Posts Tagged ‘Josh Hensman’


Whenever I am at a gym, martial arts school or fitness centre, I see guys (yes, mostly males) gulping down sports drinks like Gatorade, Powerade, or something made from a powder. I have often asked myself, “Is that drink necessary in this situation?” To answer this, I usually observe the individual’s activity, and more often than not answer my own question with a resounding NO. Although, I want to be clear that there is a lot of general confusion about sports drinks and hydration. I hope to clear-up some of the misinformation, and help you understand how to drink effectively, and what to drink when you need hydration.

Sports drinks: The marketable product

What is a Sports Drink? For the purpose of this article, any drink containing electrolytes (sodium and potassium) and carbohydrates are considered sports drinks. Most commercial sports drinks contain both, but sometimes the electrolytes are missing. Typically, a before- and during-exercise sports drink should contain 6-8% solutes. For example, a 500mL drink would have 30-40g of carbohydrates plus electrolytes. A post-exercise recovery sports drink would likely have a higher carbohydrate load.


Let’s be honest. We all know that nutritional supplements and ergogenic aids (performance enhancing supplements) are big business. They are huge in competitive and elite sporting circles, as they genuinely can give an edge to a competitor, and also because when the public see their favourite athletes slurping on a cold sports brew at half-time, this is good for sales. The companies that make them know that the real money is in marketing these products to the general population. So, companies have a vested interest in seeing sports drinks sold to Joe and Josephine Public in order to increase profit. 

So then, do you or don’t you need sports drinks?

The importance of being… hydrated

Water plays a number of important roles in your body. Since 60% of your total body weight is made up by water, suffice to say, if you run out of water you die. After losing only 1-2% of body water, your heart will have to work harder and your aerobic endurance decreases. Of course, continued fluid loss ensures further consequences. When exercising, body water loss most likely occurs from sweating, particularly in hot climates. The highest recorded sweat rate was 3.7 litres per hour, by Alberto Salazar when preparing for the 1984 Summer Olympic Games! Replacing fluids when exercising is very important.

Rule of thumb: the more you sweat, the more you should drink. It is a great idea to start drinking before you begin your exercise. During really intense exercise or sweaty, long duration training, a consumption rate of approximately 250mL every 15 minutes should be sufficient. For lower intensity or shorter exercise periods, periodically sipping water is fine. Remember, do not to wait until you are thirsty! Once you feel thirsty, you are already 1-2% dehydrated. Continue drinking once you have finished exercising to ensure adequate recovery.

What do drink?


Have you ever experienced muscle cramps during or after exercise? This is likely due to  a loss of electrolytes from your body through sweat. If you are anything like me, you will have noticed that sweat tastes salty. This is because it has a high concentration of sodium. Electrolytes are essential for effective muscle contractions, so when you are losing them quickly through sweating, you will need to replace them reasonably quickly. The fastest way? A sports drink. Longer duration vigorous exercise, high intensity exercise, and exercise in hot climates are three contexts in which using a sports drink does make sense. Sports drinks can also be good during activities that require high intensity physical work.

Where sports drinks truly come into their own is competition events. If you are competing in a long duration (45+ minutes) event, or have multiple events on the same day, then sports drinks can be vital to maintaining high performance. This is even more essential in hot climates.


“I made some blue meth. It’s Gatorade.” -Kelly, Neighbors (2014)

If you are trying to decide whether you should drink water or a sports drink, ensure that you consider these 3 things:

  • the ambient temperature of the climate in which you are exercising
  • the intensity of exercise
  • the duration of exercise

If you are going to be exercising for less than 45 minutes, then water alone is probably sufficient. Should that 45 minutes be high intensity, high sweat yielding exercise, it will be important to replenish both electrolytes and macronutrients soon after exercising. A sports drink during and/or after the session might also be worthwhile to decrease your recovery time.

Regardless of whether you choose water or sports drinks, the most important part is to stay hydrated. Water is good for all occasions. Sports drinks are more useful for intense, long-duration, or sweaty activities. Remember, don’t wait till you’re thirsty. Drink up!





