Posts Tagged ‘IDF’

In my previous review, posted my commentary on the Fight Quest episode about Krav Maga. Here is my review of the Human Weapons (2007) episode on Krav Maga.

Personally, I enjoy Human Weapons more out of the two series, probably due to the awesome 3D graphics they employed. I also liked Fight Quest less because I really didn’t like Jimmy Smith. Either way, it is a shame that both series have been canceled after only one season each. Also, Human Weapon employs a slightly different format of experiencing the various martial arts. The hosts stay together, train together, and learn identical techniques, and I think the fact they both get the same experience is better for the show.

Timestamped Commentary

00:17 You can see them walking with Prof. Itay Gil, a former Sheyetet-13 (Navy Seals equivalent) and other units as well as a well-known counter-terrorist and Krav Maga expert. They use the term “anti-terrorist unit,” but this means nothing to me and shows that they either didn’t want to say the name or couldn’t be bothered. In reality, Israel has many anti-terrorist units and people using the terms vaguely without actually specifying the unit is a pet peeve of mine. Itay was one of the early people spreading Krav Maga and CT tactics globally and out of Israel before it even became widely known. He is also known for training IKI’s Moshe Katz.

01:00 I know that stadium well. It is an obvious landmark in Jerusalem, but I never actually went in it. I am not sure if he is still teaching to civilians there, but there is only one way to find out. Itay’s style is hyper-aggressive, to the point, and very military focused on the specific needs of what soldiers and police might need.

01:56 Enter the weapon. Even an amateur fighter could handle themselves easily against the average person in a fight, but bring in the weapons and all of a sudden they are usually not sure what to do. If you have never trained with realistic weapon attacks. all your martial arts may have been for naught.

04:14 The anti-terrorist training facility is not such a secret. I mean, if you know what its name is then you can easily find it because they have road signs for it in Israel, so they probably knew its name simply by watching the road signs on the way in. Also, when I spent my time there during sniper school, there were US Marines and units from all over the world periodically training there. So really, if you really wanted to find it you could just ask around. Not sure if that’s so secret….

04:56 It’s called bursting. This basically means putting all your energy forward into the target. To me, if your feet are in the same place they started you really didn’t burst. In Krav Maga, if you are not running away or creating space, you should be moving forward. Thus, you must start with a burst and keep moving. If your instructors always have you stationary when you drill, then either they don’t understand the concept or they are a bad instructor. Sorry, it’s another pet peeve of mine. Also, it should be noted that you should be hitting the face not the chest, but I am sure they did it they way they did so as to protect the actors.

06:31 As you can see, they are attempting to do a combo 360 defense with their burst. However, as is common with new practitioners, they are so mentally concerned about getting away from the knife that they screw up the technique. They are usually moving out and sideways before they have actually completed a full burst, which diminishes its effectiveness. I would like to also add this builds bad muscle memory when done like this as you cannot always run immediately, often bursting means moving forward to control the weapon arm and if your reflex is always to hit and run, you may be in trouble in the times you cannot run.

07:26 IKMF is originally founded in 1996 by Eyal Yanilov and others prior to Imi’s death, probably because they were pissed off by the succession by Haim Gideon. Anyway, it is now run by Avi Moyal who ousted Eyal in the late 2000’s. Eyal left and created KMG. You have to love the Israeli and Krav Maga politics… I also originally started with IKMF, but due to a difference in opinions let’s say, we left IKMF.

07:36 Hey, look! There is Eyal before he left. That’s how old this show is. He is widely seen as the true protege for Imi. Also, you saw Avi Moyal a little earlier in the clip.

07:55 As you can see, they are doing a pressure drill. In Krav Maga, you avoid the ground and do not stay on the ground, so drills like this force people to be aggressive under pressure in order to get off the ground. Although, this circle looks kind of tame…

09:02 If I am not mistaken, that is Zeev Cohen with whom I have never trained, but I know several people who have. From what I have heard, he is widely considered one of the top instructors and practitioners in the Krav Maga world. As far as I know, he operates his own school under his own name/brand but is more affiliated with KMG these days as he followed Eyal after his ousting.

09:20 Crowd control work for VIP protection. It is situations like this that people usually hire giants for their body guards. Though outside of these situations, giants are not always the best, just saying.

09:50 As you can see, they are practicing the 360 block. Really, this needs to be combined with bursting. I like the drill they are showing, but only when explaining why it’s called 360 and if people are having trouble with the block section. I would much rather teach it in full with the burst so as to build proper reactive muscle memory. If you are static due to muscle memory caused by these drills during an aggressive knife attack, you will have a hard time dealing with it. I personally feel part of the reason some organizations claim that 360 is not a good technique is because they are not teaching it properly in the first place. It is a simple and effective technique when taught and trained properly, but I see people messing it up all over the internet. Pet Peeve. Did you notice I have a lot?

12:00 These choke attacks may not be common for everyone and thus a lot of places don’t like to teach them. However, they are very common in large person versus small person self-defense situations, such as domestic violence, and should not be ignored. Would I attack any one like that? Probably not. I know better, but I hate it when I hear people say that “Nobody attacks like that.” They do, even if you have not seen it before.

12:20 Someone who is grabbing the trachea with force to crush it using only one hand probably has some idea about what they are doing. Most people are just targeting the neck in general, but if they are targeting the trachea specifically, you had better react fast if you don’t want to die.

13:00 This is actually one option in this scenario that I still teach. However, I teach two others as well because, due to body shapes and sizes as well as varying situations, sometimes having one option is not good enough. All options work just fine when they suit the person and situation, but sometimes one is better than the other even though the other is preferred. As much as possible, we try to limit the move to just one option, but again due to the variables in attacks, sometimes people need a couple options. For example, you can see that plucking relies heavily on speed to work.

14:14 You can tell this is old. The IDF largely uses the Micro Tavor now. When I was in the army, they were still trying to convince SF operators to use the regular Tar 21 which is what I used. I would take the Micro Tavor though over either, but the M4 over the Tar 21 Tavor any day.

14:28 He pronounced the name wrong, just so you know. Also, they are a bit dramatic by saying they are going to armageddon. It’s actually a really nice area full of farmlands and hills. I know since I lived in Kibbutz Ein-Ha-Shofet just around the corner for most of my time off base in Israel. Though, I should really have moved to the city because, well, Jonathan Fader and socialist communists don’t really mesh. Look up “Kibbuts” for more info, although a Kibbutz is a good example of why socialism fails because they rely on capitalism in order to survive. Go figure.

14:40 Ok, you can just skip over this section. If you didn’t know, Moni Aizik is a fraud and was never actually in any “Commando” units as a combat soldier. He was allegedly a paper pusher in one of the bases. Also, he was only ever a Judoka as far as I know. He has been widely discredited since this show and I am fairly sure he is wanted in several countries for fraud or other things though I couldn’t tell you what. Unfortunately, some people still pay money to train with this fool. Not to mention a lot of the techniques he teaches are quite laughable.

18:00 Ok, for the last f***ing time, Wingate is not the main base of the IDF. For the most part, it is a private sports institute that happens to have a military base on in and, yes, a lot of physical tests and the general program for Krav Maga is run out of it. And yes, back in the day it is where Imi and others taught out of but that was many many years ago. It is not this main amazing crazy place that so many people claim it is. There is a hill I mentioned in the Fight Quest post that I do hate. Personally, I went there to do fitness competitions. In addition, many of the SF pre-trial tests are done there. Also, as mentioned, the general Krav Maga training program is there where instructors take a 6 week or so program to teach IDF Krav Maga to soldiers. So, if this is the only training that IDF KM instructors have in KM, it means not all of them are very good unless they trained as a civilian previously. It is a fairly nice base though as IDF bases go as its right on the mediteranian. and NO every israeli citizen does not go to Wingate for Basic trainging, I sure as hell didnt. I was stuck in the Negev Desert…..

19:21 To be honest, I have no idea who Shahar Klafeld is so perhaps someone can enlighten me. He looks like a Miloeemik or reservist doing his annual duty. If thats the case they didnt take the show very seriously. Also head instructor is relative if they always change them.

20:00 Personally, I don’t teach the butt hit anymore as you are not controlling the muzzle. As far as I am aware neither do a lot of people. I simply use magazine and the barrel from different angles. I also don’t teach people to hit wildly again due to muzzle control, which if you are not aware is a key part of firearms safety.

23:15 By the way, that gear is the crappiest available. Again, they weren’t giving them anything frilly. At least they gave them new unifroms. Also, I like this drill but it could have been much better but again due to safety when firearms are involved you can’t go too crazy or else someone might end up with a barrel in their eye. By the way being hit in the face with a barrel is not fun, as I can attest.

25:01 What is saying is great. Let the trainig and reaction take over. Because under stress you can’t think you need to just do. This is why it’s so important to build the correct reactions to calm situations. It’s better to practice slowly and correctly than quickly and incorrectly because this trains your body how to move properly.

25:49 Massada is one of my favourite places in Israel. So much history and also known for the famous pre-sunrise hike. If you go to Israel and don’t go to Massada then you didn’t really visit Israel.

26:19 It should be noted that while Dennis Hanover is an AMAZING martial artist, self defense expert and overall combative expert, he isn’t technically doing Krav Maga even if he is teaching a lot of the same things. This is mainly due to the fact he has an immense martial arts back ground, but really doesn’t come from the traditional Krav Maga lineage. Either way though, I would not mess with him as he clearly trains to kill and is proficient in most hand-held weapons. I also love the way this guy moves, there’s just something about being a true master.

31:12 It’s true that the heat in the Jordanian Valley is quite annoying. If you want to experience different types of heat then simply travel all over Israel in the summer. Hot in the Jordanian Valley is a whole different kind of hot.

31:19 This is more Kyokushin style training, but I support it periodically. It allows people to condition their body and really push themselves physically. Of course, if you do it too much, it tends to lower your guard from protecting the head, which is a bad habit. You must always train sparring with head shots (of course, with protective head gear) and occasionally do this kind of sparring. It may also be a section in some of UTKMs belt tests.

33:03 As you can see, some people have their faces covered, this means they are SF and cannot be seen on camera. Again, they are on Israels Central CT base, though I still say it’s not so secret anymore. Also, people really need to stop using the term commando as a general term as it really means nothing other than SF, but doesn’t specify the unit. It is likely that these are members of CT707 the same unit that Nir Maman served it. However, as many SF units train out of this base you really cannot be certain.

34:30 For example, these guys who are sparring could be Matkal, Sheyetet-13, Shaldag or any other top tear unit, but you really cannot know. See how it mostly focuses on aggression and engagement?

36:44 I wonder if this is actually how they decided. I mean, its generally obvious who has the better skill. It’s usually Jason, but Bill does get in sometimes.

39:00 These circles are great. We use them is some of our testings. If your school has never put you in a similar circle, tell them it’s time to up the ante. Though, please do them safely. Although, Jason has a tendency to go to the ground too often. I think it’s his MMA training coming in, but with knives, you rarely want to go down to the ground since you’ll get cut for sure. Also, I really think they are going easy on him. Either way again, even after going through a week of training, you can tell he is reverting to what he knows. Also, he probably would have been dead from the second knife attack. Overall, these circles are great for training people for the unexpected when you are tired. You really never know who is going to attack and when.

Summary

For the most part, the guys in Human Weapons trained a little bit more with the military Krav Maga organizations and a little less with civilian ones probably because of Itay Gil. While both military and civilian Krav Maga organizations are very good, a truly great Krav Maga organization or program should provide both military and civilian aspects of training. Military Krav Maga is generally more focused on conditioning, aggression, and mental toughness, while civilian Krav Maga spends more time developing technical prowess and correct reflexes. Again, both are important with regards to being a good Krav Maga practitioner.

Also, like the Fight Quest episode, I would really like to emphasis how much BS is out there regarding both Krav Maga and the IDF. I know so many people who don’t have a clue what they are talking about when it comes to the IDF or Krav Maga. Always do your research and don’t be easily impressed just by titles alone.

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Back in 2008, the TV series Fight Quest (2007-2008) featured an episode on Krav Maga. I have been meaning to write a commentary on both this and the Krav Maga episode in Human Weapon (2007) for quite some time. These shows were great for publicity and getting people aware of and interested in Krav Maga.

However, some things can be misleading or confusing without more background information. Only so much can be fit into 40 minutes. Thus, I want to give some perspective and feedback based on my experience with the people and training in Israel. I hope you take the time to watch it the episode in addition to reading this article – I’ve linked to YouTube below, and hopefully it doesn’t get taken down.

Quick Summary

As usual, this episode shows co-hosts Doug and Jimmy split up and sent to train with different instructors. Jimmy goes to train with Ran Nakash, an Israeli cruiserweight boxer and, at the time of filming, head of the IDF Krav Maga training program at Wingate institute, as well as one of the founding members of KMI. Doug goes to train with Avavit Cohen, one of the top female instructors in the world who trains under Haim Zut of KMF (Haim along with Imi was one of the original Krav Maga/KAPAP masters) as well as KMI. I am not entirely sure if the KMF seen in the show is the same as the KMF with Rhon Mizrachi, but I think they are separate. See how things can get confusing in the Krav Maga world?

Timestamped Commentary

01:32 “All combos start with groin kicks.” This is not necessarily the case. While the groin kick is the number one kick in Krav Maga, it is an advised starting option when possible, but is not always possible. Just because it is preferred does not mean all combos start with it. There are many situations in which kicks are not possible, such as if we are in the wrong range from the start.

02:10 At the time of filming, Ran Nakash was the head of IDF training at Wingate, but this can be a misleading note. There are many “heads” of IDF Krav Maga training and the true head often rotates around. In addition, the IDF base in Wingate is not the only place people in the IDF train. Most Special Forces learn far more comprehensive and advanced Krav Maga from the counterterrorism school at “Camp Adom.” (This is also where I spent 2 months of my IDF training in sniper school.) Although both are part of the IDF, there is a clear rift between the two schools due to differing mentalities and approaches. Instructors at Wingate only have to do a 6-week course and often had previous martial arts experience. Instructors at Camp Adom often have an extensive martial arts background and were first-hand -counterterrorism soldiers. They are far superior to the more advanced forms of training. Nir Maman of CT707 ran this program for a time and he is a better source contact for more specific info.

02:40 Jimmy dons the IDF work uniform or Uniform B. This is the standard army uniform when on base in training. Nothing fancy for the IDF, just olive drab. The thick material makes them durable, but from time to time they tear or rip. Have fun trying to get new ones when in training.

03:08 Ran is speaking English. Normally, such courses would be taught in Hebrew as commanders and instructors are only suppose to speak Hebrew. However, Israeli people learn English for most of their education, so it can be easily understood by many but not all in the IDF. I often spoke English to my commanders and they spoke Hebrew to me since it was far easier under stress to communicate in such a manner.

04:00 “Krav Maga is also a mentality, and the key word is aggression.” This is especially true for military-style Krav Maga.

04:20 It is common to spar wearing full body armour and boxing gloves in military Krav Maga. A big reason for this is so they can fight full force and push aggression. But notice how they usually avoid head shots. First off, training soldiers is expensive and in the counterterrorism school, an injury during training can mean the end of the line for soldier in the Special Forces. It would be too easy for concussions to happen if head shots were allowed in sparring with all-out aggression, thus it’s only reserved for specific training. Personally, I dislike boxing gloves in KM training because it builds a false style for the street. Unless, of course, you walk around with boxing gloves on your hands. I also suspect boxing gloves are used over MMA gloves because they are cheaper and, well, the IDF is cheap.

04:45 One against everyone is a type of training used to help individuals overcome panic under overwhelming situations. Military training is designed to push people to their mental and physical breaking points, while still continuing to fight. However, training like this all the time is done at the expense of technique, so it should be done sparingly.

05:48 Avivit Cohen is 100% badass and most definitely one of the top females in the world. However, it is hard to say if she is the highest rank female considering every organization does its own thing and disagrees with each other regarding who is best. Every organization says they are the best with the highest ranking person. I’d say there is rather a pool of top 3-5 people/organizations to even this out. Avivit Cohen is certainly one of the top 3 females globally.

06:10 “The fact that her gym is in a bomb shelter…” His reaction is more of a culture shock than a reflection of Avivit’s badassery. Bomb shelters and fortified buildings are everywhere in Israel and often used for a variety of things, usually a communal space in the event of an external missile threat. Training in a shelter means you can keep training even if air raid sirens go off.

06:54 Everyone who watches this episode always remembers the elbow. I think this kind of attitude is required for smaller instructors or female instructors as there are any places or cultures that only respect those who can gain respect through physical force or aggression and skill. For instance, this is totally required in places like Israel or Western Europe. However, doing such a thing with a new student from softer countries such as Canada may not be the best idea as you usually have to build people up to be able to handle this kind of thing.

07:37 Shark tank style training is excellent for testing. We often do this in our training and it’s a required portion of our Orange Belt and Yellow Belt tests.

09:00 A good example of why kicks above the waist are not desirable and not the most practical. They are prone to error and slow you down, especially in a situation like this. You also sacrifice balance and risk going to the ground.

09:21 “I was trying to get a foot lock, it’s hard with the gloves.” Again, I am not a fan of the boxing gloves as they are limiting and are not what you would have on the street… Usually…

09:45 I remember those shitty bunk beds. That is what I called “bed” for many, many nights. Except for when we were out training, in which case what I called “bed” was the ground. And on one occasion, I slept on some real shit. It was either camel shit or human shit, it was dark and I didn’t know until the morning…

10:00 IDF is very strict about gun safety. Chambering a round without permission, or even cocking the gun with no ammo indoors or outdoors can result in disciplinary action. Only when going on duty in “hot areas” or going on a specific task where resistance is expected would we have chamber rounds.

11:00 Jimmy calls the M-16 a machine gun, which I find very offensive as a pro-gun person. While the original M-16s were equipped with the fully automatic function, it should be noted that the IDF does not train for full auto. In fact, the new “Micro Tavors” only come with semi-auto from the factory. Only a designated machine gunner directly given the task of cover fire uses an actual machine gun, such as the Israeli “Negev” light machine gun or the Belgium “Mag” heavy machine gun both used by the IDF. If a firearm is not meant to be used as a machine gun, then it is not a machine gun.

11:33 Training with your eyes closed is a great way to develop proprioceptive reaction. Sight can be misleading or too slow under stress, while using your feel and instinct is often faster and more reliable.

12:20 Outdoor training is a must at some point in Krav Maga because most self-defence scenarios will occur in a place that isn’t flat and nicely padded. At UTKM, we regularly train outdoors when the weather is good and almost every day in the summer.

12:50 In this training scene, they are not attacking full force with full commitment against neither Avivit or Doug. In Avivit’s case, it is likely that her students are afraid or her. However, full force training is also not advisable in a “naturalistic” scenario without protective gear. You cannot train full force without proper protection in Krav Maga since it will definitely result in injury. Of course, this can sometimes create a false sense of reality because it’s hard to teach people what real aggressive force on force looks like without expensive and reliable protection.

14:00 An important advice from Avivit: never intentionally go to the ground. This is a basic principle of Krav Maga because going to the ground is just a terrible idea and a bad tactical decision. This is especially true in an environment that is sandy, dusty, or unstable such as their training ground.

15:50 “You always take the hard way here.” This is not a true statement. Actually, in Krav Maga, you always take the easiest way – strikes to the most vulnerable points of the body like groin, eyes, throat, knees. The “hard way” he is facing in training is simply a method to properly prepare people for potential real situations in which you could be overwhelmed physically and mentally. Training the “easy way” in the gym or dojo doesn’t prepare you for the intensity of a real conflict and that is why so many people struggle on the street.

16:31 This scene demonstrates how high kicks can be problematic by limiting mobility and slowing counter attacks. Against multiple opponents, you need your balance and footwork more than ever. High kicks are simply low speed and high risk.

17:20 Again, real training that wants to teach you reality takes you into the real world at some point. Some people think that Krav Maga is hardcore. Life is hardcore.

18:30 That hill, I hate that hill. While I never trained at Wingate for Krav Maga, there were several “sports days” or physical competitions that took place there. They inevitably mean climbing up that stupid sand hill after completing a long course. That hill is often used during pre-testing for IDF Special Forces.

19:12 “Not good enough, you’re right… Next time, I want you to be excellent.” It wouldn’t have mattered if Jimmy had done well or not, they would have told him he sucked anyway. That’s part of the military mentality. You will regularly be told you are not good enough because they want to mentally break you and attempt to make you quit. The military is not for quitters. Keep going and finish and, in many cases, you will pass. The same goes for our tests at UTKM – give up and you fail, finish and you will most likely pass… (but not always).

19:47 Personally, I have puked during training. I have had my legs give out during forced marches. I have seen people pass out mid-training just to get up and keep going. I have also seen people functioning even when their eyes have rolled back. Sometimes, you don’t know what you are capable of doing until you are pushed past your breaking points.

20:00 The Dead Sea is a great place to visit. It is also dying because everyone is extracting the salt and minerals for dead sea products and other uses. It is considered, in many ways, a wonder of the world. If you are for environmental protection, you should not be buying Dead Sea products even in support of Israel because at the rate salt extraction is going, in another few years there might not even be a Dead Sea.

23:00 Only one week of training, Jimmy? No sympathy…

23:05 This is why I am warier of knives or sharp objects than guns. Anyone can have sharp objects anywhere made of anything. They are harder to deal with in many ways (ex. this way and this way and this way). I suspect if the knife attack from behind against Jimmy had been real, he would have been fatally injured.

25:00 Jimmy commented on needing to get used to reacting with a gun in his hands. A firearm, when used as a blunt force trauma weapon, should be used as an extension of your body. If you treat it as something else, it will be difficult as Jimmy learned.

25:33 We do this kind of attack scenario in our Orange Belt and Green Belt tests. This drill teaches and tests ability to react under stress, mental will, and usage of techniques under pressure.

29:00 Jimmy takes three hits to the legs and can barely fight anymore. “Right away they attack my injured thigh again, these guys are out of control.” In real life, attackers don’t care if you have an injury or not. This is why IDF training is heavily focused on aggression and mental toughness. However, I have found that with some of the more intense Israeli instructors, injury rate is fairly high, which is not an indication of the best training. People should train hard and train realistically, but while minimising injury. You can’t train hardcore all the time. Eventually, people’s bodies give out. I remember a video from Special Forces Krav Maga in which a candidate had been in the middle for 2 hours and the attackers were still trying to break him. Apparently, the attackers who were this guy’s friends were told that if they don’t really attack, they’ll be in the middle instead. Again, this training is more for aggression and mental toughness.

35:11 Welcome to Krav Maga. Giving up is not an option on the street and thus it’s not an option in testing.

At this point, you should note again that the military fighters avoid head shots which, if this is all they ever do, is very problematic as it is not entirely realistic. Yet, much of Krav Maga in the IDF operates in such a matter.

36:00 Notice that Doug trained with civilian Krav Maga instructors. You can see Haim Zut in the background. Also, notice that they are doing open handed strikes to the head and training with weapons. It’s my personal belief that the best instructors are the ones who have trained both in and out of the military. The military can rely heavily on their firearms, but for civilians, this is not always possible, and thus civilians must be far superior when it comes to overall technical skill.

IDF training doesn’t mean superior training

Please do not get scammed by someone who says they have trained in the IDF. Many people use the IDF name to promote their Krav Maga. It can sometimes be a meaningful designation, but it does not automatically mean they have experience in Krav Maga or maybe even in combat. Also, they may not be a certified IDF instructor. (If you were never in the IDF, you will probably not be familiar with it as an entity, even if you have heard of it. It is not similar to any other military in the world in many ways.)

For example, I learned more Krav Maga the year before I joined the IDF than during my time in the IDF. I probably had a total of 10 one-hour classes which, most of the time, involved doing conditioning and practicing rifle drills.

Thus, please do your research and make sure that not only is the organization credible and good, but the instructors are of high quality as well.

Locked ‘n’ loaded in Tel Aviv

Posted: September 27, 2016 by urbantacticskravmaga in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

 

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

It is a normal part of their lives.

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

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

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

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

It’s just like taking your phone with you

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

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

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

//giphy.com/embed/v8omVdExrQ9ig

via GIPHY

Gun culture is a normal part of growing up in Israel

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

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

 

This February, I had the pleasure to host Lior Offenbach’s combat Krav Maga instructor course and his Law Enforcement and civilian seminar here at Urban Tactics Krav Maga, Vancouver. The instructor course is 7 days long and each seminar is 1 day long. Lior and I shared the same teacher, Mr. Zeev Cohen. At Zeev’s school, I saw how a normal Israeli Krav Maga class should be conducted; tough, aggressive, no time wasted……etc. Enormous gratitude to Lior who is willing to come to Vancouver where most other big Krav Maga organization would not want to come because of population density. Overall this was my 7th Krav Maga instructor course in my Krav Maga career and it’s interesting to compare Lior’s course and teaching method with other instructors and courses I received in the past.

 

My Krav Maga Instructor Training History so far:

 

  1. IKMF civilian instructor course part 01- Netanya – Avi Moyal, Gabi Noah
  2. IKMF civilian instructor course part 02 – Montreal – Avi Moyal, Thierry
  3. IKMF civilian instructor course part 02 and G2 Grading Test – Hong Kong – Avi Moyal
  4. IKMF civilian instructor course part 01 – Taiwan – Avi Moyal
  5. KMG Military Krav Maga instructor – Serbia – Eyal Yaniolv, Moran Laskov
  6. CT 707 Krav Maga instructor – Buffalo City – Nir Maman
  7. Combat Krav Maga – Vancouver – Lior Offenbach

 

The Course

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This is not a fighting course. I do not recall sparring even once during this course which is similar to most of my previous Krav Maga Instructor courses where sparing was kept to the minimum. The reason for minimal sparring is this is an instructor course; not an operating course. As an instructor and operator in combat fighting, you should already have enough operating experience in Krav Maga or other combative sports or systems before taking this course and you should be sparring and/or fighting on a weekly basis anyway. In Lior’s course, we spent about 60 percent of our time on technique and 40 percent on teaching each other the new techniques we learned as a class. During that 40% teaching component of the course, participants use each other as students and practice teaching classes over and over again. Of course, Lior is staring at the student acting as instructor like a hawk; looking for every little mistake.

