Posts Tagged ‘Krav Maga’

Are you a good training partner?


Are you the guy that as soon as the instructor says pair up everyone looks at hoping you will train with them or are you the guy the people avoid making eye contact with until everyone else has pared up and you get a reluctant partner. So, what makes a good training partner? Here is a list of what I find to be some of the most important points.

Turning Up


In my experience training martial arts as well as working with teams of people in the construction and hospitality industries first and foremost the thing that makes a good partner in any situation is turning up; not just being there, but being mentally focused and physically active. Especially in martial arts, where someone not paying attention can mean injuries, you need to be focused on the task at hand, knowing what both you and your partner are expected to do and executing those duties with enthusiasm and commitment. No one wants to train with the guy who is constantly asking what they are supposed to be doing or just lacks physical commitment to the training; whether that means holding pads or playing an aggressor.

Listening to the Instructors


Secondly, once you have turned up pay attention to your instructor and listen to instructions! There is nothing worse than performing a combination or series of techniques and your partner isn’t where they are supposed to be or isn’t reacting appropriately. I experienced this recently, while practicing getting up from the ground as an aggressive attacker approaches you. The drill goes like this: the attacker pushes the defender with a kick shield, the defender falls to the ground and performs a break fall, the attacker then walks towards the defender, the defender stabilizes themselves and kicks at the attackers knees (of course protected by the kick shield), keeping them at distance, and then gets up, facing the attacker in a fighting stance. My situation was that my partner pushed me with the kick shield, but, as I performed my break fall, stood 4 feet away from me and didn’t move in. So it was impossible for me to complete the technique because my partner was a) in the wrong place and b) standing static not moving forward; all because they didn’t listen to the explanation of the drill by the instructor.

Pad Holding


There is somewhat of an art to holding pads well, and it does take a little time to learn, but there are some basics that you need to grasp; not just to give the best experience to your partner, but also to avoid injuries (yours or theirs).

The two main types of pads we use are focus mitts and kick shields, so I will limit my discussion to these. When using focus mitts, the mitt itself typically represents your opponent’s head, but in some cases their body or groin. With that in mind, hold them in a position that corresponds to those body parts. For example, if your training a jab/cross (1,2) punch combination keep the pads at your head height, and close to where your head would be (though not right in front of your face, as you risk a blow to your face with the back of the pad.) Avoid holding them more than shoulder width apart, as this is not a realistic target for your partner and is a good way to injure you own shoulder. As the strike connects with the mitt treat it like catching a ball; you want to add a little forward force so there is resistance for the person punching, which helps them to avoid hyperextending their elbow.

Kick shields, as the name implies, are typically used for striking with legs and feet. The key with this type of pad is to hold it tight and close to your body. People have a tendency to try holding this type of pad off their body, assuming that the shield will absorb all the force, but what really happens is the shield is slammed back against your body. This also allows for a lot of movement in the shield and often results is your partner’s kicking foot sliding off at an unexpected angle; possibly hitting you and/or causing a ankle or knee injury to your partner.

Providing a Realistic Attack


Providing a realistic attack is another key to being a good partner. If you are training to block a punch to the head I’m not suggesting you try and knock your partner out, but if they do nothing, or offer a weak block, you should make light contact with their chin, nose, or cheek bone (depending on where you were aiming). I can’t tell you how many times I’ve faced punches that were falling short (by several inches) or landing way out to either side of my head. This is obviously not a realistic attack. As a result I have to perform a different movement to “defend” the attack, and this isn’t the muscle memory I want to train. Similarly, if you are putting chokes or holds onto your partner use enough force that they have to fight to get out of it. If you offer no resistance to the defense they are training they will be stuck wondering why its not working, and probably really shocked at how it feels, if it ever happens in real life.

Watch Your Distance


Everyone’s range is different, and all of your natural weapons (legs, elbows, kicks, knees, punches, headbutts, etc.) have different ranges. You need to match your range to the range of your partner and what they need for the weapons they are using. So, if you are working with someone much taller or shorter than you, don’t stand where your range is, stand at, or hold the pads at, their range; so they can correctly train the strikes they are practicing. It is also important to maintain this range when we train in a dynamic mode; if your partner moves in, move back to match, if they move back, move in to match.

Watch Your Power


Power control is one of our most important training concepts, especially when sparring but also when working with pads or holds and grappling. Often, rules set out a 10-15% power limit, but, if you are much larger or stronger than your partner, remember that your 15% is likely more than theirs. So, try to let your partner set the power level if they are smaller or less experienced. Likewise, if you are using pads and unload on a kick shield held by someone 40lb smaller than you, you will probably send them flying across the room.

Final Thoughts

I will elaborate further on each of these points in subsequent blog posts, but the basics are here. If you want to be a good training partner, and always have people happy and wanting to train with you; turn up, listen to your instructors, hold your pads wisely, provide realistic attacks, watch your distance, and watch your power.

And please, for anyone that trains with me, please call me out if I’m not being a good training partner. I promise I won’t take it personally.

Written by: Evan J

UTKM: Yellow Belt

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This week’s Krav Maga curriculum: Feb 17th – 23rd

Posted: February 17, 2020 by urbantacticskravmaga in Weekly Curriculum
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Krav Maga – Weapons of Opportunity

Posted: February 13, 2020 by urbantacticskravmaga in Krav Maga Principles
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Krav Maga – Weapons of Opportunity: A basic Guide

In any martial arts there is a lot of time spend developing the unarmed hand to hand combat components of they style. The reason for this is that in most cases the lack of weapons whether for practical or legal reasons makes this kind of scenario the most dangerous situation requiring the most amount of training.

Some styles even work on specific weapons uses from pistols to bow staffs. In many cases carrying such weapons for self defense may be illegal or may be a simpler matter of it is not practical to walk around with a bow staff in modern society.

This does not mean however, that there are not weapons to be found. In fact weapons of opportunity as we call them in Krav Maga are only limited by your imagination, your willingness to use them and of course the legal ramifications of the specific choice of weapon.

When opportunity arises, weapons of opportunity should be used if it is appropriate and avoids further harm to your self. For the sake of simplicity we divide weapons of opportunity into a few categories. “Sticky”, “Whipy” “Pokey” “Throwy” & “Smashy”

Sticky

These are weapons that can be wielded like a stick, they could literally be a stick made for it like a Kali/Eskrima Stick or something close enough. Below are some examples of objects that can be used as stick like weapons:

  • Umbrellas
  • Rolled up Magazines
  • Rolled up News Papers
  • An actual stick (from a tree)
  • Batons

Whipy

These are weapons be used in a whip like fashion whether it be an actual whip or something more like clothing. Because their weight is not balanced and they are usually have a great level of movement and flexibility these can be hard to control but are quite readily available. Below are some examples of objects that can be used as stick like weapons:

  • Jackets
  • Sweaters
  • Belts
  • Purses
  • Backpacks
  • Ropes
  • Towels

Pokey

These are weapons be used in a stabbing motion, weather they are literally able to penetrate or not is less important but know that if they can break skin then they may be lethal. With these types of weapons the eyes are your best target. Below are some examples of objects that can be used as stick like weapons:

  • Umbrellas
  • Sticks
  • Fingernails
  • Jewelry
  • Keys
  • Pens/Pencils
  • Chair legs

Throwy

These are weapons are anything you can and more importantly are willing to throw. Generally you should be throwing it at their head or eyes as this will get the best results. However, throwing could be relative and this could also mean pushing or shoving things in the path of would be attackers. Below are some examples of objects that can be used as stick like weapons:

  • Keys
  • Coins
  • Bags
  • Chairs
  • Rocks
  • Cups

Smashy

These are weapons are anything you can hold that gives your striking power more bang for its buck. Just know depending on the mass of the object and where you hit your opponent with they can be quite lethal. Below are some examples of objects that can be used as stick like weapons:

  • Rocks
  • Bricks
  • Bugs
  • Bottles

Legal Considerations

It should be noted that the authors of this are not legal experts and this does not constitute legal advice.

While we cannot speak for every country we can assume that many westernize countries have similar laws than that of ours in Canada.

Carrying weapons for self defense can be a very risky thing here. If you use something that you had on your persons for self defense that was designed as a weapon then it is likely that if you face court then they will attempt to make the case that you had intent [to seriously injure, maim or kill] even if it was in self defense.

This is why it is a safer bet to use things that were designed for other purposes and are not obviously a weapon. For example a purse which would be a “whipy” thing if used from the strap would not generally be considered a weapon on its own but rather a “weapon of opportunity”.

However if you were to say add a brick to the purse then as this is an odd choice to carry in a purse it could again indicate intent. As adding the brick added mass and the likely hood of doing serious damage to any attackers.

“With a pencil”

Consider an alternative. Lets say you are a student and you need a pencil case for your pens (if you still use those things), then perhaps a pencil case that is hard cased with some mass. The intent of it being in your purse would be for pencils or pens but it can increase the ability of your purse to do damage with out seeming suspicious or out of the norm. Additionally, you now have some pens or pencils which are also great albeit somewhat deadly weapons of opportunity.

After all the boogeyman, John wick himself is known for killing several men with a pencil.

This week’s Krav Maga curriculum: Feb 10th – 16th

Posted: February 10, 2020 by urbantacticskravmaga in Weekly Curriculum
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This week’s Krav Maga curriculum: Feb 3rd – 9th

Posted: February 3, 2020 by urbantacticskravmaga in Weekly Curriculum
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The Importance of realism

Posted: January 31, 2020 by evanjex in Krav Maga Opinions
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Surprise! Attackers can be anywhere.

The importance of realism in Krav Maga, Martial arts and self-defense training

Whether your goal for training in self-defense or martial arts is to be able to defend your self on the street, competition fighting or merely to get into shape or learn a new skill one thing that should be present in your training for it to be in any way successful is realism with in your training.

Now there is a time and a place for this along with other aspects of your training for it to be successful and I am not suggesting sacrificing one for the other. When a new technique is being learned at first taking things slow and easy is the best way often to figure out body movements, dynamics and train mussel memory but then comes time to drill and stress test.

Now as anyone who has been attacked in the street can tell you it is extremely uncomfortable and stressful both physically and mentally, and for you to be able to react effectively in a real-life situation you must be able to train under conditions as closely resembling those in real life as possible. Like wise if you are training for a competition whilst the stakes might not be life and death you can guarantee your opponent is going to be giving it there all and expecting you to do the same. And if your goal was simply to get into shape the metabolic demand of an energetic and committed opponent is going to be a lot higher than that of a luck luster one.

Witch brings me to my point I have trained with lots of different people over my years in the martial arts world ranging from security and law enforcement to the odd soldier (or ex-soldier) and even a few pro fighters, and then everyone else from the committed students to the casual attendees. One thing that makes the biggest difference in my experience as to Whether or not your training partner is helping you get the best out of your training is there ability to bring realism to the situation or technique, and by this I mean if you are training to get out of a choke they better be putting a good choke on you or your training isn’t going to be doing that much for you.

Once again there is a time and a place for everything and if you are a seasoned practitioner and your training with a newbie or less experienced partner I don’t mean go balls to the wall and leave them without any hope of actually executing the technique they are supposed to be learning, you obviously have to match your power and intensity to an appropriate level but make sure it is challenging for them, there is usually less of a problem here for the more experienced person but as the less experienced person you better be bringing your all to the drill. I can’t tell you how many times I have had a newer person try to put a hold or choke on me the more resembled a neck massage or hug and then as soon as I started to resist at all they just completely let go.

This becomes very frustrating as the whole drill becomes largely useless for the person being attacked, it doesn’t remotely resemble a real attack for those wanting to learn to defend themselves or jump into a competition fight and as far as getting into shape or learning something new goes, your burning little to no calories and not learning much either.

