Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Curt's Krav Maga Blog on Hiatus

2009 Our Krav Maga training center will be on hiatus from December 24, 2008 until January 3, 2009. So... I'm going to do the same. Happy holidays! See you back here next year.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Potpourri of Krav Maga Techniques

Monday night’s class started out warming up with the Tombstone Pad. Your training partner held the pad in position for you to deliver straight punches, groin kicks, round kicks to the ribs, round kicks to the outer thigh and round kicks to the inner thigh.

When the warm up was over, we exchanged our Tombstone Pad for a Kicking Shield so that we could work on some kicking combinations. Your training partner was instructed to make sure that you kicked the shield often. There was to be no lag time. In addition, he/she was to move around and change angles as well as distances.

Drill #1
Starting with your lead leg; execute an offensive front kick followed by a rear leg round kick making contact with the ball of your foot in both cases.

Drill #2
Starting with your lead leg; execute an offensive front kick followed by a rear leg offensive front kick.

Drill #3
Starting with your rear leg; execute an offensive front kick followed by a side kick with the same leg.

Drill #4
This drill involved all three kicking combinations. Your training partner would call out a number representing the kicking combination that he/she wanted you to execute.

Note: Kicking combinations are very exhausting!

Drill #5
While facing your training partner, execute a Sweep with Heel Kick. In Judo, this is called an Osoto Gari. Essentially, you grab your opponent and off balance him/her so that most of his/her weight is on one leg. As you off balance your opponent, you sweep (kick) the back of his/her supporting leg with the back of your leg driving him/her to the ground.

Since Krav Maga is essentially a close quarters combat system, this particular sweep is a good finishing move after you’ve neutralized and weakened your opponent.

Drill #6
This drill covered the Sweep with Forward Kick. In Judo, this is called Kosoto Gari. Like the Sweep with Heel Kick, you grab your opponent and off balance him/her so that most of his/her weight is on one leg. However, this sweep is applied to your opponent’s foot rather than the leg.

You might use this sweep when the dynamics of the fight has taken you to a position at your opponent’s side, with you either facing perpendicular to him/her or facing the same way. Since there is less power in this sweep, you want to sweep the foot with the least amount of weight on it.

Drill #7
We defended against the Full Nelson in this drill. A Full Nelson is a hold in which the attacker… standing behind you… slides both arms under your armpits, then up behind your neck, clasping his/her hands together.

There are three Full Nelson defenses in the Krav Maga Worldwide curriculum: Leverage on Fingers, Forward Throw and Sweep. We practiced the Leverage on the Fingers defense. Of the three defenses, this one should be used first.

Drill #8
We finished the night by delivering combination kicks to our training partner. In between combination kicking, our training partner would attack us. We defended the attack, used combatives and then finished the defense with one of the sweeps we learned earlier.

Another great night of Krav Maga instruction!

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Seminar

Wednesday… groundfighting night… our training center had Adrian Fulk, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) instructor from Mat Santos’ Fighting Academy, conduct a 2-hour BJJ seminar. Adrian is also a Mixed Martial Artist (MMA) competitor with four wins and no losses to his record.

Our groundfighting night is a mixture of the grappling arts that can enhance our Krav Maga groundfighting skills. BJJ… tweaked for Krav Maga… is a large part of the curriculum. Adrian’s style of BJJ complements Krav Maga’s groundfighting very nicely.

Closed GuardWe started the night off with warm-up wrestling. Warm-up wrestling is wrestling without applying submission holds to your partner, e.g., arm bars, chokes, etc. When warm-up wrestling, you try to improve your position. For example, if you re in a bottom position, you try to get to a top position or if you re in a side mount position, you try to get to a top mount position.

Adrian’s first lesson was on head and arm control of your opponent when he/she is in your closed guard. If you watch any BJJ sparring, you will see that the combatants spend most of their time in one of the following positions:

  1. Guard
  2. Side Mount
  3. Knee Mount
  4. Mount
  5. Rear Mount
  6. Turtle

Of these six positions, the Guard has three basic subcategories:

  1. Closed Guard
  2. Open Guard
  3. Half Guard

Triangle Choke Adrian’s next lesson was on transitioning from the Closed Guard position to the Triangle Choke. He then showed us how to apply the Triangle Choke and then transition to a Straight Arm Bar. Next, he showed us how to apply the Straight Arm Bar. It’s a beautiful Plan A to Plan B move.

In BJJ, for every technique that is applied there is a counter move to that technique and then a counter to the counter. If your opponent senses that a Triangle Choke or Straight Arm Bar is imminent, he/she may try a counter move. So, Adrian showed us a nice little move that sweeps your opponent when he/she tries to thwart your attack.

Straight Arm BarWe ended the last half-hour of the seminar by wrestling (sometimes called rolling). Partners were switched every 2 minutes with a 30 seconds rest in between matches.

The seminar was a lot of fun. During the wrestling matches, it was great to see everyone applying the techniques that Adrian had taught earlier. Once again, the benefit of live grappling.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sports Specific Fight Gone Bad Circuit

Monday night we put on our shin guards and put our mouth pieces in and then partnered up. We started with stomping kicks, i.e., front kicks, side kicks and back kicks.

Drill #1
Kick your partner… using the aforementioned kicks… while your partner is stationary.

Drill #2
Kick your partner… using the aforementioned kicks… while your partner moves around.

Drill #3
Add to Drill #2 by starting with an aforementioned kick and then follow up with additional combatives (punches, elbows, knees, kicks).

Drill #4

  • Practice inside defenses (defenses that redirect a straight attack away from its intended target).
  • Practice 360° outside defenses (defenses against attacks coming at you from an angle).
  • Practice bearhugs.

Drill #5
Be prepared to defend yourself against three individuals that are approaching you at different angles. You can only make a defense if attacked. You cannot initiate an attack.

Drill #6 was the “Sports Specific Fight Gone Bad” circuit.” B.J. Penn puts himself through this circuit a few times before an upcoming fight. The idea of the circuit is to simulate an upcoming fight.

First, decide how many rounds you’re going to do and how long they’re going to be. Next, you decide which drills to include in your rounds. Finally, assign drills to your training partners. For example, let’s say that you’re going to do a 4-minute round. You’ll need to gather up four training partners and assign a drill to each one of them.

Begin the round with Training Partner #1. As he/she goes all out to accomplish his/her goal, you go all out to accomplish your goal. You do this for one minute. The instant that minute is up, Training Partner #2 jumps in and you attempt to achieve your second goal for one minute. Continue with Training Partners #3 and #4. Remember, you’re still sparring as hard as you normally would; the only difference is you’re trying to accomplish a specific goal.

Our instructor put together the following 4-minute “Krav Maga Specific Fight Gone Bad” round for Drill #6:

  • Training Partner #1: - Straight punches
  • Training Partner #2: - Punches at angles
  • Training Partner #3: - Bearhugs
  • Training Partner #4: - Level 1 chokes

The trick with running the “Sports Krav Maga Specific Fight Gone Bad” circuit is not getting discouraged. Each minute you will be facing a training partner who is fresh, so expect to pretty much get dominated as time goes on. The goal of the circuit is to push yourself past your limits and develop mental and physical stamina.

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Rock'em Sock'em Robots

Rockem Sockem Robots Thursday night’s Krav class was fun. It was very similar to interval training. Starting in full protective fighting gear - here’s how it went:

  • Do light sparring, but in a "Rock’em Sock’em Robots" fashion. In other words, there was no defense, only offense. And, the offense had to be continuous for 4 minutes.

  • Do Level 1 defenses against various two-handed chokes.

  • Deliver punches and kicks to your stationary partner. I always find this to be very unnerving because as the stationary partner, you aren’t allowed to defend or strike back. As you stand there observing the punches and kicks coming at you, the striker is practicing hitting vulnerable targets on your body.

  • Do Level 2 defenses against the bar arm choke, carotid choke, headlock and various bear hugs.

  • Do light sparring for 3 minutes.

  • Do Level 1 and 2 defenses.

  • Do light sparring for 3 minutes.

  • Do handgun defense from the front.

  • Do light sparring for 3 minutes.

  • Do handgun defense from the back.

  • Do light sparring for 3 minutes.

  • Do handgun defense from the side, behind the arm.

  • Do light sparring for 3 minutes.

  • Do handgun defense from the side, in front of the arm.

  • Do light sparring for 4 minutes.

  • Bow out of class.

Phew! I survived another of Ms. K’s classes.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Krav Maga’s Basic Front Kicks

Front Kick The Front Kick is one of the most versatile tools in your striking arsenal. Some have compared it to a jab in boxing – used first to find your range and/or set up your opponent for a finishing technique.

Regular Front Kick (Groin Kick)
From a fighting stance, swing the rear leg forward and upward with the knee bent. As the hip of the kicking leg comes forward, the knee extends out. Pivot your base foot slightly and strike through the groin with your instep or the lower part of your shin. Recoil your leg immediately after making contact. Place your foot down in front of you or back into a fighting stance.

This is the first kick you learn in Krav Maga. When the kick lands correctly, it is very damaging and can end a fight.

Front Kick to a Vertical Target
From a fighting stance, swing the rear leg forward with the knee bent. As the hip of the kicking leg comes forward, punch the foot, leg and hip straight out. Make sure that the bones in the foot, ankle and lower leg are in a straight line to provide support to the ball of the foot when you execute the kick. Pivot your base foot slightly and while driving forward, strike through the target with the ball of your foot. Recoil your leg immediately after making contact. Place your foot down in front of you or back into a fighting stance.

The Front Kick to a Vertical Target is a penetrating kick that is made to the midsection or chest. A greater amount of force is used when striking your intended target with a smaller surface area. Let’s say that you can deliver 100 lbs. of force to your target, and that the surface area of the ball of your foot is 2 square inches. If you strike the target correctly with the ball of your foot, you will be delivering 50 lbs. of pressure per square inch.

However, if you strike the target with the entire bottom of your foot, which has a surface area of 20 square inches, then you would be striking your target with 5 lbs of pressure per square inch. When you strike the target with a large surface area, you are dissipating the force over a wider surface area resulting in a push rather than a penetrating impact.

Defensive Front Kick
From a fighting stance, swing the rear leg forward with the knee bent. As the hip of the kicking leg comes forward, punch the foot, leg and hip straight out. Pivot your base foot slightly and while driving forward, strike through the target with the entire bottom of your foot. Recoil your leg immediately after making contact. Place your foot down in front of you or back into a fighting stance.

The Defensive Front Kick is used to stop an advancing opponent or to push a close opponent to a greater distance.

A Front Kick can be an excellent offensive or defensive weapon. When executed properly and delivered to a vulnerable target, it can devastate an opponent.

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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Applying a Shoulder Choke

Chokes are applied to the wind pipe thereby restricting air intake or to the carotid arteries thereby restricting blood flow to the brain. Both are quite formidable when applied properly.

kata-gatame-shoulder choke In our last groundfighting class, we were introduced to a shoulder choke that is sometimes called an arm triangle. In Judo, it is called a Kata Gatame. When using this choke, your opponent’s arm restricts blood flow on one side of his/her neck and you use an arm to restrict blood flow on the other side of his/her neck. You want to make sure that your opponent's arm is trapped between your head and his/hers.

The choke can be used when you are on your back and your opponent is on top of you in full mount. If it is not effective from that position, you can sweep your opponent to their back and apply the choke from a side mount position.

Our instructor demonstrated the choke using a gable (palm-to-palm) grip. My preference is to use a reverse lever. For example, if my right arm is around my opponent’s neck, I place my right hand on my left forearm. I then move my left hand up to the side of my head and squeeze. I get a much tighter choke this way.

Now… for a street fight, I wouldn’t take the time to choke someone out. I will follow my Krav Maga principles. There is always the possibility of the person pulling out an edged weapon while we’re rolling around on the ground. In addition, the person may be a part of a group that decides to join in the fray. However, if he―hopefully, I won’t be fighting a woman―is my only adversary and my only concern is controlling him, I might opt for the choke. The situation will ultimately dictate my actions.

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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Scenario-Based Training at Its Best

Scenario-based training engages all three learning domains (cognitive, psychomotor, and affective), is interactive and dynamic, and requires time-pressured decisions. Learning within the domains enables students to understand a concept, perform a task, or alter a behavior.

Cognitive (Knowledge)
Cognition is a general concept that refers to all forms of knowing, including perceiving, imagining, reasoning, and judging. It is the foundation for the other two domains. Cognition enables a person to apply knowledge (what) to perform a task or skill (how) and understand and accept the reasoning (why) behind the basic concept.

Psychomotor (Skills)
Psychomotor refers to skills involving knowledge learned through the senses that is applied to physical movement. Learning is developed through repeated practice of the skill.

Affective (Attitude)
Affective learning involves how individuals deal with issues emotionally and includes traits like individual awareness and values.

Okay… enough about effective learning.

Last night’s class began with warm-up drills involving:

  • Controlling and moving an attacker
  • Controlling and moving an attacker while counterattacking
  • Controlling and moving an attacker while defending against body strikes
  • Defending against a knife threat, bursting forward diagonally delivering a front kick to the groin, and then escaping

Here are last night’s scenarios.

Side-by-Side Scenario
For this scenario, we had to have our eyes closed. We couldn’t open our eyes until the attacker said, “Hey!” At that point, we would then know who was being threatened.

Your significant other, friend, etc. is standing beside you. An attacker approaches threatening with a knife. Who makes the defense? Do you both make the defense? If you’re trained, but the knife isn’t pointed toward you and your partner isn’t trained, do you make the defense?

Hostage Scenario
Your significant other, friend, etc. is taken as a hostage at knifepoint. The assailant is backing away from you with him/her. What do you do? Do you try to de-escalate the situation by talking to the assailant? Do you throw your wallet or any other valuables in the direction of the assailant? Do you rush the assailant?

Two Attackers Scenario
In this scenario, we were attacked by two knife wielding assailants. I had fun with this one. I moved myself into a position where attacker #1 was blocking attacker #2. I immediately neutralized attacker #1 and then I used him as a shield against attacker #2. While I was controlling attacker #1 and using him as a shield, I was able to deliver a sidekick to the liver of attacker #2 driving him back. I then drove attacker #1 to the ground using a wristlock. I disarmed him and then terminated him. The termination was a no no since I had eliminated the threat once I put the assailant on the ground. I got a little carried away. I didn’t get a chance to finish off attacker #2 because it was time to change roles in the scenario.

The Shadow Scenario
This scenario had your partner holding a knife with his back towards you. Whichever direction he moved, you had to follow (shadow) him. Picture a NFL football game with a defensive cornerback shadowing an offensive wide receiver. At some point, your partner turned and attacked you with the knife. It was very stressful. Because of my proximity to my partner and the swiftness of his attack, it was hard to judge his angle of attack. One of my defenses was jamming the knife against his body and driving him to the ground. Hitting the ground took the wind out of him and allowed me to disarm him and do a little ground and pound. The technique is not at the top of my list for defenses, but it worked under the circumstances.

Our lead instructor explained that you’re going to find yourself in certain situations that are a bit different from in class. He stated that you’re not going to be able to go to “the book” and find the technique for that particular situation. That’s why Krav Maga is a system of principles and not techniques.

Anytime you’re involved in a confrontation, look at it like a pool game. Every time you shoot a game of pool, the balls are not going to line up the same way. You’re going to make shots that you have probably never made before. The shots may look the same, but they are off just a fraction of an inch. As in pool, you need to understand the underlining principles. Then you’ll be able to improvise like a Jazz musician and suit the scene perfectly.

Scenario-Based Training at Its BestSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Friday, November 28, 2008

Defended Myself and Didn't Get Hurt

I was at a convenience store speaking to the owner when, like a whirlwind, a man comes into the store. He came in shouting expletives and seemed to be angry at the world. He appeared to be 6’ 4” tall and probably weighed 260 lbs. He definitely was an intimidating figure.

As the man moved towards the counter, where I was standing, he turned to me and said, “Do you have a problem?” I said, “No.” as I stepped to my right keeping a watchful eye on this guy. The man was on my left.

As he continued with his ranting, he abruptly turned and threw a punch to my head. It happened so fast that I had just enough time to move my left hand and arm up to the side of my head to absorb the punch.

Instinctively, I did what I’ve been trained to do in Krav Maga: go on the offensive. So, I spin to my left, grab his right upper arm with my left hand and slam my right forearm into his face. This drives his head back violently.

Still grasping his upper arm, I slam my right forearm into the right side of his neck near his trapezius muscles. Driving myself forward and applying my weight, I grab the back of his shirt at the nape of his neck. I am now controlling him.

I deliver two arrow-like knee strikes to his liver with my right knee. He curls over writhing in pain.

I move my right hand from the back of his neck to the top of his head and push it down as I deliver an upward knee strike to his face. I feel his body go limp.

I release my grips and throw a right uppercut/left hook combination to his head. He drops to the floor holding his bloody face in his hands. He is now in the fetal position moaning.

Poof… back to reality. I visualized this entire scenario while I was in the convenience store. I feel bad about the unsuspecting guy that came into the store to buy a lottery ticket. He took a heck of a beating from me and didn't know it.

As was mentioned in an earlier post, your subconscious mind does not distinguish between what is real and what is imagined. This kind of exercise is a good tool to have in your training toolbox.

When you’re in a parking garage, elevator or store - any area - practice visualizing a real confrontation. Visualize how you might try to de-escalate it and if to no avail, how you would handle a physical response.

It’s a good way to exercise your mind and practice your skills. Plus, you’re able to walk away from the incident unscathed.
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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Defending Against the Knife… Counterattack!

If you believe that you may be attacked by a knife, your first choice of defense should be to run away. If you’re like me and can’t run fast, then you have to go to Plan B and find something close by that you can use to defend yourself. Your last choice should be defending yourself with your hands. And if you do use your hands to defend yourself, make sure you counterattack immediately.

One of the drills we did the other night was more of an observation. We stood still for 30 seconds while our partner stabbed us with a practice knife. You and your partner were to count the amount of stabs within 30 seconds. I was stabbed 99 times!

Another drill had us standing beside someone. That someone represented a significant other, friend, etc. An attacker approached threatening with a knife. You didn’t know which person (s)he was going to attack first.

This brings up the point of different ranges. The range you find yourself in (very close, close, medium or long) will dictate how you will defend. At the very close range, you can’t defend yourself unless you are very lucky. At a close range, you may be able to use a hand defense. At the medium range, you might be able to use a hand defense as well as a body defense. And at the long range... run or go to Plan B.

Our final drill had our partner attacking from all angles. I was able to make my defenses and several times was able to disarm my attacker. However, I was making a grave error. Once I made the initial defense, I didn’t strike back immediately.

Under the stress of having someone come at you fast and furious, you tend to get tunnel vision and only see the knife. So, you end up defending against the attack several times. Not a good thing. Had I struck back immediately to the face or throat of the attacker, I would have slowed the attacker down long enough for me to immobilize the attacking limb and stop any additional stabs.

There is a fight scene in the movie "The Bourne Ultimatum" where Jason Bourne is attacked by a CIA asset named Desh Bouksani. Desh's initial attack is with a knife and he uses it from every angle. Jason starts out using hand defenses from the close range. Ultimately, Jason defeats Desh by using objects around them.

Remember, the edged weapon attacker is programmed to attack several times, not only once. The initial defense is a counterattack unto itself and aids in helping stop further attacks. The icing on the cake is that immediate strike to the face or throat that upsets the attacker’s brain transmissions. Once that happens, you'll have a better chance of immobilizing the attacking limb and delivering multiple strikes until you feel safe enough to disengage and flee or until the attacker is neutralized enough to allow you to make a disarm.
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Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Mutual Benefit of Live Grappling

Live grappling can be fun and it provides instant feedback as was mentioned in a previous post. Moreover, there are mutual benefits to be derived when you roll (wrestle) with your training partner.

We started the first hour of this week's groundfighting class with some games to warm us up.

Game 1: Cowboys and Horses

One person is the cowboy and that person goes to one end of the floor. Everybody else is a horse and goes to the opposite end of the floor. The horses attempt to crawl, on all fours, to the far end of the floor while the cowboy, crawling on all fours, attempts to pin an oncoming horse to the floor. If a horse is pinned to the floor, then that horse becomes a cowboy for the next round.

Game 2: Tunnel Race

Players split into two teams. At one end of the floor, the teams line up in single file. All players spread their legs wide. The last person in the line drops down and belly crawls through the legs of everyone in their line and then stands up in front of the first person. Each player does the same thing until the team reaches the opposite end of the floor. Once the end is reached, the players repeat the process, but this time on their backs. The first team to go down the floor and back wins.


We always start our grappling from our knees. In this particular drill, two students were on their knees separated by a kicking shield. When the instructor gave the signal to begin, each student delivered punches, hammerfists and elbow strikes to the kicking shield (ground and pound). On the next signal by the instructor, students were to begin grappling with their training partner.

Another drill had two students on his/her knees facing each other. One student was wearing boxing gloves. When the instructor gave the signal to begin, the student wearing the boxing gloves started punching as well as grappling. The ungloved student had to defend, escape from, sweep or submit the attacking student.


In our final hour, we reviewed the techniques learned from the past few weeks and then we started to free roll (wrestle using any techniques that we know).

When I roll, I seem to prefer arm chokes (rear naked, cobra, scissors, etc.). It’s probably because… at least for me… they are a lot easier to apply.

Depending on the situation, I have applied arm locks like the Kimura and Americana and on rare occasion, a straight arm bar. However, they seem to take a lot more work to setup... at least for me. Sometimes I even get away with applying an Achilles ankle lock!

When I am able to apply a particular technique to my training partner, repeatedly, I share what I am doing with him/her. The idea is to make my training partner as good as (s)he can be so that (s)he can help me get better also.

When I apply that same technique to my training partner in the future, (s)he is now aware of the technique and can avoid or defend against it. I now have to figure out another way to apply the technique. That raises my game. This is the mutual benefit of live grappling.
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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sometimes I Would Hear a Voice

Punching focus mitts works on your hand and eye coordination. It also works on your stamina, particularly when you’re punching them for several rounds. The purpose of this class was to work on delivering continuous punches (more than 4) and to increase our punching endurance.
Our first drill began with our partner - in a stationary position - holding the focus mitts for straight punches, hook punches, and uppercut punches. The punches had to be thrown in a manner that created a popping sound on the mitts. In addition, the punches had to be continuous for ninety seconds. The lead instructor would tell the mitt holder when to change the positions of the mitts for the various punches.
Straight punches! Pop-Pop-Pop-Pop-Pop-Pop-Pop-Pop-Pop-Pop.
Hook punches! Pop-Pop-Pop-Pop-Pop-Pop-Pop-Pop-Pop-Pop.
Uppercut punches! Pop-Pop-Pop-Pop-Pop-Pop-Pop-Pop-Pop-Pop-Pop.
I think you get the picture.
During this drill, I started to hear a voice and it said, “Curt, keep your hands up!”
The next drill was similar to the first except our partner made the decision to change the positions of the mitts for the punches. In addition, our partner was in motion, moving away from you.
Again, the voice. “Curt, recoil that right cross faster and bring it back to your face!"
The third drill had us throwing various continuous combinations, while our partner moved around. We peeled off (getting out of punching range at an angle) after the last punch was thrown.
The incessant voice wouldn’t leave me alone. “Curt, throw those hooks harder!” POP-POP-POP-POP-POP-POP-POP-POP-POP-POP.
During the final drill, we put on the headgear and put away the focus mitts. Our partner's body became the focus mitts. Our partner was allowed to defend against our continuous punching to his/her body, but he/she wasn’t allowed to counterattack.
When the class ended, I stood there exhausted and out of breath. In addition, I noticed something. The voice had finally gone silent.
Actually, the voice was coming from across the room from another instructor sitting at a desk. He had his laser beam honed in on me during the entire class. I can’t slack off for a second... and that's a good thing.
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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Live Grappling

With live grappling, you get instant feedback. You immediately find out if the technique being applied to your opponent works or doesn’t work. Refer to point 6 in my previous post.

Last night’s groundfighting night reviewed last week’s hip heist sweep from the closed guard position and the application of the Kimura arm lock. In addition, other sweeps were introduced that dealt with an opponent that has mounted you.

One of the drills involved having your partner - wearing boxing gloves - mount you. You had to lie flat on your back with your arms spread eagle. Your partner was allowed to punch you two times. After the two punches, you were to protect yourself from the additional punches and then try to sweep your partner. Once you swept your partner, the roles were reversed.

Another drill had your partner in your closed guard. Punches were thrown and you had to sweep your partner and then get up and get away by throwing punches at vital targets.

During the second hour of training, an additional technique was added to our toolbox, the guillotine. We practiced it from our closed guard position and used it to facilitate a sweep as opposed to a submission. The principle here was to try to escape first instead of rolling around on the ground wrestling with your attacker.

When we finished practicing our techniques, we started to free roll with our partners. This is the time period where the rubber meets the road and you find out if you can apply the techniques that you have learned. When you change partners, you find out what may have worked on your previous partner won't work on the current one. You must adapt and adjust. That's live grappling.
Live GrapplingSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

10 Ways to Learn Quickly

The following is from the Fighter's Fact Book, by Loren W. Christensen.

1. Repetitions
According to Casey Eberting, a teaching professional for golf:
What I have learned, and what studies mention, is that it takes a certain amount of time for the body to learn simple motion…. I, therefore, recommend for my students to practice a new motion for at least three to four weeks… before moving on to something new. If you do any less, you run the risk of not learning the motion, or you may only partially learn it….
2. Mental imagery
When you mentally rehearse techniques, you educate your subconscious mind so that it later directs your body to reproduce what you rehearsed, whether you are in your training center or a self-defense situation. This works because your subconscious mind doesn’t distinguish between reality and imagination.
3. Verbalize the technique to someone

4. Verbalize to yourself

5. Train with a partner

6. Unstructured practice
This consists of sparring and drills that are not prearranged.
7. Shorter training sessions
This refers to doing one to three 20-minute workouts a week outside of your regular class.
8. Listen to slow learners
Some people are naturals which makes them hard to emulate. Your best bet is to emulate the people that had to sweat and strain to get where they are today. The people that had to figure out the best training regimen for their average or below average genetics.
9. Don’t do the same thing every day
Rotate the exercises in your training for optimal results.
10. Have a training objective
By developing a plan of attack for your training, you enhance your concentration as well as your ability to learn. By having a clear objective for each training session, whether it’s solo, with a partner or in your regular class, you go into it more motivated and stay motivated for the entire session.
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Friday, November 7, 2008

So… you’re standing at a train station

…and a man waving a knife threatens to kill and rob commuters. In my occupation - particularly in my area of expertise - we call this a high-risk low incident scenario. In other words, it is a very dangerous situation, but it very seldom happens. Nevertheless, we have to be trained how to handle the situation.

Only two Saturdays ago, our training center conducted a 4-hour knife defense seminar. I am sure attendees of the seminar are feeling the same way I am right now after hearing or reading about the Newtonville train station attack. And that feeling is… I am glad I attended the seminar!

More stabbing headlines
Life sentence over knife in skull

So… you’re standing at a train stationSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Groundfighting Night

Wednesday night was the inauguration of our training center’s groundfighting night. Sometime ago, groundfighting was offered as an additional class. And more recently, we had a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class that overlapped an all levels Krav Maga class on Wednesdays.

The new groundfighting night is dedicated to groundfighting for the entire night. This class augments the rotating Krav Maga groundfighting curriculum that is taught in the each Krav Maga level. The techniques that are being taught are from various grappling disciplines… primarily Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu… but in keeping with Krav Maga’s guiding principles.

From the book Complete Krav Maga:
A Note on Krav Maga’s Approach to groundfighting: Whether you are proficient on the ground or not, our main objective during a groundfight always remains the same: to get up as quickly as possible! During groundfights, you are extremely vulnerable to a second attacker, or to stabs if the opponent produces an edged/pointed weapon.
The bottom line is that you do not want to go to the ground if you can help it. However, you may get pushed, tripped, thrown or slip and end up there. When you are there, you want to know what to do to protect yourself and be able to get up and get away.

The first hour concentrated on the basic fundamentals of groundfighting. In the second hour, we learned an escape and reversal technique to use when someone is on top of you and you have him or her in your full guard (your legs wrapped around your opponent’s midsection). We also learned how to apply an arm/shoulder lock called a Kimura (a lock named after Masahiko Kimura, a judo expert who fought in the 1950s).
The second hour ended with us practicing the techniques we learned. First, we practiced with our partner and then every 90 seconds, we had to switch partners. The instructors rotated themselves into the mix, which added some stress to the drills.

The third hour was designated as “free rolling” time. You got a chance to get some more practice in or a little more instruction.

From the book Advanced Krav Maga: krav maga, whatever we do from an upright position, we do from a ground position, with modifications and with weight properly positioned. Just as there are no rules in an "up" fight, there are no rules in a "down" fight.
Groundfighting NightSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Interview with the IKMF's Eyal Yanilov

Eyal Yanilov, the International Krav-Maga Federation's head instructor, talks about the history of Krav Maga, its current state and where he hopes its going to be in the future.
Interview with the IKMF's Eyal YanilovSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

The Human Obstacle Course

Monday night’s class started with a few warm-up drills. The first had you punch a Tombstone pad that was being held by a student. Behind you were two other students that were also holding Tombstone pads. When those students shouted hey, you had to turn and deliver a groin kick or a roundhouse kick to the pad, depending on where and how they positioned the pad. Once you delivered the kick, return to punching.

Once done with that drill, a student held focus mitts and you had to throw Bas Rutten combinations as well as any other combinations the mitt holder called out. All the while, two other students, holding kicking shields, moved around you. They positioned themselves so that when they shouted hey, you had to deliver a vertical front kick, side kick or back kick to the pad. Once the kick was delivered, return to the focus mitts combinations. One focus mitts holder looked like she could hold mitts for Floyd Mayweather, Jr.

The drill - before the human obstacle course - had us practicing knife defenses and counterattacks without the practice knife. An emphasis was being put on our knee strikes and controlling the attacking arm.

Let the Games Begin

As soon as I finished the previous drill, I was told to catch my breath because I was going to be the first to go through the course, just my luck!

I started by tapping a kettlebell, picked up a 10 lbs. medicine ball and then attempted to run the length of the mat covered floor area (54’) with it. Upon my way, I was subjected to all sorts of attacks, e.g., gun, knife, bearhugs, chokes, etc. Once an attack was made, I had to drop the medicine ball, make a defense, then pick up the medicine ball and continue my run. As soon as I reached the other end of the floor, I had to turn around and make my way back to the kettlebell. This routine continued until the instructor decided to rotate someone else in.

The instructor told us that he uses a similar drill... with some additional focal points... for a group of his police officer clients. When I thought about it later, the drill made me feel like I was in a video game having to meet certain challenges in order to reach my objective like Sam Fisher.

The Human Obstacle CourseSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A Reason for Learning and Training Hard in Krav Maga

"On Monday, August 25, 2008, Jennifer Hall was brutally attacked by two homeless people on the South Side of Chicago. Out celebrating her 36th birthday with fiancé Joe Hoffman, Jen was viciously kicked in the head until she became unconscious… an unprovoked altercation that left Jen lying in a pool of her own blood with only four teeth left in her mouth."

Visit the following website for more information about Jennifer Hall's story:
A Reason for Learning and Training Hard in Krav MagaSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Friday, October 31, 2008

A Training Suit Drill

Thursday night's class started with us in full protective gear (boxing headgear, mouth guard, boxing gloves and shin guards). The first drill began with half of the students standing in a fighting stance with their backs against the wall. The other half… their partners… were told to locate vital targets on their partner’s body and then attack those targets with punches and kicks. The students against the wall were told to defend the attacks mentally. It is very uncomfortable watching punches and kicks come towards you and strike you without being allowed to defend and counterattack.

The drills that followed involved various Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 defenses, i.e., chokes, headlocks, bearhugs, and hair grabs from all sides. We had to swap our boxing gloves for grappling gloves in order to make the defenses. Of course, the aforementioned drills were the precursor to the class ending stress drill: the training suit drill.

The training suit reminds me of the riot gear that police officers wear. The suit allows you to strike the wearer full force.

The training suit drill began with pre-exhaustion. Two students held Tombstone pads. We had to use hammerfist strikes (imagine pounding your fist on a table demanding something) on the pad being held by the first student and then when instructed, move to the second student and use straight punches. And then, when instructed again, back to the first student to use front kicks to the groin (a Krav Maga favorite).

Immediately after that, we had to spar a student while randomly being attacked by the training suit wearer. The training suit wearer was allowed to use all the attacks we practiced defending against earlier, plus knife and handgun attacks. We were allowed to defend against and counterattack the training suit wearer with more force than we would if he/she was not wearing the suit. Don’t ask me how long this took because as I stated in an earlier post, I don’t like to concentrate on the time. Suffice to say that it was long.

I would love to tell you that I looked like Jet Li defending myself, but I would be lying. With the pre-exhaustion and stress, one goes into survival mode during this kind of drill. This is where the muscle memory comes into play after all of those repetitive drills. You’re not thinking. You’re reacting. My defenses didn’t look pretty, but I got the job done.

A Training Suit DrillSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Long Gun Disarms

Last night we drilled on long gun disarms. The long guns we practiced with were Remington 870 shotgun replicas. The principles for long gun disarms are the same as for handgun disarms, RCAD (Redirect, Control, Attack and Disarm). However, the disarming techniques are different.

We started the class by warming up with defenses for handgun threats from all sides. Standing with our eyes closed, our partner would yell hey and we would open our eyes. We would then have to ascertain the placement of the handgun and then make the appropriate defense. Other times we would continuously punch a pad until threatened by a handgun. Once the threat was made, we had to stop punching and make a defense.

When it came time to practice the long gun disarms, I discovered that I am not as smooth or as coordinated, as I am with the handgun disarms. It was my first time doing long gun so I guess my feeling of awkwardness is to be expected. I will need to practice, practice, practice.

As is the norm for ending a Krav Maga class, we did a stress drill. We punched a pad continuously until threatened by a handgun or a shotgun. Again, once the threat was made, we had to stop punching and make a defense. This continued until we were rotated out of that drill to do a Floyd Mayweather, Jr. type punching drill. Our instructor held focus mitts up at face level and we had to rapidly throw left jab and right cross combinations for one or more minutes. I really do not remember the exact time frame because when I concentrate on the time, it seems to make the drill longer. I do remember that when I finished, my front deltoids were killing
Long Gun DisarmsSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Krav Maga Boston Knife Defense Seminar 2008

The knife defense seminar was outstanding. It brought to light how dangerous… and fatal… it can be when you defend against an edged weapon, particularly a knife.

The seminar began with our lead instructor making a comparison between theatrical knife defenses and real world knife defenses. Knife defenses will not look like a scene in a Steven Seagal movie!

Afterwards, we were asked to gather around a desktop computer so that we could view a PowerPoint slideshow. The slideshow was comprised of graphic photographs showing various knife wounds.

About three-quarters through the seminar, we were asked to gather around the computer again. This time we were asked to view a security camera video clip of a person being stabbed to death in a barroom confrontation. The victim never saw his attacker pull the knife out of his pants pocket. The attacker slashed the victim’s throat first and then began to repeatedly stab the victim in the midsection. The victim bled out in ninety seconds.

The seminar covered the following attacks:

  • Overhead (ice pick)
  • Straight stab
  • Slashing
  • Knife threats to the throat

After practicing the various techniques with our partners, some drills were conducted.

During one drill, we were asked to break up into groups of five. One person would defend and the others were to (one-at-a-time) be attackers. The defender had to defend against the rapidly oncoming knife attacks for three minutes.

Another drill had us wander around amongst ourselves (a nightclub scenario), half with knives and half without. The knife wielders were to confront and then attack those students without knives. The defenders were to take a deescalating posture and try to defuse the situation. If they were attacked, they were to make the appropriate defense. Once an attack was defended against, the knife was handed to the defender and the roles were reversed. I should point out that at this juncture, our knives were marked with lipstick. The lipstick acted as an indicator for knife wounds.

Everyone's personal space is different. How close you normally stand to someone else when you are talking to them will depend on who it is you are talking to, and under what circumstances. Maintain your personal space when confronted so that you will have full view of your confronter. Having full view will allow you to see the attack coming and make a defense.

The bottom line is that you should use every available option at your disposal to avoid having to defend against a knife with your hands. Hand defenses for knife attacks are a last resort.

Once again, a seminar well worth attending. Kudos to the instructors.
Krav Maga Boston Knife Defense Seminar 2008SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Stabbing Headlines

This Saturday, our training center is conducting its second weapons defense seminar, knife defenses.

According to the book, Complete Krav Maga, of the three weapons (gun, edged weapon, blunt object), the edged weapon or knife represents the most difficult to defend against. Maybe that is why, in the Krav Maga Worldwide curriculum, knife defenses are introduced and minimally addressed in Level 4 (Blue Belt) with the more advanced knife techniques taught in Level 5 (Brown Belt) and above.

Unlike a gun, a knife cannot be grabbed. Unlike a stick, a knife still represents a significant danger even when you move in close. Another fact to be brought out about a knife is that it does not jam and does not need to be reloaded. In addition, if you are cut, you may not be aware of it. I am speaking from experience on the aforementioned.

So, to be able to attend a four-hour block of concentrated study on knife defenses is a great opportunity for every level, but particularly for the lower levels. I hope we have a large turn out.
Stabbing HeadlinesSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Krav Maga Boston Gun Defense Seminar 2008 Slideshow

October 18, 2008: Demonstrated in the slideshow are some of the various Krav Maga gun threat defense techniques. Krav Maga training focuses on principles rather than techniques because no two attacks are ever the same. RCAD - Redirect, Control, Attack, and Disarm.
Krav Maga Boston Gun Defense Seminar 2008 SlideshowSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Krav Maga Boston Gun Defense Seminar 2008

The gun defense seminar was fantastic. We trained on gun threat defenses for over four and one-half hours. Some of the things we trained on were:
  • Gun threat to the front of the body
  • Gun threat to the rear of the body
  • Gun threat to either side of the head
  • Gun threat to the side of the body in front of your arm
  • Gun threat to the side of the body in back of your arm
  • Gun threat defense when taken as a hostage while a gun is being held to your head
  • Gun threat defense when a third party is being threatened with a gun
The drills were the most fun. For example, the students were split into two groups, A and B. Group A had to stand with their eyes closed. Group B, armed with a yellow practice gun, moved amongst the A’s and then randomly picked an A to attack. Group A was required to react appropriately to the type of gun attack being perpetrated.
Another example is while one student held a kicking shield, you were required to punch or kick that kicking shield until attacked by another student. Once attacked, you were then required to address the gun attack in the appropriate manner.

At the conclusion of the seminar, our lead instructor explained that ultimately, you have to use your gut feeling to decide whether to defend against a gun threat.

Complying with the request(s) of the assailant may be all that is needed to extricate you from the situation unscathed. And, at other times…. Read the book “The Gift of Fear” by Gavin De Becker for more insight on the topic.

There was a lot of material to digest and to commit to muscle memory, but the seminar was well worth attending.
Krav Maga Boston Gun Defense Seminar 2008SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Friday, October 17, 2008

Exhausting Drill

A drill in last night's Levels 3/4 class went as follows, but not necessarily in this order:

  • Pick up the 10 lbs. medicine ball and run the length of the mat covered floor area (54’) and then pick up the practice red gun at the other end of the floor and run back. Do this for 1 minute.
  • I attack my partner with Level 1 chokes for 1 minute.
  • Run the length of the floor with the medicine ball and then the practice red gun for 1 minute.
  • My partner attacks me with Level 1 chokes for 1 minute.
  • Run the length of the floor with the medicine ball and then the practice red gun for 1 minute.
  • My partner and I retzef (continuous motion) slow pace fight for 2 minutes.
  • Run the length of the floor with the medicine ball and then the practice red gun for 1 minute.
  • I attack my partner with bearhugs for 1 minute.
  • Run the length of the floor with the medicine ball and then the practice red gun for 1 minute.
  • My partner attacks me with bearhugs for 1 minute.
  • Run the length of the floor with the medicine ball and then the practice red gun for 1 minute.
  • Push-ups for 30 seconds.
  • Run the length of the floor with the medicine ball and then the practice red gun for 1 minute.
  • Sprawls for 30 seconds.
  • Run the length of the floor with the medicine ball and then the practice red gun for 1 minute.
  • My partner and I retzef (continuous motion) slow pace fight for 2 minutes.
  • Run the length of the floor with the medicine ball and and the practice red gun for 1 minute.
  • I attack my partner with Level 1 chokes, Level 2 chokes and bearhugs for 1 minute.
  • Run the length of the floor with the medicine ball and then the practice red gun for 1 minute.
  • My partner attacks me with Level 1 chokes, Level 2 chokes and bearhugs for 1 minute.
  • Run the length of the floor with the medicine ball and then the practice red gun for 1 minute.
  • My partner defends against my front and back gun threat attacks for 1 minute.
  • Run the length of the floor with the medicine ball and then the practice red gun for 1 minute.
  • I defend against my partner’s front and back gun threat attacks for 1 minute.
Mercifully, the drill is ended. Phew! We used the remaining time of the class to practice gun threat defenses.

The following video is what gave our lead instructor the idea for the drill.

Exhausting DrillSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Upcoming Gun Defense Seminar

This Saturday, our training center is conducting a gun defense seminar. We will be defending against gun attacks from all directions, hostage scenarios, gun on the ground and third party defenses. Defenses against weapon attacks are what I like most about Krav Maga.

I have studied several martial arts: Judo, Shotokan Karate, Goshi Shun Karate, an eclectic style called TA MA (Total Approach Martial Arts) and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. With the exception of TA MA, none of the other martial arts dealt with modern-day weapon attacks or violent street attacks. And TA MA dealt with them only once a week.

In the Krav Maga Worldwide curriculum, gun defense is not officially introduced until Level 4 (Blue Belt). So to be able to attend a four-hour block of concentrated study on gun defenses is a great opportunity for every level, but particularly for the lower levels. I hope that other members of our training center feel the same way and attend en masse.
Upcoming Gun Defense SeminarSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Krav Maga Defined

Krav Maga (Hebrew: קרב מגע‎, lit. contact combat) is a military hand-to-hand combat system developed in Israel, which assumes no mercy will be given, and emphasizes maximum threat neutralization in a "real life" context. It came to prominence following its adoption by various Israeli Security Forces.

The word maga (מגע) means "contact" or "close" and the word krav (קרב) means "combat". It refers to combat involving physical contact as opposed to combat using a weapon from afar.
Krav Maga DefinedSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Krav Maga Basic Principles

In Krav Maga, there are no hard-and-fast rules, and no distinction in training for men and women. It is not a sport, and there are no specific uniforms, attire or competitions, although some organizations recognize progress through training with belt rankings and different levels. All the techniques focus on maximum efficiency in real-life conditions. Krav Maga generally assumes that the individual attacking will give no mercy; therefore, as a response the attacks and defenses are intended only for use in potentially lethal threat situations with the aim to neutralize and escape as rapidly and safely as possible. Crippling attacks to vulnerable body parts, including groin and eye strikes, headbutts, and other efficient and potentially brutal attacks, improvised use of any objects available, and maximizing personal safety in a fight, are emphasized.

The guiding principles for those performing Krav Maga techniques are as follows:

  • Do not get hurt
  • Quickly neutralize the attacker
  • Quickly transition from defensive to offensive techniques
  • Exploit the natural reflexes of the body
  • Exploit all vulnerable points on the body
  • Use any available objects as aids
These premises were developed in the context of life-threatening situations. In general, Krav Maga requires the user to deal first with the immediate threat, prevent further attacks, and then neutralize the attacker. Actions are carried out in a methodical manner. Krav Maga emphasizes preventing further attack from the attacker. As such, some circumstances may require action in anticipation of being attacked, in order to avoid the development of dangerous situations.
Krav Maga Basic PrinciplesSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Krav Maga Training

Although Krav Maga shares many techniques with other martial arts, the training is often quite different. It stresses fighting under worst-case conditions or from disadvantaged positions, for example: against several opponents, when protecting someone else, with one arm unusable, when dizzy or against armed opponents. Krav Maga emphasizes rapid learning and the retzef ("continuous combat motion"), with the imperative being effectiveness, for either attack or defensive situations.

A typical session in a civilian school is about an hour long. As levels increase, the instructors focus a little more on complicated and less common types of attacks, such as knife attacks and defense under extreme duress. In the beginning, the techniques will either be combative (punches, hammer-fists, elbows, and knees) or grappling (breaking out of chokes or wrist-grabs, getting out from under an opponent while on one's back). After that, the class usually moves to a drill that combines the techniques just taught. Finally, there is the final drill intended to burn out the students.
Krav Maga TrainingSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend