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Monday, December 31, 2012

8 New Year's Resolutions to Keep You Safer in 2013

Happy New Year!

As we enter a new year many of us resolve to make positive changes to our lives - improve our fitness, spend more time with family and friends......  Some we follow through on, some we don't.  

We suggest you commit to your well being - particularly your personal safety. 

Here are 8 self defense resolutions to promote your safety in 2013 - and beyond.

  1. Minimize Your Distractions.  Avoid walking/driving and testing for instance.  Distractions hinder awareness. 
  2. Be mindful of how you share personal information. Announcing your trips on Facebook?  Please don't.  Telling strangers you live alone.  Please don't.  
  3. Identify escape routes.  Make it a habit in 2013 to be aware of how to escape to safe places.
  4. Establish some fitness goals.  We don't all have to be Olympians but improving your fitness does hep your chances to defend, escape and avoid.  
  5. Minimize your stuff.  Try to avoid carrying multiple items.  It makes you an easier target and as elusive as a sloth.  
  6. Saying no isn't rude.  Don't feel compelled to open your door to a stranger, light his cigarette, lean into his car to give directions.....   Say sorry (this comes naturally to most of us Canadians) and err on the side of caution.  
  7. Be discreet about your valuables.  Don't flash money,  jewellery, iPads, etc.......  
  8. Try a self defense class.  Surf the net, make some calls, talk with friends.  Find a  school that suits your needs. (Let's say, oh I don't know, a Krav Maga class?) If you can't or don't want to commit to ongoing classes ask about workshops, semi-privates....

Enjoy the rest of your holidays, have a happy new year, and be safe.  


Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga Federation, Toronto
torontokrav@rogers.com
416-657-1028

Ikmftoronto.com


Monday, December 17, 2012

Self Defense and Your Daily Life: 5 Questions to Ponder

Essentially, self defense training is about you getting home safe.  Being unpredictable, assaults can happen anytime over the course of a day. 

With this in mind, we suggest you develop a dialogue - a dialogue between your daily life and your self defense training.  By doing so, training becomes easier to understand and more relevant.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself:


  1. How do you travel?  Do you drive to work?  Do you walk, run, or bike a lot?  Is the subway or streetcar your preference? Are you a frequent flyer? Do you use underground parking?  Self defense situations can arise in all of these situations.  Think and/or read about possible and actual scenarios.  Ask your instructors for advice.  
  2. What is Your Vocation/Daily Activity?  Are you a police officer or security guard?  Do you teach?  If so, what age group?  Are you a taxi driver, TTC driver who deals with many people some of them less than pleasant.  A student who spends most of your time on campus? 
  3. What do You Wear?  A suit, high heels, casual clothing......?  What you wear effects how you move.  Fleeing an attacker in heels. Not easy.
  4. What do You Carry?  Briefcase, backpack, coffee?  Objects can hinder (overloaded grocery/shopping bags) but some common objects can be used for self defense.  
  5. Company/Solitary? Do you walk with a dog?  Run by yourself?  Spend a lot of time with family, groups of friends.  All of these situations have self defense implications e.g. assailants generally target solitary people. 


Assaults occur during the course of peoples' daily lives.  Consider yours and ask your instructor to address potential problems and scenarios. 


Stay Safe,



Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto
torontokrav@rogers.com
416-657-1028

Ikmftoronto.com










Sunday, December 16, 2012

Teaching Self Defense in Toronto: 6 Implications



Instructors need to adapt self defense training to the students(adults, kids, law enforcement....) as well as the context(s) in which they live.

As Krav Maga instructors in Toronto we have to consider the situations and environments students find (or might find) themselves during the course of their daily lives.

Here are some factors we consider.

  1. Winter:  It's Canada, Silly!  Of course, there is winter.  This means that jackets, toques, gloves, scarves become part of our everyday wardrobe..  Ever try to disarm someone while you are wearing mittens?  Ever to try to find a pressure point on someone wearing a parka over 2 sweaters? P.S. Ice and snow are not conducive to spinning kicks.  
  2. Legal:  Different jurisdictions have different laws.   Simple.
  3. Public Transit:  The majority of our students travel via the TTC.  Training needs to consider the various factors at play in subway/bus/streetcar assaults. - limited space, no immediate exit, crowds....
  4. Cars and Parking Lots:  In case you haven't noticed many people like to drive in Toronto.  "Like" might be the wrong word - perhaps choose/prefer.  Many assaults occur in and around cars as well as in parking lots - above and below ground.  Theft, abduction, road rage....
  5. Theft:  We have lots of "stuff".  We carry lots of stuff, our homes are full of stuff.  Often, easily to steal, easy to sell, stuff - wallets and purses filled with bank/credit cars, I-phones......
  6.  Awareness.(Lack of):  To-do lists, phone calls, texts, emails....  our gazes are focused and limited.  This hinders prevention, avoidance, escape....   Instructors need to encourage better habits of awareness.  Not easy!

Wherever you teach be mindful of the everyday lives of students - how they travel, what they wear, the climate, cultural norms............

If you do this, training becomes more relevant and more effective.


Stay Safe,



Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto
torontokrav@rogers.com
416-657-1028

Ikmftoronto.com




Friday, December 14, 2012

Asking Questions: Self Defense and Interactive Teaching

When one teaches, two learn.  Robert Half

 
Leaving us (perhaps gradually) are the days when martial arts students are passive receptacles of knowledge passed on from an omniscient instructor. 

Good riddance.

As a self defense student you need to understand the how, why, when, what etc.... of the various self defense techniques/tactics you practice.  Asking questions is a vital aspect of understanding.

Will this work?
Is this effective against someone stronger?
What if I can't run?
What if their are multiple attackers?
Why do you teach that instead of this?
Wouldn't this work better?
Am I doing this right?
This doesn't feel natural.  Is there a better way?

Questions like these help you develop a broader and deeper understanding of self defense.  Also, by understanding the logic/rationale behind various techniques and tactics you can learn future skills at faster rate.

Questions also help the instructor(hence the opening quote).  By articulating our answers we also develop a more sophisticated understanding of self defense.

Win. Win.


So feel welcome to ask questions - during class, before and after class, via email........

After all, you are studying self defense to learn the most practical ways to protect yourself.  Having a clear understanding can be life saving.  


Ask questions and you will be well on your way to becoming a proficient practitioner - and perhaps, some day, a teacher. 


