Posts Tagged ‘self defense’

UTKM Krav Maga Stick FightingSticks or Stick like weapons have been around probably longer than anything else. Where once it was simply a matter of grabbing a branch or twig to keep an attacking animal at distance humans have now developed entire systems dedicated to stick fighting. The thing is, in most cases of self-defense it is unlikely you will actually be in a stick fight rather you will be unarmed and you are faced with an attack with a stick, cane, umbrella, baseball bat or another item that can be wielded like a stick and be considered a blunt force trauma weapon.

The main concern with a stick like a weapon is the impact area. If you get it in the abdomen it will certainly hurt and may do internal damage but will not necessarily stop you from defending your self. If you get hit in the head and if the stick has enough mass it can mean lights out for you. Block a stick with your forearm and you may find your self with a broken Ulna.

On the other hand, if you can get a hold of a stick, or stick-like weapon you may find your self with a great generally non-lethal option to defend your self. How lethal a stick weapon is will depend largely on its mass and what it is made of. Hit someone in the head with a rattan eskrima stick in the head and you will probably daze them. But take a metal crowbar with a hook on it and you could kill them. There is also a very big difference between dense and less dense materials. A truncheon made of ebony, for example, is going to hurt and do much more damage than one made of bamboo, though they would both be terrible to be hit with. The lethality of it would also depend on the intent of who is wielding it and how they wield it.

Either way for self-defense in most cases stick or stick-like objects are a far better choice in the 21st, mostly for legal reasons than a knife or a gun. Of course, if Knives or guns are legal where you live for self-defense then you better be ready to kill with them or else why even bother.

To Deal with Sticks you must understand a few things.

Committed vs Non-Committed as well as blender mode.

Although less important for sticks understanding Attack Types. can be very important is it may tell you how competent the attacker is with the stick.

Difficulty Levels of the Attack Pattern:

  • Committed is the easiest to deal with – Basic Techniques will work well, Running is the best option.
  • Non-Committed is more difficult – Basic techniques, combined with faster reaction time and good footwork will be needed. Running is the best option.
  • Blender Moder – Though far less problematic than a knife, blender mode with a stick usually means the individual is fairly proficient with it and will be harder to deal with. Remember, protect your head above all else.

Stick Like Weapons:

This is mentioned many times so what does it mean. It means anything that can be wielded like a Stick with one or two hands that does not have a blade on it. Items include but are not limited too:

  • Rattan Sticks
  • Short light tree branches
  • Bats
  • Buttons
  • Rolled up News Paper or Magazine
  • Umbrellas
  • Clubs

How each of these can be swung or handled will depend on its mass, Shape, and Size with some being easier to wield than others.

Disarming Sticks:

Unlike Guns or Knives, if you take away the advantage of a stick being medium to long-range and get in close how you choose to disarm it is a little more circumstantial. You can disarm it while the opponent is still standing or you can take them down in a controlled fashion and then take the stick. Really it’s up to your discretion, skill, and the situation.

How to deal with Stick Attacks:

Even though a stick is not as lethal as a gun or knife, it still can be. No matter what happens protect your head and other major hard parts of your body. Remember, soft on hard on soft. If you are going to take an impact or hit it is better on a softer part of your body, but remember, no one said it wouldn’t hurt. This is because if the stick is hard enough and hits with enough force on a hard part of your body it can easily break the bones in that area. If you get hit in the head, however, it can immediately incapacitate you rendering you unable to defend your self. Remember, when dealing with sticks considers the following.

  1. Run – This is always the best option if you are able to. You may not be able to though or you may need to protect others
  2. Use a Stick – If you are able to use a stick or stick-like weapon to counter. Though they may not always be available
  3. Use Weapons of opportunity – Use whatever you can around you to give you an advantage. Use sticks, bags, bricks, jackets, obstacles, and anything you can think of to increase your chances to survive.
  4. Use a Gun – We do not recommend this unless it is life and death. The reason in many places where it is legal to carry a firearm for self-defense this may be considered excessive force and may still mean jail time yourself so be careful and consider the following:
    1. Is it legal where you are to have a gun on you for Self Defense
    2. Do you have a Legal gun on you?
    3. Do you have the required skills to operate the gun under duress
  5. Use hand to hand Combatives – When all else fails, use your body as a weapon. This should always be the last resort when dealing with armed opponents.

Hand to Hand Combative Strategies

  1. Distance & Timing– Maintaining your Distance is key as the opponent with a stick can get you at a greater range, with greater impact than you can. You may have to jump back, sideways rapidly or bob and weave at speeds you didn’t think you were capable of. Thats why its better to just stay out of range until you are ready to strike. The timing is equally important especially if the opponent is hyper-aggressive and quick in nature. Mess this up and you are going to get hit. If you do though, close the distance rapidly without hesitation.
  2. Explode In – when you are ready to move you need to move fast, you need to move explosively and you need to move without hesitation all while protecting your head and face. A common method is the Universal shield. At UTKM we only advise this move when you are close and that is chambering the attack or if you are not sure what the weapon is exactly but it must be close or medium range only. Any other time or as we recommend in general the standard Krav Maga Dive defense. It keeps you aligned while allowing you the optimal position to explode forward all while protecting your head and neck.
  3. Control the weapon arm – once you are in, control one or both of the weapon arms. Now that you have taken away the advantage of the Stick Weapon, assert your dominance with Retzef while Causing Pain, Off Balancing and Disrupting them.
  4. Standing Disarm – Either rapidly or after they are mildly subdued but still standing you may disarm the weapon using any reasonable method you know. If this fails you will need to apply more compliance techniques and move on. If you were able to take the stick you can now use it to defend your self.
  5. Takedown and Control – If you are unable to disengage due to the attacker, the environment or your Job then you must take them down. This must be done in a manner in which you maintain control of the weapon arm and take them to the ground while you are still on your feet and have put them into a control position.
  6. Controlled Disarm – Now they may be disarmed. Unlike a Knife you can focus more on controlling the assailant though controlling the weapon are will still be important. This is because it will be harder for them to do significant damage if they are not in a dominant position but do not forget they still have a weapon. The faster you can get it out of their hands the better. Do not forget you must still be aware of possible additional attackers and may need to rapidly disengage which is another reason to get the weapon. Once you disarm it, put the weapon somewhere on your persons that is safe. While throwing it away is an option, it may allow others to pick it up.

