Posts Tagged ‘Krav Maga’

Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, believe or wish life just doesn’t go according to plan and the path to where we want to be is full of discomfort and possibly pain and hurt and yet if we wish to achieve or goal we have to take that path.

Sometimes the answer is just to embrace the suck!

A few weeks ago I went on a hike with someone. Now we had planned to do this hike weeks before. It was a long weekend of which sat and Sunday I was doing 18 hour days both teaching and at an event. This left the Monday. We woke up later than we wanted to because well I was a little burnt out. Then we found out there was a leak in a property that we had to check out. This delayed us heavily.

Normally when you do these kinds of hikes in BC you want to get there no later than 10am. Unfortunately, we didn’t even leave until noon or 1ish. Start the 1.5 hour-ish drive to the hike start.

Of course, the place we went to Garibaldi Park in BC is a very popular destination so our first struggle was to find a spot. Eventually, we found one, a good walk away from the trailhead.

My plan had been to test out the new and mildly expensive backpack that I plan to use when I start hunting. Unfortunately, I quickly realized that, Oh shit…where are my hiking boots….

You see its summer and I like flip-flops. Normally my boots are always in the truck, along with running shoes. But due to the event, the day before I had taken everything out and I guess…shit happens.

I dont know about you but I am not doing a 20km hike in flip flops because I feel like that’s asking to break an ankle.

Now the person I was with was not thrilled. The suggestion was to drive back to the nearest town, Squamish or Whistler and get shoes. However, if we did this by the time we started the hike we would not have time to come down before sundown which was not an option.

Again, they were not thrilled….

To avoid catasrtophy I made the snap decision. Ok not to worry, I won’t take my backpack, Ill just take my light jacket with water pouch and do it barefoot.

“Wait what? No, you cant do that. I won’t let you.” is what I was told or something like that. At first, they were reluctant.

“Not to worry I said, I’ve done barefoot hikes before.” I am fairly sure I claimed confidently. Though the truth is the last time I did it, it was on a soft moss covered path that was well actually not very long at all, maybe only 15 minutes. They, of course, didn’t know this at the time and after I told them,

“If you dont come I guess I’m doing a barefoot hike by myself.” they reluctantly decided ok we can do this.

Mild stretching of the truth aside I made this decision to make someone else happy. I knew it was going to suck, and it kinda did. But I also knew that it would be worth it in the end, which it was.

It for sure took us longer than we wanted to and several fairly in shape elderly individuals with hiking polls passed us on many occasions but we made it. 3 hours up, and surprisingly 3 hours down.

Down is always harder and was actually worse on the feet than up. Not to mention my bad knees.

Anyways, I Often try to teach my students that what you think is difficult may actually not be as hard as you think. The truth is you dont know until you try. The other thing is even if you were right, at least you know your baseline so you can grow.

Also, people have a hard time breaking social norms. Doing a hike barefoot is not normal and may seem crazy but really wasn’t that bad. Though the number of comments made by people passing us was quite high. Because I mean who else would willingly do this barefoot?

But the moral is, that sometimes you have to make hard choices or take harder paths because it is the right thing to do. Too often nowadays, we always want to take the easy path but this is not always the right thing to do.

Just like in Krav Maga. Sure you can take that Krav seminar once in a while and say you know Krav Maga, but really that’s just bullshit. If you want to learn it properly you must, like anything, come often and train with the serious intent of getting better.

Of course it will be uncomfortable and of course, you will be challenged, but if you can never overcome what is uncomfortable or hard you will never truly earn anything worth earning.

So, learn to embrace the suck and be a better person for it.

With out a tough journey the reward will not be quite as sweet.

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Why AM I harder on some people more than others?

Let’s be honest here, first off, I am not a patient person. I have worked hard to become more patient so just imagine me 10 years ago and feel lucky you get the version of me today… so it could be worse.

The short answer is…..Because you NEED IT MORE!

Ok, end of the article. Just kidding

now-you-know.jpgObviously, I could be more patient but you do have to remember I have a lot of students and I can’t give special treatment or time in a group class when everyone else is also needing my attention.

The truth is if its been months and months and you are still struggling to pick something up and I have tried my best to explain it in different ways over and over, and everyone else seems to be getting it but you…TRUST ME, I am just as frustrated as you.

