Tuesday, January 29, 2013

5 Benefits of Private/Semi-Private Self Defense Training

The majority of our students participate in group classes.  There is, however, a growing number who are opting for private sessions (1-on-1) or semi-privates (2 or more people).

Why?  There are many reasons but here are 5  of the most cited benefits of private/semi-private training.

  1. Flexible Scheduling. Perhaps your schedule does not allow you to commit to ongoing group classes.  Private training allows for more flexible scheduling.  
  2. Meeting Your Specific Goals:  Individually, or as a group, you might have a specific set of goals you want to achieve.  Privates/semi-privates are designed to identify and meet these goals.  
  3. Focused Attention:  You have the full attention of the instructor so you can work together to focus on what you need to become more proficient.
  4. Reinforces Group Training: Some students want to delve more into what they learned during group classes. We have students, for example, who want to work through a technique or exercise they find especially challenging.   
  5. Fun with family/friends/co-workers: Self-defense as a bonding experience?  You betcha.  What brings people closer than defending their punches or escaping their clutches?  People who associate outside of training also have the opportunity to practice outside of the studio - further reinforcing what they learn.  
People have different lifestyles and learning styles.  Private and semi-private training offers you another way to meet your training needs.  

Check out our private training packages at:

Stay Safe,

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

5 Ways Get More From Your Self Defense Training

As a student, you want maximum benefits from your self-defense training.  Like many people you want a sense of progress, and, of course, the confidence that you could protect yourself when it counts.  Let's hope the latter never happens.

Krav Maga is an easy-to-learn system but training can be challenging as you might have a busy life and some techniques are more difficult to learn than others.

Here are 5 way to get more from your self defense training:

  1. Ask Questions.  Understanding the what, why, how of techniques and tactics is key to becoming more proficient.  Ask questions before, during, and after class.   Also, email and call as questions come up.  (p.s. If a self- defense situation comes to you in a dream please wait until morning to call).
  2. Consider out of class learning tools.  There are decent DVDs, books, Youtube videos etc... that can reinforce your learning.  Ask your instructor to point you in the right direction.  
  3. Focus on fundamentals.  If time allows, blend in basic self defense movements into your workout routines.  Punches, kicks, elbows, choke releases......   You might receive strange looks from  fellow gym goers or other bystanders (I certainly do) but you will progress.  
  4. Visualize.  Imagine various situations throughout the day.  What would happen if....?   Try to imagine the solutions.  Ask your instructor if you can explore these situations during class.  
  5. Offer suggestions.  Self-defense instructors are there to improve your self defense skills.  Feel free to offer suggestions around improving your training.  A dedicated school will encourage your input and accomodate (within reason of course).   

Remember the school and its instructors are there to give you the skills to defend yourself.  Make suggestions, offer ideas, and ask for help.  

Stay Safe,

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Self-Defense and Foreign Travel: 5 General Reasons You Might Be Targeted.

Since many of our clients travel for leisure or work, questions naturally arise about safe travel.  Their concerns are well-founded as you can be targeted for various forms of assault.

 "Why," clients ask,  "would I be targeted for assault?"  

Many factors are at play but here are 5 general reasons.

  1. You are visiting a place that is unfamiliar to you.  Assailants prefer the naive - at home and abroad. 
  2. You might be targeted as a person of wealth.  Perhaps you are well dressed, wearing jewelry, engaging in expensive activities, staying at at an expensive hotel.  Obviously, there is nothing wrong with your behaviours but they do suggest you have something worth stealing.  
  3. Political motivations.  You are part of a government or corporate organization deemed to be undesirable.  
  4. Sadly, women can be targeted in any environment.    
  5. Random - wrong place, wrong time.   Sometimes there is no reason.  

As misguided as they are it is important to understand some of the factors that play into who assailants target.

Next week we will look at some steps you can take to be safer during your travels.

Stay Safe,

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto

Monday, January 14, 2013

5 Reasons I Love Teaching Krav Maga

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. Confucious

Occasionally, people asks me why I teach Krav Maga self-defense.  After all, people like to know what motivates or inspires someone to pursue a certain vocation or calling.

Well, I am happy to say there are many reasons. Here are 5 of them.

  1. Infinitely Interesting:  There is always more to learn and more to teach.  I can't get bored!  
  2. Its Meaningful:  It is rewarding to help people become more confident, enjoy themselves in class, and learn some potentially life saving skills. 
  3. Great Students.  Self-defense is a brutal topic but the students who take are classes are not.  I have the pleasure of teaching people from all walks of life who are enthusiastic, intelligent, and respectful.  We don't attract maladjusted meatheads looking for a "fight club" - a great relief!
  4. It's Practical:  I love Krav Maga's focus on real life situations.  
  5. The International Krav Maga Federation, IKMF:  I have the opportunity to work with some of the best Krav Maga people in the world such as Avi Moyal, Amnon Darsa, Megan Kaddouch, - who continually innovate our programs and ensure instructors and students are provided with the best possible training.  Other instructors (locally and globally) are supportive and happy to assist with teaching or business advice.      

Yes, running a business can be stressful.  Yes, instructor training makes you wish you had a third lung. All small prices, however, for the privilege of teaching Krav Maga. 

Stay Safe,

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Corporate Training and Self Defense: Getting Started

Businesses are diversifying their wellness programs, offering activities and services such as; yoga, mindfulness, Zumba, massage, team sports, counseling.........

Not surprisingly, there is a growing demand for self defense training.  People want the security that comes with understanding how assaults take place and, of course, how to avoid, escape, and defend.

Here are some of the issues that businesses have brought to our attention:
  • safe travel to and from work
  • parking lot safety - particularly underground parking
  • women's self defense
  • safe international travel
  • unarmed and armed theft and assault
  • hotel safety
Your first step, through general discussion or a formal survey, is to ask employees and management what self defense/safety issues matter to them.  

The next step is to schedule a free consultation. Establish a dialogue with the Krav Maga organization to develop a sense of how their services can address your specific concerns.  

If you are convinced they can provide what you need then you are ready to schedule your first session.
To get more information about our corporate training packages please feel free to contact me.

Stay Safe,

Christopher Gagne
Owner, Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto

Image courtesy of Ambro at

Thursday, January 3, 2013

January 27th Workshop: Escape and Evasion

Avoidance, we stress to our students, is the best self defense.  Sometimes, however, we can be surprised or in a situation that is not "avoidable".

The next best option escape and evasion.   

This workshop will focus on giving you the skills to:
  • identify and reach exits
  • use common objects to distract, defend, then escape
  • defend (strikes etc..) in most effective way to facilitate escape
  • speed up your decision-making process
  • improving your assessment skills
  • escape from standing, sitting, in small spaces
  • escape from weapons assaults
Some tips for escaping:

 This workshop is open to all levels and is interactive - questions are always welcome.

Wuxing Martial Arts, 374 Dupont St., 2nd Floor
Sunday, January 27th, 12-2pm
$40/person (registration deadline is January 24th)

**please bring indoor running shoes

To register online go to:

Please feel free to contact me with any questions you might have.


Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Being Right vs Being Safe

“A power struggle collapses when you withdraw your energy from it. Power struggles become uninteresting to you when you change your intention from winning to learning about yourself.”
- Gary Zukav, best-selling author.

Consider carefully the consequences of being "right".
-Christopher Gagne, "aspiring" best-selling author"

Practical self defense goes beyond physicals tactics and techniques.  Practical also means making decisions that get you home safe.

There are many instances when we witness, or are subject to, behaviour that is unjust, that "should not happen."

Here are some I have "witnessed":
  • someone throwing garbage out of their car or on the street
  • a driver giving you "the finger" for driving too slow (sorry I don't like to rush unless I am late)
  • someone insulting you or someone you care about
  •  a person cutting in front of you to get on the subway or in a long lineup (a daily occurrence)
  • someone damaging or stealing your property

In all of these cases, you can easily argue that the person(s) "should not" be doing what they are doing.  In other words, from an ethical standpoint, they are in the wrong.

From a practical standpoint, however, you need to consider the probable consequences.
For instance, what happens if you chase down the biker gang and chastise them for throwing beer cans on your lawn?  You would be in the right legally and ethically but you will not likely change their actions.  You stand a very good chance, however, of experiencing some serious hurt or disappearing.

Let's consider an event that happened to me. 

Many years ago(when I could stay awake past 10pm), in a city far away, I was dancing with someone and noticed a group of guys glaring at me.  My dance partner informed me that I had transgressed some primitive macho boundary (e.g "You dance with my girl me bash you good"). Ooops.

I decided it was time to go.

Some of my friends were upset saying we "shouldn't  have to leave", it was a public place......and so on.

My friends were right.  I had a right to be there and their sense that the woman I danced with somehow belonged to them was offensive at many levels.

Practically speaking however, I knew that if I stayed for another 20 minutes or so a brawl would ensue.  Some practical concerns crossed my mind.

  • fighting leads to pain, injury, even death, therefore avoid if possible.
  • going to jail isn't fun, going to the hospital isn't fun, going to funerals isn't fun.
  • there were 6 of them and 3 of us
  • my friends can't fight (they didn't know it at the time)
  • the perturbed group of men did not seem to be in the mood for rational debate
  • there are other more hospitable places to enjoy the rest of the night.  

Begrudgingly, my friends went along with my logic and we enjoyed the rest of the night.  

Of course, there are times when we must risk ourselves to be right.  There are many people doing this everyday, fighting for human rights, animal rights and many other vital causes.  These people are courageous and inspiring. 

My point is that you have to weigh carefully the consequences.

Pick your fights wisely. 

Stay Safe,

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto