Thursday, September 19, 2013

October 5th Workshop: Intro to Surviving Close Range Knife Assaults

Recent events, including a 76 yr old women having part of her nose severed in an elevator and a fireman tragicly being fatally stabbed, have highlighted the extreme danger of knife assaults. 

For more information on these incidents visit:

This workshop will introduce you to the problem of knife assaults in close quarters. Topics include:
  • understanding how people attack
  • defending from different angles
  • defending from different positions - standing, sitting, on ground, walking
  • surviving when you have an escape route and when you don’t (e.g. elevator)
 Beginners welcome!
**See poster below for details.  To register online go to:

Thursday, September 12, 2013

5 Tips for Defending Yourself in Small Spaces


Our previous blog outlined the general reasons some attackers prefer small spaces such as elevators, bathrooms, etc...

Besides understanding assailant tactics, we now have to address the question: "What can do we do to avoid/survive assault in a small spaces?

Here are 5 tips.

1. Trust your instincts/logic.  If you feel that entering/remaining in a small space is potentially dangerous then respect this.  If, for example, you are about to enter an elevator with one or more people you perceive as dangerous then don't get in.

2. Awareness. Small spaces don't allow for much reaction time. Be aware of who else is sharing the space and what they are doing. Please look up from your screen/phone.

3. Minimize burdens. Numerous shopping bags, backpacks, etc... hinder your ability to defend and escape.

4. Use Close Range Tools:  Elbows, knees, hooks, uppercuts, headbutts, biting…  Small spaces and leaping spinning back kicks do not mix well. 

5. Use Your Surroundings: In small spaces there is an increased danger of your head or another vulnerable body part being hit against something like a wall.  Better his head bouncing off a wall than yours. 

6. Aggression: Unfortunately, if you are attacked you are going to have to be very aggressive!  Any pretensions of civility go out the window when your survival is at stake.  

We advocate avoidance as the best self defense but assailants can be cunning and we are not always alert.  If you are training in a self defense school ask your instructor to devote class time to defending in small spaces.

Stay Safe,

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto

Image courtesy of maya picture at

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Understanding the Attacker: 3 General Reasons Assailants Choose Small Spaces

At around 2pm, on August 24th, a 76 year old woman was assaulted in an elevator at Dundas Square.

For details go to:

Besides highlighting the disturbing reality that assaults can happen anytime/anywhere(not only during late hours or in discrete locations) this horrible incident also points to the problem of defending in small spaces. 

 Some examples of small spaces include:

·      Elevators
·      Parking lots (close to a car)
·      Public or private bathrooms
·      Hallways
·      Home invasion
·      Public Transit (subway, streetcar, train)

Why Small spaces?

Here are 3 reasons an attacker will choose a small space.

  1. Discretion:  An elevator, even a public bathroom, is an opportune space for an attacker to isolate you.  An elevator in motion, for instance, does not allow for escape or access to help. 
  2. Control:  Small spaces allow him more control as it forces physical closeness and limits access to escape routes. 
  3. Limited Mobility/Reaction Time:  The attacker knows a smaller space means there is less room to move.  There is little or no chasing and your reaction time is severely reduced.   

Assaults in small spaces are particularly challenging due to limited mobility, escape routes, and access to help.  Our next blog will offer some tips on protecting yourself in such settings.

For more insights into assailant tactics go to:

Stay Safe,

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto