Documents, Martial Arts

Boxing & Kickboxing Combinations

Hello Everyone,

Some of my students needed some examples of Boxing and Kickboxing Combinations because they always ask me to repeat various combinations like the following in class.  Note that all martial arts and self defense systems utilize boxing and kick boxing so it is VERY important for your students to practice these combos or skill variations.

Just some examples:

  1. Jab (1) – Cross (2)
  2. Jab (1) – Cross (2) – Lead Arm Hook (3)
  3. Jab (1) – Cross (2) – Lead Arm Hook (3) – Rear Hand Cross (4)  Boxing Combos – Chuck
  4. Jab (1) – Cross (2) – Duck Under – Lead Arm Body Shot (3) – Rear Arm Hook (4)
  5. Jab (1) – Lead Leg Kick (1)   Jab – Lead Leg Hook Kick
  6. Jab (1) – Rear Leg Round House (Hook Kick)
  7. Jab (1) – Cross – Rear Leg Round House (Hook Kick)
  8. Jab, Kick, Cross, Kick Combination

Now, Boxing Head Movements:

Slipping and Pairy:  Slip and Pairy




Documents, Martial Arts

Knife Attacks – Realism is key


Principles of Krav Maga in Reality Knife Attack/Defense

I want to focus here on the principles of reality knife defenses, based on the Krav Maga experience and recent seminars. Let’s just start by if someone wants to kill you, they will and you must be willing to go in knowing you could die!

There are many types of knife defenses. You can study the Philipino styles; Arnis, Kali, Escrima. You can learn how to use a stick vs. a knife or another weapon. Jujitsu, Ninjitsu, Kung fu, Systema; they all have knife defenses and they all have good techniques in there own context. You have to ask yourself, ‘Is this reality knife defense that suits my needs, lifestyle or circumstances most often in?’

Over my own years of training, in different styles, with many different people, I have come to learn a few things about survival and edged weapon attacks. These principles are incorporated in our style of Krav Maga but are by no means a perfect solution.

A great way to train for reality knife defense, is to wear full protective gear, hide the knife behind your back or in random places, think like an attacker, go to “kill”, and attack the person with a sudden, relentless burst. This mimics reality.

Understand the Weapon – In order to be able to defend against a weapon you should learn how to fight with that weapon. This is part of ‘reality knife defense’. This applies to all weapons like gun as well as a knife, a baton, or any blunt or edged weapon. Most martial arts schools teach only pure defense, if at all, and/or if you don’t understand how an attacker will use the weapon against you, you don’t have much of a chance.  Also, there are so many different ways to use a knife because you can think of so many.

Think of Reality Knife Attack & Defense, Forget ‘Style Loyalty’

I find it shocking me how many martial arts practitioners still hold on to the concept of ‘style loyalty’, i.e. “I am a Shotokan man or Kung Fu etc, I will never train in Krav Maga knife defense”, “our style is a complete style” and that sort of nonsense. To speak this way only shows that you have never faced real fear or got hurt by a knife, because if you had, you would not care what style it is from, heck I don’t give a shit. I care if it will save my life. If the technique was from the Native American Indians, the ancient Hebrews or your friend’s grandmother; if it works – that’s all that matters. Again, keep in mind, ‘reality knife attack & defense’ and ask yourself, what will help you survive; simple as that!

Learning the Attack and Common Trends

When I first started training in knife defense,  I learned the defense first with the ideology of what a knife attack could look like etc, before learning to fight with a knife. My understanding was based on how I wanted to defend or was taught how to defend, not on the diverse possibilities of how some deranged maniac might attack. I was interested in different styles and it appeared to me that there was only one ‘correct’ way to attack & defend common to each “style” and all the learned defenses were based on the assumption of that attack.  It is even seen in Krav Maga to a certain extent.  This is easy to mistake from our notions of check points to understand principles.  But, no one bothered asking ‘what if the guy did not attack that way’. Again, all the devoted disciples would not, or could not, ask, ‘is this a realistic knife defense?’  I turned to Krav Maga because principles didn’t change even if the attack did.  I loved my instructor because it didn’t care if he got hurt or if I did (in a way) he attacked hard and like you see on “youtube”.

Hock Hochheim writes “It is the “Myth of the Duel” – spending too much time fighting the mirror image of yourself or your small system of techniques. Innocent mistake, but a serious one. The old kick boxer never fought on the ground. The wrestlers and Judokans never “kickboxed” only practiced on the ground.” This is to say you should practice a variety of techniques but based on reality or principals of attack.  Oh and by the way, The ground WILL KILL YOU in real life!!

Before we identify the solution; block, evasive movement, counter, we must first identify the problem, i.e. the nature of the attack.

We have to understand what might happen, we have to learn this from people ‘who have been there and done that.’ I get my advice from my GIT instructors like Avi Moyal  of the IKMF, former Military police Hock Hochheim, NYPD officer Louie Balestrieri, personal safety expert Arthur Cohen, and anyone, who has been in a real life encounter and media/articles. This does not beat first-hand experience, I admit, but I am not going into a bar looking for a fight with a drunken knife wielding opponent either just so I can ‘practice’.

An example is Professor Arthur Cohen enlightened us with some informational stuff about some scary information such as: many of our knives disarm won’t work because they rely upon grabbing. In some information I have read, people are crazy and gang members can anticipate this by rub Vaseline on their arms or gang members wear things around their wrists to stop blocking so you will get hurt. Ignore this type of information could get you killed or hurt.  This is all to say, be prepared and aware of your environment and don’t put yourself in situations that could be avoided.

Know Where a Knife Might Be

Many traditional jujitsu knife disarms, at least the way they are practiced today, involve taking a person down, pushing their arm and lowering their body. Most ignore the fact that some criminals hide a knife in their boot or in plain sight to pull out fast, thus you could be putting them in a perfect position to grab that knife and stab you in your exposed leg or vulnerable area. This does not happen in the studio but it can, and has happened on the streets.   Trying different fucked up places to place a knife is key and practicing awareness drills to call out knife or run away etc are important.

Know Your Society

In a conversation with different instructors, people have made a very important point about our Krav Maga training. There are practitioners in other styles, such as the Filipino styles, that carry two knives and are very proficient with them, more so than us. Perhaps we should put more of an emphasis on this in our training.  I just had training where someone I know made me do a 360 defense, and as I was blocking one of the knives, he pulled out the other and straight stabled me in the chest.  I would be dead!!!

Nevertheless, as it was pointed out in the ‘Human Weapon’, or episodes of Law and Order, there are millions of people in the Middle East and all over the world that carry knives but millions of guns as well; if you had to choose, we are a gun society worldwide. Most assailants in this region are not master swordsman, they are angry killers who grab with a kitchen knife and desire to kill a certain person or can act like a terrorist and try to kill as many people as possible as fast as possible. They have not had years of training – just the desire to kill.  This means, train aggressively and proactively but remember safety in training and try not to aim for the face too often.

Now even if they would stab one or two people, catching them by surprise, they would be shot dead very quickly by a police officer, security guard or ordinary armed and dangerous citizen if you were in the U.S or country allowing guns but in Canada it is different.  Therefore we put some emphasis on a quick knife defense, more emphasis on getting out of the way and running away! Best case scenario, getting stabbed only once! That’s the risk you take everyday even without you realizing, that is why it is important to come train so you become aware.  It is approaching our Canadian society more often…

Today’s society, you see majorly two types of attacks – Ice Pick or Oriental stabbing with the odd horizontal slash.   What I mean by that is during a seminar that we had, we ran through actual knife attacks and the realism it takes in practice to simulate what actually occurs; adrenaline and all.

One simple way:

At the beginning of class I gave three people markers and everyone was walking around stretching and practicing awareness.  We all were wearing white t-shirts that day.  I told the individuals with markers that they have two options: Stab someone as many times as possible how ever they could and don’t stop or get as many people as possible! At the beginning of class, they don’t know what is going on so you get adrenaline and a true reaction from both parties (attacker vs. defender).   As you know re-enacting a knife attack is in fact extremely hard and/or impossible but this is a practical first step especially if this is how it most likely could happen in real life.

Some people say that angles change and the attacker can do whatever they want but as I explained above, your society and the adrenaline of someone wanting to stab you doesn’t consciously change attacks.  Additionally, your body has a recoil and a repeat mechanism after it has hit something.  If you are angered or want to stab someone you do it continuously without thinking (hence change of angle isn’t necessarily realistic).  This means it is a committed attack and, you will most often return on the same angle or slightly different.

Israeli Society and Knife Defense

More on that point; Very few people here, soldiers or civilians, have the time or inclination to became ‘master knife fighters’, which takes years. Therefore we train in what is known as “high percentage moves”, we attack the knife arm so hard and aggressively that it caused a ‘dead hand’ affect. The blow is very hard and penetrating and painful. Simultaneously we strike the body or face. Beginning students often will say, ‘but then I can do this or that’, and I say, ‘You can’t, the pain will be too great’ and the counter should stop to make them “think”. It is like shutting down the computer; once it is shut down it cannot perform any functions. Additionally, your knife must recoil back before it can happen again.  By eliminating the recoil – pushing forward, we hit the arm and move in aggressively to the body or face, continue with aggressive punches and kicks.  Further ‘shut down the computer’. It is not a picture perfect Hollywood technique but it has proven effective but followed with exiting the area!

“Richard Ryan has a wonderful technique for knife defense which uses some similar principles to what we do. He calls it the ‘Shield’. He emphasizes the same idea; in real life we will not be able to do any of those fancy knife disarms because we will get cut and your natural body reaction won’t allow it.”

-Danny Inosanto, Bruce Lee’s top disciple, said, “Knife disarm is incidental if not accidental’. Yet most martial arts schools continue to work on fancy knife disarms.

I think Bruce Lee said it best all those years ago, “Absorb what is useful, reject what is useless, cultivate what is truly your own.’-

Thank you very much to our GIT and Camp.


Family Strong



Documents, Martial Arts

What are your goals when Sparring?

Hello Everyone,

So as many instructors know, I believe that you can’t just throw a student into “a lion’s den (sparring)” without teaching them some basics like punching, kicking, blocking etc.  I met some of my other friends (Instructors) in other martial arts schools and they said why not?  Wouldn’t it be better for them.  That got me thinking…If I look at my personal training variations of teaching, one could get someone to do a workout without you speaking or mentioning your reasoning behind doing something a different way and just let them try it their way and see how they do.  This would be done for different reasons like seeing what they already know, see if they have been in fights before, see if they can get their own natural fighting style and one of the main reasons is to give you a base line for improvement.  My only concern is this leading into injury quickly!

But you can also ask yourself the question, why spar if sparring isn’t like a street fight at all?  That got me looking into this with science and different masters train of thought etc.  But in the end, sparring can be defined  by many as a free-form fighting with enough rules or agreements to make injuries unlikely. Thus, sparring to me is a tool and is not fighting. Sparring is normally distinct from fights or even fighting in competition. The goal of sparring is normally for the education of the participants, while a competitive fight seeks to determine a winner and a street fight seeks to injury, take or more violent thoughts leading possibly to death.

As we all know, although there are rules in combative sports, one could think of the roughest like MMA where many fights are ended by one combatant purposely injuring another combatant. And, in street-fighting, the rules of the asphalt and/or jungle come into play. The fight might be ended once again by death.

So then one must ask the question again, why spar?

Sparring allows you to practice your movement, blocking, slipping, bobbing and weaving, ducking and other defenses against a moving opponent trying to punch or kick you. This is in stark contrast to shadow boxing, hitting the heavy bag or defending against prearranged punches and kicks thrown at you. In addition, there is the stress of being hit by an unpredictable opponent as well as understanding that you will be hit. Remember this saying: “Fighters get hit. Good fighters get hit less.”

When I’m sparring, I concentrate on a few things that I want to improve. It may be counterpunching, kicking, a multiple attacker technique. I do not think of my partner as an opponent. We’re educating each other; not competing.

– According to a KMWW Force Training Division instructor, “Students I’ve trained who have gone on to defend themselves in real life (mostly law enforcement and/or military) usually had no sparring experience when they defended themselves successfully.” Once again, sparring is not fighting – .

The downside to sparring—I believe—particularly for a smaller or weaker individual, is the development of a false sense of fightingability versus a larger partner. Since the larger and stronger partner has been instructed to temper his punches and kicks, the smaller and weaker partner mistakenly believes that he can overwhelm his larger and stronger partner with his fighting prowess and that is where as instructors we must teach strikes to vulnerable places instead.

In this universe, greater mass overwhelms lesser mass. I think we all know this Sir Isaac Newton law of motion: Force = (Mass x Acceleration). For example, in a head-on collision, a Truck will do more damage or in my experience demolish a Smart Car than the Smart Car will do to a Truck. Do not attempt to go against the laws of physics and try this; you’ll lose. There is also a reason why combative sports have weight classes!

The bottom line is… keep sparring for it’s pros and just remember it’s cons in proper perspective? Do you agree… but one might also say, why can a female win again a male wanting to rape her or hurt her! Because adrenaline and kicking to the balls must count for something… (Krav)

Please leave your comments, I would like to know what you think.


Documents, Martial Arts

Emptying your cup

Hello Everyone,

I follow a lot of different blogs about BJJ, Judo and Krav Maga which are the three things I practice mainly.  This was a great blog post by another Kravist –

I cut out some parts and edited it to get the message across but it’s pretty good! Take a look…

“You cannot learn anything if you already feel that you know.”

You might have heard it before that you should empty your cup before learning anything new, particularly when it comes to something like martial arts. This means, of course, that you rid yourself of preconceptions (how you think things should be) and start from the beginning, keeping yourself open and receptive to new ideas and teachings. This is such an important concept, I think. Everyone comes into the dojo or system (particularly guys) with their ideas of how to punch, kick, etc. and can easily fall into the trap of learning these techniques by reshaping or refining their existing notions rather than tearing those ideas down completely and starting from scratch learning these techniques in a different way or properly. That is, emptying their cups. To truly develop you need to let go of these old, crude notions and be willing to be a clean slate, be that empty cup that’s willing to be filled.

I think there’s a danger when someone goes too far with the idea of emptying their cup. These are people who have either emptied their cup willingly or been sort of beaten down into that state of mind. They are now docile students looking to be shown and told everything — step by step — that needs to be performed for a given move or counter attack. They become almost like robots in a way, awaiting the next command to spring into action. I see this pretty often, and not only with junior belts like myself. This is something that just about anyone from beginner to intermediate can fall victim to. I was doing it myself for a while until I realized that it wasn’t doing me any good.  That can also be based on experience too.

I think it’s essential for students to always keep their perspective and thinking caps on. As a result of this belief I always try to maintain perspective and relate the class to the real world. I try to see how this would apply and, although I hope to never have to use this stuff for real, I imagine situations as I’m training to provide some context to the lesson. You can never let your body take over completely in class, you have to always keep your head in the game too — keep thinking. This is sometimes easier said than done as we stumble to the finish line of class, exhausted and drenched in sweat. It’s as my instructors frequently say, “You aren’t trying to defeat your opponent’s moves, you’re trying to defeat their mind.”

Do I still fall into this trap? Go on autopilot and just go through the motions? Sure. I have such a long way to go and so many things yet to learn and also unlearn. But I firmly believe that this awareness has helped me progress and made it possible to function more smoothly in class when I need to “get creative”. It’s worth pointing out that sparring also helps in this regard in that it forces you to keep thinking, keeps the head engaged. And keeping your head engaged is what it’s all about.

So empty that cup. Lose all your preconceptions of what it is you are “supposed” to be doing. But never shut down that noggin. That thing between your ears is being trained just as much, if not more, than your body.

Documents, Martial Arts, Website Feedback

Question – Krav Maga vs. Other Martial Arts

Hello Everyone,


I am trying to shed some light on recent conversations about Krav Maga vs. other Martial Arts.

Everyone knows the benefits and advantages of traditional martial arts like Karate-do, Boxing, Muay Thai, Shaolin Kung Fu, Jeet Kune Do, Kalarippayattu, Taekwondo, Judo, Aikido, Jiu Jitsu, etc.


In the discussion, the question is: “Is Krav Maga different and/or better than another martial art systems”.  For us kravists, it isn’t a matter of who is better because I do believe that we are in different situations entirely.  I also believe that it is based on the level of the individual.  I would like to better myself taking multiple disciplines.  Therefore, I don’t want to relate or question the “versus or better” but rather align my thoughts to the goals and needs of the individuals taking Krav Maga.

If someone asked me, “how is Krav Maga different from other martial arts” that would be a great question to ask and one with a relevant answer.  This is a system for self-preservation and survival! We don’t necessarily compete in a sporting ring, have weight classes, or even have the same sexes fighting together.  You could go as far as saying 1 on 1 doesn’t necessarily apply!  In a sports ring, any expert who has invested years of experience in such martial arts will beat anyone who has less experience then them or is a novice.

However, a common criticism of some traditional martial arts is the lack of real-life applicability – will all those fancy moves hold up against thugs with weapons on the street or in a crowded bus is a different story coming back to our original point.

After a while in any system, most people seem to realize if it is for them or not but I am prepare to say that if you stick with it and become proficient at it, you can be deadly in your own way.  I can also say that Krav Maga is to defend yourself to get away fast and efficient! That can be difficult to say for some Martial Arts in their traditional form;  not realistic self-defence systems – and were never meant to be but a sport: involving rules to prevent illegal moves and foul play.

Indeed there are some similarities between Krav Maga and martial arts. However, Krav Maga was developed in an environment where the Israeli military could not devote many hours to prolonged hand to hand combat training for their personnel.  Therefore, the Krav Maga system was created with great importance placed on bringing students to a level of skill in a relatively short period of time that enables them to do their military duties. There are no katas (forms) or rules in our system.

A great Krav Maga instructor once said, why should we follow rules when the attacker doesn’t!! Anything goes when you are fighting for your life!  We don’t have the choice to let go and stop the fight, that is unacceptable because if we do, you can potentially die!

Krav Maga is more of a survival system dealing with personal safety issues in the context of defending against both armed and unarmed attackers. It is considered to be a modern, highly refined, street fighting system, designed to be utilized against muggings, street attacks, and sexual assaults etc.

We also believe no one martial art is better than any other. You still cannot attend a couple of classes of anything and take on a weapon-ed opponent!!  That is stupid and un-realistic!! They are like peanut butter and jelly-they blend well with the right person(s). You have to see what’s available in your city and go from there. Once again…the best art is the one you like to do because more practice the better. So if you don’t like something, you will not stick with it and get good at it…so stick with one or three like some of us if you can’t decide….that you like! The most important fact is that you are …training.