Posts Tagged ‘Army’

Locked ‘n’ loaded in Tel Aviv

Posted: September 27, 2016 by urbantacticskravmaga in Uncategorized
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I have traveled around the world, encountered and observed many places, and from my experience, there is no country like Israel. Once, I was sitting in a cafe in Tel Aviv’s central bus station on a Sunday morning, and looking out I can see uniform-clad young men and women carrying weapons returning to their bases. Tourists watch in awe at the sheer amount of weapons being carried on the streets. Residents pass by without even seeing it.

It is a normal part of their lives.

Taking a closer look, I see that not every weapon is the same, nor are their owners. Each weapon is different. Some have carrying handles, some have flashlights, some are old, some are new, some are made out of plastic and some are made out of metal. Each soldier is also different. Their colorful unit shoulder tags, strings and berets tell people which unit they belong to and what kind of specialty they possess. Some soldiers wear their uniform like pajamas and others iron their shirt straight and tight.

A soldier’s personality is shown through his or her rifle

Throughout history, soldiers everywhere have put effort into decorating their swords, bows, knives and other weapons. It is not just for the sake of art, but to make a statement and show one’s character. However, none of these warriors of the past could have imagined that in today’s Israel, weapons would be part of the youth culture. In Israel, weapons take the place of the backpacks and sneakers worn in North America.

Soldiers with an antique model belong to either an armor or artillery unit, but in battle they use tanks or cannons, not their rifles. They are saying, “I only carry this rifle around because I have to, I do not think I will have to use this old piece of junk.” Soldiers with newer models are saying, “I am a first-line combat soldier and this is my pride and joy. I am cool because my rifle is the newest.” Additional gadgets, such as sights or an extra tactical foregrip, become a statement telling everyone, “Look! I am different from rest of you guys.”

It’s just like taking your phone with you

These young troops don’t just carry their weapons to and from the bases. They also have it on them while performing their ordinary daily routines: shopping, walking on the street, sitting down for lunch, or even kissing loved ones. I once saw a young soldier at a cafe using a laptop – she held her rifle between her legs to protect it, while drinking coffee and surfing the internet. Another intriguing sight was a young male soldier wearing a sleeveless tee, sandals, a backpack, and his rifle. The whole picture was an oxymoron. Is he relaxing? Or is he getting ready to fight? His outfit tells me he could be merely taking a stroll, heading to the beach, or waiting for a train, but his loaded weapon tells me otherwise.

In a country like Israel, carrying a weapon is a statement of youth. Rifles are often a statement of toughness and machismo, but in a place where being dauntless and courageous is everything, the warrior ethos is unisexual. Even before the creation of this nation, both men and women fought side-by-side here, protecting their homeland.

Once, I asked a young Israeli woman who had her rifle slung across one shoulder and her purse on the other, what was inside her purse. She said, “You know, the usual girl stuff: make-up, lipstick, tissues, and my extra M16 magazine.” In that moment, I realized that the Israeli saying was true, “If you are going to break a girl’s heart, make sure to do it when she is not carrying her rifle.”

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Gun culture is a normal part of growing up in Israel

Seeing these young soldiers with their duffle bags, rucksacks and weapons, I was violently awakened from the peaceful illusion of Tel Aviv. This country is at war. After a few days of comfort in their homes, these youth – barely old enough to buy a beer in Canada – are going back to their posts, checkpoints, tank turrets, jeeps, or the streets of Gaza. In contrast, most Canadian youth know nothing about self-sacrifice and giving some of their best years to serving their nation.

I know for sure that these young Israeli soldiers would prefer not to spend those three years of service in khaki uniforms, receiving less than $40 a month, and dealing with dangerous terrorists or boring paper work. They would rather use that time to do whatever they want, like travelling, working, or studying as young Canadians do. However, despite the hardship and dangers, every Israeli I have encountered tells me that he or she would do it again for their country.

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Recently I had a conversation with Dimitrios Andritsos from KMG Beligium. We were discussing the type of KM instructors out there in this community and the differences between them. We both agreed that although many people teach KM, everyone teaches it very differently.

