Wednesday, March 27, 2013

We are Specialists not Generalists.

From time to time people will ask: "Why should I come to you when a fitness club such as Goodlife offers a variety of programs for similar cost?"

In a previous blog I partially addressed this line of questioning (see but would like to elaborate with some examples.    

A business such as South St. Burger Company, Gourmet Burger, for example are specialists.  They are not competing with the likes of Denny's, Montana's, The Keg, all restaurants that offer more menu items.  

Yet, the specialized companies seem to be striving.


When you want something specific like a burger you will likely think of, and go to South St. rather than Montana's.  If you want coffee you go to Starbucks rather than Druxy's Deli. 

If you want practical self defense you come to us.  If you want an array of fitness programs you go to a place such as Good Life.  

South St. doesn't compete with The Keg.  We don't compete with Good Life.  

Very different markets.  Very different offerings.   Specialist vs Generalist.


Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga Federation, Toronto

Monday, March 25, 2013

7 Things You Need For Krav Maga Level Testing

A winning effort begins with preparation.
Joe Gibbs 

Level testing is a rewarding challenging that requires preparation.  Being organized can alleviate some of the stress and anxiety of "test day".  Here are 7 tips to prepare...

  1. Know the material.  It is challenging enough to perform techniques and exercises.  If you don't know the terminology or the techniques your test will be a long one.  
  2. Rest and eat well.  Drinking the night before.  Running a 1/2 marathon the day before.  Indulging in an "all you can eat" pancake breakfast.  Enjoying a Lord of the Rings marathon the night before.   No. No. No and No.  Go to bed early and eat well.  
  3. Hydrate.  You will sweat.  Bring water.  Minimize your coffee intake that morning.  
  4. Bring your passport.  To test you need an IKMF passport.  If you don't have one ask your instructor.  In Canada they are $45.  $20 for annual renewal.  
  5. Extra tshirts.  Some people sweat when they blink.  A couple of hours of Krav Maga testing might require a shirt change - unless, of course you prefer a soaked shirt.    
  6. Equipment.  Shin pads (for B2 and above), black pants, running shoes, and yes, a cup/athletic support.  

I know this sounds "new age" but enjoy the process(I won't say "journey").  Whatever the results, you will improve and become a more accomplished practitioner and person.  


Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga Federation, Toronto

Friday, March 22, 2013

Women's Self-Defense Workshop April 7th

On Sunday April 7th, 3:45 to 5:45pm, we are offering a women's self-defense workshop that will teach you to avoid, escape, and survive, real life self-defense situations.  
  • Escaping grab and chokes - standing, on the ground
  • How to use common objects
  • Defending against strikes
  • How to create and maintain distance from your attacker
  • Defending from a sitting position (e.g. public transit)

Beginners are welcome!  Please bring indoor running shoes.  

IKMF Toronto, 2156 Yonge St. (Lower Level)
Sunday April 7th, 3:45 to 5:45pm(followed by a 30 minute Question and Answer session)


"I was nervous about taking the women's self-defense course at first, but Christopher put me to ease with his friendly nature and encouragement. Through his classes, I learned a lot in a short amount of time."
Erika Bachman, Tutor, Tutor Doctor

To register online go to:

For more information contact:

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga Federation, Toronto

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Workshop: Defending Against Gun Threats (with IKMF Director Avi Moyal)- April 14th

Gun violence is well documented as a serious problem locally and internationally.

On April 14, Avi Moyal, Chairman of the International Krav Maga Federation, (IKMF), of offering a workshop "Defending Against Gun Threats."

This workshop will give you a better understanding of:
  • how assailants use guns
  • how to defend against close range threats from various directions, angles, heights...
  • do's and don'ts of gun defense techniques

Avi's Bio
Avi Moyal was born in 1966 and has been learning Krav Maga since childhood. In 1985 he received his “Expert degree” and joined the IDF Marines, completed his Officers training with excellence, and served as a Platoon Commander in a Terror Demolition Unit. He acquired many combat hours and experience while commanding subordinates on special operations in Lebanon. He served as a Reserves PC in a special operations unit.

Avi Moyal graduated his BA and a trainer’s course. He also graduated the senior trainer’s course in the Wingate Institute with excellence. He ran instructors courses in the Wingate institute for many years, and today he is one of the four leading Krav Maga authorities in the world (Expert level 6). Amongst his instructors were Imi Lichtenfeld RIP, Eli Avigzar RIP and Eyal Yanilov. He instructs women, children and adults in the Israeli private, commercial and governmental sectors. 
Beginners welcome!!

Wuxing Martial Arts, 374 Dupont St. 2nd Floor
April 14th, 12-3pm ($80/person)

Contact Christopher Gagne for details, or 416-657-1028

Limited space available.   Registration deadline is April 13th.

Buy now

Monday, March 11, 2013

Why Do We Focus Exclusively On Self Defense?

"Determine what specific goal you want to achieve. Then dedicate yourself to its attainment with unswerving singleness of purpose, the trenchant zeal of a crusader." Paul J. Meyer 

We teach practical self-defense for real life situations - period.  It is our exclusive focus.   We do not promote ourselves as a fitness club, or offer yoga or other services.

Why don't we branch out?  Why don't we offer more?  Perhaps we would appeal to more people?
Over the years, many people have suggested we offer more services to broaden our appeal, to grow our business.

We promise to do our best to provide the best possible self defense training.  This, in itself, is a monumental task that requires extreme effort, and yes, focus.  People come to us to learn how to survive real life violent assaults. If we don't focus our attention on this task we become scattered and not fully committed to our purpose and our promise.

Besides, there are so many other benefits to learning how to protecting yourself - fitness, confidence, awareness, and, as we have happily discovered, training in a place where people genuinely help each other reach their goals.

Like our techniques we like to keep our offering simple and specialized - self-defense.

Stay Safe,

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

5 Misconceptions About Krav Maga

Krav Maga is generally less known than Karate, Kung Fu, Mixed Martial Arts ( MMA) and other self defense/fighting systems.

With little exposure to our self defense system some people have expressed some misleading views of what we teach and our approach to self-defense.

Here are 5 misconceptions about Krav Maga that I have encountered.

  1. Krav Maga is a "Fight Club".  People are not coming to us to beat each other in a misguided attempt to recover their manhood, or to find meaning.    If so, we politely ask them to leave.  People come to us to learn how to protect themselves, to get home safe.  
  2. We glorify violence.  No.  Quite the opposite.  We abhor violence and genuinely hope that our students never have to defend themselves. 
  3. We are brutish.   Brute force is a last resort.  We advocate avoidance, escape, and when possible "soft techniques"  to prevent situations from escalating.  More brutal techniques are used only when absolutely necessary.  
  4. Krav Maga is only for fit, young males.  Yes we do have fit young males but we also have fit young females, fit older males and females, men and women of all ages who, by their own admission, are not very fit.  We are here to teach you to protect yourself regardless of your fitness level, age, athleticism etc... 
  5. We look for shortcuts.  Krav Maga is a system that emphasizes simple techniques based on natural reactions.  We avoid complex techniques because under stress your coordination suffers - not because we are impatient.  

Stay Safe,

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

20 Potential Questions for P1/P2 Level Testing

Learning Krav Maga self-defense goes far beyond performing various techniques.  You must understand why we execute techniques the way we do, when to use them, and the general principles involved.

Here are 20 questions you should be able to answer by the time you take your test.
  1. Who was Imi?  Who is the Director of the IKMF? (hint: for our April 14th testing Toronto he will be the one standing in front of you).  Who is the Canadian Director?
  2. What is your weight distribution for the outlet/fighting stance?  Describe your hand position.
  3. Why is rotation and recoil so important for punches, palm strikes, hammer strikes, elbows....?
  4. When punching, what part of the fist are you striking with? What is the angle of the fist?
  5. How many elbow strikes are there?  How many hammer strikes?  Demonstrate.
  6. Match the strike with the distance  1) elbow 2)regular kick  3)straight punch  to a)long, b)short, c)medium.
  7. 200% defense? Discuss.
  8. Inside Defense.  Outside Defense.   Define.  Why do we have these options?  
  9. What is a 360 defense?  Why "360"?
  10. Link all techniques with a real life situation.
  11. When defending against a headlock where do we grab?  Why?  Describe how to effectively push back/rotate the attacker's head.  
  12. Preventing chokes.  How does the attacker's distance, hand position, and perceived aggression impact how you prevent?
  13. What is a plucking release?  Why do we use it?
  14. Why do we "scan"?
  15. Getting up from the ground.  Why 3 options for P1?  Identify a real life situation for each technique.
  16. How would you distinguish a regular front kick from a front defensive kick?  Think body mechanics, real life context.  Also, for P2, answer for roundhouse kick.  
  17. What part of the foot is striking when performing a sidekick?
  18. Straight punches: "1.5" and "simultaneous".  What is the difference?  (Please don't say .5)
  19. What is bridging?  Why is bridging so important for ground techniques?
  20. Why do we have "soft" techniques?  e.g. The educational block.  
More to come in a future blog this week!  

Feel free to contact me with any questions.  

Stay Safe,

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto