Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Workshop: Escaping an Aggressor - Awareness, Tactics, Techniques..July, 12-3:45-5:45pm

Avoidance is the best self defense. There are times, however, when we cannot avoid and our next best option is to escape - to get away from an assailant, find an exit, and minimize injury to yourself.

This workshop will help you:
  • develop an awareness of exiting options
  • tactics to distract and disable (usually temporarily) an assailant to "buy time" to escape
  • techniques to disengage from an attacker trying to control you
Here are some tips for escaping:

Beginners welcome!!


Saturday 3:45 to 5:45pm
IKMF Toronto, 2156 Yonge St.

For more information please feel free to contact me:

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Krav Maga and Body Defenses.

Central to learning self defense is moving your body our of harm's way of a punch, kick, stab, slash, knife/gun threat, grab or attempts to grab etc......  Since attacks can be fast and catch us off guard, moving effectively is very challenging. 

Here is an overview of body defenses:

Student leans away from stab while kicking.
  1. Moving Back:  One of our more natural movements.  After all, if there is a fist or sharp object speeding toward your face there is a decent chance you will move away.  In many situations, since you are moving your body away, a kick is a preferred strike aimed to distract or disable the attacker. (see picture above)
  2. Moving Forward.  This one is more difficult to teach.  Moving closer to an aggressor is less natural.  Who, for example, wants to get closer to someone swinging a hammer or baseball bat?  The most dangerous part of these objects, however is the end, so if you can't run moving rapidly into the aggressor is the safest option. (see stick defense below)
  3. Moving to the side.  Moving back or toward a gun aimed at your chest, is, of course, not effective.  Moving to the side, out of the line of fire, while redirecting the weapon offers you the best chance of survival. (see gun defense below)
  4. Moving Down.  Ducking a punch is the most obvious example.  Boxers are among the best at ducking and countering.  

Moving body to side - out of line of fire

Moving in to defend against stick attack
Body defenses are one of the more challenging aspects of self defense training.  It involves timing, coordination, and the ability to quickly assess and act.  Consistent training that involves attention to detail as well as various reaction drills will improve your body movements and your ability to defend yourself. 

Stay safe,

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Saturday June 14th Workshop 3:30 to 5:30: Effective Striking

Striking is essential to learning how to protect yourself.  There are many reasons for this.  To read about some of these reasons visit:

This workshop will
  • introduce the basic strikes - elbows, kicks, palm strikes, and punches.  
  •  foster effective technique 
  • develop decision-making e.g. when to use various strikes 
  • outline some real life situations that might require striking.

Saturday June 14th, 3:30 to 5:30pm
IKMF Toronto
2156 Yonge St.

40/person - To register online go to:

Feel free to contact me with any questions:

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto

6 Reasons Striking is Vital to Your Self Defense Skillset

Student elbows "attacker" as she escapes a bear hug.

Self defense does not always involve striking an attacker.  In fact, we advocate avoidance and escape as safer alternatives to direct contact.  Also, soft techniques such as wrist releases can solve a problem without inflicting serious damage.

Striking, however, remains essential to any effective self defense system. Here are 6 reasons why:

  1. There is Always Someone Stronger: Even if you possess natural strength and live in the weight room there is someone out there who is stronger than you.  Also, consider the added problem of multiple attackers.  Your strength is an asset but you need other tools.
  2. Releasing Holds.  Speaking of strength, some people are capable of exerting incredible force when choking, grabbing, bear hugs etc...   A knee to the groin, stomp on a foot, or a head butt might encourage him to release - even a little.  
  3. Keep him distracted.  If his eyes are watering, his nose is bleeding, he feels an intense pain in his groin or shin, then he is less able to continue his assault.  Don't, however, underestimate his pain threshold or resolve. 
  4. Maintaining or Creating Distance.  A series of effective strikes can deter someone from getting closer or create space for you to escape, grab a weapon of opportunity etc...   
  5. Armed Attacks.  Generally, disarming is not the preferred choice as taking a weapon such as a knife is extremely difficult even for the best trained.  Gun threats require disarming due to their range.  To have any chance of disarming, the attacker must be hit to distract and disorient. If you are not disarming you still need to strike - a kick, palm strike - to survive.  He needs to feel pain or injury for assaulting you! Crude but the alternative is worse.
  6. Disabling.  Effective striking can prevent a pursuit (e.g. knee strike), or prevent the attacker from continuing the attack.  You are also, to some degree, disabling his cognitive abilities - to problem solve. 
With striking there is a balance in expectations.  We cannot assume that a strike or series of strikes will stop the attacker.  Strikes might simply open up an opportunity to escape, get help, or grab a weapon of opportunity.  On the other hand, some strikes can end an assault quickly.

Continue to work on your striking.  Improve your power, speed, and timing.  Developing these skills can be life saving.

Stay safe,

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto

Self Defense and Protecting Others

When we hear the term "third part protection" we often think of bodyguards protecting state officials or celebrities.  While this is certainly an aspect of third party protection there is a more practical application for most of us: protecting those we spend time with -  friends, co-workers, and family.

Self defense training tends to focus on protecting yourself but real life situations might require you to help others.

Some possible scenarios:
  • You are out for an evening walk with your partner/spouse and an aggressive man approaches, yelling at both of you.
  • A home invasion. You must protect your family -get them to safety.
  • A co worker is attacked at the office or off-site.
There are innumerable examples.  Learning how to protect others includes body positioning, strike prevention, releasing others from hold and chokes, even weapons defenses.  Sometimes, it is simply getting help. Essentially, it comes down to defending someone who is vulnerable due to lack of physical ability, skill, or awareness of the danger.

Third party protection is very challenging but, in my view, a necessary part of of any practical self defense program.  After all, we are social animals, spending much our time with others, including  people we care about.

Here is a video with one of our Global Instructors, Tamir Gilad, teaching workshop participants in New York City how to protect others. 

Stay safe,

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto