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Monday, December 30, 2013

Self Defense Training: Identifying and Extending Your Limitations

Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them.
Albert Einstein
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/limits.html#BuKKeCbE4iQLKvfA.99
Once we accept our limits we go beyond them.  Albert Einstein


Self Defense training will highlight your abilities and limitations- physically, mentally, and emotionally. You will feel inspired as you learn life saving skills but frustrated when you struggle with certain techniques and exercises. Through these experiences you become more capable of protecting yourself. 

Here are some general examples of how Krav Maga training highlights your abilities and limitations.

Fitness. Training will improve your cardiovascular conditioning, strength, and flexibility. If you stay away from donuts and beer (or in moderation) you will also lose body fat.  In the process of training you will also meet your limits.  Even the fittest struggle through  Burpee jumps, chin-ups etc... 

Confidence.  Learning techniques is certainly confidence building. There will be times, however, when you struggle with a technique/exercise, or your test results are not what you hoped for. Unsettling?  Yes.  All students (and yes, instructors) will experience an ebb and flow in confidence.  It is part of your growth.

Comprehension. Krav Maga is a relatively simple self defense system but some techniques involve more detail.  When you have those epiphanies or “a-ha moments” it is encouraging.  There are times, however, when you will hit a mental roadblock.  For the longest time I couldn’t wrap my head around wrist releases.  Practice, practice, and ask questions. 

Decision-making:  Besides the challenge of learning specific techniques you learn when and how to use them.  Through various exercises you make better decisions in a shorter time.  Multiple attacker scenarios, for instance,  require quick and concise decisions and we all make mistakes.  The key is to practice and to minimize these mistakes as every correct decision can save your life. 

Focus on yourself.  There is always someone who is stronger, faster, younger, bigger, more experienced etc....  Focus on your abilities and limitations.  You will get frustrated but with consistent effort and informed guidance you will improve, enjoy your training, and learn life saving skills. 

Be safe, 

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto
416-657-1028
Ikmftoronto.com


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Self Defense in Public and the “Diffusion of Responsibility”



Generally, we have a greater sense of security in groups.  Whether we are walking through a shopping mall, traveling on the subway, or sitting a movie theatre, we often relax, taking comfort in the “safety in numbers.”    There are many witnesses (most own camera phones) to deter criminals from initiating an assault.  If an assault occurs someone will intervene or get help. 

Can we rely on these assumptions?  A closer look at assault cases suggest that the presence of others does not necessarily deter or guarantee assistance.  

In his bestselling book, The Tipping Point, Malcolm Galdwell refers to the 1964 tragedy of Kitty Genovese who was chased, stabbed, and ultimately murdered in New York City.   Adding to this tragedy was the fact that none of the 38 witnesses attempted to help or even call for help. Various explanations have been given for this lack of response including the anonymity of urban life.  Galdwell suggests another explanation - the diffusion of responsibility.   “When people are in a group, he writes, “responsibility for acting is diffused.” In other words, in group settings we tend to feel less compelled to respond as others present can (and hopefully do) take action. 

We don't have to go back to 1964 and Kitty Genovese for such examples.  In April 2010, on the subway near Chester station in Toronto, two young men assaulted and robbed a 79 year old man in front of 20 to 30 passengers.  None of the other passengers helped nor was their evidence that anyone utilized the subway’s emergency alarm.  

 Various other factors were likely at play including fear, or what one might call an urban apathy - the same that evokes  frustration rather than empathy when accidents or illness cause commuter or traffic delays.  Moreover, violence and how to respond to violence, is not familiar to many Canadians.  This being said, I cannot help but think many of those passengers were waiting for someone else to intervene.

I do not write this to promote cynicism but to remind you that crowds might deter or intervene but not always. 


