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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

MartialArts | Martial arts instruction | Self Defense

Monday, November 3, 2008

Promotions at The Self Defense Training Center in Pompton Lakes, NJ

This past Saturday saw outstanding performances at The Center in Pompton Lakes.
Special thanks to Sensei Jones and Sempai Becher for helping out as usual.

In the kids promotion tournament, everyone showed great spirit and technique. In the adults, Heath was our only candidate and passed with flying colors.

Promotions and certificates will be handed out this Thursday before class begins.

Below are the most recent promotions:

Spencer Lander Nanakyu
Gabriella Gronda Nanakyu
Breann Stackhouse Nankyu
Jana Pozarycki Nanakyu
Nick Gronda Shichikyu
Olivia Ross Shichikyu
Chad Pozarycki Hachikyu
Jay Bode Hachikyu
Jonathan Ribarro Hachikyu
Jacob Codilla Yonkyu

There is a $20.00 promtion fee (includes belt and certificate)

Next Junior Promotion Tournament
Saturday March 14th, 11:00am

Heath James SDTS Level 3/Hachikyu Judo

Next Adult Promotion Saturday Decemeber 20th 12:00pm

Congratulations to Jeff Lenc who competed in the APA invitational judo tournament and walked away wth a second winning 2 out of 3 matches. Jeff was a little rusty in his first match, but shook it off to come in second. Congratualtions Jeff.