Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Stress and Real Life Assaults

Assault are stressful events. This is obvious and applies to even to the best trained.  A sudden/surprise assault can effect us in many ways.  A sudden act of violence such as a punch, someone charging with a knife, a sudden grab or choke. or even a yell or scream will induce stress.  

Let's begin with a more general overview of how stress impacts you during an assault. 

Tunnel Vision: Your peripheral and depth perception can be seriously reduced.   Consequently, identifying strikes from various angles and distances is compromised.  Awareness of your surroundings - other attackers, escape routes - can also be limited.  Besides vision, you might not hear shouts, alarms, etc....    Stress, in short, assaults the senses.  

Motor Skills/Coordination: Your ability to perform complex and even simple techniques will be hampered. Striking combinations won't be as fluid, strike defenses not as precise, plucks and hold releases etc will not as sharp.. Weapon disarming, always extremely difficult and requiring precision and dexterity, will be compromised.  

Fatigue:  Under stress blood goes to the organs and away from the extremities.  When this happens your limbs feel weak and heavy.  This means you might tire quickly.  Not good news in a prolonged fight or chase. 

We cannot escape stress or its impact but we can learn to manage it in a way to more effectively defend ourselves.   Accordingly, training must include stress training to help prepare students for real life situations.

Suggested reading:   Facing Violence: Preparing for the Unexpected, by Rory Millar

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

P2 technique: Defense Against Impending Knife Threat (long range)

P2 technique: Defense Against Impending Knife Threat (long range)

Situation:  Person is standing in front of you holding a knife(pointing at you) at stomach level.

1.  Strike the assailant's hand as quickly is possible
2.  As soon as possible kick the attacker in the groin (lean back for a body defense)
3. Recoil kick as quickly as possible, escaping with kicking leg leading you away


The best time to perform a defense is when the attacker is distracted.  If there is not an external distraction then create one.  

Don't telegraph your hand strike.  Your hand should travel in a straight line.  

Be sneaky.  Any advantage (e.g.. discreetly moving striking hand closer to target)

Recoil you kick as quickly as possible - a knife slash to your leg will disable or kill you).  


Saturday, September 12, 2015

September 26 Workshop: Defending in Small Spaces

IKMF Expert Megan Kaddouch defends vs larger attacker

Assaults can occur in situations where escape is difficult - on subways, office areas, elevators...
To survive such assaults you need to act decisively and quickly.

This workshop will focus on various real scenarios and will include:
  • how to use your short range tools (elbows etc.. to defend and escape or disable)
  • defending from a seated position
  • defending near or against a wall
  • escaping to safe places

Here are some tips for defending in small spaces:

Beginners are welcome!

Saturday September 26, 4-6pm
IKMF Toronto
2156 Yonge St. 

To register please contact(inquiries are very welcome):

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Bullying: An Brief Overview

I started visiting schools and talking to kids about bullying and what to do and how to deal with it. I don't think that there is one person who has lived life without being bullied. Everybody gets bullied - whether it's cyber-bullying or to your face or behind your back.

Bullying is something all of us have experienced to some degree.  I certainly did as a child, and to some extent as an adult, as did my friends family, and acquaintances.

Defining bullying is a challenging endeavour.  Barbara Coloroso's offers a concise definition in her excellent book, The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander (2006)   Bullying she writes "is a conscious, willful, and deliberate hostile activity intended to harm, induce fear through the threat of further aggression and create terror." Bullies tend to leverage power based on many factors including: size, age, social status, race, gender...   Bullying can also be a group activity.

There are various forms of bullying.  Below I have outlined three broad categories. These do not have to be mutually exclusive and one form can certainly lead to another.

Verbal Bullying: This is the most frequent form of bullying.  I can involve: name calling, insults, malicious rumours, racial slurs...    As Coloroso writes, "Sticks and stones my break my bones, but words will never hurt me, is a lie." Moreover, verbal bullying can sometimes be a first step to physical violence.

Physical Bullying: Shoving, punching, grabbing, pinching, kicking, taking property such as money etc....  This is the most obvious and the easiest to detect.

Relational Bullying:  This involves attacking the bullied person's social relationships and status. This can involves isolating, ignoring, shunning.  It is more insidious than physical bullying and more difficult to detect.

Cyberbullying:  Intimidation, humiliation, reputation tainting - all via email, and various social media sites.  With the proliferation of mobile devices that is becoming a growing problem.

In future blogs, we will address these forms of bullying in greater detail and explore effective ways of dealing with them.

Stay safe,

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto