Posts Tagged ‘Training’

This is part of a series on our instructor training program. To understand this series and how our Assistant Instructor Course and Full Instructor Course work, please start with Part 1. This post is a self-introduction from one of our current Assistant Instructor candidates.

My name is Andrew.  Jon made us give our names. Our real names, too. Dammit. I so wanted to be called “Hawk of Hell”.  I’m one of the people up there in the image above. The rest are my family.

I’ve been studying Krav Maga at UTKM for, oh, a year and a half now, barring downtime for work, illness, etc. I’m currently enrolled in the six-month long Assistant Instructor course, which comprises of hours of weekly classroom study, physical practice, many written and verbal tests, culminating in a final exam and an orange belt test.

By the time I’m an Assistant Instructor, I will know plenty more about every aspect of Krav Maga than I’d ever even thought existed. Technically, I volunteered for this process and this blog post is to explain why. Also, I have to write it or else. Fear is the little death. I must not fear…unless you’ve been kicked a lot in the groin. Then fear. Anyhoo.

As a child and young man, I took a fair amount of beatings, being too smart, too chubby and, mostly, too mouthy in a small rural community where none of those attributes, especially combined, were particularly… appealing to other children. This gave me an early respect for what physical harm can do in terms of motivation and deterrent, as well as a serious desire to not be on the receiving end of said harm.

In the 30+ years since I first tried a martial art (Karate of some kind when I was about 12), I’ve enjoyed the idea that there could be a system to not getting beaten up, as opposed to my more generalized don’t-talk-so-much-oh-crap-run-fast methodology. I’ve tried Karate of various kinds, Kung Fu, and Aiki-Jutsu, mostly dabbling in these as life took me from one place to another. I’ve liked all of them. Some I’ve loved, like Tai Chi. My tiny, murderously precise Tai Chi teacher helped as well. Suffering brings focus, kids!  Wait… small, murdery, hyper-fussy… I may have a “type…” Hmm.

I’ve also been in a few (probably too many) real-life fights and I noticed that outside individual techniques (snap kick, straight punch, etc.), relatively little of what I learned in a dojo or studio translated very well to sudden application in the rain or on the cement or while walking home thinking about math classes (math – where getting punched in the face isn’t the lowest point of your day). Sadly, part-time martial arts training wasn’t really helping me fight safely and by the time I’d learned it well enough, I was actually old enough that people had stopped using their angry bits to get me to stop talking. Mostly.

However, I’d long had an interest in Krav Maga, mostly because I’d read the founder, Imi Lichtenfeld used what became Krav to punch Nazis. Nazis.

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The fighting style for Nazi-punching. Hell yes, I’m interested! Sign me up! And my children! And my wife!

This might have gone on as an unrequited love affair forever except my teenage daughter moved to the city with us and (wisely) demanded some self-defense training. A more in-depth study of practical defense systems indicated that Krav Maga was a very solid choice for someone interested not in out-boxing or out-grappling an opponent on a mat, but more in surviving an attempted robbery or rape while on their way home, thinking about math. Also for punching Nazis, should any be so foolish as to rear their dyed blonde heads again. Anti-rape, anti-nazi, so much goodness in one eye-gouging package.

Today, my whole family does Krav – schedules allowing. The young ones for protection, the older ones for fun. Since I’ve already proven I can raise larvae without all of them dying (yet), our Lead Instructor decided that I should be applied to the (theoretically) more durable students. I might have said no, but having been a frequent groin kick-ee has reduced my will to oppose said groin kick-er. It’s a very Krav method of promotion. Just like real life, sometimes “choice” is just a synonym  for “sudden stabbing pain.”

So far, my experience with the Assistant Instructor program can be summed up in that Jon is a cruel bastard with the compassion of a dying wolf spider. Less legs, though.

 

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Our lead instructor, Jonathan among UTKM students after a Yellow Belt test.

 

I hope only to make it through the six (6) two-hour-long exams (no multiple choice, what, are you kidding? You mad fool!), the midterm and the final exam in order to throw up all over my Lead Instructor during my Orange Belt test. Gonna eat hot dogs and clams in oyster sauce just before the test – good luck cleaning that smell out.

Then graduate and do to others what has so thoroughly been done to me. Yesss.

Gotta have dreams, right? Good! Hands up! Look around! Condition yellow, kids. Never know when there’s a big guy with a (padded) bat right behind you…

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If you are a regular audience of my Warriors Den podcast, then you know that I have a long-standing battle with depression. No, I am not talking about the kind that SJWs have because they can’t handle a bad grade or the reality that shitty behaviour can get you fired in the real world and makes you unhireable. I am talking about chronic depression which I have had my whole life. I always recognized that I have experience some problems throughout my life, but I couldn’t figure it out. It took a manic depressive episode several years ago for me to finally realize the issue.

Now, some years later and 2 years on SSRIs have helped me to get my depression to a reasonably manageable point that is allowing me to move forward with my entrepreneurial aspirations.

First off, I would like to say that if you are what I would consider “functional with a diagnosed mental health issue” (by functional I mean employable and or capable of going to school or operating fairly normally), then I don’t think you should ever use your mental health as an excuse to skirt responsibility, which a lot of people do. Sure, it’s ok to have a down day or even a week, but if you use it as an excuse to get out of homework, work or other issues, then you are either just fall into the category of non-functional or you just need to learn better coping mechanisms. At the end of the day, your problems should not always be the problems of those around you. Just saying. Moving on.

