Posts Tagged ‘Instructors’

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Krav Maga is a system based on reality, or at least it should be. The real world is dirty, and our continued belief that people are all good, or they are all stable, or they are perfect is a false narrative. Its just not real, and we need to stop believing such things.

Sure. Some people don’t drink, do drugs, party or do anything that some people might consider enjoying life. The reality is, however, anything but as the majority of people are not “pure” in the traditional conservative sense. Look at the current scandals in Hollywood. These people who are the “leaders” of culture at least in North America and being uncovered to be real people, with faults and dirty secrets. and not the pure people we keep pretending they are.

My point is that life is messy, people are messy, and things are rarely what they seem.

Krav Maga is no different. Though there are many problems in the Krav Maga world one of the issues, I would like to discuss is the idea of the puritan Krav Maga Instructor.

Often, traditional martial artists who have been doing it for years find Krav Maga. For one reason or another, they decide they are going to teach it or integrate it into their programs. Of course, if you taught any traditional martial arts, your mentality and school culture will be heavily ingrained in that styles culture, which may not be realistic in nature.

Take the Bushido code, for example, an ideology that is more modern in many ways than we like to think. If you as instructor adhere to it strictly in your life and school and yet teach Krav Maga, I am not sure if you understand how to teach Krav Maga.

“Do you really understand the reality that is Krav Maga and the violence associated with real self defense scenarios?”

 

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting people go to any of the following. However, if your life is too pure I ask, do you really understand the reality that is Krav Maga and the violence associated with a real self defense scenario?

If you have never had a drink. If you have never done any drug(s) (coffee is a drug ) or even have never been around drugs. If you have never been in a fight or have seen a fight in the street. If you have never been exposed to the harsh realities or hardship that so much of the world has to deal with like being broke, being hungry or you have never exposed your self to the abuse that some people have had to endure, are you really equipped to teach real Krav Maga?

Real self defense is dirty, real self defense isn’t preatty because real life is neither of those things. If you don’t at least understand these aspects of life I am not sure you are equipped to teach any form of self defense let alone Krav Maga.

Again, I am not saying go on a bender so that you can understand what so many people have experienced but what I am saying, if you were never exposed to the real world then perhaps you do not understand as much as you think you do.

A saying that I like in one variation or another is as follows.

“A fool repeats his mistakes. A smart man learns from his mistakes. But a wise man learns from the mistakes of others.”

 

In the context of this article, it means that you don’t have to experience it personally but at the very least expose your self to the harsh realities of the real world that so many people have to deal with.

If you have never gone hungry for a few days, if you have never even been around people on cocaine or other drugs. If you have never left your suburban neighbourhood and taken a walk down a dark alley where it’s not so nice, then I ask again. Do you understand the harsh realities of the world? I think not.

If your life has been too pure, you may be lucky, or you may be a fool, but I think you shouldn’t be trying to teach self defense of any kind because I genuinely believe you don’t understand.

One of the reasons this is an important thing is because many people are attracted to Krav Maga because they have been exposed to these realities and they want to learn how to protect themselves from the real world better. So if you have never been exposed to any of it and you live your life according to any kind of puritan code then how can you possibly relate to the majority of your students? I just don’t think you can, and I think you are doing a disservice to them.

Of course, if you only teach to people like you then perhaps you are ok, but I just don’t think these kinds of schools properly prepare people for violent conflict of any kind.

If you are a student, ask your self, does your instructor really understand the real world?

If you are an instructor, ask yourself, do you really understand the real world?

If you are honest and the answer happens to be NO, then perhaps you should either get some more experience or do something else for a living. and for the record, age is not always a factor when it comes to experience. Though it is a correlation, remember correlation does not equal causation. I have met some 12 year olds who have experienced more in their lives than some 50 year olds, for good or bad.

Just my two cents.

 

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

Introducing Pedro Chong

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

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

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Pedro showing Vertical Sweep at his Muay Thai Gym in Taiwan

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Tough and rigiourous Krav Maga is apperciated in Taiwan

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

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

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

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

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

This may seem rather strange but let me explain.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Written by: Jonathan Fader