Posts Tagged ‘Krav Maga’

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!

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On top of Straight line vs circular attack types, we now expand in to attack patterns. Attack patterns are essential how they are implementing the attack and at what speed and tempo. As a general rule, we have 3, Threats, Committed attacks and Non-committed attacks. For bladed attacks, we add a third called “blender mode”.

  • Threats- A threat is a static motion rather than dynamic. If someone is holding a knife to you, this is a knife threat. If someone has grabbed you but is only holding you it is a threat. They have yet to put any kinetic energy into their attempt other than the initial motion. But don’t get it wrong, if you attempt to do something and mess up at any point their threat can become an attack.

 

  • Committed Attacks – A committed attack is linear. It follows a direct path from the attacker to the intended target on a person. Committed attacks are usually due to an emotional reaction or because an attacker has decided or committed to a specific attack. The 360 defence, for example, is designed for committed attacks like the “ice pick” or “Prison shank” style attack. These attacks go from outside in and downward or upward. Attacks like bear hugs are also committed as the attacker is going from a static, to forward grab and slam and there is a specific attack pattern.

 

  • Non-Committed attacks – Non-committed attacks are any attack which do not follow a linear pattern. A basic Non-committed attack, adds a retraction to the attack rather than a telegraphed “committed” attack. They may start in one direction such as straight, then retract for another attack or quickly change to something else. They can come from up, down, left or right. The intent is the same as a committed attack, that is to harm the intended target, but there is no set way. Hacking slashing knife attacks are an example of a non-committed attack. When dealing with a non-committed attack it can be a battle of Action vs reaction until someone wins. As such you must reset their mental processing and do damage to them as fast as you possibly can prior to progressing to control. 

     

    Because of action vs reaction concepts, the more your brain has to process the harder it is going to be to formulate the correct action to stop the attack or threat. Thus the more complex and non-linear an attack the harder it will be to deal with. Because of this committed attacks are preferable over non-committed attacks when it comes to a defence perspective. However, from an attacking perspective, a non-committed attack is preferable as it has a greater chance of succeeding. If you encounter a non-committed attack the best idea is to simply create distance and run and if you cant run, you must find a way through strategy, technique and aggression to overwhelm your opponent.

  • Blender Mode – Blender mode is reserved for a Non-Committed knife attack which is both stabbing and slashing in a fast motion. This essentially created a wall of “blender blades” which is not safe to approach. The attacker either started like this or you screwed up your initial defence, and they went from a simple committed lunge to a non-commited straight line attack to blender mode. These are the times when it is best to use a weapon of opportunity.

 

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Recognizing the attack type of your opponent and understanding how to react appropriately will greatly increase your ability to defend your self. Generally, we don’t have to much time in a split second attack to identify if there is a weapon or if its an unarmed attack but what we can quickly identify what kind of attack is it generally.

To keep it simple and practical we have two general attack type. Straight Line attacks and Circular or peripheral attacks.

  • Eye Flick

    Example of a straight line attack. Eye Flick

    Straight Line Attacks – Straight line attacks are exactly as they sound. Any attack that is a straight line from the attacker to you. If telegraphed these are the lunge type attacks, though they don’t have to be telegraphed.  These attacks are often quite fast as they have little time to travel as it is well, a straight line.

    • Solution – With all straight line attacks you must re-direct, and get off the centerline if possible. With these attacks, we have 300% option. 100% re-direct the attack with, for example, a vertical sweep. 200% Move your body at an angle to get off the centre line. 300% burst at a 45-degree angle to the side of the attacker. Each one of these in the moment will avoid the attack but it is best to do them all, as you just never know.
    • Examples: Straights, and Jabs, Straight knife attacks or lunges, straight kicks, like push kicks or groin kicks.

 

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    Example of a circular attack. Roundhouse kick

    Circular Attacks – These attacks come from an outward angle towards the centre of the body. These are often, but not always considered power shots with the intent of generating as much power as possible.

    • Solution – With all circular attacks you must block first, especially if there is a knife. While you can just move out of the way, blocking directly stops the initial attack pattern. After which we usually must burst into the opponent attempting to apply Retsef and off balance cause pain and disrupt. How we block is also important as we must yous the biomechanical strength of our body by creating angles with the bone structure to deal with the amount of power that is generated by circular attacks.
    • Examples: Haymakers, Hooks, Roundhouse kicks, knees