Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Explore the Unexpected: Krav Maga Training and asking "What if?.."

Many of the most welcome questions from Krav Maga students begin with "What if..?"

What if they don't let go of my wrist?
What if I am sitting down instead of standing?
What if I am in a small space and can't escape right away?
What if there are two of them?

These questions show that students recognize that self-defense situations are dynamic, and to a large extent, unpredictable. After all, there can be so many variables at play.  
  • where the assault take place (elevator, parking lot, private vs public space)
  • When you perceive the danger (avoid, escape, fight)
  • How the assailant attacks and perhaps adapt to your Defense/counterattack

This list could go on and on because there are so many possibilities to mention!

The IKMF curriculum offer an excellent foundation that covers many of the assaults people encounter.   As we outlined in another blog, it is only the tip of the iceberg as there are so many variations of attacks and so many potential situations.  

With this in mind, we encourage students to work on the fundamentals, refine the curriculum techniques on the curriculum and to ask "What if?"

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Understanding "Timeline": An Introduction

An oft repeated term we use in Krav Maga is "Timeline."  In most cases, timeline refers to the distance of the assailant.  This distance has an integral role in how we defend ourselves.  There is a significant difference, for example, in how we respond to someone 10 meters away running toward us waving his fist or a weapon(run!), compared to someone within arm's length throwing a punch to your face.

Of course, there are other factors besides distance.  Do you have an escape route? When did you perceive the danger? Are you alone or do you have to protect someone such as family members?
Here is a general introduction to  Timeline and Distance

Very Long Distance: This varies but an example would be more than 4 meters or you see someone running at you half a block away.   If there are escape routes and you are mobile, "hightail it outta there" (that means run)!

Long: Kicking Distance - when you can reach them with your legs but not your hands.  If they are approaching with aggression and you see it, why wait until they get close enough to punch, grab, slash, stab etc....?  Effective preemptive kicks can maintain distance and hurt or even disable an attacker.  This is usually a "preemptive strike" where you are striking first to protect yourself.

Medium: The assailant is within arm's length so he can grab, punch, stab.... You will likely have to perform a preemptive strike(e.g. punch) or a hand or leg defense of some variety (block, deflect, slide).   In the picture below, Avi Moyal is defending a knife attack by blocking and punching at the same time.  The attacker is too close to kick and too far to effectively use a short-range striking tool such as an elbow strike.  

Avi Moyal blocks and punches at medium range.  

Short Distance: the assailant is very close, often grabbing, holding, choking...  Kicks and punches are rarely effective this close so it is time to elbow, knee, head butt, pinch or bite!  Below, a woman is using an elbow strike against an attacker at very close range.

Elbow strike against rear bear hug.

Self-defense training must emphasize timeline as assaults, and our perception of assaults are not predictable.  Prepare for as many possibilities as you can imagine.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Workshop:Surviving Knife Assaults (Expert 4 Jean Paul Jauffret) - Friday, Sept 22rd, 6-9pm

Knife assaults are especially dangerous as they can be fatal and are very difficult to defend. Moreover, knives (and other sharp objects) are readily available.

On Friday, September 22nd, IKMF Expert 4, Jean Paul Jauffret, is offering a workshop, Surviving Knife Assaults.
Jean-Paul Jauffret

: 3hrs . During the first 30-40 minutes, Jean Paul will talk about real life assaults to give participants a better understanding of how knife assaults actually occur.  The remaining time is devoted to "hands-on" training.

Jean Paul explain a knife defense to workshop participants

Who Can Participate?
 Adults 18 and up.  Beginners welcome!  No experience necessary.
Location: IKMF Toronto.  2156 Yonge St. Lower Level.
When: Friday, September 22nd, 6 to 9pm
What to Bring: Indoor running shoes, workout clothes, water.
Price: 60
How to Register:  Contact Christopher Gagne (IKMF Toronto), at

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Your First Krav Maga Class: What to Expect, What to Bring

It is natural to be a little nervous(and excited) before your first Krav Maga class as it can be with other first experiences(e.g. I was nervous before my first hot yoga class).  Here are some things to expect, know, and bring.

Students are Friendly. We are fortunate to attract students who are very welcoming and friendly. 

What to Wear? Please bring workout clothes (t-shirt, long shorts or pants), indoor running shoes, and water. Men should bring groin protection (just in case).  

Class Format: The format of our classes is consistent. Here is an overview of a typical class.

Fitness: Some people have expressed concerns about their fitness and being able to keep up. Here are some tips.

Beginners:  Beginners are very welcome in all of our classes.  We have beginners joining every week.  Go at your own pace.  Classes are interactive so questions are welcome and encouraged.  For a blog about Krav Maga and beginners visit:

The Bigger Picture: People often ask about the bigger picture, what will I learn? Here is an overview of what you can expect to learn in 3, 6, and 12 months.  

The first class is free.

 To arrange, contact Christopher Gagne at



Monday, June 12, 2017

International Krav Maga Federation (IKMF), Practitioner 1 Overview

Practitioner 1 (P1) can be divided into categories or as IKMF like to call them- families. Here is an overview.

These cover the various standing positions from where we might have to defend ourselves. Passive/not ready, semi-passive/ ready but not physically engaged, and fighting/outlet stance.

Upper Body Strikes: How to strike with hands (palms, fists) and elbows in various directions, angles, and distances.
Lower Body Strikes. Using knees and kicks to protect yourself.
Striking All Directions: This allows you to demonstrate that you know how and when to use P1 strikes. 

Hand Defenses,  Outside and Inside Defenses
360 Knife Defence: Here we are looking at close range circular attacks-ice pick stab, upward stab
Punch Defense: This introduces the inside defense (contrast with 360 outside defense) vs straight punch. 

Preventing and Escaping Chokes
This begins with prevention using kicks (long distance) or strikes and deflections (medium distance).  Next, are chokes from the front, side, and back. Pluck, strike, escape! 

Depending on the Ground
Ground techniques: 3 ways of getting up according to distance- forward (close), backward (medium to far), sprint (far or very far.)  Also, escaping side choke on the ground.

Using Common Objects:
Krav Maga involves learning how to use everyday objects to protect yourself.  For P1, shield-like objects (chair, backpack, chair, and yes, shield).

Falls, Rolls: 
P1 introduces front break fall against a wall.   The principles here offer a foundation for break falls and rolls on the ground – e.g. protecting the head etc…

Multiple Attackers:   
The P1 test ends with the "zombie game" where numerous people, with hands extended (hence zombie), approach one defender who needs to stay to the outside.  Never go in the middle! 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Striking Fundamentals.

We prefer not to engage with an assailant.   Avoidance is the best self-defense. There are situations, however, when you must physically protect yourself and to protect yourself you need to strike effectively.  Strikes can be used to create distance, to distract or disable an attacker, to help you escape a hold or choke, to defend against a weapon assault....

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Escaping Chokes. Some Practical Points

Friday, April 14, 2017

Workshop: Escaping Holds and Grabs (Saturday May 6, 4-6pm)

Chokes and grabs are often part of an assailant's tactics to control their target.  These can range from a wrist grab to a life-threatening choke.  Likely, the aggressor is stronger so precise technique and decision-making is essential.

This workshop will focus on:
  • Prevention and escape techniques
  • Escaping from chokes and holds from medium and close range, standing and on the ground...
  • Soft techniques against grabs...

 No experience necessary.  Beginners welcome!

International Krav Maga Federation (IKMF), Toronto
2156 Yonge St.
(Saturday May 6, 4-6pm)

To register contact:

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Self Defense Workshop: Surviving Assaults in Limited Spaces (April 8th, 4-6 pm)

Due to confined space (elevator), busy areas (subways), or due to the assailant's actions, assaults can occur in limited spaces with limited opportunities for avoidance or escape.  This workshop will help you:

  • Understand the nature of close range attacks ( including real life examples)
  • Assess these dangers
  • Develop tools (e.g striking -elbows, knees etc) to protect yourself
  • To escape and or disable an assailant

For tips on defending in limited spaces please visit:

IKMF Toronto
2156 Yonge St., Lower Level
Saturday, April 8, 4-6pm

For more information please contact:

Christopher Gagne

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Combat Classes with Expert 4 Jean Paul Jauffret (March 2017)

Jean Paul Jauffret is one of the foremost Krav Maga experts in the world and is offering a series of workshops focusing on learning combat skills.

All workshop are located at IKMF Toronto - 2156 Yonge St.

Thursday: March 9, 8pm
Friday: March 10, 6pm
Saturday: March 11, 4pm
Sunday: March 12, 5pm   
Monday: March 13, 6pm.

These workshops will focus on:
-Developing strikes and counter strikes
-Developing and improving striking combinations.
-Footwork to be more mobile and balance to attack and defend. 

Beginners are welcome.

Please bring:
-Shin pads
-Indoor running shoes

For more information:
Christopher Gagne

Thursday, February 9, 2017

P1 Upper Body Strikes: An Overview

P1 Upper Body Strikes: An Overview

One of the first things you learn is how to protect ourselves with hand strikes. You learn effective body mechanics, how to strike at various directions, angles, and distances.  

General Checkpoints:
·        * Don’t wind up.  Use body rotation for strength and reach.
·        * Recoil
·        * Chin down to protect your jaw, chin, neck.
·        * Strike a vulnerable area.

Palm Heel Strikes (medium distance). Striking with the heel of your palm. Rotate shoulders, back, and hips for more reach and power. Strike through the target and recoil. 
Using a Palm Heel Strike vs ground choke

Punches (medium distance): Similar range to palm strikes. Striking with first two knuckles. The fist is at forty-five degrees, striking with first two knuckles. Rotate and recoil. Don't wind up!
Straight punch vs gun threat

Horizontal Elbows (short distance). There are three for P1: Inwards, sideways, and backward. The "V" of your arm should be tight. The non-striking hand is up, ready to protect and/or strike. Your chin is down to protect jaw and chin.  Rotate to engage large muscle groupings (shoulder, back, hips). Recoil to escape, protect (e.g. ribs) or strike again. 
Horizontal sideways elbow vs bear hug.

Hammer Punches (short or medium) There are five in P1. Two horizontal and three vertical.   

Horizontal: Sideways and Backwards.  Look at the target.  Elbow leads as you want to your fist to travel directly to the target.  The non-striking hand is up to protect and/or strike.  Strike through the target – e.g. jaw, nose…
Horizontal sideways hammer punch

Vertical:  Forward, Downwards, Back and up.  Forward, usually, a high strike to face, head.  Rotation, recoil.  Downwards – lower strikes – e.g. to someone trying a takedown – bend the same leg as striking arms for power.  Back and up.  Lead with elbow striking directly back and up.

Vertical front hammerfist

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Self Defense Workshop: Surviving Ground Attacks (Saturday, February 25, 4-6pm)

Many assaults end up on the ground.  Being on the ground is a very vulnerable position and surviving such an assault requires determination, aggression, and technique.

This workshop introduces basic skills to:
  • protect against falls and getting up safely
  • techniques to escape a larger attacker
  •  tricks to combat a larger, stronger attacker.

This workshop will focus on fundamentals and is open to beginners and current practitioners.  

Saturday, February 25th, 4-6pm
IKMF Toronto, 2156 Yonge St. (Lower Level)

For more information:
Christopher Gagne