Pages

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Striking Vulnerable Points to Overcome an Attacker.

     Krav Maga self defense involves striking (if necessary) in the most efficient and effective way possible.  This involves striking with the closest available tool - e.g. side elbow if threat is very close to your left or right).
      It is also important to strike a vulnerable part of the body to disable or distract an attacker - especially one larger and stronger than you. Punching a determined attacker in the chest, for example, might only slow him down.  Also, he might have so much rage and adrenaline that he barely notices and continues his assault.

     So, what are these vulnerable points?  Here is a short list: Eyes, Nose, Jaw, Chin, Throat, Groin, Thigh, Knees, Shin, Top of foot... Yes, there are more!

Here are some examples of defenses involving striking vulnerable points.
Choke defense with knee strike to groin

Eye gouge defending vs bear hug.















Choke defense with palm strike to chin









Bear hug: Elbow strikes to chin/jaw/temple


















Monday, December 15, 2014

Gift Certificate: 3 months unlimited classes ($350)

3 months unlimited classes for $350.




Contact us for details:

Christopher Gagne, Owner
416-657-1028 or torontokrav@rogers.com


Monday, December 8, 2014

Winter Camp with IKMF Expert 3, Jean-Paul Jauffret, Feb 19 to 22


In February, 2015, Expert 3, Jean Paul Jauffret is visiting Toronto to offer a winter camp that will include instructor and student training, and workshops. Jean Paul is considered one of the world's leading Krav Maga experts. Among his other credentials he is Instructor of Close Combat for the French Foreign Legion in Corsica.

See below for:
  1. Schedule of Events
  2. Pricing
  3. How to Register.

1.



2.



3.





Understanding Inside Defenses

Our most recent blog addressed Outside Defenses against strikes.  http://ikmfto.blogspot.ca/2014/11/understanding-outside-defenses.html

This article will focus on (surprise!)inside defenses.  Inside defenses involve redirecting strikes/grabs from an outside position to inside using your arms or legs.  Often, these are straight attacks such as straight stabs, punches, and kicks.  

Some examples:
  • Inside Defense vs straight punch
  • Inside Defense vs straight stab with knife (see pick below)
  • Inside leg deflection vs straight kick. (see video below)
Here are some visual examples:

Tamir Gilad performing inside defense vs straight stab


Jean Paul Jauffret: Inside Defense vs Front High Kick



Here is video demonstrating inside reflexive defense vs low straight kick.






Stay safe,


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









Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Understanding Outside Defenses

Krav Maga training includes various terms to help students understand techniques and tactics. Some topics, however, are inherently confusing.  One of these is differentiating between outside and inside defenses.  
 
Outside defenses involve your arms or legs moving outward away from the body to block or redirect an incoming strike/grab - armed or unarmed. 

Some examples:
  • 360 defenses
  • Defense Against Roundhouse Kick
  • Defense vs Knife Slash
  • Outside Defense vs Straight Punches
Here are some photos of outside defenses.  Our next article will focus on inside defenses.

360 vs ice pick attack from side
                                                      






360 defense vs ice pick from front
P2 diagonal/up (no.4) vs straight punch

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Oct. 25th Workshop: Surviving Knife Threats, 3-5pm



Assailants will use knives or other edged weapons to intimidate someone to comply with their demands: theft, abduction, sexual assault....

It is important to know how assailants use edged weapons as well as your options.

This workshop will focus on:
  • understanding how assailants use edged weapons
  • your realistic options
  • tactics and techniques to survive

This workshop is open to all levels - beginners welcome!

2156 Yonge St.
4-6pm
40/person
60/2 people

Registration deadline is Oct. 23rd. To register online go to: http://www.ikmftoronto.com/prices.php


Feel free to contact me with any questions.

 In the meantime, here is an article about surviving knife threats: http://ikmfto.blogspot.com/2013/11/knife-threats-cooperate-or-fight-7.html

Stay safe,


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



Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Live in safety: Explaining our vision

Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.” Jack Welch

Why did you begin your Krav Maga business?  This is a frequent question people ask us and the answer does involve a history of meetings (chance and arranged), decisions and important people.  In essence, however, there is a vision. 

Every business begins with a vision.  Initially, it might be vague, an impulse, but there is a sense of "what can be" and what you can do to make it real.  These visions vary from improving lives through technology to providing a unique restaurant experience.  Our vision inspires how we teach self defense:
We stand for for every one's inherent right to live in safety.  We aspire to keep our families and communities safer by helping men, women, and children (regardless of age and physical strength) learn practical life-saving self-defense.
Concise and straightforward, much like Krav Maga itself.  Our vision doesn't require much elaboration but it is worthwhile to highlight some points.

First, we want you to be safe.  Of course, there are professionals (police, security guards), and family or friends who can protect us but we would like you to have the skills and knowledge to protect yourself.  The first step is developing awareness.  We help you to recognize threats and to make safe choices.  Avoiding confrontation is the best self defense.

Secondly,  you might be physically fit or unfit, young or old, coordinated or not....  It doesn't matter.  Again, we believe you have an inherent right to be safe - regardless, for example, of your physical abilities.  Krav Maga is a simple system, based on the body's natural reflexes.  You don't need to be "athletic" to learn. We will patiently improve your technical proficiency.

Lastly, we offer a trustful training environment promoting a safety-first atmosphere.  You are trusting us to train you and we want you to experience this in a place of mutual respect, integrity, and camaraderie.


As we grow, it is this vision that keeps us grounded and focused on why we are here.


Stay safe,


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





Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Self Defense Training and the Flywheel


In his seminal book, Good to Great, Jim Collins explores how good companies become better great.

Though focused on business, Collins offers some lessons that can be applied to becoming a proficient Krav Maga practitioner.

One of these centers around the analogy of the flywheel.  Collins writes:

     Picture a huge, heavy flywheel - a massive metal disk mounted horizontally on an axle, about 30 feet in diameter, 2 feet thick, and weighing about 5,000 pounds.  Now imagine that your task is to get the flywheel rotating on the axle as fast and as long as possible.
     Pushing with great effort, you get the flywheel to inch forward, moving almost imperceptibly at first.  You keep pushing and, after two or three hours of persistent effort, you get the flywheel to complete one entire turn.  You keep pushing and, after two or three hours of persistent effort, you get the flywheel to complete one entire turn.
     You keep pushing, and the flywheel begins to move a bit faster, and with continued great effort, you move it around a second rotation.  You keep pushing in a consistent direction.  Three turns...eight...you keep pushing...the flywheel builds up speed...
      Then, at some point - breakthrough! The momentum of the thing kick in your favor, hurling the flywheel forward, turn after turn...whoosh!...its own heavy weight working for you...Each turn of the flywheel builds upon work done earlier compounding your investment of effort...
      Now, suppose someone came along and asked, "What was the one big push that caused this thing to go so fast?"
     You wouldn't be able to answer; it's just a nonsensical question.  Was it the first push? The second? The fifth.  The Hundredth? No!  It was all of them added together in the overall accumulation of effort applied in a consistent direction..... (165)

To me, this speaks not only to the evolution of a great business but also to other aspirations such as becoming a proficient Krav Maga practitioner. This person trains regularly and, in a steady manner learns, works, and improves. It isn't her near perfect Practitioner 3 test, or an epiphany during a workshop he attended last year. Rather, it is the accumulation of the weekly strikes, attention to technical detail, the questions, conditioning exercises, reflexive drills..... all of these focused activities lead to greater proficiency.
As the student gains momentum, she is able to perform defenses reflexively without pause. Movements that once felt awkward become comfortable. New situations and solutions are assessed more readily.  Of course, to improve he must continue to train.

Don't look for shortcuts.  It is the consistent, focused and effective efforts that lead to progress, and ultimately make you better able to protect yourself. 

Stay safe,


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



picture courtesy of Can Stock Photo Inc.

Jim Collins, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don't.  New York:               Harper Collins, 2001

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

September 27 Workshop: Defending in Close Quarters


Avoidance, we like to say, is the best self defense.  Sometimes, however, situations force us to be in physical contact with an aggressor. 

Consider the following scenarios:
  • An elevator
  • Home invasion
  • Leaving/entering your vehicle
  • On a subway/streetcar/bus
  • A small room (e.g. a public bathroom)
This workshop will offer tips on avoiding and escaping danger but will focus on what to do if these options are not available.

Topics include:
  • protecting your body
  • close range striking - elbow, knees....
  • how walls and other physical structures can hinder and benefit your safety
  • escaping holds/grabs

This workshop is open to ages 16 and up.  Beginners welcome!


International Krav Maga FederationToronto
2156 Yonge St. (1 block south of Eglinton)
Saturday September 27th, 3-5pm
40/person

To register online via Paypal or credit card visit: http://www.ikmftoronto.com/prices.php

For more information please contact:

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



Monday, August 11, 2014

Perseverance in Training

“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”
― Confucius, Confucius: The Analects

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”
― Confucius


To become proficient in anything requires sustained effort and focus.

It also involves working through various obstacles or challenges. Some examples:
  • Perhaps you are not as athletically gifted as some of the other students. 
  • You might have a busy life that only allows you to only train once a week.  
  • There are certain techniques that you are struggling to understand and perform. (I always had problems with wrist releases.)
  • You have a temporary or permanent disability (e.g. back problems) that can slow down or limit your training
Such factors can frustrate.  They can be more frustrating if you are comparing yourself to other students (or instructors) who have rapidly moved up the testing ranks.

We can’t always expect rapid, monumental progress in our training.  Besides the above-mentioned limitations, we simply find ourselves struggling with particular techniques, concepts, and exercises.

Persist.

Here are some suggestions to help you persevere:

Be a tortoise:  There will always be students who are more athletic and seem to perform techniques and exercises with annoying ease.  You might not be as gifted but persist over the long run and you will marvel at your progress.
Adjust Your Standards:  Monumental leaps in proficiency are not always forthcoming. Strive to improve a little every month, every week, every class, and every exercise…  Your sustained effort will reap benefits.
Don’t Compare:  There is always someone better.  Don’t torment yourself by comparing yourself to someone who is more skilled.  Focus on your own development.
Adapt Your Learning.  Your body is tired?  Watch some Krav Maga videos.  Read some blogs.😉 Stretch.  You have a leg injury?  Consider how you would defend yourself from a sitting position.  Adapt.
Don’t Forget the Fundamentals!  Continue to refine you basic strikes, releases, body defenses etc…  This will help you when you are learning more complex techniques.
Don't Binge. Train Consistently.  I have seen students who try to binge by showing up 4 times a week before a test vs those who show up consistently once or more week on a consistent basis.  The latter do better.

Persist with small steps and you will improve and become proficient.

Stay safe,


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

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Being a Krav Maga Instructor: Developing and Improving Quality Teaching

People ask me why I become a Krav Maga instructor, particularly an instructor with the The International Krav Maga Federation, (IKMF).  It is a great question and there are many reasons.  One reason centers around what I see as the IKMF's continued efforts to ensure quality instruction to offer the best possible self defense to our students. 


Becoming a Certified Instructor
There is no short cut to achievement.  Life requires thorough preparation - veneer isn't worth anything. George Washington Carver



It is recommended that candidates have 4 years of martial arts experience.   I would also strongly suggest some training at a reputable Krav Maga school.  The Civilian Instructor Certification (CIC) runs for 20 days, 8 hours a day.

The course is divided into 3 parts: techniques, theory, and teaching methodology.  Prospects must achieve high standing in all three categories to pass the course.  It is, of course, tempting to simply flood the market with instructors to make for more short-term returns. We cannot, however, compromise on quality. There are no shortcuts to becoming an IKMF instructor, no correspondence courses, or weekend crash courses where Friday you pay a substantial fee and by Sunday you are certified to teach.  There is too much at stake.  Your safety!

Here is a video with IKMF Global Instructor Tamir Gilad describing the Civilian Instructor Course (CIC):




Renewals and Continued Education

“Never become so much of an expert that you stop gaining expertise.” - Denis Waitley

Becoming certified is only the first step.  Instructors are required to renew their certification annually to maintain technical quality, improve their skills, and stay current on any curriculum changes.  This assures that your instructor's knowledge and skill level are up to date and you have access to the most  effective techniques.  During these "renewals", instructors also have to opportunity to talk with other instructors as well as National Directors and members of the Global Instructor Team(GIT). This offers a great opportunity to share training and teaching tips.  Instructors always return to their schools with more knowledge and wisdom.  

This commitment to quality control is one of the main reasons I decided to train with the IKMF and continue to teach as part of this organization. With your safety we don't want to take any shortcuts or compromise teaching quality. 


Stay safe,


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


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

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


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

This workshop will help you:
  • develop an awareness of exiting options
  • tactics to distract and disable (usually temporarily) an assailant to "buy time" to escape
  • techniques to disengage from an attacker trying to control you
Here are some tips for escaping: http://ikmfto.blogspot.ca/2012/10/escaping-7-points-to-consider.html


Beginners welcome!!

