Posts Tagged ‘Borhan Jiang’

Krav Maga is not a quick fix

Posted: December 22, 2016 by urbantacticskravmaga in Krav Maga Philosophy
Tags: , , , ,

There is a popular belief that learning Krav Maga is fast and easy, that it only requires a couple months of training, and that you can quickly be ready to defend yourself for life. Yet, many instructors mention the decades of Krav Maga training they have done to become masters. Krav Maga techniques are built upon natural human reflexes, which means it has a very short learning curve for the average person. However, it’s not a quick fix.

Then, why do people advertise this?

Historical Reason. In the Israeli Defense Force, average combat soldiers might get 10-60 hours of Krav Maga training during their service. For Krav Maga instructors, their course could only take about 6 weeks long.

Business Reason. It is an easier business practice to go around the world, teaching short and intense courses. Israeli Krav Maga instructors tend to choose this method instead of taking the time to develop students from scratch.

Cultural Reason. At the core, people are different from country to country and region to region. The Krav Maga mentality that people in Israel or Serbia have is that they train knowing that they will likely need to use it. In addition, the Israeli military is a conscription army, which allows them to choose the best of the best citizens of the entire country to make their army strong. Which means that the level of Krav Maga they display is definitely not reflective of the general population. In peaceful countries, like Taiwan or Canada, people don’t have the same kind of mental and physical toughness, at least in the urban areas. There are certainly rough neighbourhoods or bad weather, but there is a lack of day-to-day dangers. Their priorities are not the same. Thus, it takes a much longer time to educate and train students into the Krav Maga mentality.

UTKM lead instructor, Jonathan Fader served in the IDF in Givati. This video is published by the Israeli Defense Force and depicts baseline combat soldiers, but they are not the elite, which is what most people visualize. These infantry soldiers probably have about 10-60 hours of Krav Maga, but just physical training.

The Krav Maga Mentality

Muscle memory: If you don’t use it, you lose it.

One thing that Israeli instructors fail to understand is that the fight or flight instinct takes a long time learn how to control, and then it takes longer to learn how to maintain control. The same goes with instinctual reactions and fighting spirit. Sure, six months of proper fight training can enhance one’s ability to protect him or herself, but what about after six months? Students here will lose what they learned because they live in a much more peaceful society than Israel. Thus, in order to maintain their abilities and control, they should train a certain amount per week.

Krav Maga is unlike traditional martial arts. It’s not because it’s easy to learn. It’s not because it doesn’t take time to practice. It is because time is not wasted on forms or preparing for competition, which are useless in the real world. Despite what most major Krav Maga instructors advertise, you need to train hard to keep some of the most fundamental moves, such as 360 defense. Krav Maga techniques are built upon human instinct, but it does require years of practice to ingrain it into your muscle memory. The more you practice the more confident you are with them.

no-short-cut3

It’s all about the mind

For people in war-torn countries, the warrior spirit comes naturally to them because of their experience. For people in peaceful countries, the warrior spirit takes longer time and more consistent training to develop. Training should be a lifestyle – a warrior lifestyle – not a short cut or quick fix.

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This is part of a series on our instructor training program. To understand this series and how our Assistant Instructor Course and Full Instructor Course works, please start with Part 1.

Introducing Pedro Chong

Pedro Chong is the first student to graduate from our Assistant Krav Maga Instructor Course at Urban Tactics Krav Maga. I met Pedro at the Taiwanese Police University in 2014 through a friend. He is an army officer with the Taiwanese Army (Republic of China) as well as an avid Muay Thai fighter and coach. He also studied International Affairs and Strategic Studies at Tamkang University in Taiwan. Since we have a mutual passion for martial arts, tactical training and shooting, I invited him to come train in Krav Maga at UTKM. Pedro jumped at this opportunity and flew to Vancouver in March 2015.

At the time of Pedro’s arrival, we were still in the process of developing the curriculum and thus his training was different from our current program. Due to his extensive background in military and martial arts, we put Pedro through a condensed program over 10 days, with him practicing in the gym for 12-13 hours a day.

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Pedro showing Vertical Sweep at his Muay Thai Gym in Taiwan

 

Krav Maga starts when you are completely burnt out, done, tired. That’s when it starts.

… said one of my Krav Maga instructors in the IDF. For Pedro, it seems that his fighting spirit was really tested during his time with us. After the course, he told me that this was more intense and difficult than his Special Forces training in Taiwan. After all, we start each day at 6am or 7am and didn’t stop until 11 pm. Each day consisted of in-class lectures and physical training. Within two weeks, Pedro also went through two 4-hour belt exams – yellow and orange belt. On the weekends, we took him on a series of rifle and shotgun courses in the BC mountains. It was winter and Pedro almost got hypothermia from the unprecedented Canadian coldness. Another new experience for Pedro was sparring with opponents who are much bigger and stronger than him. In Taiwan or Israel, people’s body sizes are quite similar, but in Vancouver where people come from all over the world there is a big size disparity.

Over 10 days, Pedro learned about Krav Maga’s history, psychology, law, combat mindset, firearms training, tactics, kinesiology, and more. He said that he has never encountered a hand-to-hand combat curriculum that is so meticulous about background knowledge, principles behind moves, instructional techniques, tactics, as well as indoctrinating our students with a warrior spirit.

To explain our philosophy, here’s an example from different perspective: iPhone users generally find Apple products pleasant to use for its simplicity, but the engineer knows and understands all the complex technology behind the devices. We strongly believe that at the instructor level, Kravists should know much more than the moves and tactics, they should also understand all the details regarding Krav Maga.

Krav Maga + Muay Thai + Kali + BJJ = Pedro Chong
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Pedro was an avid Muay Thai competitor

As a seasonal Muay Thai and Kali fighter, Pedro has powerful hand movements and solid footwork. Despite sparring against students twice his size, Pedro can maintain his position against anyone at UTKM. He is quite amazing at adapting to Krav Maga techniques.

Pedro’s instructional skills are also undoubtedly well developed. He has been a hand-to-hand combat instructor for the Taiwanese (ROC) army and a Muay Thai coach, and now a certified Krav Maga instructor under UTKM. Once, Pedro taught us some Muay Thai in the gym, most of our instructors joined in, and everyone was impressed by the amount of detail he goes into for each move.

His weakness was a lack of grappling experience. For example, during his Orange Belt test, he was choked out by one of the attackers. We recommended that he train in BJJ when he returns to Taiwan. Often, grapplers are comfortable with chokes, locks, and grabs, but less confident with striking; similarly, strikers can punch and kick easily, but are weak when it comes to relative positions, submitting, and escaping. As such, Krav Maga and BJJ work well together to strengthen one’s overall self-defense ability. Ultimately, it is important for anyone doing Krav Maga to have good awareness of their opponent and their own bodies. Cross training in varying types of martial arts can benefit that.

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Tough and rigiourous Krav Maga is apperciated in Taiwan

Pedro is now back in Taiwan, with the Taiwanese (Republic of China) military. Although he is unable to hold regular Krav Maga classes, he has shared his knowledge with the army, police, as well as forces in Ecuador. He also continues Krav Maga training in other countries, through military and security agencies.

Our experience with Pedro taught us many things about training instructors and has helped us to revamp the curriculum many times since his graduation. Teaching a condensed version of the program is much too exhausting for both students and instructors, and it will most likely not be repeated in the future. As mentioned in part 1 of this series, our current program is a dedicated mentorship in which we train only a few students over the span of an entire year.

At the time of this being published, becoming a UTKM instructor is by invite only. In addition, the FIC is still under development in order to offer the best possible education for our instructors. We will be opening it up in the future to a few applicants per year. If you are thinking about doing this in the future, please inquire by  emailing Josh Hensman at info@urbantacticscanada.com.

Warriors Den Podcast

Download on iTunes Today! https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/urban-tactics-krav-maga-warriors/id969549693?mt=2

#thisisUTKM In this episode UTKM Co-Founder Borhan Jiang and Jonathan Fader are joined by UTKM manager Josh Hensman to discuss how UTKM has changed over the past year. We also discuss Krav Maga and its politics and instruction a little.

Warriors Den Podcast

Download on iTunes Today! https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/urban-tactics-krav-maga-warriors/id969549693?mt=2

UFC 200 imageThis is the UFC 200 Fight cast. If you missed the event know that it was hyped up like crazy and they probably spent millions promoting it. Yet, I think that this podcast is more exciting than the actual fights. SO, if you are watching the fights after the fact, why not listen to this podcast at the same time as we talk about politics and MMA as well as the usual banter.

Featuring Justin Pierrot of Eye of the Storm MMA podcast and UTKM Co-Founder Borhan Jiang.

Warriors Den Podcast

Download on iTunes Today! https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/urban-tactics-krav-maga-warriors/id969549693?mt=2

This is the UFC 196 Fight Cast. With Jonathan Fader, Rod “Zilla” Wingrove, Borhan Jiang, Dylan Hanna, Matt Kiomall and the man with the perfect voice Neil.

The main card for this fight was Conor McGregor vs Nate Diaz and co-main event was Holly Home vs Meisha Tate.

 

Warriors Den Podcast

Download on iTunes Today! https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/urban-tactics-krav-maga-warriors/id969549693?mt=2

Lior Offenbach with Jonathan Fader and Borhan Jiang

Lior OffenbachCKMI is a former IDF special forces operator as well as 8 year veteran of the Israeli Police force. He has been doing Krav Maga for nearly 20 years and martial arts overall for even longer. Lior is an expert in hand to hand and close quarters combat and was a top student of other notable instructors in Israel. In the last few years Lior branched off on his own and founded Combat Krav Maga International. He has quickly become one of the most popular Krav Maga instructors in the world due to his aggressive but reality based approach to Krav Maga.

 

Warriors Den Podcast

Download on iTunes Today! https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/urban-tactics-krav-maga-warriors/id969549693?mt=2

Donna Marion is a BJJ Purple Belt and instructor at UTKM. In this podcast we discuss what its like being a respected BJJ player in a male dominated world. In addition we discuss self-defense and other sensitive topics.

Donna Marion Teaching

 

Download on iTunes Today! https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/urban-tactics-krav-maga-warriors/id969549693?mt=2

Download on iTunes Today!
https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/urban-tactics-krav-maga-warriors/id969549693?mt=2

Greg Fuentes

Greg Fuentes started at UTKM over a year and a half ago. He originally found us through the program we offer at Kwantlen Polytechnic University for students and was immediately interested. It became apparent to us that he not only had the physical skill to be a great practitioner but he also had the right skills we were looking for in an instructor. It took him a while but he is officially one of our assistant instructors and it is well deserved.

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Watching Harjeet and Roger throwing punches at each other while both evading Josh’s stick attack, I was truly amazed how far these reserved gentlemen have come from the day they first stepped into our dojo. One of the most amazing transformations I have witnessed is seeing timid, shy and quiet people turn into warriors as time progress.

Different schools attract different characters. We, however, attract everyone and anyone. We have many LE and Military personnel and top athletes from other sports or disciplines, but the majority of our students are average Joes and Janes. They just want to learn how to defend themselves.  Sometimes these Joes and Janes have very interesting and at times difficult progress in their development. Some of these students seek permission to strike and be aggressive, while others find their inner hulks and shock the whole class and themselves. Another instructor of UTKM, Josh Hensman, often describes “that society links aggression with anger, but that should not always be the case”. Prior to stepping into the UTKM dojo most of these students have never had a chance to express their innate aggression and fight instincts because society and  education have oppressed these types of behaviors; however, for their own reasons they need to seek it out again or to build it from scratch here in our school.

Process

The process of building a person’s aggression is a balanced art. If you develop it too much then you are abusing the student, too little and there is no effect.

First step: Link anger with aggression. This does somewhat contradict what I mentioned above, but it is the fastest way to bring out inner aggression from students. Any violent encounter is usually emotional and anger is generally one of these emotions. Phrases such as “this man is going to hurt you and hurt your family”, along with swearing generally get a rise out of students.

Second step: After students can function normally and do the defense techniques they learnt under extreme pressure, we simply remove the link between anger and aggression by enhancing and rewarding aggression (we don’t reward violence – there is a difference). After a hard sparring session, we complement the students on a job well done and let them know they were in control of the situation.

Third step: Link aggression with the idea that having to be aggressive in order to stay safe is simply a job that needs to be done. Remember the first time you drove and how nervous you were? Some of you were probably very emotional because of fear and the unknown. Some people even get angry. Defending yourself is exactly the same thing. In the beginning students might experience the same emotional state as a first-time driver, but as time progresses they will come to the conclusion that this is just like any other day in the office. UFC fighter John Jones was once asked if he is afraid step into the ring. His response: “a postman does not get scared when he steps into a post office does he?“

After merely 100 hours of training our yellow belt students have performed incredibly under stress against other students. I recall the times these students break down in tears, lose control of their emotions, get short of breath, and sometimes even get injured (you can never eliminate all the risk). I often tell them: “it is better for you to experience this here in a controlled environment, than out on the street”. We don’t teach Self Defense here in UTKM, we use Krav Maga to turn someone into a lion. A lion does not fear getting into a fight, for it knows it is the biggest and baddest creature out there.

Control:

Last but not least, living in a peaceful society people often do not know how violent they can be in the right circumstance. A student once told me that after he defending himself against a home intruder he could not remember the process. When you know your limits and what you are capable of, you tend to be able to control your power. It is like driving instructors who recommend to their students to find an empty parking lot and just push their car to the limit so they know the limitation of their vehicles.

I always ask students ” in sparing are you allow to strike the back of the head ? ”

students reply :” no ! you are not ”

I reply ” of course you can this is Krav Maga but you do it in gently and lightly to remind your opponent that they have been strike in the back of the head and if you have to do it in real life you simple just have to increase the forces to neutralize the threat ” ( it does not take much force to cause affect or permanent damage to strike the back of the head ) Seeing students like Harjeet and Roger transform into who they are today makes me realize that not anyone can transform others into fighters who enjoy fighting, but everyone and anyone has the potential to become a warrior who will fight so they can walk in peace.

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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.