Learning the technique is a tiring process but for most it is more tiring trying to learn how to run a class in a fast pasted, no nonsense Israeli Krav Maga manner. The hardest part is you are literately re-teaching what you just learned a couple hours prior to your fellow classmates. During the teaching phase Lior will push your buttons, stress you out and ask random questions to simulate what you will face as an instructor in a real class.

 

Lior covered every detail of every phase of the class; from the “wow factor to anchor the audience (students) to how to cut techniques into manageable training steps so both the instructors and the students can remember.” If you are fortunate enough to take Lior’s Krav Maga classes you will be amazed at how smooth things are run and that is because Lior is like the “Steve Jobs” of the Krav Maga world. He does all the hard work in the background so things operate smoothly for the public. After all, Lior taught a couple hundred people per class every night while he was operating a Krav Maga school in Tel Aviv.

 

Techniques:

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Overall there was about an 80% overlap of technique that I already knew and 20% was either something new or a modification; but there was a lot of key elements and vital information on Krav Maga techniques and tactics only a seasoned and street experienced police officer and Krav Maga expert would know. I have to say I have never met any Krav Maga instructor with so much experience in actually using “Krav Maga” in real life other than Nir Maman.

 

I mean no disrespect to any instructors I have learned from in the past but I can categorize instructors into a few categories:

 

  1. Technician
  2. Teacher
  3. Warrior

 

All Krav Maga or other system instructors have these three roles in them. The only difference is the percentage of each element they embody. Lior scored superb in both the technician and teacher elements but he scored extremely high in the warrior section. Coming from a sports combative system and army background, I often get into debates as to whether or not Krav Maga is a “ Self-defense “ system or a “ Fighting “ system as its name translates to, “Contact Combat”. Personally, I think the big Krav Maga organizations are leaning more toward the “ self-defense “ and “ technique “ approach rather than the hardcore warrior training as in the old school Krav Maga. Lior’s presence in this community is a welcome fresh breeze to those who still believe that Krav Maga can be combative as well as defensive in practice.

 

 

Overall Philosophy:

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Lior is a big fan of the generalization of attacks versus creating hundreds of thousands of defense techniques against hundreds of thousands of attacks – why not use what works? For example, almost all of the techniques against empty hands attack can be converted into attacks from knives.

 

Most good instructors point out that too many choices confuse people – Hick’s law. Of course there are specific threats that need specific techniques. Lior challenged us, especially those who are instructors already, to question what techniques we could take out of our syllabus to make Krav Maga even easier to learn for students.

 

According to Wikipedia:

Hick’s law, or the Hick–Hyman Law, named after British and American psychologists William Edmund Hick and Ray Hyman, describes the time it takes for a person to make a decision as a result of the possible choices he or she has: increasing the number of choices will increase the decision time logarithmically. The Hick–Hyman law assesses cognitive information capacity in choice reaction experiments. The amount of time taken to process a certain amount of bits in the Hick–Hyman law is known as the rate of gain of information.

 Strong Base as beginning to everything:

One thing that most Krav Maga or martial arts instructors overlook is the importance of a strong base. For Lior, without a strong base you might as well roll over and accept your fate because all upper body defenses require a strong base in order for these defenses to function. The first step for all of our moves during the class is a strong fighting stance and base. Some traditional Chinese martial artists comment that the way Combat Krav Maga focuses so much on the base almost reminds them of the old school Chinese Kung Fu from 1890 – 1944 when people were using Kung Fu literately to fight for their lives on daily basis. It is a high praise consider at this period of time Chinese Army were using giant sword facing the Japanese Imperial Army and god fathers of modern combative such as Mr. Fairbarin and Sykes were horning their street fighting skill on the street of Shanghai.

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Kick it Old School

 

Adding pushing and pulling movement to all attacks:

As mentioned before, I learned most of the techniques covered in Lior’s course in previous other Krav Maga instructor courses; but adding pushing and pulling movements from/to the attackers changed the dynamic of those techniques. Honestly speaking, it is unrealistic to think most attacks will not come in force. Unfortunately, few Krav Maga instructors consider [that] when they teach their students and I have to admit, I am “guilty as charged” as well at times.

 

Conclusions:

Lior Offenbach with Jonathan Fader and Borhan Jiang

Overall this is not a super physically demanding course but a superb mentally demanding course. The seminar on the other hand is both tough and physically demanding. Lior is very detail orientated when it comes to teaching every technique. A move is not just a move and a technique is not just a technique. In Combat Krav Maga there is a lot of detail, physics, psychology, etc., behind each and every one of those moves. After all, the devil hides in the detail and after learning those details and being able to perform without thinking, we shall fight like devils – just like Lior.

 

 

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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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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

Boaz Aviram is a name that is well-known in the Krav Maga community. Unfortunately, unless you live in the New York area there is a good chance you may have never have heard of him. Yet despite this, he was the 3rd chief IDF Krav Maga instructor after the founder Imi Lichtenfeld and his colleague and friend Eli Avikzar. This puts Boaz 3rd in line to Imi as far as IDF Krav Maga goes. After serving a year in the IDF Infantry, Boaz decided that he wanted to do something else. He already had a 2nd degree black belt in karate from Dennis Hanover so he decided that perhaps moving to the fitness academy at Wingate was something he would like. Eventually after being noticed by Eli he was groomed and eventually took over after Eli retired.

Despite all this, he only held this title for a few years before moving on to the famous Israeli Air Marshals, unlike Imi and Eli who spent 20 years or so each running the program. After his service in the IDF and Air Marshals and spending sometime in the Israeli Civilian Krav Maga world, he moved to the USA and did security while he tried to introduce Krav Maga to Americans. In between he got his degree in accounting and is what he has spent a lot of his time doing over the past 20 years while still teaching Krav Maga periodically.

Eventually Boaz decided that not enough people know or understand Krav Maga properly and one thing led to another and he wrote his now famous book Krav Maga: Use Your Body as a Weapon. Since then he has reappeared in the Krav Maga world as he is now head of his own small organization called Pure Krav Maga based out of NY. Boaz is very particular about who he will certify. Like this name, he is a purist and does not like egotistical individuals looking for a quick buck.

Long story short, he is a hidden gem in America. An individual who was involved in Krav Maga early on during the time when several other of the civilian organizations were beginning to spread their wings. Learn more by listening the podcast and get a great idea of Boaz’s idea of the state of modern Krav Maga.

boaz (1)Krav Maga: Use your body as a weapon by Boaz AviramBoaz and his bookImis Endoresoement of BoazBen Asher Endoresment of Boaz

DSC_0131 Israel is known for its advanced security apparatus. Israel’s years of fighting terrorism have created well organized and effective tools to combat terrorism. Many can point at famous Israeli successful counter terrorism missions, but for the non-Israeli reader there is more of the unknown than of the known. The reason is not secrecy, for Israel boasts a well-functioning and active media to discuss Israeli military units and actions. But since most media coverage is done in Hebrew it is not accessible for most of the non-Israeli audience. Let’s take a closer look at how Israel is fighting terrorism. At the same time we should keep in mind that counter terrorism strategies are constantly evolving as Israel is trying to stay dynamic and ahead of the game. Generally all of the Israeli military and police at one point or another will be on ‘counter terrorism’ missions, I will focus on the special units in Israel. the Israeli elite fighting units are formed under three different organizations: within either the military, the police or civilian units.

The Military

comando7 The military units are part of the IDF (Israeli Defence Forces) and consist of conscripted soldiers. In the military Israel have the four distinct main special units; Sayeret Matkal (Sayeret meaning Recon unit, Matkal meaning Chief Command ), Shayetet 13 (Israeli navy seals) , Shaldag (Air Force unit) which is less known outside Israel. Shaldag work mainly deep behind enemy lines in cooperation with the Air Force. And the forth unit is Unit 669 which is a combat rescue unit, 669 is consisting of a combat and a non-combat section. These units are Israel’s best units with a very high investment into the units, the fighters in these units must pass the most severe selection process and receive the hardest and most advanced training. All soldiers of these units undergo counter terror training, but only ‘Matkal’ and ‘Shayetet 13’ are certified as ‘takeover unit’ (hostages rescue)- a Hebrew term which means a unit certified to initiate action in order to release hostages. In total there are five ‘takeover units’ in Israel. The remaining three being ‘Eilat counter terror unit’ – a military reserve unit made up of residents of Eilat – Israel’s southernmost city. This Eilat unit was created for a timely response to hostage events in the far south. Two other hostage rescue units can be found within the police force called police ‘Yamam’ unit and within the prison authorities called ‘Mesada’ respectively. Considering hostage rescue, the mission of these units is clear, gain entry into a hostage situation and save the hostages unharmed. However some counter terrorism operations do not involve hostages, on these situations other units can deploy, on some occasions even the infantry brigades. The next line of special units inside the military are units such as Maglan and the infantry battalions recon units, called ‘Sayeret’ in Hebrew. The Sayeret units now are called Recon regiments, consisting of Sayeret, anti-tank Organ and a demolition company. They are present within the Paratroopers, Golani brigades etc. Others are Dovdevan and Egoz. These units also undergo a harsh selection process and meticulous training emphasizing on commando training and counter-terrorism training. But these units will not be ‘take over units’, instead they are called ‘intervention units’ meaning they will only intervene in a hostage situation if there is ongoing killing of hostages. These units and the other military units are very active in the West Bank, performing arrests of known wanted terrorists. The West Bank is a complex terrain and most of the arrests are done in densely populated areas. For this reason, in order to minimize and avoid civilian casualties the military will mainly use units with counter-terrorism abilities. It is worth noting that further special units in the Israeli army exist, but for a general overview the main ones mentioned above are the most relevant. It is also worth noting that the specialty of counter terrorism skills are aggressiveness both in shooting and physically (in handling all who is present in the scene- and the reason for that is to save lives!), there is a strong emphasis on selective shooting, friend or foe. On the other hand infantry style of CQB will be in a way more aggressive, the use of missiles before entry, the use of grenades and non-selective shooting are far more damage creating.