40/person

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

For more information please feel free to contact me:

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

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Krav Maga and Body Defenses.

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

Here is an overview of body defenses:

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

Moving body to side - out of line of fire


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



Stay safe,



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



Tuesday, May 20, 2014

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



Striking is essential to learning how to protect yourself.  There are many reasons for this.  To read about some of these reasons visit: http://ikmfto.blogspot.ca/2014/05/6-reasons-striking-is-vital-to-your.html

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


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

40/person - To register online go to: http://www.ikmftoronto.com/prices.php


Feel free to contact me with any questions:

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

6 Reasons Striking is Vital to Your Self Defense Skillset

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

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

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

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

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


Stay safe,



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


Self Defense and Protecting Others

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


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

Some possible scenarios:
  • You are out for an evening walk with your partner/spouse and an aggressive man approaches, yelling at both of you.
  • A home invasion. You must protect your family -get them to safety.
  • A co worker is attacked at the office or off-site.
There are innumerable examples.  On December 4, 2014, here in Toronto, a woman and her 21 month old baby were attacked by a 14 year old boy, and a 12 year old girl.  She was allegedly punched and kicked and the baby was briefly snatched from the woman's arms. 

 Learning how to protect others includes body positioning, strike prevention, releasing others from hold and chokes, even weapons defenses.  Sometimes, it is simply getting help. Essentially, it comes down to defending someone who is vulnerable due to lack of physical ability, skill, or awareness of the danger.

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

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



Stay safe,



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

Monday, April 28, 2014

Self Defense and Public Stabbings


This year, Canada has witnessed a series of high profile public stabbings involving one assailant and multiple victims. 

Some examples:

  • On  Friday, Feb. 28th, Jayme Pasieka, went to his job at a Loblaw warehouse donning a bullet-proof vest and armed with two knives. His stabbing spree ended with two workers dead and four others wounded.
  • In Toronto, on the morning of Wednesday, April 9th, Chuang Li was fired from his job at his office near York Mills.  In reaction, Li allegedly repeatedly stabbed two managers then stabbed another manager who might have tried to stop him. 
  • Most recently, in Calgary, a young man stabbed a group of young adults at a house party.  Five were killed. 

Why these tragedies happen is not clear.  It is also difficult to anticipate such horrible acts as they happen suddenly, without warning, and in places where violence is foreign. 

The simple fact is we simply don't know what people are thinking, feeling, or planning.  How, then, can we anticipate such horrible incidents.  Sadly, in most cases, we cannot.

So, what can we do? Every situation is unique but here are 5 general suggestions.

1. Exit/escape plans. Similar to fire drills exit plans facilitate employees leaving the dangerous area for a safer place.  In fact, such evacuation plans should be similar and should include contingency  actions. For tips on escaping go to:  http://ikmfto.blogspot.ca/2012/10/escaping-7-points-to-consider.html

2. Planning for hindered escape.  You might not be able to escape. The assailant is blocking the way. An unsettling reality is that if the assailant is an employee then he will be familiar with exits and yes, exit plans.  This means you might have to resort to different actions (see points below).

3. A safe place?  If there is no accessible exit is there a room you can lock, barricade, and call for help? 

4. Common Objects:  Warehouse inventory, office supplies, chairs, fans, lamps, small tables, chairs....   If immediate escape is not possible using a common object to protect yourself can be life saving.  It is worthwhile to ask an expert how best to use common objects. (leading us to point no.5)  

5. Learning Self Defense: Yes, this sounds self-serving but self defense training that offers you a better understanding of edged weapons assaults and teaches practical skills, can be a life saving investment.  For more on surviving knife assaults visit: http://ikmfto.blogspot.ca/2012/07/knife-assaults-5-general-tips.html


Public stabbings instill terror and often have tragic results.  If you are ever involved directly or indirectly please take care of yourself by seeking counseling that focuses on addressing your traumatic experience.



Stay safe,



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

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Workshop: Using and Defending Against Common Objects (May 3rd)

Objects surround us in our daily lives.   Assailants can use these against us but you can also learn to use objects such as chairs, liquids(e.g. coffee), household objects such as appliances etc.., to protect yourself.


This workshop will help you understand what kind of objects have been commonly used and how to best utilize such objects for self defense and what to do if an attacker tries to use one against you.