How to Use a Stick Offensively

If you are looking for a comprehensive guide on how to use a stick then this is not it. The UTKM Krav Maga approach is simple. For more in-depth stick fighting practice one of the many variations of the Philipino martial arts like Kali, Eskrima, Arnis.

For us it is simple. Target the head or hard surfaces like the clavicle, elbows and arms, ribs, or Knees. AstrixOur attack Pattens are simple, think an Astrix with six striking angles both forehand and back with a Jab or thrust. Just like any other style a flick of the wrist mixed with good footwork turns this into a formidable weapon indeed. It should be reminded once again though that while a stick-like weapon is preferred for general self-defense especially in the west due to their less-lethal nature they can of course still be lethal if you know how to use them and have the will to make them so. 

 

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UTKM Krav Maga Gun Disarms.jpgThe gun is the tool that changed the world. Where once only the wealthy and elite had the time to train for hand to hand combat while the rest were to busy just trying to survive when the firearm arrived it made it so that the everyman could more reasonably defend themselves. It also changed how we fight wars, as no longer could war be fought on the bravery of the full-on cavalry charge. It really changed the world and it many ways slowly led to the democracy we have today, as we consider them the great social equalizer.

From a fundamental self-defense perspective though, what is a firearm? It is a straight line attack that offers an attack range greater than that of our bodies’ normal capabilities.

From a technical standpoint disarming guns is easier than dealing with knives. However, it is rarely as easy as you think. What if the opponent resists or you miss the initial disarm. When things go wrong, which we should assume they should, you will need to revert to your fundamental hand to hand combat skills while gaining control of the weapon in question. This, despite what many Krav Maga organizations imply, makes firearms disarms more advanced in nature and should not be for beginners.

Disarming Guns:

You must remember that Guns are a long-range weapon, and thus, you will only be able to disarm them if the attacker has been foolish enough to get within arms reach and has failed to control you in a manner that would prevent you from moving to disarm. This would include both Pistols and Rifles.

Disarming rifles is actually far easier than disarming pistols due to the size difference. Pistols are meant for shorter range engagements than rifles which makes them more dangerous in the closer ranges we need to be to disarm them.

Disarming a gun unlike knives should always be done from the standing position and takedown attempts are strongly not advised as you may lose muzzle control in the process.

How to deal with Gun Attacks:

No matter the type of the gun the main thing to consider is your range from the attacker and what tools you have in your proverbial toolbox. Other things to consider are if the attacker is an active shooter or a static threat.

Active Shooter

  1. Run and find Cover – This is always the best option if you are able to and are unarmed. If they have a You may not be able to though or you may need to protect others
  2. Use a Gun and SHOOT BACK! – In Israel, this is a real knife defense. However, you need to ask your self the following.
    1. Is it legal where you are to have a gun on you for Self Defense
    2. Do you have a Legal gun on you?
    3. Do you have the required skills to operate the gun under duress
  3. Charge them – This does not mean charge them head-on, but this could be a possibility if they are a terrible shot particularly with a handgun. If they have a rifle then charging head-on is not advisable. BUT, the faster the threat is taken down the faster everyone is safe. If more than one person come from different angles and charge and jump on the attacker it is the fastest way to stop the threat. Just know, there is no guarantee you will not be hurt thus this is not a decision to take lightly. Fundamentally, you must overwhelm them by Causing pain, Off Balancing and disrupting all while getting control of the weapon.

Another thing to consider is other people. There is a belief in gun disarms that you must never point the gun at anyone but the attacker. While this is certainly preferably trying too hard not to point it at other people during the attempt may result in hesitation and failure. So long as you do not get shot you can stop the threat which is the main goal. If someone is an active shooter then their goal is to shoot as many people as possible. By going for them and the gun you will 100% reduce the overall casualties and if you think otherwise you may not understand the mentality of such people. If you do disarm a gun from an active attacker and in the process, someone else gets shot, just know it is NOT your fault and you did the right thing.

Static Threat: Disarming a Gun

If you are able to get close enough to actually get a hold of the gun or weapon in question then you are in luck, your attacker has failed to take advantage of their strategic advantage of range.

These scenarios may also be the time you regret not taking acting classes. This is because a person with a gun who is close may not be looking to actually shoot you, but they may also. You may need to act in a manner that allows you to get in range. Some times you have to feign weakness or play along with what they want.

With that being said, the ideology that “Just do what they want”, is always the correct decision is incorrect. It MAY be the correct decision, but it also may mean your death. Only you will know. Sometimes they may leave after you do what they want, sometimes they might just kill you because it’s easier not to have witnessed or sometimes they just might panic and shoot you accidentally. This is why in Krav Maga we must stop the threat before it becomes worse.

It is also important to remember the Gun as a weapon operates on the straight line which means you need to get off the centerline either by re-directing the gun or getting yourself off the centerline or both. One thing to remember is that fine motor movement is not preferred in Krav Maga, yet when it comes to guns you may need to grab the gun. It is important then to remember, you must first push it off the centerline and then grab it. At speed, it looks like one step but it must always be two distinct steps.

Regardless, at all points, you MUST control the Muzzle direction as it is the dangerous part.

  1. Get Off the Center Line by Re-Directing the gun– The first goal is to get off the center line while immediately controlling the weapon. If it is a modern pistol then and it is appropriate based on the range you should have no problem re-directing then grabbing the pistol as you will be grabbing the slide, not the barrel. If it is a revolver or certain long guns, then grabbing the barrel is strongly NOT advised in which case you may consider the next step as your first step. Many disarm, especially with rifles teach grabbing the barrel first. However, this is a deeply flawed strategy especially with a rifle, as grabbing the barrel will not stop the gun from functioning and even if you are off the centerline even after one shot it will be extremely hot which may cause you to let go prematurely. If you cannot safely get a part of the gun that is plastic, composite or wood then move to the next step.
  2. Get Off the Center Line by Re-Directing the Weapon Arm – If you are unable to get the gun in your first move, then you must re-direct the weapon arm. It is also even more important especially if it is a pistol then you get your head and body off the centerline as well. The reason’s this needs to happen is the gun its self is too close to safely re-direct and grab, or you missed the gun and had to go for the arm.
  3. Control the Weapon Arm(s) – Once you are safely off the centerline you must firmly control the weapon arm. While your goal is to disarm the gun as fast as possible against a strong or aggressive person this can be difficult thus it is imperative that you control the weapon arm so that you remain off the centerline.
  4. Disarm the Gun– This must be done as fast as possible as the quicker it is done the quicker the threat is reduced. The individual may still be a threat even without the gun but at least it is out of their hands. There are only a few positions you will end up in with either pistols or long guns so remember what they are so that no matter what happens in a disarm attempt you can identify the position and do the correct disarm. Either way, Control the Muzzle while you are doing it preferably pointed at the attacker when possible.
  5. Create Space and Assess – Once you have the weapon you must immediately create space. Remember the advantage of the gun is a range, if you stay close you could also be disarmed. Disarming a person does not stop them as a threat so you must be ready to deal with them appropriately.  This step can get a little complicated depending on your skillset and the scenario but here are a few:
    1. Back away with your nonshooting hand up in a defensive position, with the gun down. This is best for civilians. Remember, if you disarm the gun and then immediately point it at the attacker and then the police show up who do you think will be the problem? Prior to this keep the space and be verbally dominant.
      1. A. In a situation where you have disarmed the gun but didn’t create sufficient space, use the gun as a blunt force weapon. Metal, composite and wood hurt far more than a fist. This must be a step as the assumption you can always use the gun as intended is not always true. It may not be loaded, or even functioning thus this becomes a great option to do massive damage to the attacker.
    2. Create space and tap, rack and be prepared to use the gun. This is the standard advice often given. If the gun was loaded or had ammunition in it and is functioning this could be the answer. Tapping and “Racking” or chambering a round may act as a deterrent to the attacker. However, if they attempt to call your bluff then you must be prepared to use this option. If you are not, then you better be prepared to move back fast as you attempt to maintain space.
    3. If you have your own firearm after you disarm and create space. Draw your own firearm. It is preferable to use your own as you know what state it is in at all times (or should). This option can be slow especially if there is not a chambered round. It also means you might also only be shooting from one hand which will decrease your accuracy.

Regardless of which option you need to do it requires good assessment. This is a second by second decision-making process based on your skill, the attacker, the environment and many other factors. The correct decision is very relative and can be difficult to make. The one thing to remember is DO NOT hesitate. Make a decision fast, and hope your training if you have any kicks in.

These many reasons are why at UTKM we do not consider anything firearms related as beginner material and are limited to advanced students.

Krav Maga 360 Knife Defense from BelowOften people think the most problematic weapon to deal with is the gun, yet ask most experts and they would say the knife is far worse. Knives are readily available, are easy to create from a variety of things and can be an effective and fatal tool in the hands of anyone.

On average a mass knife attack will see hight casualties than other types as they are silent and require little skill. When a gunshot goes off and there are screams people know to run. But when screams are heard and no one knows what to do, there is often a delayed sense of panic and by then it may be too late.

To deal with knives you must first understand Attack Patterns:

Committed vs Non-Committed as well as blender mode.

After this, the basic knife principles are based on the Attack Type. To Survive an attack know the following

Difficulty Levels of the Attack Pattern:

  • Committed is the easiest to deal with – Basic Techniques will work well, Running is the best option.
  • Non-Committed is more difficult – Basic techniques, combined with faster reaction time and good footwork will be needed. Running is the best option.
  • Blender Moder – Novice and Advance techniques may work if you are committed without hesitation. Running is still the best option.

Disarming Knives:

While many styles of Krav Maga and other Martial Arts will teach a knife to disarm while both parties are standing, UTKM does not teach this nor endorse this approach. A person with a knife may be faster, stronger or more aggressive and attempting to control at the wrist will preventing their advances and disarming the knife is more about luck.

We only teach and practice disarms when the attacker has been taken to the ground and reasonably been controlled. This is because they have now lost a vast majority of their explosive energy. It also makes it easier to run without them catching up as well as allows for control and arrest techniques all while keeping others safe.

How to deal with Knife Attacks:

No matter the attack pattern or type dealing with knives always starts with these options, If they are not an option in this order then you must use your hand to hand combat skills.

  1. Run – This is always the best option if you are able to. You may not be able to though or you may need to protect others
  2. Use a Gun – In Israel this is real knife defense. However, you need to ask your self the following.
    1. Is it legal where you are to have a gun on you for Self Defense
    2. Do you have a Legal gun on you?
    3. Do you have the required skills to operate the gun under duress
  3. Use Weapons of opportunity – Use whatever you can around you to give you an advantage. Use sticks, bags, bricks, jackets, obstacles, and anything you can think of to increase your chances to survive.

Attack Type: Straight Line

  1. Re-Direct the Attack – It is preferred that you re-direct so that you end up in Reference point 2 (Dead Side), but you can also redirect to reference point 1 (Live Side), but you must be quicker and add in an extra attack.
  2. Control the weapon arm – Control the arm holding the knife while Causing Pain, Off Balancing and Disrupting your attacker.
  3. Disengage – Safety and forcefully push your opponents away ensuring it is not easy for them to slash back. Keep your hands up, create space and run.
  4. Takedown and Control – If you are unable to disengage due to the attacker, the environment or your Job then you must take them down. This must be done in a manner in which you maintain control of the weapon arm and take them to the ground while you are still on your feet and have put them into a control position.
  5. Disarm – Only now they may be disarmed. No matter what happens on the ground your focus is to get control of their weapon arm and get the weapon away from them. However, you must still be aware of possible additional attackers. Put the weapon somewhere on your persons that is safe. While throwing it away is an option, it may allow others to pick it up. It should also be remembered that the knife is evidence and should be easy to find after the fact.

Attack Type: Circular

  1. Block the attack – Block the Attack with good technique and structure (360). Ensuring that you are exploding in if it is high, and getting your lower parts out of the way if it is low.
  2. Control the weapon arm – Control the arm holding the knife while Causing Pain, Off Balancing and Disrupting your attacker.
  3. Disengage – Safety and forcefully push your opponents away ensuring it is not easy for them to slash back. Keep your hands up, create space and run.
  4. Takedown and Control – If you are unable to disengage due to the attacker, the environment or your Job then you must take them down. This must be done in a manner in which you maintain control of the weapon arm and take them to the ground while you are still on your feet and have put them into a control position.
  5. Disarm – Only now they may be disarmed. No matter what happens on the ground your focus is to get control of their weapon arm and get the weapon away from them. However, you must still be aware of possible additional attackers. Put the weapon somewhere on your persons that is safe. While throwing it away is an option, it may allow others to pick it up. It should also be remembered that the knife is evidence and should be easy to find after the fact.

Attack Pattern: Blender Mode

At any point the attack type and pattern can switch to the hacking, slashing and stabbing that is blender mode. It also means you may have lost control. If the first 3 options have failed you have limited options as the attacker can switch the attack angle and speed to rapidly to try to control or stop the attack.

  1. Maintain your distance – You must manage the distance between you and the attacker, you often need more space than you think especially against an aggressive attacker.
  2. Cause Pain, Offbalance, Disrupt – You must do something to cause a brief delay in their attack for this is your chance. The UTKM preferred method is a low line side kick, but anything that gives you a chance without serious harm is acceptable.
  3. Explode in with hands up – You must decide to go and when you do you need to move without hesitation. It may look ugly but so long as you protected your vitals and got to the next step you did well.
  4. Control the weapon arm – Control the arm holding the knife while Causing Pain, Off Balancing and Disrupting your attacker.
  5. Disengage – Safety and forcefully push your opponents away ensuring it is not easy for them to slash back. Keep your hands up, create space and run.
  6. Takedown and Control – If you are unable to disengage due to the attacker, the environment or your Job then you must take them down. This must be done in a manner in which you maintain control of the weapon arm and take them to the ground while you are still on your feet and have put them into a control position.
  7. Disarm – Only now they may be disarmed. No matter what happens on the ground your focus is to get control of their weapon arm and get the weapon away from them. However, you must still be aware of possible additional attackers. Put the weapon somewhere on your persons that is safe. While throwing it away is an option, it may allow others to pick it up. It should also be remembered that the knife is evidence and should be easy to find after the fact.

Canadian Guns.jpgIt no secret that I am pro firearm ownership. I am also pro-science. No I am not some crazy gun-toting lunatic or even someone who hits the range every weekend to enjoy legal shooting practices. I support gun rights as to me they are the great equalizer. Also as there are now in the world so many guns, as well as the technology to have guns I believe that any law-abiding citizen should be able to access them so long as they are reasonably trained in their safe use and are not mentally unstable.

As a self-defense instructor, I understand that there are many situations where those who use guns in an illegal or violent manner care little for those who do the opposite. Thus I believe it’s fair that law-abiding citizens be able to use and understand them especially in they even they are required for self-defense.

In Canada, while there are some very specific cases where a gun can legally be used in self-defense I generally tell people they are not allowed to be used in self-defense as the answer as to when they can is very complicated, very legal and very subjective. That does not mean, however, someone cannot try to use one against you in which case if you get a hold of it you better know how to safely use it lest you end up injuring your self. Therefore, in order to prepare for those who would ignore the law, I think it is very reasonable for those who respect the law to have the opportunity to use and train with firearms for the purpose of at least knowledge. I also hunt so there is also that.

Yet there are many out there, who believe that no one should have guns and that the exclusive right to such tools and the right to use of force should only be those in the government. This, by the way, sounds very close to behaviors one might see in a country with a dictator. There is a reason that in America, for example, they have the right, to have guns. It was understood that governments or at that time kings, often overreach their power and do things because of the “because I said so” rule.

People often seem to think this isn’t the case anymore yet individual rights and freedoms have slowly been eroding in western countries in the last 30 years and not enough people seem to care.

In Canada, we once again have a government hell-bent on restricting and limiting gun access and use. This despite having fairly strict and controlling rules in place already. Recently the current Minister of public safety Bill Blair, said that they may be using an OIC do change the gun laws. This if you do not know what it is, means they basically are pulling the “because we say so” rule, which is usually reserved for very specific matters like serious public unrest for example. This allows them to bypass any democratic processes that would normally be required to make such changes.

To me, this very much seems like the actions of a government that doesn’t care what most of the people or experts want. This is very political as it is a response to the unchecked gang violence in Canadas largest cities Toronto, and Montreal. Which also happens to be strategic voting blocks for federal elections. This seems to be the policy come hell or high water that the current government, as well as past governments under the Liberal brand, seem to want to push. This despite the fact that RCMP and other police chiefs, including Toronto, as well as the police unions have said that banning guns or restricting things further will not hamper an increase in gun violence, usually related to gangs.

So why, despite what the experts say, and despite what the data says do people in such a position of power insist on making such changes? Probably because the cause of the problem is complicated and hard to deal with. But changing the laws at the stroke of a pen is easy and buys votes in areas who might be wavering in strategic areas.

So what is the problem? It’s not guns its self but rather those who would use them illegally. Here is a short documentary from the CBC, highlighting gang violence and guns.

(For those of you reading outside of Canada, it should be noted that the CBC is the government-funded broadcaster. The current government recently re enstated them a large budget that was cut by the previous government. They are generally considered biased leaning in support of the Canadain Liberal party and are generally disliked by those who support full gun rights in Canada. However, they still are more objective in their news that most American news outlets. They have most of the sources I have posted regarding the general lack of support for a gun ban. This suggests that if even they present the case a gun ban is not really the solution then perhaps it might be true.)

Why people choose to join gangs is a complicated one, just like the factors determining homicide rates as loosely discussed in my last blog post. It is no one answer fixes all but usually a combination. Regardless, such people, often obtain guns illegally as in Canada at least if they are violent criminals or have a history of violence it is not likely they will be able to obtain a Canadian Firearms License or (PAL). So how do they get them? It’s easy, they are smuggled in from elsewhere, usually across the border. But don’t take my word for it, again here is a short video from the CBC discussing this problem.

Essentially, it is black market illegal guns responsible for the majority of homicides related to gang violence. As a certified PAL instructor I also know, that of deaths related to guns in Canada at least at any given point 70-80% of gun-related deaths are unfortunately actually suicide. 15-20% are classified as a ‘Misuse of a firearm’, which includes homicide, and the rest are usually accidents. Of these, most of the ones that are what we we consider violent homicides are again with illegally obtained firearms.

This means, that once again be careful of the stats. If stats are presented to you saying 15-20% of gun deaths are with guns, its a lot scarier than saying, yes but most of them that were violent used illegal guns…

This means that definitely in Canada, and I would make the argument also for the US, that guns themselves are not inherently the problem. But rather a failure to manage our societies to control gang violence, failure of governments and their respective agencies from curbing the illegal stream of illegal guns, or other illegal goods across the borders.

But what government in their right might would ever take responsibility for the issues? Likely not as then they would be hard press for re-election.

The Data and the experts who are objective all know guns are not the real problem. Using fear-mongering and misinformation to ban guns just to make it look like you did something is just wrong no matter which side of the political aisle you are on.

(I would like to point out that anti-gun politics sounds very similar to anti-climate change deniers, both groups ignore the data and the collective expertise on the subject matter. This is also another complicated topic which I could write about but I feel is maybe not the best topic for this blog.)

So once again, I say be objective, be honest, and leave the guns alone. At the very least learn your current gun laws (Ask an expert, like me) before you spout your opinion. And if you are in government and you dont know your own un laws before your make all sorts of falls claims like our current Prime Minister has done multiple times I say shame on you.

So please, be objective, stop trying to ban guns just because you do not understand them, or the actual issues that cause the violence in the first place.

chicago-police-tape-violent-crime-murder.jpg

I sit here writing this article in Surrey, BC. Considered by locals of metro Vancouver to be one of the more crime-ridden dangerous cities. The question I ask is how true is it actually? Recently in Richmond, BC in a local Tim Horton’s I heard what I can only presume to be an undercover officer, talking to two uniformed RCMP. While I only got the gist of the conversation, I think they were discussing the potential/Current transition in Surrey, From RCMP to a new Local Municipal Police force. The plain-clothed individual was discussing how dangerous it was in the Guildford area and how bad an idea it was to change to a local police force (A sentiment I do not agree with at all). The funny thing is I do not think its that dangerous as I can without much worry walk down the street late at night. I am not at all worried about being mugged or killed. The most likely cause I can think of me being seriously injured is a driver veering off into a curb that I happen to be on. Granted there are areas of Surrey with a higher crime rate. Or areas where there are mentally ill, homeless or drug-addicted individuals. Yet one of the major public transit areas, King George station happens to be in an area where many of these individuals spend their time. Yet day to day 10s of thousands of commuters travels without incident. Yes occasionally someone gets belligerent but I can’t recall the last time there was a homicide that wasn’t pre-meditated or targeted. No, it isn’t the neighborhood of the 50s with clean streets and white picket fences yet comparatively to a global standard it is still very safe.

It can be difficult to quantitively measure danger from one city to another, or from one country to another due to differences in data collection, the accuracy of data and what constitutes a specific crime, but it is clear some are far more dangerous than others. Lets for example sake compare the top 10 most dangerous cities in the world by homicide to the top 10 most dangerous cities in Canada by Homicide. As well as the U.S. and various Global Data from country to country.

Homicide was chosen as it is the most extreme example of Violence as usually recorded by Crime Statistics. Additionally, it would take considerably more research to compile the data for all areas of crime, and unlike Canada, it is not neatly organized for me to look at so, for now, Homicides it is. This is of course not to belittle other crimes, such as rape or theft or property damage.

Let’s look at and unpack the data surrounding homicide. Lets also for the sake of argument, that as the most extreme form of violent crime it is a relative measure of the overall crime or rather danger to life from one place to another. A more in-depth look at data might show differently but for the time being this comparison seems like a reasonable assumption.

Global top 10 most dangerous cities by Homicide (2018)

Rank City, Country Homicides per 100,000 Actual Homicides Population
1 Tijuana, Mexico 138 2640 1,909,424
2 Acapulco, Mexico 111 948 857,883
3 Caracas, Venezuela 100 2980 2,980,492
4 Ciudad Victoria, Mexico 86 314 365,089
5 Ciudad Juarez, Mexico 86 1251 1,462,133
6 Irapuato, Mexico 81 473 580,808
7 Ciudad Guayana, Venezuela 78 645 823, 722
8 Natal, Brazil 75 1,185 1,587,055
9 Fortaleza, Brazil 69 2724 3,939,460
10 Ciudad Bolivar, Venezuela 69 264 382,095
     Total: 13,424 5,908,610

*date from 2018 numbers for publication in 2019 Source: https://www.usatoday.com/picture-gallery/travel/news/2019/07/24/most-dangerous-cities-world-tijuana-caracas-cape-town/1813211001/

Canadian Rates

As this is a comparison, and I am in Canada, let’s use some Canadian data.