Some of you may also know that 2016 was not a great year for me with regards to physical health. Early 2016, I tore the cartilage in my left foot, which made it very painful to run or jump or move properly. Also, I do not believe in medicating the pain away, so it was a great discomfort. When that was finally clearly up, I tore my ACL in my right knee, which basically killed my ability to move forward in my BJJ training. Last December, I finally got surgery and have been recovery rather speedily thanks to the fact I have projectpower.ca attached to my UTKM gym giving easy access to rehab tools and advice. This helped me to keep up with my rehab training, even when I didn’t really want to because it was right there in my regular training environment. Convenience helps!

Recently, I have been amping up my training with running. Finally! After well over a year of no running, I can run again. As well, I’m doing more regular weight training.

Here is where the factor of depression comes in. I noticed that my recovery and increased training coincided with the weather having finally started to warm up and be nicer. I realized, here I am as someone battling with clinical depression and heavily affected by SAD (seasonal depression) and heavily injured and unable to train properly for the last year or so. Man, 2016 was a shitty year! (And not because Trump won because I actually won a bet because of that.)

I have been told by countless people that they are  astonished by how unfazed I am by major complications in my life. I am generally fairly steadfast, and while I may be super disgruntled during a moment of crisis or when a problem arises, I always think that I need to keep on trucking. Resilience is a skill that so many people today have forgotten about. Personally, I can’t say why I’m particularly skilled at resilience, but I know now how important it is to general success.

Anyway, I have been thinking about why I am so motivated to train now. I did not realize how much the injuries had affected my general motivation, mainly due to the aforementioned attitude about resilience. I also don’t think I realized how much the seasons affect my motivation.

It’s easy for experts to say, “Exercise helps with depression and makes you happy!” For the most part this seems to be true, but when I am depressed, I generally don’t want to exercise at all. Add that to the fact that I couldn’t do much physically…

A big wake up call for me happened when I was holding my last Yellow Belt Test in March. Most people didn’t notice, maybe a few probably did, but holy shit was I out of breath! I often write about how being an instructor should not be about how great you are as a practitioner, but how great your students become from your training. Yet, I think in this case, my students are my motivation to become better. Realizing how out of shape I was made me think to myself, “For my student’s sake, I cannot be this out of shape.” Not that I was ever really an athlete, but you know…

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You guys keep me going.

 

 

With my regular depression mildly under control and seasonal depression nearing its end and my crippling injuries behind me, I now find the motivation to train from my students (and the sun), which is something I did not fully appreciate until now.

I am not sure what I am really trying to say about this topic other than that living with depression can be tough, especially when you are high functioning. At least in my case, so many people depend on me and my ability to function. It’s especially hard in this industry when there are so many hyper athletic, super motivated people around me getting better and better as I watch and think, “Man, I wish I could be that motivated.” What is your motivation? No matter what level of intrinsic motivation you have and no matter the condition of your mental health, people still need to find their motivation.

rawI supposed I have found mine in my students and those who depend on me. It is good to know because without knowing that this motivates me, I would only be a facade of an instructor, telling my students to do something that I struggle to find on a daily basis. Though my students may not realize it, I am grateful that they are there to continue to drive me forward so that I can offer them the best training experience possible.

If you struggle with a mental health issue, don’t let it get you down (pun intended). Don’t let injury cripple you and keep looking for what keeps you motivated. Slow and steady is better than nothing at all. Two steps forward and one step back is still progress.

There is a popular belief that learning Krav Maga is fast and easy, that it only requires a couple months of training, and that you can quickly be ready to defend yourself for life. Yet, many instructors mention the decades of Krav Maga training they have done to become masters. Krav Maga techniques are built upon natural human reflexes, which means it has a very short learning curve for the average person. However, it’s not a quick fix.

Then, why do people advertise this?

Historical Reason. In the Israeli Defense Force, average combat soldiers might get 10-60 hours of Krav Maga training during their service. For Krav Maga instructors, their course could only take about 6 weeks long.

Business Reason. It is an easier business practice to go around the world, teaching short and intense courses. Israeli Krav Maga instructors tend to choose this method instead of taking the time to develop students from scratch.

Cultural Reason. At the core, people are different from country to country and region to region. The Krav Maga mentality that people in Israel or Serbia have is that they train knowing that they will likely need to use it. In addition, the Israeli military is a conscription army, which allows them to choose the best of the best citizens of the entire country to make their army strong. Which means that the level of Krav Maga they display is definitely not reflective of the general population. In peaceful countries, like Taiwan or Canada, people don’t have the same kind of mental and physical toughness, at least in the urban areas. There are certainly rough neighbourhoods or bad weather, but there is a lack of day-to-day dangers. Their priorities are not the same. Thus, it takes a much longer time to educate and train students into the Krav Maga mentality.

UTKM lead instructor, Jonathan Fader served in the IDF in Givati. This video is published by the Israeli Defense Force and depicts baseline combat soldiers, but they are not the elite, which is what most people visualize. These infantry soldiers probably have about 10-60 hours of Krav Maga, but just physical training.

The Krav Maga Mentality

Muscle memory: If you don’t use it, you lose it.