This interesting phenomenon is in part due to the process of becoming a KM instructor. Generally KM instructors are trained through intensive 4  to 20 day courses; approximately 8 hours each day. Although that is enough hours to teach an experienced martial arts instructor the techniques of KM, it is not enough to change their behaviors and thinking, or provide full knowledge, tactics and the skill set of a KM instructor. For those who are fortunate enough to continue their training with a good KM lead instructor or organization in their local country, this issue is solved. These local organizations produce many pure blooded KM instructors with extensive knowledge of KM, field tactics, firearms, shooting etc. Israel and Serbia are the two countries that produce the purest and scariest KM instructors I have personally known.

Those who chose not to continue their KM education have to fill the knowledge and skill gap with their previous martial arts background. Hence, the KM world is diverse and different from school to school and instructor to instructor. Here are the three types of KM instructors out there:

  1. Soldier

Due to KM’s origins and ability to be adopted into military training, many soldiers around the world were attracted to the KM community. These type of instructors have the correct mentality and tactics when comes to KM, but the skill set and techniques are generally not the sharpest. Hand to hand combat is a very different special set of skills. It needs years of training to indoctrinate these into a person’s body.

  1. Fighter

Here I mean both martial artist and sports fighter. Most KM instructors come from this group and some are superb at transferring KM techniques and systems into their existing training database, but some bring their past martial art training into KM training. Some of these systems are compatible with KM’s mentality and training methods. Some are not. In general, I find instructors with a sport fighting background have good training methods for their students.

  1. Fitness Guy

Some fitness professionals with limited martial arts experience also start teaching Krav Maga classes. Their classes are a hybrid of Krav Maga and a fitness workout. This is the norm for most Krav Maga classes in North America. After all, this type of class attracts the most consumers, who want to get fit doing something that is fun; however, this type of class has little value when it comes to enabling one to walk in peace.

KM is not supposed be a system that requires a long period of training, but comprehensive training should not be as fast as some schools claim. The reason why Israelis do this is because:

  1. This is how the army does it – it takes from 1 to 3 months, depending on the unit, to develop an IDF Krav Maga instructor.
  2. Many Israeli organizations do not have the patience to stay in other countries and tutor pupils from beginner to instructor.
  3. Israeli people, generally speaking, are meant for KM. Do not forget, the majority of Israelis do their national military service of 2 to 3 years. The military train people both mentally and physically. A smaller amount of instructor training will work for countries that have a more militant background like Serbia, Russia, Poland etc., but for countries where average citizens do not serve and have limited access to firearms, a shorter period of training will not be sufficient.

In essence, we are all different, but one goal should be the same: that is to continue educating ourselves in every possible way on the subjects of Krav Maga, fighting, psychology, teaching, sports science, firearms, shooting, bladed combat etc. We need to recognize our strengths and weaknesses and become a hybrid of all three subject experts.

If I were to tell you that I am a master of manipulation and deceiving you might laugh, but it is true. In my civilian life I have worked as a salesman for numerous companies ranging from a gym to the defense industry. During my service for my country I was trained to screw with the enemies’ minds and win over support of the indigenous population efficiently and effortlessly. I know the art of persuasion, charm and false promises and I can show the truth to people though only ” the point of view ” I want them to see.

Day to day our life is full of lies, marketing schemes, small talk and other bulls**t that makes our society civilized and polite on the surface. We constantly judge each other and are being judged at the workplace, school, Facebook, etc. We have to put on a “Game Face “ and be professional at the work place and in most aspects of our life.

However, there is one moment in which you cannot lie and your true essence and soul will be revealed no matter how hard you try to hide it, that is, when someone’s fist lands on your face.

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Someone once said that in the moment of death you can see the true essence of a person’s soul and combat is the easiest route to death. I believe there is some truth to it. While I was living in Israel and Serbia, both countries have had their share of war and deaths in recent years. I find Israelis and Serbians are a lot more honest towards each other compared to other people. Some would even say they are honest to the point of rudeness. Perhaps this is because when one is so close to death, one does not have the mood or time to hide one’s true emotions, feelings and opinions about others.

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Of course, a Krav Maga gym is not a war zone and it is not my job to try to kill my students, but it is my mission to bring them to their limit of exhaustion, fear and total chaos in the most realistic and safest manner I can. Why? Because that’s the state you will be in if someone puts a knife on your throat or rides on top of you and beats you mercilessly. Of course the feeling sucks but this is what a Krav Maga gym should be doing. You are not supposed to feel “good “ about yourself walking out of the gym for the first 3 months. You are supposed to walk out and feel horrible, weak and vulnerable. We, as instructors, just reveal what this world can be sometimes: mean, cruel and harsh, and you are not prepared for the dark part of the world………yet. However, perhaps 6 months or 12 months later, if you stay and work hard, you will find yourself changed. You will move more efficiently, scan more and you are ready and alert when your gut feeling tells you that something is wrong. You are no longer a sheep but a truly independent person who takes one’s own security seriously and responsibly. You do not pass your responsibility of guarding your own life to others. You are a Kravi (fighter) just like your ancestors.

As Krav Maga has become more popular, I have seen many Cardio Kickboxing & Crossfit Krav Maga Gyms show up in recent years. I believe in a good conditioning class as I used to do it religiously as a fighter, but mixing two different purposes together in order to gain customers is WRONG. If you are a Krav Maga instructor you should ask yourself what is your main goal of teaching Krav Maga? And how can I achieve my goal for these students? If it is to make money then go ahead, this is a free country, but if your goal is to help others so they can walk in peace then you should change your methods.

Students, remember this – true confidence are built upon numerous self-doubts, surprises, enlightenment, failures, bruises and maybe some medical bills. True confidence of a Kravi is not a cocky attitude but appreciation and acknowledgement of one’s own limitation and weakness; at the same time accept your own deadliness if the switch needs to be turn on.

The highest praise I ever received as a soldier was “I will go to battle with you any day.“ This is the same praise I will say to my senior students. Every time I train a new student I often ask myself “If we are going to fight against a Nazi mob like Imi did will I take this person with me? “ After all, after seeing what’s going on around the world it is a good question to ask. Canada will not always be safe. If history ever teaches us anything it is that violence will always come to those who are least prepared and no one is safe. Now students, please ask your instructors “Will you take me?“

Instructors, ask yourself “Will you?“

Written by: Borki Yony

Edited by : Warren C

Many friends from the traditional martial art community have asked me. “So, do you guys teach your students morality, honour, ethics, etc.“ This question always makes me sink into deep thinking about whether or not we should be teaching these things. Coming from a traditional Asian martial art such as Judo and Tae Kwon Do I have benefitted from straight guidance and have learned to respect others and honour my school and my discipline.

Here in Urban Tactics Krav Maga, we do not teach those important things and here is why.

  1. Age

Although we have some students who are teenagers, the vast majority of our students are actually mature adults, and many of them are older than both instructors here in the school. There are very few things I can lecture to them about morality and honour when they have children who are my age. The reason that the vast majority of our students came to us to learn Krav Maga is exactly because they want to expedite training and use their precious time wisely and get the result they want –that is to be able to defend themselves.

  1. No honour in the street

As a historian, when I learn a discipline I am not just learning the techniques but also the history of the discipline. Here is something that might shock you. Many Japanese martial arts such as Judo can trace their origins to the Sengoku period (Warring State) and there sure was no honour on the battlefield. In fact, samurais switched masters as frequently as people switch cell phone companies today. It is very much about survival and being practical just like what our students have to face today. In fact, the idea of honour, respect, etc, did not come into place until the Edo period and Minji period when killing people was no longer considered appropriate in Japanese society. The best example is when Jigorō Kanō revamped traditional jiu jitsu into Judo; from a killing system to a sport. In our view, we are in the Sengoku period not the Edo period.

  1. Legality not honour

Why do we not stomp on our attacker’s head during a counter- attack? Not because honour or safety but simply because of legality. It is not my priority to teach students to move based upon honour, beauty and tradition. My priority is to teach them to survive and stay out of trouble, and if these moves will get them into trouble with the law later then I will not teach them. In every country the law is different and as a Krav Maga instructor my job should be about finding out the laws of self defense instead of teaching people to be a good person. In order to ensure we understand the latest self defense law, here in Urban Tactics Krav Maga, we hire lawyers to do seminars on self defense law. After all, I am a Krav Maga instructor and neither a lawyer nor a priest. Violence is cruel and war is ugly. I would rather have my students to be practical and ready instead of good and decent if their lives were ever threatened. Because morality is a question after one’s life is safe and their belly is feed.

  1. Students character

Some of my friends from traditional martial arts ask me by your way of thinking how do you verify a person’s character and make sure you are not teaching Krav Maga to thugs and criminals. Well! Luckily in Canada we have firearm license and criminal checks. We make sure our students have to get their firearm license and criminal record check after passing their orange belt. I am merely a mortal and with my limited life experience I cannot guarantee that I would not make mistake about judging close to several hundred people’s characters but I can trust the Canadian Federal government and police forces to verify there are no criminals among my students.  If the Canadian Federal government allows my students to purchase and use firearms, I am pretty sure it is ok for me to teach them Krav Maga.

  1. Preach with your body but not your words

I often say to my students that everything I teach you I will do it myself and that’s why I do not teach you anything other than Krav Maga. As a human being, I will make mistakes and can face moral dilemmas. I accept my weaknesses and imperfections and I do not expect my students to not have weak moments or make irrational decisions because of rage, pride and sorrow. In fact, the harsh training and sparring often reveals my student’s true character and by putting my students constantly in bad situation give them chances to practice and be calm. Having a calm mind will prevent them from making wrong choices if they ever encounter problems. After all, generally we make mistakes when we are emotional.

At the end of the day, we as human beings can only do so much. I accept my main purpose is to teach people how to fight and survive. I know we, UTKM, are the best in this field in Canada. The rest of things from morality to ethics, I will leave to the professionals.

Written by: Borki Yony

Edited by: Warren C

WIPEOUT-Charlie-Hebdo-shooting“We heard two pops … we all wondered what it was,”

 “He said ‘Don’t move’. I threw myself on the ground … I knew it wasn’t firecrackers.”

 Vinson crawled towards some offices when the door of the editorial office burst open and a man cried: “Allahu akbar … where is Charb?”

 “I heard gunfire. I didn’t look back, I didn’t want to stare death in the face and I was sure I was going to die,” she said.

 She joined other staff hiding in a colleague’s office where they could hear but not see the killing spree.

 “They didn’t fire in bursts, they shot one bullet after another. Slowly. Nobody shouted. Everyone must have been taken completely by surprise,”

 Vinson heard footsteps and more gunfire. One of the gunmen, later identified as Saïd Kouachi, looked around an office wall and took aim.

 “I looked at him. He had big dark eyes, a gentle look. I felt he was slightly troubled, like he was searching for my name,”

This is the chilling account of Sigolène Vinsonh from the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris.

Even with data showing that there are less deaths in modern day conflicts compared to the past, the psychological impact on normal citizens is very different.  In the past, there were front lines, rules of engagement, young men made up most of the casualties in those conflicts and, if it was not a total war, home was a place to de-stress and be relatively safe from attack.  Now, all rules are off and everyone and anyone can be a target in any place.  Terrorism is nothing new in modern history.  From the religious radical, leftist movement to separatism, few movements can claim that they have achieved their goals though terrorism.  However, the frequency and randomness of what we are seeing in the Western world is a completely new threat.

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What happened in Paris and Sydney is merely a start.  We will face more and more attacks like these in our streets, coffee shops, theaters and schools.  There is no front line and radicalization will only get worse as time progresses.  Terrorist organizations like ISIS and Al Qaeda, with its own online publication such as Daqib (struggle), have successfully “inspired“ young people in the Western world to commit atrocities like attacks on Charlie Hebdo.  This magazine’s quality of images and arrangements can put most commercial publications to shame.  Articles on how to make car bombs and justifying the killing of innocent people can provide tools on both the spiritual and tactical level for radical young people. Now anyone with the will can be a terrorist and this is why this new type of terrorism is abhorred and feared by all. In the past, you could stop a terrorist organization by killing its ringleaders, bomb makers or suppliers. Now, anyone can be a ringleader, bomb maker and executioner all at once, and the time from planning to execution is very short.  The authorities have very little time to gather evidence and arrest suspects with no past history or connection until the attack has already happened. These types of attacks do not have to be specific.  The murder of British soldier Fusilier Lee Rigby in 2013 is an example of these types of random terror attacks.  Two of the attackers, Michael Olumide Adebblaio and Michael Oluwatobi Adebowale, pulled off the attack with only cars, knives and a meat cleaver.  A terror attack does not have to be on a massive scale like 911 but simply needs to strike fear into the general public’s psyche.

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Solution:

There is not much we can do regarding radical ideology.  Radical ideology is radical because it is based upon emotions instead of logic.  The root of these emotions can be traced back centuries.  What we can do is for everyone to be mentally ready for the attacks and be prepared to handle them physically.

  1. Mentally Ready

Since the dawn of the age, men and women understood that they need to defend themselves from other humans, natural elements, etc.  The right to defend one’s life is as inherent as life itself.  The right to defense of self is as natural as breathing; however, in the modern day with all the comforts and security of Western civilization, people tend to forget their duty and their right.  We’ve become comfortable and we’ve become complacent.  Western society takes a much more liberal approach within its own society and castrates our ability and mentality to fight for our lives.  Ironically, Western society has a very different approach in its state-to-state affairs.  This diverse difference domestically and externally of Western society gives us the Wolf, Sheep and Sheepdog.  In this society, you are either a Wolf (bad guy), a Sheep (civilians who cannot fight back), or a Sheepdog (police and military).  This idea creates two different classes within a country’s citizens: Sheep and Sheepdog.  An average untrained civilian (Sheep) relies on the professional (Sheepdog) for his or her life, safety and well-being and, in return, the Sheep pays taxes and becomes a good citizen. This type of system was only made possible in the last 30 years because we were not in any major conflict, our society was not under constant threat, and we’ve had a relatively low crime rate. This was not always the case.  After all, nations did not mobilize Sheep in the last two major world wars, but strong proud citizen soldiers. In addition, nowadays, Wolves are hidden among the Sheep and they strike whenever and wherever. The very idea of Sheep and Sheepdog is a very lazy way of thinking.  We do not entrust others to eat our food or drink our water for our own bodies, so why would citizens rely on others to protect their own lives.  One may argue that it is because a Sheepdog has training, etc., but that’s the key point – the only difference between an average citizen and a professional is “training“ and “will to act.“  The second should be inherently built into our human DNA.  When our ancestors picked up the first stick, they made the conscious decision that they wanted to live and that’s the “will“ itself.

sheep-wolf-sheepdogIn almost every terror attack in the past few months, there were instances when untrained and unarmed citizens seized the chance to fight off terrorists, and some perished during the process, such as the two people in the Sydney cafe shop in December 2014, and one man in the Kosher Supermarket in Paris in January 2015.  These instances prove that ordinarily citizens will act in extreme circumstances.

2.Physical Training:

1. Physical Fitness

Physical fitness is the foundation of everything, including your mental health.  The fitter you are, the quicker you can react and the more stress you can handle.  Fitness is directly related to the fight or flight response.  The relation between fitness and fight is self-explanatory and, of course, the fitter you are the faster you can run away from danger.

2. Hand-to-Hand Combat

Here I mean a hand-to-hand combat discipline and not a martial art.  Such disciplines include boxing, Muay Thai, MMA, grappling and, of course, Krav Maga (if taught in the right way).  There is nothing artistic and spiritual about conflict and violence.  It is both physical and emotional.  A lot of hidden emotions; fear, anger and regrets will surface in a fight.  A good hand-to- hand combat training session will help you reveal , and then condition, those feelings and thoughts.  Physically, you will be bruised and injured.  Last, but not least, you will be punched in the face.  The training is tough and unpleasant, but this type of training will condition both your body and mind to be tough in response to dangers.

