Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Taking Your Opponent to the Ground

Grappling Range The grappling range is the range of body-to-body contact. It is the range where locks, throws, sweeps and takedowns are performed. In a recent groundfighting class, a new student asked the question, “Should we take our opponent to the ground when we’re in the grappling range?”

The instructor explained to the student that Krav Maga does not advocate taking your opponent to the ground because of the many perils that can occur once you are there. However, the instructor had no issues with throwing an opponent to the ground. He just isn’t going to follow him there. Krav Maga does assume that you may slip and find yourself down while the attacker is up. Sh*t happens.

Another important reality is that regardless of what you may have been told, size and strength do dramatically influence grappling ability. Unless you are phenomenally skilled, there are few other endeavors in which size and strength play such a predominant role. Big grapplers usually beat little grapplers. If you are a smaller, lighter or weaker fighter, you should not put all your eggs in the grappling basket. Instead, you should spend your time learning grappling defenses and perfecting your ability to surgically strike an attacker who attempts to grapple with you.

Richard Ryan

Krav Maga’s groundfighting techniques are explosive responses to immediate threats, rather than the “chess match” response and counter-response moves of a larger groundfighting program.

Whether you’re proficient on the ground or not, Krav Maga’s main objective during a groundfight always remains the same: to get up as quickly as possible! During groundfights, you’re extremely vulnerable to more than one attacker or to being stabbed if the opponent produces an edged weapon.

Two of my friends were stabbed by women when they were groundfighting with men.

Geoff Thompson

Moreover, there’s the mobility factor. When you're on the ground, you lose your ability to disengage. You have to be on your feet to retreat.

So... why participate in a larger groundfighting program like our groundfighting classes? It’s for the same reason that we learn to execute high kicks. We don’t learn to execute high kicks so that we can use them in a street fight. We learn to execute high kicks so that we can recognize them in order to defend against them, thus the same reason applies for advancing our groundfighting skills. Further, we learn how to be calm and deal with the stress when someone is trying to control and manipulate us on the ground.

I participate in our groundfighting classes because I want to feel as confident fighting on the ground as I do standing up. Plus… the classes are fun!

In and of itself, grappling is not the "ultimate fighting technique" that some people make it out to be. No single method is. It would be foolish to send a soldier to war with just one skill. He wouldn't last very long. In fact, he would soon be overwhelmed, outgunned or outmaneuvered by the many other techniques and tactics that make up real fighting.

Richard Ryan

Grappling in a street fight must be short, sweet and overwhelming. It should be viewed as a tactical supplement to striking. Unless you’re a consummate grappler, have complete control of your environment (a plush surface to grapple on) and are sure you're facing a single, unarmed opponent, don’t go to the ground and grapple.

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Friday, July 24, 2009

The Gorilla at the End of the Tunnel-Vision

By Mark Hatmaker

Gorilla Tunnel Vision We humans, are a curious species in ways too numerous to mention here so, let’s limit ourselves to one quirk today—our uncanny ability to see what we expect to see and rule out or simply be blind to what we don’t want to see (or don’t know to look for). I call your attention to a simple experiment that shows just how ridiculously tunnel-visioned we can be.

Daniel Simons and Christopher Chabris of the University of Illinois Visual Cognition Lab concocted an experiment that seems borne out of many hours of viewing Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Simons and Chabris wanted to test for the hypothesis that when we pay attention to detail(s) we often miss things that are obvious to others (the old can’t see the forest for the trees proverb). This phenomenon is known as inattention blindness—in other words, rapt attention on pre-determined stimuli can lead to serious inattention deficits for stimuli outside your attentional set. Enough of my yakking, let’s allow Simons and Chabris’s experiment to do the talking.

The duo showed a video of a basketball game with the crowd plainly seen in the background to test subjects. The test subjects were asked to count the number of passes made by players on the team wearing white shirts. At one point in the video an assistant wearing a gorilla suit (yep, you read that right) walks through the middle of the game, stops in the middle of the screen and then walks out of frame. Keep in mind, the game never halts and there are more than a few passes that occurred with the gorilla suited accomplice partially obscuring the action. After viewing the video, test subjects were asked to report the number of passes, (most of which did quite well at this task by the way) and then they were asked about the presence of the gorilla. Approximately half of all test subjects never saw the gorilla.

What’s going on here is two things, the first—the aforementioned inattention blindness—the second is a bit of confirmation bias. Confirmation bias is a fascinating concept from cognitive psychology that says that we humans tend to search for and interpret new information in a manner that confirms our preconceived notions while at the same time discounting evidence that contradicts those preconceived notions—the old liberal/conservative divide with zero gray area in between. We are all subject to confirmation bias to varying degrees of irrationality that may differ from subject to subject. Confirmation bias can be seen in the amusing statistic that approximately 90% of the US population considers itself above average in intelligence and above average in looks. It’s nice to like yourself despite the mathematical impossibility of the proposition.

Let’s bring inattention blindness and the confirmation bias to our world of interest combat sports, MMA, and street-defense. We, being human, often view data (fight footage, assault accounts, et cetera) under the sway of both stumbling blocks. The strikers often see evidence for striking solutions where it may not exist, grapplers often look for submission answers where they just may be inappropriate, and street tacticians may often try to apply certain concepts or strategies where the ideas may simply be out and out wrong. In our last two books NO SECOND CHANCE and THE ESSENTIALS we argue (in both the street and sportive environments, respectively) that we should not allow ourselves to shape our research but rather to allow the research to shape us.

