Can Krav Maga help against a vehicular assault?

Attackers in London used a van to mow down pedestrians. A psycho in NYC followed the voices in his head to run over folks in Times Square. Terrorists in Germany, France, Canada, Israel and US are using vehicles to cause damage, chaos and instill fear. According to the FBI, the tactic has gained popularity because “Vehicle ramming offers terrorists with limited access to explosives or weapons an opportunity to conduct a Homeland attack with minimal prior training or experience”.

So the question remains – can training in Krav Maga be of any value when the weapon being used weighs a ton and moves at 80mph towards you?

The answers lie within the testimonies of those that survive the attack and left unscathed. One such dramatic account was from a female survivor in London who was on the bridge. In her CNN interview She recalls “I saw the van heading my way, the driver looked demented. I saw his eyes. There was a couple behind me. They were moving slower than me. They were speaking French. I’m not sure what I did but I got out of the way and the van hit the couple behind me”.

This is a prime example of a Krav Maga concept that we constantly hash, discuss and train for. The concept of BEING IN THE MOMENT – being aware. The level of details this woman remembers, the look in the drivers eyes, the slow moving couple even the language they spoke all point to a super high level of awareness.  She could hear, see and react to a rapidly changing environment. Also, her muscles didn’t fail her – physical conditioning plays a huge role in what your body can actually do in times of stress. How far you can jump or how fast you can move will make all the difference between “hit” and “not hit”.

To further drive the importance of being in the moment, the French speaking couple, which, according to the account, had more time and more space to react – failed to do so.

So the answer to the question can training help in case of a car terror attack is ABSOLUTELY it can. Give your mind the tools to be in the moment, practice quick reaction and nourish your muscles with the workout they need to be able to produce movement explosively and never be caught off guard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Be More Aggressive

By: Matan Gavish
There are many reasons New Yorkers come to Krav Maga Academy. There are the obvious reasons, getting in shape, meeting new people, learning a skill that might save your life. These reasons are all wonderful and are important on your journey to self-empowerment.

But we know that there are deeper more primal goals you come to class, and these have nothing to do with how many calories you’ve burnt or which choke or bear-hug escape you have mastered. It does, however, have everything to do with your underlying desire to be stronger – and not just on the outside. You want to be able to meet any curve ball with the confidence of a true “Alpha”.

There are many ways to call it: Aggressive, Assertive, confident, in control. It is important to stress that these qualities are not a function of how you see or treat others, but rather how you see and treat yourself. If you found yourself going along with something you preferred not to go along with, because of how you thought it would affect others, or because of how it would reflect on you – it is a first sign you need to start practicing “soft aggression”.

Soft aggression is the ability to consciously decide and control every aspect of your life. It is deciding what to do as well as deciding what not to do. What to give, what not to give, without feeling guilty, uncomfortable or awkward.

The first habit you must develop is saying no. An alpha cannot be convinced into doing anything. People have a tendency not to take no for an answer. It is true for sales people, our friends on a Friday night and violent predators. Society made it ok to keep pressing after hearing the word no (Think of any romantic movie where the guy ignores the girl’s no only to charm her by the end of the movie) – and many of us have accepted it as ok. If you can point to a time in your life where you said no but ended up engaging with whatever you initially refused to – you are displaying beta/follower traits and you are letting others be in control of your fate. Some may find this idea comforting, others will find it terrifying. So going forward, start practicing saying no and make sure that no is firm and unwavering. No need to give excuses when you don’t want something to soften the blow on the other side.

For example:

There is a difference between “No – I am not interested thank you” and “I want to but I can’t because of X, Y, Z…” – The first leaves no room for discussion, no cracks in your shield. The second – an open invitation for rebuttal, convincing and negotiation.  If you find yourself negotiating something you don’t really want – you didn’t say no, you said maybe.

Once you have mastered the power of NO, start engaging in the power of “I Can and I Will”. I can and I will are the backbone of overcoming any hardship, be it financial, entrepreneurial, medical, professional or athletic. If the No is your shield, I can and I will is your spear. It is the mantra that will crack through any difficulty, shatter any fear and eventually propel you to the heights you desire. The best plans in the world are useless without I can and I will. And greatness can be achieved with very little resources because of I can and I will.

Use these tools wisely and learn Krav Maga to protect your body and mind from those who don’t take no for an answer.

The Krav Maga Philosophy

By Matan Gavish

 

The Krav Maga philosophy is what separates it from any other traditional or competitive martial art. It can be summarized by the sentence: “Do whatever is needed to cause as much damage as possible to your attacker and get away safely”. That is it. It is as simple and ruthless as it is efficient. Unlike traditional martial arts Krav Maga makes no attempt to transform you into a spiritually enlightened warrior. You will not get bonus points for being graceful in your movement or for remembering a choreographed form perfectly. Krav Maga is ugly, not graceful. Practicing Krav Maga will not make you a champion, a gold medalist or a winner in any sanctioned event. In fact deploying Krav Maga techniques in any legal competitive setting will get you disqualified and possibly arrested.

Krav Maga was designed for one thing only- Self Preservation under real street violence. It ignores any legal definition of “self-defense”, which vary from one locale to another. The concept of self-preservation in Krav Maga is primal, aggressive and animalistic. Its simple mantra states that in order to survive a violent attack you should cause nothing short of severe injury or death to your attacker. The moves of Krav Maga are easy and based on the practitioner’s already existing instincts.

“What are the rules of Krav Maga?” – I have posed that question to thousands of first-time students over the years and received hundreds of answers. Can you think of any rules? You might have guessed – it is a trick question! Indeed in its core Krav Maga has no rules. In boxing – it is forbidden to kick; in Muay Thai – it is forbidden to grapple; in Jiu-Jitsu – it is forbidden to bite your opponent’s face – but in Krav Maga there is no “forbidden”, there are no restrictions and no limitations to your violent response. If it can cause real damage to your attacker – it is acceptable, encouraged and practiced.

Every technique in Krav Maga must satisfy 2 conditions – It must be both simple and effective. The Israeli military demanded a system that can be taught quickly to soldiers and that when put to the test will work under any threat and in any condition to ensure the combatant’s safety.

Techniques that in other fight forms are considered “dirty”, “unspotrtsmanlike conduct” and “cheating” are the basis to most of Krav Maga attacks. As a Krav Maga practitioner you should not strive for a “fair” fight or an honorable performance. Your only objective is maiming your attacker and getting home safely.

Matan Gavish Krav MAga

5 Simple Principles of Krav Maga

By: Matan Gavish

Krav Maga is an Israeli military self defense system which was originally designed to help save the lives of young soldiers in battle. It has gained tremendous popularity among fitness enthusiasts in NYC because of its simplicity, effectiveness, and explosiveness, not to mention the added benefit of teaching you to protect yourself from harm.

Since the moves revolve around leveraging your entire body to achieve a certain result (an injury against another person), there are fantastic fitness benefits that come from this use of force, and natural movements of the body. Krav Maga is a natural form of movement, built into our fight versus flight instincts. These instincts are within us, we just need to know how to activate them, and act with confidence in order to elicit the most accurate results against our attacker.

Training in Krav Maga will give you strength, confidence, and help you to increase your endurance. With so much violence in the world today however, it is increasingly important to know how to protect yourself no matter what situation you are in. Here are the five most important things to remember if you find yourself in a violent situation:

1. If you can – run!

There is no shame in escaping violent situations. This should always be your first choice.

2. Aim low.

If running is not an option it’s time to hit back. Hitting the groin (on a man) is a great way to drop an attacker quickly. Use everything in your arsenal — kicks, knees, strikes, and even bite! A man’s privates are so sensitive that hitting it with moderate strength could cause complete incapacitation, enabling you to flee the scene after a single blow.

3. Aim to inflict damage, not pain.

Since individuals’ pain tolerance varies, don’t attempt to cause “pain” to an attacker. Instead, strike parts of the body that will easily break with intent to cause damage and restrict movement. Pain is subjective while damage is objective. The easiest soft spots to strike are: Eyes, nose, jaw, ears, throat, groin, knees, and the Achilles tendon. Aim for the targets you can see and easily reach.

4. Don’t stop until they drop.

One of the most important concepts of Krav Maga is “Retzef.” Retzef is the Hebrew word for “combination of strikes.” It means that you should keep on attacking soft spots continuously and aggressively until your attacker cannot hurt you anymore. Do not trust one punch or one kick to magically solve the problem.

5. Train, train, and train more.

Everything is easy in theory, but being able to execute effectively under pressure and fear requires training. There are many training programs out there, but when shopping for one, make sure it mimics real-life situations, pushes you to your physical limits, and that your body understands the movements. A strong mindset and a well-trained body are very hard to stop once activated.

krav maga nyc

How to Handle Krav Maga and other Athletic Injuries

How to Handle Injuries
We all have been there. Doing something we love and all of a sudden we get hurt. Your doctor tells you it will take 4-6 weeks to heal. If you ski, dirt-bike, play basketball, practice Krav Maga, BJJ, wrestle, run or even yoga, the risk of injury is always there, threatening to kill your buzz.
Our hobbies can take their tolls, from muscle soreness to broken bones, from fancy bruises to torn ACLs to concussions. there are so many ways our bodies can get out of whack and it usually happens the exact moment we feel invincible and immortal.

So what do we do? Find a different hobby? Stop training? Accept our mortality? Not train for months and start from scratch?
Not necessarily. An injury can actually be the best thing that happened to your athletic lifestyle. Here are 5 things you should be doing while injured:

1. Get better at your sport

I remember when I was diagnosed with severely torn ligaments on both wrists I thought my Krav Maga and fitness lifestyle was done. But instead of stopping altogether and becoming a chubby accountant I decided to turn this into an opportunity to excel in other areas of my passion. I couldn’t strike which meant I had to make other weapons better. I began sharpening my kicks, elbows and footwork while working towards recovery. By the time my wrists healed the rest of my game has improved dramatically and actually made me a better athlete.
Broken Leg? Train your arms, core and balance.
Broken arm? Time to increase flexibility, range of motion and positioning.
Nasty bruise? Stop being a baby come to the gym

2. Recognize the effects on your mental state
Nothing hurts an active person more than being stationary. To me the realization I couldn’t do something hurt significantly more than the pain of the actual injury. This feeling can have a detrimental effect on your mood and confidence and can prevent you from ever doing the things you love most-again. Before getting back into training take a moment to appreciate your mental fortitude. Make an active and conscious decision to have this injury be only a set-back, a hurdle, a bump-in-the road. Know that an injury does not define you, only challenges you and believe that in the process of healing you will bounce back stronger than you were prior to it.

3. Make sure you have a path to healing
Our body has a passive ability to heal, however the process can be significantly shortened with an active plan. Reach out to the best professionals in your circle. Your coach (who probably have seen it before), your physician (make sure they are sports oriented doctors), your sports physical therapist and your own research. Read about your diagnosis, educate yourself, see who was able to beat it before you and how. To me the biggest game changer was being exposed to experts in myofascial release treatment. Once you plan how to heal – walk the walk. Strengthen the injured areas, regain your mobility and get back in training.

4. Be smarter than your ego
I have seen countless of athletes experiencing a debilitating injury and deciding the best therapy is to ignore it, suck it up and keep going. This is actually worse than doing nothing. If you put more strain on an already injured area you will make it worse. This will set you back longer and might actually push you past the horrible point of no return. Be smarter than that – focus your energy on proper healing and working around the injury without worsening it.

5. Read
Being slightly less physical can give you the so needed time to nurture your brain. Any athletic field has a physical side as well as a spiritual/theoretical side. Take this time on the bench to know more about your sport. Its origins, philosophy and the different approaches to it. Learn about technological and scientific advancement that can make your experience that much better when you come back. (new snowboard designs, better fitting rash-guards, the latest in running shoe tech). By keeping yourself immersed in the concept of your sport it would be as If you didn’t take a break at all.

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Krav Maga Academy on Sports Illustrated

How I learned to kill in five moves—and got a killer workout to boot – Jamie Lisante for Sports Illustrated

There’s only one rule in Krav Maga: There are no rules.

The only objective is to cause as much damage as possible to the attacker—and get away.

“Every other form of martial arts has limitations—you can hit in the head, but no groin; you can punch, but you can’t bite in the face,” says Matan Gavish, a former Israeli Special Ops soldier who owns the Krav Maga Academy in New York. “But even those trained at the highest level still feel vulnerable when it comes to the world of no rules.”

Used in Israeli military training since the 1940s, Krav Maga (pronounced krahv ma-GAH) is only concerned with causing damage—don’t confuse that with pain, Gavish warns. Physical suffering is subjective. Each individual feels pain differently and tolerance can change based on many factors, including fitness level, adrenaline, drugs, alcohol, genetics, mindset and more.

But while our perception of pain may vary, you and I share the same soft spots—the eyes, nose, ears, jaw, throat, groin, pubic bone, knees and Achilles tendon—and that’s where maximum damage occurs.

Earlier last month I joined Gavish, a few staff members and more than 30 men and women at a typical Monday evening class at the Krav Maga Academy. Unlike some Krav Maga classes, fitness is a central theme throughout the entire session at the Academy. And it’s not because Gavish wants you to cancel your gym membership.

“When you get attacked, you get scared, no matter if you’re the greatest fighter in the world or a kid that just left the sixth grade. And when you get scared, your body goes into the flight-or-fight mode,” says Gavish. “You get a shot of adrenaline, heart starts to race, mouth gets dry and your knees buckle. And if you don’t train under those conditions, you’re not training for real life.”

From the first buzz of the timer set on the black mat-covered floor, we start with a high-intensity warm-up: a series of non-stop jumping jacks, high knees and butt kickers with simultaneous arm swings combined with some punching sequences. In between the upper cuts and jabs, we drop down to the floor for a quick push-up followed by plank holds, side kicks, lunges and more. With each completed rep, we add another until we’ve reached 10. Did I mention this is the warm-up?

Dripping sweat, I’m very aware that Gavish’s goal of raising my heart rate and exhausting my muscles has been met. Now it’s time to learn how to cause maximum damage.

“Aggression drills are designed to get your mind ready for combat after exhaustion takes place,” says Gavish. “When fear hits, it paralyzes. But it is not infinite. With training, you minimize that space between paralysis and fear and your reaction.”

To refrain from giving readers any information without proper instruction, I won’t go into the details of some of the aggression drills. But if I performed a specific move correctly, the attacker could suffer a blow to the groin, gouged eyes, a broken nose or even a fatal injury in seconds. The physical drills also translate directly into the mental aspect of Krav Maga.

“Twenty people are holding you against the wall and then I tell you to try for two minutes to get out—you’re going to fail from the first second,” Gavish says. “The physical goal is to get out, but that’s not the reason why we do the drill. I want you to fight through failure. Were you able to get out with 20 people? No. But if you take all of that energy for 20 people, how much are you going to put on one person?”

Though mindset is key, building fitness—as for any sport—is equally important. UFC fighter Moti Horenstein is known to be vocal about the benefits of Krav Maga and Gavish says the conditioning can help in various sports, as well as in real-life situations. To build strength, Gavish suggests shadow boxing with free weights, short sprints for explosiveness, plyometrics and resisted rotational movements for strong hips and abdominal muscles.

After just one session at the Krav Maga Academy, it’s easy to see why this type of “contact combat” is habit-forming for many.

“Professional athletes spend time on strength and conditioning, so when their adrenaline drops, they are used to working on pure exhaustion. In Krav Maga we try to emulate the same situation, to teach mental fortitude,” Gavish says. “After a while, your mind views an intimidating person as a collection of soft spots—I’m just looking at a groin, two knees, a pair of eyes, a throat. That’s it.”