Posts Tagged ‘Israel’

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.

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“Think street, train sport”

This is a famous quotation from UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor. Like many fighters, McGreor was bullied as a kid and started training martial arts to fend off his bullies. Since we opened our BJJ program last October, we have been asking students to participate in sports fights like Conor McGregor. In addition, last month we launched UTKM Fight Camp, a prep course for anyone competing in kickboxing, MMA, BJJ, and other tournaments under our school.

Surprisingly, some of our most loyal and dedicated Krav Maga students were resistant to competition. Since full contact sparring is familiar to most students, and those at higher levels even practice throws and takedowns regularly, and many others cross train in other disciplines like kickboxing or MMA, we thought that sports fighting would be a compelling opportunity for them.

After asking the students why they hesitate, I found their reasons to be flawed and unsound. Thus, I am here to debunk some myths about Krav Maga and sports fighting. Here are three reasons why it is beneficial as a Krav Maga student to compete in tournaments.

1. Sport training can enhance your foundation skills

Sports fighting is different from Krav Maga because there are rules. Students often think that training in sports fighting would dilute their Krav Maga skills by limiting the moves they are allowed to use. However, it can actually help with mastering the fundamentals of Krav Maga. Since, sports martial arts focus on specific attacks, such as kicks in taekwondo or punches in boxing, you are forced to practice the basics over and over again. For hours, you would work solely on footwork, or a punch combo, or another single move.

Mastering simple movements is the foundation of a good fighter.

Like Bruce Lee said, “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” If you have a solid grasp on how to apply the basics, you will enhance your overall Krav Maga skills.

2. Training for sports fights can make you better at real fights

Students often think that since Krav Maga is meant to prepare them for real fights, there is no reason to participate in sports fights. In the military, we often conduct field training exercises (FTX). These activities range from live fire courses to expensive army laser tag “games.” We put a lot of effort into making these simulations as realistic as possible. It is the only way to train soldiers to react and to handle stress calmly before sending them to a real battlefield.

Fighting in sports tournaments is akin to a military FTX.

You will have the chance to go all out and fight full force with an opponent who you have never met (like in real life). You will experience pain and may even get slightly injured. You will be able to go through the emotions of joy, anger, fear, sadness, stress that may arise before, during, and after the fight. You will feel real pressure. You may possibly experience a post-fight adrenaline dump.

The most important and best part of these experiences is that you are safe. The referee will stop the fight when needed, and first aid attendants are always ready to assist if needed.

3. Taking time to train for a competition can improve your Krav Maga

The benefit of sports martial arts is that they focus on an aspect of fighting — for example, Brazilian jiu-jitsu on grappling, boxing on punching, and judo on throwing. Students think that it would take time away from Krav Maga training. However, when you train for a tournament, it gives you the opportunity to take a break from Krav Maga and pay particular attention to specific aspects of fighting.

If you are weak in some areas, sports fight training will reveal it and improve it.

Ultimately, Krav Maga is not a martial art, but a tactical self-defense system made up of the best from every fighting style, and a little Israeli flair. So why not take the time to work on a specific building block (boxing, grappling, kicking, throwing), and test your ability to fight under real pressure? In the end, it only enhances your overall performance!

“Someone with only a year of training in boxing and wrestling could easily defeat a martial artist of twenty years experience.”

Ah, more wise words from Bruce Lee. Let’s leave you with some wise words from UTKM:

Someone with only one year of training in Krav Maga and experience in a single sports fight could overcome any attacker in a real self-defense situation.

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.”

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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.

 

 

Red men challenge force protection personnel

If I had a dollar for every time a Law Enforcement officer told me that he or she was too busy to train, I believe I could buy myself a fancy steak dinner………..with deserts. Joking aside, few LE ( Law Enforcement ) officers want to train on their own time. After talking to many LE officers the from Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canadian Border Service Agency, Vancouver Police Department, Translink police, New West Police, Buffalo City Police, Federal Corrections gave me some insight as to why they do not want to train  and add skills outside of the job.

Some of the reasons include:

  1. They are too tired to train after their shift is over
  2. They feel they are not obligated to spend their own money and time when the agency (command) should provide the necessary tools and trainings for their work
  3. They are afraid to train in systems that might or will contradict with what they are taught in the academy. They do not want to get themselves in trouble during the arrest process.
  4. They simply have no interests to train themselves
  5. Budget

 

Let’s take a look at these.