3. Technique

As time progresses, after you have a strong base of rigorous training, it is time to learn techniques.  Of course, these techniques have to be relevant to real life situations and be practical.  Many systems like Krav Maga, Defendo, Systema, Combat Sambo and even modern Kung Fu has great techniques if you can find a legitimate school with qualified and progressive instructors. 92162eaff8560ed6a3bc7eb6476239c1

4. Firearm Training

Whether or not you are allowed to carry firearms within your country, learning about firearms is vital when it comes to dealing with the type of terror attacks seen in Paris.  In both Paris’ Kosher supermarket and Sydney’s coffee shop attack, hostages attempted to take terrorist’s firearms out of their hands or out of secondary storage.  In both instances, unfortunately, the hostages failed and paid dearly with their lives. The Kosher supermarket was especially tragic when the hostage failed to fire the terrorist’s pistol.  Like it or not, firearms are something people need to understand and have training with in the event of terror attacks.  First of all, not all firearms are the same.  It is not like the movies, when a good guy can simply pick up guns off the ground and start firing.  Western Bloc and Eastern Bloc weapons have different safety switches on the weapon’s body.  For example, a semi-automatic pistol works slightly differently from a revolver.  Knowing how a firearm functions and the ability to potentially use it will ensure your life and others.

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Secondly, the sound of gunfire is something one needs to understand in order to survive active shooter types of terror attacks.  This part of firearm training is neglected by both government and civilians.  Gunfire sounds different up close, far away, outside a building, inside a building, etc.  By knowing the differences in gunfire sounds you can potentially determine the distance of gunman, how many of them there are, and maybe, the type of weapon they are using.  All of this information can help you escape in an active shooter type of terrorist attack.

  1. Defense Shooting Training

Here, defense shooting training means the actual shooting portion of firearm training, whereas, firearm training itself does not necessary need to involve shooting. Whether or not to allow citizens to arm themselves with firearms is debatable, but many experts such as secretary general of Interpol would agree that armed citizens do have the ability to prevent further damage from active shooter type terrorist attacks. The Canadian Parliament Hill attack was a successful case of a determined person with a firearm stopping further slaughter.  After shooter Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, who had already shot a soldier outside, broke into Parliament Hill in an attempt to commit further killing inside, Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers was able to prevent further attacks.  Mr. Vickers was an RCMP police officer for 29 years before accepting the ceremonial position of Sergeant-at-Arms. At the time he was not entitled to carry a duty firearm and Mr. Vickers had to retrieve his pistol from his office to engage the shooter.

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The idea of conceal-carry and open-carry frightens common citizens and excites those who are pro-gun and self-defense right folks.  However, the key lies within training and regulations.  The “average” avid shooter’s shooting training is not comparable to the military and law enforcement’s.  Some States like Iowa have slightly stricter training standards when it comes to getting a carry license, but one always wants to ask oneself, “Do I have enough training to use this firearm and am I confident to defend myself and others under pressure.“   The answer to the first question should always be “No.“  There is never enough training to prepare a person for a gun fight.  Shooting in a range, inside a facility with ear plugs on is very different from being scared and pressured while engaging potential enemies.  Well-known firearms instructor Chris Costa and Travis Haley once said “Amateurs train till they get it right, Professionals train till they get it wrong!“  Professionals like the police or military (combat arms) train and train until they experience all kinds of failure (muscle, mechanical , etc .) and when it comes to defense shooting training you need to be a professional for the sake of both the public and yourself.

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In today’s world, attackers come from within the people and the solution lies within the people as well. Normal citizens have to take on the responsibility to protect themselves against dangers in the immediate proximity. The luxury of having “sheepdogs“ risking their life is no longer viable against random terror attacks. Some people might say it is not possible to have the normal citizens be prepared and ready for such attacks, but there are plenty of cases when normal citizens stand against criminals successfully. Israel as a nation has been doing this since its creation in 1949. In this new world, people need to use their free time to exercise and train for possible threats, instead of  sitting in front of the computer and watching the latest reality TV show. This might come as a tough pill to swallow, but after all, we all know vegetables do not taste the best, but are surely good for you.

