Posts Tagged ‘martial art’

Old rivals, and their egos, come face-to-face once again in “Cobra Kai”(source)
Audio by Jonathan Fader

If you like martial arts then there are a few people and concepts you probably familiar with, no matter what decade you were born in. Bruce Lee is, of course, one of the most famous. But how about Mr. Miyagi, the legendary, Okinawan karate master played by Pat Morita in the 1984 movie The Karate Kid, and in three sequels? (Not to be confused with the 2010 re-make of The Karate Kid, starring Jacki Chan as the martial arts mentor Mr. Han, in which they aren’t even learning Karate but rather Kung Fu, the traditional systems of Chinese martial arts. NOT THE SAME.)

Anyway, Mr Miyagi taught Daniel-san traditional Okinawan Karate (the system originated in Okinawa, not the main islands of Japan) to help learn to defend himself against the bullies from the Karate dojo Cobra Kai, taught by military veteran (and mild psycho) John Kreese. In the original movie the rivalry culminates with young Daniel LaRusso defeating his main bully, blonde bad boy Johnny Lawrence. This propelled Daniel to a good and successful life, and led Johnny to a life of alcoholism, bad parenting, and poor life decisions. This is, of course, as we now know seeing the characters 30 years later in the “Cobra Kai” series on Netflix. With the SAME, albeit now adult actors, which is a great thing for a series to do.

This is where I give you the spoiler alert. If you didn’t already know that Daniel won the tournament in the original movie, well too bad; it was made before I was even born so you should know by now. But, if you aren’t caught up with the latest season of Cobra Kai yet then be warned, there may be some mild spoilers ahead.

If are into martial arts and the original movies, then you will love this series! It is pure entertainment combined with continuing the original storyline, with the added bonus of considerably more character development; which makes this series a must watch in my opinion. The show includes, at various points, almost all the same actors from the film series (where possible, R.I.P. Pat Morita), and adds some new faces, which is something I would love to see in other, older series.

Johnny decides he wants to start teaching Karate again and opens up his own dojo. Needless to say Daniel finds out and all manner of ego-driven shenanigans ensue. Daniel also tries to get his daughter to start training Karate again. Long story short, Cobra Kai competes in the famous “All Valley Karate Tournament,” despite Daniel’s effort to keep Cobra Kai banned, and Johnny’s champion prevails. Daniel looks like the bully and it looks like Johnny is doing good again. Season 2 sees the return of Johnny’s sensei, Kreese, who is just as nuts, if not more so, than before. A school rivalry builds between Johnny and Daniel’s schools, which results in a fight with serious consequences. More ego-driven violence and shenanigan’s occur as everyone, Johnny, Daniel, their students, and their own kids, is trying to prove themselves, their Karate prowess, and their ego.

All around it’s great fun to watch. However, intentionally or unintentionally, it is showing the negative side of martial arts and human EGO. It also perpetuities the bullshit idea that training in martial arts makes you a violent person. Which makes me concerned that any “Karen” who walks in on their child watching it will then go on a Karen-rampage to try to stop all martial arts from occurring. You actually kind of see this in Season 3, where school trustees, who are clearly vanilla people who know nothing of combat, simply panic and try to ban all Karate.

Karens aside, it really highlights the EGO of “who is the best?” Ego is a powerful thing, it can help you or hinder you. It can give you strength and courage, or make you crumble. As mentioned in the previous post of this series “My Martial Art is Better Than Your Martial Art” (and as implied or stated by me numerous times), there are many factors to “who is the best” and this means not everyone can be the best.

This is why it’s important to understand, for your own ego, are you capable of being the best, and if you are, are you putting in the work to be the best and stay the best? Or if you are not capable of being the best, are you happy just being the best version of yourself that you can be? In the latter situation, people often quit training in martial arts altogether because of their ego. They cannot accept they are not the best because of some factor or other, so they stop rather than continuing to strengthen themselves. No, not everyone can be the best, but not everyone needs to be. You just need to be better.

Now, if you are the best, as proven by competition, can you stay the best? For many it is short lived and for others it’s a long journey, but eventually you will fall, and the question is can your ego handle it? A good example where the answer was “No” was the dominant female UFC champion, Ronda Rousey. When Rousey finally fell, she fell hard and fast, and never really recovered mentally. I am still waiting for the in-depth documentary on her life, as it will most likely show how an unchecked ego will only lead to a massive crash and a pit of emotional despair.

Personally, I dislike the need that so many people have to boost their ego through martial arts, as can be seen in the Cobra Kai story; those once bullied become the bullies when they finally have the power to do so. This is an aspect of the show I do not like, as it depicts how without proper guidance many people can take power and go sideways. After all, “With great power comes great responsibility”- Uncle Ben, Spider-man.

Cobra Kai, at least as of the end of Season 3, has yet to show how losing can actually check your ego back in place, teaching you that maybe you aren’t as good as you thought. Which means you can either work hard to get better or you can simply be content with working to be in a better place mentality and physically, and know that, outside of competition, you know your abilities and can walk in peace. This aspect is something I would love to see more in the martial arts world. As we always follow the champions and the best. We strive to be them and are motivated by them. It is the winners we look up to. Except the truth is for most of us, either because we are a casual practitioner or just lack that certain something required to be the best, as martial arts practitioners are doing it just to be a better version of ourselves.

This obsession over ego and winning can be problematic and give a bad image to all the Karens out there who look down on the learning of violence. For most people learning to fight makes them less likely to fight, because they realize it’s actually quite hard and carries a high risk. Some never learn, but that’s because they have other personal issues that were there before the training and should be dealt with separately.

Cobrai Kai does a very good job at showing the kind of damage ego-driven conflict can do when it starts going out of the ring or out of the dojo and into the streets. It starts to look like the petty gang conflicts you see globally, where even the slightest look can result in someone hospitalized or dead.

While ego is inevitable, it is part of the human psyche, it must constantly be checked in all aspects of martial arts, including in its portrayal. The days of using martial arts for life and death are gone in many countries. And while some may long for those days, the reality is our lives are better when this kind of wanton violence against each other is generally unacceptable.

If the only portrayal of martial arts comes off as negative and simply for the purpose of violence, it could be possible that things go sideways and people once again loose the ability to defend themselves.

This is very problematic. When a group of people do not know how to defend themselves there can be catastrophic results. The film “Demolition Man,” with Wesley Snipes and Sylvester Stallone, plays on this idea: A society that had lost not just the ability, but the understanding of violence, is at a loss when a mad man of old comes out of prison and wreaks havoc.

We must understand the importance for everyone to learn and understand violence; hoping we never have to use it, but knowing we can if we must. If you are an ego-driven person then temper your need to win, or your rage, and express it in the appropriate arenas, and work on yourself in other ways so that it never gets out of control harming others in the world around you.

Cobra Kai shows many of the negatives of violence, and what can go wrong when it is undirected or misused, though it attempts to demonstrate the positive aspects through the peaceful lessons from Mr. Miyagi, as re-taught by Daniel-san. Yet even he, now without his mentor, seems driven by his ego to always be right and win at all costs.

Whether portrayed in Cobra Kai, or the movies, or seen in real life, one of the most important journeys for any martial artist is learning to manage and control their ego, lest it blind them from achieving the ability to walk in peace in all aspects of life.

Written by: Jonathan Fader

For training online visit www.utkmu.com. If you are in the Metro Vancouver area, come learn with us in person, sign up at www.urbantacticskm.com

Mr. Miyagi employed novel methods to teach karate to an impatient a teenager in the ’80s. (“The Karate Kid”, Columbia Pictures, 1984)
Krav Maga Myths and Misconceptions – “It Should Be Taught As It Was By Its Creators” Audio by Jonathan Fader

Many organizations and individuals still take a “traditional martial arts” approach to Krav Maga. They say, “this is how I was taught by the Master so-and-so, thus I should I teach it to my students this way as well.” This is patently wrong and actually goes against some basic principles of Krav Maga. That is, if it doesn’t work, don’t use it! Inherently, by the fact that the times change (and so do people), attacks will change, tools will change, and knowledge will change, so too must the techniques and strategies change.

I have met individuals from various organizations and countries whom are training Krav Maga as it was taught 30 years ago, and they told me “only this is Krav Maga.” I suspect many of these instructors have lost their connection to those at the forefront of Krav Maga. Or they have simply been tricked by their own ego.

Just like with the principle of “Situational Awareness,” instructors must look at their system and their methods, then assess, assess, and assess. Further to that point, as a student you must know that, periodically, techniques may (and should) change. This might come in the form of additions or subtractions in the curriculum, modification to the way techniques are executed, or new approaches to how techniques and principles are taught.

Let’s expand on this.

One thing to remember is that, at its core, Krav Maga is, and should be, principle-based rather than technique-based.

Some of the original principles of Krav Maga were:

Do you see a specific technique listed here? The answer is, No. These principles are mostly about strategy or the application of techniques, not specific ways of doing. These principles were developed based on logic, biomechanics, and the philosophies of Imi and other Krav Maga pioneers. Since their original inception, however, if a technique or principle doesn’t work in most scenarios, the norms of what is acceptable in society have changed, or we discover a more effective idea, we rethink, re-assess, and make changes. The principles are core to the system, but they too are not set in stone.

What this means is that there is quite a lot of interpretation regarding what is the best technique or approach… and this is where the trouble starts. In many ways it’s about credibility and ego. That is, an instructor or organization doesn’t want their students to know that their current curriculum may not be as up-to-date or as effective as the instructors claim it is.

Fact: Common attacks will vary from place to place and time to time, therefore requiring adaptation of techniques and approaches.

Fiction: What worked 20 years ago will work now (at least as a 100% hard statement)

This means that, over time, things will change and refine to maximize efficiency for the most people. For the MOST people! Krav Maga tries to leverage natural reactions and movements wherever possible, but some people, unfortunately, will always need to put in more training and practice to gain efficiency, no matter the technique (bodies, abilities, temperaments are different).

Occasionally I will have students who come from a school or organization that was teaching Krav Maga as it was 30 years ago. Their techniques often fall apart under stress testing, which says a lot. Their “instructors” may have been, unwittingly or not, conning them.

Now, with that being said, there actually shouldn’t be TOO much variation in the solutions for specific attacks, for a simple reason: We have a head, a groin, two arms and legs, that really hasn’t changed much over time. Thus techniques and approaches from place to place should actually look reasonably similar, so long as they follow the core principles. If they don’t look even close to other Krav Maga schools it’s probably not Krav Maga; be that due to the teachings being outdated or infused with too much “other stuff.”