One thing that Israeli instructors fail to understand is that the fight or flight instinct takes a long time learn how to control, and then it takes longer to learn how to maintain control. The same goes with instinctual reactions and fighting spirit. Sure, six months of proper fight training can enhance one’s ability to protect him or herself, but what about after six months? Students here will lose what they learned because they live in a much more peaceful society than Israel. Thus, in order to maintain their abilities and control, they should train a certain amount per week.

Krav Maga is unlike traditional martial arts. It’s not because it’s easy to learn. It’s not because it doesn’t take time to practice. It is because time is not wasted on forms or preparing for competition, which are useless in the real world. Despite what most major Krav Maga instructors advertise, you need to train hard to keep some of the most fundamental moves, such as 360 defense. Krav Maga techniques are built upon human instinct, but it does require years of practice to ingrain it into your muscle memory. The more you practice the more confident you are with them.

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It’s all about the mind

For people in war-torn countries, the warrior spirit comes naturally to them because of their experience. For people in peaceful countries, the warrior spirit takes longer time and more consistent training to develop. Training should be a lifestyle – a warrior lifestyle – not a short cut or quick fix.

daveyoung2In any martial art, there is always the risk of getting injured. I think most martial art and self-defense students have experienced at least one mild injury during their training. This is the trade-off. Training that is meant to prevent violence requires violence, so it must be imbued with an inherent risk. Yet,being trained allows you to reduce risk in a real fight.

How can you avoid injury in training and avoid injury in a real situation?

As a musician, my hands and my brain are the two more important things that allow me to write, record, and perform. Thus, throwing punches and getting hit in the head may seem counterintuitive towards preserving these body parts. There is a balance between avoiding injury to maintain my ability to work, and taking the risk of injury to be able to defend myself and my family.

First of all, I am NOT a fan of being punched in the face or hit in the head in any manner.  Many studies show that repeated blows to the head, even those that don’t cause concussions, can cause long-term changes in the brain and have lasting neurological effects. That being said, it is very important from a Krav Maga perspective to experience high pressure real world situations and be able to react appropriately.

In a fight, you are going to get hit, so experiencing the real thing in a simulation-type environment is invaluable as a learning tool.  At UTKM, we spar in a very controlled manner, and this is great for safety.  Even so, accidents happen. Everyone is at a different point in learning to control their strikes (and their emotions) so the best way to avoid getting hit and protect your brain is to train hard and improve your technique.

The best way to avoid getting hit and protect your brain is to train hard and improve your technique.

When it comes to protecting my hands, the same idea applies: technique.  I work hard on improving my technique so that I retain thorough muscle memory of the proper movements and positions, whether I’m punching a bag, focus mitts, or sparring with one or many opponents. This reduces my chances of getting injured — remembering to keep my hands up, fist at 45°, elbow slightly bent, and so on. When I ingrain this into my muscle memory, I won’t need to remember to do it in a distressing situation, my body will know it and do it.

Better hurt in the gym, than killed on the street

Perhaps, I will never be required to fight for my life or to protect my family physically. Nevertheless, in the end, I would rather train hard and perhaps break my hands defending myself successfully, than be overly worried about hurting myself in training and ending up seriously injured in a real confrontation.

In a fight, you are going to get hit, so experiencing the real thing in a simulation-type environment is invaluable as a learning tool.

donna2My husband and I have been training partners since I began doing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, which means we’ve been sparring for longer than we’ve been dating. We’ve found some perks to having a BJJ training partner who is also a life partner:

Shared Commitment is Strong Commitment

Since before we were a couple, Mike and I have been going to the same BJJ classes, training at the same gym, and making the same group of training friends. It has helped to stay committed by sharing the commitment with a loved one. Some days, when one of us is worn out, the other is an encouraging voice to give the push we need to keep with our training regimen. We keep each other active, engaged, and in shape!

Cooperation and Friendly Competition

We spar to strengthen ourselves, but also to make each other better. This applies to all teammates.

My husband is larger, stronger, and more experienced than I am. Thus, as you’d expect, when we are fully sparring from a fair start, he tends to win. However, the skill gap in BJJ closes as we reach the higher ranks. Since Mike has cut back from his training to focus on school, and I have increased my training regimen to include teaching, the gap has started to close even more and our matches are more even.

We are not just motivated by our own success, but also that of each other. It is exciting to see him do well against others and me as well. When he executes a sweep or submission fluidly and with technical proficiency, that’s exciting and I feel proud. He feels likewise for me. So in spirit of good-natured competition, we agreed that the first time I submitted him, he would treat me to a nice dinner at a local restaurant. When that moment finally came, his reaction was one of excitement and pride, “Great job baby, that arm control was sleek and set up the armbar perfectly, I’m so proud of you!”

An Inside and Outside Perspective on You

Training with your life partner means training with someone who knows you very well personally and physically. As such, they can comment on your development, how you are changing, where you are improving, and where you could use growth. We all carry an internal bias, and someone who sees your performance from the exterior can give you a helpful perspective on where you stand and what you can work on.

Having Someone to Test New Moves and Troubleshoot Techniques

When BJJ embeds itself into your life, you find yourself thinking through techniques at any odd hour of the day. It’s invaluable to have someone you can turn to and say, “I tried this kimura setup and it didn’t maintain the control I needed. Can we recreate that position and work through the mechanics?”

To get a non-BJJ partner to accommodate this… good luck.

However, if your partner doesn’t train, it may be worth convincing them to give it a shot. BJJ is such a martial art that it is not a violent one. Technique and leverage matters more than force. Sparring can also take many forms – aggressive, dynamic, flowing, acrobatic, playful. Obviously, during an argument or rough patch is not the best time to break out in an aggressive sparring session. But to find a partner who loves your sport as much as you do? It’s priceless.

What perks would you add to the list? Leave a comment or tell us on Facebook!

 

This is part 1 of a series on our instructor training program.

UTKM  Instructor Course

Urban_Tactics_logo smallOur aim at Urban Tactics Krav Maga has always been to design a structured Krav Maga school allied with international Krav Maga organizations to provide traditional Israeli style training. Vancouver is a city with relatively low crime rate and a low population density. It is a very small market compared to European countries with a high population density, high GDP, and high movement between borders. In an environment which faces more chaos and turmoil, lots of enthusiastic people are willing to learn self-defense skills, whereas Vancouver is not known for its warrior culture.

Despite the geographical differences, we have managed to build a solid student body who believe in our practical Krav Maga training. As student numbers grow, we have started to nurture additional teaching staff for the school.

The Instructor Course is designed by both chief instructors at UTKM, Borhan Jiang and Jonathan Fader. We have both acquired various Krav Maga instructor certifications from IKI, IKMF, CT707, KMG, and CKMI. We are also trained in other martial arts including BJJ, Muay Thai, MMA, and Western style knife fighting. In addition, we draw real life experience from serving in both the Israeli and Canadian military, as well as private security. By combining everything we learned, we have created a dynamic training program for our assistant instructors.

The course consists of two portions: Assistant Instructor course (AIC) and Full Instructor Course (FIC). The AIC has a focus on instructional techniques and delivering our Krav Maga curriculum. The FIC focuses on leadership and management.

Once certified as an Assistant Instructor, you may teach at our school or privately under the UTKM credentials. In order to operate your own school under UTKM, you must also complete the FIC.

For a list of currently certified instructors and their ranks, please visit our UTKM team page here.

Our training program is a mentorship

The UTKM Assistance Instructor Course is the first stage of becoming a Full Instructor under the UTKM brand. It is a post-secondary style apprenticeship program rather than just a short course like other organizations. Oftentimes, other schools host week-long courses to produce lots of “instructors” over time and also procure maximum profits. They also often end the courses with a couple handshakes, and then you are out in the teaching world alone with little support other than possible email exchanges. Some places even offer weekend instructor courses or online certification. It is an insult to serious Krav Maga practitioners around the world. Our instructor course can take between 3 months to a year to complete depending on the commitment level of each candidate.

Our instructor program is a long-term mentorship which allows us to invest in a few students per year, really cultivate their teaching skills, and provide immediate support whenever necessary (like Jedi training). It is similar to MMA or boxing, in which you get a professional coaching team with a striking coach, grappling coach, conditioning coach, head coach, and more…..to support just one fighter. We implement similar support to our assistant instructors.

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How do I become an instructor candidate?

Candidate Requirements:

  • Minimum yellow belt ranking under UTKM (completed 70 hours of training)
  • A strong, competent warrior able to succefully demonstrate the ability to spar with contact
  • Mature and calm individuas, able to maintain control among chaos
  • Effective communication and public speaking skills
  • Can represent UTKM as an instructor
  • Able to acquire Canadian Federal Firearm License (PAL) or local equivalent (Alternative options available)
  • Achieve orange belt by end of AIC

Currently, we hand pick the candidates within our school. We get to know our students in and outside of classes (for at least 70 hours of training) before even offering them candidacy. The AIC program is a long-term commitment and we’ll be working together for many years to come, thus we are very careful who we accept.

What does the program involve?

AIC Curriculum:

  1. 50 hours of in-class instruction (history of Krav Maga, instructional techniques, etc.)
  2. 25 hours of instructor-focused physical training
  3. 25 hours of supervised teaching
  4. Must achieve Orange Belt (additional 70 hours of training) by the end of training

FIC Curriculum:

  1. Additional 50 hours of in-class instruction (leadership, management, etc.)
  2. Additional 15 hours supervised teaching
  3. Conduct a yellow belt and orange belt test under supervision
  4. Must achieve Green Belt (additional 140 hours of training after orange belt) by the end of training

At the time of this being published, becoming a UTKM instructor is by invite only. In addition, the FIC is still under development in order to offer the best possible education for our instructors. We will be opening it up in the future to a few applicants per year. If you are thinking about doing this in the future, please inquire by  emailing Josh Hensman at info@urbantacticscanada.com.

Sports Drinks – Do You Need Them When Exercising?

Posted: March 19, 2016 by Forge Fitness + Martial Arts in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

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So do you? Well, it depends…

Whenever I am at a gym, martial arts school or fitness centre I see guys (yes, mostly males) gulping down sports drinks such as Gatorade, Powerade, or something made from a powder. I often ask myself, is that drink necessary in this situation? To answer this I usually observe the individual’s activity, and more often than not, I answer my own question with a resounding ‘no’. I want to be clear though, there is a lot of confusion about sports drinks and hydration in general. Hopefully this brief article will clear-up some of the misinformation to help you understand how to drink effectively, and what to drink when you do.