Police counter-terrorism units

yamam3 The Israeli police units are headed by the ‘Yamam’, probably Israel’s leading unit for hostage rescue. We can also name the prison authorities unit ‘Mesada’ together with the police unit. Both units recruit their members after their military service, under severe recruitment requirements and with a very long training to follow it. Later on, past graduation, these units spend two weeks of each month in intensive training while the other two weeks they are on duty. Like the military the police also have additional units with counter-terrorism training, e.g. the ‘Yamas’ (Undercover action Unit) units, which are undercover units who operate inside the Palestinian Territories. These units are made up mainly of conscripts after military service, but also of some active soldiers. A second unit is the ‘Yasam’ (Special patrol unit) unit, which is the muscle unit of the Israeli police, they perform in demonstration and where the use of force might be necessary, they are intended to be a quick reaction unit in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem especially. This unit recruits with lower standards then other units. In a militarized society like Israel it is common to find the fittest people in the elite units, and Israel is picky on who is allowed to join them. As a result we can see that the quality of these recruits also shows after their military service in their civilian, economic and academic life.

Civilian counter terrorism units.

304364210 In a way, the highlight of Israel counter-terrorism ability lies with the civilian sector. The civilian sector is instructed by two bodies, the police protection department and the secret service protection department (shabak in Hebrew, which means the ‘general secret service’). The responsibility is divided between them so that the secret service is in charge of whatever is sensitive and important at the state level and the police will receive the rest of the responsibilities. The secret service represents the main knowledge instrument for all civilian security and acts as the highest authority for security guidelines, in terms of training and procedures. The secret service fighting school holds the highest skills for pistol and assault rifle fighting to the extent that even the military send some of their units to train with them (like the leading sayeret matkal). All the security unit members are recruited after a successful military service and undergo 8-9 weeks of nonstop training. How tough is it? During the first week you train a lot with the pistol, but you will not fire even one bullet. At the end of the training you will shoot more than 10,000 bullets, not including what you will shoot with an assault rifle. Krav Maga? You can call it that, however Krav Maga is for self-defense, and what you learn here is offense and not self-defense, Combat fighting without weapon is more likely to be the name. All government vip agents pass this training, also embassy security, airport security, Israeli airlines Air Marshals etc. after this basic training there will be an additional training for their perspective unit. It is also interesting to know that the number of military units which actually have a lot of Krav Maga training is very limited. Most elite units will have one lesson per week (during counter-terrorism school they will have daily lessons) and that is considered frequent. It is all a matter of priorities, Krav Maga receives lower priority than rifle or pistol training, less then navigation etc. The main emphasis in Krav Maga is to develop aggressiveness and less on technique. During the secret service’s 8-9 weeks training there is more time for Krav Maga and the school instructors are considered to be among the best practitioners in Israel. The military also has its counter-terrorism school, which meets the highest standards; however it is very ‘militarized.’ It has two aims, first to bring the individual to a very high proficiency in use of weaponry, and secondly to train soldiers to form an effective fighting team. In contrast to that, the training within the secret service is focusing on the individual, it’s the agent against the terrorists, ‘train Hard cause you are alone’ that is the motto. As an agent you are a ‘die hard’, you are John MacLaine and you don’t wait for help. It’s you or them, a situation which fits more to civilian circumstances. In many positions after a year or two of service, it is permitted to the security agents to reduce their work to half time and pursue academic education, however, the physical requirements and monthly trainings remain unchanged.

Security training

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Author conduct anti-kidnapping training in China.

Israeli instructors have a lot to teach in security trainings, but there is a major issue over here, and it is clearly apparent not only with Israeli instructors. Are former military personal actually the right people to teach security? Remember that the military is supposed to attack and not to protect and as we point towards special units we see that this rule is intensified according to these units’ purpose. Special units are made for raids, for pure attack situations and that’s what they train for. They don’t practice concealed carry; they walk with their weapons ready to shoot. They don’t learn suspicious signs, the attack circle etc. They are very good with their weapons, they are high quality people and have a very tough mental strength but they have not practiced security. A vivid example came from France, where after the recent terrorist attacks paratroopers had been deployed to protect sensitive institutions all over the country. Two of the paratroopers were stabbed by an attacker while on watch. How come? They were not trained for protection missions. So what do you want to learn? Which direction should you take in any future training? That really depends on what goals you are pursuing. Do you want to elevate your pistol and rifle skills? Israeli instructors will be very good at that and you will be exposed to a system we use successfully over the years and it is also much different than other systems you may have seen. Are you interested in a position in a high risk environment? Than many former military instructors can give you the tools for that. Are you interested in urban security training? Than the military is not your direction. Are you an enthusiastic about guns? Train with those who offer you a safe training, and affordable. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxqfZoLc1Pg

Written By: Adi Talmor

Adi Talmor was a member of IDF paratrooper recon battalion. Later, Adi joined the infamous Shabak ( Israel Security Agency ) as a Personal Scrutiny Detail Agent for 7 years. During his service with Shabak Adi has conduct numerous operations at El Al airline, Israeli Embassies and domestic operation within Israel. Adi currently opened his security consulting and training company for the civilian market in Europe and China. Adi is fluent in Chinese Mandarin and many other languages.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Solution:

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

  1. Mentally Ready

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

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

2.Physical Training:

1. Physical Fitness

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

2. Hand-to-Hand Combat

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

3. Technique

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

4. Firearm Training

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

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

  1. Defense Shooting Training

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

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

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

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

Reference

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

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

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

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

Written by: Borky Y

Edited by: Warren C & Josh H

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Dave Young

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