Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Krav Maga Street Creds

Moshe Katz writes:

I first heard this phrase "Street Creds" while teaching a Krav Maga seminar at U Penn. A student had asked me…one of those "What if" situations. What if a street thug with a knife was standing at some distance from me, he was not attacking – thus none of my knife defense techniques would be applicable, he was not close to me – so I could not grab his arm or knife, so what would I do, he asked.

My response: run away if I could. He is at a distance, there is no knife touching my skin and no knife moving towards me, just a stationary street thug at a distance talking trash. Why should I try to disarm him? I have too much respect for the damage a knife can do. Besides, the great Danny Inosanto, the top student of the great Bruce Lee, said, "Knife disarms are incidental, if not accidental." My goal is survival, not knife collecting. If I can get home unscathed, I have accomplished my goal. I have no need to become an urban legend in the process.

Click Here to Continue Reading

Krav Maga Street CredsSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Retzev and the OODA Loop

OODA_Boyd_svg One of the classes I took this week continued with retzev (continuous motion) counterattacks. We did some slow drills, isometric type to start things off.

If your partner threw a straight punch, you appropriately defended and then followed through with retzev. Doing the retzev in a slow manner, gave you a chance to see if you were executing proper technique and targeting.

We practiced inside defenses, outside defenses and round kick reflexive defenses. Then we were on the floor, on our backs and sometimes on our knees, defending against punches and round kicks.

We did two types of stress drills. One drill pre-exhausted you prior to defending against attacks. And the other drill... which was very interesting in its affect on you... had you spin around several times bent over. Once you finished spinning, you had to defend against attacks. Obviously, after spinning you were dizzy. This drill simulated the effect of being sucker punched. Trying to defend against attacks while dizzy ain’t that easy folks.

Our final drill involved groups of three. Person #1 was on her back holding a tombstone pad. Person #2 was mounted on person #1 and was delivering elbow strikes, punches and hammerfists to the tombstone pad. And, at some point, person #3 attacked person #2 with punches and round kicks.

Once person #2 was attacked, he defended against person #3’s attacks, dismounted person #1 and then counterattacked person #3’s offense in a retzev-like manner.

When I think about retzev, I also think about the OODA Loop. OODA stands for Observe, Orient, Decide and Act. The OODA Loop was created by military strategist and USAF Colonel John Boyd. The OODA Loop approach favors agility over raw power in dealing with human opponents in any endeavor.

Richards, Chet: OODA explained. Seven-slide presentation explaining the OODA Loop.

Retzev and the OODA LoopSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Go to your Dark Side

Assailant I have read on the Web and have spoken to individuals that cringe at the thought of retaliating with some of the brutal combative techniques of Krav Maga when they have been attacked. If you feel the same way, this may help you with your dilemma. The following is a passage from Rory Miller’s book Meditations on Violence: A Comparison of Martial Arts Training & Real World Violence:

If you are ever faced with extreme violence, you will have to make the decision to act. Make it now. You must decide what is worth fighting for, never forgetting that the question involves the risk of both dying and killing. You must decide now. Taking damage in the middle of a shitstorm of fists and boots is the wrong time to agonize over the moral dimension of conflict. There are things worth fighting for. List what they are.

Once you have made the list, these are your “Go” buttons. You must commit that if one of them happens you will act ruthlessly and decisively. You cannot second-guess yourself in the moment.

In his book, Surviving Armed Assaults, Lawrence A. Kane gives a list of scenarios to consider as possible triggers (“Go” buttons).

  • You face an armed attacker and know that you are about to die if you do not act and possibly even if you do. You have nothing to lose by fighting back.
  • You are faced with clear, present, and unavoidable danger of death, dismemberment, or significant harm to yourself.
  • Your spouse is faced with clear and present danger and cannot escape without your intervention.
  • Your child is faced with clear and present danger and cannot escape without your intervention.
  • You discover a pregnant woman or small child who is faced with clear and present danger and cannot escape without your intervention.
  • You are confronted with an aggressor who attempts to force you into his/her vehicle or otherwise take you to a secondary crime scene.
  • You are about to be raped.
  • You are about to be tied up or handcuffed by an aggressor.
  • You are ordered to turn your back or are about to be blindfolded by a captor.
  • You are taken captive by someone you believe is a vengeance seeker, terrorist extremist, fanatic or other hostage taker who sincerely intends to kill you.

Lastly, go to your Dark Side to aid you with your defense. The Dark Side draws energy from emotions such as hatred, rage and fear to create purely harmful energy. Focus that harmful energy on to your attacker.

“Give yourself to the Dark Side; it is the only way you can save your friends.” –Darth Vader

Go to your Dark SideSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Another Week of Krav Maga Training

The 7:30pm class Monday night primarily drilled on fighting ranges and the continuous and smooth flow of counterattacks (retzev). We warmed up with shadowboxing using combatives that involve different fighting ranges, i.e., straight punches, hook punches, elbow strikes, knee strikes and kicks.

We practiced the retzev by drilling on Level 1 chokes and with some choreographed fighting. The choreographed fighting sequence went something like the following:

Partner: holding focus mitts

You: left jab, right cross, reload hips, right low round kick

Partner: right cross

You: inside defense

Partner: left hook

You: covering, left hook, right cross, reload hips, right low round kick

Partner: right low round kick

You: left shin defense, left jab, right cross, reload hips, right low round kick

Wednesday’s ground fighting night was a marathon rolling event. One of the aims of the class was to slow things down a bit, particularly for the beginners. Typically, beginners overexert themselves and because of that, they tire quickly. The idea was for them to take their time so that they could figure out what was going on and then try and deal with it.

One person started on his back with someone in his guard. In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, this is considered a neutral position. Everyone else waited his turn to wrestle the person on his back. When the instructor said go, both combatants jockeyed for a submission. The time limit was one minute per round.

What made it a marathon event was that the person on his back had to wrestle everyone in the class! Once everyone had their turn starting on their back, we wrestled everyone one more time.

The rest of the class involved a review of the Americana arm lock and practicing a new defense against it.

A 3-hour seminar was held today. Suggestions were requested during the week for what students would like to drill.

We started out with some distancing drills and then we moved on to:

  • Overhead stick defense
  • Reverse horizontal swing stick defense
  • Handgun defense from the front
  • Handgun defense from behind
  • On the ground and on your back defending against a knife or handgun
  • Third party protection

As is typical in our Krav Maga classes, we had some closed eyes drills whereby you didn’t know whether you were going to be attacked with a stick, knife or handgun until you opened your eyes.

The third party protection drills raised some concerned issues relative to an assailant taking your significant other as a hostage. What basic facts apply to all hostage situations? Go here to read about hostage situations and how negotiation works.

I’d like to sum this post up with a quote from a book I’m reading by Rory Miller. The title of the book is Meditations on Violence: A Comparison of Martial Arts Training & Real World Violence. In the book, Mr. Miller defines self-defense the following way:

It is recovery from stupidity or bad luck, from finding yourself in a position you would have given almost anything to prevent. It is difficult to train for because of the surprise element and because you may be injured before you are aware of the conflict. The critical element is to overcome the shock and surprise so that you can act, to “beat the freeze.” Self-defense is about recovery. The ideal is to prevent the situation. The optimal mindset is often a conditioned response that requires no thought (for the first half-second of the attack) or a focused rage.

Another Week of Krav Maga TrainingSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Crime is a Product of Opportunity

The following is an excerpt from the new book, "No Second Chance: A Reality-Based Guide to Self-Defense" by Mark Hatmaker.

We’ve already established that predators of all species seek the path of least resistance when selecting prey. That rule holds true whether we are discussing victim selection or property selection. To further illustrate this point, place yourself in the predator role momentarily and answer the following questions honestly.

You decide to steal a car and are presented with two vehicles sitting side-by-side. One is locked and appears to have an alarm system activated, the other is unlocked and the keys are in the ignition.

Which do you choose?

You are walking through the mall and decide a little extra cash would be nice. You start scanning people in your immediate area and notice two women waiting at a counter, their backs are turned. One is holding her purse to her side, the clasp is closed, the other has her purse slung towards her back, the mouth of the purse is wide open with contents easily in view and easily accessible.

Which purse do you choose?

You decide that you would like to enter into a physical altercation with someone but want enough wiggle room so that it doesn’t look too deliberate, where and when do you look for such opportunities? Do you choose a bar with a bad reputation on a Friday night? Or, do you choose a Bible study class on Sunday morning?

You are a serial rapist, you stake out a parking lot looking for your next victim. You notice two young women enter the parking lot, one is walking head-up seemingly alert with her keys already in hand. The other is multi-tasking, she stands at her car door fumbling in her purse for her keys, and seems to be texting at the same time.

Who do you choose?

Presuming one does not wish to be caught, the answers to the above are obvious; predators choose the easiest victim--the victim that provides optimum opportunity for success. Every habit you possess that increases the ease of acquisition for a predator means that you are edging into the opportunity column. Every precaution you take to reduce criminal opportunity will make your personal safety a likelihood.

The fact that crime is, by and large, a product of opportunity is great news. By understanding that certain habits create greater opportunity for loss of life or property, that certain environments are more conducive to these crimes, and that even certain times of day or night can work for or against us, we can make choices that vastly improve our odds of ever having to use any of the actual tactical material in this book.

Even a cursory reading of the literature that studies criminal behavior in depth reveals that approximately 90% of criminal activity is of the opportunistic variety. That leaves a 10% area that’s out of our hands, the sort of crimes we encounter when we see shootings erupt in malls, or vehicles driven through restaurant windows before opening fire as we saw in Killeen, Texas in 1991 that left 24 dead. To be frank, this 10% is the tough part to prepare for but, it can be done to some degree (as we will soon get to) but, that 90% that makes up the large majority of crime, we need to grasp the significance of that number.

If we take every step that we can comfortably make to reduce the opportunity earmarks then we have, in a sense, made 90% of the journey towards being a “master of self defense” without ever having to learn one single physical defense tool. We need to grasp just how empowering this 90% figure is and revel in the fact that a few simple acts of habit can render much of what follows in the physical defense section null and void. Nothing would make me happier than to see every single reader of this book alive and well and of the firm belief that the physical work was a complete waste of time because they exercise good opportunity reduction habits.

Opportunity reduction is key. Again, to flog that horse, crime is 90% a product of opportunity; reduce opportunities for crime and the self-defense has taken care of itself.

Crime is a Product of OpportunitySocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Krav Maga Detractors

I saw the following comment on a blog the other day.

I’m scared. I hate this. I don't know what I’m supposed to be doing, stocking up food or trying to buy a gun or getting what little money I have out of the bank or what!

The following is the advice from the blogger that was advising the commenter on what to do and what not to do in this time of crisis.

Get in shape, or stay in shape if you are already there. Since you are getting in shape, ask at the gym for self defense classes, boxing, BJJ or some other martial art.

Avoid Krav Maga like the plague.

It creates a false sensation of “superman/superwoman” and that’s ok for Israeli soldiers because they carry a combat rifle, but it’s not your case.

If you don’t like striking do Judo instead. Judo makes GREAT fighters and it’s easy on women that don’t like the idea of getting punched or kicked in the face.

Real KM, they don’t spar. Supposedly because it’s not a sport and it’s too deadly to put into practice.

Problem is, every time a KM fighter fights a mixed martial artist or competes in vale tudo “everything goes” street fights, they always end up losing. Why? Precisely because they don’t compete.

Okay. That’s enough.

Look… I know I’m singing to the choir here for some, but for those of you that might be interested in becoming a Krav Maga practitioner, please consider the aforementioned blogger’s advice as drivel.

When you look closely at Krav Maga’s techniques, you will see elements of western boxing, muay thai kickboxing, kicking style martial arts, wrestling, judo and jiu-jitsu. And… Kravists do spar.

Yes… Kravists don’t compete. Krav Maga isn’t a competitive sport. There are rules in competitive sporting events. Kravists don’t play by the rules because perpetrators of harm don’t play by the rules. Read “Misunderstanding Krav Maga.”

Krav Maga is not a system of techniques, it is a system based on principles. Read “Krav Maga Basic Principles.” In addition, it is a system that uses scenario-based training. Read “Scenario-Based Training at Its Best.”

There are also the stress drills in Krav Maga training in which you have to apply techniques and principles under various types of pressure. For example, at the end of an exhausting class… when you’re at your weakest… you’re sparring several people or you’re being put through a scenario that has you being attacked by several people that are armed, unarmed or both.

Believe it or not… Kravists even do de-escalating drills because what reasonable person wants to get into a fight!

Lastly, here is a quote by Donavin Britt of Krav Maga Las Vegas.

When the man attacks us, he has no idea that we have been preparing for him, we are prepared to unleash hell on him and he is in for the worst day of his life.


Krav Maga DetractorsSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Thursday, March 12, 2009

All Levels Training and Escapes

Due to the weather conditions Monday, the training center decided to combine the three night classes into a one “All Levels Class” for an hour and one half. So... we did 360-degree defenses at the beginning of the class (Level 1) that actually appeared again in a knife defense against a downward stab (Level 5) by the end of class.

It was good for the beginning students to see how the Level 1 techniques are applied in the higher Level techniques. Moreover, it was good for the beginning students to see why it is important to master the Level 1 techniques in order to be effective in the higher Level techniques.

We did some defensive front kick drills against two people with kick shields. We also did some of these kicks with our backs against a wall. If a person approaching you was too close for a front kick, you delivered a knee strike.

Another drill had you stand in a neutral position (hands by your sides) with your eyes closed. When you heard someone say hey, you opened your eyes and defended against a knife attack.

We ended the class by having someone attack you with a knife. You defended with a defensive front kick if the attacker was in kicking range. If the attacker was too close for kicking, you defended with the appropriate close quarters defense. At times, you were told to do a back breakfall and then you had to defend against a knife attack while on your back and mounted by the attacker.

Wednesday’s ground fighting night was focused on escapes from arm locks and the dreaded triangle choke. Most of the beginning grapplers are familiar with applying the Americana, Kimura, Straight Arm Bar and Triangle Choke, but many don’t know how to escape from them. The KMWW curriculum shows how to apply the Americana, Straight Arm Bar and Triangle Choke in Levels 3 and 4, but surprisingly it doesn't show how to escape.

This week’s lead instructor showed two escapes for the Americana, Kimura, Straight Arm Bar and the Triangle Choke. He explained that you should have a minimum of at least two escapes for each situation in your repertoire.

Although the escapes the instructor showed were high percentage escapes, nothing is 100 percent guaranteed. What works well for one individual might not work as well for another. Experiment in the grappling lab until you find what works well for you.

The instructor also explained that once your opponent has the lock or choke cinched, you’re toast. You have a better chance of escape or reversal upon initiation of the lock or choke than you do when it’s been applied.
All Levels Training and EscapesSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Back In The Saddle Again

Having recuperated from last Saturday's Test Day, I'm back in the saddle again.

Wednesday, our ground fighting night started out with doing some light wrestling. At the end of a period of wrestling, the instructor asked if any of the least experienced grapplers had any questions relative to situations they found themselves in. Once a question was asked, suggestions and demonstrations for solving the situation were given by everyone that had an answer. Usually, there’s more than one way to skin a cat.

Later we practiced alternative mount position escapes to the Krav Maga mount position escapes. The standard “Krav Maga bridge, trap and roll” poses some problems for some individuals.

Next we practiced an alternative attack from the rear mount position. The bread and butter attack from this position is usually applying a rear naked choke to your opponent. However, since most savvy opponents expect this, an excellent alternative attack is a straight arm bar.

In Thursday night’s scenario training class, we started out with the standard confrontational situation whereby you made an attempt to de-escalate the situation. I always have a hard time putting myself in that bad guy roll. When I’m in the bad guy roll, I usually accuse people of cutting me off while driving or taking “my” parking space.

Our next drill involved practicing hook punches with and without focus mitts. Along with knee strikes, hook and uppercut punches are great combatives to use against that person who decides that they want to get in your face.

Later a scenario drill had you leave the room so that your group could plot its assault on you. When you re-entered the room, you had no idea as to how the scenario was going to play out. In my case, I was approached by two male individuals. One of them acted like he knew me and wanted to talk. All the while his friend was trying to circle around me.

Acting on the gut instinct that this did not look or feel right, I attacked. I kicked the guy circling around me with a back kick and then scurried away from the other guy.

We ended the class with a stress drill. You were surrounded by five people. Two held kicking shields, two held tombstone pads and one held a focus mitt. You could kick or knee the kicking shields, straight punch or hammerfist the tombstone pads and hook punch the focus mitt. Once the instructor said go you did the aforementioned. At times, the instructor would tell you to drop. You sprawled on the floor, got back up and continued striking until told to stop.

I wonder what we’ll be doing next week?!

Back In The Saddle AgainSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Test Day

Well… Level Testing was held yesterday. Level 1, 2 & 3 students were tested. And, although in attendance, Level 4 students didn’t test. For them, the day was a review of prior Level material as well as some material for their Level.

Past practices for testing have been that each Level was tested separately. You would start out with a review of the required material to go from your current Level into the next. Once that review was finished, the actual test began. Now… as you can imagine, once the review was completed, you’re exhausted. And that’s where Krav Maga instructors want you. They take students to a point where they think they’re about to quit.

Yesterday’s Level Testing was done differently. There were no reviews. All reviews were conducted over the past two weeks. This past Friday’s class afforded all students the opportunity to review any technique(s) that they felt needed further review.

Level 1, 2 & 3 students took their tests together. Everyone started at 9:30 with the Level 1 material. Once the Level 1 test was completed, Level 1 students were excused and the remaining Levels continued with Level 2 material. Once the Level 2 test was completed, Level 2 students were excused and the remaining Levels continued with Level 3 material. Once the Level 3 test was completed, Level 3 students were excused, but although utterly exhausted, the Level 3 students stayed to review the Level 4 material. I think that’s called esprit de corps!

Knowing that we were going to be testing for several hours nonstop, I prepared like a marathoner. I hydrated heavily during the week and carbohydrate loaded Thursday and Friday.

On Saturday morning, my breakfast consisted of a Met-Rx drink and a banana. Thirty minutes before testing I took a pre-workout drink called Arnge Krush. During the testing I consumed 96 ounces (approximately 3 litres) of an electrolyte drink called e-Fuel. I had 4 Balance bars with me, but I didn't have time to consume them during the testing. Two of those bars ended up being my post testing meals during the ride back home. Next time I'll take a post workout meal like After Glow.

After all of that, I still ended up cramping. About the time we got to the Heel Kicks in the Level 3 material, my right calf was cramping up on me. I guess after four and one half hours, something had to start breaking down on this old body. And, of course, every muscle was sore by then. The only injuries I sustained were a strained right thumb and some scratches and bruises on my right forearm.

So… I now start the process of recuperation for a couple of days and then get right back into the Krav Maga training mix. Hooah!

Test DaySocialTwist Tell-a-Friend