Stay Safe,



Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto
torontokrav@rogers.com
416-657-1028

Ikmftoronto.com









Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Women's Self Defense Workshop: January 13, 12-2pm


On Sunday January 13, 12-2pm, we are offering a women's self defense workshop focusing on practical solutions to real life self-defense situations.  
  • Escaping grab and chokes - standing, on the ground
  • How to use common objects
  • Defending against strikes
  • How to create and maintain distance from your attacker
  • Defending from a sitting position (e.g. public transit)

Beginners are welcome!  Please bring indoor running shoes.  


Wuxing Martial Arts, 374 Dupont St. 2nd Floor
Sunday January 13, 12-2pm(followed by a 30 minute Question and Answer session)
40/person



"I was nervous about taking the women's self-defense course at first, but Christopher put me to ease with his friendly nature and encouragement. Through his classes, I learned a lot in a short amount of time."
Erika Bachman, Tutor, Tutor Doctor







To register online go to:   http://www.ikmftoronto.com/shop.php




For more information contact:

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga Federation, Toronto
torontokrav@rogers.com
416-657-1028

Ikmftoronto.com










Monday, December 10, 2012

6 Tips for Defending Against Close Range Assaults

We recently offered a self defense workshop focusing on practical ways to defend against close range assaults.  Many assaults happen in small spaces and/or with the assailant getting very close to you.  After all, unless he has a gun or is wielding a long weapon (e.g. baseball bat) he needs to be close to control, strike, steal, etc.....

Defending in close quarters is extremely difficult.  Why?
  • you have very little reaction time
  • your visibility is limited
  • you range of motion is limited (e.g. kicks are not effective if the attacker is very close)
  • avoidance and escape options are compromised (e.g. subway, elevator)

Your training must prepare you for such situations.  Here are some general points we include in our self-defense training.  

  1. Short range striking:  Knees, elbows, hooks, head butts...  You should be able to effectively strike in all directions and at different heights and angles.  
  2. Improve Your Reaction Time:  Through various exercises you can make effective decisions in a shorter time.  Sudden stabs from different directions, wrist grabs, bear hugs, chokes......  The faster you can identify and react to an assault the better chance you have of surviving.  
  3. Economy of motion:  Are you deflecting, blocking, striking...in the most efficient way possible?  In all situations, but especially in close proximity, you have precious little time. 
  4. Stress Exercises: You need to learn to manage your stress and fear to avoid freezing or acting ineffectively.  Training must include exercises that induce stress.  
  5. Realistic and Various Attacks: You need to understand the various ways assailants really attack.  
  6. Finishing:  Escaping is the preferred option but if you are trapped (e.g. in an elevator) then you have to disable the attacker.  Training must included both options.  
We always stress avoidance and doing your best to maintain distance from an attacker.  There are times, unfortunately, when these are not viable option.  In close quarters, you need to make quick decisions, act precisely, and do whatever the situation requires to get you home safe.  


Stay Safe,



Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto
torontokrav@rogers.com
416-657-1028

Ikmftoronto.com





Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Dec. 9 Workshop: Defending Against Close Range Assaults

We always advocate maintaining distance from potentially dangerous people.  There are instances, however, when this is difficult to do.

Close range assaults are especially dangerous because an assailant can attack you in many ways, your visibility is limited, and you have less reaction time.

This workshop will give you a better understanding of how real assaults take place and how to survive them.

After the workshop we will be providing free coffee and "relatively" healthy snacks.  This will give new participants an opportunity to ask questions, ongoing students to make suggestions for 2013, and our instructors to apprise you of upcoming events and developments. 


Workshop topics will include:

  • escaping chokes and grabs
  • defending close range knife threats and attacks
  • defending from sitting position (e.g. subway)
  • protecting yourself in limited space (e.g. against a wall, car....)

Beginners welcome!


Dec. 9 12-2pm
Wuxing Martial Arts, 374 Dupont St.  2nd Floor

$40/person


Group rates(bring friends, family, co-workers.......):

4-10 participants: ($35/person)
10+ participants:  (30/person)
20+ participants ($20/person)



Please  feel free to contact me with any questions.


Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga Federation, Toronto
torontokrav@rogers.com
416-657-1028

Ikmftoronto.com



Monday, November 26, 2012

Deception: 5 Ways an Assailant Might Try to Get Close to You

Earlier this month a 16 year old woman was assaulted near the Broadview/Danforth intersection.  This horrible incident began when the survivor approached a man with his head down.  As she approached he asked her for "a light" for his cigarette.  When she go close he grabbed her, threatened her with a knife, then dragged her to a more secluded area.

Another incident this month saw a man pose as a salesperson and force his way into a home then assaulting two women.  

See link for description of these incidents: http://toronto.ctvnews.ca/residents-on-alert-following-sex-assaults-1.1036403#.ULOFN5tPTu8.email


In both cases, the attackers devised a deception to get closer to the victim.  

There are, unfortunately, many ways assailants will try to lure you closer.  Here are 5 general examples:

  1. Asking a Favour: He asks for "a light", some change, for you to hang on to or hold something, to borrow your phone....   Besides getting closer you are distracted by your task ...an opportune time to strike.  Be especially careful if you are alone in an isolated area. 
  2. Asking For Information: What time is it?  How do I get to Yonge and ?, If you give information give it from a distance. 
  3. The Imposter:  Recently, in Toronto, a man posed as a salesman and forced his way into a home, assaulting two women(see above).
  4. The Crisis: Years ago, a student told me a man approached her in a parking lot saying he locked the keys in his car and asking her, since she was smaller, to reach through the partially opened window to unlock the door.  As they approached his car she saw the windows were closed.  She fled and reported the incident.   If there is a "crisis" call the police, mall security, etc... from a safe place - not alone with a stranger. 
  5. The Small/Isolated Space:  If you don't feel comfortable walking into, or staying in an elevator, please leave.  A former co-worker reported a man following her into a Tim Horton's bathroom.  Vacant parking lots.  Be aware of body language and ask for an escort (e.g. security guard). 
We don't like to be cynical.  Helping people and random conversations can be extremely enriching.  The key is to be aware of the context. Are you isolated? What is your intuition saying?


Be cautious.  Be aware.


Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga Federation, Toronto
torontokrav@rogers.com
416-657-1028

Ikmftoronto.com



Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Understanding How Attacker's Attack in Real Life: 6 Aspects

A vital aspect of self defense training is understanding how assailants actually attack in real life. Without this knowledge you are preparing for assaults that happen only in the safety of your studio/dojo.

One of the things you learn during our Krav Maga classes is that real life attacks are quite different than those you come across in many martial arts classes and what you see in movies and television.

Here are 6 things you should know about real life attackers:
  1. They often approach you when you are distracted - cell phone, Ipod...   These days this is most of the time.  Don't expect an assailant to announce himself or his intentions.  Surprise is his ally.
  2. They approach from different directions.  Yes, they might approach you from the front but don't count on it.  
  3. Attacks are brutal and intense.  Don't expect him to follow rules or to withdraw after a verbal scolding or one punch.  
  4. Tenacity.  Some attackers are very tough and very determined.  You will have to match and exceed this if you want to survive.  If you can't escape you might have to fight harder than you imagined possible. 
  5. Multiple Attackers Don't Attack in Sequence.  In movies, an actor like Jason Statham can fight one person and count on the others to wait their turn.  Not so in real life.  
  6. They don't punch like Ralph Macchio aka the original Karate Kid.  Fighting stance, elbows cocked back, fists straight ahead on arms that move like pistons in a predictable 1, 2 cadence.  Nope.  Real attacks are chaotic, unpredictable, and intense.  

You need to understand these realities and prepare accordingly.  Otherwise, you are engaging in choreography rather practical and reality-based self defense. 


Stay Safe,


Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga Federation, Toronto
torontokrav@rogers.com
416-657-1028

Ikmftoronto.com

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fighting Skills Workshop - Nov. 17th










Learn to defend, escape, and get home safe when an assailant is insistent on physical confrontation.
Skills that can help you survive situations such as:

  • home invasion
  • road rage
  • random assaults
Beginners are very welcome.


Saturday Nov.17th, 3-6pm
Wuxing Martial Arts, 374 Dupont St., 2nd Floor
$70/person


To register contact: 

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga Federation, Toronto
torontokrav@rogers.com
416-657-1028

Ikmftoronto.com





Monday, November 12, 2012

So You Have Signed Up for Your 1st Krav Maga Test. 9 Tips

Testing is not a mandatory part of our self defense program.  Some students, however, want a more tangible way to gauge their progress, enjoy testing, or want to become instructors.

Whatever the reason(s), testing is a rigorous process that requires careful preparation, attention to detail, and a commitment to improving.  Testing is not easy but it will help you better understand how far you have come and what you need to work on.

Here are 9 tips for testing:

  1. Know the curriculum:  If the instructor tells you to perform an upward vertical elbow and you only offer her a blank stare you are in trouble!  
  2. Understand terminology: 200% defense, inside defense, outside defense, 360, deflect, block, rotation, recoil, pluck, step, skip, slide..................If you don't know....ask...before the test.
  3. Techniques Must Be Performed as If They Would Work in Real Life:  If you deflect a punch then strike with the speed and power that would barely alter the route of a passing butterfly then time to step it up.  Be safe but be aggressive.   
  4. Scan:  Look around for secondary dangers.  Not doing so during the test can lead to failure.  Failing to do so in real life can prevent you from seeing the incoming fist, knife, grab, streetcar.....
  5. Recoil:  When you strike bring your, hand, elbow, knee, foot, back as soon as possible.  You might need to strike again, protect yourself, or leave. Only hold the strike if you are posing for Black Belt Magazine.
  6. Rotate:  Rent The Wizard Of Oz and watch the Tin Man before he gets oiled up.  Don't be like that.  When you strike rotate your shoulders, hips....   Be more like the Scarecrow - loose but with more control.  (Yes, we can link Krav Maga to everything). 
  7. Focus:  One technique, one exercise, at a time.  Focus on performing each as well as you can.  Don't think about what is coming or what has been.  (That's what Yoda would say).
  8. Understand "Why":  If the instructor asks why you performed a hammer fist rather than a straight punch don't answer "Cuz my instructor said so".  You need to know why.   Logic is your friend.  
  9. Prevent:  Instructors want to see good habits.  If your partner approaches you from 5 or so feet away with intent to grab, choke, hug, stab etc... prevent - from this distance with a kick or running.  Only when the instructor specifies will you allow contact. 

Place your testing in the context of your development.  Pass or fail you are taking a step closer to becoming a better Krav Maga student and more capable of defending yourself. 

P.s. There are 7 elbow strikes!

Stay Safe,


Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga Federation, Toronto
torontokrav@rogers.com
416-657-1028

Ikmftoronto.com




Monday, November 5, 2012

Avoidance is the Best Self Defense: 5 Tips to Stay Safe

One of the points we emphasize at our self-defense school is our hope that you never have to use the skills and knowledge you develop through Krav Maga training.  Avoidance, we stress, is the best self defense.

Too many things can go wrong.  Yes, a person proficient in Krav Maga, an experienced fighter, or a skilled martial artist, has a better chance of surviving an assault.  The operative, word, however, is "chance".

An assailant swinging a broken bottle might catch an "expert" off guard.  Fighting two or more attackers looks great in the movies but is extremely dangerous, even for the world's best.  In real life, don't count on attackers to engage in sequence (e.g alphabetically by last name, gang seniority, date of birth....) but rather expect them to come at the same time.  Have you met someone who can deflect/block three punches and kicks at the same time?

Yes, there are times, when we have to defend ourselves but if you can avoid engaging please do so.

Here are 5 points to consider.


  1. Avoid Dangerous Areas: Night time shortcuts through parks, alleys....  Clubs with a reputation for violence.  Places where groups or gangs "hang"...  
  2. Walk Away:  Some people will try to entice you into a fight.  They might verbally insult you or the people you are with, "flip you the bird"....   Don't be lured in.
  3. Right vs Fight:  You might be appalled that a biker threw a beer bottle into the ditch. Yes, morality is on your side but do you want to chase down Vic the Viper and chastise him for his ecological carelessness?  Mail an anonymous copy of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring to the clubhouse instead. 
  4. Anger Leads to the Dark Side:  Worse, anger can lead to the back of police cruiser, the courthouse, the afterlife....  Road rage, verbal assaults...... avoid them.   
  5. Don't Be Afraid to Run/Escape:  If you can flee the scene please do so. I, personally, have no problem running from two bored teenagers who wants to challenge a self-defense instructor.  I just hope they are not on the track and field team. 


An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  Avoidance is a great form of prevention.  Don't put yourself in danger.  Get home safe.