In the Krav Maga community, much like in other styles, there is… politics. So, if you only ever train with one organization and it never exchanges ideas with outsiders, change is unlikely. Which means it is unfortunately likely that you are not being taught the best options in the wider Krav Maga knowledge base.

I personally started my Krav Maga journey with one of the major organizations. While they have updated their curriculum a little over time, I found myself thinking their arsenal of techniques was somewhat bloated and not exactly up-to-date. As I explored various other organizations I realized that some schools had developed better solutions for one problem and others for another problem. As a result the UTKM curriculum has changed over the years, as I get more information and training myself, and as we stress test techniques with a variety of students.

Occasionally I will see students struggling with one technique consistently. Sometimes I can solve the problem myself, but on some occasions I need some input from outside sources; maybe that is from another organization, maybe it’s from another style of self-defence or another martial arts system.

As long as the techniques fit in smoothly with the other techniques and follow the core principles then it will work. However, what I will never do is add a random technique for its own sake.

All these changes can be annoying, I know. Very annoying. Trust me, I know! Sometimes I even have students complaining that they have to learn something new. But, guess what, that’s Krav Maga!

So, regardless of the technique (though there are garbage ones out there), the reality is that the obsession with lineage and “this is how it was then,” really isn’t the Krav Maga way. The goal is efficiency, to stop the threat, and that means changing and adapting. With that in mind, if you are still doing it the way it was “in the old days,” then don’t be surprised if your techniques quickly fall apart under duress (Especially if the training was “easy” the whole time).

Ego has no place in developing Krav Maga, yet, as it involves humans, it will unfortunately always find its way in. As an educated student or instructor it is up to you to constantly remind yourself that well-thought-out and well-planned change is, in fact, the way.

Written by: Jonathan Fader

For training online visit at www.utkmu.com. If you are in the Metro Vancouver area, come learn with us in person, sign up at www.urbantacticskm.com

This year I awarded my 5th and 6th Krav Maga green belt under our UTKM curriculum. For the 5th (Click here for the experience) It was a special occasion as it was not only the first women to get a green belt at UTKM but also the youngest person.

If you had told me that when she first walked in our doors at age 15 she would be the first female green belt I probably would not have believed it. A non-athletic teen with bad posture who was fairly quiet.

They say first impressions matter, but in this case, my first impressions were very wrong.

Yet we did not scare her away and she kept coming, again and again. Yes, I am talking about Karis. Whether she likes it or not she has become an inspiration for many of the other women in our gym. She is always there, always training and always pushing…with only minimal complaints (lots of sass though).

Consistency is key.jpgSo how did Karis go from point A to point B? Simple, she was consistent and regular in her training. It is no secret. If you are consistent and you put in quality time, you will get results. period.

My 6th Green belt was also given out to Quinn. When we still had the Richmond school he was one of the most consistent and regular students we had. Coming to Krav Maga, BJJ and Muay Thai. (Karis did too btw). Quinn is on the opposite end of the spectrum. Naturally athletic, Cycling everywhere, hiking all the time and living a super active Vancouver lifestyle. He too has made much improvement as he no longer relies on his strength alone. This is a challenge that many bigger stronger men have yet if they learn early to use more technique they will be even better for it.

So what does Quinn have in common with Karis? You guessed it Consistency. Even after the days he can train with us was reduced he still comes regularly to progress his training.

By the way, the previous 4 green belts also go there through constant regular training with extra classes, private lessons and 3-4 days a week of regular classes.

Yes, you guessed it, like any martial art UTKM Krav is no different. If you want to get good. If you want to progress. If you want to achieve your goals. Then you must understand that consistency is the path of the warrior. So quit talking, show up and train.

 

 

Why I Fight: Signal in the Noise

Posted: March 7, 2016 by urbantacticskravmaga in Krav Maga Philosophy
Tags: ,

One of my supervisors said to me the other day, “You seem like such a nice, calm person.  Why do you want to fight people?”

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is an art.  It is fighting, but it is not violent.  To fight a true master (black belt) is to experience complete submission despite all flailing attempts otherwise, but not to feel pain, not to be injured, not to feel out-muscled or forced.  One of Jiu-Jitsu’s foundational principles is that technique overcomes strength and size; for me this was the first true “hook” that established Jiu-Jitsu as a key part of my life.

Jiu-Jitsu is empowering.  Learning to rediscover my body as a product of my own choices reshaped the negative aspects of my self-image.  Like many women, the constant inundation of negative messages about myself and my body created a learned helplessness that shaped my behavior.  While I likely could not have articulated it so clearly at the time, I automatically viewed myself as a victim, someone with no capacity to defend myself – physically, emotionally, or cognitively.  Sadly this played out in a number of my social interactions, which only reinforced this mindset.

Learning to effectively fight has unraveled this, first physically, but soonafter in other ways.  It’s perhaps not surprising that our physical, emotional, and mental selves are tightly intertwined.

My dojo is a community.  We support each other, encourage each other, and share in each others’ growth.  We recognize that students of all levels bring value to the gym, keep us humble, and ensure we are always learning.

Jiu-Jitsu requires continuous physical contact.  I thrive on human touch, but am isolated in many aspects of my life through needing to keep a professional distance. In a gym where sparring is competitive but safe, grappling fulfills this need.

Sparring helps me achieve a healthy work/life balance.  In the past, I’ve struggled with allowing work and work-thoughts to ebb into after-work hours.  One effective strategy I’ve discovered for establishing cognitive boundaries is to create moments of strong focus that root me firmly into the present.  This breaks me free from the worries that chase me, and helps me find signal in the noise that is my day-to-day life.  Sparring does this with ease – there’s no way NOT to be present-minded when you are actively defending an armbar.

Some of these are predicated upon finding a safe and supportive gym, but others are inherent in the martial art itself. It’s no surprise to anyone who’s trained that Jiu-Jitsu has exploded in popularity over the past decade.

//reposted from my personal blog

 

Recently there were several videos of South Korean Special Forces training with knives. Those are some impressive videos, but after all those “Ya! Woo! Ahh!”, we should discuss the reality of knife fighting and it’s military usage. For those who do not know me, I am a Krav Maga instructor certified under numerous organizations, a non-lethal weapon instructor with TASER International, a member of the Canadian Forces for 12 years and a student under the great Sword Master Braun McAsh (famed choreographer of the Highlander TV series).

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Borhan Training with Braun McAsh

receiving my ass whipping in knife combat with Mr. McAsh

Military Use of Knife:

 

  1. It is unlikely in any situation that a soldier, special ops or not, would draw his knife and do face to face dueling with enemy combatants who also have knives. Here I do not mean bayonet charge, sentry removal, or stabb an enemy when tangled up in close quarters combat.
  2. If you have to draw your knife on your enemy it means you have screwed up big time. All soldiers follow rules of engagement as all law enforcement follow the use of force circle. Generally speaking: a soldier can use non-deadly force (hand to hand) then deadly force (rifle). Like it or not, utilising a knife is deadly force. You cannot subdue an enemy combatant with a knife. It is meant to kill, so why are you using a knife face to face when you could just use your firearm. There are still occasions like sentry removal or a bayonet charge where cold steel weapons serve the modern military effectively, but going forward to have a face to face duel? That barely existed in ancient battles when most deaths are caused by arrows, spears and being trampled to death rather than “manly” individual blade vs blade battle.

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most likely usage of knives in modern military setting

Techniques :

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The techniques in this footage are reasonable and proficient in dueling situation :

Overall, the techniques used in the video are pretty decent and universal in most dagger and knife fighting systems. All the cuts and stabs are within the “box“ and all the attacks are conducted within range effortlessly. That’s the key to using cold steel weapons: let the blade to do its work. The blade with a bit pressure will simply sink into the enemy’s flesh. I think it is a hard concept for non-blade martial artists to grasp, because we generally rely on impact. Even with a one inch punch the power needs to be generated from the hip, but with knife fighting a simple wrist movement will do the trick.

The disarm at 1:40 is not sufficient– simply push the attacker away then deal with the 2nd guy coming from the right. It is too much for show. The wise way would be strike, control the first attacker and use him as a shield against the 2nd attacker.

The counter attack ( 1:48 ) is done right. In a dueling situation, the enemy is not simply going to let you attack their vital parts at center of mass (main torso). It is wise to attack the limbs to cause loss of blood or cut the tender muscles so the enemy won’t be able to hold his or her weapon due to pain or loss of muscle control. The finish is not sufficient. The attack should continue after the first stab. You never know if you have stabbed or cut the right place and the human body can be really tough sometimes.

In conclusion: I wonder what’s the reason the Korean UDT/ SEAL conducts this type of training maybe it is an element of overall hand to hand combat training like hitting the sandbag in Boxing. This type of training might enhance the awareness of knife usage and attack then indirectly help defense against knives in close quarter ?  I would argue this type of training by itself ” alone ” has no practical value in modern military.

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I have the privilege to discuss used of force and self defense with a veteran police officer. She is also a very capable martial artist. We are discussing: would the law judged trained professionals more harshly than average citizens who are not trained and here are her responses. ( noted – this is only her perspective as a veteran police officer does not represent the full picture of the justice system of Canada’s Criminal Code system and we will have other experts’ articles up in the future )

  1. (1) A person is not guilty of an offence if

        (a) they believe on reasonable grounds that force is being used against them or another person or that a threat of force is being made against them or another person;

        (b) the act that constitutes the offence is committed for the purpose of defending or protecting themselves or the other person from that use or threat of force; and

        (c) the act committed is reasonable in the circumstances.

Bill C-26 Reforms to Self Defense and Defense of Property: Technical Guide for Practitioners

So the optimal wording that you need to get out of the criminal code here is what is reasonable.  That will be determined by what the person believes the threat to be, how they articulate it and also how they articulate what they did in response to the perceived threat. How a person perceives a situation will depend on their experience, skill set (how competent they are with that skill set), size, state of mind, location, what the threat is physically and how they interpret that threat….

So if I come across a person with a knife and they threaten me with it…if I believe that they will use that knife to harm me I am well within my rights to protect myself and if that means using deadly force then that is what it means.  If I am confident that I can disarm him and lock him up till help comes or so I can get away and in the meantime I break his arm or leg, then that is justified too. A smaller stature person may have to use tactics that someone of the same size, weight, strength etc as the attacker may not have to…or a larger, stronger person on the verge of blacking out because he or she is being knocked unconsciousness could use force that is potentially deadly on a smaller, physically weaker person.  Or a larger person facing a smaller person with a knife, pipe or another weapon…Yes/No?  Again, situational…

In a multiple assailant situation…the threat of grievous bodily harm or death has increased exponentially, so would you be justified in creating an unsustainable injury on the parties involved to create an opportunity to get away?  They all had 359 other directions they could have chosen to go but they came at you…so what are you to interpret regarding their mindset? If someone is going for my gun…that is a deadly force encounter.  There is only one thing I can deduct from that action.  They want to take my gun to harm me or someone else.  So can I use deadly force?  Or force that will cause grievous bodily harm?  Yes…but I will need to articulate the reasons…including how I felt during the incident.

There is no blanket answer…each situation will be different with all sorts of unique outliers.  The important thing to remember is the term reasonable force…was what you did reasonable given the circumstances, how you perceived the threat, what was happening to you etc…Beating someone who was trying to take your wallet into a state of unconsciousness could easily be viewed as unreasonable. In a similar scenario however, where you tossed your wallet to the side for them but they continued to come for you, may present a different set of circumstances.

When you are in a situation where the bar star is trying to posture in front of his buddies or girlfriends, you need to show you did everything you could to try and diffuse the situation, including trying to leave.  Then if that is ineffective whatever physical force you use has to be justified…why did you do what you did?  As trained fighters/instructors we have more tools to draw from but we should also be very skilled at articulating why we used what we used and when we used it; what the expected outcome of our actions was etc would also need to be articulated.  We are in a better position than the average person to explain and paint the picture clearly for the courts.  Whether it is an unskilled civilian smashing a brick against the side of the head of her assailant or a skilled fighter who delivers a back kick to the subject’s throat doesn’t really matter…the determining factor is why did you act?

Written by: Officer Y

Edited By: Josh Hensman

Sources:

http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/rp-pr/other-autre/rsddp-rlddp/index.html

UTKM edged weapon training

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An edged weapon training for our advance students is a project that we have been planning to develop for a long time, but due to lack resources and knowledge on the subject, We were never able to start. Lately, with guidance from one of the most influential sword master’s, Braun McAsh, we were able to get some basic ideas on developing our potential edged weapon system. The UTKM edged weapon system has to be relevant to today’s world and practical for current threats requiring self defense. Some might argue that defending yourself with knives, axes or swords is just asking for legal troubles, but in some situations an edged weapon should be used. For example, a single defender versus many attackers; a defender against an attacker with weapons; or simply SHTF situation. In addition, how can one claims to know defense against a knife when one does not know how to use a knife.

Six years ago, I spent about a year with Academie Duello, a well known Vancouver sword school and received rapier and Italian long sword training. At the time, I was already a qualified Krav Maga instructor under International Krav Maga Federation, but aside from dealing with attacks of passion (big, obvious, aggressive attacks) with an edged weapon, I had very little knowledge about the subject. I did not know how to use edged weapons proficiently or more complex attacks. I do not fancy myself a Krav Maga instructor if I do not know how to use an edged weapon properly. At AD I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Braun McAsh and attended most of his seminars. With his guidance and that of other instructors from AD, I came up with three conclusions:

First of all, normal MMA fighters or Krav Maga instructors do not know anything about edged weapons, including knowing how to use them effectively. Edged weapon fighting is a world of its own. Although it is an extension of hand to hand combat, edged weapon fighting is significantly different from hand to hand combat.

  1. If you screw up in edged weapon encounters you are dead.
  2. Both sides most likely will be dead or injured: there is simply no guarantee of survival for even the winner unless the winner outclasses the loser by many levels.
  3. Against people without weapons, people with weapons will most likely win.
  4. Other than a shotgun, an edged weapon is probably the most deadly thing within 21 feet.

Secondly, most edged weapons can be separated into dueling weapons and battle weapons. These edged weapons are made differently and for completely different purposes. Western dueling weapon are more thin and agile and rely heavily on thrust. Whereas, battle weapons are made more robustly and rely on slash and hack rather than thrust.

During my stay with Academie Duello, I find that most of weapons the academy teaches such as rapier, small sword, and long sword belong to an era when people actually carry these weapons on a daily basis and the law of the time permits open carry. This is surely not the case in today’s world. It seems pretty far-fetched for a person today to be walking around with a long sword in a city. Police would show up within minutes.

With these three points in mind, I concluded one of the primary edged weapons we are going to indoctrinate to the UTKM school system should be the Tomahawk. Here are the few reasons I think Tomahawk would benefit students of UTKM.

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  1. You can carry a tomahawk alone with a backpack and some campaign gear. It is most likely the police will not be alarmed nor will you cause panic. It is also much easier to pack away a tomahawk in a bag than a German long sword.
  2. Other than combat situations, you can use tomahawks for many purposes such as chopping wood, clearing debris and the like. During my survival course with the Canadian Army, my survival partner and I used a small hatchet and knife to build our survival shelter.
  3. It is a devastating weapon. Mankind has been using axes for war long before the sword. Stone axe is one of the weapons made by our caveman ancestors. Throughout the centuries, due to the limitation of metallurgy and financial reasons, most people cannot afford swords, but an axe is a lot cheaper to forge and therefore more accessible to the majority.
  4. A Tomahawk is easy to carry. Imagine running in the woods or through city streets with a giant long sword for an extensive period of time. It’s just not going to happen.
  5. The fighting style of Tomahawk is close and dirty. It is very similar to Krav Maga and there should be no problem combining the two.

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System choice:

There are many systems such as Silat and Escrima that incorporate axes or tomahawk in their fighting. For the mean-time we will plan to follow Mr. Braun McAsh’s guidance as the base line for our Tomahawk fighting program. We will seek other channels in the future and add the things we like and find practical. Next article we will talk about knife fighting.

Written by: Borki Yony

Edited by: Josh Hensman

If I say Urban Tactics Krav Maga is one of the most diversified and dynamic Krav Maga schools in North America, I think there would be very little dispute. Other than having been certified under 4 International Krav Maga Federations, one of our specialties is firearm training and Krav Maga techniques related to firearms, from firearm disarms, tactical shooting to military Krav Maga. We are privileged to have extensive knowledge from our military background as combat arms soldiers and shooting instructors in the Defense Industry.

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50 cal, the author’s favorite gun during his service with CDN Army

However, sometimes when we ask our civilian students at our Krav Maga school here in Vancouver if they would like to participate in some of Krav Maga seminars related to firearms or Firearm Possession Course, some of them ask “Why? What’s the point to learn about guns ? I will never use it.“  ” what’s the point of using guns as cold steel weapon? I will just shoot the guy. ”  Many Vancouverites do not own firearms nor have an interest in it. I was amazed with these students’ response that they do not want to participate because they think any form of firearm training is not useful in a real life threat.

Let us be clear about something:

  1. Armed robbers or other bad guys do not attack their targets with their bare hands. They always want to achieve superiority by having either a knife or a gun; only honorable people fight in equal amount of forces and let their skill determine who the winner is. Bad guys are not looking for a fair fight; they are looking for an easy pay day. If, unfortunately, you end up at the end of barrel and you faint at the first sight of a gun, the chance of you acting calmly is pretty slim. Knowledge is key to calmness and being collective under pressure. To know what type of firearm and the condition of the firearm is vital to survival in dealing with an armed assailant.
  1. If you disarm someone‘s firearm you need to know how to use it, even if you want to disable the gun to prevent the bad guy from using it again. You need to know how to do so fluidly and accurately under stress. Over and over again I see Krav Maga schools or other Krav Maga instructors teach people how to disarm attackers with a gun, but their immediate actions after the disarm makes my heart skip a beat.  Most of them clearly do not know how a real firearm functions, different functionality between a revolver and semi-automatic pistol, nor how to point the gun at the person if they chose to take lethal action. Just because you point a gun at an attacker does not magically make this person stop from taking the gun back or to attack you again. Do you have the will and skill to fire a gun if you chose to and, if you can hit accurately the bad guy, without hurting the bystanders or yourself? If you do not wish to shoot someone, how do you use guns as cold steel weapon and combine with Krav Maga moves ?
  1. Since almost most Israelis have served in the IDF; firearms have always been part of general Krav Maga curriculum from Day One in Israel. After all, almost every 18, 19 old Israeli youth can take apart, put it back a M-16 and be confident with it on the range. Most North American Krav Maga students and instructors cannot rival Israeli Krav Maga student and instructors’ firearm experience. Nonetheless, In order to learn the full system of Krav Maga, you better be good at firearms. You need to learn how to shoot it, disassemble it, then finally disarm it if you have to. Firearm training is a serious issue and takes lots of training time; more so than any other aspects in Krav Maga. People generally need lots of range time with guns to eliminate the fear of the “Boom Stick“, but also be confident that guns are merely tools and be comfortable with them as extension of their limbs.

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Are you Ash or Villagers ?

Last but not least, we do Krav Maga for a reason. We do it not for fitness or completion but to protect our lives. My friend, you want to ask yourself: Is there ever enough training when it comes to protecting your lives, especially about the most efficient killing tool created by man?

Written By: Borki Yony

Edited By: Warren C

to stop a theif
http://www.vancouversun.com/Video+Purse+snatching+victim/10032430/story.html

Recently, a purse was snatch from a woman in one of the many crowded malls in Metro Vancouver (see above video). This occurrence may seem fairly common, but what is clearly demonstrated is that despite the fact she’s asking for help, not a single person does.

This is called the Bystander Effect.

The Bystander Effect means that the more people are around, the less likely a person is to act when someone else is in need of help. This could also be considered an offshoot of the Mob Mentality. Statistically, if someone has their purse snatched and there are only one or two people nearby, the bystander is more likely to do something than if there had been a crowd of people. It’s easy for you to sit there and say, “Oh, but if I was there I would do something”, but the reality is that study after study shows that if you are in a crowd you most likely will just sit, or stand and do nothing. Why is this? It’s simply because everyone always thinks that somebody else will do something, but as this collective thinking passes from person to person, in the end, nobody helps.

This had me thinking, does this always have to be the case? Is it simply a cultural phenomenon, or is it universal. What does this have to do with Krav Maga or Self Defense? Well, a lot. A part of self-defense is safety in numbers and, as an extension of this, community safety. This means “How will the community as a whole react in the event that there is an issue?”

In Israel, though it is slowly on the rise, in general, petty crime rates are relatively low despite what you might think from depictions of Israel in the media. On a personal note, I can say without a doubt, that I feel safer walking around in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem at 2 AM than I would walking around in parts of Downtown Vancouver at the same time. Why is this? Israel is a country with a history of war and conflict and yet, on a day-to-day basis, it is relatively safe.

In Canada, I often hear the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) or other city police forces like the VPD (Vancouver Police Department) say that, if there is a problem, to please call the police and let the professionals deal with the situation. Though I know their hearts are in the right place, this is a statement that I struggle with. They often say they are trained and they know how to handle the situations, but as someone who has dedicated his life to teaching people self-defense and, as someone who travels the world to get additional training, I can say that the police in Canada and North America, in general, lack proper training. So, is waiting for a “trained” professional the correct decision? Well, it may be for more serious situations, but for things like petty crime (such as purse snatching) I really do not think it is the correct message to give.

So why is petty crime relatively low in Israel? It could be because there are soldiers, police, and security officers with guns everywhere, or it could be that if petty crime occurs, it does not matter who is around, the crowd will help out. If there’s a bomb explosion in Israel you will often find people running towards the area to help rather than run away in fear.

I remember a story my uncle once told me during the first intifada in the early 2000’s. A suicide bomber walked into his place of work. There were no soldiers, no police officers and no armed security. He and another employee noticed the suicide bomber and, instead of calling and waiting for help to arrive, they acted by jumping on the bomber and prevented him from blowing up the market. My uncle is a man of tiny stature, maybe 5’ tall and 130 pounds, with numerous health ailments, and yet he and his co-worker knew that had they not acted, not only would the market have been blown up but they probably would have also been killed.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am by no means advocating jumping in the way of a bullet or in any way risking your life. Whether you act or not in such a situation is your call, and if you think you can do something it’s up to you. However, if there are 100 people watching, and the act is something petty, like a purse snatching, it can be easy to do something. Contrary to your belief, the risk is relatively low. The moment one person acts, the more likely it is that others will also help out. Sometimes acting does not need special training as the police would have you think, it simply requires you to do something. If criminals who commit petty crimes, regardless of the reason for doing it, knew that people would stop them should they commit the crime, I suspect that they would be less likely to commit it.

Safety does not just come from one person, it also comes from a community’s willingness to prevent crime and unsafe situations as a whole. As a Krav Maga practitioner, on average, you actually have more hand-to-hand combat training than the majority of police. So, when they say leave it to the trained professionals, guess what? While you may not be a professional, you certainly are trained. On top of this, police can take anywhere from 5-10 minutes to arrive and by then it’s already too late. That purse has already been taken, the person had already been stabbed, or the store has already been blown up.

Again, while the decision to act or not act is completely up to you, based on the circumstances, I simply pose the question to you. Why be simply another bystander when you can do something and make a difference?

Written by: Jonathan Fader

Edited by: Warren Chow

chicken or egg

Often, Bruce Lee (1940-1973) is credited with being the founder of Mixed Martial Arts.
As far as the West and the traditional East is concerned, this is true. Lee became famous in the early 70s because of his movie career. This allowed the world to see Lee’s new style of Jeet Kune Do or the “Way of the Intercepting Fist”. Lee is considered the founder of MMA because he was perceived to be the first person to take pieces of various styles and create his own catered to his style of fighting.

Historians often say that history is written by the victors and, as far as the world is concerned, Lee is the founder of MMA. However, as a Krav Maga practitioner I know this is not entirely true. Often in human history, for whatever reason, something is developed simultaneously at two different locations under different circumstances, yet the end result is the same. As a Krav Maga practitioner I know that Imi Lichtenfeld (1910-1998) actually came before Lee and developed Krav Maga as a system which took pieces of various martial arts to create a simplified self defense system.

While Lee started learning Kung Fu under the legendary Yip Man, a Wing Chung Master, Lichtenfeld started as a boxer and a wrestler, and yet they both came up with systems that were looking to simplify martial arts/self defense and strip down all of the useless techniques. There is, of course, one major difference. Lee developed his style for himself out of passion and sport, and Lichtenfeld developed it out of war and necessity. One (Lee’s) is a beautiful style designed with directness, no form and speed in mind, though I suspect was really developed for a person who has trained many years and who had developed a great amount of speed. The other (Lichtenfeld’s) was designed to work for anyone of any size under any circumstance. It is quite possible that Lee would have continued to simplify his system had his life not been cut short, but we will never know. Krav Maga under Lichtenfeld, however, was allowed to develop under his watchful eye into a simplified version of the original. I can only imagine what might have happened had the two met each other to discuss techniques.

For both, their original dream was the same and their ends, although decades apart, have one glaring similarity. Upon their deaths, there was a mad scramble to assume power as the next in line. While I am unfamiliar about the squabbles in the Jeet Kune Do world, I often hear people discuss how close in lineage their instructor was to Lee. I have heard things like, “Oh, my instructor is three people removed from Lee.” Or, “That style is not Jeet Kune Do but mine is true to the original.” This should sound familiar to all the Krav Maga people out there as now in 2014, 16 years after Licthenfeld’s death, there are at least 10 major Krav Maga organizations, not to mention the numerous independent schools that choose to stay out of the politics.

Personally, I have trained with individuals who can trace their lineage back to both Lee and Lictenfeld, and I have trained with individuals who have learned both Jeet Kune Do and Krav Maga who cannot trace their lineage directly back to the creators. The question is, should the ability to directly trace training lineage to the original creators matter. Personally, I do not think it should. My reasoning is simple. First, NOBODY ever questions the lineage of either Lee or Lichtenfeld because they were innovators. They created systems not seen by anyone else before. Their lineage did not matter, for they themselves were the reason they were famous, not because of under whom they trained. Second, how long after an originator’s death does one need to wait until a system is diluted or completely changed from what it was meant to be.

Take Tae Kwon Do or Judo for example. I am sure the original creators would be rolling over in their graves if they saw how diluted and sports-like their systems had become. For the most part these systems follow the lineage of the original founder, and yet they are nothing at all what they are suppose to be, but rather watered down systems designed for points and not the original simplified self defense systems that they were. It is quite possible that this has, or can happen, to both JKD and KM, but does this mean change of the systems is bad? Again, I do not think so. I think that change, so long as it follows the principles of remaining simple, easy-to-use and effective for real world application, is good. If, however, change of a system turns it into something for points or display, then the creators most likely would be kicking themselves in the head for not being more clear about how they wanted their systems to develop.

I have heard that the reason that Hiam Gideon was named the head of the IKMA after Licthenfeld’s death was because he was also an innovator. He adapted Lichtenfeld’s moves to further simplify them so that they were more likely to succeed. This is not something I can confirm as there are many rumours regarding the question of lineage after Licthenfeld’s death. However, if it is true then for sure it makes sense, for it is my understanding that Krav Maga, or Jeet Kune Do for that matter, were meant to be evolving styles to utilize any and all techniques that existed in the world, regardless of origin. Of course, IKMA now refers to its system as the Gideon system while IKMF, now under Avi Moyel, and KMG under Eyal Yanilov, still call their systems the IMI system. What does this mean? I am not really sure, but it certainly brings into the question of the evolution of the system. There are, of course, Krav Maga organizations headed by individuals who learned their Krav Maga from the Army, or a friend, or whatever, and though they do not follow the original lineage, certainly follow the Krav Maga mentality of keeping it simple, efficient and easy-to-use.

There are certain moves, such as the Krav Maga 360 defense, to which you will see in almost all the Krav Maga organizations. In fact, moves such as this have been spread into other self defense systems whether they realize it or not, such as modern Cimande. Other moves, however, such as how to deal with the front choke, vary from organization to organization. Is this good or is this bad? Well, the answer should be obvious by now. It depends. Krav Maga is meant to be an evolving system, but what direction that evolution takes is still up in the air. Some systems focus more on aggression, some more on technique. Some are very casual and some are very traditional. Some use belt systems and some use patch systems.

No matter what your lineage however, one thing needs to remain the same. The moves need to work and they need to work fast. I have noticed that some organizations use only one variation of a move and I have found that the variation works great for some, but not all. An organization that chooses to keep a move simply because that’s the way the Master did it seems to be missing the point of the original creation of the system, whether KM or JKD. Some moves work great for big people but not small people. Some moves work great for fast people but not slow people. This is part of the reason that aggression is so important in Krav Maga. However, this does not mean you should forget your technique. Our philosophy at Urban Tactics Krav Maga is that at the White Belt and Yellow Belt levels, we teach our students the fundamentals and a few of the various options. We then encourage them to use the move that works best for their body type and fitness level, and choose it as their main reaction under said circumstances. This does not mean, however, that they should forget the other options as you never know what may happen.

Personally I have found myself saying that Krav Maga is a system that assumes you are going to screw up and that even if that happens, you will survive. Another thing I have come to realize, after observing some of my friends whose Krav Maga training comes exclusively from the Army, is that when you remove the option to kill your attacker, your technique becomes far more important than your aggression, as a level of control is required in the civilian or police world.

I think by now you should have figured out what my thoughts are on lineage. It depends on who your instructor is and how good they are at teaching you the fundamentals, regardless of lineage. At the end of the day, at least with Krav Maga if you go home and sleep safely every night then your instructor has done their job. Criticizing an organization just because of lineage is ridiculous, especially if what they teach follows the original principles and, most importantly, works. At Urban Tactics Krav Maga we train with individuals from all organizations in the Krav Maga world, and we encourage our students not only to do the same but also to train in other styles. You can never know too much as we are always learning. Evolution is a part of humanity, and fighting over who came first or who has the closest tie to the original founder of a system seems rather petty to me. At the end of the day, any instructor should not put their loyalty into their organization but should put their loyalty into their students. Getting caught up in the politics of lineage in the Martial Arts I am sure would drive any founder nuts. To me it really doesn’t matter that Lee is seen as the founder of MMA over Lichtenfeld because they both have wonderful legacies and gave the world two great systems and ways of thinking.

So, The Chicken or the Egg? Which Came first? Really, it does not matter, because in the end we are all here, we are all alive and we are all safe.