For those who make a claim to pacifism and take a very liberal approach regarding self defense, this is all I will say to them: “A pacifist is just someone who has not had someone they love or care murdered in front their eyes“. We are all capable of using force (violence when it is unjustified). Here in the western world, we have become soft and complacent because of modern technology; whereas in many parts of the world people live by a more original rule of humanity. As the world gets smaller and smaller with due to improvements in global transportation, people with different upbringings and beliefs live alongside each other. Believing we should not solve problems with violence may be a noble ideal, but not prepare for a potential fight is naive and to believe you are not responsible for your own safety is a lazy and irresponsible way of thinking.

Reference

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/london-attack-lee-rigby-identified-british-soldier-hacked-death-article-1.1352671

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jan/14/charlie-hebdo-killings-survivor-story

http://10news.dk/interpol-allowing-citizens-to-carry-guns-in-public-is-most-effective-way-to-prevent-terror-attacks/

http://www.handgunlaw.us/states/iowa.pdf

Written by: Borky Y

Edited by: Warren C & Josh H

Going into my orange belt test, I had very little idea of what it was going to be like. I had
only had a handful of dedicated coloured belt classes beforehand in addition to a few private
tutoring sessions, though I had also been going to every defence and warrior class that I could
make it to. I felt that the techniques were still very fresh for me, but felt that my fitness and
basic techniques were in a good place.

‘There’s a written test’ was the first thing I remember hearing. I had no idea what a
written test would even consist of, but I think it was pretty straightforward material. Things that
Jonathan and BorHan are always going over in class. Things you might not always have on
your mind, but when faced with the question, you can answer from it being drilled into you so
often. And then the physical test began with a review of every technique I had learned from
white belt up until that point, and I felt very similarly to how I had felt with the written portion.
Perhaps the reasons for pursuing a certain course of action or for using a certain technique
were not always in my mind at the time of it’s use, but having been drilled so often in punches
and kicks and 360 and choke defences, when asked to reflect on the situation or why a certain
technique should be used and for what, I found that the answers came to me fairly quickly.
Perhaps the goal is to eventually align your perception and cognition of an event with your
reaction to it so that you realize in the moment why it is and what it is that you’re doing and what
the next step is as you move forward with a focused state of mind.

Anyway, after going through all the techniques, we spent some time going through basic
multi attacker defences, and then I was placed in the middle of a large group of ‘helpers’ (thank
you guys) who attacked me incessantly with punches and knives and chokes and grabs. It was
very intense, and there was very little time between attacks. I think this portion lasted for quite a
while (it felt like a long time), and I definitely learned the lesson that you cannot perform under
pressure the way you perform in a class practicing techniques, and why it’s good to strive for
perfection in practice, so that when you don’t have time to think, you can still perform the moves
successfully.

My technique was sloppy. Some of my defences failed and I had to try again to defend
myself. A couple times, I felt like I took too long to react, and a few times, I definitely got
stabbed. But at the end of it, I realized that the reactions to these attacks were slowly being
ingrained upon my brain. That though I wasn’t necessarily as aware as ‘this is an ice pick attack
with a knife so use a 360 defence and strike the opponent’, I responded with the appropriate
moves the more often than not. I understood the importance of practice and drilling, and I
realized that when put in a very intense situation, I am able to react. Even if I might not pull off
picture perfect technique, I am still able to defend myself.

After this portion, I sparred with four or five opponents in succession. The fitness I had
though was in a good place was a little lacking to say the least. To continue to fight so many
people for so long in the middle of attackers and in sparring was very difficult, and I was
definitely gassed (I also got a vicious leg cramp during the sparring: don’t drink coffee right
before your test). But I continued, and I think that that is the important lesson to be distilled from
the experience.

Having had some time to reflect upon the experience, I feel that it has made me grow beyond
where I was as a yellow belt by pushing my limitations and my ability to function under pressure.
It was a very difficult test. Not insurmountable, but a significant challenge. I think it has shown
me areas in which I need to improve, but at the same time, given me the confidence to move
forward with training.

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Dave Young

check up those Krav Maga moves

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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

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