Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Family Safe Seminar

Part 1 "Safe Strangers"

More to come

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Law Enforcement Arresting Techniques

The following is just one method to get a subject down on the ground. In this scenario the subject has been resistant but compliant. The purpose is to assert dominance and maintain control once you have him in a prone position.

This details one , two and three people arresting. We will have a full product and seminar on this subject. Make sure to control the head and focus on larger joint parts like elbows, shoulders and binding his knees. The smaller joint techniques tend to be difficult to get and to maintain, hands become slippery and fingers dislocate easily. Your beast bet is to secure a limb and use leverage.

Remember, the more the merrier!! Over come and overwhelm. In this method you would want to have one officer work the head and cuffing, another on one leg and a third on the other with pain compliance.

Crews and teams need to work together to develop timing. This can happen in a very short period of time.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Self Defense Saturday Family Safe

It was great to see some new faces participating in Family Safe and Combat Throws and Take downs.

The family safe workshop featured kids working with their parents on identifying "safe strangers", threat recognition, escape and avoidance, communication and target description. The kids worked with the parents to talk about these difficult situation in an open manner.

Pompton Lakes, Wayne and area kids were taught how to resolve conflicts with bullies and larger child predators.

The family safe work shop from The Self Defense Company is available for Schools and organizations. for more information, please contact The Self Defense Training Center at 973-831-0315 or visit us on line at

The adults practiced primary combat throws and take downs. These methods were enable you to take your target to the ground with the least amount of effort and training as possible.

Look for more details in the up coming North Jersey Media Papers.

Damian Ross

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Home (Invasion) for The Holidays

In Self Defense and Close Combat we focus on dealing with violence. While most people will probably go through life without incident, there is still the real possibility of walking down the wrong street or into the wrong parking lot.

More probable than dealing with violent attack, is the non-violent crime. I recently attended a Crime Prevention Seminar that was given by our local Police here in Saddle River. This was a response to a rash of paranoia that was perpetuated through email. Rumors of teams of criminals some Russian mafia, some junkies posing as handymen and landscapers distracting the residents while their homes were ransacked buzzed through the town. In reality the next town over had 2 incidences. One house was burglarized, another had a window kicked in and the alarm scared him off.

The locals PD took the initiative and held a power point presentation at my daughter's school. This was given by Detective Garrety and it had some good information. Some even I didn't expect. Hey, I don't know everything and this is my lively hood- the day I stop learning is the day I'm in the box.

Remember, we're talking about your prototypical house burglary NOT a robbery. A robbery involves a weapon and the person willing to commit robbery has a tendency towards violence. The typical burglar prefers not to have any contact at all. Most times, they won't have a weapon since the charges are more severe. They chose houses that look vacant, look for a way to enter undetected and take their opportunity.

Most will travel on foot to the location. Since the houses are spread a part in our town and the cops tend to write tickets. A bugler will get dropped of in an area, work it and then get picked up a mile or two away. They'll wait in the woods for the car to home by, flash its lights, they'll hop in and go.

What do they do and where to the go?
As soon as they break in the house through a back window or basement window. The look for concealed areas but they will even kick the front door in. A few years ago, these crews would kick the front door in (alarm or no alarm) make a mad dash to the master bedroom and the dining room and go to work. They have 4 minutes to get the job done and they know where you keep your good stuff.

What do they take?
Personal Papers, passports, bank statements, financial and confidential information
Fur Coats
Coin and Card Collections

When do they strike?
Any day of the week. Even though the time varies there seems to be a tendency towards the late afternoon, early evening. This time of year in the North east US, it gets dark now and people are either shopping or still at work.

Who are they. This is what I thought was interesting. First, they are organized some may be connected to crime families, some not- but most times they are in teams, a couple of men on the ground and a driver. The last team to work the area and get pinched were not Russian ex-KBG or gang-bangers, but a couple of elderly white men ages 60 and 62!!! Affectionately called the "OVER THE HILL GANG". We have even had the "JAMES BOND GANG" who rigged their cars with license plates that flip and left oil slicks!!

This is how they make their living: Work and area, break in and try to steal the most stuff they can in the shortest time possible. Doing their best not to get caught or identified. Most of them will try to run if you walk in on them, but you never know for sure. But understand the prototypical house burglar does not want violence added to their profile. It means more jail time.

Just like we teach people in 10 Lesson Self Defense, prevention and becoming a Tough Target or Target Hardening is your best bet. If you look like you either don't have something they want or appear to look like your going to make their job tougher- they will pick someone else. You can do the same for your home.

1. Alarm on, even if you're just running to the store
2. Communication. Call the police if you see suspicious vehicles or something out of the ordinary. ITS NOT A BOTHER to the local PD. It's what they do.The police can't be everywhere. It takes a community to protect it.
3. Provide clear border definition. Let people know the are coming into YOUR YARD. Shrubs, signs, fences and other landscaping define your territory. People will know they are clearly trespassing.
4. Locks.Lock your house, garage and cars. A lot of times these items are left open. People even leave their keys in their cars!!!
5. Lighting. Motion sensors and outside lighting is cheap and easy to install. Well lit yards, hallways and drive ways will deter most criminals.

Clearly defining your area and doing even the minimum will challenge most criminals how don't want to be challenged.

Like self defense, crime prevention comes by changing you environment or how the world sees you first. For your average person, this is all you need. Once you know what to do and how to do it, you just need to make some adjustments in your life NOT to your life.

Damian Ross

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Sunday, December 7, 2008

The De-escalation of force and the difference between resistance and attack. By Benjamin J. Campos

The application of force is a topic covered throughout a police officer’s career. Training begins academically at the academy, followed by practical “defensive tactics” and similar training. Recruits and candidates are instructed on techniques and their appropriate applications. However, as officers, we do not live in a text book, and anyone who has ever worked on the street can tell you that situations develop faster than most can recall data. It is important to highlight that knowledge and skill of this arena are not solely gained at the academy. There are many training programs, as well as books and authors on the topic which help prepare an officer for his/her tasks.

There are many situations in a police officer’s responsibilities that call for the responding officer to enter a situation low, and escalate as necessary. For example, a domestic disturbance where a husband and wife are verbally arguing might not be best solved by walking in and shouting. If we walk in and begin to yell, where do we go from there? A little verbal judo here might de-escalate the situation.
Another topic to begin this article that must be discussed is the difference between affecting an arrest of a resisting suspect, and an attack on a police officer. The easiest way to break this down is to ask the following: Is he trying to get away, or is he trying to attack me? In the first, your force must be directed to affect an arrest without injury to self, other officers, or innocent parties. In the latter, you must save yourself. You must go home at the end of the shift. You must win. You must counter attack.

Now how much force is reasonable? In attempting to affect an arrest, the textbook answer would be the amount necessary to get the job done. End of story. But how much force is reasonable when the resistor turns on you. How much is necessary when the suspect takes that swing, that kick, draws the weapon, or goes for yours?
This is not the time to decide if you have the capability in you to cause serious bodily harm. That decision should be burned into your mind from the moment you took that job. At the moment you feel threatened, at the moment you feel the reality set in, you have to already be engaged in battle. The appropriate response is to be in “kill or be killed” mode, and begin your attack with the initial intent to take it to the end if necessary. Here is where the title of this article “de-escalation of force” comes into play.

In verbal judo, we enter low and steady and calm. At this point, we can work up to where we need to be. When your life is on the line, you must begin the fight at the top level. You must be in kill mode and give nothing less than all the fight you have in you. As I say this, you might be thinking that you cannot, or that it is wrong to feel this way. But remember that we are all animals, and possess instincts and capacity beyond education. And also remember that this may be the call, this may be the fight that stops you from going home at the end of your shift. The one that gets your family a folded flag.

While applying all of the necessary physical, mechanical, or ultimately lethal force during this encounter, the situation may change. As this dynamic situation unfolds, the suspect may fight on, surrender, or be rendered incapable of fighting further. At this point, you may de-escalate if necessary, and keep the situation in the physical force/mechanical force sector. But the mental preparedness to exert lethal force must always be there, ready to emerge from your primitive brain without conscious decision. You must fight with everything you have, until you know that you are safe.

A good parallel to this is Firearm Training System (FATS) type interactive training. A scenario may present an armed suspect (shoot), who moments later drops the weapon (don’t shoot). Specifics change, and we must change with them. But one thing that remains the same, is that we must be mentally prepared to go as far as necessary to protect ourselves, or brother/sister officers, and the public.

This article proposes the polar opposite in handling physical attack vs. many other types of disturbances. It is important to mentally prepare for your job every day, and unfortunately in our chosen career, you must mentally prepare to kill someone every single day.

*It should be noted that the ideas in this article are that of the author, and do not represent explanation or interpretation of law (state or federal). All information is for informative purposes only, and students should seek legal guidance from their agency, legal advisor, or classroom instructor regarding the application of force.

Benjamin Campos is a NJLEO
PTC Certified Firearms Instructor
PTC Certified Recruit Instructor
Use of Force / Weapon Applications
NRA Training Counselor
He can be reached for instruction HERE

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Friday, December 5, 2008

Sacrifice and the 80-20 Rule

SACRIFICE are you in the top 20 or the bottom 80?

Sacrifice = Giving up something of lesser value for something of greater value.

The 80-20 rule.
Out of 100 people, 80 will fail and 20 will succeed.
80 will not follow through, 20 will.
80 will not be on time, 20 will.
80 will promise, 20 will deliver.

When I was 12 years old, I was asked a question that I have heard a hundred times since then, 100 different ways.

During a wrestling camp, the instructor asked "Who wants to be a champion?" Of course, everyone put their hand up. Then he asked, what are you willing to sacrifice in order to become a champion? Are you wiling to practice an extra hour after everyone has gone home? Will you get up at 5:30 am to to run before you go to school? Will you stay home on the weekends when your friends and your girl friends are begging you to go?

Well, as you can imagine, the hands weren't raised as high as they once were.

As an instructor I always hear a variety of reasons someone can't train. All of which are related to time and money. Some have to work, some have to study, some have to spend time with their family and others just say they can't afford it.

The obvious answer when given a choice to spend time with your family or train is family. But, this direct sacrifice is not the case. It is only a rational for the real reason, it becomes an inconvenience. Upon further examination you will see that all setbacks, no matter how severe, are only temporary. Yes there are exceptions but they are few and far between.

My next questions are what you really need to ask yourself honestly and truthfully: Do you go out to dinner? Go to the movies? Go to the bar? Rent movies? Drink, smoke? Go on vacation? Or any other number of distractions that people waste their money on?

Because if you asked yourself the REAL question on the table, would you rather, drink, smoke, dine out, rent and go to the movies instead of train, how proud will you be of you answer?

Do you have class and work every day and night of the week? Do you work weekends? Do you watch TV, take a lunch hour or sleep in? How often do you spend surfing the internet.

Listen, if you were spending all of your time working and studying and doing activities with your family- YOU WOULD NOT BE THINKING ABOUT SELF DEFENSE. If all you did was sleep, eat, work with little or no spare time- you would not think about training.

I can not afford and Aston-Martin. Therefore, you will not see me in the dealership unless I'm in the market. if you can't truly afford ANY service or product, please don't waste that person's time.

The real reason for not training 99% of the time is that it becomes and inconvenience. 80% of the people will quit, 20% of them will find out a way to make it work.

There are two types of people... people who look for ways to make it all work and people who look for excuses for it not to work. It's no coincidence that 80% of the people who contact me are looking for a reason NOT to train and 20% of them are looking for a place to train.

There is another New Year upon us, where will you be...80 or 20?

Damian Ross

PS. If you found this article a little harsh, there is a good chance you're in the 80, not the 20.

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Self Defense Training Center Opens Its Doors in Uniontown, PA.

Uniontown, PA- The Self Defense Company is opening its second training center in Uniontown PA, US. This will be the second official location this year.

Director of Instructor Development, Michael Archangel is extremely optimistic. "The reception from the community has been awesome. We have spent the last several months establishing ourselves as the authority in personal protection."

The maximum effect, minimum time in training programs have broken down the normal stigmas associated with this type of training.

"These are similar systems used to teach elite fighting units who have limited time to train. But instead of the extremely short time table, we have modified it so that you don't have to be an elite soldier to learn it."

For more information you can email Mr. Archangel at or call 724-557-1080

You can see the self defense company HERE

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Monday, December 1, 2008

USA Judo Referee Commission 2009 Rule Changes and Interpretational Adjustments
November 25, 2008
These new 2009 rule changes and interpretational adjustments are to be implemented at all USA Judo competition events. The implementation date is January 1, 2009.
These new changes may be employed at earlier events on a test basis if approved by USA Judo.
Please read carefully the six IJF rule change documents.

New = Actual rule change Adjustment = A change in the interpretation of an existing rule.

Partially NEW = Part of this rule has been in effect in the past, but part of this rule has been added to or changed.

Reiteration (Clarification) = This is not a change, it is a reaffirmation of how a rule is to be interpreted and applied.

These reiteration notices generally occur because of erroneous applications.
1. The score KOKA will no longer be called or scored in Judo Competition. NEW
U.S. Referee Commission Commentary
1. Landings (buttock(s) or side of the thigh) that were considered Koka may score Yuko if the throw is
deliberate (skillful technique), has force and shows clear control. (IJF is working on a video.)
2. Throws where the landings (to the buttock(s) or side of the thigh) are borderline, partially lack control
or are weak (soft), Koka should not be scored.
3. We must reiterate that landings to the front/side are not to be scored.

2. Osaekomi Durations Partially NEW
1 -14.9 seconds = No score (During Golden Score (Kinsa-Advantage))
15 -19.9 seconds = Yuko
20- 24.9 seconds = Waza-ari
25 seconds = Ippon

U.S. Referee Commission Commentary
1. This change needs no additional clarification.

3. There will be four shido penalties; the first one will be free (a warning). Partially NEW
U.S. Referee Commission Commentary
1. The first shido will be awarded and displayed on the scoreboard however, the opponent will NOT receive the score of Koka. Adapt for electronic boards with auto scoring for penalties.
2. During Golden Score, the first shido may be given by the referee without consultation with the judges.
3. The free shido should not be considered in the hantei decision in Golden Score unless it is absolutely the only difference between the two athletes (essentially impossible).
4. During Golden Score, the second shido may only be given after consultation with the judges. If 2 of the 3 officials agree to award the penalty, then the penalty is awarded and the contest is ended. The referee and judges have the option of consulting with the Jury.

5. If the team is split 2-1 against, the referee and judges just do not give the penalty and the Golden Score period continues. The referee and judges have the option of consulting with the Jury.

4. The Golden Score duration will change from length of the original contest to three minutes.
Partially NEW U.S. Referee Commission Commentary
1. The decision for hantei is based only on the kinsas that occur during the Golden Score period.
1 of 3 Referee Commission 2009 Rule Changes and Interpretational Adjustments Page 2
5. Dynamic Edge (IJF Wording) “Let the fighters fight!” Partially NEW
“All actions are valid and may continue (no Mate) as long as either contestant has some part of his (or her) body touching the contest area”. (Similar Ne-waza criterion is to be applied).

U.S. Referee Commission Commentary (Dynamic Edge)
1. Translation: “Actions” are while the competitors are gripping (kumi kata) each other as long as they are moving rapidly (tsugi ashi, etc.), no attack (entry into a throw) need take place, but could take place.
2. A competitor in “action” may play in the safety area as long as either contestant has some
part of his/her body touching the contest area. Any break in or stall of the action warrants Mate.
This is very different from what we have been doing in the past. This is a more liberal application. The referee and judges must be cognizant of the safety issues brought about by this change.
3. The cardinal principle to follow is Continuity of the Action and Dynamic Action.
4. After the original attack inside, award the appropriate score (if any) for any subsequent renraku-waza or kaeshi-waza whether one player is inside (contest area) or both are in the safety area (outside), as long as there is “continuity” and there is no clear break in the dynamic action.
5. If the referee calls “Mate” in error and the judges believe the action and attack to be valid, they may nullify the Mate and score the throw. The Jury may be consulted.
6. Any attack in the Dynamic Edge situation should have immediacy of result (reasonable completion time).

Interpretational Adjustments
Negative judo penalties must be more strictly enforced. However, we must be sure that a penalty is given only when it is obvious. Referees must not hunt for penalties. If infractions happen, they must be penalized. Please do not go overboard.
There had been a trend for the past two years in some parts to not give any shido penalties unless they were “extremely” obvious. This trend is NOT what the IJF or the U.S. Referee Commission wants!

Generally more than five seconds means 6-8 seconds, not 15-20 seconds or longer!
Repeated offenses should be penalized even faster (4-5 seconds). Non-combativity is still 20-30 sec.
6. Article 27.1 Avoid taking hold (To avoid taking hold or prevent your opponent from taking hold)
This includes blocking to prevent kumi-kata. This includes covers (gripping one’s own lapel in order to prevent the opponent from gripping), hold-aways (gripping one’s lapel and pulling it away out of reach of one’s opponent) etc.
This also now includes crushing (excessive obi-tori gripping). That is keeping the opponent in a bentover posture using an over-the-back “crushing” grip to prevent kumi-kata.
The time frame on this is generally more than five seconds.
Application of any negative judo penalties, such as refusal to grip should be made with logical
(intuitive) timing and should be made in conjunction with the dynamic (spirit) of the contest.
7. Article 27 Excessively Defensive Posture (Generally more than five seconds.) Reiteration
This prohibited act will be penalized more quickly (6-8 seconds). The goal is to discourage wrestling and wrestling style tactics.
2 of 3 Referee Commission 2009 Rule Changes and Interpretational Adjustments Page 3
8. Article 27 False Attack Reiteration The referee will be more vigilant in the enforcement of false attacks including diving at the legs without a clear attempt at a throw, drop seoi-nage without a clear attempt at a throw or similar unskillful attacks. These are mitigated of course by the opponent’s obvious defense. A true failed attack is not a false attack.
9. Article 27 Hikkomi (Hikikomi) Unskillful take downs in order to enter Ne-waza Reiteration
This includes unskillful tomoe-nage, unskillful sumi-gaeshi and similar unskillful attacks where the intent is to enter ne-waza and not to throw one’s opponent. These types of attacks should be penalized with shido.
The uses of Tomoe-nage to enter into Juji-gatame or similar techniques (Hikkomi gaeshi) are acceptable as long as the attack is continuous and skillful.
10. Article 27 Pants Grasping Partially NEW A player may NOT "first" grab the trouser leg(s) then attack, but may grab the trousers to assist in finishing an attack that has already been initiated. Grabbing the trousers first, results in an immediate Mate and (shido). Grabbing the pants in the midst of an ongoing attack or even simultaneously in order to finish the attack should not be stopped or penalized.
Grabbing (Grasping) the leg (not pants) – arm-hook or hand-hook (as in Morote-gari and Kibisu-gaeshi) without grabbing the trousers/pants is still legal. These actions should not be stopped or penalized and any subsequent action should be scored.
11. Judogi Control Article 3 NEW There will be stricter enforcement of the judogi criteria. At National and International Events it is the responsibility of the coach, manager and competitor to meet the judogi rules. The new judogi caliper (Sokuteiki) will be available at National Level and at Elite point events. Before coming to a tournament, a competitor and his or her coach should be sure the competitor’s judogi meets all the judogi requirements as outlined in Article 3 of the Refereeing (Contest) Rules. Before the competitor comes onto the contest area (On-deck) a gi caliper (Sokuteiki) will be available at each contest area so the contestant and/or coach may check to see if the judogi meets all the requirements of the rule. When a competitor comes to the contest area s/he has assumed responsibility that the judogi is legal. This official judogi check will be done only if after a visual inspection, which the referee and judges do every contest when the competitors are walking up to the side edge of the mat, one of the officials on the mat believes that the judogi may not meet the judogi requirements. If the referee and judges determine (all agree) that the judogi is “illegal” after measuring it with the judogi caliber (Sokuteiki), then that contestant will lose by Hansoku Make. If two officials believe the judogi is illegal, then they will consult the Jury. If only one official believes the judogi is illegal, the contest will be allowed to continue. This Hansoku Make will eliminate the competitor only from that contest, not from any subsequent contests.
Future discussion by the U.S. Referee Commission will be taking place with regard to the application of this rule at Local and Regional tournaments.
12. Long Landings: (It ain’t over until it’s over) (Continuity of the landing): Reiteration
Judgment on how a throw should score is based on the entire landing from the initial point of contact or impact to the final part of the body or back landing on the tatami when all controlled movement ceases.
The complete landing in nage-waza must be considered in total for scoring purposes, even if the action is slow, uneven (slight hesitation), or irregular (e.g. opposite side), so long as there is no clear break in the technique. The landing must be continuous.
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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Black Friday Violence: The human race hits an all new low.

Long Island, NY- A Wal-Mart worker died early Friday after an "out-of-control" mob of frenzied shoppers smashed through the Long Island store's front doors and trampled him, police said.
The Black Friday stampede plunged the Valley Stream outlet into chaos, knocking several employees to the ground and sending others scurrying atop vending machines to avoid the horde.
When the madness ended, 34-year-old Jdimytai Damour was dead and four shoppers, including a woman eight months pregnant, were injured.
CAUGHT ON CAMERA: WAL-MART CROWD MOMENTS BEFORE DEADLY STAMPEDE"He was bum-rushed by 200 people," said Wal-Mart worker Jimmy Overby, 43. "They took the doors off the hinges. He was trampled and killed him in front of me. They took me down, too ... I didn't know if I was going to live through it. I literally had to fight people off my back," Overby said.
Damour, a temporary maintenance worker from Jamaica, Queens, was gasping for air as shoppers continued to surge into the store after its 5 a.m. opening, witnesses said.
Even officers who arrived to perform CPR on the trampled worker were stepped on by wild-eyed shoppers streaming inside, a cop at the scene said.
"They pushed him down and walked all over him," Damour's sobbing sister, Danielle, 41, said. "How could these people do that? He was such a young man with a good heart, full of life. He didn't deserve that." Damour's sister said doctors told the family he died of a heart attack.
His cousin, Ernst Damour, called the circumstances "completely unacceptable." "His body was a stepping bag with so much disregard for human life," Ernst Damour, 37, said. "There has to be some accountability."
Roughly 2,000 people gathered outside the Wal-Mart's doors in the predawn darkness. Chanting "push the doors in," the crowd pressed against the glass as the clock ticked down to the 5 a.m. opening.
Sensing catastrophe, nervous employees formed a human chain inside the entrance to slow down the mass of shoppers.
It didn't work.
The mob barreled in and overwhelmed workers. "They were jumping over the barricades and breaking down the door," said Pat Alexander, 53, of Crown Heights, Brooklyn. "Everyone was screaming. You just had to keep walking on your toes to keep from falling over."
After the throng toppled Damour, his fellow employees had to fight through the crowd to help him, police said. Witness Kimberly Cribbs said shoppers acted like "savages." "When they were saying they had to leave, that an employee got killed, people were yelling, 'I've been on line since Friday morning!'" Cribbs said. "They kept shopping."
But that's not all...
Clear across the country in Los Angels, gunshots break out and two men die.
2 Killed in Black Friday Toys 'R Us Shooting: 2 men with handguns shot and killed each other
Two men pulled guns and shot each other to death in a crowded Toys 'R Us store Friday after women they were with got into a bloody brawl for unknown reasons, witnesses said. Scared shoppers fled but no one else was hurt.
The violence erupted on Black Friday, the traditional post-Thanksgiving start of the holiday shopping surge, but authorities indicated the shooting shortly after 11:30 a.m. was not prompted by shopping frenzy.
Riverside County sheriff's Sgt. Dennis Gutierrez said the fight was not over a toy. He said handguns were found by the men's bodies. He would not answer a question about whether the shooting was gang-related.
The victims were identified as Alejandro Moreno, 39, of Desert Hot Springs, and Juan Meza, 28, of Cathedral City.
Witnesses Scott and Joan Barrick said they were checking out of the store when the fight began between two women, each with a man. The women were near the checkout area but the Barricks believed the women did not have purchases.
One woman suddenly started punching the other woman, who fought back as blood flowed from her nose, Scott Barrick, 41, said. The man who was with the woman being punched pulled a gun halfway out of his pocket, then shoved it back in, he said.
"He pulled his gun right next to me. I turned to look for my wife and she was already hiding," Barrick said.
"I was scared," said Joan Barrick, 40. "I didn't want to die today. I really didn't want to die today and I think that's what we were all thinking."
The other man pulled a gun and pointed it at the first man but forgot to cock it, Scott Barrick said. The first man tried to run but was blocked by the line of people, then ran back toward the store's electronics section as the other man fired his gun, he said.
The first man reached a dead-end in electronics, turned around and ran toward an exit, pulling his gun and firing back, he said.
"He went up to the cash register, he went to put his hand on the thing and he just went phoomp," he said, indicating the man fell.
He said he did not see what happened to the other man.
Immediately after the shooting, about 20 people rushed into the World Gym across the street from Toys 'R' Us. Sarah Pacia of Cathedral City says she was in the store with her two boys, ages 4 and 6, looking at coloring books when she heard a commotion in the next aisle.
She thought it was people rushing to get a sale item. Then she heard three or four shots. She says she froze, and store employees calmly escorted her out of the store.
Palm Desert Councilman Jim Ferguson said police told him two men with handguns shot and killed each other and that there were 25 witnesses. Ferguson said he asked police whether the incident was gang-related.
"I think the obvious question everyone has is who takes loaded weapons into a Toys 'R' Us?" he said in an interview. "I doubt it was the casual holiday shopper."
Copyright Associated Press
How much has to happen before people come to grips with the reality that there are good an bad in all of us. Under NORMAL circumstances, this can be repressed and hidden. But with the right amount of pressure applied in the right place a person's true nature is revealed.
Most people who haven't been put "under fire" don't know how they will react. TRAINING ensures that you will do what is needed when the "fit hits the shan". Practice and proper training takes the decision making out of it. Would you stop an armed gunmen or a stampedeing croud? I don't know, but you will be able to tell something is going down and get you and your family to safety.
Is the risk of personal safety worth the reward of saving an extra $30 on a Wii? That's your decision to make. Today I'm embarrassed for the human race :oops:. So much for evolution and civility.

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Mixed Martial Arts Goes Big Time

The State of The Martial Arts Industry: Mixed Martial Arts Goes Big Time

By Damian Ross, The Self Defense Company

Many pundits say that the Lesnar-Couture fight marked the beginning of a new era of Mixed Martial Arts. I happen to agree.

MMA journalist, Joe Rizzo of the internet talk show "The Rear Naked Choke" ( expressed this sentiment in a recent pod cast and I couldn't agree more. I'll go one step further and PREDICT the next evolution of the sport of MMA and the Martial Arts industry.

Mixed martial arts will go the way of boxing and take its place among at the top of the of American combat sports. It's faster and it has an edge that meets the demands of our grow-up-to-soon, over-exposed youth.

The sport of mixed martial arts will continue to grow, regulated and controlled to meet the safety standards of each state. I would NOT be surprised to see MMA become an Olympic sport in the next 16 years.

MMA will take the path of all professional sports. If we look at the boxing model, fighters come out of small local gyms, fight in small venues as they work their way up the food chain. They get picked up by promoters and handled by managers and trainers.

For MMA it will be even harder to break in. The Cinderella, rags to riches story of a kid learning MMA at his local boys club is highly unlikely to happen.

The future of MMA will come from Amateur and Collegiate wrestling. It has already happened. The vast majority of champions have a wrestling back ground. Good striking skills only take a few years to develop and submissions even less than that (you can build up a decent submission DEFENSE in about a year.)

Wrestling in the US has a tremendous infrastructure and talent pool to choose from. On the elite college level, wrestlers already have the work ethic, the attitude, body awareness and of course superior grappling and scrambling skills. As the payday for MMA increases, it becomes a viable option for elite college wrestlers to pursue. The only other options were go to the Olympics or go to work.

I only hope the athletes get their due, which is going to happen since most of them are college graduates, they have more OPTIONS than a starving kid form the street.

The path of the MMA fighter will be wrestle and maybe do some Judo or BJJ as a youth. When he's out of college or high school, he should learn to strike: boxing and muay thai. He will lead a Spartan lifestyle and seek out higher levels of competition in order to improve. This doesn't happen at the local studio, it can't.

What will continue to happen is college wrestlers will be recruited MORE by MMA promoters. I even for see an MMA draft. Athletes will be recruited and placed in in training camps. They will be developed, just like any other pro athlete.

The day of the small local MMA club is gone. The idea of having MMA at the local martial arts school will be the same as teaching cardio kick boxing or aerobics (it's almost there now- most guys just don't know it yet.) There will always be the exception, but on the whole, there in no way that someone who starts training at their local club will be able to compete with a collegiate elite wrestler; NO WAY, NO HOW. MMA will be the business it inspires to be: Major sports entertainment.

So where does that leave the state of martial arts? Martial arts will always have it's niche, cult following. Its the nature of the beast, but that ONLY attracts a small percentage of people who are looking for that lifestyle.

The vast majority of adult practitioners look to martial arts for self defense training. Adult martial arts will be another tool to help them live their lives better. Programs must focus on fitness and self defense to survive. In the next 5 years, if you're not in the self defense and fitness business and you continue to offer ONLY martial arts programs, you're going to be stuck and forgotten.

The mixed martial arts and grappling era on the local level will be soon over. Unless you are teaching wrestling, judo or BJJ you will not be able to compete. Offering MMA in the near future will be like offering professional football or basketball classes.

While most people enjoy watching football, they aren't about to go play professionally. But they still have an interest in related activities. As MMA grows, they will have an interest but no desire to jump in the ring- even if they tried, there won't be much opportunity. But there is always a need for self defense skills.

Today's student just wants the facts, the skills and go about there lives. If you're teaching in a traditional style dojo, you better incorporate self defense training into your program or you can say good bye to your adult program.

Adults are interested in martial arts will want to do only two things: Learn self defense and get in shape. Will you be there for the turn?

Martial Arts
Self Defense
Martial Arts Styles
Self Defense Techniques for Women
Martial Arts for Women
Types of Martial Arts
Mixed Martial Arts

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Rack

This is one that I found at my house. It's a simple dolly that the BOB or spar pro sits on. It makes for interesting practice.
Makes sure your dolly is reinforced and the casters are heavy duty.

Martial Arts
Self Defense
Martial Arts Styles
Self Defense Techniques for Women
Martial Arts for Women
Types of Martial Arts
Mixed Martial Arts

Do you have any CONTROL?!?!

Control. In the martial arts world this is used to describe your ability to come as close as you can to your target without actually hitting him. In my Tae Kwon Do days, we took great pride in being able to come as close to the target as possible without making contact. This demonstrated our mastery over our bodies and our ability to "save a life, rather than take it."Little did I know, it was doing more harm than good.

To become more effective go here:

Competitions were point tournaments. I would actually get penalized and disqualified for hitting someone hard in the body. The result was INEFFECTIVE TECHNIQUE.

Practicing control + Non contact sparring = NO EFFECTIVENESS

In my real life in 1988 I found myself in a real situation where I was locked up with a guy and my shots to his body had little effect, and while his friends proceeded to work my back, the only thing I could do was escape. At that point I was a little pissed and disappointed. And it was at that moment I did something about it (I went traditional!!!)

To discover how "traditional" training works in the modern world go here:

Makiwara training, heavy bag work and bogu (traditional sparring gear) were the tools I used to gain real power. Sure, I never really won too many point tournaments, but who cared, my technique was REALLY WORKING.

Flash forward, kick boxing and the UFC, changed the way martial arts are looked at in the modern word, but self defense is still practiced like point sparring. You mast use control when you practice with a partner. This is an extremely DEADLY mistake. When you are stressed you will practice how you train. If you train to pull your punches in certain situations YOU WILL pull your strikes when the moment of truth arrives.

To be ready for your moment of truth go here:

To train effectively you MUST go 100%. This is the only way to develop power, effectiveness and of course confidence that what you are doing will actually do some damage. The only way to do that is to train with NO regard for your target.

Even at the Training Center, we still do 80% of our training in Self Defense with pads and dummies. We rarely train in these methods against an unprotected partner (get your mind out of the gutter).

To see how we do this go here:

We use the Training System as the only method of self defense preparation. We supplement our training with grappling but that is only an extra. The real stuff is here:

For self defense you need FOCUS, not control. Save your self control for NOT over doing during the holidays.

Enjoy the upcoming holiday,

Damian Ross

CEO, The Self Defense Company

Friday, November 21, 2008

How Would Today's Martial Artist Stack Up in a True Warrior Society?

Not long ago the public was reintroduced to the Spartans and their warrior culture thanks to the film 300 based off of Frank Miller's graphic novel of the same name. This latest retelling of events that happen in Greece in 480 BC shouldn't be considered historically accurate; it was never intended to be that way. None the less, the real Spartans even without their "Hollywood Personas" still remain impressive to this day. They were truly a martial society. They understood that in order to remain free you must always be ready to fight. Love of country and each other along with disciplined training made them an unstoppable force. They claimed to be descended from Hercules, but they didn't just talk the talk they walked the walk. Ancient Sparta had no need for walls; it relied on its fighting men alone to protect her.

The historical Spartans descended from the Dorian tribe who were one of the founding tribes of Greece (the great general Alexander the Great shares the same tribal heritage). Strategically located in Southern Greece Sparta was a local power and bitter rival to the city state of Athens. In Spartan society, military service was treated as a privilege and was only open to citizens.

From their first day of life, a Spartans faced a life or death situation. When a child was born, it was examined by city elders to ensure it was strong and healthy. If the child was determined to be unhealthy it would be thrown in a nearby gorge. A Spartan boy would be primarily raised by his mother until the age of seven. She would prepare him for the tough road ahead. Spartan women's reputation for child rearing was known throughout ancient Greece and to the point that many wealthy families sought after them as nannies to their own children. The Spartan mother had to be strict and demanding to prepare her child for what came next.

At the age of seven the Spartan boy would enter in the "Agoge", a state run military school. There he would learn how to be a man and a warrior in environment that can only be described as a twelve-year Boy Scout camp from hell. Here he would learn social skills, military training and hunting along with other necessary survival skills. He would also learn the importance of loyalty and team work. The boys were divided up into troops or "Ageles" and supervised by an "Eirena", thirteen year old Spartan. The young recruits were given little in the way of supplies and food. They were expected to endure pain. Hardship, hunger, thirst, cold, fatigue and lack of sleep forced them to become resourceful, self reliant and live off the land. No blankets were issued and each child was given one piece of clothing for a year. All training was done barefoot and if you wanted a bath it would be in freezing cold water.

Every aspect of the training was designed to test your physical and mental toughness. Everything was a challenge. The young recruits were only given broth to eat while the instructors would encourage them to try to steal their food. If you were a success and stole the food undetected it was yours to enjoy, but if you were caught, you could expect a whipping. Then when you were in your teens, you would be left in the wilderness in the winter without weapons or even proper clothing. This was your final exam. If you survived great, if not it was your own fault and there would be no rescue.

In addition to tough training the Spartan's also understood the importance of good tactics in a close combat situation. Because teamwork was emphasized from day one of training they were able to form the phalanx, a tightly packed formation of spearmen with interlocking shields. The spears would stop any advancing cavalry, and the shields would protect the troops from arrows and other missile weapons.

Every warrior was expected to hold his own in personal combat as well so he would train relentlessly in various forms of martial arts. Boxing, wrestling, and "fencing" with swords, each soldier had to become proficient. Each Spartan was expected to give his all and do everything possible to support your comrades in arms.

Then on his 20th birthday, the Spartan would officially begin his military career. As part of your service, he had to join a mess or club with fifteen other men. These men would become his friends, comrades, and training partners for the rest of his life. During this time he would be allowed to marry, though you probably spend most of your time at the barracks. Spartan males were on active duty until the age of thirty when they became full citizens. At that time, you could choose to remain in active service or join the reserves and remain on call until you were sixty.

On active duty during peacetime a Spartan warrior's service largely consisted of constant training, patrolling of Sparta's borders and keeping a vigilant watch over Sparta's serfs or Helots. Other units worked as police officers or personal protection of government officials. In the reserves you were expected to stay in shape and maintain your equipment. For the Spartan, every day was a day to train and prepare.

Though Spartan women saw it as their duty to give birth to more Spartan warriors if you were a woman in ancient Sparta you would enjoy many rights and privileges more so than any other woman in all of Greece. The Spartans were extremely progressive in this manner. As a woman of Sparta you would have the same educational opportunities as the men and you would also train as an athlete as well. You could own property and you could even divorce your spouse! Since the men could be called into action at any moment, women often took control and made sure the city state continued to run during wartime.
A Spartan warrior aspired to die in battle fighting among his friends and family. Prior to the invasion of Greece, Xerxes King of the Persians asked a Spartan exile named Demaratos if the Greeks would submit to his will. Demaratos replied "Yes, all but Sparta." Xerxes asked why and Demaratos replied that the Spartans only fear the law and the law says no retreat no surrender. At the Battle of Thermopylae and many other battles to follow, the Spartans showed how a few can defeat many with the right mindset, the right training, love of country and love of family.

MartialArts | Martial arts instruction | Self Defense

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Can Martial Arts and Self Defense Training Prepare Our Children for a School Shooting?

The subject hits home to everyone. At one point our biggest safety issue in school was bullying. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case. Over the past few years, school shootings have been increasing in frequency and in violence. Imagine, there you are, going through your every day routine, thinking about your next class, upcoming test or joking with your friends and then all of the sudden you are in the middle of a war zone, your world is turned upside down as you try to put your mind around what is happening around you. In the wake of the aftermath, the discussion is always the same and the conversation always leads to two main questions: can this be prevented and how can we deal with it when it occurs? The first solution is always increased police and security on campus. Unfortunately when this starts to happen, the issues of civil liberty violations and rising costs of funding the added security arise. As time goes on, the farther away from the atrocity, the urgency for a solution goes away. At the end of the day our children are left to fend for themselves while they wait for the authorities to respond.

The school system can only do so much. They can plan evacuation and increase points of communication; install cameras in all the public areas, but our youth will need an immediate plan of action for the eternity that is the time of the initial contact and the time help arrives. Children are our most precious resource and a little preparation and a little practice goes a long way. The answers you need are there. They are proven in combat. All you need to do is look at what happened to see what will help them. You don't need to be a hero, you only need strategies that will make you a survivor not a victim.

Before I continue, my thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of these gruesome atrocities. I only hope to provide this information so that these types of events can be minimized or avoided.

The first place to start is where all good self defense and martial arts training starts: your instincts. If you notice something suspicious or someone acting odd let someone know. You might just prevent something horrible from happening before it ever starts. I'm nt talking about holding inquisitions, but a little investigation and asking a few questions can be all it takes to deter some one.

The very next tactic any good martial arts and self defense training program will teach you is to put as much space between you and your threat as possible. Your first instinct should be to run if you have the chance. If you're see someone who's armed, leave the scene. If you are temporarily trapped or out numbered going for cover is fine (you will naturally do this), but you can't give the give the gunman a second chance, so you need to keep moving. Even at close range the assailant is almost 10 times more likely to miss you than hit you so make a run for it as soon as you can. If your school has plans to deal with an attack, study them and memorize multiple escape routes. Some people have proposed staying where you are, this is not good advice unless the room you are in is completely secure and you are isolated from the assailant. Hiding in plain sight, in unsecured areas or just lying in a compliant position is a big mistake. The vast majority of victims froze where they were, hid under tables and desks or simply lay face down in a compliant position. Remember, the further away you're from the shooter the better off you're. No matter how scared you are, the last gross motor skill to leave is the ability to run. Trust your instinct and get as far away as possible. Practice now by telling your children to run at the first sign of trouble.

Unfortunately, when you can't run, and you can't hide the only thing that remains is to fight, and keep fighting until you can escape. This is a last resort, but when people around you are being executed, there is no reasoning. No time for a debate, you need to survive and history tells us that when all other options are exhausted, your only choice is to fight

Martial artists have a variety of interesting theories when it comes to armed attackers. All of which you will not be able to recall in a life or death situation. In reality, you only need a handful of simple techniques and the will to survive (easier said than done). But throwing objects like desks, chairs and over powering the gunman with sheer numbers will increase your chances exponentially. Now no school administrator will ever suggest fighting back because they're worried about being liable by recklessly endangering a child, but that doesn't mean you can't train to fight back.

In 1998 at Thurston High School in Springfield Oregon seven students (five of them boy scouts) overpowered Kip Kinkel who had four guns, a knife, and over a thousand rounds of ammunition. The shooter had already wounded 25 other students before wounded student Jacob Ryker and several others, tackled Kinkel. If you have the presence of mind and you will have an opportunity when they reload like the students did at Thurston.

In the case of Virginia Tech, student's recalled watching him reload and continue shooting. At Virginia Tech many students did run and others barricaded themselves in class rooms, but it wasn't enough. The shooter, Cho Sueg-Hui continued on his rampage until he killed 30 and wounded 17 and finally took his own life.

The Columbine High School massacre, the Platte Canyon High School shooting, and the Virginia Tech massacre, are just a few examples of what a crazed individual is capable of doing. We need never forget those who died, but we need to look at these situations and put into place strategies that will stop these types of attacks from every happening again.

We all need to stop the trend of passiveness and denial and plan. The only way to take down these cowards is to prepare through basic practice and mental preparation. It isn't about courage; it's about practice and training. With the proper training you don't have to think, you just act. When you train in martial arts you learn how to perform simple tasks in extraordinary situation. You discover how to be proactive and look for solutions. Martial arts trains you how to react when fear grips your mind.

As a parent you don't need to be told that there is a lot to be concerned about, but you can't let denial or fear keep you from doing everything you need to do to keep your children safe. Take time out and talk to the children and make sure go over some basic self defense and survival techniques. Also teach them not to be a bully, and to respect everyone around them. Be aware of their peers and sensitive to things out of the ordinary. You don't have to like everyone you go to school with, but you need to respect them. That being said if things become violent it doesn't really matter how it happen it is time to go into survival mode and do whatever is necessary.

Most people think that martial arts training will enable them to defend against any assailant or defeat any attacker. This could not be farther from the truth. For these types of survival situations it takes a little commonsense, a little preparation and awareness to increase your chances of survival. This type of self defense training won't take away from study time or from sports, and the training will help you and your kids stay safe in and out of school. Don't wait for another tragedy to occur, be ready to survive, and protect those around you. Survival is something that is earned through hard work and having the right mindset. School is a place to learn and have a good time, but when terror strikes you need to be ready to fight. Be remembered as someone who took action and helped others not as another victim.

MartialArts | Martial arts instruction | Self Defense

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Self Defense Company World Leader in Hand to Hand Combat

This promo features Instructor Roger Jones. The first attack is an all out punching and stabbing assault. The second attack is an attempting grab from behind. You might not be able to tell, but the strikes were...hard and on target.
Next up, Mr. Barry.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Economics of Self Defense

The following is a letter I received:

"I'm a 52 year old guy who has been pretty active lifting weights for about 20 years but about a year ago I found myself in a situation where a guy suckered me and I friggin was so intimidated that I walked away with my tail between my legs. Thankfully the only damage was to my ego cause I totally wimped out in front of my buddies who were there... but more importantly I realized that I was totally unprepared to defend either myself or my family should the occasion arise.

Hey...even guys my age can realize they missed out on being prepared. So anyway I appreciate your newsletters and your videos. I'm learning a lot from them. The biggest thing holding me back now is the fear is that I could permanently damage or kill somebody with a blow because I'm pretty strong... this fear holds me back a lot.... it's hard for me to say "him or me"... if you know what I mean. Also training on a heavy bag has shown me how poorly conditioned I am cause I get tired really fast... just in a couple of months though I've seen an increase in stamina from the training."

Howard M., Pennsylvania

The reason you decide to fight to the simple Cost-Benefit model. Call it risk-reward, profit and loss - it's all the same. Nations, armies, corporations and even you operate on this fundamental truth with each decision you make. Simply put: if you risk X (physical or financial assets) will Y (an out come in our favor) be worth more than X. Will the net result of X - Y be positive? No matter who you are, before you decide on fight or flight, you quickly do your own risk analysis assessment.

You ask yourself one simple question- is it worth it. Will I get my butt-kicked or will I kick his ass? Is it worth fighting over a parking space or not? Every one has their breaking point, that proverbial line in the sand. And if you are a person with a lot at risk like, friends, family, ego, reputation and even career and material things; you will be more reluctant to fight if the stakes are too low. This is especially true when you get older. As you mature you acquire more attachments and responsibility as well as feeling your own mortality. As a result you will be more reluctant to put those things at risk.

On the other hand, if you're someone with less to lose you will be more apt to engage because you have less to risk. You will give less thought given to the repercussions of your action. When you were a kid, you didn't do something because of the punishment. When you stopped fearing the punishment, you did what you wanted with out regret.

Let's take a typical bar room scenario. Two guys bump elbows and then they have words. Man A is in 45 years old, job, wife and child. Man B is 22, a few part time jobs and a girl friend. Both men are equally matched for size and strength. All other things being equal, it would be safe to assume that man A would be more reluctant to fight over some spilled beer. Is man A any less competent or "less of a man" than man B? Before you answer, let's change the scenario.

Man A is sitting at home with his wife and child in bed, he hears a noise and finds man B breaking into his house, now what- it's my guess that man A is going to be one hell of a tough customer. Now man A is fighting for what he lives for and man B is just trying to make a score. Since man A's core values are at stake, the cost is too high and he will be more inclined to take care of business.

So what about the guy with nothing to loose, the career criminal that could give a damn about you and is just takes what he wants. Or the person who has lost everything he cares about. This person is very quick to go to work and because he doesn't second guess or hesitate, he has a distinct advantage and is an extremely dangerous person.

So where does this put the average, law abiding citizen. The advantage you have is sustainability; especially with a predator. The career skel doesn't want a prolonged encounter. Just by his nature, he's doesn't want a prolonged conflict. The longer he is exposed; the greater the chance of getting caught or injured. The longer or more difficult it becomes, the more resistance he encounters the less likely he will be able to finish the job. The longer you prolong the encounter, the greater your chances. Remember, even the most skilled predators will cut their losses after an extended period of time. Note hear, that its been our experience that even the most hardened criminals will avoid a confrontation if they think they are going to be disfigured or damaged.

So what does the average citizen have over the criminal element?

Steven Pressfield's Gates of Fire, an historical fiction about the Spartan's stand at Thermopylae, if you haven't read it, do it as soon as possible. Pressfield asks the question, "What is the opposite of fear?" The initial response is bravery. But that just describe the result or action- what motivates bravery? The answer is "Love". Love of family, love of country, even love of one's self is the opposite of fear. The point is, the things that tie you or obligate you are the very things that will motivate you.

First you have to determine two things, what matters most and where is your line in the sand. This is a personal issue and can only be answered by you. Once you get a handle on this you can develop this and use this in your training. Think of your assailant keeping you from going home and seeing you loved ones again. Imagine your enemy keeping you from doing the things in your life that to you matter the most take that and put it into your training. Work with it and develop it. As you get in tuned into what makes you tick, you will have the confidence to do what you have to do when the time comes. Once you get a handle on what matters most to you, walking away from a useless confrontation is no big deal. But if you get backed in a corner and this guy is the difference between going home or never tucking your daughter into bed again, he better be ready for the fight of his life, because hell is coming to breakfast.

The exception to this rule is someone who is not thinking rationally. Emotionally disturbed people who don't posses the capacity to reason fall in to this category; well, even rabid dogs have to get put down.

MartialArts | Martial arts instruction | Self Defense

Friday, November 14, 2008

Self Defense Training System "Tarantino Style"

This is one of three promotional videos shot for The Self Defense Training System. Each promo features long time Instructors Damian Ross, Peter Barry and Roger Jones. Each one of the promos was done in a classic action director style. This one pays omage to Quentin Tarantino. Special thanks to Paul and Steve at Redhouse Productions, Steve "Kobie" Jackson of Alston for the the music and Roger and Pete for the muscle.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The New Karate Kid?

Will Smith will produce a remake of 1984 martial-arts flick The Karate Kid, with his son Jaden Smith in the lead role.

Chris Murphy , who wrote the original movie, is writing the new remake. Production will commence in Beijing next year.

However, the role of mentor Mr. Miyagi has yet to be cast. Pat Morita, who played the original Miyagi, passed away in 2005.

First off, I'm a Will Smith and the origianl movie kicked butt (I loved the Cobra Kai- more on the real guy who played him later).

Fear of a bad movie is not what I'm thinking about. It will be the rest of the Martial Arts industry that will latch onto this remake.

It all started in 1984. The Karate kid was released. This is at the time Tae Kwon Do and the new martial arts business model was born. I actually began training in TKD at this time since my brother was an instructor. I have to tell you, it was hard not to make money during these times. People were dragging their kids to anything that looked remotely Asian. It was a huge boost to the martial arts business, but times are different.

Last year when Kung Fu Panda was released I got a TON of flyers and direct mailings telling me that Kung Fu Panda was the next Karate kid.

Well after one month in the theater, it wasn't. Movies are different now. For them to have any impact it has to be GREAT or have a lot of $$$$ behind it.

Good movie, bad movie- it won't stop you from getting inundated with ideas how to turn that into $$$ for your studio.

Rest assured, if your positioned correctly in your area like we do with the Instructors- they will find you.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Children and Self Defense

As a father I want nothing more than the safety and well being of my family. As someone heavily immersed ins the subject of self defense I NEED for my kids to be able to take care of themselves.

The idea of my kid being able to "man handle" an adult, determined attacker is a fantasy. There is no martial arts system in the world that will enable a child to defeat an adult or adolescent attacker. But we can teach them to escape, evade and avoid.

In module 5 methods of escape an evasion we focus on those physical methods. All of the tatics show you how to create a diversion for escape. This is excellent for ANYONE who is interested in base line, foundation personal protection. But our job begins BEFORE we get to the point of physical contact.

Al kids must know how to spot danger, listen to their instincts and communicate their feelings to an adult.

They must also be taught to locate "SAFE STRANGERS" Police officers, people with children of their own. In a crisis, you must play the percenages. A uniformed cop is a good bet, a single, white, male in street clothes, not so good.

In the family safe training we show kids how to escape, question adults and stay with their group. When they get older, we make them aware of more sohpisitcated tactics. For example, a man who appears to be injured offers you $20 to load boxes in his van. While any 12 year old kid may jump at the chance, we teach our children to spot the potential issues.

we alos teach them not to go with ANYONE without an adult. Even if the person in question apears to be in Law Enforcement. There's not a cop I know that wouldn't want to locate a parent or guardian before taking a child into custody.

There are always exceptions to the rule, but these methods increase chances of survival and develop kid's street smarts.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Holiday Safety Podcast

8 Things you could do right now to make yourself safer during the holidays
These are simple and common sense things to remember while you venture out into the stores and malls this holiday season.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Dragster, The Stock Car and Your Grandma's Oldsmobile

What do cars have to do with self defense, martial arts and your average person?

This is one of the best analogies to describe the difference and the purpose between martial arts, self defense and your average joe (or josephine).

The stock car represents martial arts and combat sports, the dragster is self defense and your grandmother's Oldsmobile is your average person. All are cars, with engines, wheels and basic qualities that make them cars. You can steer them, they have brakes, motors and all function in the same way but that's where the similarities end.

The drag strip is a street fight.
The dragster, like self defense, needs to be fast, powerful and to the point. It happens in the blink of an eye. Once you decide to go, you go. The way you drive a dragster is VERY similar to how you approach self defense. Get off the line first, move forward, take ground and steer very little. Speed and power are king, focus and intent on beating your opponent as fast a possible is a must. Any attempt to deviate from your initial launch and you're done like dinner.

NASCAR is the combat sport arena
Stock car racing is much like martial arts or combat sports. The goal is the same- you still want to beat the guys your racing. The difference is it's over a longer time period in a much more controlled environment. It takes more skill and training. It's more complicated, there are passing and drafting strategies and a lot more rules to follow. The stock car in the NASCAR environment is king.

Now let's look at Grandma's olds. This represents you average person. Little or no training, with average fitness. Around your block you may win some or lose some, but if you go to the drag strip or the NASCAR circuit you would get crushed. Sure, you may get lucky and your competitor makes a mistake, a missed shift or a mechanical failure. But make no mistake: that is the ONLY way grandma's sunday driver can win. Even if the average person met the MMA expert at the drag strip: it's still bad for the Oldsmobile.

What if we took the dragster to the NASCAR circuit? We put that self defense expert in the Octagon. He would get crushed. This is why self defense NEVER works in the sport arena. It is completely out of context. The intent and design have no place in this venue. Yes, he may get a lucky shot, but that's all it would be.

How about the stock car at the drag strip? The stock car would get hammered 99.99% of the time. While in the street, the MMA fighter would wait for an opening, the self defense expert would be doing what ever it took to end the fight by what ever means needed.

Even though things look similar, they are not. Intent and purpose are everything. You need the right tool for the right job.
Oh, and grandma's olds kick your butt? Maybe your riding a bicycle, you better get to training.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Traditional Martial Arts, Where Did We Go Wrong?

I just got an comment on the SDC blog an SDTS member who is a long time Shotokan Karate student and instructor. He noticed how his own martial art had left out the tactics and strategies of self defense and close combat...but he is perceptive enough to realize that THEY WERE IN THERE!!!!! Rather than stop training and teaching, he simply incorporated the SDTS attitude to his style. He understands the EXTREMELY important concept of Primary and Secondary Techniques.

Front kick, reverse punch, or edge of hand, chin jab. These are secondary techniques and tools in your kit. Most of us, if not all of us focus on these types of techniques in martial arts and self defense. Secondary techniques are the actual strikes, holds, throws, gouges...the things you see. While they are important, they are no what matters most.

EVERYONE focues on secondary techniques. But they are taken out of context. It is like finding a random part of a car lying on the ground- no purpose or function, it's just a hunk of metal or plasitc. Its only when it's placed in the context of the car that you can see its purpse. This is what happened to martial arts.

Primary techniques are the principles and strategies... the purpose and intent and they are the most over looked and forgotten. The intention of the martial arts has changed, and this has made it ineffective in combat.

Martial arts have been "taken out of context". Ever scince one fighter wanted to test his skills against another. Rules we made for the safety of the competitiors (this is a good thing). But once you change the intetntion from back alley to the ring the methods must change. The rules and the event and who you are fighting dictate training and purpose.

If you were fighting a boxer, you trained specifically for that, a wrestler, you trained for that. You always train for the venue and mixed martial arts is the same thing. If you weren't allowed to clinch, knee, strike the neck, punch- you had to adjust your training. The event always dictates the method.

Traditional methods of fighting have become sports. Since its more likely that you will fight in in a contest than fight for your life, you foucus on the contest. Traditional martial arts simply adapted to the times. Traditional martial arts like Shotokan were originally front kick, reverse punch, take ground and run over your target....sound familiar?

When I started training with the methods in The Self Defense Training System, it took a little time, but it actually added a new dimenstion to what I was already doing. It didn't belittle my clarified it. I could see the original intention of what I was studying. I was able to adapt the primary techniques of the SDTS to what I already knew. I was able to put my training into the close combat context!

Like all things, once you understand the principle concepts (if a primary technique even exists) you can apply it to anything you do.

Larry, thank you for your comments and I look forward to seeing you at the Training Center in May.

Friday, November 7, 2008

November and December Events at The Self Defense Training Center in Pompton Lakes, NJ

The Self Defense Company Training Center
Pompton Lakes
Upcoming Events for November/December 2008


West Point Judo Tournament
Saturday, November 15th
7:00 AM to 9:00 PM
Call us at the center for information.

Judo Technical
Wednesday November 26th
7:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Call us at the center for information

Instructor Meeting
Wednesday November 26th
8:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Be there!!! =)

Thursday November 27-30

New Jersey Judo Meeting
Saturday December 6th
6:00 to 7:00 PM
Instructors Only

Camal’s Winter Tournament
West Paterson
Sunday December 7th
7:30 AM to 1:00 PM
Call the center for more information.

Saturday December 13th
Family Safe- Parents and Kids
11:00 AM to 12:00 PM (for kids 6 and up)
Static Weapons Defenses
12:00 PM to 1:00 PM (adults)
It's FREE, Call 973-831-0315 to register

Adult Promotion
Saturday December 20th
12:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Contact the center for more information

Open Judo Workout
Monday December 22nd
7:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Wednesday December 24th to Saturday January 3

Lethal Vs. Nonlethal Force

No sane person wants to hurt another human being. We learn to repsect life, not destroy it. Because of my work, people have the perception of me as a violent person. Well anyone who knows me understands this not to be true. The same can be said for most martial artists, professional fighters, cops and soldiers. It's a hobby or a job -it's something we do. Personally, I enjoy helping people empower themselves, do their jobs better and live happier, safer lives.

One of the comments I hear about the SDTS is that it's too brutal.
Now, I'll try to write the next portion at the risk of sounding like an alarmist. The Self Defense Training System prepares you for WORST CASE scenarios. Your worst nightmare attacks you with 100% intent on killing or raping you on your worst day under the worst possible conditions. Logic dictates that you plan for the worst and hope for the best.

Common sense will also tll you that if you do anything less than 100% you leave little room for failure. We all must agree as soon as you roll off the throttle you create room for failure.

That being said, this doesn't mean you "kill" everyone who looks at you the wrong way. Your instincts go a long way but remember, even if some one just pushes you and you trip, fall and crack your skull on the sidewalk- you're still just a dead as if they shot you.

In self defense there are no gurantees only high percentage methods- maximun effect in the shortest amount of time. That is what the SDTS provides.

Non-lethal force...yes, it's in there too. You can back off if you have it under control BUT BE WARNED!!!! If you're a civilian and you are going to walk away from some one who you just embarassed, be prepared for retaliation. He may have a weapon, call his friends, and try again with the knowledge that you can kick the snot out of him. Even if it seems resloved, you must leave the scene immediately even if he leaves.

In law enforcement, there are really only a few holds you need to secure some one (unless they are an emotionally disturbed person then its full on). Most people will give up once they realize there's no use in fighting.

The bottome line is all force can be regulated. A blow to the side of the neck can be used to stun as well as kill, the cohice is yours.

People talk about escalating force. In law enforcement this is artially true, bt not like most people think. For civilians escalating force in NOT PRACTICAL. As soon as some one assualts you, you protect yourself and stop when that person or persons are no longer a threat to you.

I'm not talking about your drunk brother-in-law, in those cases a sharp word and a firm push puts them in their place.

Nonlethal force can be regulated, but you're making a grave mistake if you engage with the intent of just pushing someone around. This is why physical force is ALWAYS the last resort.

Realistically Defending Against A Weapon

The idea of the lone martial artist standing there facing a knife weilding attacker with nothing between you and him and the air you breathe.

Nonsense. No one just stands there (unless your frozen with fear- a completely normal reaction). One thing people do is move away and use the environment to cause the attacker to trip up. A kitchen table, a chair, a car or a telephone pole will do the trick.

When you practice, place some obects around your training area (or simply practice in your home or outside). All you ned to to is get used to moving about. Practicing this, evn just a little wil train you to do it if you're in this situation.

Other options:
Using pepper pray
Using a chair, stool or garbage can

All of these methods are detailed in Module 8 of the SDTS along with easy ways to practice them. Believe me, when your faced with this situation you WILL not remain calm. You've got bout 30 to 60 seconds of adrenaline to get the job done.

Self Defense is not a moral issue, it's a tactical issue. We hope you seek peacful solutions, but sometimes whether it's your job or you just don't have a choice, you need to take action.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Which Martial Art is the Best for Law Enforcement?

Up until 30 years ago, JUDO was the martial art. Then with the introduction of the more mysterious martial arts with more of a "killing" edge to them this coupled with the focus of the USJF/USJI (the leading Judo organizations in the US and the world) focus on Olympic competition and the simple fact that training in judo is painful and to this day, very difficult to get a black belt rank in it, especially if you are in a competitive area. I could probably write another 5 pages on this, but I will stay on point.

During these years EVERY major metropolitan Police Department had a Judo club. Even countries like Thailand taught Judo to their police force, NOT Muay Thai. I personally train a number of law enforcement officers and I have seen the results first hand. So why is Judo the martial art for law enforcement?

The primary purpose of non-lethal force with law enforcement is to get your target to comply. What is the most realistic way of getting someone to do something you don't want to with out seriously damaging them? How can you get someone from their feet to the ground as quickly as possible? How do you know what its going to be like for real? The answer is JUDO.

First off, when most people "resist" arrest, it's an ego thing. They are looking to be restrain, or they don't want to look like a punk and go quietly. The advantage the cop has is that the suspect knows that the officer is not trying to kill him or her. I realize this is a disadvantage in some situations, but that's what the stuff @ is for.

First, the object of judo is to throw the opponent from his feet to his back. Think about the majority of the altercations policemen get in, most of the time the skel is just kind of testing the officer. Once the suspect feels that the officer is going to be a tough customer, he'll comply. Nothing drives this point home better than taking someone from their feet to their ass with one shot. Usually, when the guy is on the ground, he'll take his medicine, since he knows the cop really isn't going to kill him, a lot of time, that's all it takes. Plus, to witnesses, it just looks like you pushed or pulled him over; mean while, they hit the deck HARD. Just ask my friend who threw guys one night with sasae tsuri komi ashi (lifting, pulling, ankle throw). These guys were fighting each other, and the guys on the scene had to get them to stop. So, he got in the fray and tossed 'em all. Well, I guess they felt that getting up and fighting again wasn't that much of a priority.

A popular argument is that most fights go to the ground. This may be true, but most people don't know what they are doing. Most people don't study judo.

One of the primary components of judo is being able to stay on your feet. You develop this skill as a by-product of the training. Just gaining the ability to stay on your feet is worth the price of admission. Especially when you are in a 'scrum' maintaining your balance is a primary concern.

The fact is, there is not better way to practice imposing your will on someone who is non compliant. Nothing gives you greater confidence than throwing a man that has 100 pounds on you. Nothing. Especially when that guy doesn't want to be thrown.

Another important component is the pinning and submissions of judo. To secure a full point in judo you need to hold him on his back for 25 seconds. Being able to hold a man down until the cavalry arrives will save your life. Plus, while this guy struggles, you are just squeezing the life out of him. Trust me, when it comes time for you to put the cuffs on him, he'll be as compliant as a wet noodle.

Strangles and arm-bars, yep, Judo has them too. If you have to put someone "out of commission" and you really want to know how to strangle someone who doesn't want to be strangled, you've come to the right place. When they wake up, you will have them cuffed and ready to go. (Uh-oh, the choke hold alarm! Hey, I am not talking about liability; I am just trying to save your life).

Lastly the overall toughening and body conditioning is second to none. If you can "randori" for 30 minutes, non- stop - you're in really good shape. So why aren't some many people, knocking down the doors of every Judo club. Because it's hard work and it hurts. There's no junior black belt, student of the month. Your gi is white and the work is hard. No secrets, just hard work.

The irony and the tragedy: the guys who train with me are only a few. Most of the guys interested in this type of training are SWAT or tactical guys. Unfortunately, these guys are the least likely to get in a roll around. That's the irony. The tragedy is the guys who are most likely to need good hand to hand fighting skills are the patrolmen doing car stops, domestic violence; and all of the first response details. By the time the SWAT shows up, the situation is intense and the reality of a hand to hand confrontation is highly unlikely if not damned near impossible.

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