Posts Tagged ‘self-defence’

Since the internet was made publically available, it has changed the world in so many ways. In general, it has increased the connectivity of ideas and thoughts, which can be positive but also gives the ability for any idiot to have a voice. Don’t get me wrong, I am generally for free speech, but now with so much information, it can make it difficult for the average person to know what’s what.

For martial arts, I think it has been a good thing. For a long time, individual styles have been isolated to specific regions and cultures. Through the advent of the internet, it has allowed a mix of martial arts ideas and thoughts to arise all over the world. The internet is probably what helped MMA expand so rapidly, for instance.

Now, in the world of martial arts, this means that it is time to adapt or die. It also means that anyone can put up their videos, whether good or bad and sell their brand of martial arts.

For some videos like the ones below, it can be easy for the average person to decern bullshit or not.

But for other videos like the following, it can cause confusion to both those in the know and those who are not in the know.

I came across the above video on a page for one of the numerous Krav Maga organizations I follow. This video faced criticism in the comments section and rightfully so. However, some of the criticism had me concerned mildly.

First, let’s start with the valid concerns:

  1. I am generally against women only classes due to the unrealistic nature of the attack scenarios often presented. On the bright side, I did see a male in a demo which seemed to be an instructor, but it is unlikely he was attacking with realistic pressure or aggression which causes an unrealistic expectation for a woman in their ability should they ever need to defend themselves. There are some other males, but again the pace of and training of this class seems to be oriented to the woman. Personally, I see no difference in training women vs. men. It’s just a matter of building every individual into the best version of themselves. I structure my classes the same regardless of the balance of gender in my class. Also, if a woman is uncomfortable training for violence in and around men, it is a consideration that some form of counselling may be advised. Women need to understand that whether right or wrong, most attackers will be male and bigger and stronger and often more aggressive, so they must train for reality and not ideas or fitness. In addition, I refuse to teach people who demand that I cater to their version of self-defense. A colleague of mine was recently asked to teach a Krav Maga class without any reference to violence or anything that may seem traumatic. Remember, as Bruce Lee said, you are ready to learn when your cup is empty.bruce_lee2
  2. It is unnerving fact that many people only seem to want to learn self-defense when violence around them rises, rather than preparing for it even during peaceful times. Remember, Krav Maga is so you may walk in peace. Even during times of peace, you should learn and practice. With that being said, Anti-Semitism against Jews never went away and is on the rise in most countries again. Though in Canada, it has a low occurrence, this is probably why so little Jews (at least in Vancouver) participate in Krav Maga or other martial arts. Remember, it is better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war.
  3. Praying isn’t going to save you in a violent situation, only violence will. If you aren’t training properly with aggression you may be in trouble. Also, while Krav Maga is not about fitness, being in reasonable shape to act and move quickly is important for proper self-defense. The reality is in a given situation, you may have to run for a few kilometres and the techniques and athletism shown in this video is slow and sloppy. So how prepared are these woman really? This doesn’t mean they cannot become something more, but the training needs to reflect this and in this section of the video at least it does not.
  4. Some of the techniques shown, such as the “cavalier” or knife disarm are old and risky especially for such a group of people. The fact that numerous Krav Maga organizations still use such techniques is shocking to me as to much can go wrong with them.

Now, I have a couple of thoughts regarding some of the comments I saw on the page where I found the video:

  1. Something is better than nothing. Even if this training is mediocre and unrealistic, it is a start.
  2. The people on the page seemed unfamiliar with the older cavalier technique. This is a historical Krav Maga technique and should be known by all practitioners regardless of whether or not you like it. The fact that they were unfamiliar suggests the individuals of this organization very rarely train with other organizations and lack perspective in Krav Maga. It also shows that they are not familiar with the historical development of Krav Maga. To me, this is bordering on an insular and cult-like mentality, which I am strongly against. I always encourage individuals to cross train, even when they are not convicted of another organisations abilities or moves.

Now, of course, the folly of the internet is releasing a video without proper context. I very rarely like to release a simple clip without some kind of explanation. If you show too little of a specific move or concept without full background information it is very easy to pick apart on the internet. I see videos all the time, from people I respect, that I think are ridiculous because there is no context.

Especially for Krav Maga, a move or concept should be fully fleshed out. If it is a move, you should show it both in slow motion and in its full speed application. This way, it solidifies the argument you are trying to make. I get it that people do not wish to give away to much for free, but the reality is if you release one bad video, it can be picked apart easily by those on the internet.

Let’s be honest, the quality of your video matters as well. A flashy, well-produced video, even if it isn’t that great technically, can draw out the sales. But if you have the money for such a video, why not produce something that also shows off technical prowess under realistic stress and conditions?

The internet unified the martial arts community and the world, and yet we are still so divided. Krav Maga, for example, is more fractured than ever. There are so many schools and organizations some which are better than others, but most which are garbage. Too many people pretend to know what they are doing and still get students because of the content they release. In addition, in many cases, the fact is they have a captive audience from a group of people who may not have the proper perspective or background knowledge when it comes to Krav Maga or self-defense.

Beware of videos on the internet, which can make or break you as a self-defense practitioner. Put content out there with some discretion and make sure it doesn’t misrepresent you if you are good, or over represent you if you are not so good. Although, you probably don’t even know…

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This week’s Krav Maga and BJJ curriculum: Mar 20-26, 2017

*Note: What specifically is taught in class, how it is taught, and examples used are subject to the instructor, their level and experience. These posts are not an excuse to miss class as they are only a snap view of what skills are covered.

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If you are a regular UTKM Blog follower or active member in the Krav Maga or self-defense community, then you’ve probably figured out that there is a lot of politics in the Krav Maga world. Since I started Krav Maga, I’ve become familiar with some of the more active and larger organizations through training directly with them or their students and instructors. Some I follow on Facebook. Just to give you an idea, let’s list off some of the major recognized Krav Maga organizations, and even some smaller ones:

IKMA – Israeli Krav Maga Association
KMF – Krav Maga Federation
IKMF – International Krav Maga Federation
KMG – Krav Maga Global
KMW – Krav Maga Worldwide
KMA – Krav Maga Alliance
CT707 – Israeli Special Forces Krav Maga
CKMI – Combat Krav Maga International
IMKM – Israeli Military Krav Maga
KMIL – Krav Maga Israel
IKI – Israeli Krav International

Of course, there are many others legitimate organizations, but nowadays the Krav Maga community is fraught with liars and fakers. (I am not intentionally forgetting anyone, but I think my point is made by listing the above.) From a business perspective, I disprove of some of the ways these organizations operate or teach things that are impractical or unrealistic or stray from the fundamental Krav Maga principles. Many seem to have developed a more sports martial arts mentality. Yet, given the opportunity, I would like to train with each and every one of these organizations at one point or another (minus the obvious frauds).

Many people ask, “What’s the point?” Why train with other Krav Maga organizations when you’re already an expert? Many people have the stance that they already know everything there is to know about Krav Maga. So why put in the effort to train more?

Perspective

One simple rationale. Perspective is everything in the world. Even time itself is simply the perspective of one point to another, from where it was before to where it is now.

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For this reason, I welcome and pursue training with other organizations and bring instructors from other organizations to train my students, even if I may not agree with or teach their curriculum. Our goal is to provide all of our students with the best possible ability to defend themselves. Thus, introducing them to other perspectives affirms what we have taught them or offers another method that works for them. The reason being that in the end, it is about them not me.

Personally, I have issues with all of these organizations, but I also see valuable lessons from all of them, just as how they view me and other smaller organizations or schools I am sure.

If a student trains with another organization and makes the decision to leave me, I truly hope it is for the right reason of giving themselves the best possible training that suits them. The goal is that they can defend themselves to the best of their ability in a dangerous situation.

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Ego aside…

I know people of all martial arts who only train with one organization, their organization, and never reach out to others. I commend their sense of loyalty, yet criticize their close-mindedness. For all they know, their instructors could be garbage or fraud. You are not getting the best training you can if you are limiting yourself to one source.

You are not getting the best training you can if you are limiting yourself to one source. Don’t limit your perspective and, in turn, limit your personal growth by restricting yourself to one organization, school, and style.

Sure, training with all of the organizations is unrealistic, not to mention expensive and impractical. However, now you know the benefits of branching out and experiencing more than one perspective throughout your Krav Maga or self-defense journey. At least, try to train with more than one organization. If not, how do you really know that you truly have the ability to defend yourself? Challenge yourself by learning and training with new people. Limiting yourself would limit your perspective. In the end, it could be catastrophic if you’re blindsided by a situation for which you are totally unprepared.

Perspective is everything. Don’t stop challenging yourself. Don’t stop learning. Keep searching for different perspectives.