Posts Tagged ‘Zeev Cohen’

In my previous review, posted my commentary on the Fight Quest episode about Krav Maga. Here is my review of the Human Weapons (2007) episode on Krav Maga.

Personally, I enjoy Human Weapons more out of the two series, probably due to the awesome 3D graphics they employed. I also liked Fight Quest less because I really didn’t like Jimmy Smith. Either way, it is a shame that both series have been canceled after only one season each. Also, Human Weapon employs a slightly different format of experiencing the various martial arts. The hosts stay together, train together, and learn identical techniques, and I think the fact they both get the same experience is better for the show.

Timestamped Commentary

00:17 You can see them walking with Prof. Itay Gil, a former Sheyetet-13 (Navy Seals equivalent) and other units as well as a well-known counter-terrorist and Krav Maga expert. They use the term “anti-terrorist unit,” but this means nothing to me and shows that they either didn’t want to say the name or couldn’t be bothered. In reality, Israel has many anti-terrorist units and people using the terms vaguely without actually specifying the unit is a pet peeve of mine. Itay was one of the early people spreading Krav Maga and CT tactics globally and out of Israel before it even became widely known. He is also known for training IKI’s Moshe Katz.

01:00 I know that stadium well. It is an obvious landmark in Jerusalem, but I never actually went in it. I am not sure if he is still teaching to civilians there, but there is only one way to find out. Itay’s style is hyper-aggressive, to the point, and very military focused on the specific needs of what soldiers and police might need.

01:56 Enter the weapon. Even an amateur fighter could handle themselves easily against the average person in a fight, but bring in the weapons and all of a sudden they are usually not sure what to do. If you have never trained with realistic weapon attacks. all your martial arts may have been for naught.

04:14 The anti-terrorist training facility is not such a secret. I mean, if you know what its name is then you can easily find it because they have road signs for it in Israel, so they probably knew its name simply by watching the road signs on the way in. Also, when I spent my time there during sniper school, there were US Marines and units from all over the world periodically training there. So really, if you really wanted to find it you could just ask around. Not sure if that’s so secret….

04:56 It’s called bursting. This basically means putting all your energy forward into the target. To me, if your feet are in the same place they started you really didn’t burst. In Krav Maga, if you are not running away or creating space, you should be moving forward. Thus, you must start with a burst and keep moving. If your instructors always have you stationary when you drill, then either they don’t understand the concept or they are a bad instructor. Sorry, it’s another pet peeve of mine. Also, it should be noted that you should be hitting the face not the chest, but I am sure they did it they way they did so as to protect the actors.

06:31 As you can see, they are attempting to do a combo 360 defense with their burst. However, as is common with new practitioners, they are so mentally concerned about getting away from the knife that they screw up the technique. They are usually moving out and sideways before they have actually completed a full burst, which diminishes its effectiveness. I would like to also add this builds bad muscle memory when done like this as you cannot always run immediately, often bursting means moving forward to control the weapon arm and if your reflex is always to hit and run, you may be in trouble in the times you cannot run.

07:26 IKMF is originally founded in 1996 by Eyal Yanilov and others prior to Imi’s death, probably because they were pissed off by the succession by Haim Gideon. Anyway, it is now run by Avi Moyal who ousted Eyal in the late 2000’s. Eyal left and created KMG. You have to love the Israeli and Krav Maga politics… I also originally started with IKMF, but due to a difference in opinions let’s say, we left IKMF.

07:36 Hey, look! There is Eyal before he left. That’s how old this show is. He is widely seen as the true protege for Imi. Also, you saw Avi Moyal a little earlier in the clip.

07:55 As you can see, they are doing a pressure drill. In Krav Maga, you avoid the ground and do not stay on the ground, so drills like this force people to be aggressive under pressure in order to get off the ground. Although, this circle looks kind of tame…

09:02 If I am not mistaken, that is Zeev Cohen with whom I have never trained, but I know several people who have. From what I have heard, he is widely considered one of the top instructors and practitioners in the Krav Maga world. As far as I know, he operates his own school under his own name/brand but is more affiliated with KMG these days as he followed Eyal after his ousting.

