Posts Tagged ‘War’

Never Again

Krav Maga is a system meant for individuals to know that they can walk safely because they know how to defend themselves. When talking about why Krav Maga was created, Imi Lichtenfeld once said, “so one may walk in peace.”

Whether you are a Jew, Christian, Muslim, American, Israeli, Serbian or a person from any other religion or culture practicing Krav Maga, you must never forget the reason why Krav Maga was created. Imi originally began to develop the system prior to WWII to help himself, his friends and other Jews find a way to fight Nazi thugs and Anti-Semitic aggressors. Why? Because unfortunately for Jews, we have always faced great hatred and animosity no matter what we do.

It is July 2014 and you would pretty much have to be living under a rock to not be aware of Operation Protective Edge by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF). Or, in layman’s terms, the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

The Current Conflict

I say very specifically Israel vs. Hamas, because this time it is NOT Israel vs. the Palestinians; if this was true, there would also be massive military operations in the West Bank and not just Gaza. In order to understand the difference, let’s look at a map.

ISRAEL-PALESTINE-WEB-MAP

 

As you can see, the West Bank, (called that because it is on the west bank of the Jordan River) and Gaza are completely separated by land. Internationally speaking, they are usually recognized as the same entity, but now unfortunately they are not. What is the difference?

First, we must discuss a little history in this regard. In 2000 a conflict known as the second Intifada (1) began. This was a period of extreme violence and terrorism in Israel which led to two things.

Firstly, Israel decided to completely and unilaterally move out of the Gaza strip (2). Prior to 2005 the IDF did in fact, have a presence in both Gaza and the West Bank. However, all military, Israeli and Jewish Civilians were removed during the same year. Yes, that’s right. Israel physically removed Jews from the Gaza strip in order to hand it all back to the Palestinians. Secondly, Israel began to build a security barrier that now runs along the borders of the West Bank only about 4% is an actual wall, the rest is simply a fence (3) . This fence actually reduced, theft and terrorism by as much as 90%, though you will rarely hear that part in the media.

After this occurred, a power struggle arose between two factions in the Palestinian authority, those being Hamas and Fatah. This escalated into a semi-civil war between the two parties, with the result that Hamas completely took over the Gaza strip and, as such, was pushed out of the West Bank by Fatah. (4)

What is the single biggest difference between these groups? Hamas is an internationally recognized terrorist organization (5)(6)whose sole purpose is to destroy Israel and not the protection or governance of its people.

Hamas quickly realized it was now isolated in the Gaza strip with no means to easily leave, or to commit acts of terror in Israel. In order to perpetrate new terrorists acts in Israel it needed to develop a new strategy. I will call it “The Missile Strategy”.  Hamas periodically fires rockets, and now missiles, into Israel which bypasses the security walls (7). These rockets are made in Gaza or supplied by other countries like Iran.

This recent conflict started like the last few years with Hamas launching missiles indiscriminately into Israel. This time, the difference is that Israel has the Iron Dome, a system which intercepts and destroys perhaps 80% of them while they are still in the air. However, it is not a perfect system and thus some still get through. If Israel did not have the Iron Dome the damage incurred would be catastrophic.

On July 17th, Israel launched “Operation Protective Edge”, which was a ground offensive whose mission was to dismantle Hamas’ terror network of tunnels and missile launch sites, which had been proven to be located in schools, hospitals and civilian households.

The Shameful Global behavior

As usual, the media and the global community are obsessed with this conflict. Let us not forget that there is practically a civil war in the Ukraine that has resulted in the death of 300+ individuals travelling on a civilian air carrier that was tragically shot down. But to the world, that conflict, or any other conflict is not at all important any more, just the one in the Middle East. This obsession with Israel is Anti-Israel and Anti-Semitic, and it only demonstrates the fact that history tends to repeat itself.

The fact is, Israel is fighting a terrorist organization (Hamas) that is not only attacking Israeli civilians but it is also oppressing its own people, using them as human shields (See video below) and as cannon fodder in order to achieve their goals. Israel is acting defensively because it is their right to do so, and freeing Gaza from the tyranny of this terrorist organization is in line with their objective.

The reality is that everyone seems to focus on the plight of those in Gaza. However, nobody seems to care about the facts. Yes, it is awful that civilians are dying, but they are dying in the numbers that they are because of Hamas. To me, if you have not been in the military, have not been in a conflict, or have no idea about strategy then you really have no right to criticize, as any military strategist will tell you that Israel is doing a brilliant job at reducing the civilian casualties. But again, no one considers that fact.

Why do I consider the global outcry shameful? Simply, the amount of global outcry in the form of Pro-Palestinian, or rather Anti-Israel rallies, is disgusting. Peaceful protests are fine, but unfortunately Anti-Israel rallies are turning out to be anything but peaceful. Normally peaceful countries like my own Canada are having problems with these violent rallies from Calgary to Toronto, much to the disgust of other Canadians.

In France the protests got so bad and violent that France has BANNED Pro-Palestinian/Anti-Israel rallies or protests.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2697194/Outrage-France-country-world-ban-pro-Palestine-demos.html

In Denmark, there are shops that have posted signs saying “No Jews Allowed”. If you know anything about history, this is exactly the kind of behavior that led up to the Holocaust in WWII.

These events remind me a lot of Kristallnacht, or the Night of the Broken Glass. For those of you who do not know, It was November 9-10, 1938 where the German SA and civilians terrorized the Jewish populous of Germany and Austria. The results: Up to 100 Jews were killed on the spot and over 30,000 were arrested and taken to the infamous concentration camps where most of them died, or were forced into hard labour. (8)

I have always thought that WWIII will start somewhere in Europe because of Islamic extremism. If extraterrestrials were to look at history documents and then watch the current news, it is likely they may come to the same conclusion.

Extremism Is the Real Enemy

So who is the real enemy in all of this? The uneducated on either side will say Israel, or the Palestinians. In this case, and in reality, it is Hamas. Or more to the point, fundamental extremists. Extremism, no matter what the cause, is the real enemy of humanity of the 21st century. It does not matter if they are Muslim, Jewish, European, White, Black, Chinese or purple, extremism is a sickness that must be cured. It is often the complaint of many Muslims that they are always the ones labeled as terrorists and while it is discriminatory and wrong, I would like to question this complaint with some basic numbers.

Currently there are approximately 7.5 billion people on this planet or, to give you a better idea, 7,500,000,000. Of that number, 1.6 billion are Muslim. Yes, that’s right, the latest estimates are that of 1,600,000.000. That’s approximately 21% of the world’s population. In contrast, there are only about 13.5 million Jews in the world; that’s 13,500,000. This is a number of which still has not recovered from the Holocaust where, prior to it taking place, the Jewish population was an estimated 16,000,000.

For you more visual people, here  is a graph:

Population of world by religion comparison

Or, let’s think of this another way. If only 1% of Muslims globally are extremists or terrorists, that is still 16 million people. That is a number that is larger than the combined forces of the world’s 10 largest armies. Now again, in contrast, if only 1% of Jews are extremists (yes, there are Jewish extremists), that’s only 135,000.

speculative comparison of 1% of population

On top of that, Jewish extremists are relatively limited in region to Israel and perhaps New York or Los Angeles. While in comparison, Islamic extremism since 9/11 has become a global problem.

Don’t, get me wrong, I have many Muslims friends, and have never had a problem with most of them. But my question is, if these are the numbers that they are, where are the moderate Muslims in all of this? why are they silent? why are they not standing up against those who wish nothing more to cause death and destruction and give your people a bad name?

It would be a shame if global outcry against extremism turned against Muslims.

Conclusion

The Jewish saying “Never Again” is a reference to the Holocaust. It should not however, just be exclusive to Jews. Never Again should mean that no person, no matter their colour or nation, should ever again face such hate and genocide. Yet it seems people’s memories are short and history forever repeats itself. Since the Holocaust there have been numerous unanswered genocides from Kosovo to Sudan. Once again, like pre-WWII, the world seems to be going mad with an Anti-Semitic fever and to that of before Hitler started one of the most at destructive, devastating and horrific wars of the modern era.

