Posts Tagged ‘self defense’

Having a tough time in life? Do things feel out of control? This is a feeling we as humans have all felt. A moment in time, even if only for a moment, where we felt absolutely helpless and without control. As much as we fear, loath or hate this feeling of dread and helplessness, know this. There is something you can do. You can take control of body and mind and start training today.

Often I remind my students, that the attacker is always right. Not morally, ethically or in general but by the fact they are imposing their will on you for whatever reason right or wrong, their actions at the moment are not wrong. There is only what will you do about it and will you respond in a way that is beneficial to your self both physically and mentally or detrimental.

No one has the right to attack you requiring you to defend your self, it does not mean however they won’t and can’t. In such moments you may feel weak, helpless or without hope but not if you have taken control of the one thing you could have. Trained for such moments as these.

Warrior in a gardenThe myth is that learning to do violence makes you violent but it is far from the truth. Learning Krav Maga or any other martial arts that are for self-defense is so in those moments you have the control over your fears, and the situation so that you may defend yourself and those around you. Usually, those who have this kind of control are less violent for they understand the consequences of both using violence and defending against it. It is control over the fear that might sweep over you and cause you to freeze. It is control over the physical will over those who would impose it on you. It is the control to know when you can safely defend your self or when you must flee to live another day. True control is actually that of balance so that you can live safely, and healthily both physically and mentally. It is also the control over whether you will ever need to use your skills by making the correct decisions.

This is why training now so that you can have this control should you ever need it is more important than you realize it. How many times as an adult did we wish we had put in the time when we were children developing a skill that we wish we had today. While as an adult that wish is still there but we are bogged down by the perceived chaos that is adulting.

The thing is you can always take control now! start now and don’t put it off, For you never know when you may need this and as the saying above states. “It is better to be a warrior in a garden, than a gardener in a war.” What this saying means is that it is better to have the skills and not need them, then to not have them and need them.

This means that whether you are an 18-year-old 100lbs girl, or a middle-aged out of shape male 220lbs. Someone in your 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s.., White, black, Asian, Straight or gay. You all have something in common. That it is never too late to learn and never too late to take that control.

Whether it is because you have already experienced that loss of control or you are planning for it. Prepare today for the future or the next time you may need it. Learn Krav Maga ( or any style) now so that you can say that you did something to control that feeling of no control.

Remember, the modern founder of Krav Maga, Imi Lichtenfeld said Krav Maga was so that one may walk in peace. Are you willing to challenge yourself to learn to walk in peace, Physically and mentally? if so, train now, prepare for later. What are you waiting for?

 

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number one bullshit

You started Krav Maga, or a generic self-defense program. perhaps another martial arts style offering self-defense classes. Often they say it is subjective but really it’s easy to determine if a technique is on the better end of the spectrum or the less effective end.

Of course, it should be mentioned that everyone says they are the best or what they are teaching is the best because of well Ego and other factors. If this sounds familiar just know you can objectively determine if a technique is a general good or not and if it works for you in general or not.

This is a topic that can be found all over the internet, entire Instagram accounts are dedicated to asking if a technique is objectively realistic or not. Discounting the standard internet trolls and those who cannot ever be please there is a general consensus of good and bad techniques.

Recently I watched a video posted by a local Krav Maga school, that belongs to a considerably reputable organization. By all accounts, the instructor is quite legitimate with a military background and extensive martial arts training. Yet when I saw the video of the technique being posted I couldn’t believe my eyes at the ridiculous nature of the technique. I felt bad for the students for they were clearly being sold a false sense of security by someone seemingly legitimate. I don’t know if this technique was standard for the organization or just the instructor but I was shocked.

(I will not re-post it so as not to draw attention to that school or instructor or organization so you will just have to use your imagination.) I will, however, post this youtube video of similarly bad stuff.

The technique involves one person being held back by their wrists, while someone else choked them from the front. The technique involved the defended rotating their head out of the choke and then spinning into the person behind or something like that. I may have burned it from my memory slightly.

First off, if someone is holding you from behind the most likely scenario is that they will be beating you, not choking you. but hey never say never so I guess I can let that part slide. The issue is that objectively there was zero resistance from the attackers nor were they being aggressive. Additionally, the attackers were not much bigger than the defender. had even one of the attackers been aggressive with resistance there is not a chance in hell that technique would work 9 times out of 10. But hey never say never I guess. Still a shit technique and delusional but oh well.

If that was me in that scenario I would stick to principles of keeping it simple, be aggressive and use your most effective tools. Largely kicks, head buts and aggression.

Of course, I always ask my students in scenarios like that. HOW THE FUCK DID YOU GET THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE!!! You clearly failed to pay attention, practice avoidance or strike pre-emtively. Unless you are living in Mexico in some perpetual war against the cartel such scenarios are not as common as people would make you think. Either way several poor life choices happened in order to get into such a situation.

This begs the question of how as an uninformed student or potential student objectively asses a good technique. Here are some things to consider, this is not an exhaustive list just some ideas.

bell-curve

Most people are in the middle, whether we want to accept it or not. Thus this is what techniques and training should be aimed at. Working 80% of the time for 80% of the people.

  1. Will the technique work 80% of the time for 80% of the people most of the time? First, one thing that needs to be established is no one technique is 100% foolproof for everyone at every time. Different body times, capabilities and other factors always play in so nothing is 100% that is why aggression training is so important. I like to apply the bell curve model. There are 10% of people who probably should just avoid physical conflict and it won’t matter what technique they use. there is another 10% of people who are so athletically gifted they can rely on that alone much of the time. Meaning that we need to teach to the majority. So if a technique works for most students, most of the time with no pressure and with pressure then it is a better technique than others.
  2. Is the technique relatively easy to perform for the majority of people after a short amount of time? This does not mean master but means can it be done regularly and reasonably well within a few hours of practice. One way to know is if it relies on gross motor movement rather than fine motor movement. Take joint locks. Mechanically sound techniques that take a fair amount of training and skill to pull of much of the time even against mildly resisting opponents. A groin kick, for example, is very easy to learn and will work most of the time. After learning it, its simply a matter of practice to train your nervous system to perform it well under duress. If a technique is hard to pull off under duress or takes a long time to learn well then for basic self-defense purposes it is probably not a good technique.
  3. Will the technique work against someone bigger and stronger than you or work in with a set of other fluid techniques to overcome the size and strength advantage. First, I would like to point out there is a point where someone may be too big and strong to use the technique thus you must fall back on aggression and the will to survive because nothing is 100%. Going back to the joint locks, let’s say a wrist lock. On average if a person is much stronger and resisting it is a very difficult technique to pull off. Contrary a groin kick works 9 out of 10 times at least to cause a major disruption in the attacker for most people.
  4. Are you able to eventually get it to work on it’s own or in a sequence of moves under duress? If you never train the techniques with resistant then you are probably not training good Krav Maga or self-defense. Hitting pads is one thing trying the technique against different sized and strength people is another. So get practicing or go to another school if this isn’t happening. You may quickly find out which techniques work more and which work less.
  5. If and when the technique fails, are you able to fill in the blanks to survive? This is arguably the most important thing. As techniques don’t work all the time no matter how good they are the real key is you knowing what to do when failure occurs. If you are regularly and consistently unable to adapt, you are either not training hard enough or not training properly. This is sometimes a school thing, sometimes an instructor thing and sometimes a you thing. So figure out which it is and make the changes!

The last thing, the ego can be a hard thing to deal with. Especially when as instructors we like to teach the best thing and after all, we are here to help. Except if you never challenge your techniques or make changes accordingly you are only doing your students a disservice. I can say over the years I have probably changed the UTKM curriculum 4 or 5 times to work for the majority of students or fill in technical or training blanks. If you are only ever teaching the same thing that your instructor taught you, you must objectively asses are really doing the right thing or are you just selling a false sense of reality to your students.

If you are a student and love your school ask your self why are you there. If you are there because you like the community then by all means stay. But if you are there to learn to defend your self ask your self, are you really, objectively learning it or just being sold snake oil.

One of the biggest challenges as a Krav Maga instructor is helping students or the general public the difference between a self-defense scenario and a fight. While you may need to actually fight in a self-defense scenario for us a pure self-defense scenario is one which is a 0-60 scenario which is started and stopped in a relatively short time. Let’s say for the sake of argument 10-30 seconds. As opposed to a back and forth match that is more a showcase of skill, athleticism, and heart.

In Krav Maga, we very much want to avoid a fight and keep it in the self-defense realm by using Retzef to surprise and overwhelm our opponents to stop them as a threat or create the space to escape and evade to safety. In a fight, we are willingly engaging in a back and forth fight where blows are traded equally at least until the point there is a clear winner.

In our oppinon if you are in a fight situation (outside of mutually agreed combat) on the street or in general you are in most cases, not applying good self-defense practices.

Drag race 2This means that a good self-defense scenario is a 0-60 esk 1/4 mile at a time drag race. Take a knife threat. The attacker shows up in a brand new shiny Ferrari in the form of a knife to your belly. They feel confident because you are driving a beat 1996 eagle talon with mixed body panels. This is the reason they chose to race. They felt strong. Just as a choice victim for a would-be mugger they picked you because you looked weak and seemed like an easy target. Little did they know, your little eagle talon has been heavily modified and is a 650hp AWD monster powered by Krav Maga. The light goes from red to green. The knife tip touched your back as they say give me your money as they slam the gas with launch control feeling like your money is now theirs. You hit your gas and shift seamlessly as you re-direct their knife slam a fist into their face, control the weapon arm so you can safely create space and then book it. Gone with your tail lights in their site and the look of shock on their face as they have now failed to defeat you in this metaphorical drag race.

