Saturday, June 27, 2009

An Imaginary Scenario of a Kravist

Imaginary Scenario I’ve been very busy as of late... so for lunch... sometimes I’ll make a trip next-door to Mickey D’s (McDonalds) for a quick bite. I’d love to tell you that I get salad, but I’d be lying. It’s usually the number 3... large. That’s the double quarter-pounder with cheese, large fries and a large coke. Hey... it is what it is... I’m hungry.

This particular Mickey D’s is in a business/industrial district. There are municipal buildings, meatpacking plants, gas stations, motels, hospitals, a county jail, a biosafety level 4 lab and a methadone clinic. It’s located right off an interstate highway where there are people in the lower stratum of our society begging for change... on a regular basis... at the traffic lights.

You can make a quick risk assessment of an urban area when you enter a Mickey D’s if an employee has to press a button to allow you access to the restroom (lavatory). That speaks volumes.

As I entered the Mickey D’s, I saw two young men dressed in urban-type garb at the order counter. They were the size of football tight ends... 6-feet, 5-inches tall and weighing about 260 pounds. They were twin towers. Now... I’m no shrimp at 6-feet 2-inches tall and 240 pounds, but I was feeling dwarfed. The two young men seemed to be having some issues with their order. Of course... I was in condition yellow.

Another young man enters and he was an acquaintance of the twin towers. He was the size of a small forward in basketball, at least 6-feet, 7-inches tall. At this point in time, I started to run my imaginary scenario through my mind.

What if the twin towers became disgruntled customers? What if one of them turned to me and said, “What are you looking at mutha’ f***er?”

While I’m running this through my mind, I’m looking for my escape routes. Avoidance isn’t an option now because I’m in the Mickey D’s, so it’s too late to avoid it. Running (escape) is still an option. If my escape route is cut off by the small forward, I can try de-escalation (dissuasion). I’ll set up my fence and ready my main artillery… for my preemptive strike… before I offer to buy them some number 3’s... large. I’m in condition orange.

They wouldn’t accept my number 3’s... large. They’d rather pummel me in order to vent their frustration with Mickey D’s ineptitude. I’m concerned now, so I’m in condition red.

I know that I don’t want to go to the ground. I love ground fighting at the Krav Maga training center, but I definitely don’t want to do it in this scenario. This is a small Mickey D’s. There’s about a 10-feet distance between the order counter and a partition that separates an eating area. If I ended up on the ground, they’d stomp and kick me to death for sure.

I can’t allow them to circumvent me. I will need to keep them lined up so that I’m dealing with one individual at a time. The 10-feet wide area will assist me with this. Unfortunately, there are no chairs or tables at my disposal to put between my adversaries and me. I’ll have to deliver my preemptive strike with Mike Tyson-like bad intentions and follow up with Krav Maga combatives as necessary.

I’m only 15 feet from the exit door. If I can neutralize the first guy, I’ll use him as a shield as I back my way out the door.

Once I’m outside, I’ll dash back to my office to safety and reinforcements... next-door.

At this particular juncture, the twin towers received their proper order and accepted it pleasantly. They bid farewell to their friend... the small forward... and left Mickey D’s without circumstance.

My imaginary scenario never escalated to condition black.

A McDonalds Team Member let me know that my order was ready, so I picked it up and walked back to my office. Safe in my office and unscathed from my imaginary scenario, I enjoyed my high caloric lunch... a number 3... large.

An Imaginary Scenario of a KravistSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Saturday, June 20, 2009

How to Eat an Elephant

By Moshe Katz

How to eat an elephant There is an old expression, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”

What does this mean? It means when you find yourself facing a situation that seems overwhelming, something too big for you to handle, don't panic. Don't think, ‘How can I eat an entire elephant?’ It is huge! Instead, start with one small bite. That you can handle, right? So take one bite, than another. Before you know it, you have made a great deal of progress. Now the problem does not seem so huge and overwhelming.

Self-defense is a scary business. How can I defend myself against so many dangers? I have heard from many people that Krav Maga is simply a waste of time. People have said to me, "C'mon, admit it, if someone really wants to hurt you, there is nothing you can do."

