KRAV MAGA & MY MAMA

My Thanksgiving day conversation with my mama;
Mama: With all your karate (yes, she said karate….sigh..) how many guys do you think you can take on at once?
Me; If they are real little and scrawny, maybe 5 or 6.
Mama; No, I mean regular guys.
Me: Well, my .380 holds eight bullets so, if I’m a good aim and quick, probably eight.
Mama; you know what I mean, can’t you slam them to the ground?
Me; Nah, I’d run.

Hollywood stars in movies may be able to whip a dozen guys at once but in my real world, I’d run if outnumbered. It’s hard enough blocking one person’s punches. It only takes one to land on my head and I’m dazed long enough for the rest of them to curb stomp me. I don’t have eyes in the back of my head or enough appendages to block two or more punching me at once. This is why I carry a knife and, when allowed by law, a handgun. Nobody is that good! I hope that you appreciate the honesty and lack of egos from us in Krav Maga…..you won’t hear talk like this from the heads of very many martial arts associations!

This is why in Krav Maga we teach to 1) run, 2) find something to use as an improvised weapon and 3) as a last resort, fight. If you have to fight while out numbered try to create distance, always be looking to escape, make every shot a knockout shot, keep the opponents stacked (all in line of sight), if you hit the ground get up as quick as possible and cheat as much as you can! This isn’t glamorous or macho…just real. BE SAFE!

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KRAV MAGA TESTING

My very first level 1 test in Krav Maga was an eye opener. I had taken many, many belt tests in martial arts, was a 4th degree black belt in taekwondo, and I can tell you that the basic level 1 krav test was the hardest test I had ever seen! Krav takes testing serious!! In Krav Maga the testing is very intense for good reason. We go all out in the testing and expect maximum effort. Most members who test will say that it was one of the hardest things that they have ever done as well as one of the great accomplishments of their lives. Our feeling is that if self defense doesn’t work when we are at our worst and worn out, it isn’t worth knowing. We also truly believe that after someone has pushed themselves beyond what they thought that they could in a test a real life self defense situation will be much easier with a “been there, done that” feeling.

In level 1 we put the students through an hour and a half workshop, then an hour and a half test. We use the workshop to 1) show exactly how you want techniques done in the test, 2) wear out those who are going to test a bit and 3) to make sure those who wish to test are ready. If someone is getting tired in the workshop or doesn’t have techniques down this is where we tell them not to test. We let them know this is nothing they want to do over and that they will fail today so they should wait for the next. Right after the workshop we start the test. The test is like an hour and a half non stop exhaustion drill. We go down the list of all level 1 techniques, one after the other. Shadow boxing is first and we have them do this for quite awhile. It’s kinda the first clue that they are in for hell! We have them do burpees when they aren’t going hard enough, are too slow handing pads over or getting pads, etc. After two or three of these burpee stoppages they are truly exhausted….and the test isn’t even half over.

After we test we show the scores. There is no griping allowed about scores. A score below 70 fails because in our opinion the technique wouldn’t have kept them safe in real life. A score of 70-72 for a technique means they barely passed, one in the upper 70’s means it looked really good. Anything in the 80’s was instructor quality! Ladies grades are almost always lower than the guys….get over it. We don’t grade on “that was pretty good for a girl”. We grade everyone on the same criteria…would it have kept you safe against a 220 pound 6’ 3” enraged attacker. So a big guy could have been sloppy and got a 79 while the small female had perfect technique and got a 71. He would have been safer….safe is safe, sex doesn’t matter.

Then, of course, we tell them that the level 1 test they just finished was the easiest test they will ever take….level 2 is 2 hours workshop and 2 ½ hours of testing right up to our 6 hour level 5 test!! Testing is totally based on if it would really keep you safe. No flash, no BS, no feeling sorry for a hard worker so pass them for effort. BE SAFE!!

KRAV MAGA & LAW ENFORCEMENT

We just got back from teaching a five day law enforcement class in Memphis, TN to a great group of officers. We had fun and so did the class…..as much fun as you can have while being extremely sore and worn out anyhow. It really makes you take what you teach serious when you are showing a handgun defense laying on your back with the gunman mounted on top of you and one of the officers in your class says “That brings back bad memories, I was there once. Got it redirected just as he pulled the trigger”! So this blog is aimed at those who may some day be training law enforcement.

First off, make sure what you show them is the most street proven, scientific and effective techniques out there. Don’t show crap from a system just because it’s your system. Ya know, when we teach civilians it may well be for the one time in their life they need it and that is serious. It is much more serious when you are showing techniques to a group who WILL use most of what you show in the next few months!

Differences in teaching Law Enforcement compared to teaching civilians are numerous. First and foremost is that we teach civilians to run from danger. If someone has a knife my first defense is to beat feet out of there! Law Enforcement has to go in when the safest thing to do is run. This gives me a lot of respect for them and ratchets the danger of teaching scenarios way up. They respond when we civilians use common sense and get away. The other big thing we teach civilians is that if we must do a technique we beat the attacker until we are safe, which is usually when the scum bag is unconscious. Law enforcement officers must actually try to keep themselves unharmed while using restraint. This means that as they are doing a technique they must cuff, etc. the bad guy and he’s never done being a threat. When they let up he is still able to come back at them…and it starts all over if he does.

Other insights when training law enforcement;
-In Krav Maga we love to punch. We punch a lot! Teach law enforcement to use palm heel strikes. If they punch and fracture a bone in their hand on a skull they cannot access their higher force options.
-In civilian class we run drills from 1 to 5 minutes at a time. This is a waste for law enforcement as their drills shouldn’t last longer than 15 seconds. They should never be in prolonged fights on the street. If what they are doing isn’t working in 10 or 15 seconds they should be moving to higher force options. A prolonged fight with one bad guy allows the bad guy’s buddies to get there.
-A lot of our combatives have to go low line. For example, we teach stomp kick to an attacker’s chest to push them away. Officers have on vests, belts with a lot of equipment hanging down, etc. and are not going to be able to go that high with a kick. We show them to attack legs with their boot tread instead of going high with the bottom of the foot.
-Targets. We show civilians that the only places they should be throwing combatives on a bad guy are the places that do the most damage. We teach targeting the throat, xiphoid and groin. Sometimes officers cannot go for such damage. They must be taught that groin kicks sometimes are lower leg kicks and palm strikes to the soft part of the face must be shoulder “pops” to displace the suspect’s body mass without the damage of a face shot.

Krav Maga is perfect for law enforcement. It doesn’t take much training time because it is natural body motions, it’s easy to learn, easy to remember and most of all, it is effective. These techniques have been used many times in the real world to save lives. One officer in the class did say “I’m not sure I can teach such brutal stuff because of our policies” when another officer corrected him and said “when there is a weapon involved anything goes, even our politicians understand that”. I couldn’t say it better! BE SAFE!

SUPER SECRET KRAV DEATH TECHNIQUES!!

Krav is simple to learn, easy to remember and effective. We have no super secret, devastating death touch techniques. Thanks to Hollywood this surprises people. We once had a guy walk out of one of our handgun seminars when we started off with punching and kicking. He said “this isn’t handgun takeaways.” I told him that I didn’t know what magic techniques he was expecting but we grab the handgun to get it off of us and beat the bad guy senseless…that’s what actually works. He was offended. There isn’t a handgun seminar that goes by that we don’t get asked “Won’t grabbing the gun get your hand burned or cut?” I always sigh and tell the person asking this “Yep, that could well happen, I suppose that you could lose a few fingers as well. We aren’t teaching magic…you have to grab the gun and get it off you. Is this a crappy answer to having a gun on you about to kill you? Yep…but you are in a crappy situation and this is the best crappy answer you have. The only good answer is not to be there to have a gun put on you.”

I recently had a guy ask me what my defense would be for a sucker punch. I told him “I would hope that I would see it at the last second so that I could tuck my chin and take the punch on my forehead instead of the soft part of my face.” He laughed and showed me his technique which was a side step to get into a horse stance to end up beside the punch where he put both forearms up to block the punch and then ends with an arm bar. I told him “Well, I don’t have superman speed or reflexes so in my human world I’m gonna be lucky to tuck my chin. We are talking about a sucker punch. It’ll hit me and knock me back a bit and then I’ll go forward and whip some ass.” Sigh… He then went on to show me his Samurai sword defense. He did some going in and ducking, then backing back out and doing a backbend, then…well I forget what else, it was long and complicated. This guy wasn’t an idiot per se, he was just taught that this stuff actually worked when common sense says it won’t. He asked me what we in Krav Maga would do against a Samurai sword. I told him that I would run as fast as I could. He then asked what would our defense be if we couldn’t run. I told him I would pick up something like a pipe or ball bat if I could find it. Of course, he then said “No, what is your unarmed defense?” I said that an unarmed defense against someone who knows how to wield that sword is non existent but I would have to go in deep, block the arm, grab hold of him and knee & headbutt. He was amazed that Krav didn’t even have a Samurai sword defense. Sigh…

There are arts out there who say that they do have secret killing techniques or pressure points that will knock anyone unconscious with just a touch. Look on the internet, there are super secret, never fail, fear no man techniques! I tell people to run from these!
I have compiled a few different conversations here but these things were actually said (yes, I love messing with these guys):
THEM: I am a student of XXXX, which is a rare art and way too dangerous to show the general public.
ME: Wow, really?
THEM: Yes, most of our techniques are designed to kill or cripple!
ME: Wow, why doesn’t the military use this system?
THEM: Well, it’s pretty rare. It would have to be main-stream for the military to use it.
ME: Say what? Why don’t one of you guys get into the UFC and make millions? You could do your pressure point touch anytime you clinch and knock the other dude out?
THEM: We’re not about money. It’s too dangerous, guys would get killed!
ME: Does your instructor teach for free? Do you not have a job? Imagine the time you could devote to your art if you had money and didn’t have to work! Well, anyhow, you couldn’t tone it down a bit to be a world champion and let people know that your art is the best in the world?
THEM: Well, It’s not for the general population, we like it being obscure. We only allow people in who follow the code and are humble?
ME: Did your teacher hear about how moral and humble you were and recruit you?
THEM: No, I read an ad and called in.
ME: So the only way to get into this art is to call in and hand over a check?
THEM: No, I did a short lesson with him to see if I qualified?
ME: So, has anyone who ever did this short qualifying lesson and wanted to join and had a check in hand ever been turned away?
THEM: I am sure there has…haven’t personally seen it.

….and so on and so on. Yes, I am a smart aleck! BE SAFE!