Contrarily a fight can either be a failed self-defense on your part engaging in a fight or simply letting your ego get the better of you. Try this scenario, You just won the lottery and are ready to go in the world of highperfomance vehicles. Since you cannot actually buy an F1 Car in most cases lets say you just bought yourself a Ferrari. This time a thug outside of the club says you have hit on his girlfriend and is now in your face. Here you are your first time on a racetrack-ready to test your skills one on one against another Ferrari owner. The light goes from ready to green and you are off, they throw a punch and you move and then throw a punch as you hit your gas on the track. Initially, you seem neck and take as you counter the blows and land some as your own. THen the first turn comes and they throw a HARD leg kick like you have never felt before. They seemsly take the corner and you skid around it. The feeling of dread now comes in that you have now engaged with someone who is clearly more skilled than you and guess what, they had been toying with you. You throw a kick of your own trying to even it up, they perry and punch you square in the nose. You hit your gas harder knowing aggression will solve everything right? You push your self to keep up with their Ferrari giving everything you got. They stick to the track easily and are getting farther and farther ahead as they are landing more and more strikes and you can barely touch them. You give one final push as your Ferrari skids off the track and slams into the wall much like your head just did on the pavement as you got knocked out. You see, they were a proffesional of the trade and you failed to recognize it early. Instead of backing off and creating space and bailing, you tried to keep up because your ego said you could. You went from a 0-60 self-defense situation into an F1 race that you were not prepared to deal with.

I hope this analogy has made things clearer for you. Self-defense is a quick scenario where someone chose you as a target and you did the absolute minimum required to stop the threat by stoping them quickly or by getting to safety. While a fight is any scenario where there is a willing back and forth exchange of skills until someone clearly wins and one or both parties have sustained significant damage.

Often individuals come in who love to fight, and the task for me is to convince them to choose control, strategy, and technique over letting their preference or ego get the better of them. Because on the street, you must assume everyone is a better fighter than you and you must learn to refrain from being succered into a fight. Because self-defense is not a fight, and if you are fighting its because your life depends on it and there is no other choice.

So when it comes to your personal safety, in the moment, choose the drag race and not the F1 marathon! (Metaphorical of course)

 

Master ken seminar

So to should a good seminar!

When it comes to martial arts or self-defense there are many reasons a person may choose to go to a seminar. For some, its because they do not have the time to train regularly, for others they want to supplement their regular training. At UTKM we have attended many seminars on many topics from leadership, how to teach, Krav Maga, Self Defense, Martial arts in General and we have learned what makes a good seminar.

Who is teaching

The person whos teaching is a world champion. The person whos teaching is famous for… The person whos teaching regularly teaches classes. Therefore, they must run an amazing seminar. WRONG! The thing is running a seminar is different than teaching a regular class, with regular students. It is also clearly different than performing.

We have gone to seminars for people who are the heads of seminars who teach all the time and who have developed champions and yet the seminar was mediocre at best. We have also gone to seminars from people we have never heard of and had an amazing seminar.

Don’t just sign up to a seminar because you like the topic, or the person has a name to them. Ask around, do you know anyone who has gone to the seminar with that person. Find out if it was worth the price of the seminar and if they learned anything. (Just make sure your friend isn’t a seminar junky who things they are all great) If they tell you it was worth it and they learned a lot then this person is probably great at running seminars

Content of Seminar

A good seminar, picks 1 topic or maybe 2 or 3 related topics. From there, there should be a clear structure for the seminar. It should start with the basics of that topic and build it up. For example, let’s take a gun disarm seminar. If it doesn’t start with the basics like how firearms work, firearms laws and basic safety then you may be missing out on super important contextual information. If they really know their stuff this can take 5-15 minutes as they will be able to sum it up.

The topic is always great as it is often the reason people sign up, but it is not enough. There must be contextual information allowing you to have a framework to build off of mentally for the rest of the seminar. Often good instructors will lay out how they are going to run the seminar so you have an idea. The structure and context of the material is super important. While we often go to seminars thinking we are going to be constantly going, a good seminar should be a mix of explanation, demonstrations and drill time.

Bad seminars, especially in self-defense, will just teach a bunch of random unconnected techniques. You have limited time in a seminar so there must not be too much information or techniques taught or else it will be difficult to retain the information for most people. Another bad seminar is one where they spend a large portion of their time telling stories without giving much practice time. While this can be educational you should have time to develop your skills. Alternatively, a bad seminar is one in which you are simply doing things the whole time with no explanation at all.

This is why if they start with a basic overview, explain, demonstrate, give drill time and correct as needed it should be a good seminar.

Length of Seminar

A seminar, if it is any good, will almost never just be 1 hour. 1 hour is enough for review of material that you already know and not for new material or material being taught from someone you are not familiar with. A good seminar should be between 2-4 hours. Anything longer than that is more akin to a course which would be 8 hours plus. A seminar needs to be a quick overview, of a topic, idea or concept to be taught in a relatively short period of time.

Anything less than 2 hours then it is unlikely there is enough time to give an appropriate overview of that topic, idea or concept. Anything over 4 hours and peoples attention spans start to go. This is especially true if the seminar is full of people who are new to the topic or have never worked with that particular instructor.

Lead Instructor Jonathan has done many seminars, and courses ranging from 4 hours to 7 days and he can attest that even in topics he is familiar with it can be hard to focus past 4 hours let alone 4 days especially when there is both physical components and mental components.

Even better it is a seminar series, that goes between 2-4 hours each day or in consecutive weeks that expands on a specific topic. With each time review what was done before, adding on too it and allowing for a full review on the last day. Any Seminar is serious that last more than 4 separate days is probably more akin to a full-time course. If seminars are presented in series that it would be important that you attend every single one. Otherwise, it’s just a bunch of separate seminars with their own loosely related topics rather than a specific series.one one topic.

Level of Seminar

The level of the seminar should have been advertised prior to it. For example, is it for beginners with Zero experience? In which case it should say Intro too or beginners. Or it could specify must have X amount of experience in X. If it is the former then great, bring one bring all. If it is the latter then it is the responsibility of the organizer to appropriately vet every person entering the seminar to ensure everyone is at the correct level.

A Seminar where the skills are wildly varying can be tough as you either have to teach to the lowest skill level or you teach to the skill level you want to. In the first case, it can be boring for more skilled individuals who wanted to update and progress their skills. In the second, it can be dangerous and frustrating to the new person who can barely keep up. In either case, people are losing out.

We have been too long seminars that covered multiple topics or areas in some we did just fine, then it got to a specific skill we were not familiar or practice in and thus that portion became very difficult and we were unable to keep up. They kept saying its easy a fundamental but as we had no experience in that skill it was neither. Needless to say, it was not a fun section and we ended up just observing.

A good instructor can read the room and adapt the skill level accordingly. There have been times at UTKM that a certain level was expected and a lesson plan was created and either the skill level was too low or too high. So we simply adapted accordingly making it easier or harder. Unless it is a graded seminar requiring a certain level of standards (Such as instructor training) than adapting to the level of the group is extremely important so that everyone stays safe and learning to their maximum efficiency.

Was it Fun!

Lastly, and you can only really know this at the end. Was it fun. Was the instructor or instructors engaging and were they able to read the room well and adapt accordingly? This, of course, is relative as fun for one person is not always for another. The better the seminar the more likely a majority of people enjoyed it. If it was, fun then its usually something you might consider again. This is a simple one, because well, nobody likes a dry seminar.

 

 

AMIT and JEFF

Can you see how tired they are after the 4 day course. But great success! Amit and Jeff.

I recently went down to Petaluma California to attend the IKF instructor course. I completed the four-day course and was honoured to be given the IKF instructor tag. I have been training since I was sixteen in the gym and at nineteen I was introduced to Krav Maga. Due to jobs, I have had in my life I have not been able to always be in the gyms training with instructors or be there for the tests to take the next level or belt. I have constantly been held back because of this. I was getting told by instructors and fellow students I don’t show up enough, I need to make sure I’m there for the tests and put in the hours, etc. What killed me is that no one ever acknowledged that I trained every day. When I was out on the rigs for weeks or months at a time. Every day I was in the gym whether it was the small little camp gym or I had to drive an hour into town to train 5pm or 3am I was there. Putting in those hours practicing everything I learned in the classes that I was able to make it too. The reason I’m telling you all this is that it may just be another certificate or belt or badge to you, but this one means the world to me. It means that all those hours, days, months were worth it. It finally allows me to feel proud of what I had been doing and all the effort I put into my training. Yet as much as I’ve been holding this tag close to me I truly love what Amit Himelstein( IKF head instructor) said to us. He said to enjoy this day, feel proud but then go home find a nice place to hang it and get back to the gym! He said this tag or a belt or badge is only worth anything the day you receive it. After that, it’s on you to keep it up, keep bettering yourself every day. Don’t show me your belts and badges show me what you can do! This hit me hard cause it’s how I have always felt. Everyone had more badges, better belts, etc. And to be honest it sucked to see someone who can afford private classes or that had a regular job could acquire what I was chasing for years in months…. but as far as I’m concerned the belt is just to hold up your pants. What you put in is what you get out of everything in this life. People are always gonna be able to look at the wall of your accomplishments in awe, they will never appreciate all the time it took you to get them or truly earn them. These four days were the hardest days I’ve ever experienced and at times I honestly thought maybe I wasn’t cut out for this but I pushed myself to new levels and left every ounce of myself on those mats. I didn’t care if I got the instructor badge or not. I was already just so truly proud of myself, I had won the battle against myself. I am one of fourteen in Canada who have this certification and I am not one to gloat but I earned this and I’m damn proud of it! Thanks to some new found friends and a heart to heart with the brothers and sisters from my own club Urban Tactics Krav Maga I realized I needed to allow myself to enjoy these wins and stop being so hard on myself. I wish all who read this to have a challenge like this come your way that allows you to learn something new, mostly about yourself and show you it is possible and all the time you put in when no is looking means everything! Keep training, keep growing and celebrate yourself!

Written by – Jeff Dyble

@Teamg.ijacked on Instagram

www.gijacked.ca

JEFF IKF dogtagNo matter what kind of hobby you have, if it is painting, repairing cars or, as in my case, self defense/ martial art – the key to be successful is to keep practicing, keep learning and have an open mind. And also be humble – everybody can teach you something.

At the beginning of June, I went with Jon (Lead Instructor of UTKM @theponderingkravist), Jeff Dyble, and Oliver M. to Petaluma, California. They drove down, for the sake of our friendship I decided to buy a plane ticket. In Petaluma, we trained for four days straight, usually 7-9 hours a day. The heat was intense but so was the training, keeping myself hydrated was only one of the challenges I faced.

I signed up for the IKF Seminar couple of months ago and kept asking myself if I really want to do that. Whenever I watched videos of previous seminars the participants always seemed to be those big special forces guys. I try to be realistic with myself – I’m not a very athletic person and it took me long enough to accept the fact that I’m not 20 anymore which means my recovery period is longer. I was worried if I survive the seminar but I also wanted to push myself to see how far I can go.

Day 1 – the four of us arrived at the gym. I was the only women in the seminar and I was aware that I’ll be watched. Then training started with a little bit of a warmup and Amit started demonstrating techniques for us to train. There was a lot of choking and eventually coughing that day. At the end of the day my throat hurt, I could barely swallow my food. The soreness would kick in the day after. And I learned that not only rugs can cause a rug burn.

Day 2 – I was sore, my thighs were hurting when I discovered the rolling pins in the gym. They use them for shin conditioning, but they also help with sore thighs.                     When training I made sure to switch partners and train with different people. After our regular hours of training, Amit added 2 more hours of groundwork which was a lot of fun, although getting up got harder and harder. My legs were sore and quick movements were not an option that time of day. I still tried my best – I wanted to learn as much as possible!

Day 3 – Subconsciously my body accepted that’s what it is for the next days and I felt surprisingly chipper. Another day of fun in the gym! What I really liked were the different warmups Amit made us do. That day we did a lot of punching and kicking, Amit showed us some fun combos and Jon and I are now bruise buddies. He kicked me in the elbow which then quickly gained in size and colour. And I think my leg left a mark on his upper arm. In the late afternoon, Amit made us do a trial run for the street test (it is a bit like the gauntlet for our yellow belt test but inside and without sparring). At the beginning, Amit spun us (which I struggled with, the mat almost got up and hit me in the face) and the first thing we had to do hit the pads – have fun aiming for them! After we all went through that Amit gave us shit for our bad performance.

Day 4 – I enjoyed especially the warmup. We did a lot of tumbling and gymnastics. Back when I was half my age I did a lot of that like handspring etc. I was always curious to see if I can still do that but was hesitant. Being pushed that day actually helped me to give it a try and after a couple of failed attempts, I was back in the game! Amit also showed us a wrestling drill called The Cross – you know when we always say “Don’t roll over your head!” – for The Cross this is exactly what you do. It was one of those Fu** it moments when you don’t think much about it and just do it. The big finale was the Street Test, this time we had to go twice, each time being spun before we went. This time the mat stayed down.

And then we received our dog tags.

Amit as an instructor is straight forward and will tell you honest to your face if you suck. After living in Vancouver for 6.5 years I found that very refreshing. He is fair and of course very knowledgeable. He will explain why he does things a certain way and is there if you have any questions or need help. He is not for millennials who have that need of instant gratification – you have to work hard, there is no short cut and to get good at something it takes lots of training, lots of repetition and there is not a lot of praise. I enjoyed his style of teaching a lot, I have a new technique I really like – the Russian Twist (I know, it sounds like a cocktail).

It was a great experience for me! Our group was just awesome – I really enjoyed hanging out with those guys after training, watching the UFC fights or simply have dinner! They called us the four Canadians and I’m very ok with that. Our group was very diverse – all kinds of backgrounds, everybody was super nice and I felt welcome.

The four of us also represented our school well which makes me proud and I’m also very happy with my own performance. I don’t care much if I’m the only woman in a group, I only want to be treated like everybody else, no special treatment. I worked just as hard as everybody else. It gave me an idea where I stand and what I have to work on. I also had a great time with Jon, Jeff and Oliver – thank you guys – for sharing your food on the first day with me and Jon for picking me up in the middle of the night and later dropping me off at 3 am at the bus stop.

At the end of the seminar, Amit said that we are now part of the IKF family and that we will be there for each other. It made me think – as long as I can remember I’ve been told to be self-sufficient, independent. After a shitty relationship and other disappointments, I was so busy holing up and keeping everybody at arm’s length that I totally missed the fact that I’m already part of a family – as corny as that sounds – but UTKM has become a family to me. Now I only have to get used to it.

I also feel grateful because the seminar brought me closer to my community at UTKM, I finally understand that there are people who care about me and I can rely on. I also feel grateful for my Judo background – it helped me a lot!

A big thank you to all participants of that sweat marathon – I loved hanging out with you! See you next time!

 

MONEY FULL

What do you see in the photo above? Do you see some green, white pink smudges or do you see something more? A few weeks ago I wrote about tunnel vision and big-picture thinking and this is simply a continuation of that thought from another perspective. If you did not figure it out from the title the image above is part of a famous Monet painting. Monet was a French Impressionist painting, one of many. While I am not a scholar in Art or even really an Art person at all I still find my self able to appreciate art and in particular the impressionist movement.

What I like about them is that if you stand to close or look at only a part of the painting then you may not be quite sure what you are really looking at. But if you stand back and take a wider perspective that what looked like nothing now becomes a painting or image with what is usually a beautiful scene.

We live our lives through our eyes and other senses. Because of this, we cannot see what is not within our senses grasp which often gives us a limited perspective. As humans, we are lucky that we can use experience and knowledge to fill in the gaps but often these are just intentional or unintentional guesses.

“If you know the way broadly, you will see it in everything”

 

Additionally, the way at least western society has been trending we have been taught heavily to streamline our thinking processes for specific things such as a particular area of study, let’s say engineering or Architecture. I have found that this can often even further narrow a person perspective as this often traps them in a particular way of thinking. Take Engineers for example. They can often be notoriously rigid in their thinking as compared to say Architects who want to be a bit more free and well artistic with their thinking. Yet they both need to work together to create something bigger their respective ways of thinking and doing.

Take and moment, or a step back to remove yourself mentally from the moment and look at something more broadly can often mean the difference between success and failure.

The great Samurai warrior Miyamoto Musashi knew this well when he said,

“If you know the way broadly, you will see it in everything”

For he knew if you only saw one piece of the puzzle, or become to tunnel-visioned at the moment, then that could mean a swift demise for your self in battle. In his case, it was the swift demise of those he faced for he was one of the greatest warriors partially because he had a big picture thinking and didn’t do something just because everyone else was doing it.

According to modern science, humans cannot literally multi-task, but we must do our best to focus on multiple aspects to get the best possible results.

In Krav Maga and self-defense scenarios we must think and see as broadly as possible. This is why Avoidance is often the best choice because you are not just thinking about whether you can or cannot win a confrontation but you are also considering things like collateral damage or what might happen legally after the fact.

As Kravist we must also see the way broadly so that we are not caught off guard potentially ending in our own demise.

If you see the way broadly it can also lead to richer interpersonal relationships as it will allow you to see things from other peoples perspectives. Though I admit this is something I am still working on.

So when you look at something are you looking at it too closely so that you cannot really appreciate it in its entirety or have you taken a step back to enjoy the thing, the moment or the Monet painting for what it is. Something beautiful.

 

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Working Title/Artist: Monet: Bridge over a Pond of Water LiliesDepartmen

On April 27th, just before 11:30 am at the end of the Jewish holiday of Pesach, a gunman entered, Chabad of Poway the place of worship and began to open fire.

Then on Tue, April 30th, a shooter enters UMS Charlotte (A university) and opened fire with a handgun.

In both cases, the shooters were misled by hate and prejudice.

In the first case, only one person was killed, in the second only 2. Generally accepted US government standards say it is a mass shooting when 4 people or more have been killed. Though both cases are tragic events, the combined death of both is less than this. (It should be noted that over the years this number seems to keep getting lower).

Compare this to other high profile US shootings like the highly publicized Stoneman Douglas Highschool shooting where 17 people died, or the Orlando Night Club Shooting where 49 people died.

thumb_keep-calm-and-1-stop-the-threat-2-counter-attack-as-37629368So what is the difference between 1 or 2 deaths and 17 or 49 deaths? The answer is simple, in the first 2 examples brave individuals quickly and bravely stood up to the shooters.

Though it is often counterintuitive especially to the untrained, if you are able to and you wish to stop further harm or death then the answer is to run to the threat not away. You see, waiting for the police can take some time and in the time a lot can happen. In Metro Vancouver, the call time is usually somewhere between 5-7 minutes for most serious calls. I was once told in Washington state that the call time can be 20-30 minutes. No matter the call time however, if a police officer is not there with a gun shooting back immediately a lot of people can die.

In the Chabad shooting, the rabbi stood up to the shooter with words in a way only rabbi’s can do and another took the bullet for him. Then the gun jammed and it is my understanding that someone charged him which started the shooter and he ran outside. Another person, who was armed, an off duty LE shot and the assailant until he gave up.

In the second UMS shooting a courageous young man by the name of Riley Howard charged the shooter died in the process but this allowed everyone else to be saved.

The specific details of both are a bit hard to follow as the accounts vary from site to site, but the fact is in both cases when the opportunity arose, someone did the bravest thing they could and confronted the shooter.

Believe it or not, this is the Israeli way. This is also what we teach in Krav Maga. If you are unable to or unwilling to stand up to terror or tryany then get to safety. No one is saying be the hero. But if you have it in you and you are willing at the moment to know that the faster the threat is stopped the more lives will be saved.

I often tell students that Israel most likely would get very different results if they studied the bystander effect. For one something happens, you get two groups of people, those running away, and those running towards. Because they know the more people that are able to stop the threat the faster the threat will be stopped. I even have family that on one occasion noticed odd behavior of someone who entered the store they were in. They tackled him and this saved everyone. For you see he had a suicide vest on and had yet to activate it.

In the west, we often have policies in place that tell people to lock the doors close the windows and hide as best as you can. While in some cases this may save lives the reality is if you are able to get out of the building to safety by whatever means necessary then your odds are even better than simply waiting and hoping.

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Duck and cover practice

Bullets and bombs go through walls and doors. But smashing a window to run home will most likely get you out of harm’s way. Such policies remind me of the cold war when students were told to duck under their desks in case of a nuclear bomb. We now know this is clearly laughable yet why do we still insist on such an approach to dangerous situations.

 

These policies, by the way, are usually for the administrative class. It is easier for those arriving on seen to know who is “the good guys” and “bad guys” it is also easier to count heads. The heads of the dead and the heads of the alive.

In the west, our views on how to deal with these situations seem to be out of touch with reality. If you are unable or unwilling to stop the threat then get away to safety. But if you are able and willing, just know the faster you stop the threat the more lives will be saved.

In the end, the motives of those who would use violence for their own ends is less important in the moment than the fact they are doing it. The why only matters to prevent people from doing it in the future, in the moment the why is quite irrelevant. If one morning someone wakes up and decided to do something hideous, if there were no indicators that they were going to do it then the why is even much less important because the only thing that will prevent tragedy or reduce the tragedy is that in the moment someone had the courage to stand up and stop the threat.

So come, learn Krav Maga, so that you may walk in peace knowing that you have the skill and ability to stop the threats that may enter your life whether you want them to or not.

 

If you have not already figured it out from the title this post was inspired by The Game of Thrones episode 3, Season 8. At this point, it should be an obvious Spoiler alert but you know what it has been more than two weeks so if you are a GOT fan, to damn bad, you should have seen it already. In particular its this scene and quote that inspired it.

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In the scene, the red priestess, Melisandre is in a room that Arya Stark and company (The hound) barricaded themselves in to hide from the Wights (Undead soldiers of the night king). Melisandre has a habit of mostly correctly predicting the future and it is clear to Arya that she had predicted certain things in her life security. This advice is a foreshadow for a following scene where Arya is the one who kills the Night King.

To me, the entire episode and this scene reminded me of the nature of self-defense. So let’s get some context or a reminder of the episode.

The entire episode was a lesson on how not to plan for battle as basically everything went wrong. A large portion of the defending army got wiped out cleanly in the first 5 minutes of battle. (I bet if Genghis Khan was leading the battle this would not have happened to the horde) and every line of defense was inevitably overwhelmed to the point of futile efforts. I won’t get into the details of what I didn’t like about this episode or battle (The battle of the bastards was a far better episode in almost all ways) but this feeling of absolute dread and futility might be what you feel should you ever find yourself in a self-defense scenario.

Let’s start in the Macro. In the days when wars were fought out of survival or necessity often it only takes one person who is brave enough, bold enough and crazy enough to do something so unpredictable it changes the tide of war. If you look into any of Israels earlier wars where they were literally fighting for existance you can find tones of such stories in every battle. In this case, that crazy person was Arya whos training and skill finally paid off. Though how she snuck up on the night king with everyone surrounding him is beyond me but ok…

Now let’s take it to the micro. Where you have now been attacked, overwhelmed and you feel helpless and weak. Survival means doing something so crazy, so bold that it is completely unexpected by your assailant. All you have to do really is fight back, fight hard, fight to win and destroy them in the process so you can stop them as a threat and get to safety.

You see as overwhelming as being attacked can be I can most certainly guarantee they attacked because they thought you were not a real threat. For when people see you as a real threat those who are smart will rarely attack head-on. Predators attack the weak, both in nature and in the human world. Those who can fight back, or are perceived as having the ability to fight back are less likely to be attacked.

Krav Maga teaches you to turn the tables on your opponent using pure raw aggression in a controlled and strategic fashion in order to disrupt your opponent’s ability to continue their attack. Then you either escape to safety or you finish them off as needed.

To me, this is what this long-awaited episode of GOT symbolized. The spirit of the warrior defending themselves to win against all odds. The spirit it takes to defend your self when all seems lost. The spirit to know that if you do give up all is lost so you must keep fighting until there is nothing left but the victor.

This is what it means to learn to defend your self either in war or in a simple mugging gone wrong. The weak shall prevail over the strong because they were never really weak in the first place.

So train hard, train smart, overcome your fears and you too can defeat your night king (Demons).

P.S. I hope you never have to use such skills in self-defense but if you do channel your inner Arya and not your inner Jon Snow…

I have a feeling this post is going to have many cliche’s. As much as we like to hate on cliches because they are unoriginal, they have much truth to them. They are cliches because they are the things we know but choose to ignore because we are a curious species always pursuit of more. And besides who likes being given the answers directly? According to psychology, no one. People generally prefer to be guided to find their own conclusion rather than be given the obvious answer. As an instructor, it is a difficult thing to swallow and yet its how we operate. As I grow older I seem to be letting people find their own path a little more and I hope one day to have the wisdom to know right away who will learn how.

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On my path to find that wisdom I am re-listening (Yes, I do audio books, so much more efficient) to the Jocko Willink‘s book The Dichotomy of Leadership, the best selling sequel to his original book Extreme ownership. The second book as far better than the first as it clarifies somethings from the first one, but dont believe me even Jocko thinks its better.

As they say if at first you dont succeed, try, try again. Or if you make a mistake it’s ok, just learn from it and do better next time. See Cliches.

Anyways, back to my point. In listening to the book again a line stuck out at me. Since it was an audiobook and I can’t remember the time stamp I am going to paraphrase.

It goes something like this, People often want to learn the advanced tactics over building solid fundamentals. 

This is something I have seen many times, especially in the Krav Maga world. I am fairly sure I have written about this before but since it came up again I guess its time to write about it again.

Krav Maga is known for its firearms and knife related self-defense. These are the things people always want to learn, yet they are not the fundamentals no matter who sells it to you.

Occasionally I will get a student who has a previous Krav Maga or Martial arts background. The question is often, when do I get to do the weapons stuff. Or the stuff I saw online? I usually ask them about their background first and go from there.

If you are from another background, dont you think you should take some Krav Maga classes first to get to know what’s different between the styles? Also just because you saw something online dont presume to understand Krav Maga without actually practicing it. First, unless you have been training for 10+ years it is unlikely you are as good as you think you are. Second I dont go to other martial arts and expect to start anywhere other than the beginning. If you want to take regular classes then do so, if not I suggest private lessons, though I am picky who I teach what.

If you are from a Krav Maga background then I hope you can understand that not all Krav Maga curriculum is the same. Many people don’t know this because they dont usually train outside of one or maybe two organizations. If you did you would know what I teach at UTKM is an amalgamation of different organizations curriculums simplified to be more efficient. Which means no matter your Krav Background if you want to rank up under me then you have to learn the UTKM way. Of course if after assessment it turns out you are as good as you think you are in Krav then I will gladly reduce your hours between each rank. But you still need to understand how UTKM works first.

Either way, the scenario is the same. They dont want to spend time working on the basics. The basics you must remember are the foundations of everything. To me, if you can barely punch, kick, move or fight the gun disarms are not as easy as you might think. You must be sure of your foundations less you regret it later.

Speaking from personal experience learning BJJ I can say not learning and mastering fundamentals early is something you will regret later. In my earlier belts, White and Blue, I jumped around gyms, did open mats and had little structure to my training. I was also injured at blue belt which meant limited training. All these things meant I missed out on developing solid fundamentals, as such now at purple belt I am struggling to catch up to those at the same rank. Don’t get me wrong I fully intend to catch up and train more but its something I could have easily done in the past had I trained properly and focused on the fundamentals.

So, fundamentals are important even if you dont think so. No matter your experience or background when you walk into a new place respect their fundamentals. If you don’t like it then go somewhere else if you do then train and do so humbly.

Another cliche is to lead by example. So I will give you an example. Recently the local Krav Maga Global club held an open seminar for group fighting and multiple attacks. The Instructor was GIT Expert 2 Natasha Hirschfeld who was a wonderful instructor. Both she and the other instructors noted that there were so many new students they were most likely going to start with simple Krav basics. They seemed apologetic but it didn’t matter to me, for when you teach a lot sometimes you dont train as much as you should. Though I couldn’t stay for the whole time I enjoyed reviewing some basics. I even picked up a new warm-up game or two.

You see if you go in with an open mind even if you are practicing the fundamentals you will always learn something new if not simply move your way closer to the 10000-hour mastery principle.

There is a reason that in most martial arts even ones where a black belt takes 8-15 years to get on average that they also say the same thing. That they started to learn more at black belt than they did in all the training before. I think this is because they finally mastered the basics they can see other things they missed before.

The basics like any skill take a lifetime to master in any style yet they are what matter the most. Especially in Krav Maga as its the basics that will most likely save your life should you ever find yourself in an unwanted violent conflict.

So if you regularly train, or are coming to train, respect the basics and practice them until you achieve mastery no matter how long it takes.