To you I say, are you going to let history repeat itself, are you going to let extremists win? Or are you, the moderate masses, going to stand up and do what’s right no matter what your culture. As Edmund Burke once said: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

This is why Israel has the right to defend itself. This is why the world should be against Hamas, not Israel. This is why the global riots are disgusting and this is why you need to properly educate your children. And this is why Krav Maga was created. Remember that, at least for the Jews, Never Again means NEVER again and this should be the same for you…

 

Author: Jonathan Fader

 

1. Suicide Bombing as Strategy and Interaction: The Case of the Second Intifada Robert J. Brym and Bader Araj Page [1969] of 1969-1986

2. Ideological Change and Israel’s Disengagement from Gaza Jonathan Rynhold and Dov Waxman Page 11 of 11-37

3. Dershowitz, Alan (2003). The Case for Israel. Wiley. ISBN 0-471-46502-X.

4.  Power or Justice? Rule and Law in the Palestinian Authority Hillel Frisch and Menachem Hofnung Page 335 of 331-348

5. http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/ntnl-scrt/cntr-trrrsm/lstd-ntts/crrnt-lstd-ntts-eng.aspx (Accessed 23-07-2014)

6. http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/other/des/123085.htm (Accessed 23-07-2014)

7. http://www.idfblog.com/facts-figures/rocket-attacks-toward-israel/ (Accessed 23-07-14)

8.  http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/323626/Kristallnacht (Accessed 23-07-1014)

 

Advertisements

IMG_20130826_215943

Borhan’s Military Krav Maga Instructor Course

My time in Serbia must have been one of the most interesting and intense Krav Maga trainings I have ever experienced. I have always had strong interest in the military aspect of Krav Maga since I started my Krav Maga training in 2007 in Israel. Then, I was under the guidance of Master Zeev Cohen, one of the best Krav Maga instructors in Israel. The aggression and toughness in Zeev’s class left a strong impression on me. As I continued my Krav Maga training in North America and Asia, Krav Maga seemed to be less combative and aggressive. Almost all Krav Maga schools that I know now focus more on the self defense aspect, with very little focus on Krav Maga’s original purpose “ Contact Combat.” I decided to find the missing link between Imi’s original Krav Maga and today’s civilian Krav Maga. I enrolled myself in a military Krav Maga instructor course run by Krav Maga Global in Serbia. With a bit of nervousness, I arrived in Belgrade, Serbia. The last time I heard about this country, NATO ( including Canada ) was giving this city a new real-estate upgrade. The ruins of the bombings can still be seen in some parts of the city. Belgrade and its sub city Zeumn is a bit rundown. Though not the prettiest streets in Europe, the streets are always clean, and although the occupants are not the richest, they always carry themselves with pride.

I showed up three days prior to the actual course start. The course is 15 days for any military personnel with no prior Krav Maga experience and 10 days for Krav Maga instructors who already passed Krav Maga Global’s instructor course ( GIC ). I did my instructor course in 2008 and I desperately needed a refresher. The training took place in a police training base in the suburb called Zemun. My course consisted of 5 foreigners, 4 Serbian Emergency Response Team Police Officers and 6 local Serbian KMG instructors. Out of the 5 foreigners, we had a formal British Army Artillery Staff Sergeant, a Formal East German Paratrooper, one German and one UK KMG civilian instructors. Our Serbian KMG instructors groups consisted of three active Serbian Army soldiers, one fire marshal and one police officer. Knowing that I came from Canada and had done my service there, some of these Serbians jokingly said “Oh ! Canada, your country exported some special gifts along with America back in the day” Their tone seemed to be friendly…..at least for now.

The first five days of the course were conducted by KMG instructor Moran Laskow, who was a Krav Maga instructor during his service in the IDF and later served as a shooting instructor for Israel’s Military Industry. Moran is the perfect example of what a Krav Maga instructor ought to be; fit, keen, good looking, knowledgeable and personable. In fact, I believe there is a secret fan club for Moran within the Krav Maga community. In class, we each got issued an AK-47 ( Yugo Version ), a pistol, duty belt with holster, a helmet and a vest.

dscn6116

Everyday from 8 am – 6 pm, we would be in the gym or range learning how to be proficient with our AK-47 S, with or without bullets. We practiced using our rifle as a cold weapon doing attacks such as Magazine thrust, Rifle Butt strike, and downward cut, etc, and to be able to do these attacks in different combinations. There is also a series of defenses against people trying to grab your weapon from the rear, front or side, or people swinging a stick at you from above, from the side or from underneath. We would practice theses techniques slowly in the air in the beginning and then later attack with all our might against a bag or each other. I can tell you that wielding a heavy AK-47 S for hours is a hard work out. If they were not prohibited in Canada I would create a work out called AK-47 Fit.

DSCN7386

During one of the mock attacks, I accidentally hit my partner Neja’s face with the foresight of my pistol. Blood poured out of his face and he needed several stitches to get the deep cut fixed up. I kind of felt bad after the instance especially since Neja is one of the toughest Serbian ERT members. After that the thought occurred to me that I am far too pretty to end up in a Serbian prison.

On top of using a rifle as a cold weapon, we also spent many hours learning basic shooting, reloading, tactical reloads, combat reloads and instinctive shooting with our rifles and pistols. My poor marksmanship earned me the nickname “Beneli.” I am pretty sure I did not earn it because of the damage I had done to the target but more to do with the grouping on my target. At the range, Moran pointed out that “We are Krav Maga instructors, not shooting instructors, and any Krav Maga training that might involve in shooting, it is best to have shooting instructor on the side for technical support and guidance.”  In military Krav Maga, we have many Krav Maga drills that combines the use of Krav Maga, shooting and tactical movements. Israelis believe that in modern CQB stoppage or reload leaves soldiers or police officers vulnerable, and trying to clear stoppage or reload within close range of an attacker is very unwise. The American Law Enforcement also concluded the same theory which is called the 21 Feet rule. Maron would put us through a lot of mock attacks in which we would have to decide to clear our weapon or strike our attackers with our weapons.

IMG_20130824_185810

I can tell you that even in an open gym with excellent lighting, having someone charging at you with full force will make reloading or clearing stoppage difficult to achieve. Later we would have multiple attackers with stick and knives and also receive surprise attacks with our eyes closed. Like Mike Tyson said, “Everyone has a plan before they get punched in the face.” In every drill, we relied solely on our training and instincts to survive. In one of the drills we called Zombie drill, four attackers with sticks, knives, pads and fists will attack you in slow speed. I tended to get paired up with those Serbian ERT members and the idea of slow speed usually does not register with them. I recall the stress was so overwhelming and tiring all I can do is simply raise my rifle to defend my head and run for my life.

DSCN6568

Other than rifle, we also received training on how to use a pistol as a striking method. Although a pistol is more within the realm of Law Enforcement, it is still not a bad idea to learn how to use a pistol in close range. When pistols were first introduced, they were designed for one hand usage only; however, in modern doctrine, most military and LE focus most pistol training with two hands in order to increase accuracy. Because of the possibility to deal with surprise attacks, in Krav Maga we tried to use one hand to operate the pistol in close range. This way, we could use the other hand to strike and block attacks from the enemies. Other than our free hand, we could also use the pistol to strike from above, right, downward, left ( turn the pistol 180 horizontally ), and front thrust. It is very important to know how to strike with a pistol. Swing it the wrong way, and you might disarm yourself. One of the course mates ERT member Constable A shared with us his personal experience about striking with a pistol.

Two armed robbers went into a shop and committed robbery.

