Posts Tagged ‘Vancouver’

*This is not a sponsored review. This is a simple recount of Borhan Jiang’s experience at this BJJ school in Taiwan.

52852_160175370687660_2773181_oIn 2009, I was a member of a team of fighters that competed in the Bangkok BJJ International Open. We were made up of members from Taiwan BJJ Academy (台灣巴西柔術學院), Evolution MMA, and Tough MMA. The team did an excellent job, training with and coaching each other throughout the tournament, and I personally won bronze in my division. I had some great memories with this institution. This is one of the most well known and established BJJ schools in Taiwan, and it can be said that this academy has truly contributed to the development of BJJ in Taiwan.

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When I trained at the school, it was located near Taipei city hall. The gym had only the essentials – mats. It was small, and since it was on the upper level, it was potentially dangerous to train in if too many members were there at once.

Now they have a new space, which is located in a huge basement. It has plenty of space, lockers, a shower room, changing rooms, and a small shop. It also has full-time staff at the front counter, so you can talk to them instead of interrupting instructors who are teaching class.

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1426135_1809666515926976_7135114262649744218_nMokto sensei takes his BJJ craft very seriously. He is not a native Chinese, but can communicate fluently and teaches BJJ in Chinese. The students at Taiwan BJJ are precise with their movements, and seem more cautious than North American fighters. Some of them also have excellent stand-up game, which is not very common in BJJ.

Generally speaking, different BJJ schools apply their BJJ differently. Some cater to competition, some cater more to self-defense training. I’d say Taiwan BJJ’s grappling style caters more toward sports BJJ and competitions. Overall, I would recommend anyone who is visiting Taiwan to train at Taiwan BJJ Academy. It is professional and friendly, and in some ways, this school still has a pioneer spirit as the first serious BJJ school in Taiwan. Come here to find other people who like to roll and train.

 

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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.

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Recently I watched a show on youtube is called “ Warrior Quest “ by a Czech Krav Maga organization. The purpose of the show is to send several people to do their military Krav Maga instructor course. The show begins in Czech then proceeds to Israel. Most part of the show is about a series of harsh physical training to weed out the weak ……all the way down to 10 people. It is interesting to see the selection process but frankly I do not agree with the ideology and methods of the show.

The selection process of the show is harsh and all original candidates from Czech only one student made it to the end. I wonder what’s the purpose of this harsh selection. The majority of selection process is about harsh physical workout instead of Krav Maga training. What benefit do people get out of this process other than some bragging rights, ugly scars and huge medical bills. As a soldier, I have been though similar selection process from boot camp (ran by Airborne), wildness survival course, special force selection to mentally exhausting air force pilot and navigator selection course. I have suffered though similar injuries and physical exhaustion; however, the one difference is that “ I was covered by military. “ If I got injured during the selection process the military is obligated to take care of me both financially and medically that is. More than I can say about these candidates in this show.

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Krav Maga students are not soldiers. Some Krav Maga students are soldiers but most Krav Maga schools do not cater toward soldiers. The idea of Krav Maga is about teaching as many people as possible and to develop them with skills necessary for them to survive. One fellow spend several thousand Euro only to be washed out first day during the selection. I find that counter-productive for a person’s progress and personal safety. The institute that does the enrollment should assess the student’s physical abilities and deny enrollment if the guy clearly is not up for the challenge. Several thousand Euro is enough money for the guy to train full time in Israel or in Thailand for several months. I am unsure if the guy got a refund or exchange but the purpose of his trip lasted only one day. One thing I firmly believe is that everyone is at a different level. It is up to the school and the instructors to develop students where they at and then help them achieve their goal, instead of weeding them out like the military.

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Our students can be a warrior and fighter but our students are not soldiers. Our school also offers tactical shooting training and frankly, when in hand- to-hand combat our guys are higher level than average soldiers. ( we welcome any soldier to come and test it out ) but again our students are not soldiers. The reason is simple, they are not paid to do it full time 24/7 nor have the obligation to go though ridiculous and hurtful training that might killed the students in the process.

Modern military, like the Canadian Army has very high standard when it comes to training. Even with that in mind, I can count on both my hands and feet the times I would be dead or seriously injured because things could go horribly wrong. No civilian Krav Maga institute can accept the same level of risk in training as a government institute. Nor should the mandate be the same. The military is selecting the right people for the right type of the job but a civilian Krav Maga institute should be about teaching the right courses to the right people. If there are so many people got washed out from this course, then I firmly believe these courses were offered to the wrong group of people. Any Krav Maga institution should be about developing the right people with the right courses.

