Posts Tagged ‘Evolution’

Every morning in the wild a gazelle awakens. One thing is for sure for the gazelle for that day, as every other: She must run faster than the fastest lion. If she cannot, she will be killed and eaten.

Every morning, a lion awakens. For the lion, too, one thing is certain. This day, and everyday, he must run faster than the slowest gazelle.

Whether fate names you a gazelle or a lion is of no consequence. It is enough to know that with the rising of the sun, you must run, and you must run faster than the day before, for the rest of your days, or you will die.

We all have to run; run the race of life. – An African Poem, Race of Life, Netflix 2017

Occasionally instead of putting on my usual Netflix debauchery, I find it soothing to watch a nature series or documentary. Recently, I started to watch the shot Race for life on Netflix. The beginning starts with the poem as written above.

Of course, I have seen variations of this quote prior usually on motivational posters or in business guides, but this is so far my favourite.

It seems to me despite what the Lion King taught us about the circle of life, the newer generation either do not understand it, accept it or simply ignore it. This two is applied to evolution and how it operates. There is a common myth believed by most that evolution has some kind of definitive set end goal. The truth is it does not. It is simply a mechanism following some kind of not tangible universal code based on the principles of action and reaction.

For the gazelle to avoid the lion it developed speed and agility, and for the lion to catch the gazelle it must rely on explosive power, strength and strategy. Evolution is simply the action of one species or entity reacting to its environment or predators so that it can best continue to exist as a species. The saying, Adapt or Die could never be truer.

As you can see above, each species reacts to the others defence mechanism so that it can better survive.  – Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder

When it comes to the environment for example, though I fully support sustainable practices, it is also a myth that the environment must stay in a constate static state. With or with out human intervention or existence it operates on an action reaction potential. Species have lived and died for millions and millions of years prior to human existence because they like us now operate based on the same universal code that guides the evolutionary process.

Let’s take a look at the free market and apply the evolutionary process as well. Cars to be specific. If you look at any decade you can often see a distinct style and specification for cars. There was once a time for example when big cars with big engines were popular. Now it’s all about fuel efficiency and safety. So how do the evolutionary principles of adapt or die apply here? Simple, Auto makers must adapt their product lines to which are being sold based on the consumers purchasing power. If an automaker continues to make the same thing because that’s what they are known for unless they are trying to be a small niche market, they too will most likely die because they failed to adapt. As the consumer no longer demands the product that they are offering.

We can sit here and pretend things will always be the way they always were or are but this is foolish as this does not seem to be how things work, anywhere.

lion-vs-gazelle quote.jpg

I recently wrote an article called The Specialist vs the Generalist. One of my students told me there definitely needs to be specialist which I do address albeit briefly, and yes I agree. However, just like in nature specialist do not adapt well to change. Usually, species that are overly specialised will parish should anything drastically change such as their food source adapting to them or the environment changing. While species that are more generalistic in nature can either adapt to the new settings, such as find a new food source. or move to a new location and adapts as has happened many times in the past. For example species in the past that were once land dwelling but are now aquatic or were aquatic but are now land dwelling.

I again make the argument that for the time being humans when compared to other species are in general generalists.

As always I like to connect things to Krav Maga and Self defence when possible. In a given self defense situation, it is unlikely that things will go according to the way you trained in the gym. And this is to be expected. A good Kravist can evolve and adapt in the moment based on their training, experience and ability to survive any given situation. This is why I focus heavy on critical thinking in training in addition to our moves. The ability to critically think in the moment gives you the greater chance to evolve and adapt while still applying Krav Maga principles like retzev (Continous Attack).

This is probably why so many traditional martial arts fail to be practical in realistic self defense. They chose to stay rigid and strong to the cultural and regional beliefs or methods that did not apply in other areas of the world. Or they adapted in the wrong way to focus more on sports application thus making them less adapted for the street.

I really do not know, at least on an intrinsic level why people fear change so much. I guess it’s currently a primal reaction that we are having difficulty evolving out of. The reality is, whether you are a gazelle or a lion, rich or poor, black or white, a planet, a sun the universe. If you cannot adapt to the change around you, you will only struggle, stagnate and die (literally or figuratively).

So just like the Gazelle or Lion keep on running and learn to adapt in a way that gives you a long, healthy and meaningful life.

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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