Friday, April 26, 2013

How to Progress as a Krav Maga Practitioner

“We first make our habits, then our habits make us.” 
John Dryden

There are times when we become impatient with our progress – our fitness level, learning a new technique, or test results.

We all want to improve but like many things in life this is achieved through consistent and focused effort - an essential reminder in a time of crash diets, get rich quick schemes, and many avenues to instant gratification.  

Here are 6 tips to help you progress:

Fundamentals:  Punching, kicking, getting up from the ground, plucks, etc……  Not as exciting as gun disarms or knife defenses but they are essential to your progress.  Students who are only interested in armed techniques tend to quit and re-focus on video games while those who want to work on every aspect of their skill set tend to stick around and become increasingly proficient. 

Isolate and Focus:  Perhaps you perform an excellent pluck release from a side choke but your sidekick would harmlessly deflect off a flamingo’s knee.  Focus on the sidekick.  Don’t avoid your weaknesses.

Always be a student: Whatever your skill level you need to train with someone with more knowledge than you.  Otherwise you stagnate, or worse, regress.  Besides Krav Maga experts observe other self defense systems (a skilled boxer, for instance, can teach you a lot), talk with people who have been involved in real life conflicts, and chat with fitness professionals. 

Progress Before Ego:  Don’t be afraid to say “My front rolls suck!”  Once you have stated the obvious and reset your shoulder ask for help and practice.  Becoming a versatile Kravist is more important than protecting your pride. 

Consistent Practice:  It is generally more effective to train once or twice a week over the course of a year than to take weeks off then to cram in eight classes a week for a month.

Maintain/Improve Your Fitness Level:  Eat well (avoid donuts), get adequate sleep, improve your cardio, strength, speed, and flexibility.  Mental toughness is essential but will be restrained by a poorly trained body.

Consider where you want to be in 5 years, 1 year, 6 months……. and take the steps to get there. 

Stay Safe,

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto

Monday, April 22, 2013

Workshop: Defending in Close Quarters, May 11, 5-7pm

Beginners welcome!

$40/person  - to register online go to:
To register online go to:

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto

Friday, April 19, 2013

Learn Krav Maga Self Defense - Everywhere!

Krav Maga is designed to adapt to various circumstances in various settings.  We generally train in studios but we don’t limit ourselves to these places.  Why? Assaults can occur anytime, anywhere.  

Here are some of the places you can learn Krav Maga.

Your Office:  Many of us spend a significant portion of our lives at the office.  Learn viable escape routes, common objects in the office you can use to defend yourself with, defending in a setting with chairs, tables, cubicles……

Your Home:  Home invasions are particularly disturbing because they occur where you should feel safest and might involve vulnerable people you care about – spouse, kids….  Learn how to escape, use common objects and prepare your family.

Public Transit, Cars and Parking Lots:  On the subway, streetcar, train....   Road rage, carjacking, underground/above-ground parking lot assaults.  There are many ways to better prepare and defend in these settings.

Restaurants, Cafes, Bars:  Owners, employees, patrons have trained in these settings that can be crowded and include many obstacles – chairs, tables etc…

Schools/Campus:  Students learn to protect themselves in a setting where they spend much of their time. Bullying, campus safety....

Outside:  Parks, parking lots, anywhere.  It is beneficial to train where you have to consider sunlight, various surfaces (gravel, grass, stairs, snow…), outdoor clothing……

Essentially, Krav Maga can be taught everywhere.  In fact, we recommend training in as many settings as possible.

After all, we don't choose where assaults happen.  

Stay Safe,

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto

Friday, April 12, 2013

6 Ways Ego Can Hinder Your Progress as Student and Instructor

"You can accomplish anything in life, provided that you do not mind who gets the credit." 
-Harry S. Truman

“Bravado may stir the crowd, but courage needs no audience.” 
― T.F. HodgeFrom Within I Rise: Spiritual Triumph Over Death and Conscious Encounters with "The Divine Presence"

It is important that as Krav Maga students and instructors we have a sense of pride and accomplishment about what we do.  Over the years, however, I have seen some instances where "ego" has hindered the development of students and instructors.

The crux of the problem is a preoccupation with the perceptions and behaviours of others and a need to promote the self.  Often, it stems from poor self confidence.

Here are some "ego-induced" pitfalls to avoid:

  1. Comparing Your Progress with Others:  Inevitably, it seems, people will aim their criticism at someone who is readily climbing the grading ranks.  Jealousy?  An abstract sense of injustice?  Whatever the motivation it distracts from your progress.  Focus on what you need to do to improve.
  2. Seeking Recognition:  If you are good your skills will speak for themselves.  Promoting yourself  comes across as insecure.  
  3. You are Not Listening!:  If you are perpetually sharing your wisdom with the world you are not listening.  There are some insightful people out there.  For the love of Pete shut up for a second and listen.  
  4. No Shortcuts:  Some people want to fast-track through the rankings.  Others want to focus on gun defenses before they know how to punch, escape a wrist release, or spell Krav Maga.  Develop your fundamentals, be patient, and donate your Steven Seagal DVD collection.  
  5. Politics:  Don't get me started!  Every organization has political issues.  You need to be assertive but you also need to focus on why you are there: to teach/ learn how to survive real life situations.  If you are preoccupied by various political issues you will be distracted from your goals.  
  6. Forgetting Your Limits.  Krav Maga does give you the tools to better protect yourself.  Don't forget, however, that as resilient as we can be we are all vulnerable.  Under the right circumstances (luck, surprise, mental mistake etc) even the most skilled Krav Maga trainer can fall to an untrained assailant (e.g. think surprise knife assault).
One of the lasting images I have of our Director, Avi Moyal, goes back to our CIC instructor training years ago.  It is the image of Avi listening to a group of instructor candidates relaying their experiences as law enforcement officers and offering their ideas about what they found effective.

Avi simply asked questions and listened.

A great example for instructors and students alike.

Stay Safe,

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto