Martial arts usually have traditional and historical roots with an aspect of spirituality thrown in. There are also rules, regulations and competitions. Krav Maga is different. Firstly, it’s not classed as a martial art. It’s an Israeli self-defence technique designed for the street. There are no sporting rules and there is no letting up until you are safely away or your attacker is incapacitated.
Krav Maga Bristol Sparring Tips
Krav Maga Bristol Instructor Jim Halton shares some sparring tips to help improve your sparring in Krav Maga lessons
1. Have a gameplan! In Krav Maga on day 1 you get shown your basic stance and how to strike, feet should be shoulder width apart, hands held high, [More…]
‘Yesterday I had one of the worst experiences of my life, I was mugged at knife point meters from my front door’
Yesterday, I had one of the most unpleasant experiences of my life when I was mugged at knife point in broad daylight just metres from my front door. But I learnt a lot about how I could have allowed the police to better respond to a crime like this, and the actions that I needed to take to ensure my data was safe.
What was the robber after? My iPhone, according to the police, the target of many mugging attacks.
Here’s what happened. After arriving at my nearest London Underground stop, in North West London, I walked up a side street to my house. It’s a journey I’ve made hundreds of times and never one that I have been particularly concerned about my safety during. While walking, I received a text message, which I was replying to. I have to say that given it was 10.20am, I didn’t feel particularly at risk for having done so.
I was wrong, and from nowhere, a youth on a bicycle confronted me holding a knife. “Give me your iPhone” he shouted. I wasn’t sure how to react; I looked around while shouting “leave me alone!” But as I looked I became aware that there was no one else on the street.
“Don’t be f**king stupid!” he shouted, pushing a blade close to my neck
The youth came closer to me, I was holding the phone, but he was on his bike and I did try and run, principally because I didn’t want to actually get into physical contact with him. He started grabbing me and somehow my iPhone cover seemed to get detached from the phone, leaving him with the cover and not the phone. “Don’t be f**king stupid!” he shouted, pushing a blade close to my neck. I gave up, giving him my phone and he cycled off.
I ran home, I’m not ashamed to say, crying. When I got there I immediately phoned the police while loading my iPad. The operator told me that officers would be with me in minutes, with their own iPad so that they could use “Find My iPhone” to see if the criminal was still in the area, the operator asked for my logins so that they could start looking while driving to me. I tried myself as well, but the location services settings on the missing iPhone appeared to have been disabled.
Within minutes, two wonderfully calming police officers arrived and we went out in their car to try and identify the robber. Had he have not turned off the location settings, it may have been possible to work out where he was.
I realised that, unlike when I had my phone pick-pocketed (I seem to have a face for this sort of thing), my phone wasn’t locked when it was stolen. I had already unlocked it to reply to the message. This meant that the robber had a lot more access to my device that they would have done if it had have been locked. Indeed, when my phone was pick-pocketed in New York, police were able to find the rough location of the phone, but were unable to recover it. But even knowing the rough location was only possible because it was still continuing to beam out its location until it was switched off.
Yesterday’s attacker appeared to have immediately switched off the location services settings on the iPhone. But I’ve since learnt that it’s possible to prevent someone from doing this. In addition, it’s important to ensure that the robber doesn’t turn off functions like “Find My iPhone”.
Here’s how you do it:-
(1) Open the settings function
(2) Touch General
(3) Select Restrictions
(4) This will ask you to set a Restrictions passcode. Chose one that is different from your unlock passcode
(5) Scroll down the list of restrictions until you find “Allow Changes”
(6) Open Location
(7) Select the “Don’t Allow Changes” option
(8) Go back to the Restrictions menu and select Accounts
(9) Then chose “Don’t Allow Changes”, this stops iCloud and Find My iPhone being disabled then repeat for “Deleting Apps”
This will mean that anyone who gets hold of your phone will find it very hard to stop it beaming out a location and it stops them from disabling iCloud and Find My iPhone
Of course this sort of trick only helps if the phone is still connected to your phone network. It’s likely though that you will choose to block your SIM CARD in case someone starts making a load of expensive calls. But it will be worth keeping it connected for a little while to see if the device appears on “Find My iPhone” or on iCloud.com.
But the other key thing that I started to consider was whether the person may gain access to my personal information stored inside my iPhone. As soon as the device locked, the robber would be in theory locked out because I always use an eight digit passcode (rather than the standard 4). But if they kept playing with the phone (maybe on wifi) then they would continue to gain access to my personal information.
So I considered what I would need to do to ensure they couldn’t access anything that wasn’t stored locally on the phone. Email is a treasure trove of personal information and would have allowed the robber to effectively gain access to my PayPal, Amazon, iTune and other online billing accounts. So first off, I changed the passwords for every single email service I use.
Then I thought about social networking in particular Twitter and Facebook. Changing the password on Facebook was easy at https://www.facebook.com/settings?ref=mb. Here you also have the option to force any apps on smart phones and tablets to be automatically logged out to ensure that who ever wants to access them is really you.
Twitter was harder and was in two stages. Firstly I went to https://twitter.com/settings/password and changed my password. But then I noticed that my iPad was continuing to access my Twitter account without the new password being stored. That’s because Twitter doesn’t automatically check that an application connected to it has the correct password. So I actually asked on Twitter for advice and found this page https://twitter.com/settings/applications where I found a list of all of the applications granted permission to access my account. For the iPhone and iPad access, I selected iOS by Apple and clicked on “Revoke access”. This meant that I’d need to login again to Twitter on each Apple device I use to connect to the social network.
Of course, you may need to follow similar steps for other applications on your phone such as PayPal, eBay or Google+.
Using Find My iPhone, I did try to remotely wipe the device after the police concluded that it would be unlikely that we’d spot him. But thus far, the request has not been successful.
But when it comes to the mugging itself, what did I learn?
Perhaps that I shouldn’t be using my mobile phone, while I’m mobile, out and exposed in a public place. But given that is what they are for, it seems pointless advice. I’m certainly going to be more careful about where I’m displaying it. It’s too easy to forget that when it’s in your hands, you are literally holding a £700 piece of technology. It’s so much more valuable than a wallet, particularly given that most of us don’t carry much cash, and chip and pin in theory makes it hard for thieves to use our credit and debit cards.
The other thing I learnt, is how valuable it is to have my social media community around me in a time like this. Some of my Twitter followers have been out looking for a cyclist on that street (I assume he targets it regularly), others gave me really useful advice on how to deal with the technological challenges that the incident threw up.
It also meant that my family learnt about it differently. My grandparents saw that I was attacked on their Android while looking at Facebook while shopping. One of my sisters found out when she was emailed by a friend, who had heard from a friend that I had been attacked. My sister then asked my brother-in-law if I had been tweeting about something bad, and he then forwarded her the stream of tweets. My parents found out in the more usual way, I phoned from a landline, a number no-one had actually called me on before because everyone had my iPhone number, or at least they did.
Article by Benjamin Cohen
Krav Maga Bristol
This article gives an interesting insite into the process of mugging. From a training perspective I would make a few recommendations.
1. Dont text in the street. Texting requires requires thought and co-ordination. It takes focus and in the real world this means lack of awareness, makes you very vulnerable, and that you demonstrate in plain site have a phone worth stealing. If you must reply, STOP, check look around and be aware whilst on the phone. The mere act of being aware will put many potential muggers off.
2. Always have your phone locked. It makes it harder to access the phone.
3. Dont be a hero. If there is a weapon and you cant easily escape – give the phone over and get away fast. If the Mugger gets too confident they may take more time and demand more or even assault you after.
4. If you decide you are going to act, be ruthless and profoundly aggressive (within the law). This could mean simply running and barging the attacker or fighting back.
5. Make noise – lots of it – shout, scream draw attention. Whilst many people may not act criminals hate to be seen as it increases the risk of capture
Krav Maga North Bristol Instructor Will Bayley discusses the harsh realities of violence in the context of home defence and why you should make sure you keep your training real.
I was in a bar recently waiting for a mate when I heard an all too common conversation about home self defence – what to do when someone breaks into your house in the middle of the night. You can imagine the people having this conversation. A small group of blokes, beered up. Normal, average blokes. Workers not long out of work, ties off, collars undone, sleeves rolled up for the serious business of Friday night drinking and setting the world to rights.
The common conversation and the inevitable bravado.
God help anyone comes in my house. I keep a bat by the door. I have a Maglite by my bed. I’d do em with that. I don’t care what the law says, if someone breaks into my house I’m going to drop them.
I appreciate the sentiment. Even agree with it. But I want to throw out a tiny bite of reality for you because your life may depend upon thinking about this in another way
There’s a place called violence. It’s a lonely and terrible country, torn apart by war. The people you find there are monsters, predators, everything that you, in your seat of civilisation, would call evil. How many times have you been to that place? Honestly? I don’t mean the scuffles you had at school or that time your mate got loud at that party and you shoved each other. I mean how many times have you been attacked by a wild animal and had to fight, literally, for your life?
If it’s happened to you, you won’t be full of bravado. The people who know what I’m talking about are typically silent on the matter. Humble.
And those who have been there, how many times have you been there? Once? Twice? How long each time? Most assaults are decided in seconds. So your experience, throughout your lifetime, of that place is approximately ten seconds. Does that make you an expert, a travel guide to that country’s horrors?
And I want you to imagine for me something.
Imagine this person…
He’s early twenties but he looks a decade older because of the brown he’s been putting in his arms for the last seven years. He’s lean and underfed, malnourished, his body fucked up on years of opiate abuse, on the cycle of constipation and laxitives, on junk food and chain smoking, his teeth falling out and his nose half fucked from his forays into stimulants – amphetamines adderall and cocaine. At the moment he comes through your door he’s been off the smack for a day and a half. He’s in a fever of pain, fear, nausea, cramping and worse. He knows that his hunger will deepen by the hour, until it incapacitates him, until he can’t do what he’s doing now to solve his problem. He needs his solution more than you have ever needed anything. He knows desperation like you never have and never will. He will take something from your house and sell it for a fraction of its value to fund a solution that will last him a few hours at best. And he will literally kill to do it.
Let me state that in a more complete way: There is nothing he won’t do to get what he wants. Literally nothing. If you don’t stand in his way, that means take and run. If you stand in his way, it means stabbing you or punching you to the floor and taking and running. If you go at him with a weapon – and you’d be the thousandth person to try – he’d take it off you and beat you to death to make sure you didn’t present a threat to him, before taking and running.
Your morality, he doesn’t have that. It’s gone, along with any notions of self respect, guilt, conscience. It’s been drummed out of him by years of addiction.
But don’t think that the addiction makes him weak. Once he was a strong kid, stronger than you can ever know, driven to the solace of the drug by a life of terrible violence and abuse.
When you were taking your first steps, he was sitting in a house full of addicts, starving, undernourished. When you were going to nursery he was stealing food and getting beaten when he was caught, learning how to take a beating with the minimum of damage, desensitising to the pain and the fear. When your parents came home from work and cooked you tea, his sent him out to run money and drugs, or came home loaded and beat him until his eyes swelled shut and his gums bled. When you were doing your entrance exam for secondary, he was out in the parks fighting other kids over selling territory, knowing that if he lost he’d lose everything, that he’d take it badly at home, that he might not get to eat. While you were mastering maths and english, he was mastering violence, learning through the weekly, if not daily fights, threats and skirmishes how to most effectively beat another human to the ground. While you were learning the ropes in your first job he was learning how to use surprise to paralyse a victim so that he could take what he needed with the least risk to him. By the time you were competent in your career, he was a master of his, the veteran of a thousand or more fist fights, stabbings, muggings, breakins and arrests.
He’s experienced front-line violence almost every day of his life. Immediate. Total. Around him all the time.
He’s lost count of the amount of times he’s struck someone, knocked them down, stabbed them when he was too weak to fight any other way. And he’s lost count of the amount of times someone did that to him. The violence, it holds no real fear for him, like it does for you. And in that lack of fear, in that desensitisation, there is a certainty, not that he will win, because truly he doesn’t care about win or lose in the way that you do, but that he will fight, and do everything that is necessary to get the job done and come home with his solution. While you’re finding your feet he’s already beaten you. You’re the hundredth person that swung a Maglite at him. The hundredth person to leave a cricket bat by the door for him to arm himself with when he comes in.
And when he comes he will come without hesitation. From the moment you are aware of him he’s already had hours to come to terms with what’s about to happen. He’s got momentum, practice, initiative.
Think about this.
That land we were talking about, the country of violence, at best you are a visitor to that land. He lives there.
Real world violence isn’t a place where bravado is well rewarded. Hard training is the answer, based on solid research.
And here is some research:
Survey after survey, when we study violent crime, there are only two significant predictors of success in the survival of real world violence.
- By far the most significant. Exposure to previous instances of real world violence.
- Self Defence training that involves close approximation of real world violence through stress inoculation, contact drills and adrenalisation training.
Whatever else you do, come to the fight prepared, without the bravado, and see it for what it is. Come to the fight not with bravado but with realism and humility. See that to run is not shameful. To die defending property is hubris, and ludicrous. You fight when there is no other choice, when you’re on the stairs and you meet that man and it’s clear there’s no other way. And if you have to fight, make sure it isn’t a fight. Find a way to surprise. Hit first. Hit hard, with so much aggression you overwhelm the opponent. And train for that moment with the real world firmly at the front of your mind. The research. The numbers. The facts. The statistics.
You bend your training to fit reality. Then you don’t die doing it the other way round.
Train hard, fight easy. Your life depends on it.
Will Bayley – Krav Maga Swindon, Krav Maga Bristol Central, Krav Maga North Bristol, Bristol University Krav Soc.
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