Off duty officer Constable A was shopping with his girlfriend at the same store. After sending his girlfriend to safety, officer A announced to the robbers that he is a police officer, presented his duty pistol and demanded them to drop their weapons. The robbers refused and approach officer A with pistols. Officer A was afraid to shoot at the robbers worrying about collateral damage. After one of robbers was in close range with officer A he struck one of the robbers with the bottom of his pistol ( magazine ). When officer A strucks the robber, he accidentally discharge his firearm near the robber’s head. The robber ran off to the exit.

The 2nd robber approached officer A, officer A was worried to discharge his weapon again so he struck the robber with his left fist and the muzzle of his pistol. During the process, officer A’s index finger naturally grab the trigger of his pistol ( his natural reaction is to make a fist when he strike with his hand ) and he worried the firearm would go off at any moment.

One of the most tiring exercises we did throughout the course was a mixed obstacle course combined with Krav Maga. Doing military obstacle courses is hard enough on its own. Now we were combining it with people attacking after each stage. This brought it to the whole new level. However, just like real life, your enemies are not going to pick the time when you are fresh and energetic to attack you. Think about it! When would you choose to attack your opponents?

DSCN6839

The second part of the course was conducted by Eyal. It is a true privilege to meet Eyal, not to mention to train under him. After all, Eyal was responsible for creating IKMF ( International Krav Maga Federation ) and building the foundation of the modern day Krav Maga syllabus. Some would say that he is the main person who spread Krav Maga around the world. The man is a living library of Krav Maga. Physically, the course by now became less intensive compared to the first six days but mentally we were being challenged every single second. We were learning the proper procedure and methods on how to teach a military unit and how to conduct CQB Drills and live Shooting Drills with Krav Maga.

Most countries have their own CQB techniques ( Close Quarter Battle ) on how to clear a room, cut corners or enter a room. It is not our job as Krav Maga instructors to suggest to them how to conduct room clearing but we can add many scenarios that can enhance their ability in a close range situation. I have to say this was probably the most fun we had throughout the entire course,  because we are put everything we learnt together into practice it was a chance for us to create all kinds of mayhem to our fellow course mates.

DSCN6678

The students were separated into two groups. One group of people were the soldiers and the other group of people were the “enemy”. One by one we had to go inside the CQB Training house and complete a mission, and this was usually done after grueling and harsh physical Krav Maga exercises wearing full gear. After the physical exercise, I was tired and my adrenaline was as high as a kite. I burst into the door and those bastards even put traps above the door. After I got into the door, all kinds of situations came up. These situations ranged from preventing a suicide attack to full out knife attacks with numerous attackers. I literally had to put all my Krav Maga skills into use. Of course, payback is a bitch, and the other team did not like me at all when I played as a stick whaling maniac hidden inside a dust cover for their turn.

IMG_20130828_112429

Another exciting Krav Maga drill is combining tactical shooting with Krav Maga. Anyone can stand in a range and take a nice shot but let’s see how well one can control his or her breathing and still operate a rifle accordingly after a full-on Krav Maga fight. Again on the range, I proved that the nickname “Beneli” suits me very well. This drill showed the reality of shooting under stress. Anyone can get a good grouping sitting on the bench and taking his or her sweet time to pull the trigger but to shoot under pressure is a whole new different story. In order to run this drill safely and precisely, many details need to be taking care of. It is very likely to have disaster if one is not being safe or knowledgeable in both Krav Maga and shooting. You need at least one Krav Maga instructor and a shooting instructor to accompany each student during the whole course.

One of the shooting exercises we had was conducted by world renowned IPSC shooter, Major Ljubisa Momcilovic, who came in 8th in the IPSC European Championship ( Factory Division ). He is also a team member of CZ IPSC team. Other than his IPSC experience, Major Momcilovic also served many years in an elite close protection unit in Serbia Police and is an official shooting instructor for Serbian Police forces. Having worked in the firearm industry and attended numerous shooting courses in the military and civilian side, Mr. Momcilovic’s shooting and movements are probably one of the best, if not the best, I ever seen. Even with all these experiences, Major Momcilovic was very friendly and approachable. His lecture was straight to the point. Here are a few important points I took away from Major Momcilovic’s class.

IMG_20130829_123022

World Top shooter Major Momcilovic

  • A shooter who performs with 80% -90% accuracy on the range means he or she probably can only have 60% accuracy in real life under a real threat.
  • In real life shooting it is usually “ reaction of you“ after “ action of enemies. “
  • Find the Balance between Speed & Accuracy. Speed without accuracy is nothing, but accuracy without speed means you are dead.
  • There are all different theories on stance; waver, isolate, modified waver, no matter what stance you choose, your shooting stance should be a position in which you can stand on your feet for a long period of time and be comfortable.
  • There is no need to change your shooting position for accuracy shooting and combat shooting.
  •  Maximum Speed = how fast you can put your sight on target.

Prior to Major Momcilovic’s lecture, I had a very negative view on IPSC. I thought it was unrealistic in real life. Major Momcilovic points out that IPSC is an excellent shooting training. Shooting and tactics combined together produce a good soldier or police officer. In essence, shooting supports tactics.

The last couple of techniques we learned at the course were dealing with a terrorist holding a grenade. We had to quickly disarm the terrorist from all angles. For me, this was probably the hardest technique I had to master. Because with my tiny girly hands it was difficult for me to cover the terrorist’s hand with mine. Luckily, in a security team it is usually the big guy who does the disarming. The threat of a terrorist holding a grenade is very real. The recent terror attacks involving grenades are:

  •  Liege attack, Belgian: 13 December 13, 2011.
  •  Ram Janmabhoomi Attack, India: 05 July, 2005.
  •  Rome & Vienna Airport attack, Italy: 27 December, 1985.

Although dangerous, dealing with a hand grenade is not a death sentence. Unlike hand grenades with big explosions in movies, in real life hand grenades use fragments to kill, not explosions. There is a good chance for people around the hand grenade to survive if you can find a way to cover it in time. The latest British Victoria Cross Winner saved his mates this way by laying over a grenade with the small of his back.
rep-Krav-maga-mala

The second part of the course consisted of a lot of classroom lectures. We had more classes on Krav Maga theories and military organization structure. In general, Krav Maga is separated into Offensive Combat and Self Defense. The two portions have a very different approach when comes to dealing against threats. Offensive Combat means Maximum damage to the enemy in minimum time with minimum damage to yourself, yet Self Defense means not to get into a fight. Soldiers seek enemies ( danger ), civilians avoid enemies ( danger ).

In most civilian Krav Maga School they only focus on the Self Defense portion of Krav Maga because of legality issues. In combat, a soldier has to turn on his kill switch and fight like a lion within seconds. There is no personal hatred or anger involved when comes to killing your enemy: “A lion does not hate a lamb, a lion is just hungry”, and vice versa “ A soldier is just doing his job.” It is like the famous line in Full Metal Jacket when Joker graduated from boot camp: “Marine Corp does not need a robot, it needs a killer.“ Unlike most attacks in the civilian world, most attacks in battle are nothing personal. We try not to educate the civilians to act the same because that might get them in jail. After all, War is simple, civilian society is complex; a soldier doing the one thing in war can make him a hero, doing the exact same thing in peace time will get him in jail.

The Self Defense portion of Krav Maga came about when IDF paratroopers would punch MPs who tried to give them tickets for dress deficiency. A method of self defense is needed so those poor MPs do not get crushed like hamburger in front of those paratroopers. The Self Defense portion of Krav Maga really came to age during the Intifida (Palestinians uprising) – Israelis are facing more and more attacks ranging from stone, sticks, knives to guns from the Palestinian terrorists.

DSCN7025

Since the maturing of modern firearms, most military’s doctrine is about killing your enemy as far away as possible; the further the better. However, as warfare becomes more complex, soldiers have to operate in urban settings acting not just a warrior but sometimes police officers and diplomats. They have to be able to conduct peace keeping or humanitarian operation yet maintain their abilities to fight wars. If a soldier only has a hammer he can only solve problems by hitting really hard, but with Krav Maga he can solve problems with all kinds of tools. As many instances tell us, the need for a good hand-to-hand combat program is more dire every day.

It was a privilege for me to be able to enroll in Krav Maga Global’s Military Krav Maga instructor course in Serbia. Other than the instructors from Israeli HQ being one of the reasons, the course was so enjoyable because of our Serbian hosts. Serbians have the right Krav Maga mentality. They train hard but also technically. Very much like Middle East, the Balkan is a troubled region. I believe in some way many Serbians are training Krav Maga because they know they might have to use it one day to defend their loved one and home. After the course, I am a firm believer that Military Krav Maga is the missing link in today’s Krav Maga world. Anyone who wants to get the full picture of Krav Maga and become a complete Krav Maga fighter should attend this course.

DSCN6076

Written By: Borki Yoni

Edited By: Warren C & Jonathan F

Krav Maga Global: http://krav-maga.com/

Krav Maga Global Serbia: http://krav-maga.rs/

Major Momcilovic Tactical Training Agency: http://www.loadmakeready.com/

Urban Tactics Krav Maga currently offer Military Hand to Hand Combat Course to

Military and LE personnel. This is a very specialize course and is not open to civilians.

The course will cover using rifles and pistols as cold weapon, weapon retention, disarm

Techniques and weapon transition drills.

Please contact us if you would like to have more information.

Urban Tactics HQ

IMG_4549_edited-1

In two short months I’ll have reached my 1-year anniversary in learning Krav Maga with Urban Tactics.  It has been an interesting journey so far, and I expect that it will continue to remain so.  As with any journeys there are experiences and observations that one faces along the way so I’m now sharing a few of mine.

First of all, the overall class has less of a formal dojo-type feel and more of a casual collegial group-training type of atmosphere.  It could be due to the fact that the room is quite small in comparison to the number of students that often show up for class, but I suspect that it has more to do with the style of teaching that the instructors convey.  It is a welcome change from the previous places in which I trained, because although the atmospheres there were also casual they were almost too much so, and bordered on the instructors being lackadaisical in their instruction.  In contrast, the instructors in this Krav Maga class try to make it more fun, but also will impart a serious message that what the students are learning can be deadly and will carry serious consequences if applied inappropriately or improperly.  They will speak of their own experiences in conflict situations with the objective of driving home the message to make the teachings more relevant.  It is clear from the class that the instructors are passionate about what they know, and they are motivated to build this passion onto the students.

Secondly, the students themselves have made the journey unique.  Given that the tools and techniques that we’re learning are violent and intense, one would think that this would invite a breed of students who also carry this attitude, and want nothing more than to fuel their testosterone-filled egos.  However, I have been pleasantly surprised that this couldn’t be further from the truth and that the students are friendly, supportive, and are there to learn how to fight for the proper reasons of defending themselves and/or their friends/family, and not just so they can go out gang-banging on an alcohol and drugged-fueled Saturday night.  It hasn’t been explicitly mentioned, but I suspect that if a potential student were to come to the class with this type of attitude, they would be filtered out and refused training by the instructors.  In short, the collegial attitude of the students makes for the learning a very positive experience, which is not to be taken for granted given the seriousness of the subject.

Lastly, incorporating sparring into the class is an experience unto itself.  I have taken martial arts in the past where I have participated in tournaments, but they are very controlled environments and rules abound to keep things safe and within specific application of the techniques.  The sparring sessions in these classes is raw and brutal, and more closely parallel what one would find in the street where there is no honour and no rules.  With wearing the protective gear the sparring is still safe, but it’s as close to the high level of intensity and adrenalin-filled scrap that one would experience without facing the risk of serious injury.  Personally, I find the sparring sessions to be the most intimidating, but also ultimately most rewarding, part of the lesson and an appropriate way to end the class.

Life changes, schedules change, and businesses come and go, so I know that taking Krav Maga will eventually be a period in my life in which I will look back and remember what it was like to learn one of the deadliest martial arts on the planet and, hopefully, be good at it.  However, that time is in the future and until that day comes, I will continue to attend classes each week and build on the journey.

IMG_4602_edited-1

Written By: Warren C