Stay Safe,


Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga Federation
torontokrav@rogers.com
416-657-1028

Ikmftoronto.com



Sunday, November 4, 2012

Self-Defense and Self Doubt: 4 Ways to Ease Your Anxieties

New students often come to a self-defense class with many self doubts.
  • I am not strong enough.
  • I don't have experience.
  • I am not athletic.
  • I don't want to hold students back.
  • I don't want to embarrass myself.

These doubts are natural.  After all, you are wandering into unfamiliar territory and into a subject - violence - that is  inherently disturbing.  Know that you are not alone.  Many students express these concerns.  

So what do we do?  Here are some suggestions.

  • Be open with your instructor(s) about your feelings.  A quality instructor will listen, answer your questions and address your concerns.  
  • Accept Where You Are: We are not all at the same place in terms of aptitude, experience, fitness, confidence...  Develop a sense of where you are, where you want to be, and work with your instructor and the other students to get there. 
  • Be Patient:  There is a lot to learn.  Don't get discouraged if everything doesn't come naturally.  Work hard, ask questions, and be patient - especially with yourself.  
  • Acknowledge Your Strengths:  You might be strong, fast, smart, tenacious, clever, agile, a hard worker...  Develop the strengths you have and work on the areas that need more work. 

Self doubt enters the mind of every student, and yes, every instructor, at some point.  Acknowledge these doubts and ask for help.


Stay Safe,


Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga Federation
torontokrav@rogers.com
416-657-1028

Ikmftoronto.com




Friday, November 2, 2012

Women's Self-Defense Workshop Dec. 2nd





Women's Self-Defense Workshop: Practical Skills



Wuxing Martial Arts, 374 Dupont St. 2nd Floor
Sunday Dec. 2nd, 12-2pm(followed by a 30 minute Question and Answer session).
$50/person($40 if your register by November 26th)

Group rates(bring friends, co-workers.......):

4-10 participants: ($35/person)
10+ participants:  (30/person)
20+ participants ($20/person)


Topics include:
  • avoiding and preventing
  • using your voice
  • escaping grabs
  • striking for self defense
  • using common objects for self defense

"I was nervous about taking the women's self-defense course at first, but Christopher put me to ease with his friendly nature and encouragement. Through his classes, I learned a lot in a short amount of time."
Erika Bachman, Tutor, Tutor Doctor







For more information contact:

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga Federation
torontokrav@rogers.com
416-657-1028

Ikmftoronto.com

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Self Defense for Beginners: 7 Tips for Finding the Right School for You.


 
Your first self-defense class can be daunting. Are you fit enough?  Do you have the athleticism or coordination to perform?  Are you walking into a testosterone-filled fight club where each member has seen the movie 300 at least 10 times and secretly(or not) wish they were Spartan warriors?   

All in all, you don’t know what to expect.  Here are 7 ways to ease into your self-defense training. 

1.   Ask Questions.  Don’t forget we are here to serve you.  Ask questions to better understand what is being offered. 
2.   Try some free classes.  A phone conversation or email exchange can be informative but the best way to understand is to try a class/some classes
3.   Talk to other studentsStudents are quite receptive to talking about their experience. 
4.   Ask for testimonialsAre students raving about the classes?  If so, why?
5.   Be honestA decent instructor will address your questions and concerns.  Be honest about your needs.
6.   Don't Buy the hard sellThe school should be addressing your needs rather than bombarding you with price lists, deals, and extravagant promises.  Take your time and make an informed choice.  In fact, don’t even bring your debit or credit cards to the first meeting. 
7.   Shop AroundTry various schools to get a sense of the different offerings and pick the best one for you. 


Don’t rush into anything. Be clear about your needs and goals and what the school offers.  Make an informed choice. 
 


Stay Safe,



Christopher Gagne

Lead Instructor and Owner
International Krav Maga Federation(IKMF), Toronto
416-657-1028

Ikmftoronto.com


Friday, October 26, 2012

Self Defense Products: 4 Quick Thoughts on Pepper Spray



During our most recent women’s self-defense workshop some participants asked us about using self-defense products. Of particular interest - pepper spray.

We have many thoughts on the subject.  Here are 4 of them.


1.   Can you access it in time? Many attacks come from the side or behind.  Pockets, purses, bags, can be littered with various objects..  Can you find and utilize it in time?
2.   Are you trained to use it?  Pepper spray on a windy day?  Which end do you point at the attacker?  Where do you aim?  What is the effective range?
3.   Is it legal?  This varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.. Look into it.
4.   Do you have a backup plan?  If you can’t access it, drop it, forget it....can you still defend yourself?  Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.  Be able to defend yourself unarmed. 
 
Because we train you to be adaptable we advocate the importance of learning how to use common objects – objects not designed particularly for self-defense…water bottles, coffee, umbrellas, coins…. 

Develop the habit of scanning your surroundings for objects that can help you to get home safe. 


Stay Safe,



Christopher Gagne

Lead Instructor and Owner
International Krav Maga Federation(IKMF), Toronto
416-657-1028

Ikmftoronto.com

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Can’t Touch This: Self Defense and Prevention



Can’t Touch This – MC Hammer


What is the connection between 90s pop sensation M.C. Hammer and self-defense?  Nothing unless you consider how easy it would be to kick and run in parachute pants.  Ah, those were the days. 

We do advise, however, that you adhere to the words of his most  (only?) beloved song: “Can’t Touch This.”

What do we mean?  Well, there are two meanings.  

The first involves your attitude or state of mind.  Nobody has the right to touch you without your consent.  Strive to be assertive and communicate this.  If someone is giving you unwanted attention tell him to “stay away”, don’t touch me….!

The second factor is around developing the skills to prevent someone from touching you – deflecting, blocking, running….  Learn to use your legs, arms, knees, elbows, etc… to maintain your safe space.  Remember, he can approach you from different directions and different distances so you need a versatile skill set. 

Defending yourself after someone grabs you (not always preventable) is very difficult. Adopt the mentality and physical skills to clearly communicate that you are not to be touched.  

P.S. My advanced apologies if this song is running in your head all day. 

P.S.S. We don’t play M.C. Hammer during classes.


Stay Safe,



Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor and Owner
International Krav Maga Federation(IKMF), Toronto
416-657-1028

Ikmftoronto.com

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Effective Self Defense – The Direct Approach


Practical self-defense must employ techniques that are adaptable, efficient and based on natural reactions and movements.

One aspect of efficiency involves economy of motion – taking the direct approach.

Consider a straight punch aimed at your face.  The fist is coming in a straight line and probably fast!  If you don’t deflect this strike you are in trouble. 