Reason 1 : I am too tired to train after my shift is over

Police+Car+Trunk

Policing is a tough job and, unless a person has done it before, you cannot relate to the challenges of the job both mentally and physically. First, they carry 25lb to 35 lb of police gear constantly. That alone is physically draining. Second, the night shift is just plain tough on anyone. Third, most agencies are undermanned and they often pull double shifts. Some agencies are more difficult than others because of the nature of its work. For example, in municipal forces most LE officers are trained as first responder on the scene. They are able to pass the follow-up tasks such as detective work with other departments of the same agency. That is not the case with federal agencies such as the RCMP. RCMP officers are responsible for the entire investigation of the crime and everything that is related to the crime. That puts an extra burden on their work day. These are not just jobs but ongoing, often disturbing cases.

Reason 2: They feel they are not obligated to spend their own money or time because the agency (command) should provide the necessary tools and training for their work

In the academy or depot, some argue that the police training is good for 90 % of the police work; from writing a report to a gun fight. If there is anything else more that needs to be done, the agency should provide it because that’s their job. The higher ups should come up with the training program and allow officers to train during their shift.

Reason 3: They are afraid to train in systems that will contradict with what they are taught in the academy and get themselves in trouble during the arrest process.

This logic is probably the most legit reason for officers not to want to train in systems like Krav Maga which is a highly aggressive and striking based system. Sadly, recording technology means that everything our officers do is put under the public microscope. The general public has an “untrained“ eye and judges any aggressive move such as striking as an inappropriate use of force. The public will judge a situation based on their perceptions and not from the mindset established by training. It is a sad reality that modern LE officers have to face in today’s world.

Reason 4: They simply have no interest to train themselves

I have met many good LE officers who take no interests in firearms and martial art training. One of our former students said, “ You do not want to go and spend several hours on your day off to shoot guns when you carry one 24/7. “ Many LE officers just do not have the dedication and interests to train in martial arts on their leisure time.

Reason 5: Budget

Believe or not, LE officers are well paid in Canada compared to their US counterparts. Like everyone else, they have their economical burdens such as mortgage, child support and so on. Some people just cannot justify paying a gym membership to train themselves when most of the time they are not going to use the training. Many of us live well and we can probably make a distinction between things that are wants rather than needs.

Those are legit reasons and most issues come from the agency (commands) not individual officers. However, living in this imperfect world we can only rely on ourselves to address some of the issues. After all, isn’t that what being a LE officer is all about — being the solution, not the problem?

Solutions:

  1. In the sports medicine world, LEO’s, firefighters and military personnel are known, as “ industrial athletes.” Meaning, no matter how tired they are from their shift they still have to maintain a certain fitness standard for their job. They can always choose sports like boxing and grappling that are also great cardio and muscle workouts on top of training good hand-to-hand fighting skills. Kill two birds with one stone.

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  1. I recommend that people spend their own money on extra training. Just like everything in government, most agencies only do the bare minimum. After all, just like everyone else, the department has a limited budget. For command, buying new pistols might be viewed as more important than hand-to-hand or combative training. If LEO’s are worried about their personal budgets, find out if there is a discount. Most martial art gyms and ranges offers LE/ MIL discounts ( UTKM offers 30 % off ). Some people might have skills useful for a seminar and could barter an exchange.

 

  1. If people are worried about using excessive force learned in training outside of command, the concern is legit. Consider the school and their experience working with LEO’s. They know that the more training their students have, the more likely they are able to respond effectively under stressful conditions. Better-trained first responders are more comfortable getting physical, responding faster, and staying calmer. Well-trained people become more effective during extreme stress compared to people who have less training. A reporter asked UFC champion Jon Jones once “Are you afraid of walking into ring? “ Jon Jones said “ It is my job. You don’t ask a mail man if he is afraid of walking into a post office.”

 

It is your job and you chose this route. The more prepared people are for the job, the less mistakes you are going to make.

4& 5. Marry your job with your interests and pick a hobby that is related to your work. Life is fair: everyone only has 24 hours but it is how we use that 24 hours hat makes a difference. Some cops once said that “Policing is not a job but a life-style.” We all have different hobbies: fishing, movies, running and so on. If we can choose hobbies that can enhance our ability to do our jobs, then why not ? After all, we can all go fishing when we retire.

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“ If you only have a hammer in your tool belt then every problem looks like a nail “ When LEO’s do not have the right tools to handle the dynamics of police work, it usually leads to “ excessive force “ or even “ deadly force.”

Honestly, this reasoning reflects on the agency and command; however, in this imperfect world it is usually the individual who takes on the duty to make the necessary change. Don’t fall victim to your department or command’s lack of foresight and politically inspired budget cuts. Ask a person who requires your protection and service to show-up ready to do your job. You think your training is not up to speed I pledge to “ take the steps to find the solution to those issues because otherwise, you are a liability to the public safety not an asset. “

Most importantly, work with your family and community for ways they can support you in helping you find the resources of time and money to train. We all want our LEO’s, first responders, military, and firefighters to return home safely.

