Assault, and Worrying for our Children

Many of us train because we want to look after loved ones. We feel that the safety of our families is something that we can control, and so we learn systems of self-defence that give us the skills that we need to influence the outcome of dangerous situations.

Self-defence (specifically Krav Maga, in our case) is like insurance – it’s best to start working with it before an incident occurs. While Krav Maga is certainly meant to be learned quickly, because it is based on our natural reflexes, it nevertheless requires time to master. Advanced planning provides a unique sort of peace of mind. The time to figure out what to do is not when you’re in the middle of a threatening situation, when your physiological and psychological responses are working against you. Consistent training is what stands between panic and level-headed, efficient problem-solving. The earlier you start, the more you know, the more you can do, the better protected you and your family will be.

We worry so much about our loved ones, most especially about the children in our immediate and extended families. We do our utmost to protect children, and for members of our studios, that includes teaching children the skills that they, themselves, need to keep themselves safe in circumstances when we may not be present (at school, on public transport, when out with friends, etc.).

Because this focus on safety, this worry, is so pervasive, we found a recent blog post by a mother who herself experienced assault very poignant. Bethany of Latched and Attached is a well-known blogger who writes candid pieces about the challenges of motherhood…and whose concern about her children’s well-being is one that we all share. She experienced rape almost a decade ago, and its effects continue to impact her view of raising her children. We want to share this blog with you, with the warning that it could trigger strong emotion in many readers and contains mention of sensitive material.

If you, like so many family members, want to live with greater peace of mind and greater reassurance that you are doing everything in your power to keep your children safe, contact us. Our children’s programming deals with real-world problems that occur outside the walls of the studio. We build strong, responsible, self-confident, and safe families, and we begin with children as young as four. As one of our members commented so accurately, “violence is what happens when you don’t train.” We couldn’t agree more.

Please read Bethany’s post here: http://latchedandattached.com/rapeandmotherhood/

The Academy

Injury-Prevention for Fighters

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If any of you in Krav Maga  have ever taken your aches, pains, or injuries to a therapist, you may have found that the demands that you make of your body are not well understood. You may have tried to describe “fighting form” and why it’s so important to you to get back into it, but the desire to push through injury to continue to learn something that you love is not always easily explained.

Disciplines as physically rigorous as Krav Maga can lead to injury if they’re not paired with restorative practices. A close analogy is heavy weight-lifting. The more you do, the more flexibility you need, the more targeted nutrition you need, and the better quality rest you need in order to sustain and maintain your training, and to ensure success. Without even knowing it, those of us who train regularly are making quiet athletes of ourselves each class…and no athlete leaves his/her performance to chance.

We are incredibly lucky to be hosting our mentor in physical well-being, Dr. Kirsten Wishloff, on June 9th. She’ll be joining us for a hands-on, interactive workshop from 7-9 PM at the Mississauga studio. We’re extremely excited because Dr. Wishloff works with athletes of a variety of backgrounds, specifically including those in “fighting sports.” She works on identifying and correcting areas of imbalance that form on account of repeated, typical movements in these sports and ensure that these imbalances do not progress to chronic injury. The ultimate goal is to keep an athlete functioning at optimal levels, and as we begin to use our bodies in more complex ways, that can take specialized help. Dr. Wishloff is an incredible source of information on sports therapies, chiropractic work, acupuncture, and a variety of related methodologies that can improve our health and training.

To help you to understand Dr. Wishloff’s approach, we asked her for a quick interview, which we’ll share with you here.

Why is it important to do sports-specific therapy?

All sport leaves the body with imbalances. To a certain extent, these imbalances actually help the athlete to excel in a given sport. However, the body has a limit as to how much adaptation it can do before structures begin to break down. Pain can be understood as a ‘lagging indicator,’ which means it is actually one of the last signs that there is a problem. Movement and function are used as ‘leading indicators,’ meaning they can identify a problem before it is noticed as pain.

How does this sort of therapy make training sustainable?

The type of therapy required depends on the issues being experienced and the sport. A balance of soft-tissue mobilization, joint mobilization, motor-pattern rehabilitation, and nutrition is a good place to start from a physical standpoint, but there are many other forms of therapy that can be of benefit depending on the issues and healthcare beliefs. Regardless of therapy method, the idea is to catch problems of imbalance before they become problems of pain. This prevention creates healthy tissue and promotes longevity in both sport and life.

What concerns have you dealt with in those who pursue “fighting”/martial arts/grappling, etc?

Common issues in those who pursue combat sport are global rotational imbalances, shoulder stability, hip mobility, and wrist injuries.

What is your general approach when dealing with new clients?

My approach to care emphasizes movement and function. Often if these two things are properly managed, the pain goes away on its own. New patient intakes begin with a detailed health history and an in-depth understanding of past health conditions. I then perform an active movement assessment, followed by a hands-on assessment of how the joints and muscles move passively, without muscle activation. From this information I create personalized plans that grow and change with the individual to ensure their body continues to adapt in a healthy, sustainable way.

How do you involve clients in their own recovery/maintenance/prevention?

The care programs I create are dynamic. They challenge tissues to become progressively stronger and less imbalanced. I typically let my patients use their body to guide how often they come in for care. Not all body’s respond to therapy the same, and there are times when more frequent care is required to get the desired results.

For more information and to register for Dr. Wishloff’s workshop, please e-mail sarah@canadakm.com

The Academy Team

Summer Camp is Coming!

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50 days until school’s out for the year! Are you and your kids ready?

Well, the kids are of course ready, but do you know what they’ll be up to in July and August?

This year, we’re taking a more dynamic approach to our regular summer-camp offerings. In addition to Krav Maga training, we’ll be hosting a variety of fun and exciting activities all focused on building skills, confidence, and a sense of personal development. We’re looking at art, cooking and nutrition, community-building, overall fitness, and more.

We need some help, though. It’s important to us that we know how we can make your lives as parents, guardians, and family members easier. We want this to be a positive and memorable summer for everyone, so we’re asking you to fill out a survey (link here: SUMMER CAMP SURVEY) so that we can organize all of the details and get registration information out ASAP.

Please take a few minutes to let us know how we can optimize the camp experience for your family. Once we have that info, we’ll get registration links sent out in short order, and we’ll be well on our way as an Academy community to giving the kids a camp experience to enjoy and remember!

Best,
The Academy Team

The Science of Saving a Life

cprLearning Krav Maga means that you have an interest in protecting yourself, even in a situation so extreme that it could be considered life-threatening. This is why we train in a realistic, demanding, and applicable way, understanding that the harder we work in the studio, the more prepared we will be for issues on the street. Sometimes, though, saving a life is not about deescalation of an attack; sometimes, the techniques that you need have nothing to do with violence of any kind. We’re talking about CPR and First Aid. Even the most basic elements of this sort of training can save a life, which is why it is so important for us, as a Krav community, to ensure that everyone is properly educated.

As one family in Alberta learned last January, being equipped with the right knowledge can be the difference between a miracle and tragedy. You may have heard the story on CBC of Maslyn Dansereau, whose CPR skills saved her father’s life. She performed basic chest compressions on her father for twenty minutes after he collapsed in their home – what would seem to most of us to be an eternity – before paramedics arrived. All of the medical personnel involved in her father’s subsequent care remarked upon the fact that Maslyn’s use of CPR saved his life. You can read the full (and very moving) story here.

We offer CPR/First Aid training at the studio at least once per year, and we’ll be hosting our next event for adults on June 17th and 18th, 9am-5pm each day. The two-day course is only $80, and we strongly encourage you to attend. You never know where you’ll be when these skills are needed, and you never know who may need your help. Just as we learn Krav Maga to defend ourselves in uncertain situations, so too can we think of CPR and First Aid as “life insurance” tools of critical importance and value.

Please register now for the June 17 & 18 course – spots are limited for certification purposes. E-mail sarah@canadakm.com

 

The Academy Team

 

Anticipating Master Gabi Noah’s August Visit, 2017

Gabi Noah, one of the few Masters of Krav Maga in the world, will be joining us this August to lead three public seminars (VIP Protection, P-Camp, and G-Camp) and one seminar exclusively for our instructors. We’re looking forward to his visit, as always, with a lot of anticipation.

Many of our students have noted in the past that Gabi has a sequential, logical teaching style that breaks even the most complex techniques down into comprehensible steps – one of the many reasons that his seminars fill up so quickly. Training with a Master in the field helps you to focus your own training and strive to improve, and it goes without saying that Gabi’s dynamic, no-nonsense approach hugely motivates us.

As you’ll see, the programming for the public starts on August 24th (5:30-9:30 PM in Mississauga) with the VIP Protection seminar. This seminar is not just of interest to those in law-enforcement or security – far from it. “VIP” in Krav Maga includes any person who is meaningful to us, so if you have family members or friends whom you’d want to protect in a threatening situation, this one is for you.

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The instructor seminar takes place August 25th (5:30-9:30 PM, Mississauga), and is limited to those who have successfully completed their CIC (Civilian Instructor Course) with IKM. Qualified instructors from IKM schools around the world are welcome to join their Canadian counterparts in this seminar.

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On August 26th, the P-Camp will be running from 3-7 PM in Mississauga, followed by testing. On the 27th, the G-Camp will run, also from 3-7 PM in Mississauga, followed by testing. Both of these camps are open to students of all levels, because review, practice, and learning new material are all equally as important.

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You’ll see as well that there is early-bird package pricing until May 31st. This applies to the purchase of all three public seminars. Early-bird pricing discounts do not apply to individual seminars. Because of how quickly Gabi’s seminars fill up, we strongly advise you to register and reserve your spot NOW – e-mail sarah@canadakm.com.

Looking ahead and looking forward to seeing everyone there to welcome Gabi in August!

 

The Academy Team

Gun-Defences and Krav Maga’s Take on Loss of Life

It can be intimidating, especially for us in Canada, where carrying firearms just isn’t a widely accepted way of life, to think that we live in a world in which gun-violence is a possibility.

It’s naturally very upsetting – we all want to live in peace and security, pursuing education, careers, and personal goals without having to anticipate the threat of an attack. Unfortunately, gun violence does occur, and in venues that many of us would not have imagined possible. The crime statistics provided by the Toronto Police Service, which you can access directly here, demonstrate that while some aspects of gun crime have remained fairly steady or decreased marginally, others have increased. Overall, gun-related crime remains an alarming reality.

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This brings us to a key point in Krav Maga. We believe that any major, undesired change to your current lifestyle is a “loss of life.” To us, every statistic on the above chart is critical. A fatal shooting is an obvious and tragic end of life. But, in Krav, we also think about shooting victims who have lost use of a limb, the ability to walk, who have suffered compromise of other faculties, and those who experience psychological trauma – the lives that these people led prior to a violent incident are effectively over. A person in this situation will have to learn new ways of doing things, in some cases find “work-arounds” or alternatives – life will not be the same as it was before. For us, that is also “loss of life.” Survivors are resilient and powerful, no doubt, but they should not have had to alter the course of their lives on account of criminal brutality.

It’s a matter of perspective, then, that we have had potential students criticize the depiction of gun (and even knife) defences on our website or in our videos. We understand that it can be troubling to contemplate violence, and perhaps this is the very reason that some people shy away from realistic training like Krav Maga. As we’ve mentioned in the past, there’s a different mindset among those who do train – we believe that there’s huge value in hoping for the best…but being prepared for the worst. We think of Krav Maga as insurance.

Think about this: it’s mandatory to have house and car insurance. When you purchase a property, and before you drive a foot in your car, you have to have proof of it in writing. Why? You’re a careful homeowner and a cautious driver. You’re responsible and maintain your investments in excellent condition. Yet, you know that it’s not your behaviour, rather the unpredictability of others’, that requires you to secure insurance for your assets. You also know that the time to do this is not after an incident takes place – you need to establish protective measures well in advance. If you wait until something disastrous has occurred, you will find yourself without help and without recourse. Similarly, in order to prevent loss of life – in any form – the time to begin to train to protect it is prior to the experience of violence.

The physiological and psychological stress that a threatening encounter generates is difficult to imagine and harder to express. It’s common for people simply to freeze in violent situations – the mind is overwhelmed and the body cannot compensate. Understanding this phenomenon, Krav Maga helps students to train through physiological and psychological overload – but that requires practice. Even KM, which is known to be a system that can be learned quickly on account of being based on natural reflexes, cannot be mastered in a day. There are no one-hour experts, and that is why, as we said above, you need to begin to train in advance. As with most worthwhile pursuits, appropriate reaction requires preparation.

What we tell our students, new students especially, is that it’s not only permissible, but laudable, to start where you are and build. Better to start at any given point, then practice and learn and improve, than not to begin at all. Every beginner is one less person likely to be victimized, one less person to suffer any form of loss of life. Our philosophy is that if there is gun crime, there is a reason to learn to resist it.

Check out this video on our YouTube channel – a short clip of Rafi demonstrating the importance of several components of gun disarms. You’ll see that he emphasizes body-defence (appropriate movement out of the line of fire) and not using exaggerated, dramatic, or stunt-like reactions. A few excellent points regarding life-saving technique.

The Academy Team

The Ultimate Anxiety-Buster: Educational Blocks

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Have you ever found yourself in a position in which your own sense of comfort and well-being was at odds with social expectations? This has happened to the majority of us at least a few times, and while we dislike the unease that it produces, we often consign these experiences to relative insignificance.  If we’ve had a singularly unpleasant exchange, we may make efforts to avoid the places or persons involved for a while, but we don’t usually go further out of our way than that.

What might a situation like this look like? Perhaps you’ve managed to find a half hour during a particular busy and stressful week to sit down and have a drink at your favourite coffee shop. Shortly after you arrive, an acquaintance sees you and asks if you’d mind if he/she were to join you. You’d love nothing more than that half hour to yourself and your thoughts, but it seems rude to refuse. You acquiesce, losing your alone time, but satisfying social expectations of politeness and friendliness.

Perhaps you’re at a party and you’re introduced to someone new. That someone feels that it’s perfectly appropriate to hug and kiss you on the cheek, which you consider very intimate. In a situation like this, you weigh the value of maintaining your personal space (while risking coming off as aloof and possibly aggressive) against the value of keeping the peace at a friend’s event. In a situation like this, in particular, you have to make a decision in a split-second, and for most of us, the desire to be “socially appropriate” wins out.

These scenarios are manifold – from a salesperson showing up at your door and expecting that door to be opened wide during a conversation, to unwanted (however minor) physical contact, to unsolicited advice, to unwavering eye-contact that you don’t solicit or want to reciprocate. In all of the above cases, there’s a spectrum involved; the offender may be blissfully unaware of the discomfort that he/she is causing, he/she may be fully cognizant of the effect that his/her actions are having and simply not care,  or he/she may be acting purposely and with malice.

The problem, as we see it, is that those on the threatening end of that spectrum benefit from the fact that majority of us will do everything possible – even to the point of our own discomfort – to conform to social norms and expectations of polite, cordial, co-operative behaviour. The drive to be “decent,” “helpful,” and “friendly” is sometimes linked to our sense of ourselves as “good” people, and sometimes to a desire to be liked and admired. Knowing this, it’s easy to understand why we’re willing to compromise ourselves for altruism, popularity, or even a sense of normalcy. It may also explain why statistics on assault reveal that in most cases, the perpetrator is known – to some degree – by the victim. How many of us would fail to let a “family friend” in if he/she were to show up on our doorstep?

What’s the solution? The idea that we need to be paranoid or preemptively aggressive is impractical on many levels. More realistic is to hope for the best in others but be able to protect ourselves from the worst. Of course, one of our most basic fears regarding defending ourselves is the notion that we’ll somehow over react – using force when it wasn’t warranted (perhaps we misread the situation), or using more force than was really necessary. We worry about appearing “nuts” or a “bully.” Educational blocks are the answer in cases like these. They allow us to remain open, approachable, and “socially acceptable” without fear that a) we will have to submit to encroachment into our personal space and b) that we’ll have to act in overly aggressive ways. They pave an excellent middle ground for us.

An educational block is appropriate when preventative measures haven’t worked, but prior to more vigorous techniques being used. In socially awkward situations, preventative measures may sometimes be impossible – you may see your “touchy-feely” colleague approaching you at a meeting, but sidling out of the conference room, clipboard raised as a shield, is unrealistic. There will be times in these “grey-area” circumstances that you cannot “observe and avoid” – here, situational awareness will do you little good. To take this example further, however, neither should you allow Touchy-Feely to take advantage of you – you’re not obligated to allow anyone to touch you without your consent – but full-on defensive techniques would be inappropriate as well. Suffice it to say, taking your colleague to the ground judo-style and pinning him/her there with well executed stress on the elbow and shoulder joints would not exactly be  conducive to office productivity.

Of course, it’s not only in so-called friendly scenarios that this dilemma arises. As mentioned above, an aggressor knows very well that most of us will default to at least a degree of self-harm in order to “keep the peace.” The playing field with someone this insidious is distinctly skewed in favour of the offender. Again, educational blocks can build a bridge for us between the shock of anti-social behaviour and definitive self-defence.

An educational block can be something as simple as a bit of pressure on a thumb-joint in a lasting, domineering handshake. Nothing could be more unobtrusive, despite the fact that it’s extremely effective. You’ve suddenly evened out the odds – you control the degree of pressure based on how inconsiderate the behaviour of your counterpart. If someone is genuinely unaware of how unpleasant his/her actions are, slight pressure will resolve the situation relatively amicably; however, if the intent had been to intimidate, you will be well within your rights to increase pressure – and the speed with which your opponent will disengage. In this latter situation, no excuses need to be made for “unfriendliness,” as it’s become a scenario of self-defence. This is the beauty of an educational block – it is usually low-profile and the degree of force can be manipulated, so it is efficient while allowing you not to step too far outside the realm of “social acceptability.” Educational blocks thus tend to lessen our anxiety about acting in our own best interests in uncertain circumstances.

Good self-defence training will teach you a variety of “grey-area” techniques like these, because realistic training takes into account the variety of potentially threatening scenarios that can take place in real life. For everything from corporate environments to day-to-day living, these techniques are invaluable. To learn more, head over to https://www.canadakm.com/get-started-.html

The Academy Team