There are teachings that involve elaborate movements where the defenders arm crosses under the incoming punch then circles back to deflect or even grab the hand. 

Does this techniques look good?  Yes.  Does it generate a lot of power? Yes.  Does it work?  Not likely, unless the attacker is compliant – e.g. a student who has been trained to strike in an unrealistic manner – elbows cocked back, no recoil. 

To succeed you must take the direct approach.  The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Your closest hand must travel in a straight line to the attacker’s wrist area.

Try this exercise. Have someone (you trust) try to touch the top of your head – with open hand – from all directions while you try to prevent her from doing so.  Gradually, and in a safe manner, she moves her faster.  Try elaborate motions (think wax on/wax off) then try the direct approach.

Which one works?   One results in a shinier car and a trip to the dentist, the other affords a better chance at preventing the strike from landing.  Which one do you prefer?

Me too. Take the direct approach.  



Stay Safe,


Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor and Owner
International Krav Maga Federation(IKMF), Toronto
416-657-1028

Ikmftoronto.com

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Escaping an Attacker: 7 Points to Consider

Avoidance is the best self defense.  Unfortunately, trouble can find us.   Your next best option is to escape. The more time you engage with an attacker the more chance you have of getting hurt - or worse. 

Escaping, of course, is not always easy, especially from a determined assailant. Here are 7 tips to facilitate escaping.

  1. Know Your Exits/Escape Routes: Develop the habit of identifying escape routes.  Identify as many as possible as your assailant(s) might be blocking 1 or more exits.  P.S. This requires glancing up from your cellphone.  No, your portable GPS will not help here.
  2. Identify Safe/Accessible Routes:  There might be an escape route at the far end of the park but can you get there fast enough?  Some of us can perform a front roll out of an open window.  Most of us can't.  Be realistic. 
  3. Travel Light.  I have tried catching a streetcar carrying 5 shopping bags.  I didn't time myself but I am sure it was not a personal best.  My time might have slightly improved with someone chasing me but not significantly.  Travel light.
  4. Footwear.  We can't wear cross trainers everyday.  They just don't blend in with dress clothes(alas the 80s are gone but the music lives on). If possible, however, try to wear shoes/boots that allow you to run.  In the case of heels - kick them off. 
  5. Create a Distraction.  Common objects such as coins, coffee.. can be used to to distract.  If you have to engage, a quick kick, punch, elbow (depending on distance) can buy you some time. 
  6. Get/stay in Shape. You don't want to "run out of gas" or pull a muscle trying to escape.  Fitness helps.  Flexibility, agility, stamina, endurance....
  7. Be Prepared to Fight.  Against a determined assailant you might have to fight your way to escape.  Don't give up! 
Escaping, and escaping techniques are imbedded in our self defense training.  We teach you to fight if you have to (e.g. no escape, you are protecting another) but, if possible, escape and get home safe.



Stay Safe,


Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor and Owner
International Krav Maga Federation(IKMF), Toronto
416-657-1028

Ikmftoronto.com




Monday, October 1, 2012

Learning to Fight: 8 Training Tips

Avoidance is the best self defense.  In general, we want as little contact with aggressors as possible.  There are times, unfortunately, when circumstances require you to fight.  Escape routes are cutoff.  You are protecting someone - your partner, a friend, your child...

To help our students develop and refine their fighting skills we offer fight training - sparring.  During these sessions we give our students the skills and knowledge to defend themselves when escape is not an immediate option. 

There are innumerable aspects  to fighting.  Here are 8 basic tips:

  1. Keep You Hands Up and Chin Down: Hands up allows you to better defend against strikes You can also strike faster as your hands are closer to your opponent. Chin down protects jaw and throat.
  2. A Good Stance.  Students don't get excited about learning stances but a good stance allows you to defend, attack, and move, efficiently and effectively.  
  3. Recoil Strikes: Unless you are posing for a Black Belt Magazine photo shoot you will need to recoil your strikes to protect and strike again.
  4. Focus on Your Opponent's Center Mass: Following their hands and feet will compromise your ability to see all of their weapons.  Don't be a snake to his/her snake charmer. 
  5. Move: It is more difficult to hit a moving target.  
  6. Don't Fight Their Fight:  Don't box a boxer, wrestle a wrestler, exchange power kicks with a Muay Thai fighter..... You get the point.
  7. Use Combinations:  There are very few people with the punching power of a George Foreman.  One strike will probably not end the fight.  Combinations of hand and leg strikes can confuse and overwhelm.  
  8. Well-rounded Fundamentals:  If you move like a butterfly but your punch can't knock a mosquito off course then you are in trouble.  If you hit like George Foreman but have the defensive skill set of Rocky Balboa (e.g. no defense just get hit) then you are in trouble.  Work on the basics. 

When we teach fighting we do so according to your skill and comfort level.   Beginners, for example will learn the basics of defending punches, punching, how to move...  When you have some of these fundamentals and you feel ready, you move to more dynamic scenarios.

Safety, of course, is paramount.  Fighting is controlled and students wear protective equipment.


None of us ever want to get into a real fight.  If you have to, however, it is essential to have the basic tools and knowledge that can prevent serious injury or even save your life.


Stay Safe,


Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor and Owner
International Krav Maga Federation(IKMF), Toronto
416-657-1028

Ikmftoronto.com



Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Home Invasion: Arriving Home to an Apparent Break and Enter





Home invasions are a special type of assault.  Our home, after all, should be our safe place, our sanctuary.  Break-ins are a violation of our well-being and our privacy.

Some invasions occur when we are in the home.  Other times they occur when we are absent.  Perhaps you come home and suspect or see that there has been a forced entry. 


Here are 4 tips if you suspect/discover a home invasion.

  1. Call for help(911) from a safe distance (e.g. a neighbour's home)
  2. Do not enter the house
  3. If you did not notice forced entry, walked in your house, and realize or suspect a home invasion - LEAVE
  4. Alert anyone else who might come home (family) or visit.  You don't want anyone (besides the police) alarming the invader.

Even if you are confident in your self defense skills and are feeling outraged about this violation please put your safety first.  Leave, stay away, and call for help.



Stay Safe,


Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor and Owner
International Krav Maga Federation(IKMF), Toronto
416-657-1028

Ikmftoronto.com





Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Get Away! 5 Ways to Create Distance from an Aggressor

During our self defense training sessions we remind students that distance is their friend.   There are many reasons to stay away from a potential aggressor.  (see attached blog).
http://ikmfto.blogspot.com/2012/09/stay-away-4-reasons-to-maintain.html

But how do you create distance if someone is trying to get closer.  After all, people are not always respectful of our space and someone intending to harm you is obviously void of all respect.