Saturday May 3, 3:45 to 5:45pm
IKMF Toronto, 2156 Yonge St.
40/person

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

If you have any questions please contact,

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

Friday, March 21, 2014

Home Invasions and Weapons of Opportunity



On February 10, 2014, two men broke into the home of an elderly Canadian couple in Mexico, murdering both of them. The invaders used objects from the victim's home- a knife and a statue.
 
This tragedy highlights how assaults often involve weapons of opportunity, also known as common objects.  In everyday life, in our office, on the streets, and in our homes, there are objects we can use to protect ourselves but can also be used against us.

Developing an awareness of common objects/weapons of opportunity is an essential part of a practical self defense program.  Wherever you are you should scan your surroundings for points of entry/exit, other people, and objects that you can use to protect yourself or can be used against you.

Here are some examples:
  • coffee, water, and other liquids
  • furniture such as chairs, small tables...
  • sharp objects such as knives, broken bottle, utility knives
  • appliances - blenders, kettles, pots and pans
  • canned goods, jars, plates.....
There are innumerable examples.  When you have a moment walk through your house and take an inventory.  You will be surprised at the variety of options.

Lastly, if you are taking self defense classes ask your instructor to include classes that focus on using common objects to defend as well as learning how to defend against an attacker wielding them. 

Stay safe,

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

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Your Surroundings: Walls, Cars, Doors, and Other Obstacles and Opportunities





Real-life self defense situations do not occur in controlled environments such as dojos, studios or rings.  Your surroundings can hinder or help your ability to defend yourself.  Static objects like walls or parked cars, for instance, can play a significant role in how a situation unfolds.

Barriers to escape:  Having your back against a wall or trapped in a small space (elevator, bathroom) will hinder or even prevent your ability to escape.

Limiting Space/Mobility: Imagine defending yourself in an elevator?  There is no way to avoid physical contact with an attacker.  Kicks are a limited option in favour of medium and close range strikes.  Grappling is very likely.  It will get ugly.

Concealing Assailants:  Walking around the corner of a building and being confronted by an aggressor, someone lurking behind a vehicle in a parking lot...  Physical obstacles offer hiding spots for assailants.

Site of Impact: If you are standing against a wall and someone punches you there are at least two points of impact. The first punch and your head hitting the wall.  Be aware of your proximity to such objects.

Separating From Your Assailant: I know at least one person who ran and used a car as a barrier between her and the aggressor.  The time she bought, and her yells, attracted the attention of local residents who came to her aid. 

Knowing your surroundings must include a sense of any physical boundaries that can hinder or help your ability to defend yourself.  If possible train in various settings and explore what opportunities and obstacles each one offers. 

Be safe, 

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


Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Thursday, January 30, 2014

February 22 Workshop: Escaping Grabs and Holds

On Saturday February 22nd we are offering a workshop "Escaping Grabs and Holds".  Many assaults involve the attacker trying to control you by grabbing, holding, even choking.  It is vital to get out of their grasp as soon as possible.

This workshop will help you understand some of the more common holds and how to escape. 

3:45 - 5:45pm - 2156 Yonge St.   $40/person

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


Monday, January 27, 2014

February 1 Workshop, 3:45-5:45pm Intro to Surviving Armed Attacks

On February 1, we are offering a workshop focusing on giving you the basic skills to survive an armed attack:
  • sharp objects (knives, broken bottles.....)
  • blunt objects (hammers, pipes...)
  • hand guns
The aim is to give you a better understanding  of how assailants use these weapons and what you can do (or not do) to save your life.

Price is $40    To register online please visit:  http://www.ikmftoronto.com/prices.php  

For more information please contact Christopher Gagne at 416-657-1028 or torontokrav@rogers.com

Monday, January 20, 2014

Krav Maga Training: Working With Your Current Fitness Level


One of the most frequently expressed concerns about self defense training is a person’s fitness level - or lack thereof.  This is expected as self defense training is physical and does involve fast movements, coordination, and stamina.  Also daunting are the YouTube videos and other media images that feature extremely fit people performing techniques at high speed.

Be assured that your fitness limitations will not prevent you from learning self defense.  In fact, we are adamant that self defense should be accessible to everyone.   Of course, we encourage you to improve your fitness but we will work with “where you are” and help you get to a higher level at your pace.

Here are 4 ways to address your fitness concerns during your self-defense training. 

Communication:  Be honest with your instructor and other students.  If an exercise is beyond your current abilities please tell your instructor.  To improve, you need to challenge your fitness limits but not risk injury or being so stiff and sore you can barely get out the door the next morning.

Modifications:  Very difficult exercises such as “burpee jumps” and dynamic push ups can be modified to easier versions such as simple squats and wall push ups to accommodate your fitness level.  Over time you will be able to perform more challenging versions. 

Repetitions.  Some students can do 60+ consecutive push ups while others struggle to do 10, 5, or 1.  Take stock of where you are and build slowly and consistently.  One of our students began with 4 push ups.  Eighteen months later she can do 20 consecutive push ups.  Impressive!

Patience.  It can be frustrating to struggle through a handful of jumping squats while the person next to you is at 30 and still smiling!   Remember, you are not competing with other students but are striving to improve your self defense skills from class to class. 

It is natural to have concerns and insecurities around your fitness level.  Work from your existing level to gradually improve and don’t let your fitness limitations discourage you from learning skills that can save your life. 


Be safe, 

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

Monday, January 13, 2014

The “Knockout Game”: Assaults as Entertainment


 Recent years have witnessed numerous disturbing reports of a growing phenomena in the United States known as "the knockout game."  This “game” involves punching people with the aim of knocking them unconscious.  In most cases, the victims are surprised or simply don't see the assault coming.   After all, who expects to get punched during the course of an average day?

 “Knockout” can happen when you are walking by yourself or in public places with numerous witnesses.  Reports of such assaults on busy sidewalks, subway platforms, in shopping malls etc... are not uncommon. 

Such attacks are extremely dangerous.  The initial impact and the subsequent fall - especially if your head hits a hard surface -can inflict serious damage or even death.

Similar attacks, “sucker punches”, have always been around but the difference here is that the assaults have been formalized into a game, a competition.  Many assaults have been recorded then distributed -  a morbid form of entertainment. 

There are some general habits to blend into your life to minimize your vulnerability to such attacks.  Of course, being aware of your surroundings is important.  Self defense training, particularly training that involves defending from various angles and directions, can be a life saving investment. 

We don’t want you to be paranoid, to walk with your head on a swivel.  Rather we want you to be aware, to prevent, to defend, to get home safe.


Be safe, 

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




Sunday, January 5, 2014

Student/Instructor Dialogue: Essential for success


In her book Persuasion, marketing expert and Dragon’s Den co-star Arlene Dickinson highlights the difference between business people who listen to their prospects/clients and those who dominate conversations by pushing the benefits and qualities of their service/product.  Dialogue and monologue, respectively.   Dialogue, she rightly points out is more effective in establishing and sustaining a relationship with your client.  How else can you understand the needs and wants of your client?

Dickinson’s sound advice should be embraced by self defense instructors.  Some instructors follow the Monologue model taking their expertise as license to talk and not listen - or rarely listen -to their students.  In extreme cases, students passively listen and follow direction.  In other situations, students might ask questions but are not encouraged to do so.

The Monologue is very limited because the student’s experience is minimized or even dismissed.  The result is that their voice, their opinions, ideas, feelings etc...  are not respected and remain unknown to the instructor.

This is a serious hindrance to students learning.  Here are 4 reasons... 

Respect:  Ever sit with someone who dominates a conversation, focusing on himself and all of his wonderful qualities and his knowledge base?  Yes, you have. Did you feel respected?  Do you want to spend more time with this person?  I don't.

Enjoyment
: How do you know if the student is enjoying your class?  Sometimes, students will simply tell you, or their body language will be obvious.  Why not offer students as many opportunities as possible to communicated their enjoyment (or lack of) of your training?

Needs: Every student is unique and your students will have various questions, aptitudes, limitations and learning styles.  If you are too busy talking you won’t learn what your students need to become better practitioners and to enjoy their experience. 

Diversity Evokes Interest. In university the classes I enjoyed were the ones that invited interaction.  Even if you didn’t want to talk it was comforting to know you could and it was refreshing to hear other voices, opinions, and voices.  Long and arduous were the sessions where the professor poured out his knowledge to a passive and often disengaged group of students.  


Encourage dialogue and your students will be more engaged and become more able practitioners.

Share your experience as an Instructor, Student or both.  We are keen to hear your views!


Be safe, 

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




Dickinson, Arlene. Persuasion: A New Approach to Changing Minds.  Toronto: Harper Collins Publishers Ltd., 2011.