The Importance of Hybridizing Training

The Importance of Hybridizing Training

I am both American and Israeli. My entire life has been split between Israel and the United States. Although I was born in Israel, at the age of nine I moved with my family to the United States. Growing up in the suburbs of Austin, Texas I started training in various sports and eventually found my way to Krav Maga and mixed martial arts. When I turned 18 I promptly moved back to Israel to complete my service in the Israeli Defense Forces. As most combat soldiers in the IDF, I was introduced to Krav Maga, a completely different Krav Maga then what I learned back in Austin. The physical difficulty, mental training, and the aggression level was on a much higher level. Krav Maga in the IDF simulated reality and gave me a completely different perspective on my training. Since then, I realized that it is very important to step out of the known and step into the unknown, to hybridize, and to avoid incestuous training.

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Firearm Safety for Krav Maga Practitioners

Firearm Safety for Krav Maga Practitioners

Over the past ten years I have taught Krav Maga in Israel, Europe, North America, and South America. In most of the countries that I teach, the practitioners (ordinary citizens) are not allowed by law to carry firearms let alone use them for self-defense. However, in all of the places I have taught around the world everyone trains pistol and rifle disarms.

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Daily thoughts: the lazy EDC community / Gear based solutions

Daily thoughts: the lazy EDC community / Gear based solutions

I am constantly seeing this phenomena with the EDC (every day carry) community. They will buy every accessory possible for their firearm but will not spend any money on training. It is as if their firearm will magically shoot better with a new trigger and sights. This is similar to buying workout videos to get in shape but never actually working out. Learn to use your firearm as is and then spend your money on items that will give you a slight tactical edge.  

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Hit Here and Hit Hard: Priority Targets

Life is unpredictable. Unfortunately, that means that sometimes you may be put in a dangerous situation where you are forced to defend your personal safety. When this happens, it is important to have some basic self-defense knowledge and techniques at your disposal. In particular, when facing a violent situation, knowing where to make contact with a body can make all the difference.  

In the case that you find yourself the victim of a street attack, you need to know how to inflict as much damage as quickly and efficiently as possible. Knowing the “Four N’s” of contact placement can help you better position your shots and neutralize an attacker in order to give yourself time to escape.

The “Four N’s” of an anatomical target are: 

The Nose

A powerful and well-placed strike to the nose has a good chance of breaking it, which will distract the attacker and give you time to make your next move. Busted noses usually bleed, so when coupled with the swelling and pain of the blunt force trauma, this will impair an attackers vision and allow you to escape.  

The Neck

Necks are a delicate part of the human anatomy, so being able to effectively strike one is a great asset in a street fight. Depending on the force of your blow, injuring an assailant’s neck can result in everything from discomfort and disorientation to unconsciousness and fatal injury.

Even just a well-aimed strike against the windpipe can result in intense pain and panic.

The Nuts

Men, as crude as it sounds, we are talking about testicles. It is well known that a shot to the groin can take even the fiercest man to his knees. So knowing where to aim should be a staple of your defense strategy.

Even a moderate blow to this vulnerable target can cause your attacker serious pain, so a solid strike to the region is one of the most effective ways to take your attacker out of the game.  

The kNees

Although this word technically begins with a “K” word and not an “N”, it’s close enough. Knees are complex joints with many interlocking parts, so a strong kick can be an excellent way to dislocate, disjoint, or otherwise tear this joint. Doing so will cause your attacker to collapse in pain as well as prevent them from effectively chasing you should they be able to get back up and try.

While no one hopes to find themselves in the middle of an attack, knowing basic techniques on how to defend yourself can make all the difference when it comes to your safety. Spend some time learning to understand the human body and where its vulnerable points are. That way, should you encounter a situation where you need to defend yourself, you won’t have to waste time thinking. You will, instead, be in a position to react effectively and give yourself a better chance of escape.

Jessi Devenyns

Tactical Fitness Austin Marketing

Train right, fight easy

My students typically find me to be very OCD with every aspect of training. It's not really that I am obsessive (well maybe a little)  but rather that I firmly believe in training  correctly and safely.

The two main issues I see today with training are the following:

  1. Proper training distance for each technique

  2. Bad attackers

Proper Training distances:

Last week while training bearhug defense at Gabi Noah's gym here in Netanya, Israel my training partner got very frustrated because I would never let her apply the bearhug on me. So why was I being annoying? Every time she came to attack, she started from almost leg length away, with her arms stretched out. So every time, I either just kicked and followed up with other strikes or just pushed her hands out of the way. Eventually, I explained that she needs to start very very close to me where I wouldn't have time to do anything else but the prescribed technique!

Each technique needs to be trained from the shortest distance possible that is relevant to that technique; why?

Many times I see students performing a defense that does not really need to be performed from the distance that their attacker is attacking them (or rather a different technique should be used). For example 360 defenses, where the attacker is initiating the attack form an almost kicking distance away instead of at arm length. So what's wrong here? The student is learning to use the wrong technique for the distance, bad timing is developed, and most importantly the student is developing a false sense of confidence.

How do we correct these mistakes and ensure proper training?

  • Start with correct distancing tactics from the beginning; It starts from the ground up! Teach the student correct footwork and stance so they understand how to close and open distances through their feet. Then ensure that the student knows a how to strike with their hands and legs at each and every distance (with the relevant technique), and more importantly how to transition between these distances while striking. Yes this is a whole lesson; infact I have taught several full length classes on this subject!

  • Train self defense, whether simple inside defense through stick defense, at the shortest distance possible without telegraphing the attack. At first train these techniques only on instructors command so the student can focus just on the technique without the timing aspect. Then let them work freely. ALL WHILE working from the correct distance where there is no other option but to use the defense at hand!

  • Once students know the technique well have them train to the defend the same attack from different distances. For example, overhand stab: the students learned their 360 defense so they know how to defend against a very close attack, now add medium range where they should kick or have time to use an object for cover, then add far away where they can just run! (this can also be trained from far to close).

Bad Attackers:

For the most part we are nice people that do not want to injure our training partners. As self defense practitioners we must understand that the person that is going to attack us on the street WILL try to hurt us or even kill us! What does that mean for our training?

I often see two main problems from attackers (aside from the one discussed above.)

  1. Not actually attacking the defender, "pulling punches"

  2. Attacking the defense

"Pulling punches"

This is often a problem of new students who either do not understand the distance they are supposed to attack from or students who are afraid to hit their partner. How do we solve this problem?

  • Emphasizing to the students that they are practicing their attacking skills (punching, kicking and even stabbing!).

  • Wearing protective gear; gloves, helmets, mouth guards, etc. Even if they hit their partner, they will not hurt them.

  • Checking the attacker; every few repetitions NOT defending. (off course only while practicing slowly)

Note that if this issue is not fixed it will cause both students many problems in the long run. For the defender, primarily issues with timing and a false sense of confidence. For the attacker, problems in sparring and issues with distancing.

Attacking the Defense:

Often times a result of getting into a rhythm or over repetition:

  • When students are practicing and not very experienced they tend to get themselves into a training rhythm, where the attacker is attacking, defender defends and repeat without any breaks in timing. As a result the attacker tends to attack on a rhythm and often times at the defender's defense and not their body. For example: kicking the defender's shin instead of side of the knee or leg while practice round kick defense.

  • Additionally, over training is also a big cause when the student becomes tired of training the technique and no longer attacks properly.

I will leave you with this quote from Bruce Lee:

"Take things as they are. Punch when you have to punch. Kick when you have to kick."

Thank you for reading, 

Ron G. 

Owner | Instructor

Tactical Fitness Austin