Well, no. I disagree. There is a great deal you can do, but you must approach it one step at a time. How can you learn to speak a foreign language? Can you possibly learn thousands of words in each tense, past, present and future? Well, not all at once. But can you learn to say one word, (Lets start with Shalom = peace, hello, goodbye). OK, now you know one word and you are ready to learn another.

Eat the elephant one bite at a time.

How to Eat an ElephantSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ernie Kirk’s Stick and Knife Seminar

Stick vs Knife Ernie Kirk conducted a stick and knife seminar on Saturday. And as is the case with his seminars, there is a lot of material to cover. Essentially, the seminar covered unarmed stick attack defenses, stick against stick offenses and defenses, unarmed knife defenses, knife against knife defenses and stick against knife defenses. None of the techniques was elaborate; they were very basic. As a matter-of-fact, several of the techniques were akin to hand defenses. The only difference was that the fighting range (distance) was extended between combatants due to the added length of the weapon.

Drills Outdoors

  • Practiced swinging a stick from various angles.

  • Practiced the timing of our partner’s swings and burst in to touch his shoulder trying not to be hit.

  • Our partner held a tombstone pad overhead and we had to strike it rapidly 20 times. Then our partner held the tombstone pad vertically and we had to strike it rapidly 20 times horizontally in one direction and then rapidly 20 times horizontally in the other direction.

  • Our partner held the tombstone pad out in front of her and moved toward us. The object was to try to touch us with the pad while we struck the pad trying to maintain the proper striking range.

  • Practiced unarmed stick defense against an overhead swing.

  • Practiced unarmed stick defense against a horizontal swing.

  • The class was split into two groups. One group was armed with sticks and the other group was unarmed. The armed group maneuvered amongst the unarmed group and made random attacks against it.

Drills Indoors

  • Our partners attacked us with a stick while our backs were against a wall.

  • We were put into groups of six, one person had his back against a wall and was attacked, one at a time, by the other five persons with no break in the attacks.

  • Practiced close quarter short range punching by doing some hockey-style fighting (dirty boxing) with our partner holding one focus mitt.

  • Similar to the above close quarter drill except we stabbed the focus mitt with a training knife instead of punching it.

  • Practiced another close quarter drill that involved punching our partner and blocking her knife attack attempts.

  • While standing stationary, we allowed our partner to stab us continuously in order to have an idea of how many times a person can be stabbed within 30 seconds. The number was in the seventies.

  • Practiced unarmed knife defenses with our partner.

  • Practiced unarmed knife defenses against a group of people, one at a time, with no break in the attacks.

  • Practiced some defenses while seated in a chair. 

  • Armed with a knife, we practiced knife defenses against our partner’s knife attacks. Scary stuff!

  • Practiced stick defenses against knife attacks. Our partner wore headgear and one boxing glove to hold the knife.

  • Ernie conducted a demonstration with one person wearing boxing gloves and the other person wearing headgear and carrying a concealed knife. As the person wearing the boxing gloves executed a barrage of punches against the person with the concealed knife, the person taking the beating deployed his knife and made several stabs to the body of the gloved person.

    Lessons learned: (1) Free yourself from a narrow focus of attention. (2) Be able to divide your attention and be alert to all pertinent information that may increase your ability to react and function at a higher level. (3) Take notice of the actions your adversary takes with other parts of his body.

  • Stick sparring wearing headgear and armed with padded training sticks.

As I stated earlier, there was a lot of material to cover and Ernie actually had more to give, but ran out of time. Again, nothing was elaborate. The techniques were very basic and easy to perform.

Ernie Kirk’s Stick and Knife SeminarSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Third-Party Protection

Third-Party Protection Thursday night, at 7:30pm, is our scenario class and it was a treat to have Ernie Kirk with us that night to take us through several drills. Emphasis was placed on communication. Ernie mentioned that we’re used to communicating instructions to our training partners, but how well do we communicate instructions to our friends and loved ones in a stressful situation? Do we give instructions beforehand about what to do if a violent situation occurs? Moreover, do we communicate at all?

This class was quite interesting because, you were allowed to bring in a friend or loved one to be your partner. Essentially, there were Kravists partnered with individuals untrained in self-protection techniques.

Drill #1
You and your partner held hands and tried to touch each other’s elbows.

