Posts Tagged ‘Bercy’

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.

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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

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

Because of the popularity of UFC and other sport martial arts, most people think martial arts is a competition between two people. This is quite far from the truth. In fact, many of martial arts such as Jiu Jitsu, Kung Fu, Sambo, etc in essence are meant to train a group of soldiers for war. The system has to be quick to learn and easy to use as today’s Krav Maga.

Warriors would do exercises as the ones shown in this video as a group as well as practice their individual combat skill. One of the most important military figures in late Chinese history general Qi Jiguang ( 1527-1588 ) commented in his military strategy book Ji Xiao Xin Shu that individual combat skill is not very important in battle.  In ancient combat the first wave of attack is generally carried out in a very close group formation, and the individual has little free movement. As we can see in this video (from 07:00-09:40), in a group battle you have little chance to use your individual fighting ability. Only as the battle progresses and both sides break into little skirmishes after initial impacts, individual combat ability would play a factor in battle.

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The Battle of the Ice. A brutal battle between Teutonic Knight Order and Russia in AD 1242. The drawing is done by Russian Artist Vladimir Alexandrovich Serov

A Tai Chi master and historian from Taiwan sent me a message after seeing this video saying ” now I understand how Kung Fu was used to trained soldiers in the past, in fact the word Tai Chi was first used by a Chinese general to train soldiers in AD 502一557. ” It is unlikely Tai Chi from AD 502-557 has the same techniques as Tai Chi today but this was the first record of the word Tai Chi used in historical text in China.  As time progressed martial arts evolved to meet different needs for different time periods. During the Warring States Period (Sengoku period) Jiu Jitsu was meant for fighting samurais wearing heavy armor; it was kill or be killed. During the Edo period, Jiu Jitsu evolves into empty hand martial arts against people wearing normal daily clothes. In modern century Jiu Jitsu’s  kill or to be killed mentality of the past was transformed to a gentleman’s sports such as Judo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for today’s world.

Some might ask what does this have to do with Krav Maga ? After Imi’s death, under different instructors Krav Maga evolved very rapidly into different things. Some thought Krav Maga should become a traditional martial art, some thought Krav Maga should become a self defense system, some thought Krav Maga is an offensive Military Fighting System. There is no argument which school of thought is better nor where Krav Maga is going. However, as the influence from MMA and other disciplines are getting more influential in Krav Maga in order to grasp the spirit of Krav Maga and true purpose of some of the Krav Maga techniques and training we have to study its original form: an offensive Military Fighting System. In the following video, you might able to get the answers on why Krav Maga fighter do mostly low kick ? Why Krav Maga fighter does not bounce around as boxer ? Why original Krav Maga kicks are different from Muay Tai or Kickboxing ? Why most drills in Krav Maga class are conducted in group ? In the end of the day, as Krav Maga instructors we have to be able to explain the principals behind the techniques and training or otherwise we are no better than McDojo Masters.

“Study the past if you would define the future.”
Confucius

Written By: Borhan J

Edited By: Doug V