Friday, February 27, 2015

Pain Free Krav Maga by Moshe Katz

Moshe teaching Jenna. We teach them how to avoid getting hurt.

There is an old saying, no pain no gain. There can be many interpretations to this.
Indeed it is true that whatever you want to accomplish in life will involve some sort of pain; you want a college degree, you will have to make some painful sacrifices. You may have to cut down on your regular work, reduce your work hours and income, stay up late at night, miss some great parties. This is all painful but it is a pain you are willing to endure in order to earn your college degree.
Having a family also involves painful sacrifices. You do it because you love having a family.
Martial arts training is no different. To achieve your goals you will have to make some painful sacrifices.
And then of course there is some physical pain. No matter how careful we are there are going to be some bumps and bruises along the way, it is inevitable. You cannot learn to ride a bike without falling down a few times.
However, there are types of pain that must never happen.
There is a myth that for training to be good, people must get hurt. I could not disagree more. Many styles of Krav Maga thrive on this image. We do not. One instructor told me that for a seminar to be successful he wants everyone cursing his name. I pray that never happens with me.
I believe that one need not brutalize their students during training in order for the training to be effective. Our results have proven this time and time again.  We have numerous examples of first time students using their techniques successfully in real life cases.  None of them have ever been hurt during my seminars.
No one comes to Krav to get hurt. They come to protect themselves from being hurt.
No one comes to Krav to get bullied. They come to protect themselves from the bullies.
Bullies do not make good Krav Maga instructors.

Craig Gray teaching a young student at a Her Survival Guide Woman's Empowerment Course

There is always a chance that at the higher levels, with more intense training there might be some bumps and bruises. In all my years of training I have never seen terrible injuries resulting from this, nothing more than some soreness and bruising.
But there is no room for dislocated shoulders or broken bones during teaching demonstrations. Teachers must be gentle, we have nothing to prove.  There is never a reason or any justification for hurting a student.
Remember, no one came to Krav classes to get hurt, they came to learn how to avoid getting hurt.

Written by Moshe Katz  - Israeli Krav International Head Instructor - Maaleh Adumim, Israel 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Approaching Obstacles in Your Path


Long ago a king had a boulder put in the middle of a well traveled road, then he hid, waited and watched to see if anyone would remove the rock.

Some of the king's wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many blamed the king for not having the obstruction removed from the road keeping it clear for travel, however none of them did anything about moving the boulder off the road either.

One day, a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. When he came up to the boulder, he laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing, straining and sweating he finally succeeded.

After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables he noticed something. A purse was laying where the rock had been. The purse had many gold coins in it as well as a note from the king saying that the money was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway.

The peasant learned what many never understand, that every obstacle presents an opportunity for us to improve our condition. The opportunity often comes after a certain amount of struggle, sweat & sacrifice.

To learn more about Turning Conflict into an Opportunity join us at our next PeaceWalker Course:

Click here for more info and to register 

Keep going,

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Stop, Think & Pray

When teaching physical defensive tactics we spend a lot of time on the portion of an interaction we call "The Approach." The Approach is simply when two (or more) people come into one another's space. It's conversational distance. It can range between hugging distance to upwards of 20 feet. The general distance is about 3' to 6' apart.

Many people don't understand the importance or correlation between physical positioning and movement when it comes to conflict communication skills. Verbal communication without proper positioning and movement during potential conflict changes the effectiveness and safety considerations for both parties which can substantially alter the engagement. (Probably a good subject for a future blog post!)

The method that we typically cover to give people a basic familiarity of tactical body positioning is:

1) The "fence" position*: Feet shoulder width apart, knees relaxed and slightly bent, hands in a position to be non-threatening, yet tactically useful. 

2) The "interview" stance:  Feet in an "L" position lined up heel to heel with the rear foot positioned about one shin's length from the front foot, knees relaxed and slightly bent, hands positioned in a non-threatening yet tactically adventitious position. Dominant side is typically back so as to keep ones weapon away from the other person as well as angle body to be less threatening, offer smaller target and improve maneuverability. Distance between you and the other person is about one arms length away, take or give depending on the situation. 

While in one of these stances, sometimes people don't know how to hold their hands, so here are some basic ideas to help:

Stop,Think & Pray

Single hand "stop" position while in the interview stance.

 Two handed "stop" hand posture while standing in interview stance.

"Thinker's" hand/arm posture while standing in interview stance.

 "Pray" hand posture while standing in interview stance.

*Bonus* "Directing Hands" or the "Vanna White" hand position.

Each of these postures are designed to keep your hands in a (defensively and offensively) functional/tactical position between you and the other person, while at the same time appearing non-threatening.

When using these hand positions stay relaxed and flexible. "Talk w/your hands," so to speak. Keep space between you and the other person/people. When possible, you should remain slightly off line from the other person.Your hands are there to act as a physical barrier as well as being in a position to block, strike, grab, access weapons, tools, keys, cell phones, protect others, etc. when needed. As the person who you are facing moves, so should you. Make sure to keep an eye on PCI's or Pre-Contact Indicators, which are "red flags" to watch for to indicate when someone may become physically violent toward you or someone else.  

When using directing hands don't look toward what you are drawing the other persons attention to, rather, keep looking at them while you direct their attention elsewhere. Think misdirection like David Blane the famous magician does when he wants the audience to look at something other than where the trick is really being done. 

These tactics are simple, but still require some practice to do and make look natural. 

So play with them and keep training!

If you are interested in learning tools like this and much more, consider joining me for my 4 Day Intensive Essence of Krav Maga Course!

All the best,

*I believe Geoff Thompson coined the phrase, "Fence Position" but the position itself has been around since we have had bodies.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Clarity, Confidence & Consequence


...That You Matter: Because when we feel that we don't matter, or that something, someone or some group matters more than us, we often think, say & do things that are out of balance, unhealthy, disrespectful and violent.

...That EVERYONE Else Matters just as much as you: Because when we think we matter more than others, we often think, say & do things that are out of balance, unhealthy, disrespectful and violent.

...The YOU part is NOT your actions, beliefs or values. The YOU we're talking about is your LIFE VALUE - Everyone's Life has value and that value is Separate from their Relative Beliefs, Values & Actions.


...That there is NOTHING you or ANYONE ELSE can do to take away your value, so there is no need to worry about it, argue over it, try to manipulate, intimidate or hurt others to get it, because you already have it. No one can take it away from you! If you resort to arguing, manipulating, intimidating, hurting others to feel as if your life has value, then you need more clarity and confidence.

...In your skills because in order to walk in peace and not be a victim nor bully, the more skillful you are, the smoother you can navigate the challenges you'll face... and there will be many challenges.

...That you can't MAKE others do what you want, you can only provide OPTIONS and have a PLAN if things don't go the way you want. Oh, I should mention that the more you stick to the idea of Most Good / Least Harm for EVERYONE, the easier it will be to both stay on track and persuade people to do as you ask. 

...True Confidence is quiet, gentle, fair and giving because it knows that it doesn't have anything to prove and can do what is necessary when needed.


...because everything in life has Consequences. Simply said, have a plan on what YOU'RE going to do if things don't go the way you were anticipating, rather than getting into a power struggle with someone trying to make THEM do what you want.

...Focus on the Solutions, the Big Picture, What You CAN Do, and What the Next Step is that will get you closer to that "bigger picture" rather than fixating, holding on to, or agonizing over the way YOU think things "ought to be," rather than how they are. The more you attatch to "ought to be" the less tactical you will be and the more suffering you will cause. 

Keep going!