Top 10 most dangerous cities in Canada by Homicide (2018)

Rank City, Province Homicides per 100,000 Actual Homicides Population
1 Williams Lake, BC 28.03 3 10,704
2 Thompson, MB 20.64 3 14,535
3 Prince Rupert, BC 16.25 2 12,308
4 Wetaskiwin, AB 13.13 2 15,229
5 Penticton, BC 11.13 4 39,950
6 Oak Bay, BC 10.19 2 19,627
7 Marinville, AB 9.64 1 10,369
8 Langley, BC 7.12 2 28,076
9 West Nipissing, ON 6.83 1 14,633
10 Cold Lake, AB 6.73 1 14,848
     Total: 21 180,279

*date from 2018 numbers for publication in 2019

There is clearly a stark contrast between your likelihood to be murdered outside of Canada, Particularly in many people’s favourite tourist destination Mexico than in Canada. In fact, statistically, you are more likely to be murdered in small-town Canada, and Ironically most likely in Smalltown BC, than in the big cities.

Top 10 most dangerous cities in Canada by Homicide (Large Cities, 500,000 + Population 2018)

Rank Rank by Population City, Province Homicides per 100,000 Actual Homicides Population
23 6 Edmonton, AB 4.18 41 981,280
32 7 Winnipeg, MB 3.2 24 749,534
38 8 Vancouver, BC 2.81 19 676,904
42 10 Surrey, BC 2.31 12 518,467
44 4 Calgary, AB 2.17 29 1,336,274
45 1 Toronto, ON 2.15 63 2,929,886
59 9 Quebec City and area, QB 1.56 9 578,712
67 5 Ottawa, ON 1.41 14 994,837
74 2 Montreal and area, QB 1.23 25 2,033,189
79 3 Mississauga and Brampton 1.05 15 1,432,200
       TOTAL: 251 12,231,283

For reference, the Total Canadian Homicides in 2018, In Canada, was 651

US Rates

How does this far compare to our southern neighbors, the 3rd most populous country in the world has extremely comprehensive data collection which would take quite some time to look through but in general the US with a population of 327.2 Million in 2018 , had around 15,498 Homicides, with a rate per 100,000 of 5.0.

It should be noted that the per 100,000 homicide rate has been in decline for several years in the US.

Top 10 most dangerous cities by Homicide in the US. (2017)

Rank City, Province Homicides per 100,000 Actual Homicides Population
1 St. Louis, Missouri 66.07 2082.29 310,284
2 Baltimore, Maryland 55.77 2029.01 613,217
3 Detroit, Michigan 39.80 2056.67 670,792
4 New Orleans, Louisiana 39.50 1121.41 397,447
5 Baton Rouge, Louisiana 38.26 1026.81 227,403
6 Kansas City, Missouri 30.93 1724.31 484,948
7 Cleveland, Ohio 27.77 1556.76 385,391
8 Memphis, Tennessee 27.73 2003.32 652,765
9 Newark, NJ 27.14 896.45 283673
10 Chicago, IL 24.13 1098.86 2,706,171
      15595.89 6,732,091

*date is from 2017 FBI data as compiled by Wikipedia

The total 2017 number of homicides in the US is 17,284. This actually places the US 7th in the world by Homicide numbers globally. This is the data often cited as the issue with the US and violence, more particularly gun crime but of course this does not paint the whole picture. As you can see the total Homicide number is 17,284 but the top 10 cities in 2017 had a total Homicide number of 15,595.89 which accounts for 90% of the total homicides. This means that if the total country has a rate of 5.3 homicides per 1000, these 10 cities account for most of it. This means the entire rest of the country without these cities would have a rate much closer to other western countries. This suggests that it is less of a country problem and more to do with crime and other cultural issues specific to these cities.

Global Rates

Ok so we have done Canada, and the US, let’s take a look at the world by Country. It should be noted that global stats are definitely not 100% accurate as some countries have very poor data collection as well as what is determined a crime or homicide can vary but it can be assumed that generally anyone who was killed without wanting it would be if recorded, a homicide. Additionally, the data is not to date, as it seems the data is based on the last known accurate report. It is likely some countries are more, and some less but this gives an approximate idea.

Top 10 Most Dangerous Countries in the World by Homicide per 100,000

Rank Country Homicides per 100,000 Data Year Actual Homicides Population

(Data Year)

1 El Salvador 61.80 2017 3,942 6.378 Mil.
2 Jamaica 57 2017 1,647 2.89 Mil
3 Venezuela 56.33 2016 17,778 31.57 Mil.
4 US Virgin Islands 49.26 2012 52 108,191
5 Honduras 41.70 2017 3,864 9.265 Mil.
6 Lesotho 41.25 2015 897 2.175 Mil.
7 Belize 37.90 2017 142 274,681
8 St. Vincent and the Grenadines 36.46 2016 40 109, 643
9 South Africa 35.90 2017 20,336 56.72 Mil.
10 Saint Kitts and Nevis 34.23 2012 18 52,591
    45.18 (Average)   48,716(Sum) 109,543,106 (Approx. Sum)

 

For those who are wondering, Canada is 151st out of 230 countries with a per 100,000 rate of 1.80.

Top 10 most dangerous countries in the World by Actual Homicide numbers

Rank Country Homicides per 100,000 Data Year Actual Homicides Population

(Data Year)

1 Brazil 30.5 2017 63,895 209.3 Mil.
2 India 3.22 2016 42,678 1.324 Bil.
3 Mexico 24.80 2017 32,079 129.2 Mil.
4 South Africa 35.90 2017 20,336 56.72 Mil.
5 Nigeria 9.85 2015 17,843 181.2 Mil.
6 Venezuela 56.33 2016 17,778 31.57 Mil.
7 United States 5.30 2017 17,284 325.7 Mil
8 Russia 9.20 2017 13,293 144.5 Mil.
9 Columbia 24.90 2017 12,237 49.07 Mil
10 The Democratic Republic of the Congo 13.55 2015 10,322 76.2 Mil.
    21.36   247,745 (Sum) 2,527,460,000 (Aprox Sum)

Again if you are wondering Canada, is 66th out of 231 countries with a total homicide number of 660.

This means that the top 10 most dangerous countries by per 100,000 numbers in the world account for approximately 1.4% of the world population based on the 2017 number of 7.5 billion. Yet you are statistically more likely to be murdered in those 10 countries even though some of them have low population counts, with an average rate per 100,000 of 45.18 and a total number of 48,716 Murders.

Compared that to the top 10 most dangerous countries by actually homicide numbers accounts for approximately 33.6% of the world’s population with an average rater per 100,000 of 21.36 and a total number of murders of 247,745. The average is heavily skewed by 4 of the 10 countries as some of them like India only have a rate of 3.22 per 100,000.

Remember, especially for the global numbers these are approximate as the data years are not exactly the same and these are only recorded homicides and there may be many more thousands that go unrecorded in many of these countries.

So what does this all mean?

If you know anything about statistics, or if you even picked it up in the numbers. Depending on what numbers you use can dictate how you paint the picture if a place is more dangerous or safer. This is called manipulation. In this article, I am simply presenting what I found, how you choose to interpret it is up to you.

A question you could ask is why do some countries with a low general population of high homicide rates while other countries with large populations have low homicide rates. It could simply be that the statistical data is not entirely accurate, or a more probable cause is that there are specific things that are often regional that cause the populous to be more inclined to murder each other.

Some of these factors could be:

  • Low socioeconomic status
  • Poor education
  • Gang Violence
  • War

Of course, there could be many other factors but these are generally some of the big ones. Take Mexico for example. Mexico is currently experiencing dramatically higher homicide rates to the constant violent confrontations between Cartels, Military and independent groups like the Mormons. This spike in violence is heavily related to the drug trade, corruption and a lust for power.

A few years Ago starting in 2009, Metro Vancouver saw a higher than normal homicide rate due to an ongoing Gang War between rival Gangs

This would have given the perception that Vancouver was more violent but statistically if you were not involved in these wars you were relatively safe, though several civilians were killed in several incidents which cause a severe crackdown on the violence. Since then things have only ever been safer.

In America, as mentioned there are 10 cities responsible for most of the homicide and without said cities, their per 100,000 would actually be fairly low. This topic could be looked into quite in-depth but for now let’s just say it is most likely due to low socio-economic status of certain regions in the cities, lower education rates and of course gang Violence. It is likely that if these issues were addressed their homicide rates would dramatically decrease.

Despite Wars or other spiking factors, I would seem that over the last 10-20-30 years there seem to be several cities in any country and several countries which consistently are at or hover near the top 10. This means the underlying issues fueling the homicide rates are clearly not being dealt with. Here is a lose break down over the last few years by country of per 100,000 homicide rates to paint the picture.

IS IT MORE DANGEROUS?

Here’s the thing, I live in the Metro Vancouver area of Canada, which both statistically and anecdotally is safer than many places in Canada. And Canada is considerably safer than many of the other countries listed. Yet every so often I get students coming in saying this city is very violent and not safe. Much like the officers I overheard earlier discussing how dangerous that area of the city is.

Sure relatively to other areas the petty crim is probably, measurably higher but does that make it more dangerous? I think not.

Our perceptions often deceive us. In the western world we are being fed a narrative that things are more dangerous than ever, but clearly just on numbers alone compared to other countries or places it simply is not true.

While statistically, Williams Lake is more dangerous by Homicide but its population is just over 10,000 people. In Winnipeg, at the same time they had 13 times more homicide but with a population is also about 90 times larger. The Williams Lake homicides, if a regular annual occurrence, could suggest an issue with the community it’s self, while the rates in Winnipeg may just indicate it is a city with a specific crime problem that is hard to manage. Both these questions could do with some in-depth analysis, but ask your self as a visitor would you feel safer in a small town compared to a large city? I personally might assume that it is safer in small towns but the statistics would say otherwise. Then I would remember it’s not so black and white and probably not worry too much about it either way as I am not in a Gang nor am I intentionally looking for trouble both of which would dramatically decrease my likelihood of being murdered.

One thing I think I could say for certain is that there is a good chance that someone living in El Salvador, or parts of Mexico would much rather be living in Canada, or, The US because for them it is 100% without a doubt safer. (This does not mean there should be open borders FYI, this is a silly ideologically driven idea that in practical application is beyond foolish. But a topic for another time perhaps)

Like everything though, it is all relative.

A student coming to me who perhaps was assaulted, or has a history of being assaulted will perceive things to be more dangerous not less. It is their personal experience changing their perception, which most likely includes mental damage from their traumas. This could be PTSD or other things.

Regardless of your personal opinions or perceptions, Fact; globally on average, Despite the increase in population, the general Crime Stats are heavily on the decline (A good thing). This is why population increase does not mean more violence in the modern world so clearly, those other factors mentioned may be the cause.

If you are not familiar with the Author Steven Pinker, you should start. He has looked into this topic heavily and the data shows that no, things are not getting more dangerous but quite the opposite. In his book Enlightenment Now, this topic is heavily discussed, and I highly recommend it.

So how dangerous is your city, country, or hemisphere? While yes, if you are in one of the top 10 most dangerous places (measure it however you like) then things might be quite dangerous and hard. But if you happen to grow up in Vancouver, or many other western countries. Guess what, you are doing just fine and trauma aside, and outside specific countries, it is likely that for you my friend, the world is actually safer than ever.

And remember, Facts do not care about your feelings.

You all thought I was joking.  No, I don’t joke about sleep.

So during class, Jon (lead instructor, has been compared to a dying wolf spider with fewer legs EDITORS NOTE: First I am aware of this but sure)  posted a picture of me to the UTKM Instagram story. Look at the picture below carefully as I shall be referring back to it.

When I found out about the post I, of course, was annoyed and I then reposted it and threatened to rant “share about my life experiences” or whatever Jon always is asking people to do. So in my mild annoyance, enjoy my rant.

If you’ve been to enough classes or poked around on the blog, you will have heard of the mental awareness color code. If you are a student of UTKM who is reading this, you should know that ‘white’ is when you are unaware of your surroundings, usually in a safe place like your home (If you don’t, you need to read all the principles and listen more in class). Eyes closed, headphones in, I’m not going to really argue about that. I was pretty close to white. However, I WOULD argue that if you are asleep that you are closer to black, which is when your brain can’t protect you as it’s shut down. While your brain doesn’t actually turn off while you sleep, sleeping is a lot closer to having been choked out, fainted, or gone into ‘the black’. And I was not in stage black, as you will see if you keep reading. If you stop now, then you are wasting all the effort I put into making a convincing argument. I even did research! Like five minutes worth but still… Might as well keep going to make sure I don’t just say “LET ME SLEEP I WAS TIRED”.

So, is falling asleep in Krav class a good idea? Well first we have to keep in mind the location. Krav class. That’s very different from a Skytrain. I personally wouldent recommend falling asleep on a Skytrain? I mean, I’ve done it, but I also missed my stop once cause of that soooooo TRY TO GET YOUR RECOMMENDED AMOUNT OF SLEEP AND DON’T DIE.

The only people who should be there (Krav Class) are students, instructors, or people interested in joining. There are not going to be random people just hanging out there for no reason. Also if people are coming to class for the purpose of  attacking other students for no real reason and UTKM isn’t stopping it, that’s a major problem. This is why I’m glad that the students are nice (of course until they get to orange belt and they’ve been long enough to feel comfortable with one another, then all sorts of things might happen.)

Look at how nicely that leads to my next point that I’m not sure should been its own point but is anyways cause I’m the author yay! You need to be able to trust the people you train with. To be honest, I’m not sure if there’s a blog post, annnd okay, there is I just checked. It’s more about being a good (student and) training partner but it is close enough. The way we train, it could be easy to injure each other. To all the new people, don’t worry, injuries thankfully don’t happen that often. That’s because we know how to be careful and trust our skills and those of our training partners. Now, if someone can refrain from hurting you in class (where it would be easier to pass it off as an accident), why the !#$@ would they attack you unprovoked in plain view of others (please no one attack anyone in or out of class). Note that I said your fellow students should not being trying to kill you at least, they will and have pulled pranks (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE).

Now, let’s say a threat did come in with the intent to harm someone (with a knife because I say so) during that class. They aren’t going to be going for me specifically as I don’t make bad life choices! I think? If there’s anyone out there who wants to kill me, mind giving me a heads up? Or you could just not. So this person has come to stab people. First, they’d have to get through a room full of dancers. Why bother looking in other rooms when there are convenient things to stab right there? But okay fine. They LOVE dance and refuse to hurt the dancers, moving on to a small room where your author lies helpless. -_- I’d like to draw your attention to the kick shield wall on the right side of the picture. This wall is between me and the door, making me hard to see. Plus why attack me when you can stab Jon, who is conveniently right there. Now in this class, we have Jon, a yellow belt, three white belts who have a decent amount of experience, and obviously me. I have faith in their combined skills to take this attacker down. Or failing that, at least make enough noise so that I wake up and A) fight them off B) steal their knife and stab them or C) run and call the police. I’m voting for C but who knows. Regardless, I’m not dead!

So why would it be a bad idea to fall asleep in class? The place is safe(ish, watch for pranks), the people are more or less good, and you have a bunch of free bodyguards! At this point if you can’t relax you may need to look at the blog again and make sure you aren’t in mental state orange. Guys I’m covering three of five states, that’s so many more than I planned for. This is the exact and the only reason why we should expect the unexpected (to my shock and dismay, there isn’t a blog post about this but Jon has talked about it enough sooooo good enough also I didn’t look that hard). Right, I had a point. If you can’t get out of orange while you are at Krav, it is kinda a problem (obviously be prepared during drills/sparring). But if you are in a place where you trust the people around you (to a certain extent) and know that if something does go wrong the people around you are prepared to handle it and you are STILL worried someone’s going to attack you? You are getting paranoid (or you made very very BAD life choices). I can’t think of anything else to say to transition to the conclusion. I’m so glad this is voluntary and I’m not getting a grade back. That would NOT go over in my English class.

A few things the picture doesn’t show you. I was feeling sick that day which *I* thought was justification for a nap, clearly I was wrong.  I watched at least 1.5 hrs of class, so it’s not like I was sleeping through all of it. Now, are you ready for this? I wasn’t actually asleep, just listening to a podcast. And you see that knife in the bottom right? Later on I actually grabbed that knife just in case (if you’ve been half-heartedly scrolling through and not paying attention, allow me to reiterate, DO NOT TRUST ANYONE NOT TO PRANK YOU! They WILL betray you).

Hey look at that. A well-reasoned explanation that ties in Krav principles and is more than “aaaaaaaah i’m tired let me sleeeep” bet you didn’t expect that! I don’t think I did. I put way too much work into this if only I could do the same for my school work. I’m not kidding I have school tomorrow (actually it’s now tomorrow) and I’m doing this instead of schoolwork. Moral of this story is don’t sleep at Krav if you don’t want people to poke/kick you awake because it’s time for class, or build a FREAKING FORT AROUND YOU! WHY? I DIDN’T DO ANYTHING.

That is all,

Karis out!

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?

 

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.