Here are 5 general ways to create distance in situations ranging from the annoying to the aggressive.

  1. Use Your Voice:  Stay Away!  Leave me alone!  Use an assertive tone and speak clearly.  Keep your message simple and direct.
  2. Body Language: Holding your hands out in front of you to say "Stay away, don't get closer."
  3. Walk/Run Away:  As you leave/back away continue to be aware of the person.  He might follow.  
  4. Common Objects: If the person is persistent use a common object (if available) to create distance - umbrella, throwing coins, water bottle... Flee if you can.
  5. Use Your Body:  If the aggressor does not back away, is trying to grab you, then you have to create distance with your physical tools - kicks, hand strikes, elbows, even bites - according to direction and distance.   
All of these techniques, even using your voice, need to be practiced.  Clear communication through voice and body language can be effective deterrents.  If, however, the person is not receptive and is intent on harming you then you have to revert more physically aggressive measures.

As much as possible keep him away.  Distance is your friend.


Stay Safe,


Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor and Owner
International Krav Maga Federation(IKMF), Toronto
416-657-1028

Ikmftoronto.com


Monday, September 17, 2012

Self Defense and Stress Management: 6 Ways to Prepare You for Real Life Assaults


All self-defense instructors, including us humble folk at Krav Maga Toronto, must constantly strive to prepare students for real life situations.  Often overlooked is the fact that one of the greatest challenges of defending yourself is managing your stress.  Assaults, verbal or physical, are scary and evoke various responses including:

  • Reduced motor skills
  • Tunnel vision
  • Nausea
  • Muddled thinking
  • Impaired hearing


Such symptoms seriously hinder your ability to defend yourself.  Many are the reports of trained martial artists freezing during a crisis or using techniques that simply are not appropriate to the situation (think spinning kicks in an elevator).

The problem is not necessarily faulty technique but that students (and instructors) are not trained to perform under stress. 

Here are 6 training tips to help you to manage your stress and to act more effectively:


  1. Train with various partners:  Besides various heights, weights etc… people move differently, grab, punch, kick…differently.  Don’t train with the same person every class. 
  2. Close quarters/close eyes: Real life assaults often come unexpectedly. Learn to defend the unexpected.  
  3. Noise: Toronto is not a quiet place and your attacker(s) might not be silent. Our federation has offered workshops in night clubs, airports....
  4. Different settings:  If you train exclusively in a studio/dojo you won’t learn how to defend yourself on different surfaces (pavement, grass, gravel…) various size spaces (open parking lots, stairs, elevators,,,)…..
  5. Surprise games:  Assaults are unpredictable.  You need to learn to quickly identify and react. Choreography is great for movies not for real life.
  6. Contact Drills: You have to get used to contact because a real situation often involves grabs, strikes, shoves etc.. You don’t want to panic.  Safety is paramount but contact is necessary.


All of these exercises take you out of your comfort zone and all of these require your instructor to be creative and responsible.   If your instructor is not inducing stress they are overlooking a vital aspect of preparing you for real life. 

P.S. All of this being said please reduce the stress in your everyday life - e.g. driving the Don Valley Parkway (virtually anytime these days), holiday shopping at the 11th hour, cramming a semester in your brain the night before an exam......... you get the idea. 

Stay safe and stress free (outside of class)

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor and Owner
International Krav Maga Federation(IKMF), Toronto
416-657-1028

Ikmftoronto.com


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Stay Away! 4 Reasons to Maintain Distance from an Aggressor

During every self defense class we emphasize that our primary goal is not to teach you how "win a fight" but to get you home safe.  One way to preserve your safety is to maintain distance from your assailant.

Why do we want distance?  There are many reasons an assailant is more dangerous in close quarters:

  1. Less reaction time: If he is close he can reach you more quickly, perhaps before you can react or even know he attacking. 
  2. Limited visibility: The closer he is the less visible his various weapons.  Imagine someone standing directly in front of you, his face 8 inches away. Can you see is hands, elbows, knees, him reaching in his pocket for a.....?
  3. Spatial Awareness: It is more difficult to find exits, scan for other threats etc... when you have to focus on someone who is very near, perhaps touching...
  4. More ways to hurt you:  From a certain distance, for example, the attacker must kick or use an object such as a baseball bat to reach you.  As he approaches, however, he can use knees, fists, sharp objects, elbows, head butts, biting...  In short, has more tools/options at his disposal.
Of course, it is not always possible to maintain distance.  The attacker might be very aggressive, he might surprise you, or you might be in a small space - e.g elevator.

There are times, therefore, when you have to create distance.  This is the topic of a "soon to released" blog.


Stay safe,

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor and Owner
International Krav Maga Federation(IKMF), Toronto
416-657-1028

Ikmftoronto.com



Monday, September 10, 2012

6 Potential Signs Your Child is Being Bullied

Parent often identify bullying as the primary reason they enroll their children in self defense classes.  In some cases, bullying is obvious.  Your child or school officials might simply tell you what is happening.  Other times, perhaps due to shame or fear, children do not disclose.  This is where your observation skills enter into the picture.

Here are 6 potential signs your child is being bullied.
  1. Do not want to go on the school bus.
  2. Have their property go missing.
  3. Experience illness in the morning.
  4. They are frightened to walk to and from school.
  5. Are hungry after school (perhaps lunch is being stolen).
  6. Decline in school grades.
Of course, these could signify problems other than bullying.  Establish and maintain an open dialogue with your child and school officials.  Ask questions and above all, listen.


Stay safe,


Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor and Owner
International Krav Maga Federation(IKMF), Toronto
416-657-1028

Ikmftoronto.com

Monday, September 3, 2012

Self Defense Workshop for Women (Sept. 23)






Self Defense for Women: Practical Self Defense


Wuxing Martial Arts, 374 Dupont St. 2nd Floor
Sunday September 23rd, 12-2pm(followed by a 30 minute Question and Answer session).
$50/person($40 if your register by September 21th)

Group rates:

4-10 participants: ($35/person)
10+ participants:  (30/person)
20+ participants ($20/person)


Topics include:
  • avoiding and preventing
  • using your voice
  • escaping grabs
  • striking for self defense
  • using common objects for self defense

"I was nervous about taking the women's self-defense course at first, but Christopher put me to ease with his friendly nature and encouragement. Through his classes, I learned a lot in a short amount of time."
Erika Bachman, Tutor, Tutor Doctor







For more information contact:

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga Federation
torontokrav@rogers.com
416-657-1028

Ikmftoronto.com

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Body Language: 6 Signs of Aggression

If language was given to men to conceal their thoughts, then gesture's purpose was to disclose them.
    - John Napier (1550-1616), Hands 


As we emphasize during our self defense classes, assailants often won't announce their intentions, preferring the advantage of surprise.  Some situations, however, can be anticipated.  One way to anticipate a potential assault is by understanding body language - how a person's body expresses aggression.

