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). (more…)
Archive for the ‘Technique’ Category
One topic that gets little to no attention when talking about Krav Maga training is the role of imagination. I mean, as in imagining being attacked, being the Attacker, and so on. All of these roles involve having a good imagination and “playing along” or else the person being the Defender is not applying their training in a way that simulates reality.
Let’s take an example. Say you and your partner are working on a knife technique like an overhand (or ice pick) stab. Your Attacker drives down with the knife, you defend it by creating your 360 defense and bursting in with a counter-punch to their face. What you’re simulating here (but not fully executing) is a nice smash to the Attacker’s face, one that would “short circuit” their brain and result in them halting their downward thrust of the knife for a split second. In reality, this is what would happen. Don’t believe me? Let’s try an exercise to illustrate this point. Try picking something up off the floor and, when you just grasp it, have a partner kick you as hard as they can in the ass. Go ahead. I’ll wait… (more…)
Long Way to Go, Gratitude, Thinking/Not Thinking, and Taking it Off
The past June I passed my three-year milestone. My training is now a toddler, almost out of diapers. Boy, time flies when you’re laying in groin kicks, doesn’t it? Three years of Krav Maga have gone by performing countless clinches, punches, kicks, breakfalls, knees, elbows, and 360 defenses. Not to mention my share of bruises, fractures, sprains, pulls, cuts, and sore muscles. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve hurt my toes this past year!
Except for 3 weeks out of the year (a week vacation for me and two 1-week shutdowns annually for the school), I’ve been training faithfully an average of 3 times a week. No injuries or illness kept me away — knock on wood. So, as of this month, that’s approximately 500 one-hour classes of training. Of course there were some seminars here and there and sometimes I’ve logged 4, maybe even 5 or 6, classes per week but this is a pretty good ballpark estimate. I’m in it for the long haul. (more…)
As humans, it is so easy to do the least amount of work necessary to get the job done. We are optimizers. When faced with a task in everyday life we immediately — whether we know if or not — try to find a way to do it simply. We don’t like over-complicating tasks and we certainly don’t want to spend more energy, strength, or time needed to do something.
This is as true in the gym and training as it is in the “real world”. Take push-ups, for example. Proper form, to avoid injury and strain on the shoulders, is to have your elbows tucked in, rather than flared out to the side. Flared elbows make the push-ups much less difficult, effectively taking strain off the relatively weaker triceps and putting onto larger, stronger muscle groups such as the shoulders and chest. We’re able to bang out a higher number of reps in a shorter amount of time. More ‘oohs and ahhs‘ from the sidelines, if you will. The downside? Pain and injury and an overall “missing of the point” of doing the exercise in the first place. (more…)
I’ve noticed that many martial art styles like to think of themselves as complete systems. For most practical purposes they probably are for the purposes they were designed for. Meaning no disrespect or trying to minimize any of the following arts I’d say that, at their core, BJJ is a complete style for sport ground fighting, WTF style Taekwondo is well constructed for point fighting, and Krav Maga is a complete system for self-defense. Or are they? Is it even possible for any style to be 100% complete?
I’ve heard and read so many times that Krav Maga lacks a good ground game and if you get taken to the ground where “all fights end up” (more on that some other time!) then you are toast. I don’t completely buy into that. My school, and many others I’m sure, focuses a good percentage of time talking about ground defense — how to get up off the ground, out of some chokes and headlocks, and how to prevent getting taken down in the first place. My school also incorporates many CT-707 ground (and other) techniques into the curriculum which helps too. But I don’t delude myself for one minute into thinking that Krav Maga teaches 100% of what I’d need if I were to be tackled by, say, a BJJ Black Belt who’s determined to jump me in a dark alley and throw me on the ground and into a triangle choke. Krav Maga is simply not a “ground fighting” or grappling style at its core just like it’s not known for its nunchaku prowess or its numerous throws and joint locks. This is not to say Krav Maga is incapable of addressing this situation at all but simply that BJJ addresses triangle chokes and ground fighting more thoroughly because of its design and goals. Styles can’t be 100% of what students need for every opponent, for every situation, against every conceivable attack. How could they? It’s impossible. (more…)
I love sparring. I frequent /kravmaga and other subreddits on reddit.com where the topic occasionally comes up. In a comment last month, for instance, I suggested some tips from my experience in the time I’ve been sparring that got some positive feedback. I’ve brought my tips over to this blog, modified them slightly, and expanded on them.
Now, admittedly, I have a long way to go before I’d consider myself proficient but I think I’ve been learning enough to contribute a couple of tips. Of course, the vast majority of the pointers below come from the instructors. I’ve hung onto them. They’re gold. The other few are my personal observations, usually as the result of doing the opposite and paying the price somehow or another. (more…)
Everyone has a plan until they’ve been hit.
~ Joe Lewis
I don’t know how long you have trained, how big/strong you are, how vicious a fighter you are but I can tell you this: you can get beat up. You are not invincible. Your martial art is not perfect nor have you perfected it. It has likely prepared you for defending yourself better than the average person, especially if it’s a RBSD style like Krav Maga, but you are not invulnerable. That’s right. I said it. I don’t know you but I can tell you with complete certainty that you can be beat. You can be hurt. You can lose a fight. (more…)
About a year ago I posted a list of techniques that I been taught by that point. I haven’t been keeping track with pen and paper since then (so this may be missing a lot) but what follows is an updated list for those keeping score.
- Left Straight Punch (jab)
- Cross-Body Punch (cross)
- Uppercut (left and right)
- Hammerfist to Side (with and without pushing/eyes closed)
- Forward Hammerfist
- Left Hook
- Spear jab
- Palm Strikes
- Bobbing and Weaving
- Focus Mitt Combos
- Advancing Punches
- Receding Punches (more…)
“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…)
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…)
In the time I’ve been learning Krav Maga I have realized that there are two primary variable in a partner that come into play when you are working together: aggression and the amount of control they have over their bodies and movements — coordination.
Aggression is that pure “lightning in a bottle” that we all like to develop in training that allows us to go from zero to hero in no time flat. Some people have a huge amount of aggression that they can tap into and bring into their training, even when they are on the verge of exhaustion. I like training with these people as it helps desensitize me to getting hit but also inspires me to try harder. Some people have very little of this and just go through the motions. Class to them is almost an aerobics class with pads. They mimic behavior in class and don’t really put much oomph into it. These people can be very frustrating to partner with as it sometimes can rub off and cause you to not try as hard or to feel almost guilty when it’s your turn and you want to pummel.
Self-control is a hugely important concept that so many people I’ve partnered with just don’t get. Sure they can go all out but without proper coordination and control of the movements can be a real walking danger. Many White Belts are in this category but with the right mindset they rise above it to some extent or another to become someone you enjoy partnering with. I’ve partnered with a lot of students in this category and very much was one at one time. The result of partnering with such a person can range from a minor annoyance to real injury. I’ve had broken toenails, countless bruises, and unexpected hits to my neck, head, thigh, etc. when I wasn’t expecting it. It is often followed by a barrage of sorries but fat lot of good that does you when you’re hobbling off to the side groaning “Ow! Ow! Ow!” through clenched teeth.