Sports Drinks as a Marketable Product

Let’s be honest. We all know that nutritional supplements and ergogenic aids (performance enhancing supplements) are big business. They are huge in competitive and elite sporting circles, as they genuinely can give an edge to a competitor, and also because when the public see their favourite athletes slurping on a cold sports brew at half-time, this is good for sales. The companies that make them know that the real money is in marketing these products to the general population. So, companies have a vested interest in seeing sports drinks sold to Joe and Josephine Public in order to increase profit. Does that mean sports drinks don’t work or are unnecessary? Read on…

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What is a Sports Drink

For the purpose of this article a sports drink will be considered to contain electrolytes (sodium and potassium) and carbohydrates. Most commercial sports drinks contain both, but sometimes the electrolytes are missing. Typically a before and during exercise sports drink should contain 6-8% solutes, so a 500mL drink would 30-40 g of carbohydrate plus electrolytes. A post-exercise recovery sports drink would likely have a higher carbohydrate load.

The Importance of Being… Hydrated

Water has a number of important roles in your body. With 60% of your total bodyweight made up by water, suffice to say, if you run out of water you die. With only 1-2% of body water loss your heart has to work harder and your aerobic endurance decreases. Continued fluid loss ensures further consequences. When exercising, fluid loss is most likely from sweating, particularly in hot climates. The highest recorded sweat rate was 3.7 litres per hour, by Alberto Salazar when preparing for the 1984 Summer Olympic Games. Replacing fluid lost from sweating when exercising is very important. Rule of thumb, the more you sweat, the more you should drink.

When to Drink

It is a great idea to start drinking before you begin your exercise. During exercise a consumption rate of approximately 250mL every 15 minutes should be sufficient for really intense or long duration, sweaty training. For lower intensity or shorter exercise periods, periodically sipping water is fine. Remember not to wait until you are thirsty! Once you feel thirsty you are already 1-2% dehydrated. Continue drinking once you have finished exercising to ensure adequate recovery.

What to Drink

If you are going to be exercising for less than 45 minutes, then water alone is probably sufficient. Should that 45 minutes be high intensity, high sweat yielding exercise, it will be important to replenish both electrolytes and macronutrients soon after exercising, and a sports drink during/after the session might be worthwhile to decrease your recovery time.

Have you ever experienced muscle cramps during or after exercise? This is likely due to  a loss of electrolytes from your body through sweat. If you are anything like me, you will have noticed that sweat tastes salty. This is because it has a high concentration of sodium. Electrolytes are essential to effective muscle contractions, so when you are losing them quickly through sweating, you will need to replace them reasonably quickly. The fastest way – a sports drink. Longer duration vigorous exercise, high intensity exercise, and exercise in hot climates are three contexts in which using a sports drink does make sense.

Where sports drinks truly come into their own is competition events. If you are competing in a long duration (+45 minutes) event or have multiple events on the same day sports drinks can be vital to maintaining high performance. This is even more essential in hot climates or events that require high intensity physical work.

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Please use re usable water battles when possible.

To Drink or Not to Drink?

Definitely drink! If you are trying to decide whether that drink should be water or a sports drink, ensure that you consider the ambient temperature of the climate you will be exercising in, the intensity of exercise, and the duration of exercise, before making your choice.

Unless you have been living under a rock, the media has been covering more and more situations involving death of a civilian by a police officer using a firearm. While the majority of these covered are out of the United States, there is occasionally such an event in another country that makes media headlines. Though it is not as widespread or as widely covered in a country like Canada, “death by cop” as the media often calls it, is something that happens whether you hear about it or not.

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In Canada’s case, the death of Sammy Yatim by Toronto Police constable Forcillo has been in headlines since it occurred in 2013. As I am writing this the date is January 25th and the verdict of the trial against Constable Forcillo which started in October has been announced.

The results are as such:

On the charge of Second Degree Murder – Not Guilty

On the Charge of Attempted Murder – Guilty

For a little bit more of a detailed breakdown of the trial and history of the events leading up to the trial see this National Post article:

http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/jury-has-reached-verdict-in-trial-of-toronto-cop-charged-with-murder

Before I continue on with this, one of the main reasons the public went into a frenzy over this particular case was because within minutes of the death video footage of the event was made public on Youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lG6OTyjzAgg

Another video is the released footage from the bus can be seen here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dx2iQnYMQfM

First of all, if you found that disturbing, please take a breath and understand that this is the kind of thing that any and all police officers may have to face at any point, and before you sit and judge, ask yourself what you would have done in his place.

Of course, you most likely easily answered – oh, of course I would not have shot! But despite what many of you think, it is not such an easy decision to make, especially in the moment. Here is a short clip (Yes, I know its fox news but still, it makes the point clear) of an activist who is critical of police actions going through simulated real training:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfi3Ndh3n-g

OK! So let’s go back to the case. The question you have to ask is – how can someone be found guilty of attempted murder when the person in fact died, and then not be found guilty of more severe charges? Here is the first problem in logic with the verdict.

Does this mean I think he should have been charged with the more severe charges? I want to be perfectly clear, that NO, I do not think he should have been charged with any of these charges.

Now before you jump down my throat for saying that, you must understand this DOES NOT mean I think he should go unpunished.

