Posts Tagged ‘CT707’

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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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check up those Krav Maga moves

This will be the last post of 2014 and I thought a good topic would be the evolution of technique. In the New Year we always make resolutions to be better and improve so evolution or improvement is a good place to end 2014.

Many months back, I went on a trip to Buffallo NY, with my partner in crime Borhan Jiang to re-take the CT-707 Instructor course under Nir Maman. For me it was my third time training with Nir and for Borhan it was his first.

In a conversation we had with Nir the question came up, why is it, that many of the techniques developed by Imi and others, are either no longer effective or are less effective than they once were.

The answer we got was so simple it was shocking. With the evolution of attacks, so too must the defense evolve.

I spent much time thinking about this over the past few months and the one area that so many Krav Maga organizations seem to struggle with is adapting the moves to the new types of attacks. Not only do some, not want to change their defense, others come up with options that sometimes leave me scratching my head.

The area of defense I see most problematic is knife attacks. If you look at most systems, even early Krav Maga, the answer is usually some kind of block or grab that is meant to stop the attacking knife and arm in one move. The problem with this is that the real weapon is the person, their brain and their nervous system and not the knife. The knife like everything else we use to be more efficient in this world is simply a tool.

Recently, there have been numerous Knife attack videos presented to me and It always shows one thing. A person with a knife, attacking, often wildly one….two…. 10 plus times in succession.

Knife

Which means, they are attacking fast and repetitively. It is really easy to demonstrate to a student how it is extremely difficult to simply grab or block such attacks as many systems would have you believe.

So I thought I would break this all down a little bit further so that you too can better understand how to properly deal with various knife situations.

To start off lets break down some of the different types of Knife scenarios:

  • Static knife scenario – This is a stick up like situation where they are simply holding the knife and demanding something
  • Committed Knife attack – This is an attack that is now kinetic (Energy and motion) but is in one committed direction – Down, up, forward (Thrusting)
  • Non-Committed knife attack – these attacks are kinetic and have no direction, they are slashing and stabbing rapidly with no pattern

Much of the older techniques deal with primarily the committed and static attack type and offer little or poor solutions to the non-committed type. This is very problematic as if an initial committed attack fails they often turn right into a non-committed attack until the attack is satisfied with the amount of damage they have done.

So why has much time ibeen spent developing good techniques for the first two attacks and not the latter. I thought about this long and hard and perhaps I am right or perhaps not but this is what I think.

It was not until the mid-late 1800s’ that guns, due to the advancement of rifling and bullets, became the primary tool for killing. Before this, and for 100s of years swords of all types were the primary tool. This meant that specific styles and techniques were developed both offensively and defensively around sword techniques and strategies. Depending on the sword type, they either rely on direct thrusts or a wide slashing movement. As such, knife techniques also followed similar patterns.

This means that older techniques in many styles may in fact work as they are dealing with primarily static or committed attack types. But as guns began to take over as the preferred tool, less and less people were being trained in proper sword techniques and with the World Wars speeding up globalization new styles could easily spread.

One such style came from the Philippines, a style that predominantly deals with knife and shorter bladed techniques. Be it Kali, ilustrisimo or Escrima these styles really began to change the way trained individuals looked at bladed attacks. Individuals both trained and untrained are realizing the best way to attack with a knife is with short quick movements in rapid succession. It does not matter if it is a stab or a slash, if the movements are quick, and rapid they are very difficult to stop.

Which means, organizations that due to tradition or simply laziness who choose to only use techniques that do not deal with all possible attack types as simply as possible are no longer living in reality. This could be Krav Maga or other martial arts styles.

The flaw is always when you treat the knife as the weapon and not the person. If you simply block and re-direct, you are ignoring the person as this does nothing to stop them from resisting.

When it comes to knives you have a few options.

  1. Simply RUN!, this is and always will be the best choice
  2. Block while simultaneously disrupting their attack pattern then Run
  3. Block while simultaneously disrupting their attack pattern control the means of Kinetic energy deliverance to the tool (The arm) and continue to disrupt the individual until the knife can be safely taken away.

So I have made this explanation a little complicated on purpose, as I want you to understand how it is a knife becomes dangerous.

A knife on its own, is a static object with bladed or sharps sides usually under 12 inches. On its own, it is harmless. However, as some kinetic energy (motion) to it and that blade now can cut or pierce soft tissue with ease. The knife is not the weapon it is a tool and the person wielding it is the weapon, more precisely their brain and nervous system. You must disrupt these things to stop the attack pattern and it must be done so with speed and confidence.

However, if you ignore the knife you are doomed to fail as well. This means you must both disrupt the attacker and control the knife with as little motion as possible.

If you block and disrupt. For example the standard 360 Krav Maga defense, and then continue to fight them then you are ignoring the knife and you now have a problem.

However, if you do a 360 defense and then IMMEDIATLEY grab the attacker’s arm you can now control the knife and can disrupt the attacker with kicks, knees and head butts.

For the record when I say grab the arm, I do not mean simply with your hand. I mean with BOTH arms and hands with vice grip clamping onto that arm. This turns it into their arm and hand vs your entire body weight.

An example of a reference point 1 or Live side two on one Grip

An example of a reference point 1 or Live side two on one Grip

An example of a reference point 2 or Dead side two on one Grip

An example of a reference point 2 or Dead side two on one Grip

TO many times I see demos where a person is controlling a knife wielding person by the wrist, but this is only the illusion of control.

When it comes to knives, if you lose control and of the knife arm, and are not a significant distance away…well I will leave it to your imagination.

So what happens, if the attacker starts with a non-committed wild attack?

Did I not say to run already? That is the best option.

Because the reality is, if you do not find a way to disrupt their attack pattern while maintaining your distance long enough to get a hold of that arm, there are very little techniques that will be able to stop such an attack without sustaining significant damage to one’s self.

So, if you cannot run, find another tool that is longer and bigger to fight them with. Throw things at them. But you must find a way, to create distance or cause them to pause. A pause is all you need to dive in for that arm. Otherwise, your only option is to run.

Evolution, it is how things improve. It is not just biology that adheres to this principle but also the learning process. It is far too easy to get stuck in a pattern because we are comfortable. This is what causes complacency. Complacency is what causes trained individuals to fall short of defending themselves and their loved ones. So, we must always evolve and be better. This does not only apply to evolving knife defense scenarios. This applies to all Krav Maga and self-defense scenarios. If you cannot keep up with the evolution of the attacker’s strategies then you too will fall prey to Darwinism.

So to you I say, make sure it is not just you who is evolving for the better in the New Year but also your methods, strategies and techniques.

I wish everyone a good, and prosperous new year in 2015 and wish that all of you out there, may continue to walk with peace.

Written by: Jonathan Fader

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

In this video there are four of my buddies from Military Krav Maga Instructor course. I have to say this is probably one of the best demo video I ever seen. The quality is superb.

You guys can read about my Serbian adventurous at here.

http://urbantacticskravmaga.com/2013/09/17/from-serbia-with-love-military-krav-maga-instructor-course-in-belgrade/

By: Borhan Jiang

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

HiYaaLarge_2

If you ask most martial arts instructors out there are you a Jedi master or Sith Lord it is most probable that all of them would answer, “why Jedi Master of course.”

No one in their right mind would say, well of course I am a Sith Lord. This makes complete sense, after all as martial artists are suppose to be about honor and respect, love and compassion, right from wrong. However when I look around at most schools and many of the styles what I see is models that resemble something more akin to Sith Lord’s.

This may seem rather strange but let me explain.

In order to become a Jedi master you must simply prove yourself worthy. It is the hope that all Jedi padawans become Jedi Knights and when of course ready Jedi Masters. A teacher expects their student to become the same level as them if not surpass them. As such there is a Jedi master council of masters who are equal and all have valid opinions.

In the Sith model there is usually only one Sith Master. In this model the only way to become a master is by the death of your current master usually at your own hands as this “proves” you are better. If a Sith master dies of natural causes than those below fight it out to find out to be the next master. Quite the waste if you ask me.

Any ideas yet why I consider most martial arts instructors to be Sith lords?

At Urban Tactics it is our hope and or goal that all of our students meet or exceed our abilities in Krav Maga. This choice is rather easy for us as the purpose is to teach self defense not artistic mastery. We want all our students to be able to defend themselves to the best of their abilities. If those abilities happen to be better than ours then we know we have done our job.

If I look at a traditional style, there is often a master or grand master or some equivalent title. Usually there is only ever another master if they die. While this could be due to respect and honor it seems rather silly as if a student is better then should they not be the master? or rather should they not now be equals happy to continue to teach their respective style to everyone who wants to learn?

While I cannot pretend to understand the details around the last few years of Imi’s death it is clear there was a power struggle, much like the sith lords. Now, there are many Krav Maga organizations with heads all claiming to be the head of Krav Maga. Instead of perfecting the system they diverged and keep their moves and ideologies secret, as if teaching people the most optimal way to defend themselves should be a secret. To me this is selfish and accomplishes nothing.

The result has been that everyone and their son thinks they are a Krav Maga expert. When I look around North America I continue to see sub par schools with sub par instructors all teaching different things and calling it Krav Maga. This does nothing for those who truly wish to defend themselves and gives many the false sense of security as they “know” Krav maga but can barely throw a punch let alone know the history of Krav Maga.

For comparison, lets also look at karate. When the modern founder died and named his successor a Korean the other masters were offended as karate is suppose to be Japanese, even though its origins can be traced to China. Now there are at least 5 major types of Karate and numerous offshoots all claiming to be the true form.

The reality is all this bickering and continuous splitting once an original master dies has nothing to do which style is better it has to do with ego plain and simple. If you have your students bowing down to you and running around calling you master, creating a cult like environment this is ego driven and more akin to the Sith than the Jedi.

Sith-LordsNot to mention that all humans have a brain, two legs and two arms so how can there realistically more than one style that is truly effective. We are after all fundamentally the same. Shouldn’t all the so called masters and grand masters come together to devise one system that works plain and simple?

I mean is it not the point of martial arts to learn to defend oneself from harm? Shouldn’t we all want a perfect system and curriculum that keeps it simple and covers all types of attacks from the root of all attacks which is of course the brain?

So I ask you to really consider, as an instructor are you a Jedi Master or really a Sith lord?

20331206If you are doing anything other than sharing information and making people better physically and mentally then I suggest that you might in fact be a Sith lord. Please, dispel your ego, dispel the theatrics and focus on what its all really about, making the world a better place one student at a time.

Written by: Jonathan Fader

chicken or egg

Often, Bruce Lee (1940-1973) is credited with being the founder of Mixed Martial Arts.
As far as the West and the traditional East is concerned, this is true. Lee became famous in the early 70s because of his movie career. This allowed the world to see Lee’s new style of Jeet Kune Do or the “Way of the Intercepting Fist”. Lee is considered the founder of MMA because he was perceived to be the first person to take pieces of various styles and create his own catered to his style of fighting.

Historians often say that history is written by the victors and, as far as the world is concerned, Lee is the founder of MMA. However, as a Krav Maga practitioner I know this is not entirely true. Often in human history, for whatever reason, something is developed simultaneously at two different locations under different circumstances, yet the end result is the same. As a Krav Maga practitioner I know that Imi Lichtenfeld (1910-1998) actually came before Lee and developed Krav Maga as a system which took pieces of various martial arts to create a simplified self defense system.

While Lee started learning Kung Fu under the legendary Yip Man, a Wing Chung Master, Lichtenfeld started as a boxer and a wrestler, and yet they both came up with systems that were looking to simplify martial arts/self defense and strip down all of the useless techniques. There is, of course, one major difference. Lee developed his style for himself out of passion and sport, and Lichtenfeld developed it out of war and necessity. One (Lee’s) is a beautiful style designed with directness, no form and speed in mind, though I suspect was really developed for a person who has trained many years and who had developed a great amount of speed. The other (Lichtenfeld’s) was designed to work for anyone of any size under any circumstance. It is quite possible that Lee would have continued to simplify his system had his life not been cut short, but we will never know. Krav Maga under Lichtenfeld, however, was allowed to develop under his watchful eye into a simplified version of the original. I can only imagine what might have happened had the two met each other to discuss techniques.

For both, their original dream was the same and their ends, although decades apart, have one glaring similarity. Upon their deaths, there was a mad scramble to assume power as the next in line. While I am unfamiliar about the squabbles in the Jeet Kune Do world, I often hear people discuss how close in lineage their instructor was to Lee. I have heard things like, “Oh, my instructor is three people removed from Lee.” Or, “That style is not Jeet Kune Do but mine is true to the original.” This should sound familiar to all the Krav Maga people out there as now in 2014, 16 years after Licthenfeld’s death, there are at least 10 major Krav Maga organizations, not to mention the numerous independent schools that choose to stay out of the politics.

Personally, I have trained with individuals who can trace their lineage back to both Lee and Lictenfeld, and I have trained with individuals who have learned both Jeet Kune Do and Krav Maga who cannot trace their lineage directly back to the creators. The question is, should the ability to directly trace training lineage to the original creators matter. Personally, I do not think it should. My reasoning is simple. First, NOBODY ever questions the lineage of either Lee or Lichtenfeld because they were innovators. They created systems not seen by anyone else before. Their lineage did not matter, for they themselves were the reason they were famous, not because of under whom they trained. Second, how long after an originator’s death does one need to wait until a system is diluted or completely changed from what it was meant to be.

Take Tae Kwon Do or Judo for example. I am sure the original creators would be rolling over in their graves if they saw how diluted and sports-like their systems had become. For the most part these systems follow the lineage of the original founder, and yet they are nothing at all what they are suppose to be, but rather watered down systems designed for points and not the original simplified self defense systems that they were. It is quite possible that this has, or can happen, to both JKD and KM, but does this mean change of the systems is bad? Again, I do not think so. I think that change, so long as it follows the principles of remaining simple, easy-to-use and effective for real world application, is good. If, however, change of a system turns it into something for points or display, then the creators most likely would be kicking themselves in the head for not being more clear about how they wanted their systems to develop.

I have heard that the reason that Hiam Gideon was named the head of the IKMA after Licthenfeld’s death was because he was also an innovator. He adapted Lichtenfeld’s moves to further simplify them so that they were more likely to succeed. This is not something I can confirm as there are many rumours regarding the question of lineage after Licthenfeld’s death. However, if it is true then for sure it makes sense, for it is my understanding that Krav Maga, or Jeet Kune Do for that matter, were meant to be evolving styles to utilize any and all techniques that existed in the world, regardless of origin. Of course, IKMA now refers to its system as the Gideon system while IKMF, now under Avi Moyel, and KMG under Eyal Yanilov, still call their systems the IMI system. What does this mean? I am not really sure, but it certainly brings into the question of the evolution of the system. There are, of course, Krav Maga organizations headed by individuals who learned their Krav Maga from the Army, or a friend, or whatever, and though they do not follow the original lineage, certainly follow the Krav Maga mentality of keeping it simple, efficient and easy-to-use.

There are certain moves, such as the Krav Maga 360 defense, to which you will see in almost all the Krav Maga organizations. In fact, moves such as this have been spread into other self defense systems whether they realize it or not, such as modern Cimande. Other moves, however, such as how to deal with the front choke, vary from organization to organization. Is this good or is this bad? Well, the answer should be obvious by now. It depends. Krav Maga is meant to be an evolving system, but what direction that evolution takes is still up in the air. Some systems focus more on aggression, some more on technique. Some are very casual and some are very traditional. Some use belt systems and some use patch systems.

No matter what your lineage however, one thing needs to remain the same. The moves need to work and they need to work fast. I have noticed that some organizations use only one variation of a move and I have found that the variation works great for some, but not all. An organization that chooses to keep a move simply because that’s the way the Master did it seems to be missing the point of the original creation of the system, whether KM or JKD. Some moves work great for big people but not small people. Some moves work great for fast people but not slow people. This is part of the reason that aggression is so important in Krav Maga. However, this does not mean you should forget your technique. Our philosophy at Urban Tactics Krav Maga is that at the White Belt and Yellow Belt levels, we teach our students the fundamentals and a few of the various options. We then encourage them to use the move that works best for their body type and fitness level, and choose it as their main reaction under said circumstances. This does not mean, however, that they should forget the other options as you never know what may happen.

Personally I have found myself saying that Krav Maga is a system that assumes you are going to screw up and that even if that happens, you will survive. Another thing I have come to realize, after observing some of my friends whose Krav Maga training comes exclusively from the Army, is that when you remove the option to kill your attacker, your technique becomes far more important than your aggression, as a level of control is required in the civilian or police world.

I think by now you should have figured out what my thoughts are on lineage. It depends on who your instructor is and how good they are at teaching you the fundamentals, regardless of lineage. At the end of the day, at least with Krav Maga if you go home and sleep safely every night then your instructor has done their job. Criticizing an organization just because of lineage is ridiculous, especially if what they teach follows the original principles and, most importantly, works. At Urban Tactics Krav Maga we train with individuals from all organizations in the Krav Maga world, and we encourage our students not only to do the same but also to train in other styles. You can never know too much as we are always learning. Evolution is a part of humanity, and fighting over who came first or who has the closest tie to the original founder of a system seems rather petty to me. At the end of the day, any instructor should not put their loyalty into their organization but should put their loyalty into their students. Getting caught up in the politics of lineage in the Martial Arts I am sure would drive any founder nuts. To me it really doesn’t matter that Lee is seen as the founder of MMA over Lichtenfeld because they both have wonderful legacies and gave the world two great systems and ways of thinking.

So, The Chicken or the Egg? Which Came first? Really, it does not matter, because in the end we are all here, we are all alive and we are all safe.