09:20 Crowd control work for VIP protection. It is situations like this that people usually hire giants for their body guards. Though outside of these situations, giants are not always the best, just saying.

09:50 As you can see, they are practicing the 360 block. Really, this needs to be combined with bursting. I like the drill they are showing, but only when explaining why it’s called 360 and if people are having trouble with the block section. I would much rather teach it in full with the burst so as to build proper reactive muscle memory. If you are static due to muscle memory caused by these drills during an aggressive knife attack, you will have a hard time dealing with it. I personally feel part of the reason some organizations claim that 360 is not a good technique is because they are not teaching it properly in the first place. It is a simple and effective technique when taught and trained properly, but I see people messing it up all over the internet. Pet Peeve. Did you notice I have a lot?

12:00 These choke attacks may not be common for everyone and thus a lot of places don’t like to teach them. However, they are very common in large person versus small person self-defense situations, such as domestic violence, and should not be ignored. Would I attack any one like that? Probably not. I know better, but I hate it when I hear people say that “Nobody attacks like that.” They do, even if you have not seen it before.

12:20 Someone who is grabbing the trachea with force to crush it using only one hand probably has some idea about what they are doing. Most people are just targeting the neck in general, but if they are targeting the trachea specifically, you had better react fast if you don’t want to die.

13:00 This is actually one option in this scenario that I still teach. However, I teach two others as well because, due to body shapes and sizes as well as varying situations, sometimes having one option is not good enough. All options work just fine when they suit the person and situation, but sometimes one is better than the other even though the other is preferred. As much as possible, we try to limit the move to just one option, but again due to the variables in attacks, sometimes people need a couple options. For example, you can see that plucking relies heavily on speed to work.

14:14 You can tell this is old. The IDF largely uses the Micro Tavor now. When I was in the army, they were still trying to convince SF operators to use the regular Tar 21 which is what I used. I would take the Micro Tavor though over either, but the M4 over the Tar 21 Tavor any day.

14:28 He pronounced the name wrong, just so you know. Also, they are a bit dramatic by saying they are going to armageddon. It’s actually a really nice area full of farmlands and hills. I know since I lived in Kibbutz Ein-Ha-Shofet just around the corner for most of my time off base in Israel. Though, I should really have moved to the city because, well, Jonathan Fader and socialist communists don’t really mesh. Look up “Kibbuts” for more info, although a Kibbutz is a good example of why socialism fails because they rely on capitalism in order to survive. Go figure.

14:40 Ok, you can just skip over this section. If you didn’t know, Moni Aizik is a fraud and was never actually in any “Commando” units as a combat soldier. He was allegedly a paper pusher in one of the bases. Also, he was only ever a Judoka as far as I know. He has been widely discredited since this show and I am fairly sure he is wanted in several countries for fraud or other things though I couldn’t tell you what. Unfortunately, some people still pay money to train with this fool. Not to mention a lot of the techniques he teaches are quite laughable.

18:00 Ok, for the last f***ing time, Wingate is not the main base of the IDF. For the most part, it is a private sports institute that happens to have a military base on in and, yes, a lot of physical tests and the general program for Krav Maga is run out of it. And yes, back in the day it is where Imi and others taught out of but that was many many years ago. It is not this main amazing crazy place that so many people claim it is. There is a hill I mentioned in the Fight Quest post that I do hate. Personally, I went there to do fitness competitions. In addition, many of the SF pre-trial tests are done there. Also, as mentioned, the general Krav Maga training program is there where instructors take a 6 week or so program to teach IDF Krav Maga to soldiers. So, if this is the only training that IDF KM instructors have in KM, it means not all of them are very good unless they trained as a civilian previously. It is a fairly nice base though as IDF bases go as its right on the mediteranian. and NO every israeli citizen does not go to Wingate for Basic trainging, I sure as hell didnt. I was stuck in the Negev Desert…..

19:21 To be honest, I have no idea who Shahar Klafeld is so perhaps someone can enlighten me. He looks like a Miloeemik or reservist doing his annual duty. If thats the case they didnt take the show very seriously. Also head instructor is relative if they always change them.

20:00 Personally, I don’t teach the butt hit anymore as you are not controlling the muzzle. As far as I am aware neither do a lot of people. I simply use magazine and the barrel from different angles. I also don’t teach people to hit wildly again due to muzzle control, which if you are not aware is a key part of firearms safety.

23:15 By the way, that gear is the crappiest available. Again, they weren’t giving them anything frilly. At least they gave them new unifroms. Also, I like this drill but it could have been much better but again due to safety when firearms are involved you can’t go too crazy or else someone might end up with a barrel in their eye. By the way being hit in the face with a barrel is not fun, as I can attest.

25:01 What is saying is great. Let the trainig and reaction take over. Because under stress you can’t think you need to just do. This is why it’s so important to build the correct reactions to calm situations. It’s better to practice slowly and correctly than quickly and incorrectly because this trains your body how to move properly.

25:49 Massada is one of my favourite places in Israel. So much history and also known for the famous pre-sunrise hike. If you go to Israel and don’t go to Massada then you didn’t really visit Israel.

26:19 It should be noted that while Dennis Hanover is an AMAZING martial artist, self defense expert and overall combative expert, he isn’t technically doing Krav Maga even if he is teaching a lot of the same things. This is mainly due to the fact he has an immense martial arts back ground, but really doesn’t come from the traditional Krav Maga lineage. Either way though, I would not mess with him as he clearly trains to kill and is proficient in most hand-held weapons. I also love the way this guy moves, there’s just something about being a true master.

31:12 It’s true that the heat in the Jordanian Valley is quite annoying. If you want to experience different types of heat then simply travel all over Israel in the summer. Hot in the Jordanian Valley is a whole different kind of hot.

31:19 This is more Kyokushin style training, but I support it periodically. It allows people to condition their body and really push themselves physically. Of course, if you do it too much, it tends to lower your guard from protecting the head, which is a bad habit. You must always train sparring with head shots (of course, with protective head gear) and occasionally do this kind of sparring. It may also be a section in some of UTKMs belt tests.

33:03 As you can see, some people have their faces covered, this means they are SF and cannot be seen on camera. Again, they are on Israels Central CT base, though I still say it’s not so secret anymore. Also, people really need to stop using the term commando as a general term as it really means nothing other than SF, but doesn’t specify the unit. It is likely that these are members of CT707 the same unit that Nir Maman served it. However, as many SF units train out of this base you really cannot be certain.

34:30 For example, these guys who are sparring could be Matkal, Sheyetet-13, Shaldag or any other top tear unit, but you really cannot know. See how it mostly focuses on aggression and engagement?

36:44 I wonder if this is actually how they decided. I mean, its generally obvious who has the better skill. It’s usually Jason, but Bill does get in sometimes.

39:00 These circles are great. We use them is some of our testings. If your school has never put you in a similar circle, tell them it’s time to up the ante. Though, please do them safely. Although, Jason has a tendency to go to the ground too often. I think it’s his MMA training coming in, but with knives, you rarely want to go down to the ground since you’ll get cut for sure. Also, I really think they are going easy on him. Either way again, even after going through a week of training, you can tell he is reverting to what he knows. Also, he probably would have been dead from the second knife attack. Overall, these circles are great for training people for the unexpected when you are tired. You really never know who is going to attack and when.


For the most part, the guys in Human Weapons trained a little bit more with the military Krav Maga organizations and a little less with civilian ones probably because of Itay Gil. While both military and civilian Krav Maga organizations are very good, a truly great Krav Maga organization or program should provide both military and civilian aspects of training. Military Krav Maga is generally more focused on conditioning, aggression, and mental toughness, while civilian Krav Maga spends more time developing technical prowess and correct reflexes. Again, both are important with regards to being a good Krav Maga practitioner.

Also, like the Fight Quest episode, I would really like to emphasis how much BS is out there regarding both Krav Maga and the IDF. I know so many people who don’t have a clue what they are talking about when it comes to the IDF or Krav Maga. Always do your research and don’t be easily impressed just by titles alone.

Gaza Flotilla Raid on May 2010, is a good example of a failed military operation and it also shows the limitation of Krav Maga ( hand to hand combat ).

Footage of the instance

Footage of the IDF Krav Maga training


On May 31, 2010, Shayetet 13 took part in Operation Sea Breeze or Operation Sky Winds against a flotilla trying to break the blockade of Gaza. The commandos, armed with non-lethal weaponry and 9mm pistols as sidearms, abseiled from helicopters and boarded from speedboats, and apprehended five ships with mostly passive resistance. Aboard the MV Mavi Marmara, the commandos were attacked by dozens of activists armed with knives, iron bars, slingshots and improvised weapons, and allegedly with firearms, including those seized from commandos. Three soldiers were captured, carried below deck, and were temporarily held in a passenger hall. The commandos initially used non-lethal force, but after this proved ineffective, they opened fire with live ammunition and seized control of the ship. Nine activists were killed, and several dozen were wounded. Seven commandos were also wounded, two of them seriously. International condemnation of the action followed.Subsequently, S’13 commandos boarded and seized the aid ship MV Rachel Corrie with no resistance.

1. Group fighting

“You are simply not going to win over a mob.” Plenty of Kung Fu movies instill false ideas of a 1-vs-Many situation. In these films, the Kung Fu master is able to fight 10 – 50 people all by himself easily and effortlessly. As you can see in the footage, it only exists in Hollywood. Shayetet 13 is among the top 3 special forces within the IDF. Members of Shayetet 13 are the finest soldiers IDF can offer and these naval commandos are probably the most aggressive and fearsome of all. One of its unofficial mottos is “When force does not work, use more force.”  The Krav Maga training of Shayetet 13 is as brutal as any other spec-op unit, if not more. However, these soldiers are human, just like you and me.


Let’s look at it more closely. A soldier is able to do 5 moves in one second. These moves include most Krav Maga techniques: e.g, elbow, fist, kick, etc.  Each member of a mob can do, for example, “about only 3 moves because of sea sickness, lack of training, etc.”

In the film, each soldier was attacked by about 10 -15 mob members at any moment. 15 x 3 = 45 moves, so a soldier can only do 5 moves countering 45 moves by a mob in one second.  5 vs 45.  You see why being a Kung Fu master or top Naval commando makes no difference in front of a mob?


2. Space & Environment

Human beings are unable to deal with attacks from all angles. In this instance, the commando fast roped down, and in the middle of the rope he was quickly overwhelmed by the mob. Generally speaking, attacks can come from the front, left, right and rear (4 angles) but most of our senses are only equipped to deal with attacks from the front. Although it might be a mission requirement to fast rope in the middle of the deck, the commandos were unable to use walls and other obstacles to funnel the attackers into a more manageable angle.

gaza-flotilla-hamas-terrorists-03_425In the video you can see commandos were thrown off the deck by the mob. In a fight, the environment is neutral. It can be used against your enemy or you. The environment takes no side.

3. Use of weapon


some of the weapons found on the ship. The dangers of these item is irrefutable.

It is the saddest thing to see some martial art & Krav Maga instructors instilling false confidence to their students regarding the power of empty hands. IDF soldiers were attacked by metal rods, knives, fists, stones, etc. Every blow is potentially deadly to a human body. In situations like this almost every military and Law Enforcement in Western society allows its members to use deadly force. The idea of using non-lethal devices or Krav Maga to fight off this kind of situation is simply unrealistic and ludicrous.

4. Underestimate the threat

Prior to Shayetet 13’s commandos boarding MV Mavi Marmara, they had boarded several other vessels, and faced no trouble. The commandos were under strict orders not to use lethal force from the higher ups and were doing search with paintball guns and pistols. The situation quickly went out of hand even before the commandos boarded the ships. The mob is swinging the rope which commandos roped from and some of commandos actually fell from the middle of the air. It is unsure if the commandos got complacent because of the previous operations on other ships but the head of operations and the IDF higher up definitely got complacent and underestimated the unpredictability and aggressive nature of these passengers on board. The threat is very real even when you are at overwhelming odds on your side: Navy vs civilian yards, commandos vs civilians.

Gaza Blockade Soldier Photos


As one of my instructors Nir Maman ( Krav Maga and Counter Terror specialist ) once said, “The essence and tactics of Krav Maga in IDF is the same as how we shoot, how we clear rooms and deploy in battle ” In North America, many civilian instructors have emphasized too much on the hand-to-hand aspect of Krav Maga and failed to recognize that Israeli Krav Maga mentality is always about using superior weapons over the enemy.  “If the enemy has a stick, I have a gun. If the enemy has a gun, I have a tank. If the enemy has a tank, I have my F-15. Krav Maga is not a martial art and is not about fighting equally but a system about neutralizing the threat with superior forces with minimum of losses at your side.

The Gaza Flotilla Raid is an excellent example of the one time that the IDF underestimated the threats and did not deploy enough forces accordingly.  A mistake that almost cost these commandos’ lives.  The same can happen to us, so as Krav Maga practitioners we should acknowledge that we are not invulnerable to harm and our tactics can be flawed.

Written By: Borki Ben-Yony

Edited By: Warren Chow


Borhan and Zeev

How I started learning Krav Maga was completely by accident. Although being an avid martial artist all my life, I did not know what Krav Maga was prior to my stay in Israel in 2007. I planned to live in Israel working as a freelance journalist. One day, my good friend Freeman told me about an Israeli Fighting System call “ Krav Maga “ and suggested I write a story about it.

Freeman passed me a phone number of a Krav Maga organization ( IKMF ) and I was directed to attend Krav Maga classes at a local Krav Maga school in ramat Aviv. The classes were held in a high school’s basement and my instructors were Zeev Cohen and Miki Newman. They are not well known in North American Krav Maga community but their Krav Maga class was as Israeli as it gets.

There were two to three classes per week. We would start the class with a series of hard fitness exercises, then practice Krav Maga moves on each other and in the end, “ sparring “ , lots of sparring. We constantly fought each other in the last 15 mins of the class. Although Zeev did not want us to hit each other too hard, when you are fighting an 18 year old soon-to-be paratrooper, you fight for your survival. We were using 14 oz – 16 oz boxing gloves with no head protection. The class was conducted completely in Hebrew and that made me study extra hard in my Ulpan school ( Hebrew School ) during the day. I need to at least understand when Zeev yelled out “ Hey you ! kick Borhan in the groin. “


My fellow students left as much an impression on me as my instructors. Most of them were Israelis and a few were American and European students. They all worked really hard in class and fought viciously against each other. Prior to Zeev’s Krav Maga school, I studied Judo for 5 years and Tae Kwon Do for 3 years but I had never seen such dedication and seriousness among the general students in a class. I guess the reason is because my Israeli classmates know that it is very liely they might have to use Krav Maga to protect themselves one day.


Miki in Action

Zeev’s Krav Maga class also taught me the true meaning of equality between men and women. In the past, I had always refused to hit a woman because I was raised that a good gentleman should not lay his hand on women. My belief was shattered when I was paired up with a female student. She was roughly 30 years-old, and skinny with short hair. I did not want to hit her at all so I started throwing some lazy punches. She must have felt my unwillingness to fight her and replied kindly with a strong punch on my nose. Testing a bit of iron in mouth and feeling my nose flatten, I knew I have to fight for my survival and I realized that I was not fighting a lady but a fellow warrior.

Now, teaching my own Krav Maga school in Vancouver, BC. I am blessed with one thing most North American Krav Maga instructors do not have, which is “ Seeing how a normal Krav Maga season is conducted in Israel. “ This is what shaped my image on how Krav Maga training should be: rough, hard, and full of physical contact. The lack of beauty of the system is made up by brutal efficiency. There is no such thing as a female only class, and women are subjected to the same type of hard training as men and they are respected as fellow warriors. I often say I take no credit of my class’s training structure design. Because they are based on how my first Krav Maga classes were conducted in Ramat Aviv. I merely inherited the structure and spirit.

Written By: Borhan J

Edited By: Warren C