Posts Tagged ‘kickboxing’

I’ve been training for almost four years now. And there’s something that has often happened to me that I didn’t recognize as a problem until recently. People are afraid to hit me or don’t want to spar with me, simply because I’m female. Well. That’s annoying. I’m not going to break, jeez. I can’t speak for all the other women who train as to what their experience has been like, but I am so tired of having to constantly reassure people. I feel like I’m telling people that “you can hit harder”, “it’s okay to hit me”, “no it isn’t too hard” almost every class. Recently, I’ve just been getting really frustrated by this. So to everyone who is afraid of hitting me, here is why you should.

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Women fight professionally too you know! They can take a punch.

It hurts me and my chances of survival. The reason I come to Krav every week, sometimes transiting for several hours even when I’m exhausted, is not because I want to make friends and giggle (Which I do). It’s cool if you do want to talk and laugh with others, but I’m trying to get the skills that will allow me to protect myself and potentially others. Considering my future career plans (law enforcement), being proficient in Krav will probably save me one day. Now obviously being attacked in class is very different than being attacked on the street. You have no idea what someone might do, and unlike in class, they might actually want to murder you. Hopefully, no one in class is actually trying to kill you. If it is, then it might be time to rethink your life if that’s happening… So let’s say I’m in class sparring and my partner is going slowly and not actually hitting me. When I get attacked on the street, I’m not going to be used to be punched and might drop the first time I’m hit. So much for Krav Maga…. Oh well, if I die, I won’t be alive to worry about it. Have fun living with THAT guilt. For the training to actually be effective, I need to be able to react to anything that might happen. Refusing to hit me, or not going as hard as you would normally is going to make things worse in the long run. 

It’s also a part of the class. I wouldn’t be in Krav if I didn’t want to be hit. We all signed the waiver and know the risks. If someone doesn’t like getting hit, they probably won’t stick around, or they’ll let you know. I don’t need someone constantly asking if that was too hard, or not hitting the pad or whatever. Lemme explain how pads work to y’all, cause I feel like some people don’t get it. Pads are these cool things that absorb the hit so that by the time it reaches the person holding it, you don’t feel it as much. Isn’t that amazing? Now, pads work the same for males and females. If I pass the pad to a male student, it will not change and suddenly work better. And after all the years of holding pads, I know the super top secret way of holding them to absorb the hit the best. Trust me, I can take it. 

It’s also disrespectful. I am a green belt. Yay? It’s been almost four years of training with UTKM. And if you think I was given a green belt because I was gently tapped on the head a few times and smiled at, you are so very wrong. I had to fight for it. Not one or two, but THREE TESTS, increasing in difficulty. So I hate writing blogs, but I literally wrote an entire post about the green belt test just so I could complain about how hard it was. But I went through the same test the other green belts did. People didn’t hold back during the tests because of my gender (It was after all attempt to murder Karis day but you know, only in a metaphoric way). Trust me, I had the bruises to prove it. When people come in and don’t want to spar with a girl or keep asking if it’s too hard, it’s spitting on everything I’ve accomplished. You are telling me that despite everything I’ve been through, I still need to be protected and coddled. I’m not going to break if someone hits me. Seriously. I’m honest I do recognize that sometimes people are raised to not hit females, but I would like my rank and what I’ve done to be recognized. Please get over it so we can move on with class. For the other women at Krav, we have so many awesome different colour belts who train hard and deserve to be treated the same as the guys. 

 

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Karis in action

This all kinda ties into another problem. If someone going too hard in class, you have to let them know. As someone who has been forced (Voluntold) into teaching classes, it’s not easy trying to make sure that

1) you are teaching the right thing,

2) everyone is doing the technique correctly

3) think about what you are teaching next OH AND THEN make sure no one is killing each other.

Come on. You guys can figure this out. Going too hard with each other in class or not speaking up will just lead to injuries. Classes can get pretty big and your instructor can’t be everywhere at once. Just a warning, if you EVER go full force in a class I’m teaching, prepare for death >:D. Also a tip, size reeeeeeeeeallly matters. If I’m hitting at five percent, I probably will hit harder then someone else who is smaller than me. When I’m the smaller one, I won’t be able to hit as hard as the other person. This should be obvious. Remember this in sparring, and adjust for who you are fighting. We do try to avoid injuries if we can. It’s a little difficult to train with a concussion. Just a little bit.

 

So those are the thoughts of a NOT SASSY teenager. I’m not even really a teenager JON. DROP IT. Joking aside, this is important to me. I’m getting more and more tired of this. And I’m only eighteen (Teenager). I haven’t been alive that long. This obviously isn’t my experience with everyone. I’ve had some awesome teachers and classmates over the years. So if the remainder could just stop worrying about hitting me, that would be great. However, if you just come up to me and try to punch me in the face or something, I will react and the results may be unpleasant. 

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Every once in a while I see some “Krav Maga practitioners” post videos about Kung Fu, Systema or MMA, and then mock these systems about how they do not work on the street or their drills are ridiculous. The worst is when someone is trying to tell their experience of encountering real life dangers and how their experience shows these other systems do not work. These kinds of actions are both alarming and sad. It is alarming because these so called Krav Maga practitioners are investing too much of their ego in the system in which they train. In this case Krav Maga. There should be no room for ego in fighting. It is sad because they forget the essence of Krav Maga – always learn from others.

First of all, never judge other systems by merely watching videos. The videos do not show the full picture – Youtube is a double edged sword. It shows the surface information but it does not show the detailed technique, the fine touches, the pressures and psychological states of the users. Those are the key points and true essence of a system. Judging others with so little information is not a sign of intelligence or a sound tactical choice.

Here is my story. I had always been skeptical on the practical usage of a soft style martial art like Tai Chi until I met an MMA sparring partner of mine in Taiwan. Mr. Wong is both a Wing Chung and Tai Chi master. We trained together in a local MMA dojo called Evolution Combat Club. Many of the toughest MMA fighters came from this gym. Mr. Wong had competed in three pro-MMA fights when we met each other. Although I had a lack of striking skills back then, coming from a Judo background, I was confident in my grappling ability. I handled myself well against other students at the club until Mr. Wong and I sparred. Every single time we got into the clinch position I would end up on the ground without knowing what happened. The next thing I would get was a nice ground and pound MMA beat down. I was truly puzzled because I had dealt with Sambo, Judo and Wrestling fighters and there was no way in hell someone could take me down without even knowing what had happened. Mr. Wong explained to me that he was using Tai Chi techniques. This was my experience with Chinese Kung Fu and no video research in the world could tell me how Tai Chi works.

Secondly, we have to consider the historical and cultural reference of the system when we encounter it. Videos that spark the most controversy are mostly related to knife defense techniques. On and on I have heard people mock other style’s knife defense techniques. We have to put these systems in historical context. Many of these systems come from a period of time when battles were waged with long and deadly swords and knives. I do not think a small knife would cause much panic in people back in those times. In addition, some of these techniques were based upon sword or knife dueling, not against a knife attack, and we see how some of these old systems influence Krav Maga. Mocking the older systems is like mocking one’s own heritage. (1)

EskrimadorsCulturally, it is vital to understand that unlike North America, most cultures and countries retain their bladed culture of the past and knife fighting on the street is not that uncommon, even today. In fact, in the famed documentary Escrimadors , it says that the reason Escrima was not as popular and well spread as it should be, until recently, is because most Escrima masters killed each other in duels in the 70s. (2)

In today’s battles, famed Gurkha soldiers still carry their kukri into battle and used it on many occasions; sometimes, even use it to behead their enemies. (3) Now when we put both history and culture into context we might understand why certain systems do the defense the way they do. In that period of time or that region, edged weapon attacks were more common and more socially acceptable than in North America. People’s reactions are certainly different from those of North Americans. I often tell my students that Krav Maga is a system born out of a post-bladed culture and that it is fantastic for dealing with strong and brutal attacks, but not so much against complex knife attacks. Personally, no Krav Maga instructor has shown me a way of dealing against long edged weapons with which I would trust my life. In fact, only one advice was ever given about dealing against long edged weapons.

In some places dueling with knife is still part of culture

Finally, Israeli mentality – we can solve all problems. Jonathan Fader is another lead instructor and ex-IDF soldier from UTKM and we had a discussion on why some Krav Maga instructors constantly produce new ways to solve far-fetched scenarios. We think it is because the pressure of living up to the reputation of being the most innovative nation on Earth makes them believe they can solve any problem. While I was with certain organizations in the past, we were told that as an instructor we should always have an answer for students. Why do we need to have an answer for every situation and problem? The last time I checked, being a Krav Maga instructor does not equate to me being a prophet. For those who have competed in the past, we often find that a fight does not goes step 1 and step 2 but is fluid and dynamic, as a fight has a life of its own and you can rarely predict its outcome. Sometimes you end up in a position you never thought was possible. I often tell my students, here are the Krav Maga principles and techniques and the movement now is to FIGHT. Your body will tell you what needs to be done as time progresses.

In conclusion, we should always learn from others. For those who know the meaning of the original Krav Maga logo (designed by Imi) there is a round circle. It is meant to incorporate new techniques, information, research, etc. For those who are not familiar with Krav Maga history, Krav Maga is a hybrid system that takes the best parts of other systems and incorporates them. Imi himself was an accomplished boxer, wrestler, and gymnast and had trained in many other martial arts and probably British Army hand to hand combat methods. Whenever we watch a video on anything, we do not have the full perspective of the full picture. Perhaps the techniques or training methods do not look practical, however, it does not mean that they will not work once it is put into real life. Who are we to be the judge of a system based on a 2 minute video clip?

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At the same time, I will occasionally see other systems mocking people who practice Krav Maga and ridicule how Krav Maga does not work, etc. In essence, that does not bother me. “ Deeds not words “ I often tell students with a background in other martial arts or systems. In sparring, do whatever you want to do (within the limits of safety), use what you have learned in the past or use Krav Maga techniques – you are the only one who can say what works for you and what does not work for you. After all, my job is to arrange others to beat the snot out of you so you can find out as how I learned it in the past. Now that’s Krav Maga!

 Reference

1. http://krav-maga.com/blog/how-a-krav-maga-technique-is-changed-and-modified/

2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Vez6y08rB8

3. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2049987/Gurkha-beheaded-Taliban-soldier-Afghanistan-battle-cleared-return-duty.html

 

Written by : Borhan Jiang

Edited by: Warren C, Josh Hensman

Traveling Krav Student – A Perspective in Constant Shift.

I have the pleasure of a job that travels up to 75% of my time and all of the fun, adventure, and pain that can go with it. Traveling alone provides both a sense of freedom and a near constant potential for events to go either positively or negatively in the extreme. A necessity for preparedness for that “worst possible case” has turned my focus to Krav as a highly practical mind and skill set for my life. Through training, I’ve begun shifting how I move through, react to, and think about my surrounding.  Adopting an awareness as well as constantly planning for immediate, violent, and the very real possibility for danger would have driven me to paranoia and edginess in the past, but physically preparing for these events in combination with the mental shift has had the opposite effect; I am alert and aware, but confident, calm, and relaxed in my daily environments.  As a bonus, maintaining that alert state has taken my head out of my phone and into the fascinating and beautiful world we inhabit.  As I travel, I see more, learn more, and interact with incredible people more than I ever have before.  I am dedicated to continuing this forward progress through Krav; both the physical and mental art.

I find Krav establishments wherever I travel, and participate in their classes to learn all I can, from everyone I can.  I place value in learning from a variety of people and perspectives to broaden my own thinking of techniques, situations, and ideas.  At Urban Tactics I found instructors and students who embody all that Krav is, and they graced me with a welcoming and interesting experience.  They didn’t hold anything back, and I am happy to say that I was exhausted by the end of each lesson.  Borhan and Jon are great instructors bringing a variety of new techniques and new critiques to my repertoire that I will continue to develop and incorporate into my practice. Skills and drills can prepare a person, but the sparring was certainly a humbling experience. It was headgear and mouth guards, gloves and very little held back. Call me strange, but I was glad to learn some lessons at the far reaches of an opponent’s gloves. I have a healthy respect for how much I have yet to learn. Yet, I was able to bring new ideas back to my hometown gym and spread some of the lessons among others.  I greatly appreciate the conversations I had with those at Urban Tactics that broadened our scope.  Krav is all about using whatever works, after all, and I certainly learned many variations and adjustments that may be handy in rough situations.

Best of all, it was fun.  Smiles were seen all around through and despite the heavy breathing of all the students.  The culture is one of dedication, respect, and shared goals.  I feel lucky to have been a part of it.  One last lesson to share: it’s humbling, entertaining, and encouraging to hear laughter through a mouth guard.

Written by: Abby Evers

Delta Krav Maga: http://deltakravmaga.com/

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

The Military

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

Police counter-terrorism units

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

Civilian counter terrorism units.

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

Security training

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Author conduct anti-kidnapping training in China.

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

Written By: Adi Talmor

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