So, here’s a word to those whom I’m talking about

  1. People come to classes to learn to fight that means the expect to get grabbed kicked punched your not going to offend anyone by being physical
  2. Use this time when you are playing the attacker to work on your own punches kicks grabs foot work look at the technique from the other side and what you might be having trouble with or how you can improve.
  3. If you are going to hard your partner will tell you as long as there is mutual respect this shouldn’t be a problem.

As a new person this can take a minute to get used to and figure out but don’t take to long because in the meantime you’re not doing yourself or anyone else and favors

Written by: Evan

UTKM Yellow Belt

Krav Maga – Multiple Attackers

Posted: January 30, 2020 by urbantacticskravmaga in Krav Maga Principles
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Krav Maga Multiple attackers

In the world of the movies, it seems easy for a reasonably skilled individual to deal with multiple attackers or opponents at the same time. This assumes that every one of the would-be foes patiently takes their turn to fight you. This also assumes you are in peak physical condition with unlimited stamina. Both of these things most of the time are simply not true. You might find your self surrounded and drunk because you made the wrong comment in a bar. In such a case your balance, depth perception, and timing will most likely be compromised. Additionally, they may try to grab and hold you while one of them or many of them take turns beating you into an inch of your life.

The reality of situations where there are multiple attackers is that you cannot fight forever, they will not fight fair and there may even have weapons.

The other scenario is you just happened to find yourself in a situation where one person hit someone and due to the confined nature of the space and the overcrowding a brawl breaks out. In these wild scenarios, you were not specifically the target but may none the less find your self fighting or defending against multiple attackers.

No matter the situation your best practice is to avoid such situations.

These strategies also are not covering ground fighting or weapons. As in order to add these into this strategy, you must first understand these topics in depth. If these scenarios are added in just know, Fight hard, Fight Fast and do not stop!

Preventative measures

First off, as mentioned avoidance is key. If you do not find your self in such situations you have done well. Or rather you have done what most people do and do not find themselves in such situations.  While there are many factors to consider that lead to these dangerous situations here are a few thoughts on how to avoid them:

  • Make good life choices
  • Practice good awareness
  • Do not piss people off in crowded scenarios
  • Don’t go to places you feel unsafe (Bars or nightclubs you know to be dangerous)
  • Don’t be part of gangs
  • Learn good diffusion skills
  • Recognize when things are going sideways and leave early

 

The Basic Multiple Attacker Strategy for Krav Maga:

Your goal in multiple attacker situations should always be to create space, find your opening and run. In a basic scenario, your would-be attackers are less aggressive perhaps not that aggressive or simply do not know what they are doing. While these situations are not great they are easier to deal with than a full-on swarm. If in doubt follow these principles

Basic multiple attacker strategies

  1. Avoid it all together– First and foremost do everything you can to avoid these scenarios. This includes practicing proper avoidance and generally acting in a manner that does not create violent enemies or put you in places where such situations are likely. Additionally, do your best to diffuse the situation verbally. You might be surprised how often this might work.
  2. Run – Just Run! really it’s just that easy. Of course, if you do not have decent cardio you may have a problem. Truly though running and getting to safety is your best bet.
  3. Do not get cornered – If you are delayed in running or your did not realize what was going on until there are multiple aggressive opponents do not allow your self to be pushed into a corner or a wall or any other place where your back is against something. Try to keep your self moving so you can always turn and run.
  4. Identify your exits – If you were cornered or you are not moving yet make sure you identify the easiest places to run to or which of the attackers will be the easiest to deal with. Keep these options available so that when you do have to fight you can do it with a plan.
  5. Keep your attackers aligned – If you are able to by your own movement or theirs keep your opponents as close to a single file line as you can. If they have to fight over each other it will make it harder for them to get at you in a meaningful way.
  6. Strike first, Cover and Move Fast– When all else has failed, strike first! Strike with whatever means you deem appropriate and go for the closest target available. Cover and strike as you need to find your exit.
  7. Run – If you did not run before, now should be the time to run again. You created your exit while disrupting your opponents so now is the time to move and move fast.

Understand that these basic multiple attacker situations can at any point get bad fast in which case jump to the advance strategy below.

The Advance Multiple Attacker Strategy for Krav Maga:

In this scenario, the attackers are aggressive, malicious and are definitely not taking turns. When these happen it will seem like a flurry of punches, kicks or who knows what that thing was. These situations its a mix of fighting and running while being as effective as possible. The goal of such situations is to eliminate as many of the threats as possible so that they cannot or do not want to continue attacking. So how do you deal with this scenario? here’s a strategy.

  1. Avoid it all together– This has not changed. Except if you are in this situation you probably screwed up.
  2. Run – The moment you can. RUN. Do whatever it takes to get to this point.
  3. Identify your exits – If you did not already or at any point are able to find your exits. These are what you should be working towards the entire exhausting time you are fighting.
  4. Get Control of one person and do damage – Try to get a hold of a person in a meaningful way, while doing damage that will stop them from fighting like knees to the groin or head, eye gouges head buts all while you keep moving.
  5. Switch Opponents –The moment another attacker gets close switch to them (We use the “monkey bar” method) and start applying your damage as per the above point.
  6. Run and Assess – The moment you can, create space and run. You must assess as they may still be coming but at least you have space now.
  7. Continue to fight if needed– If they are still coming then apply 4 and 5 repetitively until they are not a threat or you have found your safe exit.
  8. Use weapons of opportunity – If at any point you are able to use weapons of opportunity. Whatever you can use, use. These scenarios are not time to be thinking about the laws, it is simply a matter of survival.

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Krav Maga - UTKM - The Ground Attacker-has-knifeIt is a well-known fact that in Krav Maga we want to avoid the ground as much as possible. Despite the fact, the first rule in Krav Maga is don’t go to the ground we also need to expect it as a possibility. The ground is a horrible place to be on the street as you can be more easily injured depending on the environment. You will have a far more difficult time escaping to safety and if other people jump in that are not your friends or if weapons are introduced, which you should always assume as a possibility, it can go sideways faster than the blink of an eye.

In Krav Maga it is often assumed that simply through aggression, groin strikes and targeting the eyes we can easily fend off any attacker from the ground. The problem is this assumes too much in a bad way. It assumes the attacker isn’t hyper-aggressive, on drugs (cannot feel pain), and is not putting aggressive forward pressure on you preventing you from getting up. Unfortunately for much of the history of Krav Maga, most instructors were focusing more on the stand-up portions and did not develop their ground skills. Only in recent years have life long Krav Maga practitioners realized that ground fighting was our greatest weakness.

Preventative measures

The best way to stop any situation from happening is to understand it. If we accept that Krav Maga has a weakness when it comes to the ground then it would be a good idea to train ground specific styles. At UTKM it is believed that all Krav Maga practitioners should achieve a minimum of a BJJ Blue belt or equivalent. For example if you did competitive wrestling for 5 years, it is reasonable to assume you understand how to control another person on the ground.

While a good Krav Maga program must incorporate ground fighting as part of their training, due to the vast amount of knowledge needed to cover it is difficult to dedicate the appropriate time to ground training. Additionally, the approach to the Ground in Krav maga as laid out below does not always allow for good grappling skills to really be developed should you encounter someone who is very competent. Because of this, it is best to train outside of your Krav Maga training with ground specialists.

Understanding the ground and what someone is trying to do will give you the time to stop them even briefly to begin to apply the Krav Maga ground strategies.

So what are you waiting for? Get training!

The Basic Ground Strategy for Krav Maga:

Your goal on the ground should always be to create space, get to a neutral (non-grappling position) and get to your feet. However, if this is not possible follow the order of operation. Just know that no matter where you are in this sequence if, at any point that you can get to your feet, you must do so.

Ground fighting order of operation

  1. Do Not be on the Ground – First and foremost do everything you can to avoid the ground. This includes things like work on your balance, train in grappling, strengthen your core, practice proper avoidance and really anything that does not put you there. If you are not on the ground you do not need to worry about it.
  2. Learn to Fall – If you do end up on the ground there is a good chance you fell or were thrown. It is also likely that the surface you fell on was considerably harder than the mats you train on in the gym. If you don’t know how to fall properly there is a good chance you will not be getting up again. Because if you did not pay attention during break fall training it is likely your head has now bounced off the pavement, or you posted your hand when you should not have and you broke your wrist. Learning to fall is just as important as learning to pick your self up again.
  3. Get up – If you fell or were thrown but the opponent is not controlling you, it is not being overly aggressive or there is ample space to get up and do it fast. While you should use the correct techniques as taught to you in class really any method you use that gets you up on your feet is the correct one. So make a decision, make it fast and get to your feet.
  4. Be Defensive & Offensive – If the attacker is putting some pressure, but is still on their feet then you need to take a defensive position that allows you to protect your self and also attack. We recommend kicking the knees as this will cause them to back up giving you the space to get up. You can kick the groin if it is available but this may also cause them to fall on to you. If they do put their head in their range then good old fashion up kicks will do nicely. We do not recommend putting everything you have into a single kick as if you miss and they are aggressive you may find your self in a worse position.
  5. Use a Sweep – If they are moving in and you are able to use a sweep that puts them on the ground, and or in a worse position and you on your feet and or in a better position. Sweeps should be used before they start a grappling fight. While sweeps can still be used, they should be done prior to it being a full ground fight.
  6. Ground Fight – If you are now both on the ground its a ground fight. Use all your skills to go from a worse position to a better position with the goal of getting back to your feet. The only time you should choose to stay here is if it is life or death, or professional requirements dictate you stay here (Such as arrest and control protocols). However, if you stay on the ground to control a person remember, they may still have friends and even in Security and Law Enforcement scenarios, if you do not have back up right near you it may be best to get to your feet and control the person.

Weapons on the ground

If there is a weapon involved in a ground fight it complicates things dramatically. In particular knives and guns. You first must understand what weapon you are dealing with before you can safely manage it on the ground. See The Gun, The Knife and The Stick for more details.

But if you find your self in a ground fight with a weapon, follow the below strategy.

  1. Control the weapon arm – At all points, you should be controlling the weapon arm to prevent its use against your self. While we strongly do not recommend the Kimura grip in a standing position now is certainly a good time to implement it. Otherwise, use whatever methods you know that keep’s you safe and the weapon arm controlled so it cannot easily be used against you. This however is often a struggle, is messy and will really be about who wants it more.
  2. Disarm if possible – If you are able to disarm the weapon from the position you are in doing so. Whether you choose to use it against them will be a matter of personal choice. Sometimes it is required some times it is not. Just make sure you understand weapons and use of force laws where you are. However, consider this. It is better to be judged by 12 (a jury) than to be carried by 6 (in a coffin).
  3. Get to a better position– If you were unable to do a disarm, or if you were it is still time to get to a better position allowing more control and a path to escape. If you did not do a disarm then switching to a better position requires also controlling the weapon or the weapon arm. If you did do a disarm, then you will have to ensure you maintain control of the weapon while you get to a better position. How you get to a better position will largely depend on your skill, knowledge and what the attacker is doing. Just know that while you should use the techniques you were taught anything you do that gets you to a better position safely is good enough.
  4. Disarm if possible– If you are now in a better position that allows dominant control disarm the weapon using the methods you know. If you are unable to control the person enough to safely disarm the weapon then skip to the next step. If you can safely disarm the weapon then you should keep it on your persons to either use or present as evidence later on. If you also choose to maintain control of the attacker then you must keep your wits about you as there could still be other attackers.
  5. Create Space, get to your feet and Assess – Once you either have the weapon, the attacker has stopped, or you are losing control create lots of space by backing up. You then must asses what to do next. In most places, if you just took a weapon away from an attacker, you should call the police or appropriate authorities. Do not wait as the attacker could call first and lie about the scenario. You may also need to be prepared to continue fighting and now may be the time to use the weapon in your defense.

 

This week’s Krav Maga curriculum: Jan 20th – 26th

Posted: January 20, 2020 by urbantacticskravmaga in Weekly Curriculum
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