Holiday List 2017

Posted: December 19, 2017 in Book, Equipment, General
Tags: ,


Where did the year go?  We’re in the midst of Hanukkah, with Kwanzaa and Christmas right around the corner.  If you’re looking for a good gift for under the tree, a Yankee Swap gift for the dojo, a stocking stuffer for the mantle, or a small gift idea for any other seasonal occasion, check out this list.

Got any others you are wishing for that should make this list?  Drop me a line on Twitter or email and I’ll add it along with your name! Read the rest of this entry »

Questioning and Active Learning

Posted: February 23, 2017 in Attitude, Class

“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.”
― Albert Einstein

As adults, we are often lulled into silence and complacency after achieving a certain level of competence in a subject. This can happen at the_wise_owl-t2school, at work, at home, and in the dojo. We get comfortable enough that we can settle into a groove and just coast along without questioning or pushing back on the walls. We listen, we mimic, we go home thinking we learned some cool new stuff. This is called passive learning. The more advanced we become and the more belts, bars, patches, or years we stack on, the more we should be questioning and seek to understand at a deeper level. We should internalize what the lesson is about and what the technique is doing, using this knowledge, alongside what we already know, to solve problems. This is active learning and must be every successful student’s mindset. Read the rest of this entry »

Never Without a Cup

Posted: August 13, 2016 in Equipment

225161_105350796282598_1399090881_nIt still amazes me to this day how many people show up to class without an athletic cup. I am not talking about the occasional lapse (“Dangit! I took it off and forgot to put it back in the bag last night!!”) but rather the student who somehow thinks that wearing an uncomfortable and weirdly shaped piece of plastic held to their groin with nylon straps is somehow optional. As a fellow student once quipped, “I wear my cup to the school’s bake sales!”

Incidentally, this advice goes for women as well as men, in case you were wondering. Sure, getting kicked mightily in the groin as a guy makes you wish you had become a monk for a couple of minutes but from what I’m told, getting hit in the groin is no picnic for women either.

In this day and age, there are a lot of options for athletic cups. Gone are the days when the only option you had was an ill-fitting plastic triangle that mashed you into odd, contorted angles. These still do exist but nowadays, without too much trial and error, you can find a higher-caliber cup that’s right for you. And despite the frequent use and abuse, I’ve found that a modest investment in a quality cup will last for many years. I’d go as far as to say that it’s one of the few pieces of training equipment that you might only have to buy once a decade.

It bears pointing out that, no matter how amazing and high-tech a cup is, no matter how well designed it is, it will never, ever, ever be able to fully protect you from 100% of the impact. Unfortunate but true. This is particularly true of a groin kick — a staple of Krav Maga. Sure, it will disperse the majority of the blow and let you walk away from it but when it comes to getting hit from below, it is really not possible to engineer groin protection to handle those low angles. That being said, you will still be fine with a good quality cup, no matter what angle. Just be aware that these are not going to make all hits to the groin pain-free. Read the rest of this entry »

The Damaged Warrior

Posted: March 13, 2016 in Class, Injury

edit-21749-1390451296-9If you’ve been training for a span of more than a week, you know all too well that injuries are a part of life in training. They range from the minor (scratches, bruises, and bumps) to more serious (breaks, fractures, pulls, tears, and the like). Whenever I am injured, in or out of class, one of the top three questions that pops to mind — frequently the top question, actually — is “how will this affect my training?”. No, I am not obsessed, living for my training. I do have a life outside the dojo, a job, and a great family life. But for me, Krav Maga and exercise is a lifestyle that I am very passionate about. It’s only natural that this involuntary thought flashes in my mind. If I can’t train, I fall behind. I also lose conditioning, muscle mass, valuable time to work on my motor skills and techniques, and even social time with my compatriots. Having talked to others at the school, I know that this is a common thought in many students’ heads when they get injured too. Read the rest of this entry »

contentWell this is a nice surprise.  The cool people over at have gone and ranked my humble blog as one of their Top 30 martial arts blogs.  Go check it out and be prepared to bookmark not only their site but a lot of great blogs I share the Internet with.

Goal_SettingJanuary 1 does not possess any mystical powers and is no more special than any other day of the year but it’s as good as any to reflect on how far we’ve come, and more importantly, where we’re going.

So here we are in 2016. I’m committing to paper lots of new and updated personal training goals — both in and out of the dojo — and want to push the limits in 2016.  Read the rest of this entry »

Giving Thanks 2015

Posted: November 26, 2015 in Attitude, Class
Tags: ,

Gratitude rockIt’s been a whirlwind year of training. Since getting my Black Belt last December I have been fortunate enough to experience our school splitting the Black Belts from the rest of the Advanced Class in January. This gave me exposure to more focused training. More intense conditioning and brutal, all-out classes, often in excess of 90 minutes, have been the norm since them and I’ve loved every minute of every class. We’ve been exposed to advanced gun and knife techniques, two-on-one techniques, more gnarly ground defense, Kali stick and knife fighting, and so much more. I am ecstatic about this change as it mixes things up. It also forces me to keep up my commitment and never allows me drop my guard and coast through training. In addition to this renewed focus on the Black Belts at my school, I am thankful for a lot of other things this year. Read the rest of this entry »

The Brain Cycle

Posted: October 3, 2015 in Class

brainI think the most fundamental question you can ask in Krav Maga is “When do I use it?” You’ve got the skills, you have sweated through training, so with a bit of luck you ought to be able to defend yourself in most self-defense situations. When confronted with one of an infinite variety of attacks, by countless types of attackers, in an infinite variety of settings and situations — when do you use Krav Maga?

I’ve read in many books and articles that you first should run. Don’t be a hero. If you have the opportunity, use it. Run faster than you’ve ever run before and don’t stop until you are a million miles from danger. The next choice if running is not an option should be to grab a weapon — a stick, chair, phone, can of Red Bull, whatever — and bash the attacker. It is only after all else fails that you should use your Krav Maga skills to defend yourself.

On the other hand, I have also heard more than once that, when faced with an attack, you don’t think, you immediately strike back. For instance, let’s say you’re in a bar and someone pushes you from behind or tries to get you into a full nelson. You wouldn’t hesitate — you’d go from zero to a hundred in an instant. Does striking immediately and without hesitation counter the other advice of running away?

Fight or flight? Read the rest of this entry »


As I’m sure you’d agree, push-ups are a great way to increase your fitness level.  Problem is, it’s way too easy to cheat by flaring out your elbows or not maintaining a straight alignment during the motion.  Cheating is hardly the worst part of it as improper elbow alignment can (and usually does) cause some pretty painful damage to your shoulders.  I know this because I used to card carrying member of the Bad Posture Push-Up Cheaters Club for Men.  It wrenched my shoulders pretty bad and took several weeks to get back to normal (much of it involving lacrosse ball therapy on the sore muscles).   Read the rest of this entry »

As o4f June 1st, I have been training in Krav Maga for 4 years. In some ways it seems like it’s been an eternity, in other ways it seems like I only just started. Some techniques that seemed impossible as a White Belt are second nature and require no conscious thought to perform today. Same goes with many of our exercises. I remember so vividly when I was starting out how hard it was to simply hold a plank. It was common at the end of class for us to be instructed to hold a plank a full minute and there I’d be, trembling and shuddering under the strain to keep it together. I never did end up getting to a full minute in those first several months but, over time, that and so many other things I once thought impossible have opened up to me. Read the rest of this entry »

Since I started training in Krav Maga a few years ago, I find myself engaging in a fun and educational activity. While watching fights break out on TV or in the movies I’d be thinking about what a particular character did well or maybe what they should/could have done differently for potentially a better outcome. I am thinking in terms of avoiding the conflict, defusing the conflict, or — when it’s too late and it’s going down — what they should have done to end the fight. It’s an interesting way to spark a discussion about Krav Maga and self-defense in general. And heck, these days, violence being so prevalent in our media, there are so many opportunities to do so. Read the rest of this entry »

Fuel Choices

Posted: December 29, 2014 in Class, Food
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The-WallIt doesn’t take many classes to realize that Krav Maga training is a very high-intensity activity. Without proper nutrition prior to class — and many times, boosts of energy during class –it is all too easy to “bonk”, or “hit the wall”. This is when your body is out of energy reserves (stored in the form of glycogen in your muscles and liver), resulting in dizziness, fatigue, and a host of other unpleasant symptoms.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I like hitting up one of my special oatmeal concoctions a few hours prior to training or sparring. There are a lot of other great choices to be had as well, the best of which have a good balance of complex sugars, protein, carbs, and fiber. This is pre-training nutrition and is pretty straight-forward as you don’t have to rush to eat it, aren’t jittery from adrenaline, and don’t have to fish it hastily out of your bag between drills, etc. — unlike your nutrition during your training. It will keep you going through a 1 to maybe 2 hour class, though you will likely begin “feeling the deficiency” into that second hour. Read the rest of this entry »