Before I go on with my opinion on the events that occurred I would to establish that unlike most of you reading this, I am far more qualified to asses a use of force situation objectively. Why? Because I served in the IDF for two years, which in itself doesn’t mean anything but most of my active service was in the West Banking doing police work. There were numerous times when I faced potential threat to not only my health and wellbeing, but also to others, and I know exactly how I react in such situations. In addition I have dedicated my life to studying and teaching use of force through Krav Maga and firearms training. In addition, I am also a certified machine gunner and infantry sniper. But I am not here to talk about myself, but I would just like to give you some idea as to why my thoughts have a little more weight than the court of public opinion.

Ok, so let’s break down the event. Here are the facts that matter in my eyes:

  1. We have a knife wielding individual on a bus that has made threats to the general public
  2. Before the police arrived, passengers vacated the bus in a panic and Sammy remained on the bus
  3. Sammy is relatively contained in the bus
  4. There were multiple officers some, with guns also drawn but then re-holstered and others with guns still drawn
  5. The first 3 shots from the constable are potentially justifiable
  6. The next several shots were not really justifiable
  7. After shots were fired and Sammy went down, not one of the police immediately jumped in to either
    1. Take the knife away
    2. Offer immediate first aid until medics could arrive
  8. The constable has a history of misconduct among other things.

So 1 and two are fairly self-explanatory and I don’t think I need to get into this any further.

Number 3 -The fact that Sammy was in the bus with a knife and no hostages means that he was relatively contained, which should have made it more comfortable for the police to attempt to calm Sammy down. They could have (any or all of them, tried to calm him down with relatively little worry that he would harm others or themselves. This means that putting the fault for not to attempt to calm him down cannot be exclusively put on constable Forciillo because any one of the officers should have done this.

Number 4 – Many of the officers made the assessment that it was necessary to draw their weapons. This means that any one of them knew that they could have potentially needed to use lethal force. Some decided to re-holster because for one individual you really do not need that many guns drawn. In this situation, with Sammy contained, 1 or 2 drawn pistols would have been enough. If you are sitting there saying that they did not need to draw their guns at all then you are mistaken. They were in relatively close proximately and were under 21 feet which means that had they had their guns all holstered Sammy could have easily charged and stabbed any one of the officers before they drew their guns. If you don’t believe me, believe myth busters:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckz7EmDxhtU

This means drawing their guns at that range was 100% justifiable in any and all circumstances when a knife is present.

Number 5 – The first three shots are justifiable in the moment because Sammy walks into the bus then quickly turns to the door at a faster speed. IN THE MOMENT, not one of you could have determined if he was charging or not. If you assessed he was charging, which officer Forcillio clearly did, then the correct response is to shoot. This is a split second decision and making the wrong one could be fatal to more than just the knife wielder.

Number 6 – Because Sammy was already CLEARLY down the next round of shots is not really justifiable unless he was trying to get up and attack, which he was not. This action is most likely what caused the crown to seek charges in the first place and potentially caused the public to freak out (I say potentially because the public is generally very anti-police in Canada).

Number 7 – After the first 3 shots were fired and Sammy was CLEARLY down officer, Forcillo or any other officer for that matter should have immediately charged in to remove the knife and control Sammy, and then offer medical treatment. While I cannot specifically say why this was not done even though it is what should have been done, it is very likely that this comes down to Canadian police training which is what his defense attorneys are saying is why he took the actions he did. I have talked to many Canadian police officers and it is my opinion that due to their training they are severely lacking in hand to hand combat and arrest training, and as such do in fact rely a little too much on their firearms as a means to deal with a situation. This means that if training is a big factor, which is based on what I know and the lack of reaction from the other officers present that it is potentially the police force and the governments fault for such behavior.

Number 8 – This is a big reason why the constable should be punished. Due to his historic bad performance as well as the poor judgment and potentially negligent action causing death it is clear that no matter what happens he should not be allowed to continue as a law enforcement agent.

So why do I think finding him guilty of attempted murder is wrong you ask? The obvious is the logic of finding someone of attempted murder to someone who died is completely illogical but that’s far too easy an explanation.

In my opinion, charging a law enforcement officer of ANYTHING to do with murder when responding such a call, regardless of good or bad judgment, is wrong and irresponsible. This is essentially saying that anytime an officer uses lethal force against someone with a weapon even if it was a good kill, will potentially result in a murder charge for doing their job.

You may not think this is a big deal, but in a legal system based on common law, which all of Canada except Quebec uses, means that this case sets precedents. This means that any time an officer kills someone in the line of duty the Crown counsel can seek to use this case as a means for various murder charges. This also means that if this charge is to stick, all future judges and Juries may be required to use this case as a general standard for future decisions.

So you are now putting another legal hurdle in the way of officers from doing their job, which is protecting the public form unwanted harm.

This means that instead of simply forcing officers to continue to be judged by the court of public opinion which is based on emotion and BULLSHIT usually, there is now that, plus legal precedents working against them.

Don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely scenarios when an officer should be charged with murder but these should be reserved for very specific unique scenarios that does not involve an officer doing their job.

For example a police officer just off work but is still in uniform with his firearm. Their neighbor whom they do not get along with just let his dog shit on their lawn. THAT’S It, the officer had enough draws is gun and shoots. This would be murder because it has nothing to do with the officer doing his or her job but rather is an emotional outburst resulting in death. Which, by the way, in Canada would be manslaughter.

So how do we solve this problem? Clearly In constable Forcillos case, he should no longer be allowed to continue as a police officer and should in the future not be allowed to do any work in a similar line of work.

I would like to point out that I do not find fault in the jury but rather in the Crown Counsel, the legal system and the government. This is because he clearly should have be punished, but the only option of the three charges they could punish him with was the lesser one. Because if they didn’t find him guilty of something then another bad cop (Which is an extreme minority, despite what you may think or what the media may say) gets to walk free. This would not only make the situation worse but most likely lead to protests and potential riots. As such, I think this verdict is more of a political decision than actual justice.

What should happen is the legal system and government should create a new charge. Let’s just call it for arguments sake extreme negligence and judgment in the line of duty. This new charge, would result in a criminal charge. Would result in a dishonourable discharge. Would result in a ban from any job of similar nature and would result in probation.

Such a charge would:

  1. Rid the force of any actual bad officers from a legal and moral perspective
  2. Prevent them from doing any such action again in the future
  3. Give them a criminal record
  4. Give them punishment in which the public so often demands.

Such a charge would NOT:

  1. Set legal precedence potentially further restricting officers from using legal force when required
  2. Continue to aggravate police public relations

So, Again, Forcillio should NOT be found guilty of anything to do with murder but he SHOULD be punished and SHOULD NOT be allowed to continue as a police officer.

Now with that being said there is clearly a BIG problem with training for the overall police forces in North America, but this is largely political and related to budget concerns.  This of course, is an issue for another article but is definitely a problem.

So before you jump on any anti-police bandwagon, please consider the following:

  1. Legal ramifications of any decision in court under common law
  2. The fact that you were most likely NOT there in the moment
  3. The fact that you most likely DO not have any training on the subject matter
  4. The fact that it wasn’t you in the moment and if you say you know how you would have reacted with no prior comparable experience, then sorry but you are lying to us and to yourself.

Regardless, there definitely needs to be improved relations between the police and the public lest we descend into either an anarchist state or a police state, because if things continue as they are these are, these are two potential devastating outcomes.

As a  strength and conditioning coach, students in our school often ask me what they can do to be more fit for Krav Maga (KM). My first thought when anyone asks me what they can do to be fitter, is why? Or more precisely, what is it you are going to be doing that makes you want or need to be fitter? In the world of fitness training, context is king. “I need to be fitter because I have young kids and I can’t keep up with them anymore”; “I want to be fitter so I can train more effectively in my sport”; “I am having trouble lifting and carrying my groceries these days, so I want to get stronger”. The reason, situation or context here is vital and plays a large part in guiding the components of your subsequent training program.

pushup

To come back to martial arts, conditioning performed for one martial art is often  very different to that done for another, based on the physical demands of the discipline. For example, having trained for high level sport karate competitions I know that developing speed and explosive power is essential, whereas overall strength and explosive power are higher priorities for wrestling. As many of you probably know, unlike most martial ‘arts’, KM  is not a competitive or artistic discipline. In fact, it is more accurately a martial system than an art. So to decide what type of conditioning is best suited to improving the fitness of KM practitioners, I need to know what demands will be placed on their bodies when using KM.

When KM practitioners have to use their skills it will either be in a school training situation or real life. Unlike other martial arts which involve competitions there is no specific time frame for which a KM practitioner needs to prepare. No five-minute round that is finished with the ringing of a bell. If you are attacked in real life, that engagement could last five seconds or five minutes. While most street fights tend to end pretty quickly, if confronted with multiple assailants you could be facing an ongoing skirmish until you can break free and make your escape. So should a KM practitioner be training for every situation? Ideally yes. Most of us though do not have two hours a day, seven days a week to work on our fitness in addition to our skill based training. Those sorts of numbers are only achieved by professional fighters or the obsessed. We can, however, train to develop the appropriate energy systems and improve our overall muscular strength, power and endurance.

To better illustrate what I am trying to achieve with this training plan imagine a real life situation where you are confronted by three would-be assailants. After being threatened for money and sensibly tossing your wallet to their feet, they decide to attack. You assess and react to the initial attack (5 seconds) and then run for it. After a short five second sprint (10 seconds), one of the assailants catches you by the shirt and pulls you to a stop. Again you defend and strike that individual while attempting to maintain good positioning and awareness of the other assailants (20 seconds). You break away a second time and start running, but get surrounded as you reach a wall (30 seconds). This time you have to engage with all of the assailants, pacify two of them and repel the last  (50 seconds) before starting to run again. You finally stop running when you can no longer see or hear the last assailant (120 seconds). From start to finish the encounter lasted two minutes.

Now, aside from making the mistake of disengaging too early, which enabled the attackers to catch you again, what can you observe or speculate about the movements in this example?:

–          many full body movements occurred

–           there were bursts of more intense movement

–          heart rate and breathing rate were high

–          there were very few times when rest could be achieved

Now I know that not every encounter will be the same or even similar to this. If, however, we consider this to be a worst case scenario as far as the length of time involved, then we can use it to guide our training. Based on the above analysis, the training for such a situation would need to include the following:

–          full body movements

–          explosive movements [1-10 seconds]

–          short intense bursts [10-30 seconds]

–          longer, semi-intense efforts [30-90 seconds]

–         few or no static rest periods within the work phase

KM requires training that shares common elements but is different to other martial arts, as it is not a sport in which rules and regulations help to define necessary training areas e.g. five minute rounds in the UFC. The real-life practice of KM is highly variable but will certainly involve short bursts of intense full body movement, interspersed with somewhat less intense activity, along with potentially fast paced running. In the next article I will suggest ideas for structuring an initial solo workout program and provide an example program, that could be used to begin training.

Written by: Josh Hensman

Never Give Up

After several years on hiatus from training in judo, I recently decided to start training again.  If you’re interested, the full background on my decision can be found here.  An update to that story is that on June 1st I was promoted from a blue belt to a brown belt, so the end goal of one day earning my black belt is slowly becoming a reality.

The last 3 months has passed fairly quickly and I’m surprised at how fast I was able to progress to a brown belt.  Is the judo club I attend then just a belt factory?  No, it isn’t.   I was already close to getting my brown belt years ago but never graded for it before I stopped training, so essentially I just needed to get my timing and speed back up to par and dust off some of the techniques.  I’m still not where I want to be, but in the instructors’ eyes I must be good enough to rate my brown belt.

It was not easy to get back into judo.  It is a very physical sport that requires you to get thrown a lot, and when you’re doing randori (sparring) your partner is providing full resistance, and so the techniques you execute have to be proficient enough to catch them off guard.  Not an easy thing to do when they’re trying to do the same thing to you.  Many nights I didn’t feel like going to class but I knew that if I allowed myself not to, it was a slippery slope and there would be nothing to prevent me from not attending the next class, and the one following that.  So I went, and afterwards I would feel very good about myself not just physically but also mentally.

Personally, I have a love/hate relationship with training.  I know some people love it and that’s all they want to spend their spare time doing.  Not me.  I work full-time, have the regular demands put on me from my wife and two young girls, and train in Krav Maga twice a week.  Throw in the judo classes (no pun intended) and my week is pretty well full up and there’s not much time to relax.  Then it’s just rinse-repeat the cycle each week, and maybe every so often a holiday breaks up the pattern.  So while I know that staying in shape is important and healthy, most nights when I get home from work I just want to kick back for the evening and relax watching TV or reading.  That’s when it’s most difficult to get myself up off the couch and go to the dojo, or to Krav Maga class on a Sunday afternoon.  However, forcing yourself to do something when it’s the most mentally difficult is what will define you as someone who is determined and perseveres, as opposed to someone who doesn’t succeed at something and thinks the world is against them.

Jimmy Pedro is an American  judo competitor and coach, 3 time World medalist and 2 time Olympic bronze medalist.  One of his famous quotes is “Every champion wants to quit… At 19, I lost at the Kano Cup, went 0-2. I remember sitting on the steps of the Budokan, thinking to myself: I hate this sport, I just want to quit, this stinks.  People see champions as winners, but they don’t see those dark days, the days when they struggled or they lost or they failed or the day in training when they got their butt whooped or those tournaments where they fought miserably. We all go through it. Nobody goes undefeated.”  So if even a world class champion can get discouraged in trying to attain a goal, then it’s completely understandable that for us common folk it can be even harder.

jimmyolympic

Before my daughter Christine joined judo it was inconceivable to me that I would re-join judo and continue progressing towards a black belt.  It was absolutely out of the question, especially given my age (51).  But now that I’ve been training for a few months and have my brown belt, it’s not only conceivable but also inevitable given I put in enough time.  And while I’m happy that I got my brown belt I now think that it’s “no big deal”.  My point is that from the outside it can seem like a real achievement to somebody looking in, because if they were in the same position I was in, they would probably think “I could never do it”, but being on the inside it’s truly not a big deal.  Now multiply that by 100 fold throughout a person’s lifetime where many people face major challenges, but put their heads down and grind through it anyway, and soon you have a huge gap between the people who have achieved things throughout their life (and think it’s no big deal) and those who feel they could never do it and think they’ll never amount to much (but only because they’ve never tried).  “Fear” is a great inhibitor and it gets less and less scary the more you do things out of your comfort zone and more and more scary to those who give up even before they try, just because they think they can’t do it.  Challenges are incremental and are less intimidating when you take them small bites at a time.

If you have doubts about whether you can do something, then the greatest mistake is that you don’t try anyway.  Yes, you have to weigh the pros/cons, benefits/risks, etc., but if it’s only fear holding you back then that’s the perfect opportunity to face it and know that you’ve tried your very best.  In the end, trying something and failing at it is better than not trying at all.  In my case if, for some reason, I don’t earn my black belt in judo then I won’t have any regrets because I’m now much further ahead than I thought I would ever be.  So think about something that you’ve wanted to do but have just been held back because of fear, acknowledge it, and then go ahead and do it anyway.  In the end, you’ll be proud of yourself, the next challenge will come along, and you’ll overcome that as well.

And if you ever feel like quitting, think about another one of Jimmy Pedro’s quotes:  “I’ve never been broken in a judo match. I’ve never quit. I’ve fought some guys who were tough as nails. I’ve had to fight for my life. But I’ve never backed down. I might’ve been beaten, but I went out fighting.”

Warrens Brown Bet Cert

By: Warren Chow