Be safe, 

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto
416-657-1028
Ikmftoronto.com


Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference.  Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 2002.

http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Shopping_g379-Shopping_Mall_In_Singapore_p149987.html

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Self Defense and Subways




Subways are public places but assaults still occur as people travel to work, home etc...  Some examples:
  • In April 2013, as a subway approached Davisville station a man was stabbed in the throat. 
  • April 2010, 2 men held down and mugged a 79 year old man on the subway near Chester station.  There were 20 to 30 passengers on the subway.  No one helped.
Surviving a subway assault requires you to be aware and to understand the particular challenges of this environment.

Here are some points to consider.
  1. Public place = safe place?  Sadly, no. Subways are a public place but as the above examples remind us, assaults still occur.  Be aware of who is on the subway and be mindful of their verbal and body language.  
  2. Confined space.  A subway is a confined space meaning escape options are severely limited.  Accordingly, you might be forced to stay and fight. 
  3. Limited space. Subway aisles don't offer a lot of room to move. This is exacerbated during busy travel times.  Flying spin kicks will have to be rejected in favour of short range striking tools (knees, elbows, etc..),, and grappling.  You must also be aware of obstacles such as seats, poles, suitcases, walls... 
  4. Getting Help.  Be aware of the presence of security personnel so you can ask for their help.  Subways also have emergency notification systems.  Be aware of where they are and how to use them.  Don't assume bystanders will intervene.  
  5. Defending From a Sitting Position.  There is good chance you will be sitting when an assault takes place putting you at a disadvantage.  If you are involved in self defense training ask your instructor for tips and to include such scenarios in your training. 

Subways are generally a safe way to travel.  Be aware and if you are involved in self defense training ask your instructor to help you prepare for potential assaults. 


Stay Safe,

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto
416-657-1028
Ikmftoronto.com



Image courtesy of Matt Banks at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Gift Certificates - Self Defense Classes - 6 classes and 12 classes....


to purchase online go to: http://www.ikmftoronto.com/prices.php 
 

The Unpredictable Nature of Assaults: An Overview

There are instances when we can sense an impending threat.  Escalating abuse in relationships of various kinds, for instance, give us many indicators - if we choose to acknowledge them.  Sometimes, a "predicable assault" offers mere seconds to avoid, escape, or try to calm a situation (e.g. road rage).

Assaults, however, are generally unpredictable.  We simply don't see them coming. 

Here are 4 aspects of the unpredictable nature of assaults.


When?  Crimes happen at night when darkness helps to conceal.  Many assaults, however, occur during daylight hours including early mornings. Last year, for instance, a man posing as a sales person entered a Toronto home at around 9am and assaulted two women.  Likely, he reasoned that people are less guarded during the day.  If he knocked on their door at 9pm would they have let him in?

Where? Some people might assume that assaults happen only in "rough neighbourhoods"or in areas where an assailant can isolate an individual - walking paths, quiet side streets, underground parking lots etc....   Assaults, however, can occur anywhere including very public places such as subways, malls, bars, busy streets....
    
Who?  The assailant stereotype is that of an unkempt wild eyed man, yelling...  History tells us that assailants can be well groomed, hail from various backgrounds, and be very presentable and charismatic. 

Why?  “Motive” is often discernible, particular after an assault has taken place - a jealous partner, a stalker, someone with a personal vendetta.........   Motive is often less visible beforehand and in many cases there is no premeditation - acts of rage, crimes of opportunity...etc. You might simply be a random target.  
 

Prevention is sometimes possible if we are aware and the assailant offers visible signs of aggressive intent.  In most of these cases our decision-making window is small.   Self defense training must prepare you for situations that defy our traditional notions of how assaults take place and to prepare you for the unexpected.  

Stay Safe,

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto
416-657-1028
Ikmftoronto.com



Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Knife Threats: Cooperate or Fight? 7 Factors to Consider.


When you are confronted with someone threatening you with a knife there is a vital choice before you. Do you cooperate or do you fight?

There are innumerable variables at play and every situation is unique.  Generally speaking,  avoidance is the best self defense.  Escape is the next best option.  We also warn of the dangers of trying disarm someone with an edged weapon.  Sometimes, unfortunately, these options are not available. 

Here are some general factors to consider when threatened by a knife-wielding assailant.
  1. Theft. He wants your watch, iPhone (I almost said Walkman!), cash...? Give it to him. You don't want to risk getting stabbed for an object.
  2. Distance.   Is he far away demanding your wallet or purse? Give it to him.  Did he sneak up to you and place the knife against your body? Here, escape might be more difficult.  You might have to act quickly as even the slightest move of his hand can lead to serious injury or death.
  3. Escape Routes? Are you in a parking lot with numerous escape routes or trapped in an elevator?  It is safer if you get to an exit without engaging too much with the attacker.  If you are in an elevator and he wants more than property you might have to disable and disarm the attacker.
  4. Are You Alone?  If an assailant threatens you when you are with with a friend or family member you obviously have more than yourself to consider. If you are walking with your kids, for example, techniques that involve striking then quickly escaping will likely not work. 
  5. Is He Alone?  One assailant is challenging enough.  Multiple attackers makes the situation more dangerous. 
  6. Abduction? If he wants to bring you somewhere more private don't go!  History tells us that "leaving the first scene" usually has a tragic ending. 
  7. Intuition.  Sometimes we have a "gut feeling".  Listen to your intuition. Can you appease him and get home safe or will you have to fight for your life?
Self-defense training must prepare you for as many situations as possible.  Besides learning and refining effective techniques, you must learn to make decisions - quick decisions - appropriate for the situation.  Such training teaches you to adapt and can save your life.
Here are some examples of IKMF Expert/Global Instructor, Tamir Gilad teaching knife defenses in a public setting...





Stay Safe,

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto
416-657-1028
Ikmftoronto.com

Friday, November 8, 2013

December Workshops - Dec.9(Surviving Gun Threats), Dec.11 (Defending in Public Places), Dec. 13 (Law Enforcement/Security)

Marcus Torgenson, Expert 2, will be visiting Toronto December 9th to 13th to offer 3 workshops. (see poster below).  Marcus is an excellent Krav Maga instructor with extensive knowledge and a genuine will to help people protect themselves and "walk in peace."

For questions or to register please feel free to contact me at 416-657-1028 or torontokrav@rogers.com

To register online visit: http://www.ikmftoronto.com/prices.php

Registration deadline for all workshops is Friday December 6th! 

Stay safe,

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor
IKMF Toronto





Thursday, November 7, 2013

Edged Weapon Threats: What Does He Want?



Threats with knives or other edged weapons such as bottles, screwdrivers, utility knives, are relatively common because such objects are readily available and easy to carry and conceal. 
 
For the assailant, the edged object is used to intimidate someone to agree with their demands.  “Do what I tell you to do or........!”  From a practical standpoint it is easier and more effective to hold a knife to a person than to use simple brute force. 

What does the assailant want?  Here are 3 general possibilities. 

  1. Property (money, I phones, vehicles, wallet, jewelry....).  “Give me your wallet!
  2. Sexual Assault: The edged weapon is used to gain your cooperation.  “Take off your clothes or I will cut you!”  Intimidation might allow him to forgo using physical force.  
  3. Abduction:  Taking you to another location.  “If you don’t get in the van I am going to kill you!”  It is easier to display a weapon than to carry a struggling person to a second location.
Of course these goals are not mutually exclusive.  An assailant, for instance, might successfully rob you and then decide he wants more.  An abduction can lead to sexual/physical assault and theft.  Threats can easily become attacks if the assailant decides you are not agreeable, is enraged, doesn’t want witnesses, or simply wants to inflict pain.

Understanding what the assailant is seeking plays a very important role in how you defend yourself.  If you can appease him by giving him some money please do so.  If, on the other hand, he is trying to take you to a more private location you must fight. 

To cooperate or to fight?  This is the topic of our next blog.  Knife Threats: Cooperation or Action?

 
Stay Safe,

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto
416-657-1028
Ikmftoronto.com




Monday, October 28, 2013

Workshop: Introduction to Surviving Knife Threats - November 24th

                                                 










Assailants will often use a weapon to solicit compliance - theft, sexual assault, abduction....   Knives, being readily available, is a frequent weapon choice.