 

Recently there were several videos of South Korean Special Forces training with knives. Those are some impressive videos, but after all those “Ya! Woo! Ahh!”, we should discuss the reality of knife fighting and it’s military usage. For those who do not know me, I am a Krav Maga instructor certified under numerous organizations, a non-lethal weapon instructor with TASER International, a member of the Canadian Forces for 12 years and a student under the great Sword Master Braun McAsh (famed choreographer of the Highlander TV series).

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Borhan Training with Braun McAsh

receiving my ass whipping in knife combat with Mr. McAsh

Military Use of Knife:

 

  1. It is unlikely in any situation that a soldier, special ops or not, would draw his knife and do face to face dueling with enemy combatants who also have knives. Here I do not mean bayonet charge, sentry removal, or stabb an enemy when tangled up in close quarters combat.
  2. If you have to draw your knife on your enemy it means you have screwed up big time. All soldiers follow rules of engagement as all law enforcement follow the use of force circle. Generally speaking: a soldier can use non-deadly force (hand to hand) then deadly force (rifle). Like it or not, utilising a knife is deadly force. You cannot subdue an enemy combatant with a knife. It is meant to kill, so why are you using a knife face to face when you could just use your firearm. There are still occasions like sentry removal or a bayonet charge where cold steel weapons serve the modern military effectively, but going forward to have a face to face duel? That barely existed in ancient battles when most deaths are caused by arrows, spears and being trampled to death rather than “manly” individual blade vs blade battle.
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most likely usage of knives in modern military setting

Techniques :

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The techniques in this footage are reasonable and proficient in dueling situation :

Overall, the techniques used in the video are pretty decent and universal in most dagger and knife fighting systems. All the cuts and stabs are within the “box“ and all the attacks are conducted within range effortlessly. That’s the key to using cold steel weapons: let the blade to do its work. The blade with a bit pressure will simply sink into the enemy’s flesh. I think it is a hard concept for non-blade martial artists to grasp, because we generally rely on impact. Even with a one inch punch the power needs to be generated from the hip, but with knife fighting a simple wrist movement will do the trick.

The disarm at 1:40 is not sufficient– simply push the attacker away then deal with the 2nd guy coming from the right. It is too much for show. The wise way would be strike, control the first attacker and use him as a shield against the 2nd attacker.

The counter attack ( 1:48 ) is done right. In a dueling situation, the enemy is not simply going to let you attack their vital parts at center of mass (main torso). It is wise to attack the limbs to cause loss of blood or cut the tender muscles so the enemy won’t be able to hold his or her weapon due to pain or loss of muscle control. The finish is not sufficient. The attack should continue after the first stab. You never know if you have stabbed or cut the right place and the human body can be really tough sometimes.

In conclusion: I wonder what’s the reason the Korean UDT/ SEAL conducts this type of training maybe it is an element of overall hand to hand combat training like hitting the sandbag in Boxing. This type of training might enhance the awareness of knife usage and attack then indirectly help defense against knives in close quarter ?  I would argue this type of training by itself ” alone ” has no practical value in modern military.

My annual trip to Taiwan always takes me to the some of the best martial art
schools & MMA gymin Taiwan. The martial art culture and spirit deep within Taiwanese
people. Compare to Canada, the Taiwanese martial art community is subtle, small, and tight. Like or not, the Taiwanese society is not a big fan of martial prowess and less reveal about this type of culture. You would not know some of your friends, neighbor are martial art lovers unless they tell you.

Ranlee Muay Thai Gym 仁李泰拳館

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Impressions:

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Borhan in the middle

During my visit in Kaohsiung, the southern city of Taiwan, our Taiwanese UTKM instructor Pedro brought me to his Muay Thai Gym: Ranlee Muay Thai Gym. Training here is old school Muay Tai training: hard, tough and authentic. I would even say more authentic than the Muay Thai training I receive when I was in Vancouver. No offense to my Canadian Muay Thai trainer.Simply put – many North American Muay Thai gym has adopt its style more suitable for MMA purpose. Whereas in Thailand and Taiwan, Muay Thai stills remains more traditional and a Muay Thai gym can thrive by being single discipline focus. It would be difficult for the gym in Canada to do the same.

Coach:

Coach Ranlee is a veteran in Muay Thai world and remains closely connection with the Muay Thai community in Thailand and also Burmese boxing ( Lethwei ). Interesting background regarding Coach Lee; Coach Lee grows up in Burma as the descendants of the last KMT legions that got stuck in Burma. Some of these KMT soldiers later become the king pin of the infamous Golden triangle. There is a toughness and ruthless growing up in place and time like that. Burmese boxing ( Lethwei ) is quite similar to Muay Thai but allows head butt and use ropes instead gloves during a match.