For those who want to have the military experience, I can only offer one advice, to join the military – reserve and National Guard are options for those who do not want to commit too long in the life of uniform. Training and skill sets are something that you can acquire at different civilian training school but the harsh, inhuman, rude, less fun, boring and ridiculous part of military experience can only be experienced though the real deal – why ? because military owns their people- literately.

 

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Watching Harjeet and Roger throwing punches at each other while both evading Josh’s stick attack, I was truly amazed how far these reserved gentlemen have come from the day they first stepped into our dojo. One of the most amazing transformations I have witnessed is seeing timid, shy and quiet people turn into warriors as time progress.

Different schools attract different characters. We, however, attract everyone and anyone. We have many LE and Military personnel and top athletes from other sports or disciplines, but the majority of our students are average Joes and Janes. They just want to learn how to defend themselves.  Sometimes these Joes and Janes have very interesting and at times difficult progress in their development. Some of these students seek permission to strike and be aggressive, while others find their inner hulks and shock the whole class and themselves. Another instructor of UTKM, Josh Hensman, often describes “that society links aggression with anger, but that should not always be the case”. Prior to stepping into the UTKM dojo most of these students have never had a chance to express their innate aggression and fight instincts because society and  education have oppressed these types of behaviors; however, for their own reasons they need to seek it out again or to build it from scratch here in our school.

Process

The process of building a person’s aggression is a balanced art. If you develop it too much then you are abusing the student, too little and there is no effect.

First step: Link anger with aggression. This does somewhat contradict what I mentioned above, but it is the fastest way to bring out inner aggression from students. Any violent encounter is usually emotional and anger is generally one of these emotions. Phrases such as “this man is going to hurt you and hurt your family”, along with swearing generally get a rise out of students.

Second step: After students can function normally and do the defense techniques they learnt under extreme pressure, we simply remove the link between anger and aggression by enhancing and rewarding aggression (we don’t reward violence – there is a difference). After a hard sparring session, we complement the students on a job well done and let them know they were in control of the situation.

Third step: Link aggression with the idea that having to be aggressive in order to stay safe is simply a job that needs to be done. Remember the first time you drove and how nervous you were? Some of you were probably very emotional because of fear and the unknown. Some people even get angry. Defending yourself is exactly the same thing. In the beginning students might experience the same emotional state as a first-time driver, but as time progresses they will come to the conclusion that this is just like any other day in the office. UFC fighter John Jones was once asked if he is afraid step into the ring. His response: “a postman does not get scared when he steps into a post office does he?“

After merely 100 hours of training our yellow belt students have performed incredibly under stress against other students. I recall the times these students break down in tears, lose control of their emotions, get short of breath, and sometimes even get injured (you can never eliminate all the risk). I often tell them: “it is better for you to experience this here in a controlled environment, than out on the street”. We don’t teach Self Defense here in UTKM, we use Krav Maga to turn someone into a lion. A lion does not fear getting into a fight, for it knows it is the biggest and baddest creature out there.

Control:

Last but not least, living in a peaceful society people often do not know how violent they can be in the right circumstance. A student once told me that after he defending himself against a home intruder he could not remember the process. When you know your limits and what you are capable of, you tend to be able to control your power. It is like driving instructors who recommend to their students to find an empty parking lot and just push their car to the limit so they know the limitation of their vehicles.

I always ask students ” in sparing are you allow to strike the back of the head ? ”

students reply :” no ! you are not ”

I reply ” of course you can this is Krav Maga but you do it in gently and lightly to remind your opponent that they have been strike in the back of the head and if you have to do it in real life you simple just have to increase the forces to neutralize the threat ” ( it does not take much force to cause affect or permanent damage to strike the back of the head ) Seeing students like Harjeet and Roger transform into who they are today makes me realize that not anyone can transform others into fighters who enjoy fighting, but everyone and anyone has the potential to become a warrior who will fight so they can walk in peace.

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Every once in a while I see some “Krav Maga practitioners” post videos about Kung Fu, Systema or MMA, and then mock these systems about how they do not work on the street or their drills are ridiculous. The worst is when someone is trying to tell their experience of encountering real life dangers and how their experience shows these other systems do not work. These kinds of actions are both alarming and sad. It is alarming because these so called Krav Maga practitioners are investing too much of their ego in the system in which they train. In this case Krav Maga. There should be no room for ego in fighting. It is sad because they forget the essence of Krav Maga – always learn from others.

First of all, never judge other systems by merely watching videos. The videos do not show the full picture – Youtube is a double edged sword. It shows the surface information but it does not show the detailed technique, the fine touches, the pressures and psychological states of the users. Those are the key points and true essence of a system. Judging others with so little information is not a sign of intelligence or a sound tactical choice.

Here is my story. I had always been skeptical on the practical usage of a soft style martial art like Tai Chi until I met an MMA sparring partner of mine in Taiwan. Mr. Wong is both a Wing Chung and Tai Chi master. We trained together in a local MMA dojo called Evolution Combat Club. Many of the toughest MMA fighters came from this gym. Mr. Wong had competed in three pro-MMA fights when we met each other. Although I had a lack of striking skills back then, coming from a Judo background, I was confident in my grappling ability. I handled myself well against other students at the club until Mr. Wong and I sparred. Every single time we got into the clinch position I would end up on the ground without knowing what happened. The next thing I would get was a nice ground and pound MMA beat down. I was truly puzzled because I had dealt with Sambo, Judo and Wrestling fighters and there was no way in hell someone could take me down without even knowing what had happened. Mr. Wong explained to me that he was using Tai Chi techniques. This was my experience with Chinese Kung Fu and no video research in the world could tell me how Tai Chi works.

Secondly, we have to consider the historical and cultural reference of the system when we encounter it. Videos that spark the most controversy are mostly related to knife defense techniques. On and on I have heard people mock other style’s knife defense techniques. We have to put these systems in historical context. Many of these systems come from a period of time when battles were waged with long and deadly swords and knives. I do not think a small knife would cause much panic in people back in those times. In addition, some of these techniques were based upon sword or knife dueling, not against a knife attack, and we see how some of these old systems influence Krav Maga. Mocking the older systems is like mocking one’s own heritage. (1)

EskrimadorsCulturally, it is vital to understand that unlike North America, most cultures and countries retain their bladed culture of the past and knife fighting on the street is not that uncommon, even today. In fact, in the famed documentary Escrimadors , it says that the reason Escrima was not as popular and well spread as it should be, until recently, is because most Escrima masters killed each other in duels in the 70s. (2)

In today’s battles, famed Gurkha soldiers still carry their kukri into battle and used it on many occasions; sometimes, even use it to behead their enemies. (3) Now when we put both history and culture into context we might understand why certain systems do the defense the way they do. In that period of time or that region, edged weapon attacks were more common and more socially acceptable than in North America. People’s reactions are certainly different from those of North Americans. I often tell my students that Krav Maga is a system born out of a post-bladed culture and that it is fantastic for dealing with strong and brutal attacks, but not so much against complex knife attacks. Personally, no Krav Maga instructor has shown me a way of dealing against long edged weapons with which I would trust my life. In fact, only one advice was ever given about dealing against long edged weapons.

In some places dueling with knife is still part of culture

Finally, Israeli mentality – we can solve all problems. Jonathan Fader is another lead instructor and ex-IDF soldier from UTKM and we had a discussion on why some Krav Maga instructors constantly produce new ways to solve far-fetched scenarios. We think it is because the pressure of living up to the reputation of being the most innovative nation on Earth makes them believe they can solve any problem. While I was with certain organizations in the past, we were told that as an instructor we should always have an answer for students. Why do we need to have an answer for every situation and problem? The last time I checked, being a Krav Maga instructor does not equate to me being a prophet. For those who have competed in the past, we often find that a fight does not goes step 1 and step 2 but is fluid and dynamic, as a fight has a life of its own and you can rarely predict its outcome. Sometimes you end up in a position you never thought was possible. I often tell my students, here are the Krav Maga principles and techniques and the movement now is to FIGHT. Your body will tell you what needs to be done as time progresses.

In conclusion, we should always learn from others. For those who know the meaning of the original Krav Maga logo (designed by Imi) there is a round circle. It is meant to incorporate new techniques, information, research, etc. For those who are not familiar with Krav Maga history, Krav Maga is a hybrid system that takes the best parts of other systems and incorporates them. Imi himself was an accomplished boxer, wrestler, and gymnast and had trained in many other martial arts and probably British Army hand to hand combat methods. Whenever we watch a video on anything, we do not have the full perspective of the full picture. Perhaps the techniques or training methods do not look practical, however, it does not mean that they will not work once it is put into real life. Who are we to be the judge of a system based on a 2 minute video clip?

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At the same time, I will occasionally see other systems mocking people who practice Krav Maga and ridicule how Krav Maga does not work, etc. In essence, that does not bother me. “ Deeds not words “ I often tell students with a background in other martial arts or systems. In sparring, do whatever you want to do (within the limits of safety), use what you have learned in the past or use Krav Maga techniques – you are the only one who can say what works for you and what does not work for you. After all, my job is to arrange others to beat the snot out of you so you can find out as how I learned it in the past. Now that’s Krav Maga!

 Reference

1. http://krav-maga.com/blog/how-a-krav-maga-technique-is-changed-and-modified/

2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Vez6y08rB8

3. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2049987/Gurkha-beheaded-Taliban-soldier-Afghanistan-battle-cleared-return-duty.html

 

Written by : Borhan Jiang

Edited by: Warren C, Josh Hensman

Download on iTunes Today! https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/urban-tactics-krav-maga-warriors/id969549693?mt=2

Download on iTunes Today!
https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/urban-tactics-krav-maga-warriors/id969549693?mt=2

Jonathan Fader and Stephan Kesting    Stephan Kesting is a BJJ Black Belt under Marcus Soares. He is also the founder of www.grapplearts.com  and has been  offering free online content since the early 2000s before most other people had even really gotten into the internet. Because  of his head start Stephan has one of the largest followings on YouTube for any BJJ related channel. Currently he sits at about  145,000 subscribers and another 30,000 followers on Facebook.His technical break down of BJJ moves from all aspects have  people from all over the world using his channel and DVD’s to learn BJJ. Stephan is also a full time firefighter at one of the  local metro Vancouver detachments and has a degree in Biology. He has also trained in various other styles of martial arts as  he has been practicing martial arts for over 30 years. We talked mostly about Martial arts and Self defense as well as the  learning and teaching process but we also discussed other things like global climate change.

You can find his YouTube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/user/StephanKesting

Here are a few videos to give you an idea about what he has to offer:

Recently I posted pictures from my NRA ranger safety officer course on Facebook. A friend posted: “I do not like guns”. It was a legit comment that expresses many people’s view on firearms. Living in Vancouver, a pretty left wing & hippie city, you will often  hear similar comments when it comes to guns. Particularly after all the news on shootings, school yard massacres, and active shooter incidents etc., it is not a surprise that we hear comments like this frequently. We are only human and after all, firearms can be use as tools of killing and war.

The very picture that cause the storm ;-)

The very picture that cause the storm 😉

However, what are you going to do after feeling emotional? Just keep feeling emotional and not deal with it? Why not be educated on the subject that causes you to be emotional? Wouldn’t it be nice to have knowledge about the things you fear, dislike, hate? After all, knowledge is power and what is more powerful than to be able to control your own emotions?

Luckily, in Canada there is a course about firearms mandated by the Canadian federal government itself. The Canadian Firearm Safety Course & Canadian Restricted Firearm Safety Course are comprehensive courses on firearm safe handling. They enabling people to distinguish types of firearms and ammunition, understand range safety, and provide essential knowledge about firearms necessary to handle guns safely. After taking these courses, a couple of shooting courses will equip you with a better understanding when it comes to firearms in your own state or province, and country.

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I believe most people in North America are neutral when comes to the topic of firearms; neither extreme right nor extreme left. But even if you are in the extreme left and argue that no one should own firearms except police and military, you should still take the firearm course and shooting course, so you have the grounds on on which to base your opinions. In this day and age everyone has an opinion about everything. Not, however, always a knowledgeable opinion. Too often people without credentials, research or knowledge “take over the mic” and get the spotlight. But now the public doesn’t waste time listening to other people’s opinions if they are based on “emotion” and any logical person with firm beliefs of their own does not base their action upon other people’s “feelings”. The response to emotion is usually emotion. Pro gun people feel threatened when their rights are being questioned or could potentially be taken away; they become emotional and so starts the ugly circle between pro-gun and anti-gun.  You hear ignorant opinions and laughable suggestions from the extreme left, then plain scary and militant ideology from the extreme right.

Like it or not, firearms have accompanied the people of North America ( both USA and Canada ) for centuries and continue to do so in today’s society. There is a pragmatic reason for this, regardless of whether or not that reason is hunting, recreation, or self defense against home invasion or animals. It is wrong to hold our interpretation of whether or not someone needs a firearm or not based upon our own personal experience. In the case of open carry, one of the hardest licenses to get in Canada, just this month a cougar attacked a pipeline worker near Grande Prairie, Alberta. A person who works and lives in the city cannot possibly imagine how great it would have been if these two pipeline workers had been able to open carry a pistol when they encountered this cougar in the wild.

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In this day and age the hardest thing to do is to admit “I am not a subject expert and I will get back to you after I do my research”. Everyone wants to be smart, everyone wants to act like they have an opinion of their own, but often their information comes from facebook, the internet and movies. The power is within you. Ask yourself: “Would you rather be educated or be emotional?”

Reference:

1. http://globalnews.ca/video/1808081/alberta-man-survives-cougar-attack

Written by: Borki Yony

Edited by: Josh Hensman

Recently the guys over at F.I.L.E.S. a local Vancouver based publication did an article on us. Read what they have to say in the attacked link.

If you did not see the print copy here is a Digital copy of the F.I.L.E.S. News article about us http://www.filesnews.com/urban-tactics/ written by Victor Louie

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

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

This is called the Bystander Effect.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Written by: Jonathan Fader

Edited by: Warren Chow

chicken or egg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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