Thursday, January 30, 2014

February 22 Workshop: Escaping Grabs and Holds

On Saturday February 22nd we are offering a workshop "Escaping Grabs and Holds".  Many assaults involve the attacker trying to control you by grabbing, holding, even choking.  It is vital to get out of their grasp as soon as possible.

This workshop will help you understand some of the more common holds and how to escape. 

3:45 - 5:45pm - 2156 Yonge St.   $40/person

To register online visit:

Monday, January 27, 2014

February 1 Workshop, 3:45-5:45pm Intro to Surviving Armed Attacks

On February 1, we are offering a workshop focusing on giving you the basic skills to survive an armed attack:
  • sharp objects (knives, broken bottles.....)
  • blunt objects (hammers, pipes...)
  • hand guns
The aim is to give you a better understanding  of how assailants use these weapons and what you can do (or not do) to save your life.

Price is $40    To register online please visit:  

For more information please contact Christopher Gagne at 416-657-1028 or

Monday, January 20, 2014

Krav Maga Training: Working With Your Current Fitness Level

One of the most frequently expressed concerns about self defense training is a person’s fitness level - or lack thereof.  This is expected as self defense training is physical and does involve fast movements, coordination, and stamina.  Also daunting are the YouTube videos and other media images that feature extremely fit people performing techniques at high speed.

Be assured that your fitness limitations will not prevent you from learning self defense.  In fact, we are adamant that self defense should be accessible to everyone.   Of course, we encourage you to improve your fitness but we will work with “where you are” and help you get to a higher level at your pace.

Here are 4 ways to address your fitness concerns during your self-defense training. 

Communication:  Be honest with your instructor and other students.  If an exercise is beyond your current abilities please tell your instructor.  To improve, you need to challenge your fitness limits but not risk injury or being so stiff and sore you can barely get out the door the next morning.

Modifications:  Very difficult exercises such as “burpee jumps” and dynamic push ups can be modified to easier versions such as simple squats and wall push ups to accommodate your fitness level.  Over time you will be able to perform more challenging versions. 

Repetitions.  Some students can do 60+ consecutive push ups while others struggle to do 10, 5, or 1.  Take stock of where you are and build slowly and consistently.  One of our students began with 4 push ups.  Eighteen months later she can do 20 consecutive push ups.  Impressive!

Patience.  It can be frustrating to struggle through a handful of jumping squats while the person next to you is at 30 and still smiling!   Remember, you are not competing with other students but are striving to improve your self defense skills from class to class. 

It is natural to have concerns and insecurities around your fitness level.  Work from your existing level to gradually improve and don’t let your fitness limitations discourage you from learning skills that can save your life. 

Be safe, 

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto

Monday, January 13, 2014

The “Knockout Game”: Assaults as Entertainment

 Recent years have witnessed numerous disturbing reports of a growing phenomena in the United States known as "the knockout game."  This “game” involves punching people with the aim of knocking them unconscious.  In most cases, the victims are surprised or simply don't see the assault coming.   After all, who expects to get punched during the course of an average day?

 “Knockout” can happen when you are walking by yourself or in public places with numerous witnesses.  Reports of such assaults on busy sidewalks, subway platforms, in shopping malls etc... are not uncommon. 

Such attacks are extremely dangerous.  The initial impact and the subsequent fall - especially if your head hits a hard surface -can inflict serious damage or even death.

Similar attacks, “sucker punches”, have always been around but the difference here is that the assaults have been formalized into a game, a competition.  Many assaults have been recorded then distributed -  a morbid form of entertainment. 

There are some general habits to blend into your life to minimize your vulnerability to such attacks.  Of course, being aware of your surroundings is important.  Self defense training, particularly training that involves defending from various angles and directions, can be a life saving investment. 

We don’t want you to be paranoid, to walk with your head on a swivel.  Rather we want you to be aware, to prevent, to defend, to get home safe.

Be safe, 

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Student/Instructor Dialogue: Essential for success

In her book Persuasion, marketing expert and Dragon’s Den co-star Arlene Dickinson highlights the difference between business people who listen to their prospects/clients and those who dominate conversations by pushing the benefits and qualities of their service/product.  Dialogue and monologue, respectively.   Dialogue, she rightly points out is more effective in establishing and sustaining a relationship with your client.  How else can you understand the needs and wants of your client?

Dickinson’s sound advice should be embraced by self defense instructors.  Some instructors follow the Monologue model taking their expertise as license to talk and not listen - or rarely listen -to their students.  In extreme cases, students passively listen and follow direction.  In other situations, students might ask questions but are not encouraged to do so.

The Monologue is very limited because the student’s experience is minimized or even dismissed.  The result is that their voice, their opinions, ideas, feelings etc...  are not respected and remain unknown to the instructor.

This is a serious hindrance to students learning.  Here are 4 reasons... 

Respect:  Ever sit with someone who dominates a conversation, focusing on himself and all of his wonderful qualities and his knowledge base?  Yes, you have. Did you feel respected?  Do you want to spend more time with this person?  I don't.

: How do you know if the student is enjoying your class?  Sometimes, students will simply tell you, or their body language will be obvious.  Why not offer students as many opportunities as possible to communicated their enjoyment (or lack of) of your training?

Needs: Every student is unique and your students will have various questions, aptitudes, limitations and learning styles.  If you are too busy talking you won’t learn what your students need to become better practitioners and to enjoy their experience. 

Diversity Evokes Interest. In university the classes I enjoyed were the ones that invited interaction.  Even if you didn’t want to talk it was comforting to know you could and it was refreshing to hear other voices, opinions, and voices.  Long and arduous were the sessions where the professor poured out his knowledge to a passive and often disengaged group of students.  

Encourage dialogue and your students will be more engaged and become more able practitioners.

Share your experience as an Instructor, Student or both.  We are keen to hear your views!

Be safe, 

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto

Dickinson, Arlene. Persuasion: A New Approach to Changing Minds.  Toronto: Harper Collins Publishers Ltd., 2011.