Friday, June 29, 2012

Escaping Chokes: 8 Points to Save Your Life.

Chokes are a very primitive form of attack.  They are also very dangerous as they can cut off air and blood supply to the brain leading to you to pass out or even die.   Even the relatively peaceful city of Toronto has seen its share of assaults involving chokes.  Accordingly, our Krav Maga self defense classes devote significant attention to this topic. 
Some of the points we stress to our Krav Maga students:
  • Your priority is getting air and blood flow. 
  • Use a “plucking motion” (rather than a grab) to release the choke. 
  • Pluck as quickly as possible – time is limited and speed creates the necessary power to release the grip. 
  • Pluck close to the wrist for best leverage. 
  • Strike a vulnerable point (e.g. groin) as soon as possible (this can significantly help with choke release!) 
  • Only release the plucked hand (s) the instant you are striking.  Don’t forget that the attacker is determined and possibly very skilled.  
  • As his grip releases strike, and, if possible, leave.  (If you are in a contained space e.g elevator you will have to continue fighting.)  
  • As you escape scan the area.  NEVER assume the assailant is alone. You also want to locate exits or find weapons of opportunity if you cannot leave.
Of course, our self defense training stresses prevention – using leg, hand, and body defenses, to prevent an attacker from establishing a choke hold.  There are, unfortunately, times when we are caught by surprise or overwhelmed.  When this happens, a fast and aggressive response can save your life.

Stay safe,

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor and Owner
International Krav Maga Federation(IKMF), Toronto


5 Common Objects for Self Defense

Since our Krav Maga self defense classes focus on everyday situations we always consider the various environments we find ourselves in.  Part of this involves identifying common objects you can use to defend yourself. 

Whether you are in Toronto or anywhere else in the world these
5 common objects can be used to thwart an assault. 
  • Coins: Throw them to distract.  You won't necessarily hurt the assailant but you might buy some time to escape. 
  • Coffee and other drinks:  Hot liquid will certainly hurt.  Cool or lukewarm will distract. 
  • Cup, water bottle, or thermos: A metal thermos can be especially effective.
  • Chairs/Small Tables:  These can be used to shield yourself, creating space between you and the attacker.
  • Briefcase, backpack: Also shields. 

Please feel free to contact us with questions or comments.

Stay safe,

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor and Owner
International Krav Maga Federation(IKMF), Toronto


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Self Defense Awareness: 4 Reasons to Survey Your Surroundings

If they ever design a talking Krav Maga instructor action figure (I don't anticipate this by the way) one of the phrases you will here when you pull the string is "Scan!"  Our self defense instructors in Toronto and Oakville emphasize the importance of scanning your surroundings.  It is a difficult habit to develop as most students focus exclusively on the attacker(s).

Here are 4 reasons we tell you over and over to scan, scan, scan , scan.........

  1. More Attackers?:  Don't assume your assailant is alone. Look around for his "friends".
  2. Environmental Dangers: Successful self defense means getting home safe.  Don't be exclusively focused on the attacker and, for example, run into busy traffic or off a subway platform. 
  3. Exits/Escape Routes:  If you haven't already, now is the time to look for an escape route.  Why successfully defend a sudden knife stab only to put yourself in a corner where you have to engage the attacker again?
  4. Common Objects: Look for objects you can use to defend yourself (chairs, bottles, rocks, household items...)

Yes, students will get annoyed by our "broken record" message but scanning is a skill that can save your life.

Stay safe,

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor and Owner
International Krav Maga Federation(IKMF), Toronto


Abduction Prevention: 5 Practical Self Defense Tips

In May 2011, a woman was walking along Lakeshore Avenue in Toronto when two men tried to pull her into their vehicle.

Thankfully, she escaped.  Such incidents reinforce our efforts to teach our Krav Maga students various self defense techniques to avoid abduction.  Here are some general tips:

  • Walk facing traffic. Encroaching drivers are more visible and have to turn their vehicle around to follow you.
  • Maintain distance.  If you are giving directions, for example, do so from a distance.  Do not approach the vehicle or walk to a more private area. 
  • Don't let communication or music devices impair your ability to spot danger
  • Travel light:  Carrying heavy loads slows your escape. 
  • Be aware of escape routes.   
Of course, there are situations where an abduction attempt is unavoidable.  These call for quick and decisive actions that we train our students to perform reflexively and effectively. 

If you any questions about this topic or any other self defense issues please feel free to contact us.

Stay safe,

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor and Owner
International Krav Maga Federation(IKMF), Toronto


7 Tips for Safer Public Transit

Many of our students travel by public transit – the TTC, and GO transit – and have questions around practical ways to travel safely. 

From time to time, people who use public transit can fall victim to some form of violent assault.  These can range from verbal assaults to being mugged, beaten, or worse.  In October a Toronto Star article addressed the issue of sexual assaults on the TTC.
Here are 7 tips for traveling safely.
  • Assaults can happen even in the presence of other commuters.
  • Avoid wearing headphones.  They undermine your awareness. 
  • Be aware of the people around you. 
  • Be discreet about valuables (cash, credit cards, iPads)
  • Be discreet about personal information (home address, hotel information if you are traveling, etc)
  • If someone is making you feel uncomfortable avoid getting off at the same stop.
  • If you are being harassed inform the driver, or other Transit staff. 

Also, if you are taking self-defense classes (or plan to do so) ask your instructor to offer scenario training (i.e. what to do if someone tries to hit you while you are sitting on the subway). 

Travel safe.  

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, Owner
International Krav Maga Federation (IKMF), Toronto