Now before you go blaming me because you aren’t getting it, can you attempt to be honest with yourself for a minute and ask is it actually the instructors or is it a you thing?

I know being honest with your self is very hard. And if you think I am not honest with my self then that’s nonsense because clearly, I started this with saying I am not a patient person so I do acknowledge this about my self so yes I am honest with my self, but are you really?

For example, if you only ever trained under me, and you are not getting something have you tried training with another instructor? If you have and you start to get it then yes you can say Jon may not be the instructor for me and that is ok.

But if you have tried another instructor (we have many fine instructors to choose from) and you still are not getting it then the answer is maybe yes, it is a YOU thing!

The first part of any battle is accepting the objective truth first, and then finding a solution from there.

Perhaps you are simply the type of person that needs to think less and drill more and you only come once a week. Then the answer to getting better is to train more.

Perhaps the answer is you train too much without thinking and you need to slow down and think about what you are doing?

Perhaps you genuinely have a difficult time learning physical things and that is ok, but you must first accept that before any instructor can really help you. If this is the case you will take a lot longer than other people to learn and progress and you really need to come to terms with this. I know it will be frustrating for you but as I said it is frustrating for me to, but as long as you keep showing up I will do my best to help you.

Another reason I am hard on people, especially in Vancouver is that people here are genuinely less willing to be pushed physically and mentally and Krav, self-defense or combative’s require you to be uncomfortable and push through things. So if you are constantly fighting me about not wanting to do things I am either going to push you harder on purpose or quite frankly focus on the people who are serious about training.

I have mentioned before that if our class cannot help you break through to push your comfort zones then perhaps counseling may be an option for you because the truth is I can only teach people properly who are willing to learn and let the process happen.

If you push against me I will push back, or I will simply not push back at all and let you do your own thing in which case you are wasting your own time more than anyone.

Now, I fully accept that I cannot get along with everyone and I don’t expect everyone to like me or my opinions. But I do know I can teach you to be a better version of yourself if you let me. I am going to approach things aggressively because in part that is Krav, In part that is my military training and in part that’s well…that’s just me.

So if that’s not for you that’s ok. You can train with another instructor. You can simply say Jon is an asshole but he can teach me what I want and let me. Or you can fight me during the whole process until one of us gets tired of it.

Remember, even though I am not patient I am still trying to teach more than one person. You, however, can learn from multiple instructors and other students so tell me who has less patience, me or you?

So if you are having a hard time with me giving you a hard time just know that I genuinely want you to learn, and no I don’t think I always have to be nice about it. But if you are willing to learn I am willing to teach. But trust me, I am not just being hard on you because I like it. I don’t, I would much rather be avoiding people than trying to manage them.

So again, if you want to learn do so. Just know if you resist the process you will get challenged.

Warriors Den Graphic I tunes

Amit Himelstein with the UTKM Instructor Crew.jpg“Amit has been part of the martial arts world since the age of 8. Started his journey in Karate, and progressed from there into the full contact world. As a teenager, Amit represented the Israeli National Team in competitions in Israel and around the world.  At the age of 18  he joined the IDF Special Forces and served as a Krav Maga instructor. The military experience gave him the best “training” ground for CQB.
After his army service, Amit moved to China and joined a training team of traditional Kung fu, Sanshou and Shuai jiao. He trained and compete there for 3 years.

After returned to Israel Amit opened the “Israel Sanshou academy ”, a martial arts academy for Sanshou, shuai jiao and tactical training. Chose Sanshou as the main focus. Sanshou is a fighting system that is used in the training program of the Chinese police and as the main combat sport in China. Sanshou combines striking and wrestling skills. The academy and Amit himself  keep computing in sanshou, grappling , traditional wrestling and MMA.

In addition, Amit is working with police and army units on kapap and CQB training.

The IKF- Israel Kapap Federation: In 2010 Amit  joined the federation. He added his experience in martial arts and Army CQB to the Kapap methods.

The IKF is working on a variety of projects and seminars around the world.  Special units, police, anti-bulling programs for teenagers and children and self defence programs for civilians.”

Source – http://www.ikf-cqb.com/about

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Karis After her orange Belt test. Also how we imagine she feels writing this post.

Did I say forced? I meant given this wonderful opportunity…

So first of all, to everyone who told Jon I should do the Assistant Instructor Course. Yeah. I’m doing it. Thanks. Peer pressure guys, clearly it works. Starting at the beginning though, I’ve been doing Krav Maga for close to three years now. Before that, I did ballet when I was younger and tried some other sports, but I didn’t really enjoy them due to being shy and not good at team sports. I chose to learn self defense because I thought it would help me get into the RCMP and also because my father wanted me to be able to protect myself. He recognized that as a female, my life going to be different from that of my brothers and I would face different threats. I also thought Krav was more of a solo sport, however, on that I was wrong. Anyone who’s been to one of the tests could tell you that at Urban Tactics everyone is very encouraging and we all want each other to succeed.

When I first tried a class at UTKM as a quiet, small fifteen-year-old, I definitely didn’t

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Karis During her orange belt test. Not so quiet now.

think I would ever get this far. I started just going to one or two classes a week and was surprised when I got told I could test for my yellow belt. Side note to anyone going for a belt test, pleeeeease prepare. DO IT. It will be a bit easier if you are physically ready and trust me, on your test day, you will be thankful. I struggled through that first test and while it was rewarding, it was harder than it would have been if I have been physically prepared. Anyways, I’ve come pretty far in the time I’ve been training. I currently have an orange belt in Krav and I’ve been training Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for six months now? I got a stripe for my white belt in BJJ recently! Explaining what that means to my family was interesting, as I’m not totalllllly sure what exactly that is. I was still really excited about it, though I’m not ‘suddenly’ better now like how someone told me would happen.

So, on top of all the training and oh yeah school too, I am now doing the assistant instructor course (help me). If you have ever met me, you will probably have noticed I am not exactly a loud person. Or someone good at stringing together explanations. But somehow people thought I could teach, I dunno what they saw. We’ll see if I can do it or not. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I also have a green belt test coming up, for anyone who wants to help, especially big, strong people taller than me, it’s in November. Yup. Show up for tests in November. Don’t worry about any tests before then (unless you’re small, then we need you). Otherwise, don’t come. Thanks anyways. See you in November. Don’t forget.

Okay, what else? Why am I doing this course? Because all of my reasons to NOT do it were shot down, and someone put time and effort into writing a response to my list (That someone was Lead Instructor Jon.) I would feel bad if they worked on that and I didn’t do the program. And that’s the only reason I’m doing this. No, I’m kidding. I love Krav, and I love UTKM. I think they have an amazing program and some pretty awesome people training there. My problem with becoming an instructor is…. PEOPLE. As an instructor you have to control a class, be able teach a technique well, think of creative drills/games, answer any random questions students have (that you may or may not know the answer to), keep everyone safe, oh and, everyone is watching you during all this. Heh. Heh. Help. You tell me to my face that all sounds fun/easy. I will laugh at you (politely). Hey, did you guys know I’m only going to be eighteen when I start teaching? Yay! Very excited to tell people two-three times (possibly four, I don’t know how active old people are) older then me what to do! No. That is not exciting. That is terrifying. Also, if you don’t understand sarcasm, I’m sorry. Can’t really help you with that though.

So, IF everything goes according to plan, I will finish the AIC sometime in December? AFTER eight unit tests, a midterm, a final, teaching 25 classes under supervision, and learning about to talk loudly. Not sure about the last one. Last thing, if you come to a class I teach, please be nice and don’t ask too many questions. Or don’t come at all. You don’t have to come. It is actually okay if you don’t. I will forgive you eventually. Probably. Please wish me luck. I have to go do homework for the course THAT NO ONE WARNED ME ABOUT. Heh.

-Karis

Karis Gets her Orange Belt.jpgEDITORS NOTE: Please come to class and be difficult students so Karis can be challenged and learn to be the awesome instructor we know she will be. She was asked by many people to do the course as she is one of the most dedicated students we have despite her age. Assuming she passes her green belt she will also be our first female green belt and we will be very proud of her. We know through practice and the AIC course she will overcome her quiet demeanour and become the person we know she can be so she has all the skills to get into the RCMP one day. Don’t let her age fool you she has some of the best cleanest techniques out of all our students and well gladly try to stab you when we do our knife stuff. Look forward to more sassy posts from karis in the future.

Well, first thing I’d like to say is that Warren (A UTKM Green Belt Student.) lied to me. “The orange belt is easier than the yellow belt!’ You know, for an older, pleasant-seeming fellow, Warren is probably quite, quite evil. It is to be expected, he is a Green belt.
UTKM only really has three belts. Yellow, Orange and Green. There are more above Green, but everyone who has tried, has died. Well, not died, but, you know, not made it yet. Perhaps one day, if they learn immortality.
Editors Note: No one has died at UTKM. This is Andrews dark sense of humour. also, we havent been open that long for anyone to train long enough to achieve the higher belts where we go past the basics of hand to hand combat and start to look into more specific applications like police and military. For most people, the orange or green belt is enough but for those serious about expanding their knowledge in the area of use of force then this is where it’s at. Additionally we currently only have 4 green belts, only warren is regularly still at the school.
Yellow, Orange and Green. I personally think Orange should be Red. Not just because it looks like stop-lights that way, but because the Orange belt test did that to my brain about twenty minutes in. Stopped it. It’s already red (ish) because, you know, brain.
Editors note: Possibly a reference to the awareness colour code? but we are never quite sure with Andrew.
 A Yellow belt test is about mental toughness and determination with basic technique. An Orange belt has you demonstrate the advanced technique, then takes it away from you and sees if you can make it. Then demands technique again. The Greenbelt test is a lovely combination of all this, while maintaining advanced technique at all times.  Good fun.
So the Orange belt is half-way through UTKMs punishing belt regime. After Green, it’s less about testing for physical and mental toughness and more refining and learning. You’ve proven you can take what is dished out and how.
Things like tough belt tests are an excellent motivator not to get in real-life fights.
Andrew does 360

Andrew during testing

Things like tough belt tests are an excellent motivator not to get in real-life fights. You are reminded that not all will go as planned. That training and technique can only go so far when you are winded and repeatedly being punched in the face. You’re wearing a head protector, but that head protector only does so much, as my black eye attested. Looked cool though.

The second reality is the first time it starts to get hard and you have to recommit to pushing through, realising that the only way out -is- through.
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Editors Note: If you have ever wondered why lead instructor Jonathan Fader is the way he is, it is because he takes this very krav approach to life.
Krav is about always learning and re-learning, and about giving up ideas for harsh reality. The harsh realities of a demanding test come in several, equally-delicious flavours. First, you take that first step and make it to the test. The precipice moment. Comes and goes quickly, but you must still psych yourself up in order to get to it. The second reality is the first time it starts to get hard and you have to recommit to pushing through, realising that the only way out -is- through. Finally, when and if you’ve run out of endurance and technique, is the pure guts part. Just keep marching or fighting, one step after another.
Real fighting also has a precipice moment – one we teach you to spot early in Krav and if you do decide to take the step, do it before the other guy does. Preferably you see it coming and turn aside, but if you have to do it, do it fast and commit.
After that commit point, a real-life, no-rules fight can go anywhere. It can be over in a punch or two or be a ten minute struggle for dominance. It can end with a fast stab and you can spend twenty minutes trying not to bleed to death. We can only train you so much for those moments, but what we -can- do is teach you that if you -do- learn to push through and fight on, your chance of success goes way, way up.
 UTKM belt tests are not only a test of your technique and perseverance, but a reminder of how punishing and unpredictable a real life fight can be. And why you should avoid them when possible – and destroy when not.
So that’s what Orange belt tests are like. Learn to succeed through toughness when technique fails. Can’t wait to see what Green belt is like – apparently, you have to have technique even when tall men are repeatedly kicking you around. Should be interesting.
Oh yes and I got my Assistant Instructors Certificate so now I may pois..polish young minds. And old minds. And any mind that doesn’t manage to escape my reach in time…
Editors note: The assistant instructor course takes 6 months-1 year in addition to regular Krav Maga training, Just like our belts our instructor’s course is not for factory instructors but those who are committed to both Krav Maga technique but also and mostly the knowledge that makes a good instructor.

Here we go, my orange belt test.

To begin with – I was incredibly nervous, I did not want to fail. Everybody was sharing their stories about how hard and horrible the test was which did not help my anxiety. I tried to train for it, Jon helped me to get my conditioning up but then I got injured, I strained a muscle in my hip. Very annoying location for that. So I rested but after a week or so I picked up training again. I tried to train more days to make up for what I missed but that wasn’t the greatest idea either. I felt really bummed out that I struggled so hard physically. Yes, I’m not in my twenties anymore but still, come on you old corpse! Well, yelling at myself also didn’t work.

I also did some trial runs in the gym to familiarize myself with the “circle of death“. Let’s face it – I sucked at it!

Editors Note: The “the circle of death” as some affectionately call it is a component of both the Orange and Green Belt tests and is common in Krav Maga testing. 

With all these things on mind, the days before the test were hard on me. I doubted myself, I didn’t want to fail and I spiralled down into the black hole that so far I was able to avoid.

Andrew (Fellow Assistant Instructor Candidate) helped me a lot during those days, we trained together, worked our way through the curriculum for white and yellow, and talked. What would be the worst case scenario?

I could fail. Working on becoming an assistant instructor failure was not an option for me. I didn’t want to lose students’ respect. I also didn’t want to disappoint people  – Jon, Andrew, Karch, myself …

Petra Success

Petra Post-test Exhausted but victorious

At the end – I made it, and I was incredibly relieved and I felt I really earned that orange belt!

 

During the last part of the test, the sparring – whenever I hit my opponent and people cheered – that was a first for me and I enjoyed it a lot. So thank you to all of you who were there that day!

For people who are going for their yellow or orange belt – make sure you know the curriculum (I know, it is mostly about pushing through and not to give up, but knowing the curriculum helped me a lot, at least one section of the test I felt confident), read the UTKM blog and work on your conditioning. For the test itself, energy control is crucial. Know yourself and your body, know your limits. But also understand that your body is telling you to give up way before your energy reserves are empty. That is the mental part – telling yourself to keep going, to not give up. It always sounds so easy when people say that but in reality, it is hard. It is a roadblock in your head and fighting your own brain is tough. And it is ok to fail – we (including myself) tend to forget that. Sometimes the way how you deal with failure says a lot more than winning. And it is ok to ask for help. If you are unsure about a technique or just want to go over it again – ask the person you feel most comfortable with.

In Judo we always say there is no shame in falling, only if you don’t get up again.

Why DO we Fall BruceEditors Note: When It comes to testing sometimes we really aren’t sure with who will struggle and who will make it look easy, often we are quite surprised as to who does what on both ends of the spectrum. Leading up to the test we can assure you Petra was having a hard time both physically and mentally and it was definitely a low point for Petra (“A fall”). But when it came test day her performance was almost flawless. It was clearly difficult for her but in true Krav Maga and warrior fashion she sucked it up for the duration of the test. Petra is an inspiration to not just women but all Krav Maga practitioners. Difficult, does not mean impossible. And falling either mentally or physically should always be a learning experience. For those who do not get up again are doomed to fail, but those who brush themselves off and keep going to learn and grow will always continue to succeed.

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Saying you don’t want to learn to fight to a self Defense instructor is like saying you don’t want to learn at all. Empty your mind, then you will be ready to learn.

I know I have definitely talked about this before, so I don’t know why I am surprised this statement keeps coming up:

 

I want to learn self defense but I am not interested in fighting or learning to fight

Meteor hitting earth.jpgEvery time I hear this statement from a new student or someone eager to learn to defend themselves I want to smash my face against the desk so hard it causes a meteor to be knocked out of orbit and smash me and the surrounding area into nothingness because I’ve died a little more inside and lost even more faith in the human race.

Ok, enough of the melodramatic truth…

One of the biggest uphill battles faced by any legitimate Krav Maga instructor who is actually interested in teaching people to defend themselves is to ride their students and the public of all of their blatant misconceptions when it comes to violence, Use of Force, and Self Defense.

No, I am not here to teach you to be a ring fighter. No, I don’t want to you be a fighter for the sake of fighting. Yes, I am here to teach you to learn to defend your self. and YES!, I am going to teach you how to fight.

The worst is when people actually think they can learn to defend themselves without hurting other people. Or as I have been told by another instructor once in a while, when law enforcement or security agencies ask to learn defence techniques with no physical contact. Thankfully the later of the two never occurred to me otherwise the original melodramatic statement could have the meteor replaced by a black hole so large it could destroy the universe.

Can you tell when presented with the ideology that somehow fighting and self-defence are separate from each other is extremely frustrating to a legitimate Krav Maga Instructor?

Essentially a big part of Krav Maga is Aggression (though it is often wrongfully no thanks to Israeli attitude perceived as the only part) which is really about teaching you how to turn on the internal “fight” switch. Because the reality is, under stress, pressure, fatigue etc… techniques begin to fail and it is through aggression and your pure will to fight that will save you. And you cannot ever forget that.

Yet in many more “peaceful” cities like Vancouver were relative to other big cities there is very low rate of violence out in the open, people tend to get sheltered from the realities of violence. The people I have met from countries where violence is much more open or a day to day thing are far more ok with, and understanding with using violence to fight violence.

Truly, most normally wired human beings when put under duress will fight flight or freeze, and it is our goal to teach you to control and use the fight or flight mechanisms without activating the freeze. The reality is though the best self defence is to run, it is not always an option which leaves the Fight option.

So if you “don’t want to learn to fight” then you are going to have a very hard time learning to defend yourself. Because that fight mixed with training, skill and aggression is the only way you will every overwhelm a larger stronger opponent long enough to actually find your escape to live to survive another day. And in some more extreme violent cases, you might have to Fight so hard to overcome the attacker that you have to incapacitate or use lethal force because that is the only way to stop the threat.

So do you really think if you don’t want to fight you are going to defend yourself against a serious threat? I think you need to take your head out of the clouds or as the saying goes in Hebrew, Ata Chai B’Seret or you are living in a movie.

If you cannot overcome this belief of not wanting to learn to fight then perhaps you simply aren’t ready to actually learn to defend yourself by learning Krav Maga.

 

 

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Keep your Hands Up!

Posted: April 26, 2018 by urbantacticskravmaga in Krav Maga Principles
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Keep Your Hands Up! Keep Your Hands Up! Keep Your Hands Up!

 

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Hands up in a Semi Passive Stance.

 

If there’s one thing you need to learn on your first day of class when learning Krav Maga other than avoiding the fight it is KEEP YOUR HANDS UP!

Keeping your hands up to protect your head, face and neck is such an important principle that it changes how we do a lot of techniques in Krav Maga as compared to other styles.

A boxing Jab or Cross and thrown from certain boxing guards may be faster or more powerful but they leave your head exposed (such as a low guard) and unless you are a master of head movement it is foolish to drop your hands in this fashion.

The same principles of Cause Pain, Off Balance and Disrupt the mental process we apply to our assailants can also be applied to us. Therefore we must do what we can at all times to protect our head, face and neck.

If we assume there are multiple assailants, this changes how cautious we need to be in keeping our hands up. Your skill as a striker may be sufficient to drop your hands against one opponent but now with your hands down, it is easy for their friend to sneak up and punch you in the side of the face.

The other thing is, keeping your hands up is an easy basic defence if you do not have the skill to apply other methods or strategies. At least you can protect your head, face and neck long enough to fight your exit and escape.

Note: keeping your hands up should never obscure your vision to the point you can no longer see the threat. If you lose track of the threat then your reaction time will be dramatically slower when attempting to deal with it as you must not re-identify the threat via the mental processing model which takes the time you do not have.

If you have never had your Krav Maga instructor tell you Keep your hands up then perhaps you need a new instructor.

As mentioned this concept is so important it changes how we train, as we will sacrifice speed or power in order to maintain at least one hand up at all times. If your hand is not punching, or controlling or doing something to cause pain, off balance, or disrupt then it should be up protecting the vitals as repeated many times.

This idea becomes even more important when knives are involved as that hand up protecting your neck and face could be the difference between life and death as one sharp blade across your carotid artery could mean the end of everything.

So if you haven’t gotten the point yet. KEEP YOUR HANDS UP!