We must be ever vigilant that inattention blindness and the confirmation bias may allow us to distort what we see (or don’t see) leading us down literal blind alleys causing us to train for contingencies that don’t exist, or apply techniques or tactics that hold little water in the real world. We must always keep our eyes open and look, really look at what’s before us and see if there is, indeed, an obvious detail staring us in the face that may aid our training. By being aware of our shortcomings we can better compensate for these stumbling blocks and see, perhaps a bit more clearly, just what strategies and tactics might really be called for in situations where our health and safety are on the line rather than simply retro-fitting what might be an outmoded (or completely wrong-headed) game plan onto a situation full of “hidden” gorillas. In other words, stop looking for favorite trees in a forest, look at each and every one of them and always be aware that there just may be gorillas in the woods—right in front of you.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Krav Maga Be Prepared

By Moshe Katz

Give Me Your Money In Krav Maga we believe in reality training, we believe you should be prepared, but how?

We all want to be prepared for the worst; we all want to be able to handle ourselves in challenging situations, we all wonder; "How will I react in a real life violent encounter?" We resolve to "Be Prepared", but how? How can we prepare ourselves for the worst? Well, this is what Krav Maga is about, preparing for the worst.

Many of us, by our nature, look for short cuts. I guess I am lucky that I have never been that way. When I met with my course counselor in Bernard Baruch graduate school, New York, to discuss my course load, she asked if I had taken calculus, and several other 'core' courses that are required for my degree. Foolishly, some might argue, I replied, "Yes, I have taken most of these courses but it has been a long time and if I am to truly understand my course of study (Business) I think I should retake all these courses."

She looked shocked. This decision added an additional six months to my program. With a full time job it took me four years to earn my graduate degree. I do not believe in short cuts. "There is no easy way out, no short cut home." (Rocky)

In the martial arts, in self defense, some people...

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Saturday, July 11, 2009

A Night of Knife Attacks

Knife being drawn from pocket Knives are deadly weapons. They are popular, easy to obtain and silent to operate. They are readily concealable, highly reliable, and don’t take much special training to use to hurt somebody. They can be highly effective in grappling, close and short ranges. Like Moshe Katz, I respect the knife. I assume that everyone carries one.

If one accepts the often-heard statement that most gunfights take place at a distance of about 5 feet, then most situations where you would need a gun can be adequately handled with a knife. Within its range (and, for a trained person who knows how to move, 5 feet is well within knife range), the edged weapon can actually be more destructive to the opponent than a gun. The knife never runs out of ammunition and it never jams.

Massad Ayoob

I enjoy knife drills and can’t get enough of them. There’s something about practicing knife attack defenses that raises the hair on the back of my neck. They can be very stressful. Here are some drills we did earlier in the week.

Drill #1
Our partner held a tombstone pad, close to his body in various positions, and we stabbed the pad various angles with our practice knife.

Drill #2
Our partner remained stationary as we stabbed her with the knife from various angles. Recognizing how the knife is being gripped sometimes indicates what the angle of attack might be.

Drill #3
Moving around, our partner attacked us from various angles and we made the appropriate defenses without disarms. In some cases, if we were very close to our partner, he would grab us and pull us into his knife.

Drill #4
Our partner held the back of our head with one hand (single-collar tie [dirty-boxing clinch]) and attempted to stab us with the other hand from various angles.

Drill #5
Moving around, we tossed the knife to our partner and our partner tossed the knife back to us. At some point, one of us kept the knife and decided to attack.

Drill #6
The class was broken up into groups of four. Person #1 was defending against Level 1 attacks. Person #2 was attacking Person #1. Person #3 was a bystander. Person #4... armed with a knife... was allowed to attack any of the other persons. I had a lot of fun with this drill.

Common knife targets that have generally proven lethal or severely disabling include the heart, subclavian artery (behind the collarbone), stomach, brachial artery, radial artery, carotid artery, femoral artery, auxiliary artery and kidneys.

Cuts generally cause more bleeding while thrusts can cause more serious damage.

There is an old saying: ‘Leave one’s yard and find seven enemies.’ No matter how skilled one is in the martial arts, he will find himself unprepared if encountered off-guard. Ideally, then, one should constantly be in a state of preparedness.

Hironori Otsuka

A knife is a dangerous weapon. If you’re attacked and you have a choice, it’s better to run away. If you don’t have a choice, use an improvised weapon (stick, chair, etc.) to help you with your defense. Using your hands to defend yourself is an absolute last resort.

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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Principles of Krav Maga Reality Knife Defense

By Moshe Katz

Knife Defense I want to focus here on the principles of reality knife defense, based on the Krav Maga experience.

There are many types of knife defense. You can study the Philipino styles; Arnis, Kali, Escrima. You can learn how to use a stick vs. a knife. Jujitsu, Ninjitsu, Kung fu, Systema; they all have knife defenses and they all have good technique. You have to ask yourself, 'Is this the reality knife defense that suits my life circumstances?'

Over my years of training, in many styles, with many great people, I have come to learn a few things about survival and edged weapon attacks. These principles are incorporated in our style of Krav Maga.

A great way to train for reality knife defense...

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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Respect the Knife

By Moshe Katz

Knife ThreatDo I fear knives? I am not sure if I want to say yes to that, so I will quote my friend, the plumber/roofer. We used to repair roofs together. Part of the job involved hanging over the side of the roof and painting over rough patches with special coating to prevent water leaks. I did not enjoy this. I did not enjoy looking down 6 stories to a concrete parking lot. I tried not to look, or think.

When I expressed this to my friend and co worker Aryeh, he said, "I feel the same way. I am not afraid of heights; I have a healthy respect for heights."

We respect heights and we take precautions, because otherwise we might fall to our early demise. I feel the same way about knives. I respect knives, no matter whose hands they are in.

When I first started training in knife disarms...

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