Saturday, 19 July 2014

Locks and controls

We've all used the classic arm up the back technique to subdue a sibling or friend when we were younger.  Most of the time this control relied on force to manoeuvre the limb into a position of discomfort.  It's a classic with the police, where you see them have to really wrestle to get that on tight and there usually requires more than one officer to do this.  The ideal way to learn locks or restraints is via a lock flow.  The lock flow is MEANT to be a logical way to learn and practice a series of locks in an intelligent way.  As the person tries to get free from one lock you simply flow into another.  In the real world nobody is going to offer these locks on a plate so you really need to mix them in with your striking curriculum.  If you strike and gain an attachment then you have a greater chance of applying a successful lock.  If the opponent then gets free, move into the next lock or strike and try and regain control. Like most things in a fight it's just going to happen.  You will find a lock if the time is right. Don't go searching for one as you won't get it.  It's the same as a takedown, just let your training take over, and if it's meant to be, the body will find a lock or takedown amongst the strikes.  For most of us we don't need to lock or control we can simply strike and exit. However, if you are in a security role then you may have to subdue, and striking may not always be an option.  In these cases it's even more important for you to work on locks.  I remember Eyal Yanilov (head of KMG) showing me a lock flow.  I asked why he didn't teach it as part of Krav Maga, and I think he was dismissive of it, as he explained it would take time and in Krav Maga you often only have people for a short time and controls may not be time best spent for them.  If you do have time, and it's part of your job, then make the effort and educate yourself.  

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Out of the zone

When you come into the gym, whether it be for CrossFit, Krav Maga, kickboxing or MMA, there is a chance you are going to be the new kid in class.  You might already be an active individual who is accomplished in your specific field, but when you come to learn something new then maybe everything feels awkward and clumsy for a few sessions.  Embrace that feeling - you are learning and that is what you are there to do.  It's meant to be a challenge and nothing worthwhile in life is easy.  Don't look for excuses, suck it up, work hard, progress and embrace.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014


Always keep in mind when you are training that the strikes you practice are potentially lethal.  When you use your elbow, which is one of your strongest strikes, you can feel the raw power.  Obviously you need speed and timing on your side to connect, but if you make contact in the facial area then that person is more than likely going to have to visit the hospital.  The bones around the cheek and eye socket are quite fragile and your crushing elbow could be devastating.  You need to keep this in mind if you ever need to deliver strikes for real.  Only do what you have to do and if you can talk it down or exit before it goes physical then that should be the game plan.  There are lots of people who have hit someone only once and they have fallen and died from concrete poisoning.  And never confuse sport fighting with self defence.  What you see in the ring isn't fighting.  Generally if you aint getting paid to trade blows then when you hit someone they will move in the direction of the force.  Keep all this in mind when you practice.  Train smart and remember you are all students of movement. 

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Invest in some basic tools of the trade

Just like any sport or past time, if you want to train in KM properly you are going to need to invest in some kit.  Some basics I would never do without would be gum shield and groin guard.  £20 all in I bet.  Keeps the Hollywood smile and baby makers intact.  Next up a set of gloves. Sports Direct has a huge supply of them for about £15 for a set of 12 oz or 14 oz boxing gloves. More than adequate for what we need them for.  Keeps your wrists safe and the other person's face looking good. The classic cheapskate idiot line I get all the time is "Well I won't be wearing gloves in the street".  In the street your will never be hitting as often as you will be when you work the pads.  Also, I would get a jump rope.  Get one and cut it to size.  You will skip faster, warm up quicker and won't spend valuable minutes going back and forth trying to get a size that suits.  Its not a lot of cash when you compare it to swimming (shorts and goggles), football (boots, shin pads and strip) or climbing (chalk, chalk bag, harness, shoes).  So get saving or get buying and enhance your experience.  

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Common object defence

Last week we talked about using the hammer strike.  Now let's make it more effective, and think about common object defence.  Pick up a pen and think about how much more effective that hammer strike will be.  Remember, you can't carry a weapon in the UK and if you intend to carry anything that you intend to use as a weapon, it will make it a criminal offence. However, there are pens lying about everywhere and you can carry one wherever you go. Think about the pen being a force equalizer and it can make someone smaller safer against a larger meaner opponent.  Get a cardboard box and practice your striking on that.  Realise the damage that can be done, and then keep that in mind and the force ladder in a self defence situation.  

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Hammer Strike

The downward hammer strike is a great effective strike suitable for everyone and it takes very little training and not much in upkeep to be very effective.  Remember, we are striking with the soft fleshy part of the hand.  Make sure it’s a big overhand motion as this will shrink under stress.  It’s a large bludgeoning motion and is great for knocking hands or arms out the way to open up access to the head.  People like it as they can deliver a lot of power with it and it can build confidence quickly.  Imagine someone grabs you - why bother with a wrist release when you can hammer down on their arm if the situation requires this level of force? At the end of the day nobody should touch you, but you must be mindful of the force ladder. 

Saturday, 26 April 2014

The beauty of the Headbutt

Looking for a fast and effective pre-emptive strike? Then think about the headbutt.  Use in a situation where there is a clear path.  If the attacker has his hands up then probably not a good idea unless you are going to think about barrier removal.   You're going to be releasing adrenaline, so the brows will drop to protect your eyes from danger.  Just think about pushing you head forward into the centre of the opponent's grid.  Don’t draw your head back to get more power - you don’t need it. If you strike, do it with the top of the forehead.  After you use this, follow up with appropriate strikes or exit quickly. Remember, its going to give you a bit of a sore head as well.  It’s not a strike for everyone so think about ways to practice.  Just butt your head gently against a punch bag to start with then progress onto harder surfaces.  You’ll get an idea pretty quickly if it’s for you or not.   Remember the force ladder and the law regarding self defence.  

Saturday, 19 April 2014


A lot of the martial arts world is overly concerned with stances.  In Krav Maga as well we refer to a certain stance as a 'general outlet' stance. Who in their right mind still says this as it means nothing to anyone in English?  Clearly something was lost in translation.  It's like how most Krav Maga gyms refer to wrist locks as 'cavaliers' as Imi called them this. It means nothing, and if Krav Maga is meant to be progressive why do people not re-name things?  I don’t teach much in the way of stances.  You have a passive guard and a guard position.  One is defensive and looks like you are de-escalating and the other is for full on combat.  What people need to realise is that when you spar in Krav Maga class this has very little to actually do with an actual confrontation. It's alive - moves more, has more dynamics, multiple opponents and weapons.  You want to be able to move left and right quickly so think more about how a basketball player player moves.  Want to experiment? Then simply watch two people spar then add in another two attackers and watch how the movements of the defender totally change. Keep in mind as well, your confrontation could take place in a bar and you don’t have time for stances as you typically think about them.   

Stances are good in traditional arts as they teach you movement and weight distribution for striking. However, we are trying to get people effective quickly and then get them in a comfortable position from where they can strike and move.  Don’t be too rigid with it all.  

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Mental visualisation

If you cant make training then sit at your desk, lie in bed or on the couch and set up a self defence scenario in your mind.  Work through it from start to conclusion with as much detail as possible.  Start running through it slowly then repeat and make it faster and faster.  The more detailed you can make it the better.  There are optimum times to do these things, which I find are just before going off to sleep or just when you wake up.  This training is almost like when you play Xbox and when you get killed you jump or your reflexes kick in. The mind is easily fooled and this sort of thing can benefit your training no end.  It’s a common method used by track athletes. On many occasions their heart rates are up to what they would be if they were running and they are actually perspiring.  So if, one day, you cant make training or you want to supplement when your bored sitting at your desk, get right into this training. 

Sunday, 6 April 2014

WOD's for the week - enjoy

Strength: push press 3x3
10 min AMRAP
6 pull-ups 
12 thrusters (40/30)
18 double unders (54 singles)

Strength: back squat 3x4+
EMOM for 12 min
10/8 KB SDHP
10/8 KB goblet squat
10/8 KB swings

Strength: none
Fight Gone Bad-ish
4 rounds, 1 min each station
Wall ball
Power clean (60/40)
Box jump
Push press (30/20)
-1 min rest at the end of each round-

Strength: push press 3x3
3 min med ball clean
30sec rest
3 min MB thruster
30sec rest
3 min MB sit-up

Strength: back squat 3x4+
Deadlift (80/60)
Box jumps
100m run between rounds 


Partner WOD. Bring friends!