Coach Lee also retain several formal pro-Muay Thai boxers such as Erik Massion from
Germany help him train new recruits. Both coach Ranlee and Erik Massion hold incredible pad works for their students and know when to push and when to cut the student some breaks. Holding pad for your students is another skill set that takes years to develop.

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Overall, Ranlee Muay Thai Gym offers a very old school, self-made type of training experience, exactly like  gyms in Thailand. Everything is hand-made; from punching bags, boxing stages to signs. However, the teaching is top notch. Everyone in the gym breathes and lives Muay Thai as things should be in an Asian gym. This gym has produces some of the top notch fighters including our very own Pedro ( first UTKM instructor)

Overall:

When you are in Taiwan you have to come here and learn some Muay Thai here.

Location:

高雄市鳳山區光遠路120巷16號
4樓

phone: 0986 185 519

 

Warriors Den Podcast

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

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Moshe Katz a life long martial artist and founder of IKI Israeli Krav International.

During the course of his 30 years in martial arts Moshe has trained with some of the greatest instructors around the world. He is certified by Wingate, Israelis national martial arts certification board, and by Itay Gil; his instructor and friend of many years.

In addition to his Krav Maga expertise Moshe holds various black belts in other styles and has been inducted in to the International Martial Arts hall of fame and American Black Belt hall of fame.

Moshe routinely travels twice a year around the world to teach IKI Krav Maga and has been to Vancouver Canada numerous times over the past few years.

We had the pleasure of hosting him for the past 2 years and conducting this short but informative interview.

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If you would like to know more about moshe or contact him see his website at.

www.your-krav-maga-expert.com

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Recently I watched a show on youtube is called “ Warrior Quest “ by a Czech Krav Maga organization. The purpose of the show is to send several people to do their military Krav Maga instructor course. The show begins in Czech then proceeds to Israel. Most part of the show is about a series of harsh physical training to weed out the weak ……all the way down to 10 people. It is interesting to see the selection process but frankly I do not agree with the ideology and methods of the show.

The selection process of the show is harsh and all original candidates from Czech only one student made it to the end. I wonder what’s the purpose of this harsh selection. The majority of selection process is about harsh physical workout instead of Krav Maga training. What benefit do people get out of this process other than some bragging rights, ugly scars and huge medical bills. As a soldier, I have been though similar selection process from boot camp (ran by Airborne), wildness survival course, special force selection to mentally exhausting air force pilot and navigator selection course. I have suffered though similar injuries and physical exhaustion; however, the one difference is that “ I was covered by military. “ If I got injured during the selection process the military is obligated to take care of me both financially and medically that is. More than I can say about these candidates in this show.

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Krav Maga students are not soldiers. Some Krav Maga students are soldiers but most Krav Maga schools do not cater toward soldiers. The idea of Krav Maga is about teaching as many people as possible and to develop them with skills necessary for them to survive. One fellow spend several thousand Euro only to be washed out first day during the selection. I find that counter-productive for a person’s progress and personal safety. The institute that does the enrollment should assess the student’s physical abilities and deny enrollment if the guy clearly is not up for the challenge. Several thousand Euro is enough money for the guy to train full time in Israel or in Thailand for several months. I am unsure if the guy got a refund or exchange but the purpose of his trip lasted only one day. One thing I firmly believe is that everyone is at a different level. It is up to the school and the instructors to develop students where they at and then help them achieve their goal, instead of weeding them out like the military.

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Our students can be a warrior and fighter but our students are not soldiers. Our school also offers tactical shooting training and frankly, when in hand- to-hand combat our guys are higher level than average soldiers. ( we welcome any soldier to come and test it out ) but again our students are not soldiers. The reason is simple, they are not paid to do it full time 24/7 nor have the obligation to go though ridiculous and hurtful training that might killed the students in the process.

Modern military, like the Canadian Army has very high standard when it comes to training. Even with that in mind, I can count on both my hands and feet the times I would be dead or seriously injured because things could go horribly wrong. No civilian Krav Maga institute can accept the same level of risk in training as a government institute. Nor should the mandate be the same. The military is selecting the right people for the right type of the job but a civilian Krav Maga institute should be about teaching the right courses to the right people. If there are so many people got washed out from this course, then I firmly believe these courses were offered to the wrong group of people. Any Krav Maga institution should be about developing the right people with the right courses.

For those who want to have the military experience, I can only offer one advice, to join the military – reserve and National Guard are options for those who do not want to commit too long in the life of uniform. Training and skill sets are something that you can acquire at different civilian training school but the harsh, inhuman, rude, less fun, boring and ridiculous part of military experience can only be experienced though the real deal – why ? because military owns their people- literately.

 

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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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