Topics include:
  • What does he want?
  • Assessing the danger - when to comply when to act.
  • Defending Against Threat and escaping
  • Defending in small spaces
  • Defending from a sitting position
  • Introduction to Disarming.
 
No self defense experience necessary.  Beginners welcome. Techniques are easily to learn and easy to perform. 

International Krav Maga Federation, Toronto
2156 Yonge St. Lower Level
Sunday November 24th, 2-5pm
$50/person
$80/2 people


To register online please visit: http://www.ikmftoronto.com/prices.php

In the meantime, here are some articles about knife threats.
http://ikmfto.blogspot.ca/2013/11/edged-weapon-threats-what-does-he-want.html
http://ikmfto.blogspot.ca/2013/11/knife-threats-cooperate-or-fight-7.html
 
Please feel free to contact me with any questions. 

Best,


Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto
416-657-1028
Ikmftoronto.com

Defending on the Ground Workshop - November 10th

        
     




Many self defense situations end up on the ground. You might fall and an attacker might try to kick or punch, or try to control you through holds etc...

On November 10th we are offering a workshop focusing on giving you the skills to survive these situations. 

Topics covered include:
  • Escaping chokes and holds on the ground
  • Getting up from the ground safely
  • Defending against strikes
  • Escaping to safe places

No self defense experience necessary.  Techniques are easily to learn and easy to perform. 

International Krav Maga Federation,  Toronto
2156 Yonge St. Lower Level
Sunday November 10, 2-5pm
$50/person
$80/2 people

To register online please visit: http://www.ikmftoronto.com/prices.php

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto
416-657-1028
Ikmftoronto.com


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Defending on “the Ground”: 5 General Points


Many self-defense situations occur on the ground.  You can be knocked down, pushed, or dragged from a standing or sitting position.  You can fall on the unstable or slippery ground.  On the ground, an attacker (attackers) can kick, punch, stab, choke, hold, control.....

 It is a very dangerous place to be.

Here are 5 general thoughts about defending on the ground.
  1. Don’t Go There(if possible)!  It is not always possible but try to avoid going to the ground.  Why? See points below.
  2. The Fall.  If you don’t know how to fall, or can’t because you have been stunned(punch, blunt object), falling can lead to various problems, including head injuries, sprained or broken limbs etc...  Self-defense training must teach students how to fall - break-falls, rolls....
  3. Visibility/Lack of. Being on the ground severely limits your ability to assess your surroundings.  Your vision is especially impaired if the attacker is on top of you.  
  4. Size, Strength. Size and strength are always factors but they especially come into play on the ground.  Throwing off an attacker who outweighs you by 60lbs is no easy feat. 
  5. No rules. No referee.  Taking down an adversary during a competitive fight (MMA, judo, wrestling etc...) requires refined skills and can be tactically effective.  In real life, however, you might have to contend with harsh surfaces (gravel, cement), multiple attackers who can kick, punch, or stab you while you are grappling, and assailants doing things you can't do during a competitive fight - using a weapon, biting, eye gouging......
  6. Getting Up/Escaping. Gaining distance from an assailant and escaping to a safe place is obviously more difficult from the ground.  Accordingly, self-defense training must include getting up from the ground in effective and safe ways (also a great workout!).

Avoid going to the ground if possible.  This being said, you must devote significant time to training on the ground - just in case!


Stay Safe,

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto
416-657-1028
Ikmftoronto.com

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Women's Self Defense Workshop - Oct. 27th

Violence against women is a horrible reality that we must confront in various ways.  Education, for example, can challenge some of the archaic thinking and practices that contribute to such violence. 

Another way to prepare for the reality of violence is through self defense training - training the fosters awareness, promotes prevention, and develops the skills to survive when prevention is not possible. 

This workshop offer an introduction to self defense focusing on developing your awareness as well as your ability to escape and survive violent assaults.  All fitness levels are welcome.  Ages 16 and up. 

See poster below for details.  To register online visit:
http://www.ikmftoronto.com/prices.php





Thursday, October 10, 2013

Functional Fitness: 4 Fitness Benefits of Krav Maga Self-Defense Training




As self defense instructors, our raisin d'ĂȘtre is to give you practical skills to save your life.  This being said, there are other benefits to Krav Maga training.  Once of these benefits is fitness, something I like to call functional fitness.

What is functional fitness?  Essentially it is fitness that improves your capacity to protect yourself.  You will lose body fat and improve muscle tone but we are not preparing you for beach season or photo shoots but rather for real life assaults. 


So what does this involve?  Here are 4 elements of functional fitness.

  1. Improved Cardio: Training prepares you for intense situations that challenge your cardio.  Striking, releasing holds, blocking, deflecting, running... are all exhausting! 
  2. Less Body Fat/More Muscle Tone.  We don't take measurements but students lose weight (unless training induces irresistible donut cravings).  High intensity workouts utilize all muscles and burn fat.  
  3. Flexibility: Training involves stretching as flexibility improves your performance and prevents injury that could occur from a sudden attack.  
  4. Coordination: Krav Maga offers simple techniques but your motor skills improve significantly as you learn to use your body to defend yourself from various distances, angles, heights, directions.....

Every exercise we do is aimed at improving your ability to protect yourself.  Better physical health and self esteem are added benefits.  


Stay Safe,

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto
416-657-1028
Ikmftoronto.com

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Understanding the Attacker. 4 General Ways an Attacker Will Approach You.


There are various ways an assailant will approach you from overtly aggressive to subtle and deceptive.  You should be aware of these various tactics.  

Here are 4:

Ambush: You don't see him coming. He grabs you from the side or even behind you when your guard is down.  Initially, you have no idea what he looks like or what is happening.

Intimidation. No holds barred charge, attack, verbal threats.  Nothing subtle here.  By design or not, his actions often lead you to panic, to freeze. 

Charm. "How are you? It's raining your hair will be a mess.  Get in. I'll give you a ride."  Well dressed, well groomed.  Well intentioned?  You don't know.

Deception.  "Please, I have a flat can you give me a hand?:  "Hi I am selling... Would you mind if I came in and told you about our special deals?" "There was an accident. I'm late for work.  I have to use your phone or I'll get fired."  Students have told us about people feigning car trouble to lure them or someone they know to an isolated area.  We all want to help but be mindful. 

A survey of assaults in Toronto and globally offer innumerable examples of such tactics.  Without becoming utterly cynical consider these various approaches and how best to respond (sounds like a future blog topic!).


Stay Safe,


Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto
416-657-1028
Ikmftoronto.com

Thursday, September 19, 2013

October 5th Workshop: Intro to Surviving Close Range Knife Assaults


Recent events, including a 76 yr old women having part of her nose severed in an elevator and a fireman tragicly being fatally stabbed, have highlighted the extreme danger of knife assaults. 

For more information on these incidents visit: 
http://ca.news.yahoo.com/markham-ont-firefighter-dies-unprovoked-caf-attack-123648306.html
and http://cbc.sh/Imz3MWi

This workshop will introduce you to the problem of knife assaults in close quarters. Topics include:
  • understanding how people attack
  • defending from different angles
  • defending from different positions - standing, sitting, on ground, walking
  • surviving when you have an escape route and when you don’t (e.g. elevator)
 Beginners welcome!
**See poster below for details.  To register online go to:
 http://www.ikmftoronto.com/prices.php




Thursday, September 12, 2013

5 Tips for Defending Yourself in Small Spaces

 


Our previous blog outlined the general reasons some attackers prefer small spaces such as elevators, bathrooms, etc...
http://ikmfto.blogspot.ca/2013/09/understanding-attacker-3-general.html
 

Besides understanding assailant tactics, we now have to address the question: "What can do we do to avoid/survive assault in a small spaces?
 

Here are 5 tips.
 

1. Trust your instincts/logic.  If you feel that entering/remaining in a small space is potentially dangerous then respect this.  If, for example, you are about to enter an elevator with one or more people you perceive as dangerous then don't get in.
 

2. Awareness. Small spaces don't allow for much reaction time. Be aware of who else is sharing the space and what they are doing. Please look up from your screen/phone.
 

3. Minimize burdens. Numerous shopping bags, backpacks, etc... hinder your ability to defend and escape.

4. Use Close Range Tools:  Elbows, knees, hooks, uppercuts, headbutts, biting…  Small spaces and leaping spinning back kicks do not mix well. 

5. Use Your Surroundings: In small spaces there is an increased danger of your head or another vulnerable body part being hit against something like a wall.  Better his head bouncing off a wall than yours. 

6. Aggression: Unfortunately, if you are attacked you are going to have to be very aggressive!  Any pretensions of civility go out the window when your survival is at stake.  


We advocate avoidance as the best self defense but assailants can be cunning and we are not always alert.  If you are training in a self defense school ask your instructor to devote class time to defending in small spaces.

Stay Safe,


Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto
416-657-1028
Ikmftoronto.com


Image courtesy of maya picture at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Understanding the Attacker: 3 General Reasons Assailants Choose Small Spaces





At around 2pm, on August 24th, a 76 year old woman was assaulted in an elevator at Dundas Square.

For details go to:http://cbc.sh/Imz3MWi



Besides highlighting the disturbing reality that assaults can happen anytime/anywhere(not only during late hours or in discrete locations) this horrible incident also points to the problem of defending in small spaces. 

 Some examples of small spaces include:

·      Elevators
·      Parking lots (close to a car)
·      Public or private bathrooms
·      Hallways
·      Home invasion
·      Public Transit (subway, streetcar, train)


Why Small spaces?

Here are 3 reasons an attacker will choose a small space.

  1. Discretion:  An elevator, even a public bathroom, is an opportune space for an attacker to isolate you.  An elevator in motion, for instance, does not allow for escape or access to help. 
  2. Control:  Small spaces allow him more control as it forces physical closeness and limits access to escape routes. 
  3. Limited Mobility/Reaction Time:  The attacker knows a smaller space means there is less room to move.  There is little or no chasing and your reaction time is severely reduced.   

Assaults in small spaces are particularly challenging due to limited mobility, escape routes, and access to help.  Our next blog will offer some tips on protecting yourself in such settings.

For more insights into assailant tactics go to:  
http://ikmfto.blogspot.ca/2013/02/understanding-attacker-assaults-and.html


Stay Safe,


Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto
416-657-1028
Ikmftoronto.com

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Self Defense Striking Tools: An Introduction

 
Striking techniques – punches, kicks, knees, elbows etc..., are used to defend yourself in various circumstances.  Over time, your training allows you to strike an assailant from various directions, distances, angles, and heights. 

Here is a list of 7 basic striking tools.  All of these, with the exception of knees, can be performed in all directions.  (Only Chuck Norris can knee backwards).

1. Kicks.  Kicks are generally long range tools used to strike when you want to maintain or create distance.  Your legs are more powerful (you are using your body’s most powerful muscles) and offer more reach than your arms.

2. Punches. Medium range strikes can be very effective.  Proper technique must be used to avoid breaking the many bones in the hand. 

3. Palm Heel Strikes.  Easy to perform as you don’t have to make a fist.  Palm strikes are also less likely to incur an injury to your hand.  Excellent if weak wrists or inexperience don’t guarantee proper punching technique.



4. Hammer Strikes.  Similar range of punches and palm strikes that allow you to diversify your direction and angle of attack (e.g. striking to the side, behind, down…).

5. Elbows.  Short range strikes.  Elbows are very versatile as you can strike various angles and directions. 

6. Knees.  Very powerful strikes!  Excellent close range tools, difficult to defend against as they are usually very difficult to see. 




7. Head butts.  Not everyone’s favourite but very effective.  There are times, for example, when our hands are confined and the attacker is very close.  Go for the nose!


