Posts Tagged ‘Learning’

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.

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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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A lot of people think that taking private lessons will automatically help them improve more quickly. Is that true though? For some martial arts, private lessons could be the difference between gold and bronze. What about for Krav Maga, which isn’t about winning medals but about personal safety?

From my business perspective, I could make much more money teaching regular private lessons. However, from a personal perspective, private lessons can tweak and perfect your technique, and group lessons provide certain key elements that are crucial to good Krav Maga training.

Here are 3 cons and 3 pros of Krav Maga private lessons!

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Con #1

A huge part of good Krav Maga training is aggression. You must learn how to control it, develop it, and use it as needed in a survival situation. This cannot be created in a private lesson with only one or two students and the instructor. A good simulation of chaos similar to what it would be like in a real self-defense scenario usually needs several people to create. Not to mention, a full class of people will have more distractions, which will require you to focus more in order to keep your aggression on point, which is more realistic.

In a one-on-one training session, it is basically impossible to simulate atmospheric aggression and chaos simply due to lack of bodies present.

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Con #2

Training with the same person or people repeatedly can often give people a false sense of security and confidence in their abilities, reach, and power. For example, a 100lb person who only does private lessons with a similar sized partner may never know what it feels like to fight a 200lb beast. Such things happen to both men, women and children. In training, I have seen many students who have become accustomed to training partners of a specific size and strength, and when they’re presented with someone considerably larger, I see their expression of fear when they realize their overestimated their capability.

This can be very dangerous. Without experience with different sizes and strengths, it is very difficult for you to properly assess your likelihood of success.

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Con #3

Often, people think that having the instructor to train one-on-one means their focus is 100% on you. This is true.

The problem with that is the instructor is most likely also the one holding the pads, sparring with you, and generally standing close to you. They do not have the opportunity to step back and take a look at your performance from the outside. From my personal experience teaching private lessons, it is hard to see everything a student does right and wrong while I am also trying to make sure I do not get hit in the face should a punch miss the pad and go elsewhere — into my face (which has happened). This is a big reason I often allow (and prefer) 2 people in a private session. Not only can the individual train with a friend, but they can receive better training as the instructor (me) can take a step back to get a broader perspective of the performance.

If it’s always just you and your instructor, you might not see the kind of improvement you are looking for, especially with Krav Maga.

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Pro #1

This one is quite obvious. Usually, the students who are totally ready to test get nervous or anxious. Do I know everything? Am I really ready? As such, they often request a private in order to hone their technique and boost their confidence.

If you are interested in refining your skills in preparation for a specific event, in part with your regular training, then private lessons is a great way to do it.

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Pro #2

If you think it may be hard for you to keep up in your regular classes due to injury or impairment, private lessons you to operate at your own pace. If you love to train, but were recently injured and still want to train, then a private might be for you! Your body may not be functioning the way you want and may need modified techniques, drills, and/or training to keep you going. The same can be said for those with disabilities. While we always like to be as inclusive as possible, sometimes certain physical activities and especially combat sports can be very difficult. In addition, moves  may need to be heavily altered to accommodate disabilities and injuries in order to determine which of a person’s body parts are the best tools to properly defend him or herself.

If you are someone who needs significant training modifications compared to the average person, you can definitely still train and privates might be the best place to start.

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Pro #3

Whether you are an A-Lister or someone managing agoraphobia, if you wish to train without others around, private lessons are an obvious good option. Maybe you simply wish to train without the distraction of gawking fans. Maybe you have social anxiety.

Whatever your personal reason is, you can get the privacy you need through one-on-one classes.

So… to private lesson, or no to private lesson?

Which scenario best suits you? What will be the most effective learning environment to make you the best Krav practitioner you can possibly be? Regardless of your personal preference for private lessons, it is still not entirely suitable for complete Krav Maga training. I have mentioned that group lessons are important for creating a naturally chaotic atmosphere to simulate reality. From my perspective as an instructor, a 3 private lessons to 1 group lesson is a good ratio. Not only can this drastically speed up your learning curve, but it can also give you appropriate perspective of your ability in Krav Maga.

This will be the last post of 2014 and I thought a good topic would be the evolution of technique. In the New Year we always make resolutions to be better and improve so evolution or improvement is a good place to end 2014.

Many months back, I went on a trip to Buffallo NY, with my partner in crime Borhan Jiang to re-take the CT-707 Instructor course under Nir Maman. For me it was my third time training with Nir and for Borhan it was his first.

In a conversation we had with Nir the question came up, why is it, that many of the techniques developed by Imi and others, are either no longer effective or are less effective than they once were.

The answer we got was so simple it was shocking. With the evolution of attacks, so too must the defense evolve.

I spent much time thinking about this over the past few months and the one area that so many Krav Maga organizations seem to struggle with is adapting the moves to the new types of attacks. Not only do some, not want to change their defense, others come up with options that sometimes leave me scratching my head.

The area of defense I see most problematic is knife attacks. If you look at most systems, even early Krav Maga, the answer is usually some kind of block or grab that is meant to stop the attacking knife and arm in one move. The problem with this is that the real weapon is the person, their brain and their nervous system and not the knife. The knife like everything else we use to be more efficient in this world is simply a tool.

Recently, there have been numerous Knife attack videos presented to me and It always shows one thing. A person with a knife, attacking, often wildly one….two…. 10 plus times in succession.

Knife

Which means, they are attacking fast and repetitively. It is really easy to demonstrate to a student how it is extremely difficult to simply grab or block such attacks as many systems would have you believe.

So I thought I would break this all down a little bit further so that you too can better understand how to properly deal with various knife situations.

To start off lets break down some of the different types of Knife scenarios:

  • Static knife scenario – This is a stick up like situation where they are simply holding the knife and demanding something
  • Committed Knife attack – This is an attack that is now kinetic (Energy and motion) but is in one committed direction – Down, up, forward (Thrusting)
  • Non-Committed knife attack – these attacks are kinetic and have no direction, they are slashing and stabbing rapidly with no pattern

Much of the older techniques deal with primarily the committed and static attack type and offer little or poor solutions to the non-committed type. This is very problematic as if an initial committed attack fails they often turn right into a non-committed attack until the attack is satisfied with the amount of damage they have done.

So why has much time ibeen spent developing good techniques for the first two attacks and not the latter. I thought about this long and hard and perhaps I am right or perhaps not but this is what I think.

It was not until the mid-late 1800s’ that guns, due to the advancement of rifling and bullets, became the primary tool for killing. Before this, and for 100s of years swords of all types were the primary tool. This meant that specific styles and techniques were developed both offensively and defensively around sword techniques and strategies. Depending on the sword type, they either rely on direct thrusts or a wide slashing movement. As such, knife techniques also followed similar patterns.

This means that older techniques in many styles may in fact work as they are dealing with primarily static or committed attack types. But as guns began to take over as the preferred tool, less and less people were being trained in proper sword techniques and with the World Wars speeding up globalization new styles could easily spread.

One such style came from the Philippines, a style that predominantly deals with knife and shorter bladed techniques. Be it Kali, ilustrisimo or Escrima these styles really began to change the way trained individuals looked at bladed attacks. Individuals both trained and untrained are realizing the best way to attack with a knife is with short quick movements in rapid succession. It does not matter if it is a stab or a slash, if the movements are quick, and rapid they are very difficult to stop.

Which means, organizations that due to tradition or simply laziness who choose to only use techniques that do not deal with all possible attack types as simply as possible are no longer living in reality. This could be Krav Maga or other martial arts styles.

The flaw is always when you treat the knife as the weapon and not the person. If you simply block and re-direct, you are ignoring the person as this does nothing to stop them from resisting.

When it comes to knives you have a few options.

  1. Simply RUN!, this is and always will be the best choice
  2. Block while simultaneously disrupting their attack pattern then Run
  3. Block while simultaneously disrupting their attack pattern control the means of Kinetic energy deliverance to the tool (The arm) and continue to disrupt the individual until the knife can be safely taken away.

So I have made this explanation a little complicated on purpose, as I want you to understand how it is a knife becomes dangerous.

A knife on its own, is a static object with bladed or sharps sides usually under 12 inches. On its own, it is harmless. However, as some kinetic energy (motion) to it and that blade now can cut or pierce soft tissue with ease. The knife is not the weapon it is a tool and the person wielding it is the weapon, more precisely their brain and nervous system. You must disrupt these things to stop the attack pattern and it must be done so with speed and confidence.

However, if you ignore the knife you are doomed to fail as well. This means you must both disrupt the attacker and control the knife with as little motion as possible.

If you block and disrupt. For example the standard 360 Krav Maga defense, and then continue to fight them then you are ignoring the knife and you now have a problem.

However, if you do a 360 defense and then IMMEDIATLEY grab the attacker’s arm you can now control the knife and can disrupt the attacker with kicks, knees and head butts.

For the record when I say grab the arm, I do not mean simply with your hand. I mean with BOTH arms and hands with vice grip clamping onto that arm. This turns it into their arm and hand vs your entire body weight.

An example of a reference point 1 or Live side two on one Grip

An example of a reference point 1 or Live side two on one Grip

An example of a reference point 2 or Dead side two on one Grip

An example of a reference point 2 or Dead side two on one Grip

TO many times I see demos where a person is controlling a knife wielding person by the wrist, but this is only the illusion of control.

When it comes to knives, if you lose control and of the knife arm, and are not a significant distance away…well I will leave it to your imagination.

So what happens, if the attacker starts with a non-committed wild attack?

Did I not say to run already? That is the best option.

Because the reality is, if you do not find a way to disrupt their attack pattern while maintaining your distance long enough to get a hold of that arm, there are very little techniques that will be able to stop such an attack without sustaining significant damage to one’s self.

So, if you cannot run, find another tool that is longer and bigger to fight them with. Throw things at them. But you must find a way, to create distance or cause them to pause. A pause is all you need to dive in for that arm. Otherwise, your only option is to run.

Evolution, it is how things improve. It is not just biology that adheres to this principle but also the learning process. It is far too easy to get stuck in a pattern because we are comfortable. This is what causes complacency. Complacency is what causes trained individuals to fall short of defending themselves and their loved ones. So, we must always evolve and be better. This does not only apply to evolving knife defense scenarios. This applies to all Krav Maga and self-defense scenarios. If you cannot keep up with the evolution of the attacker’s strategies then you too will fall prey to Darwinism.

So to you I say, make sure it is not just you who is evolving for the better in the New Year but also your methods, strategies and techniques.

I wish everyone a good, and prosperous new year in 2015 and wish that all of you out there, may continue to walk with peace.

Written by: Jonathan Fader