hollywood Film Service Co. a few years ago. Can you tell us what’s like working with armourer from Asia?

Ryan: There are two things that left an impression on me. First was how much the Hong Kong armourer loved chicken feet. Second, they have more freedom when it comes to firearm usage in film. For example, sometimes they allow guns firing blanks to be pointed directly at the actors, in North America we tend to avoid that and use camera angles to enhance the realism. This can be a risk because even with blanks debris can still exit the barrel. However, they quickly adapted to our standard during the shoot and overall were very professional. We had lots great times together!

Borhan: So who is most likely to get hurt in a movie shoot when firearms are involved, actors or stunt actors?

Ryan: Surprisingly, it’s actually the cameraman who is taking the biggest risks in a movie shoot when firearms are involved. Most of the time, they are so focused capturing that perfect shot with their cameras that they are completely oblivious to their surroundings. Their safety is defiantly on our top list.

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Borhan: Is armourer the only one allowed to handle the firearms on set?

Ryan: Not necessarily, the prop master can also handle firearms but 99% of the time the prop master will choose not to touch them. Prop masters are busy enough as it is and due to safety, they prefer that we deal with firearms on set.

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Weapons use in the movie ” Push “

 

Borhan: Who does the choreography for shoot out scenes in movies and television?

Ryan: In every fight or shooting scene that involves firearms, the action choreographer will design the overall fight sequence. Then the armourer will work on the finer details of how the actors should fire the weapons and what direction the firearms should be pointed. If there is a massive battle scene then we will require help from military consultant.

In fact, most scenes that involve firearms are the brainchild of three departments (special effects, the action choreographer and the armourer) One of the most complex scenes I have been involved in was the scene from iRobot when a bunch robots storm into the police station and police officers open fire on them. Just for this one scene we had six weapons specialists on set supervising every possible angle.

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Borhan: This is really interesting! Can you explain a bit more about the cooperation between armourer and other departments?

Ryan: Let me give you an example. You know the little flash on walls that you see in gunfight scenes? Special effect crews who shoot something called “Zirk Balls” or “Hollywood Balls” at the wall are actually responsible fort that. The armourer and the special effects crew has to work together in order to create believable effects for the film and also to prevent the Zirk ball from hitting the actors. The flash can also be ceated by placing little explosive charges on the walls but that’s a lot more expensive (Zirk balls contain zirconium, they are hard like a plastic paintball. You wouldn’t want to get hit by one).

Borhan: Do you mind sharing some of your experience with actors and directors? Do they respect your role as a armourer?

Ryan: I seriously can’t tell you one A-list actor who has ever given me attitude. They are all very friendly and professional. A few B-listers and newcomers might have tiny attitude problems but safety always comes first. I don’t care who you are, when comes to safety I’ll never budge. Once, a colleague of mine even got into argument with James Cameron over firearms safety, and in the end James Cameron had to find an alternative.

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Ryan can deal with any actors and directors but not so much against Vampires. ( from the movie ” Underworld ” )

Borhan: Does that mean a armourer has absolute power in film set?

Ryan: When comes to safety absolutely, but this doesn’t mean we behave like drill sergeants screaming and yelling at everybody all the time. Good communication skills are key to be a successful armourer, always be “Friendly but firm.”

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Ryan: Of course sometimes there can be dilemmas.

Borhan: Can you give me an example?

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Ryan instruct Rocket using UMP45 in the movie ” Sucker Punch. ” Lucky man

Borhan: What is the most challenging shoot you ever participated as an armourer?

Ryan: That would have to be when we were filming the movie Shooter. There is a scene of continuous fire with a Mortar and we had to figure out how to create the illusion of continuous fire without actually using real ammunition. We managed to put a primer on the bottom of each dummy mortar round and charger on the head so every time a new dummy round was dropped into the mortar tube a blast would come up.  Also, during the filming of Shooter I had a fair bit of trouble making the machine guns work properly on the helicopter that was flying around and shooting blanks.

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Borhan: do you think computer affects will ever replace firearms and armourers in film?

Ryan: No! It is cheaper to use computer effects but computer effects can’t help actors simulate the realism of shooting a firearm. An actual firearm with recoil enables actors to perform more realistically on screen.

Borhan: Are there any trade secrets in your line of work?

Ryan: Not really, anyone with similar background could easily figure it out.

Borhan: I heard some firearms manufacturers pay film companies to have actors use their products in films, like a form of product placement?

Ryan: I wish that was true! Actually in film making, there’s usually a production crew that works on what type of firearm each character will be using it and this is all depends on the story and overall scene.

Borhan: This has been a truly wonderful experience, thank you for having me Ryan.

Ryan: Your Welcome.

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Ryan with the crew from ” Push ” in Hong Kong

The original Chinese version of this article was published on TARGET, a defense magazine circulated in Taiwan, Hong Kong an Singapore.

www.evertarget.com

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2059781/

Ryan Stacey IMDB

Written By: Borhan J

Edited By: Leon U