There are more advanced strikes (finger strikes etc...) but this comprises a general overview.  Please feel free to offer your insights and questions. 



Stay Safe,


Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto
416-657-1028
Ikmftoronto.com

Monday, August 26, 2013

Oct. 6 Level Testing and September Test Preparations Sessions

On October 6 we will be offering Level Testing.

Testing Times
P1 and P2 - 10am to 1pm
P3, P4, P5 - 2 to 5pm

All testing will be held at International Krav Maga Federation, (IKMF), Toronto, 2156 Yonge St. 




 Here is an overview of what you need for testing:
http://ikmfto.blogspot.ca/2013/03/7-things-you-need-for-krav-maga-level.html


*please confirm that you will be testing by Tuesday September 10th (confirmation includes $50 testing fee and IKMF passport registration($40) or renewal($20)
(We are requesting early registration to have an accurate sense of numbers and because we have to purchase "testing kits" from the IKMF).)


Test Prep Dates (we can schedule more-by request)
$40/1 session*
$60 /2 sessions*
*(free for annual unlimited members)

P1 and P2
Saturday Sept 7, 3:30 to 5:30pm
Saturday 28, 3:30 to 5:30pm
  
P3-P5
Sunday Sept. 8th,  2-4pm           
Sunday September 29, 2-4pm

Friday, August 23, 2013

What is a Krav Maga Self-Defense Workshop?

 
Every month our Toronto Krav Maga school offers one or more specialized self defense workshops.  Essentially, these allow participants to delve into detail about a particular topic.  From between 2 hours to an entire day, you have the opportunity to focus on a particular problem.

What kind of self defense problems do we cover?
Essentially everything!  Over the past year, for example, we have covered(see posters below);
  • women’s self defense
  • blunt objects
  • armed attacks
  • defending from a sitting position,
  • defending close range attacks
  • ground defenses
  • escaping chokes and grabs
  • surviving gun threats… and more… 
Who can participate?
Workshops, unless, specified are open to beginners and advanced alike. 


Why do we offer workshops?
As mentioned above, workshops allow you to immerse in a particular topic.  For beginners it offers an overview of the topic.  Advanced students can refine their skills and often cover more advanced topics.  Such attention to detail is vital to progress and, possibly, to survival.

Where do we offer workshops?
We have monthly workshops at our Toronto studio and can also be offered in various locations in the Greater Toronto Area.  Workshops can be held in studios, gyms, backyards, parks, offices, parking lots.. - essentially anywhere. 

Here are some samples of recent workshops:






                        


If there is a self defense situation/theme that is of particular interest or concern then it is worth delving into it with attention to detail. 



Stay Safe,


Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto
416-657-1028
Ikmftoronto.com












Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Self Defense and Your Surroundings

Sometimes one can be so closely involved with things that the larger context is lost to view.
Brian Ferneyhough


One aspect that separates Krav Maga from many other self defense systems is its emphasis on context.

In real life situations, your primary concern is the imminent threat - usually an assailant.  This deserves focused attention as there are innumerable assaults-punches, kicks, grabs, chokes, stabs.  What is often overlooked, however, is the context in which these assaults occur.

Context might include location, people involved, space, and many other factors vital in determining how you must act to survive.

Here are 4 general contextual factors to consider.  
  1. Is the attacker alone?  During competitive fighting you can focus on one person – your opponent.  Unfortunately, outside of the ring there might be more than one attacker.  This will significantly influence how you protect yourself.  
  2. Are you alone?  Over the years, I have encountered comments such as, “If he has a knife just run stupid!”  It is good advice if you are alone and can access escape routes.  What if, however, you are with your partner, your kids, or both?  How you defend when protecting others is different from saving yourself. 
  3. Escape Routes.  Avoid and escape if possible.   Always be aware of escape routes.  Also, be aware if an escape route is not readily available (elevator, subway…).  Access to escape routes must play into your self-defense tactics.  On a sidewalk perhaps you can run.  Running in an elevator won't get you very far. 
  4. Size of Space.  How much room do you have? Defending yourself in an elevator can be very different than in a near empty parking lot.  Kicking in an elevator, for example, is a much more challenging feat than in a near empty parking lot. 

There are always more factors to consider but this offers an introduction to the topic.  One challenge, of course, is blending this appreciation of context into your self defense training.  We will address this challenge in future blogs and welcome any of your ideas. 


Stay Safe,


Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto
416-657-1028
Ikmftoronto.com

Monday, August 19, 2013

Abduction Prevention Workshop Saturday September 14th 2:30 to 4:30pm

Abductions are among the most frightening aspects of violent assaults.  It involves an assailant taking you (deception, intimidation, by force) to a more discreet location.

Here is an example of an abduction that occurred at the University of Toronto.  http://var.st/6qe

You do not want to comply! For more on this visit:
 http://ikmfto.blogspot.ca/2013/06/from-bad-to-worse-secondary-crime-scene.html


This workshop will focus on giving you the knowledge and skills to prevent such abductions.  Topics will include:
  • Preventing/Escaping grabs and holds that involve the assailants taking you to a secondary scene.
  • Surviving threats/intimidation (e.g. knife threat)
  • Accessing escape routes
  • Understanding assailant tactics
**See poster below for details.  To register online go to:
 http://www.ikmftoronto.com/prices.php






Thursday, August 15, 2013

Partner Training and Realism in Practice. The Vital Role of the Attacker!



As Krav Maga instructors we strive to educate students about how real assaults can take place. This includes:
  • Describing situations, e.g. when and how assaults take place. 
  • The psychology and tactics of the attacker – What is he trying to achieve? Why/How is he trying to do this? 
  • Simulating what assaults look, feel, and sound like.  
During partner training, students naturally focus on the defensive role.  After all, you are here to learn how to protect yourself not to attack others! What is often overlooked, however, is the important role of the training partner(s) playing the role of aggressor.  This role, and how you perform it, is vital to the development of your self-defense skills.  You are giving your partner opportunities refine the skills that can save their life while learning how assailants actually attack.

Here are (4) general ways you and your partner can improve as aggressors, and by extension, as defenders. 

Offer a Realistic Striking Distance.  Defenders need to understand distance.  If your kicks, punches, stabs, are more than 6 inches from the target then you are deceiving your partner.  There are many creative and safe ways to strike within close distance.

On Target Strikes.  Similarly, students often veer their strikes to the right or left, not giving their partner a sense of the actual trajectory of the punch, kick, stab, etc…  Aim for where a real attacker would strike.

Please Recoil!:  Punching, kicking, stabbing, without recoiling, does not make for a realistic scenario.  For beginners, we minimize recoil but as you progress you need to account for it. 

Pad Work and Kicking
Students, beginners and advanced, tend to stop when their partner is performing a defensive or side kick- kicks intended to stop the attacker's advance.  This habit can come from being timid or not wanting to bowl over the defender. Stopping, however, can give the defender an inflated sense of their kicking power.   A determined attacker, after all, is not going to stop dead in his tracks to accommodate you.  Talk with your instructor and your partner about how to offer a realistic approach while ensuring the safety of you and your partner. 

Skip the
Massage.  Choke Please
You can safely mimic (to a degree) a choke without cutting off air and/or blood flow. The point is to give your partner a sense of how a person would actually choke rather than tending to sore shoulder muscles. Relaxing? Maybe. Creepy? Probably. Helping your partner prepare for real life assaults? Nope.  Ask your instructor how to challenge your partner in a safe way.

Hang on Tight
Bear hugs, in real life are usually difficult to escape.  For beginners, of course, we take it easier.  As you progress, however, the holds need to be more resistant and more difficult. 

To better prepare you for real life situations we have to give you an accurate and realistic sense of how assaults occur. Playing the aggressor role during training exercises is not a passive one.  You need to present your fellow students with the opportunity to learn according to their ability and experience.  

 Of course, various safety measures must be in place at all times. 



Stay Safe,


Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto
416-657-1028
Ikmftoronto.com