At UTKM’s Tactical Shotgun Course, I’m the one in green.

Until I started doing Krav Maga, I never imagined I would buy and have my own firearms. I mean, I live in the city. I can’t really use it for self-defense as it is not stored at my house. I don’t hunt. I rarely go hiking deep enough in the wilderness to carry a gun for protection against animals, such as bears. Let’s not forget the legality issues of owning firearms in Canada.

Before joining Urban Tactics Krav Maga, I have had a small amount of shooting experience with various firearms. I have shot rifles at my friends’ and family’s farms, handguns at a range on a couple of occasions, and even an under and over shotgun. Through UTKM, I have gained my CFSC and undertook Level 1, 2, and 3 of their Tactical Shotgun Courses. Then, I surprised myself by considering to purchase my first firearm. What am I going to do with a gun?

Two reasons why I chose the shotgun

superb-high-definition-desktop-wallpapers-of-shotgun#1 Simplicity. Doesn’t everyone like simplicity? As far as I can tell, the shotgun is the simplest firearm, and that’s right down my alley. How simple, you ask? Well, mechanically it is pretty basic, and therefore less likely to jam or break. It is also simple to shoot: you point the dangerous end towards what you want to hit and squeeze the trigger. Pump the action, and repeat. Simple, right? I know, I know. I am ignoring plenty of important elements here, but you see what I am saying.

#2 It suits me. Shotguns fit my personality. Handguns are sexy, close-range weapons. Not my style. Rifles are high precision shooting machines. Me and precision? Not even close acquaintances. Shotguns are… simple. Just like a basic digital camera. You point and shoot.

Wait a second… Isn’t reason two basically the same as reason one? Yup. So… I bought a shotgun.

Tips for first time firearm buyers

First things first. Try out the gun you want, or something very similar, first before you make a decision. It sounds like common sense, but guess what? Common sense is not so common. If you want to buy a gun for the first time, like a sleek and sexy Glock 17, don’t go and shoot with a side-by-side shotgun. They are worlds apart! Some shooting ranges have firearms that you can “rent,” even if you don’t have your CFSC. Take my advice, go find the gun you like and give it a shot.

Second things second. Start with a non-restricted firearm, before stepping up to a restricted one. Say you want to buy a handgun. You have your CRFSC and your cash. Ready? Not quite. You need a permit to transport, which you will definitely be asked to present when you try to get that restricted firearm. Do you want to get flagged by the RCMP? Go right ahead and buy a restricted firearm first time around. If not, purchase a non-restricted firearm first and learn to use that, and then move on to the restricted firearms.

So why do I need a gun?

Josh HensmanI don’t. BUT, I feel much more comfortable knowing how a shotgun operates, and being able to continually get more familiar with a shotgun. My shotgun! I know how to ensure the safety is engaged and how to eject the rounds. I am happier knowing that if I ever end up in a situation in which I have to disarm someone with a shotgun, I will be confident. Thus, my answer is I don’t need a firearm. I want one. And now, I have one.


#thisisUTKM In this episode UTKM Co-Founder Borhan Jiang and Jonathan Fader are joined by UTKM manager Josh Hensman to discuss how UTKM has changed over the past year. We also discuss Krav Maga and its politics and instruction a little.


Kids Krav Maga Class UTKM

I am biased. I can’t pretend that I don’t think Krav Maga (KM) is a great system. For both adults and kids. Although, in reality, like with more traditional martial arts, there are substantive differences in the systems and how they are taught by each organisation. Therefore I lead with this: do your research, do a trial class, and find out if your kids enjoy it. This holds true for any activity or program you are considering for your child.

Over the last 3 years I have observed that KM is not yet a well-known system. Often when people do know of it, they have substantial misconceptions about its nature. The negative perceptions (of some) are partially due to how it is represented in popular media such as youtube, where schools or individuals demonstrate their techniques. In addition, KM’s strong links with Israel, perceived by some as a country with a checkered human rights record, also plays into these negative perceptions. So when considering KM and kids I find myself wondering:

Is KM too aggressive for children?
Does KM promote use of weapons?
Is KM appropriate for kids?

KM is a very pragmatic martial system. One of the basic tenets of KM, if it could be said to have any, is to react quickly and conclusively. In order to be effective for practitioners who may be smaller and/or weaker than their attacker, techniques must be enacted with speed and a certain amount of aggression. When I think about an adult or older youth attacking a child, I find it very difficult to imagine a successful escape without the child using force and aggression. When facing an opponent who is physically larger and stronger than you, good technique is not always enough. To my thinking it is entirely acceptable for someone to defend themselves aggressively if they are concerned about their safety and can find no way to avoid or escape the situation.

We need to separate the concept of aggression from anger. Often aggression is associated with anger, which can trigger us into thinking, saying or doing things that hurt others or ourselves. So what is aggression? Key words that come to mind when I think of aggression are: violence, force, anger, fear, assertiveness.  Many of these words have negative connotations in ‘western’ societies such as Canada. I would argue, however, that such connotations should be contextual, and when they are out of context are viewed emotively rather than pragmatically in relation to the context. Another part of the problem with our understanding of aggression is that we usually associate it with an attacker rather than a defender. There are many documented occasions though, of a member of the public being attacked and responding with force  and aggression (shouting, screaming, struggling and striking), which allows them to escape the attacker. I firmly believe that aggression in response to a physical attack is warranted and could in fact play a pivotal role in whether an escape is successful.

As with many things context is key. So if we decide that aggression is acceptable in certain situations, how do we decide at what age a child can understand when it is and is not acceptable? This perhaps is the subject of a whole other article.

In many online videos I see KM practitioners tearing weapons away from their training partner assailants and simulating combative techniques against the pretend attacker. Is this KM? Well yes, to some degree it is. Is this what we teach to children? Certainly not. A good KM school restricts instruction of techniques against weapons to more experienced students. A solid understanding of non-weapon techniques, using your body as a weapon, and when to use violence must all be achieved before a student is capable of dealing with armed opponents. That being said, once someone moves from child to adult classes and is sufficiently experienced, they will definitely learn to counter and defend against attackers wielding a variety of weapons. In all likelihood, they may even learn to use weapons. Someone who knows how a particular weapon works is significantly advantaged if they are attacked and are able to disarm their assailant. They may also be more successful in their defense as they will understand first-hand how an attacker with a specific weapon moves and is limited by the weapon.

Finally, an intelligent defender is always ready to apply the principle of tool over fist. The reason humans first began making and using tools was to overcome the restrictions of their own bodies. To be able to DO more. If I am attacked and have time, I would much rather pick up a chair/lamp/stick and use it to defend myself against the attacker coming at me with a knife, than going bare-handed and allowing the attacker close enough to cut me. Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t like blood staining my clothes. Particularly my own blood. So in the KM version of ‘stone-paper-scissors’, now known as ‘tool-hand’, tool always beats hand. If I am being too oblique just remember: don’t use your hands to defend yourself if you have a tool available!

Appropriate for Kids?
In my opinion children who are 8 years or older could be ready to learn KM. This very much depends on the individual child however, particularly in relation to their ability to reason and make good decisions. Remember, many KM specific techniques are designed to be used as a counter when someone else attacks you. If your child is not attacked then they won’t need to use their KM techniques. I am sure some of you are thinking “so what about when another kid at school bullies a young KM student and the student lashes out with a dangerous KM technique?” A good question, but one that I will deal with in Part 2 of this article. The other important factor is the culture of the KM school and the importance placed upon situational responsiveness.

When you witness what is taught at a kids krav maga class, ask yourself this:
Do the children learn about when to use their KM skills?
Are de-escalation and/or avoidance techniques taught as well as more combative skills?
Does KM teach your child techniques that could potentially save their lives?

Violence and aggression are not the only solutions in many situations. They are, however, a necessary solution in some situations. Teaching kids (or adults for that matter) how to recognize when violence is the best, or only solution to a problem, or alternatively, when to run away or talk it out, is a core part of KM training for civilian life. In life we are continually faced with choices. The impact of our subsequent decisions can remain with us for the rest of our lives. We would all of course prefer not to need to consider the need for any kind of self-defence. Unfortunately the fact that people do get attacked is a reality of human life and always has been. Ultimately KM is one of a number of options available which says, ‘Better safe than sorry.’

REMEMBER: not all KM schools are created equal. Parents, do your research. Observe a class, speak to the instructor, let your child try a class and then make an informed decision.

As a  strength and conditioning coach, students in our school often ask me what they can do to be more fit for Krav Maga (KM). My first thought when anyone asks me what they can do to be fitter, is why? Or more precisely, what is it you are going to be doing that makes you want or need to be fitter? In the world of fitness training, context is king. “I need to be fitter because I have young kids and I can’t keep up with them anymore”; “I want to be fitter so I can train more effectively in my sport”; “I am having trouble lifting and carrying my groceries these days, so I want to get stronger”. The reason, situation or context here is vital and plays a large part in guiding the components of your subsequent training program.


To come back to martial arts, conditioning performed for one martial art is often  very different to that done for another, based on the physical demands of the discipline. For example, having trained for high level sport karate competitions I know that developing speed and explosive power is essential, whereas overall strength and explosive power are higher priorities for wrestling. As many of you probably know, unlike most martial ‘arts’, KM  is not a competitive or artistic discipline. In fact, it is more accurately a martial system than an art. So to decide what type of conditioning is best suited to improving the fitness of KM practitioners, I need to know what demands will be placed on their bodies when using KM.

When KM practitioners have to use their skills it will either be in a school training situation or real life. Unlike other martial arts which involve competitions there is no specific time frame for which a KM practitioner needs to prepare. No five-minute round that is finished with the ringing of a bell. If you are attacked in real life, that engagement could last five seconds or five minutes. While most street fights tend to end pretty quickly, if confronted with multiple assailants you could be facing an ongoing skirmish until you can break free and make your escape. So should a KM practitioner be training for every situation? Ideally yes. Most of us though do not have two hours a day, seven days a week to work on our fitness in addition to our skill based training. Those sorts of numbers are only achieved by professional fighters or the obsessed. We can, however, train to develop the appropriate energy systems and improve our overall muscular strength, power and endurance.

To better illustrate what I am trying to achieve with this training plan imagine a real life situation where you are confronted by three would-be assailants. After being threatened for money and sensibly tossing your wallet to their feet, they decide to attack. You assess and react to the initial attack (5 seconds) and then run for it. After a short five second sprint (10 seconds), one of the assailants catches you by the shirt and pulls you to a stop. Again you defend and strike that individual while attempting to maintain good positioning and awareness of the other assailants (20 seconds). You break away a second time and start running, but get surrounded as you reach a wall (30 seconds). This time you have to engage with all of the assailants, pacify two of them and repel the last  (50 seconds) before starting to run again. You finally stop running when you can no longer see or hear the last assailant (120 seconds). From start to finish the encounter lasted two minutes.

Now, aside from making the mistake of disengaging too early, which enabled the attackers to catch you again, what can you observe or speculate about the movements in this example?:

–          many full body movements occurred

–           there were bursts of more intense movement

–          heart rate and breathing rate were high

–          there were very few times when rest could be achieved

Now I know that not every encounter will be the same or even similar to this. If, however, we consider this to be a worst case scenario as far as the length of time involved, then we can use it to guide our training. Based on the above analysis, the training for such a situation would need to include the following:

–          full body movements

–          explosive movements [1-10 seconds]

–          short intense bursts [10-30 seconds]

–          longer, semi-intense efforts [30-90 seconds]

–         few or no static rest periods within the work phase

KM requires training that shares common elements but is different to other martial arts, as it is not a sport in which rules and regulations help to define necessary training areas e.g. five minute rounds in the UFC. The real-life practice of KM is highly variable but will certainly involve short bursts of intense full body movement, interspersed with somewhat less intense activity, along with potentially fast paced running. In the next article I will suggest ideas for structuring an initial solo workout program and provide an example program, that could be used to begin training.

Written by: Josh Hensman