It can be a scary world out there.

With two murders in the capital last week, Ottawa is not immune, an area self-defence instructor said Sunday.

"The world is getting more dangerous," said Krav Maga instructor Laurent Mougeot. "There have been two homicides last week — once where a person was shot and once where a person was beaten to death," he said.

 

It's no wonder that Krav Maga — a self-defence system adopted by the FBI, the Israeli defence forces and many law enforcement bodies around the world — has grown exponentially in Ottawa over the last year, said Mougeot, with the number of students in the area near doubling.

Local students took their skills further when one of the world's authorities in self-defence and counter-terrorism held a workshop for Ottawa residents Sunday.

"Today is to teach them some fighting tactics and defence (against people) armed with guns, knives and rifles," said Montreal-based Thierry Cimkauskas, who is also the national director of the Canadian branch of the International Krav Maga Federation.

In the past, Krav Maga was mostly taught to law enforcement and military officers but regular citizens are becoming more and more interested in learning skills, said Cimkauskas.

It's because increasingly, "civilians are the targets" of attacks, he said.

With traditional martial arts, it takes years to learn techniques that can actually be applied, said Mougeot.

"You can do karate for 20 years and still never learn how to defend yourself," he said.

"Sometimes, people want to learn to defend themselves and they want to learn fast," he said. Krav Maga teaches them street-tested survival skills that they can use right away, he said.

"Everything we do works on the streets and in the worst conditions — in the dark, against multiple opponents, and against people with guns or knives," Mougeot said.

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