Drill #2
You and your partner held hands and while operating as a single unit, maneuvered yourselves around the room trying to tag other couples.

Drill #3
This drill was similar to the drill above, except that if you let go of your partner, you had to do push-ups. So, some of us were instructed to try to separate couples.

Drill #4
This drill was similar to Drill #2, except that if you tagged an individual three times… in this case an untrained person… the trained person, in the couple, had to do push-ups. This added an element of stress to the drill.

Drill #5
This drill had the trained person teach the untrained person how to execute palm heel strikes, elbow strikes, knee strikes and groin kicks. Another trained person assisted by holding a tombstone pad.

Drill #6
This drill was set with two lines of attendees forming a corridor. Each attendee held a tombstone pad or a kicking shield. The object of this drill was for you and your partner to make your way through the corridor. As you made your way through the corridor, individuals would randomly encumber you. It was the trained person’s job to communicate instructions to the untrained person. For example, as you punched, kicked and elbowed your way through the corridor, you gave your partner instructions like, kick that person… punch the person that has me in a bear hug… stay right behind me… etc.

Drill #7
In our final drill, we were put into groups of three. Two individuals (the victims) had their eyes closed while the third individual played the role of the assailant. The object of the drill was to make an appropriate defense and communicate instructions to your partner. An additional element of stress was added to the drill by having a few individuals, armed with knives, roam around the room making random knife threats against victims.

Communication is the key for third-party protection. Don’t leave home without it.

Third-Party ProtectionSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Reality Check

By Moshe Katz

Reality Check Ahead The first time is always a humbling experience. The look on their faces; sad but predictable, just like the two American guests on the Human Weapon show.

They show up having had years of martial arts training, they know plenty of knife defenses, they have been tested and passed, they have earned ranks. Then we put on the full body IDF protection gear, we take a knife and just go all out stabbing. These are random crazy stabbings, not 'correct' stabbings. The attack is relentless, just like a real attack on the streets of Jerusalem. The defender cries out, "You are attacking the wrong way!"

Bottom line; you have just been stabbed to death. The defender sits on the side, out of breath, feeling like a worthless nothing. All those years of training did not prepare him for this attack.

Our defenses are easy, simple. You may look at them one time and say, "So that's what Krav Maga is all about! What's the big deal!" and then you are attacked. Soon you become very humble and politely sign up for Krav Maga lessons. Suddenly the simpletons running the course look like superheroes. "How do they do it?" you ask. And yet, it looks so simple.

My how reality makes us all so humble. But better to find out now than on the street.

Reality CheckSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Looking for the Silver Bullet

Silver Bullet I read the following on a blog the other day.

“I am 24 and petite (about 5'1 and 115 lbs). I want to start learning martial arts mainly for self-defense. Which style of martial arts is best suited for this purpose?”

The replies to the question listed martial arts and fighting systems from A to Z. But that presupposes that there is a single answer to the self-defense question. I wish it were as easy as that.

The truth is that there is a lot more to self-defense than learning a martial art. A martial art or a fighting system, like Krav Maga, is only a slice of a holistic pie.

First, you must understand that it’s better to avoid than run; better to run than de-escalate; better to de-escalate than fight; better to fight than die. You should learn to be aware of your surroundings and understand threat levels. Second, if you do have to fight, you must be willing to do harm to others in order to protect yourself or loved ones. When is your when? Lastly, self-defense training is no cake walk. It’s hard work and it requires commitment.

It doesn’t take long to learn a Krav Maga technique, but like a martial art, it does take time and lots of practice to master. There’s no way around this.

If you haven’t mastered a Level 1 technique like position 1 of the 360° outside defenses, you can’t expect to execute a proper Level 5 knife defense against a downward stab. Be truthful with yourself.

Krav Maga is not a perfect system. It is not a cure-all. It is not a religion. It is, however, in my opinion, a philosophy of recognizing the dangers inherent in this world and preparing for the fight, but not seeking it out. We learn to fight so that our attackers, whoever they may be, will keep to themselves.

-John Jordan, Instructor Krav Maga DFW

The reality is that there is no silver bullet for self-defense. You’re on a fools errand if you go looking for it.

Looking for the Silver BulletSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend