RECURRING THEME

I think I’ve blogged a dozen times in the past asking self defense instructors to take what they do seriously. Getting people trained for real world violence is something I take great pride in with Krav Maga…and something I greatly despise when I see others teaching BS from a system simply because it is their system that they are making money off of. One thing I tell my affiliates and instructors over and over again is that “when someone comes to you to learn self defense that person is literally putting their lives in your hands and you had better be teaching the most up to date, real world battle tested and proven stuff you possibly can”.

I have such a passion for this that it has taken over my mind… and I think that I have some insight into why. This story happened almost twenty years ago and I don’t think I have ever told it to anyone or even thought about it until recently. I ran a taekwondo school for several years. I was a fourth degree black belt in taekwondo and a national sparring champion in the executive senior age group. Taekwondo was what I knew, what I taught and what I called “self defense training”. One evening one of my students who was, I believe, a brown belt and about 16 years old drove into a gas station lot. He actually pulled up just as a teenaged assailant shot and killed the gas station attendant in a robbery. He quickly drove off and a mile or so down the road stopped at a McDonalds to call the police (this was before cell phones). As he was waiting for the police to arrive low and behold the kid who murdered the attendant came into the same McDonalds. As luck would have it the lady behind the counter asked my student “did the police say how long until they will be here? That is so scary that you saw a guy get shot”! The murderer heard this and then walked right up to my student and said to him “so, you saw me, huh?” They stood there nose to nose talking for a few minutes. My student knew the kid had a gun and really thought he was about to die. The kid just talked and even seemed bewildered and sorry for what he had done and eventually the police showed up and arrested the kid without incidence. This shook up my student for quite some time.

My student had come to my school to learn to protect himself. I taught him kata’s, some kicks, how to punch from a horse stance, Olympic type sparring, etc. I believed that I was teaching him great self defense because this is what I was told when I learned it. This is all I knew, I didn’t look at anything else. I was told our system had all the answers. I believed what I was told instead of thinking for myself. I almost got somebody killed. He had no answers for someone standing in front of him with a gun, had never trained for real violence, had never been told that in the real world stress will make you freeze, had never been told about mindsetting, had never trained to exhaustion or learned how to handle the adrenalin dump. He had never been told that to strike first isn’t cheating but smart. He had learned techniques but not a philosophy of go off and go hard. He had never trained his flinch reaction to be go forward and destroy. As far as self defense goes he had learned bullshit from someone who thought they knew what violence was but had never studied it because he thought his system was the ultimate.

One of my favorite quotes is from Rory Miller’s MEDITATIONS ON VIOLENCE. He says “listening to the average martial artist talk about real violence is like listening to ten year olds talk about sex.” Hey instructors, let’s forget the egos, the money and the “my system is better than your system” and actually do all that we possibly can to make people safe. Now there’s a novel idea. BE SAFE!

HE SEEMED SO NICE…

From my book, Be Safe; Self Defense For Women In The Real World

There have been so many women after an attack who have stated “but he seemed so nice.” It is only later, when they have time to analyze, that they realize they had an “uneasy” feeling about the attacker. The “uneasy” feeling is called intuition. We as humans alone justify ignoring intuition. We think things like “I’ll seem rude” or “I can’t live in fear” or “I’m just being silly, he seems nice.” Animals don’t do this. If they have even a remote feeling that something is wrong, they run! Can you imagine how many fewer deer there would be if they sat around thinking “I’ve been eating here everyday for a month, nothing has gone wrong, I’m just being silly with this uneasy feeling.” How many less rabbits if they thought “I can’t live in fear. He seems like a perfectly nice fox. I can’t appear rude.” No animal ever thinks “it’s probably nothing.” We have a lot to learn from creatures that always follow intuition! Listen to yourself every time. The root word of intuition is “tuere” which means “to guard, to protect.” Intuition is knowing without knowing why we know. Our brain is miraculous, it picks up things subconsciously that we don’t think we notice. It picks up facial signals that last a fraction of a fraction of a second…picks up words that are said that we didn’t really listen to. Always remember that intuition is 1) always a response to something and 2) always looking out for your safety.

The scumbag seems so nice because nice works. Nice has been perfected. He knows nice will get him what he wants. Gavin DeBecker in his must read book THE GIFT OF FEAR states “Remember, the nicest guy, the guy with no self-serving agenda whatsoever, the one who wants nothing from you, WON’T APPROACH YOU AT ALL. You are not comparing the man who approaches you to all men, the vast majority of whom have no sinister intent. Instead, you are comparing him to other men who make unsolicited approaches to women alone, or to other men who don’t listen when you say no.”

The scumbags have a plan. They are good at the plan. The plan has worked for them many times. If you know the plan you can see it when it is being used on you. The nice guy things he does all have a reason. The following things are what to look for and to recognize.
–He makes it sound like you are part of a team with him. He uses “we” a lot. “We seem to be abandoned by our friends,” “We are in the same predicament,” “Now we’ve done it,” etc. He knows that this is hard to rebuff without you feeling like you’re being rude. Notice when this happens and realize that it is always done for self serving reasons and that it is always inappropriate for a stranger to talk this way to a woman who is alone.
-He is going out of his way to be charming and nice. A smile is the most used way to mask emotions in the world! Nice does not equal good, ever. Nice is a strategy, not a trait we’re born with. Charm is the same in that it is a strategy. When someone is using charm don’t think “He is really charming” but think “he is trying to charm me, why?”
-He will give you too much info. Instead of saying something like “I’m just waiting on a friend” he may say “I’m just waiting on a friend. The guy is always running late. Shoot, just last week….” When you or I are telling the truth we don’t feel like we have to use extra info to back up what we are saying. When someone is lying it may sound credible to us but it doesn’t sound that way to them, so they keep talking. Always remember that whoever this yappy, charming person is they approached a strange woman who is alone!
-He will put you on the defensive so that you have to prove yourself. He may say “oh, I guess you’re a rich snob who doesn’t talk to us commoners” so that you will prove to him that you are a good person by talking. Again, think about why a stranger would say such a thing to a woman who is alone.
-He’ll do something for you. Buy a drink, pick up something for you, help you with a heavy load, anything so that you may subconsciously think you owe him. Always be thinking “he approached me” and “I didn’t ask for any help.” Nice is an act!
-Not listening to the word NO. This is a biggie that is common sense, and we ignore it. If he asks if he can grab that package you dropped and you say “no” and he picks it up anyhow and says something like “well, I can’t leave a lady in such a predicament, etc.” we may think that he’s just being nice. We ignore the fact that we said “no” and he didn’t listen. The problem is we’ll say “no” several times, and it gets a little weaker ever time. We might as well just say “I’m a victim and you can control me” when we do this!
-He will say “I promise.” “I’ll just carry this to your car and leave, I promise.” Why do we fall for this? Do you go around saying “I promise” all the time? Promises are used to convince us of intention. Think “why does he need to convince me of intention?” when you hear this word.

A stranger who approaches a woman while she is alone may be a good person, but probably not. A good person doesn’t approach a woman when she is alone, we know it scares her. Always, always keep in mind that anyone who does approach you is a major danger and that charm, niceness, etc. are the weapons he is using to harm you. BE SAFE!

HEY, SELF DEFENSE INSTRUCTOR…

Hey, self defense instructor, do you realize when someone comes to you for training they are literally putting their lives in your hands? Knowing this when is the last time you;
-Changed anything that you teach? Do you think twenty years ago you came across a system that was so complete and perfect that nothing ever needs to be updated or changed? We change or tweak things monthly in Krav Maga.
-Attended training or a seminar in another system? You think you’ve got all the answers and anything else couldn’t possibly have anything worth learning?
-Studied techniques on the internet? Again, there are systems out there that I would never want to teach but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a useful technique that we can use.
-Incorporated cardio with your training? Fatigue makes cowards of us all. If we can get into shape and fight hard twice as long when attacked we are safer. Period.
-Studied real world violence? Studied home invasions, the effects of stress, the effects of the adrenaline dump, hostage situations, etc.? If you are just showing techniques and not putting them under any realism or realistic scenerios you are not doing all you can to keep your students safe.
-Talked to a cop? Ask them what’s going on in your town. Any specific attacks or crimes where you live? A cop is a weatlth of information.
-Signed up for google alerts? Every day i get news reports from across the country on knife violence, handgun violence and violent crimes. It makes me more aware of what is going on and makes me a better instructor.
-Questioned what you were taught? It’s easy to listen to an instructor who is an expert and teach and believe exactly what they taught or believed. Nobody is 100% correct about anything. Expand on what you were taught, don’t be trapped by it.
-Talked to your students about awareness? I believe that if my students had to use self defense they were recovering from stupidity or bad luck. Teaching people to be aware of their surroundings and to stay away from bad places saves more from trouble than any techniques will.
-Talked to your students about mind setting? When we find ourselves being violently attacked we will freeze unless we have a plan for the attack. If we had thought about that specific scenerio the plan and training will surface and we will act. Mind setting is planning ahead for any and all situations we can find ourselves in.
-Took a handgun course and recommended one to your students. If I were going to have to go against three knife weilding thugs I would much rather have had two hours of handgun training and a handgun than years of self defense training and be unarmed. Advice my students need to hear.

Again, your students are coming to you for training for when the unthinkable happens. The time they are in the worst situation ever, thier families safety is on the line and it’s do or die time. They are putting thier lives in your hands…you had better have given them with the best, most up to date, battle tested for real world violence training possilbe. BE SAFE!

THREE THOUSAND POUND BLUNT OBJECT!

We at the USKMA strive to teach safety and self defense for the real world. In the real world we spend a lot of time in a car. What can we do to be safe in our car? Read on!

We teach some way cool car jacking techniques for handgun disarms while seated in a car. We use the door frame, steering wheel, etc. to beat the bad guys hand against or to use for leverage. When we are teaching self defense in class we teach 1) don’t be there, 2) run, 3) pick up something to use as a weapon and 4) self defense techniques. The actual laying on of hands for self defense comes last. It’s the same with our carjacking weapon disarm techniques….these come so late in the game that we’ll rarely get to them.

First, when in a car, stay the heck out of bad places. A friend of mine had a family member jumped while driving. He was messed up pretty bad. That’s terrible but it was 3 a.m., he was in an area of town known for drug dealing and he was jamming his tunes with the windows down. I’d guess with even a little common sense he wouldn’t have been harmed. If in a strange town never, ever get off at a ramp to park and look at a map or call for directions. Thanks to GPS people don’t do this like we used to but many have been victims by parking somewhere they shouldn’t have been.

Second, use the car. What would you do in this scenario? You are stopped by a biker gang and they are approaching you from all sides. Do you lock the doors and hope they don’t mean real harm? Do you get out to talk? Go back to the previous blog on mind setting. You should have already thought about this scenario because you aren’t going to come up with a plan now. My plan? I am sitting in a 3,000 pound blunt object. I am flooring the gas and going through them. I didn’t start this and I assume I am about to lose my life….and all of my family members that are with me. Justified in my head!

Third, if someone jumps into my car with a weapon I jump out. No technique, no wrestling for the weapon. I jump out. If they are going to shoot me jumping out they were planning on shooting me anyhow. I might as well only give them one shot at a moving target! If I have my family with me? I use those cool carjacking disarm techniques, get his weapon and beat his rear end!!

I have talked about never being moved to a second crime scene in past blogs. You are always in a lot more trouble if you allow yourself to be moved. He is taking you to a place of seclusion for a reason. You are way better off, if he is in the car forcing you to drive someplace and making it difficult for you to jump out, to crash your car. Aim for a tree, parked car, building, etc. The harm you and your family take in that crash is nothing compared to the harm he has in store for you. You have also just given him the choice of staying around to harm you or fleeing because there is now help on the way. Police and fire department resources get to auto accidents in just a few minutes. Other bystanders are rushing over to help. Another thing to like about this is that you and your family were belted in, the Scum Bags usually don’t take the time to do this!

Here is another scenario that needs to be pre planned for. Just because you are in a car and you see flashing police lights behind you doesn’t mean it’s a police officer. This has been done many times, especially to women. If you can’t see the police car (usually they have a spot light in your mirrors) don’t assume it’s the police. If the cop doesn’t look right or if you have any bad feeling at all it is always better to be safe than sorry. Yes, pull over but crack your window and simply tell the officer that you are afraid and need to know that he is a cop. A real officer should never be upset with a female who says this. The fake ones will scream and yell. Ask for a number to call to verify him or for the officer to lead you to a more public place. If he refuses I’d rather take my chances with a pissed off police officer than a Scumbag who wants to do me harm. I’m fleeing the scene. If it is a real cop I guarantee you that several cars will be chasing you within seconds! Will you be in trouble? Yep. Does that beat what the bad guy has planned for you? Yep!

Again, pre plan and mind set. People are car jacked, forced into cars and forced off the road every day. This stuff happens, we must have a plan. While planning think about simply jumping out and/or ramming something with your car! It is better to be in an accident than to be moved…always! BE SAFE!