Monday, June 24, 2013

From Bad to Worse: The Secondary Crime Scene.

"There can be no good outcome from a violent criminal wanting to spend private time with you." Rory Miller 

Criminals might commit an assault to take your property - money, possessions etc.  Other assaults might erupt from anger, shame, or ego - so-called "crimes of passion".

Then there is an even more disturbing kind of assault. This is committed by the person who isn't seeking possessions or acting in the "heat of the moment". 

Violence is not a means to his end.

He covets violence for its own sake.  He might take your money or express rage but these don't reflect his primary impulse.

To feed his violent impulse he must take you somewhere relatively private.  So, he pulls you into the more isolated alleyway, off the running trail, into his vehicle, orders you by knife or gunpoint to come with him...  

As terrified as you might be you cannot go with him.   What would follow would likely be the stuff of our worst nightmares.  

Fight. Don't leave the first scene.  

Stay Safe,

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Defending on the Ground: 8 Training Tips

Many assaults end up on the ground.  The assailant has taken you down, you have fallen, or perhaps you were already there (in bed during a home invasion, relaxing outside…). 

Krav Maga training devotes significant time training students to prevent, defend, and get up from the ground.  To become proficient you need to develop various aspects of your "self-defense skill set".

Here is an overview of  8 training tips to improve your ground skills. 

  1. Practice Prevention  It is not always possible to avoid going to the ground but work on prevention techniques such as "sprawling" as much as possible. 
  2. Break falls  Falling hard can be the most dangerous part an assault (e.g. smashing your head on a hard surface)..  Learn how to fall to prevent serious injury and to defend against subsequent attacks. 
  3. Protect Your Vitals  If the initial attack is followed up with kicks, punches... you have to protect your head, ribs, etc….
  4. Releases You might have to escape a choke, headlock, or wrist hold.  Learn how to release from these holds. 
  5. Learn to get up – quickly!  Practice getting up as fast as you can.  Ask your instructor for tips. 
  6. Bridging:  If you want to throw off an attacker you cannot rely on your upper body.  Learn to use your hips, along with relevant releases, strikes etc.. to give you a fighting chance.
  7. Learn to Fight Dirty.  An attacker might have a grappling background or simply be bigger, stronger, faster.  Bite, spit, pinch, poke, twist, …break all the rules!
  8. Ground Exercises.  Develop a routine to develop your core and improve your mobility on the ground.  Ground fighting is exhausting so continue to work on your stamina. Yes, I hate burpee jumps too!
Avoid going to the ground but train for the ground - just in case. 

Stay Safe,

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Disarming an Attacker with a Sharp Weapon: Only if Necessary!

Surviving assaults with sharp objects comprises a regular part of our training.  Such objects, after all, are readily available.
  • Knives
  • Utility knives
  • Broken bottles
  • Screwdrivers

An armed attacker is obviously extremely dangerous.  A stab or cut can disable or kill.  Escape is your best option. (note in video above that IKMF Director, Avi Moyal is not disarming)

Why do we advocate escaping rather than disarming?  Here are 4 reasons.

  1. Speed:  Blocking or deflecting and incoming arm is extremely challenging.  Controlling is more difficult – even for the best trained in the world!
  2. Unpredictable:  The attacker can stab and slash from various directions and angles, to different parts of your body.  You don’t know.
  3. Time:  Disarming takes time (even a few seconds is too long), time that you are preoccupied with one person and limiting your environmental awareness. (e.g. of other attackers).
  4. Getting Close:  The more we are engaged with an attacker at close range the more things can go wrong.  Disarming when you can escape increases the risk of injury or worse.

There are times when disarming is necessary – no escape routes, protecting others…   Accordingly, we prepare you for these circumstances. 

In light of the immense difficulty of disarming, avoid if possible. 

Stay Safe,

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto

Monday, June 10, 2013

Striking and Choke Releases

At times we understate how an efficient strike(s) can save our life.

A well-placed strike to a vulnerable part of an attacker can be the difference maker.  Besides the physical impact, his ability to adapt his can be severely disabled.  

This certainly applies to escaping various chokes and holds. One example is release from the front choke. Plucking the attacker's wrists with speed can open up your airway. (see above video)

There are times, however, when stress and/or the assailant's brute strength makes this very difficult. 

This is where striking matters. A knee or kick to the assailant’s groin can help loosen his grip as his focus - even for a split second- is on his pain. 

This moment might be enough to save your life.

Stay Safe,

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto

Monday, June 3, 2013

Workshop "Defending on the Ground" June 22nd

Many assaults happen on the ground.  Perhaps the assailant attacked while you were napping, enjoying the sun…. Most often, he knocked you down or you lost your balance and fell. 

 You are in a very vulnerable position as an attacker (or attackers) can assault you in many ways. 

This workshop will focus on:
  • Effective ways of getting up
  • Escaping chokes and holds on the ground
  • Defending against strikes on the ground 
Beginners are very welcome!  Please bring indoor running shoes.

To register online go to:

Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto