Archive for June, 2012

Blue Belt Achieved!

Posted: June 25, 2012 in Belt Test, Belts

20120625-222052.jpgWhew! Made it. After a tough three months I am one step closer to my ultimate goal.

Some reflections are to come. First, I gotta get some ice.

Knife Defense CT 707

Posted: June 16, 2012 in Class, Technique

“The winner in a knife fight is the one who dies the next day.”


Several weeks ago my school held a fantastic seminar on knife defense. The techniques we learned were from the Israeli Defense Force’s Counter-Terror Unit 707 (CT 707) and were brought to our school directly by our instructor who had trained with Nir Maman.

One of the biggest eye-openers I walked away with was that I didn’t know what I thought I knew about knife attacks and knife defense. What follows is a summary of the class that I hope you’ll find useful.

Knife is a Most Deadly Weapon
In the seminar we learned that the knife is the most dangerous weapon to defend, apart from someone shooting you outright with a firearm or cooking you with a flame thrower. We were told that if you fight you WILL get cut or stabbed. The reason for this is that the knife requires no kinetic motion to be deadly, unlike bat or other blunt weapons. This means that you really don’t need to swing it like other weapons for it to be deadly.

This was highlighted by a story. Our instructor told us of an altercation in a parking lot with a knife wielding moron. The first cop to arrive was able to capture the knife then subdue the loony.  As more cops arrived, a “dog pile” on the perp ensued as the assailant became hard to control, virtually crushing the bad guy and the first officer on the scene. When everyone finally got off the cop who had arrived first, disarmed the attacker, and began the dog pile sat up and gave a huge gasp for air — and dropped dead instantly. Turns out the bad guy had another concealed knife he was able to pull out of his boot. Even as he was piled on by numerous cops, his movements severely limited, he was still able to make small stabbing and sawing motions, enough to kill the officer on top of him. (more…)

Hey, look at that. A whole year of training behind me. In some ways it seems like it has been an eternity, in other ways it seems like only a few months have gone by.

I’ve been doing some reflecting over the past several weeks in anticipation of this post. There are so many things I’ve learned over the last 12 months but I wanted to take a shot at writing down the most crucial lessons. Each one of these could be a post unto itself and might end up as one. I just want to at least capture these to provide a recap of the major takeaways.

Bravado at an older age vs. younger age
I recall 25 some-odd years ago when I took martial arts as a teen. After just a few weeks I felt invincible. I walked with such swagger and my confidence at school absolutely went through the roof. I was indestructible. Part of the explanation there lies in the teen mind. Let’s face it, it doesn’t really take too much to bloat a teen boy’s head into thinking he’s Superman.

As I’ve grown older, and I’d like to think wiser, I’ve come to realize that we are all vulnerable. MMA fighters, black belts, weight lifters, macho men, everyone. Everyone is susceptible to smack down given the right conditions, a bad decision, an off day… Take a look at every major fighter. They all go down — no one is perfect.

This extends to the street too. Even if you are heavily trained in the fighting arts and self-defense you are just human. This has stayed with me as an adult, not as a frightened adult but a realistic adult, and applies to my perspective on my training. Yes, of course I’ve increased my self-confidence but it’s always tempered with a pragmatic view of how violence can occur at any time and isn’t always necessarily in your favor.

Injuries can happen at any time, usually when you least expect it
You can make all the necessary precautions, wear all the right equipment, have the perfect attitude and awareness for your safety and still get whacked in the head. I’ve gotten my fair share of injuries this past year — fortunately all minor — and I’d say that pretty much every one of them was completely unexpected. They came from wild partners, slipped gear, a poor grasp of my technique, misjudged distance, slippery mats, you name it.

I still keep my awareness at full strength but realize that this isn’t ballet and try as you might you WILL get hurt. Vigilance keeps it to a minimum and hopefully keeps the extend down as well. (more…)