So imagine someone looking at you.  Perhaps they are across a room, approaching you, or very close.  Maybe they are saying something to you or are staying silent.

Whatever the situation, observe their body language.

Do they display any of these 6 signs of aggression?

  1. Clenched hand(s) 
  2. Rapid gestures.
  3. Body shakes
  4. Clenched teeth/jaws/pursed lips/ a taut neck
  5. Eyes squinting, staring, glaring as if they are challenging you or "sizing you up".
  6. A visible and sudden change in the their breathing.  

Of course, these indicators do not guarantee an impending assault.  They should, however, alert you to the possibility.  Leave the scene if you can.  Look for escape routes.  Alert a friend...

In other words, be prepared. 


Stay safe,


Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor and Owner
International Krav Maga Federation(IKMF), Toronto
416-657-1028

Ikmftoronto.com



Thursday, August 23, 2012

Awareness and Prevention: 6 Habits to Develop



In August of 2012, in the east end of Toronto, a man approached a woman from behind, put a knife to her throat, and dragged her into a nearby wooded area and assaulted her.  She survived but is left to deal with the trauma of this horrible event.

This event brings up many issues.  One of them is awareness.  While it is not always possible to prevent an assault, developing greater awareness will better your chances.

 Here are some basic "awareness-enhancing" habits that you can blend into your daily routines.

  1. Don't Impair Your Senses.  Texting, earphones etc... impair your sight and hearing, limiting your ability to sense potential dangers.  
  2. Look Around.  Besides developing a sense of your surroundings you are communicating to a potential assailant that you will not be easy to surprise.  Scan everywhere, especially behind you.
  3. Scan for exits. If you need to flee the scene it saves time if you know where to go. 
  4. Hiding spots.  Around the corner of a building, between vehicles, behind some trees...?  If someone wanted to surprise you where would they hide?
  5. Scan for Common Objects.  Are there common objects on your person (coins, keys) or in the area (chair, cups...) that you can use to defend yourself?
  6. How to get help?  A police station, pressing the yellow strip on the Toronto subway, bystanders, 911...  Be aware of who can help and how to reach them.

You don't have to walk with your head on a swivel but being aware of your surroundings is vital to prevention - the best self defense.

These practices won't come naturally at first but if you begin including them in your routines they will become useful and potentially life saving habits.


Stay safe,


Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor and Owner
International Krav Maga Federation(IKMF), Toronto
416-657-1028

Ikmftoronto.com






Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Self Defense and Workplace Wellness

Increasingly, organizations in the Greater Toronto Area(GTA) are implementing workplace wellness programs.  Besides, enriching the lives of employees, these initiatives can improve production, and workplace morale.  All contributing factors to organizational success.

Including self defense training in your wellness program provides employees with an greater sense of security and well being.  Such programs can include:

  • Awareness training: Learn to assess your environment/situation.  
  • Assault education: How do real assaults happen?
  • Verbal techniques: Using your voice to call for help, defusing situations....
  • Travel safety: Tips for those who travel domestically and abroad.
  • Parking lot safety
  • Escaping: Identifying and accessing escape routes
  • Public transit safety
  • Escaping grabs, abduction attempts
  • Defending against unarmed and armed attacks
  • Self defense for fitness.


Of course, training must meet the particular needs of each organization.  Ask for a free consultation.  Including practical self defense training into your wellness program can enhance self confidence, awareness, and even save lives.


Stay safe,


Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor and Owner
International Krav Maga Federation(IKMF), Toronto
416-657-1028

Ikmftoronto.com


Friday, August 17, 2012

6 Ways to Use Your Voice to Protect Yourself

Self defense classes instructors devote many hours teaching you to strike properly, deflect, block, escape...  Such exercises help you to understand how to use you body to protect yourself.  Training should also develop your mental skills - identifying and assessing danger, adapting to various situations......

One aspect of self defense that is often overlooked is your voice.

Teachers, coaches, presenters, actors and other professionals know that effective use voice to is essential to reaching their audience.

Voice is also an important tool to reach another audience - the assailant(s).  Here are 5 ways to use your voice to protect yourself.

  1. Stay Away!  Tell a person directly and firmly that their actions are not welcome.
  2. Help  Using your voice to call for help.  Be prepared. Help might not be forthcoming so you might have to defend yourself - physically.
  3. Alarm Bells  Assailants usually don't want attention drawn to them.  Too bad. Yell!
  4. Calming.  Use a steady voice to calm someone (after you mistakenly cut in front of them in a Starbucks lineup, or are the brunt of their road rage).
  5. Alerting Help.  If you sense danger or suspicious behaviour alert someone - a police officer, transit employee, security guard....
  6. Inflicting Pain  At close range(e.g. a bear hug) a scream can be painful for the attacker.

Of course, some very determined attackers won't be deterred by voice alone. This is where your other skills are needed.   Using your use can be an effective tool to send a strong message to stay away, calmly resolve a conflict, or attract help. 

Not all of these techniques come naturally so they should be included in your training.


Stay safe,


Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor and Owner
International Krav Maga Federation(IKMF), Toronto
416-657-1028






Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Developing a "feel" for self-defense: Surprise Assaults

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

On August 16th, 2012, a woman in the east end of Toronto was assaulted.  The attacker grabbed her from behind in a headlock and threw her to the ground.  Similar assaults have occurred in the Bloor/Christie area (see article).  http://soc.li/WrwbY6P


These horrible incidents reinforce the fact that we don't always "see it coming".  We advocate prevention strategies but assailants can be cunning and we are often distracted.  You might "feel" an attack before you see or hear it.  Some examples:
  • headlocks and chokes
  • bearhugs
  • strikes from different angles
  • knife threats and attacks 
  • being pushed into a wall, door.....

How do you train for such situations?  One way is for students to develop a feel for various attacks. This is done in a safe manner, and especially for beginners, do not match the intensity of real life situations.  So, for example, a student approaches you (sometimes your eyes will be closed) and controls your wrist, or grabs you in a bear hug.....)
   
Daunting?  Yes.  A sometimes uncomfortable way to become acquainted with other students? Yes. 

But such exercises help you to identify the nature of the assault by "feel".  With continued practice you develop the ability to identify the problem and act in an effective way.   In a surprisingly short period of time you improve your reaction time - your responses become reflexive.  

In situations where you are caught by surprise your ability to quickly identify and respond effectively to an assault can save your life.  Learning to "feel" an attack might be awkward but it is a necessary part of any effective self defense training.

Stay safe,


Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor and Owner
International Krav Maga Federation(IKMF), Toronto
416-657-1028









Thursday, August 9, 2012

What is Practical Self Defense? 5 Elements



When I ask people why they come to us for self-defense training (and why they stay) they usually answer: “Its practical.” Of course, we love this answer because our goal is to provide practical self-defense training.  But what is practical self-defense? The long answer can fill many pages of many books.  In the meantime, here are 5 elements of practical self- defense.


  1. Realistic scenarios  You need to understand how assailants behave.  They attack when you are not ready, from different directions, and in ways that are far from sportsmanlike.  To adequately defend, you must understand real assaults.
  2. Adaptability  We don’t choose where or when an assault occurs.  It can be while you are  walking, standing, sitting, inside/outside, on a subway, in our homes, in a public gathering… Anywhere. Anytime. Practical training includes various scenarios in various contexts.  
  3. Stress  No matter how well trained you are an assault will induce stress or even terror. You must learn to function under stress.  
  4. Simple  Under stress our motor skills suffer. Techniques need to be simple and grow from our natural reactions.  Not all of us can move like Jet Li or possess the strength of a 200lb competitive fighter.  Practical training accounts for various ages, fitness levels, sizes etc…..
  5. Does it actually work?  Complex defenses can work against a compliant attacker in a studio.  Sad news.  In real life, assailants are anything but cooperative.  They recoil their punches, hit repeatedly, and yes, they fight back! 
 
In essence, practical self-defense must educate you about real life assaults and what you can do to get home safe.

What does practical self defense mean to you?  


Stay safe,

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor and Owner
International Krav Maga Federation(IKMF), Toronto
416-657-1028









Thursday, August 2, 2012

Fitness instructor and blogger Michelle Ngo tries Krav Maga

This summer, Michelle Ngo, Toronto fitness instructor and avid blogger, visited us and tried some classes. She was an enthusiastic and talented student.

Here is what she had to say. 


http://borrowedlegs.com/international-krav-maga-federation/

Defending Against Distractions



     Let's face it.  Overall, our spatial awareness is horrible.  There is an increasing number of accidents involving people who are distracted - often by mobile devices such as iphones, cell phones, and ipads.   When I walk busy areas in Toronto - Dundas Square, Yonge St., Bloor St. - I find myself evading approaching pedestrians, their heads down, oblivious to me and all others. Great self defense training but irritating and potentially dangerous.

     From a self defense point of view this trend is disturbing.  For an aspiring assailant it is an opportunity.  Allow me an analogy.  In essence, a stalking predator in the wild (e.g lion, leopard) strives to avoid the prey's sensory alarms:
  • walking quietly (hearing)
  • approaching from behind or the side, under cover of grass, trees etc.... (sight)
  • approaching from downwind (smell)
     Predators also create or wait for an opportunity when the prey is distracted and has limited escape routes.  A example is a wildebeest grazing or drinking at a waterhole.  When the predator gets into striking distance they do so with great force and speed.  

     Human assailants, at least the cunning ones, approach victims in similar ways, from surprise directions, walking quietly, and striking quickly.   A distracted person person simply makes their job easier.
  • headphones and cell phone conversations reduce or eliminate your ability to hear footsteps, or warning calls
  • texting compromises your vision, severely reducing your ability to perceive potential and real dangers (if people are walking off subway platforms they won't see a punch or grab from any angle)
  • all of these activities severely reduce you spatial awareness - e.g. finding the nearest exit

     I certainly don't recommend you walk with your head on a swivel.  Nor do I expect this article to lead to a widespread reduction in the irresponsible use of communication devices.  What I do ask, however, is that you strive to reduce the advantages and opportunities that your distractions offer potential assailants.

Awareness and prevention.  Two cornerstones of practical self defense. 

 P.S. Don't read this blog while walking, biking, driving, or climbing a ladder!


Stay safe,

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor and Owner
International Krav Maga Federation(IKMF), Toronto
416-657-1028


Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Self defense in the palm of your hand

  
Punches are among the fundamental tools of self- defense.  An adequate toolbox, however, includes various tools to solve different problems.  If you haven’t already, add the palm heel strike to your skill set.  


What is a palm heel strike?
The body mechanics of a palm heel strike are the same as a punch.  Fast recoil, body rotation, elbows in….all apply to palm strikes as they do punches.   The difference is in the striking surface you are using – the palm rather than the first two knuckles.

When/why do we use palm strikes?
  • You are striking a hard surface – e.g. the side or top of an attacker’s head
  • You cannot make a fist due to a sprained or broken finger(s)
  • A cut/laceration prevents you from making a fist.
  • Long nails (real of fake) can hinder “fist making”.
  • You simply prefer palm strikes to punches. 
  • You don’t have confidence in your hand strength or punching technique. 
 
For those of you who come from a boxing background (for example) palm strikes can feel awkward.  There are times, however, when the palm strike is the preferred or the necessary choice. 



Stay safe,

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor and Owner
International Krav Maga Federation(IKMF), Toronto
416-657-1028

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Workshop: Self Defense for Women -Aug 26th





Self Defense for Women: Practical Self Defense

Wuxing Martial Arts, 374 Dupont St. 2nd Floor
Sunday August 26th, 12-2pm
$50/person

Group rates:

4-10 participants: ($35/person)
10+ participants:  (30/person)
20+ participants ($20/person)


Topics include:
  • avoiding and preventing
  • using your voice
  • escaping grabs
  • striking for self defense
  • using common objects for self defense

"I was nervous about taking the women's self-defense course at first, but Christopher put me to ease with his friendly nature and encouragement. Through his classes, I learned a lot in a short amount of time."
Erika Bachman, Tutor, Tutor Doctor







For more information contact:

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor
torontokrav@rogers.com
416-657-1028