Saturday, December 31, 2011

There was a Time...

I knew Joe, but I really didn't know him. Joe was one of those guys who you didn't mind talking to. For me there aren't too many people like that. In fact I normally avoid most acquaintances since I'm not one to waste time on the bullshit and I'm sure most people feel the same way.

Like I said, I knew Joe but we weren't friends, of which I have about 6. After all, he was 30 years older than me and when we first met he was my gym teacher. I would later reconnect with him in a little role reversal when I was his karate instructor. There I was a kid in my early 20's and him in his 50's fighting the years of wear and tear on his hips and knees trying to pick his leg up to kick. At the time all I saw was him at face value, a nice man with bad hips and knees. What I didn't see was the 90mhp collegiate fast ball pitcher, the Vietnam Vet, the Marathon Runner, Triathlete, Cyclist, Soccer Coach and father of three.

One of the sign of maturity is when you don't just see someone at face value, but you see them for what they are, the sum of their parts. You consider the experiences that make that person who they are. After all there was a time where that old woman was on the cover of vogue and there was a time when that old man could run a 4 minute mile. With this wisdom you also realize that there will come a time that all things wither and die. You finally understand that nothing is permanent.

You also learn that life is about the experience and life is happening NOW. You understand that TIME is the ONLY REAL COMMODITY and anything that causes you to waste it better be damn important. You can't get time back and it doesn't matter how much bank you have, we all have the same amount of time to spend. That's why it's crucial you don't waste a second of it.

The only way not to waste time is to follow your instinct. When you follow your instinct everything fits and make sense. When I was young, I thought I knew what I wanted. I had to go to a good college, get a good job, put on a suit and go to work like the rest of the successful people in the world. Unfortunately my instinct told me differently. I hated every second of it and it wasn't until my mid 20's that I started to abandon perception and follow my passion. Which lead me to where I am today and believe me when I tell you, I have a great life.

New Years is a time of celebration and resolutions, but for me, it's just the opposite. It's the only day I reflect on the past. It's kind of like a thanksgiving only without the overeating. I don't make resolutions on New Years, I save making resolutions to every day. Every day is about resolutions, planning and doing. Yes, 99% of the things I do never work out the way I planned them, but all of them have lead to something better.

Listen, if you don't like your job, the way you look you either accept it or change it NOW. But you need to take care of this right away or it will never get done. You will never have enough money or be stable enough because there is always some other distraction ready to absorb your resources. You need to make the change now and figure out the details on the way. Don't spend a minute doing something you regret and don't be afraid to fail.

Joe lived a life on his terms. He basically had four full careers while he was on this earth but most important, he did the things he enjoyed.

Life has a way of pointing the way.

When I was a kid I might have had an opportunity to play professional football or even wrestle in the Olympics, but a knee injury side tracked me. At the time I though it was the worst tragedy in the world (yep, I was 17 what the hell did I know). As I grew a little older I discovered that being a pro athlete might not be the best career choice. Most of them are only a few years long and you don't make a enough money to sustain a lifetime. Chances are you will retire before your 30 and then have to figure out how to parlay that into a career in either coaching, broadcasting, or some other sport related endeavor. In other words, you still have a whole life to live. Oh and you are probably so banged up that you will have problems sleeping and walking for the next 60 years.

My good friend (one of the 6) almost made it in the rock and roll business, is beginning medical at the age of 39. What are you doing next month? It's never over until you're in the box my friend. You're never too old, too poor, too fat to start anything, you're just too lazy.

Like Red said in Shawshank Redemption, "Time to Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying".

New Years resolutions are for failures, make a resolution to yourself every day. Don't take any crap and please don't live a life you hate that grinds you to a pulp and makes you old before your time. You might think it's easy for me and I say yes it is, it's a lot easier than you think.

The SEALS say, "the only easy day was yesterday". Well the only good year was last year, and next year could be worse, if you don't make the best out of right now. If you make the best out of right now, those moments add up and who knows, you may even put a life together.

Live Honestly and Happy New Year,

Damian Ross, CEO The Self Defense Company


Damian Ross is CEO of the Self Defense Company and developer of The Self Defense Training System, the most lethal and effective self defense system in the world, The Guardian Defensive Tactics Police Combatives Program, 60 minute Self Defense and the Family Safe Program. Mr. Ross also founded the Self Defense Instructor Program that helps people develop their self defense careers from the ground up. Mr. Ross is originally from Ridgewood, NJ where he was a High School Hall of Fame Athlete in football and wrestling as well as a varsity wrestling coach. He then went on to Lehigh University where he was a varsity wrestler and football player. Mr. Ross has 3 black belts, 4th Degree in Tekkenryu Jujutsu, 2nd Degree in Judo, 2nd Degree in Tae Kwon Do. In addition to his martial arts experience, Mr; Ross spent 8 years in the professional security and personal protection business. He is internationally recognized as one of the foremost authorities in reality based self defense.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I Lift Weights

I lift weights. I also run and hit things. At 43 I'm just as active now as I ever was. "Active", what an old person term. In your teens, 20's and 30's you worked out, in your 40's you're fucking active. Be careful, when people start calling you "vibrant" or telling you how good you look you're going to take a dirt nap soon. Anyway, there's no reason to slow down. The way I figure, the Spartans were in the active military from 20 to age 60 (sometimes 65) so I'm not slowing down until then. Plus given medical technology today as compared to 1500 years ago, there's no reason why in your 70's you still can't be going strong.

I'm going to ask you to be honest with yourself. Given your overall return on investment, is your time better spent learning katas (forms) or lifting weights? Would you get more benefit practicing esoteric methods of harmonizing your chi or dead-lifting?

Years ago in Tae Kwon Do, the instructor was drilling us while we were practicing blocks in the air. He said "if you don't get the technique right, you might as well go lift weights and try to bench press 500 pounds." The notion was that if you could do this technique, it's like being able to bench press 500 pounds.

No it wasn't.

As martial artists we're told lifting weights is counter productive. It restricts movement and slows you down. In truth there does come a point where you're too big and your muscles and girth require too much oxygen and fuel to sustain long periods of stress. Power lifters and body builders tend to have this problem. But I don't consider a 6'5, 285 pound defensive end who runs a 4.4 forty yard dash slow. For the most part lifting weights builds muscle. Muscle and resistance training has been proved to strengthen bones, ligaments and dramatically increase metabolism. Muscle = metabolism. Oh, it also helps you hit stuff REALLY HARD.

No matter what activity you do, as long as you continue to do the activity your muscles will transfer the power correctly. Whether it's baseball or wrestling, resistance training will only do one thing, get you stronger.

Body weight exercises are good, but in order to come close to the benefits of weight training you need to spend exponential time doing your body weight exercises. Herschel Walker, Heisman trophy winner, pro football player and recent MMA fighter claims does a lot of body weight exercises. But he does 2000 push ups and 3000 sit ups, 1000 dips and 1500 pull ups per day. Regardless of this insanity, he STILL has resistance training in his program. Personally I don't have all day to dedicate to endless sets of calisthenics. I've got other shit to do.

If all of the kettle bells, yoga, pilates, kung fu and chi was all it was cracked up to be, wouldn't every professional football and soccer team be doing these things EXCLUSIVELY. It's true they do use some of these methods to supplement training, but their core programs consist of basic weigh training movements and appropriate running and cardio programs.

Did you ever notice that the majority of people who prescribe to methods like Aikido, Kung Fu and other forms of martial arts that attribute success to higher powers are largely out of shape or anemic looking? The thought of being able to effortlessly dispatch much larger and stronger opponents appeals to one person only...the lazy one.

People are inherently lazy. The reason Judo, BJJ, Kyokushin Karate, MMA, Wrestling, Boxing, Muy Thai and other combat sports continue to produce tough people is because they have a sport aspect that requires them to prove themselves against other skilled opponents.

On the other hand, there are arts like Aikido that profess being able to toss attackers aside with little or no effort. Aikido is an exercise in theory, not a tactical response to violence. Now you may not have known that I do have a fond appreciation for some of the founders of Aikido. Like Kenji Tomiki. Tomiki was one of Kano's (founder of Judo)top students. After Ueshiba (the founder of Aikido) met with Kano and showed him what he was doing, Tomiki went to go study with Ueshiba. Rumor has it that in his younger days Ueshiba was an animal in training. Only as he got older, he slowed down a bit. Even Tomiki during an interview and demonstration about Aikido was taken to task by a reporter. It was then Tomiki took the guy to the mat and tossed him around using Judo and Wrestling NOT Aikido.

Aikido was to demonstrate a theory of being able to harmonize with your opponent, the idea being that you could simply move with your target and use his force against him. This is a theory, just like communism. But even the founders knew when it came down to it, you still needed a little muscle to back it up. You should also note that Tomiki considered founders of Japan Wrestling association and other Judo greats as close friends and mentors. Tomiki was a bad ass.

Hey, if there was a quick and easy way around hard work, we would have found it. At the end of the day, you still have to be strong, have endurance and hit hard.

Oh, and owning a firearm is not enough. You still need to access your firearm and even if you unload your magazine in him, he may still keep coming. Like this lovely video. Here the cop shoots bad guy and the bad guy takes a licking and keeps on ticking.

Whether you believe in CHI or COLT there's no way you're getting out of an assault. attempted rape or homicide without experiencing some pain and discomfort. It's highly unlikely that you're going to face a determined and capable attacker without getting hit, bumped, bruised or worse. Even if you knock him out with one shot, your hand may be a little sore afterward.

In the street you need to hit hard, hit fast and recover quickly. Give me someone who lifts weights and does cardio on a regular basis, and I will turn him or her into an animal in a handful of weeks. NO BULLSHIT.

You can't get out of putting some time in. A typical week for me is:
Day 1, lift Chest and Back, Abs/Core
Day 2 Cardio and SDTS
Day 3 Legs and shoulders, Abs/Core
Day 4 Cardio and SDTS (Sometimes Judo at night)
Day 5 Arms
Day 6 ACTIVE REST or HEAVY LIFT
Day 7 Cardio long and slow

Each week I slightly vary the exercises and there is a four week rotation on the reps for weights. Week one will be a heavy set of 10 reps followed by supersets of 20,15,12 and 10. Week two will be sets of 20, 15, 12 and 10. Week three is four sets of 20 and week four is four sets of 10. Then it rotates.

Cardio looks like Day 2 and Day 4 are interval running for 32 minutes. Day 7 is a long run for about an hour. I may substitute bike or elliptical depending on how banged up I am. All in I spend about an hour to an hour and a half training. I don't have all day like Herschel Walker.

I'm no longer a serious competitor or am putting myself in harms way for people who will pay me, but I still work out hard, if not harder than when I was younger. Spartans didn't retire until they were 60 years old, so I have some time left before I think about slowing down.

Anything is better than nothing. Can do 60 to 90 minutes? Do half that. Can't get 45 minutes a day for yourself, 3 to 5 days a week...something is wrong with your life my friend. Everyone has excuses, the person who finds a way to make it work
is the successful one. There are two types of people in the world, the one with excuses and successful ones. If you have the desire, make it work if you don't have the desire, why are you even reading this?

The better in shape you are, the better your chances of survival. The more punishment you can take, the more you can dish out. In addition, people are less likely to mess with you if you look fit than if you don't. A cop who gets out of the car belly first is a lot more likely to run into a problem than if he looks like he can handle his business. In New Jersey, the local cops don't have an annual fitness test, but the State Cops do. When you see a NJ State Trooper get out of his car, he or she at least look impressive.

People always seek the path of least resistance. We're inherently lazy and are inclined to believe things that we want to hear. "Take this pill", "eat whatever you want and lose weight", "Work out for 10 minutes and get ripped". All you need to do is stay up past midnight, turn on the TV and get submerged in infomercial hell.

The martial arts have been no different. They're just as bad as infomercials with the defeat all attackers without hurting yourself or your attacker pitch line, use his power against him and make him helpless, no strength needed, lifting weights will only constrict your movement. All you have to do is get your Black Belt and you too will be able to defeat any attacker. Call now while supplies last!

The problem is you want to believe these things. You don't want to hurt anybody, and the idea of being able to do something to someone who is trying to do you harm plays into your good nature. You also don't want to work too hard either and will do anything to avoid it. It's not your fault it's human nature.

The confusion comes from the fact that some of these statements are only partially true. Technique and knowledge will always make up for lack of strength, stamina and youth but you still need to possess some level of fitness in order to survive. The more fit you are the better off you'll be.

Make no mistake, there are better and more efficient ways of doing things but there is some sweat equity in your future. There's no such thing as "get rich quick" (Unless you inherit it), there,s no loose weight fast and there's definitely no way around getting hit, bumped and bruised or worse when you have to fight.

Train Honestly,

Damian Ross, CEO The Self Defense Company


Damian Ross is CEO of the Self Defense Company and developer of The Self Defense Training System, the most lethal and effective self defense system in the world, The Guardian Defensive Tactics Police Combatives Program, 60 minute Self Defense and the Family Safe Program. Mr. Ross also founded the Self Defense Instructor Program that helps people develop their self defense careers from the ground up. Mr. Ross is originally from Ridgewood, NJ where he was a High School Hall of Fame Athlete in football and wrestling as well as a varsity wrestling coach. He then went on to Lehigh University where he was a varsity wrestler and football player. Mr. Ross has 3 black belts, 4th Degree in Tekkenryu Jujutsu, 2nd Degree in Judo, 2nd Degree in Tae Kwon Do. In addition to his martial arts experience, Mr; Ross spent 8 years in the professional security and personal protection business. He is internationally recognized as one of the foremost authorities in reality based self defense.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Problem with Martial Arts...

Is that it is too damn complicated.

When I was a kid and I started wrestling, it was all about the moves. I needed to learn more moves. I needed that secret move that no one else knew.

As I got older, more advanced and moved into high school and college competition I realized I didn't need a lot of moves, I needed the right moves. More important than that, I needed the right TRAINING METHODS.

Bruce Lee said it best, "In the beginning it was a punch, then I broke it down and learned all the nuances that made it a punch until I practiced it so much that over time it became just a punch."

The reason martial arts are too complicated is because they are sports oriented and are based on a model where martial arts business owners benefit more the longer you stay.

Sparring and competition in controlled environments with a specific set of rules and safety precautions will enable you to concentrate on specific situations and counter techniques. This allows you to dissect certain situations and develop a training strategy around them and your opponents. Even with it's plethora of moves and counter moves, it's an illusion. Martial artists try to apply this notion of "attack and counter" to self defense.Other than counters of position, timing, physical condition, individual counters to techniques RARELY WORK. In fact they only work when the person executing the initial move does so INCORRECTLY. Let's put it this way, if a person who knows how to perform a triangle choke really well gets you in one it's lights out. Remember sports evolve because of rule changes and training methods. The only thing that changes in self defense is technology. Take that away the rules from man on man combat have always been the same since the dawn of man: get him before he gets you by whatever means fair or foul. There is no attack counter formula only POSITION, DISTANCE, MOMENTUM and BALANCE.

Martial arts are designed to keep you training longer. The longer you train, the more money you invest. I owned and operated in martial arts schools for over 15 years. I've attended seminars and been a part of mastermind groups. There are three things a school needs to survive: enrollment, retention and renewal. Get new students, keep new students and keep those new students coming back. We knew a few things about you. If you stayed for 3 months, you stayed for a year. If you stayed for a year, you would stay for three. We also knew that the average income per lifetime of a student was around $1,200.00. So in order to maximize profits we needed to keep the people who were interested involved and investing in training for as long as possible. This meant new techniques, new programs and creative ways of upselling you into investing more money. The fact is, even if you have the BEST of intentions, a martial arts instructor just lie any other human being, acts in his own best interest. Most times they don't even know they're doing it because it's so inherent in the system.

Add to the fact that there's a certain prowess that comes from time in training. Saying I trained in something for 20 years sounds a lot more impressive than training for 2 years. But if you had 20 years worth of shit training compared to 2 years of good training it's not so impressive. To be honest, if you can't learn something in a few hundred hours, there's something wrong with you, your instructor or the system.

Make no mistake, I'm a life long martial artist and martial arts have their place. If you want to mentally and physically challenge yourself and become part of a community, then by all means have at it. But contrary to martial arts, self defense is a skill not an endeavor. My biggest problem is that martial arts have brainwashed you into thinking you need to spend decades trying to learn something. But deep down, they know it's not true. Take Judo for example. Up to third degree black belt your considered a competitor. Fourth degree and up are more for teaching and being active in the Judo community. The notion that a Sixth degree black belt can beat a third degree black belt is as preposterous as thinking the head coach of the Jets, Rex Ryan out block and tackle the members of his team.

Part of the reason the Self Defense Company has been successful is that we treat self defense as the life skill it is and not a life style. I'd like to take full credit for this, but every fighting force has been doing this for centuries. It's about instilling the correct skill sets.

We see the same problems in other self defense systems. They usually have a good idea but then they surround it with a bunch of other crap. The Marine Martial Arts Program (MCAP) is a perfect example of this. Sure the SDTS techniques are in there. Hell, they're in most every martial art in the world. The difference is which ones to use, why and when to use them and finally how to train them so they can be adapted to every situation. These programs make the mistake of treating self defense like a martial art because they're conditioned to do so. Somewhere you were lead to believe that more technique you know, the better off you are while in reality all you need to do is one thing really well. Personally I want to simply the SDTS EVEN MORE!!!!

Hey, I realize I piss a lot of people off because I threaten the very foundation of how they put food on their table. They tell you you need to train for years, I say it will only take months. They say you need to spend thousands, I and SDC Instructors give it to you for a fraction of the cost in a fraction of the time.

Like I said, I enjoy martial arts for what they are and will continue to do so until I'm too pooped to pop. But you don't need a black belt to defend yourself. You just need the correct set of skills.

Train Honestly,

Damian Ross, CEO The Self Defense Company


Damian Ross is CEO of the Self Defense Company and developer of The Self Defense Training System, the most lethal and effective self defense system in the world, The Guardian Defensive Tactics Police Combatives Program, 60 minute Self Defense and the Family Safe Program. Mr. Ross also founded the Self Defense Instructor Program that helps people develop their self defense careers from the ground up. Mr. Ross is originally from Ridgewood, NJ where he was a High School Hall of Fame Athlete in football and wrestling as well as a varsity wrestling coach. He then went on to Lehigh University where he was a varsity wrestler and football player. Mr. Ross has 3 black belts, 4th Degree in Tekkenryu Jujutsu, 2nd Degree in Judo, 2nd Degree in Tae Kwon Do. In addition to his martial arts experience, Mr; Ross spent 8 years in the professional security and personal protection business. He is internationally recognized as one of the foremost authorities in reality based self defense.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Pervert Released

The last several weeks in the affluent area of Bergen County, N.J. were not as festive as they have been in recent years. Reports of a middle aged man in a black SUV soliciting young, middle school age girls for sexual favors in exchange for money swept the area. There were 5 incidents in as many towns over the course of a few weeks.
The police reports were as follows:

■ On October 16th, Montvale, NJ a white male in his mid 40's approached a middle school aged girl and propositioned her with a unintelligible sentence, but the girl immediately responded, “NO!” and ran to her house up the road. The vehicle left the area. The victim further described him as having a very dark beard with parts having more “stubble” than thick hair, and that he was wearing dark sunglasses. She described the vehicle as being a black, freshly washed, new looking Infinity with a yellow license plate.

■ On October 25, 2011, at approximately 3:25 p.m., Allendale Police Department had a similar Child Luring incident on Dale Avenue, near West Orchard Street. The driver was described as a white male, 30 yrs. old with dark, short hair and driving a black SUV.

■ On November 7, 2011 at approximately 3:25 p.m., an 11 year old female was walking home from school in the area of Akers Avenue and Highland Rd. in Montvale N.J., when she was approached by a black, newer model SUV. It was operated by a white male, in his 40's thin build, scruffy beard and wearing sun glasses. The driver offered the female $1,000 for sexual favors. She screamed and ran home. Suspect vehicle fled south on Akers Ave. toward West Grand Avenue. The suspect and the mention of $1000 for a sexual favor were in common with the incident in Montvale.
Any law enforcement agencies in the Bergen County, and Rockland County, NY areas that have similar unsolved Child Luring incidents, are urged to contact Detective XXXXXX XXXXXX of the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit at 201-XXX-XXXX.

Fortunately, on December 7th, the man suspected of luring in all five instances was picked up. 26 year old Shahan Achian a local man, was picked up at the home of his parents house in Upper Saddle River, N.J.

Pedophile piece of shit, Shahan Achian

After the arrest the area breathed a collective sigh of relief and turned their attention back to Christmas Shopping. But wait there's more....

It's not the movies and the bad guy doesn't always get his comeuppance. Shortly after the arrest, Daddy posted bail (he's out) and he will probably only get probation, some therapy and a life time Meagan's Law registration.

In reality, he only "attempted" to lure the girls into his car and never even tried to abduct or physically touch them. This means he's back out on the street with another opportunity to do it smarter and better. Seriously, do you think he's going to stop? Now he knows he just can't go out and solicit girls at random from his car. He will either get more cunning or more brazen. His sickness is only going to get worse and if he's not smart, he will use brute force.

Bottom line is you need to take care of yourself, period. The police can't be everywhere and at some point your kid is going to be on their own. If there are two things to learn from this by looking over the police reports is that all the kids survived because they ran away before he got too close and second is that all of the kids make poor witnesses. Now if you had to make a choice between getting a good description and getting away...teach your kids to just escape. In the Family Safe Program kids learn one thing- no adult should ever ask you for anything, especially in the 11 to 14 year old range when kids can be asked for directions or offered money to load packages into a vehicle.

Your kids need to be educated and told what to do and you can do this without scaring the crap out of them. Just be a matter of fact about it. In the Family Safe Program we use specific language that gets the seriousness of the subject matter across, without traumatizing them. Listen, you taught them to swim and they understand the concept of drowning, so you can teach them to operate in the world, with understanding the responsibilities and dangers that exist.

The threat of older predators has always existed. The two major differences between then and now is that we get information so quickly. In the past we would have never known about a guy hitting several towns over the course of a few weeks but thanks to the web and facebook we can communicate information (both good and bad) at an alarming rate. The other change is the down side. Sick perverts can now connect with other sick perverts to help justify their behavior. They also exchange photos, videos and stories. And of course they become more educated about how to satisfy their needs without getting caught. As screwed up as it is, just as there are self defense forums and forums about pottery, there are chat groups for just about every sick and twisted mind out there. As the government shuts one down another pops up.

The conclusion is a cold and obvious one, it's up to you to take care of the ones you care about. The truth is there will always be scumbags like this and there will always people who will ignore the fact that violence and danger exists. They will choose not to do something about it and hang on hope, play the odds and pray that no harm comes to them.

In a perfect world we would all train, prepare and leave no outlet for the sick, twisted and perverted. A perfect world where we would all stay in shape, be healthy and live to a ripe old age where upon the first day we crap ourselves, we fall over and die. Until that day, there will always be criminals and victims for them to target. At least now you can make a choice to be part of the solution or fodder for the demented.

Train Honestly,

Damian Ross, CEO The Self Defense Company


Damian Ross is CEO of the Self Defense Company and developer of The Self Defense Training System, the most lethal and effective self defense system in the world, The Guardian Defensive Tactics Police Combatives Program, 60 minute Self Defense and the Family Safe Program. Mr. Ross also founded the Self Defense Instructor Program that helps people develop their self defense careers from the ground up. Mr. Ross is originally from Ridgewood, NJ where he was a High School Hall of Fame Athlete in football and wrestling as well as a varsity wrestling coach. He then went on to Lehigh University where he was a varsity wrestler and football player. Mr. Ross has 3 black belts, 4th Degree in Tekkenryu Jujutsu, 2nd Degree in Judo, 2nd Degree in Tae Kwon Do. In addition to his martial arts experience, Mr; Ross spent 8 years in the professional security and personal protection business. He is internationally recognized as one of the foremost authorities in reality based self defense.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My Big, Fat, Greek Tragedy: Mom Risks Freedom in Fight for Kids

You never really know when you will be called upon to protect the ones you care about. Usually we picture a deserted parking lot, late at night, but we all know that life is fragile and the world can turn upside down in a moments notice and danger can come from where you least expect it. One second your trying to get your own children who are U.S. citizens out of a foreign country, and the next thing you know you're in a cell with a dirt floor surrounded by criminals. This is exactly what happened to Marla Theocharides a student of Dan Neddo our Instructor In South Bend, Indiana.

Marla married a Greek citizen and moved to Greece. After a long and violent separation she was granted a divorce. However, while she was granted custody in the United States, her ex-husband was granted custody in Cypress, Greece. Her only option to get her children back was to go to Greece and fight for them. Armed with a local attorney and a video camera she began to document her case. There is even footage of her defending herself against her ex-husband (which will be released at a later date) to which she credits her safety to Dan in a later article.

You never know when or why you will be forced to deal with violence. Most people find themselves in situations where they are at risk of losing someone you care about. That overwhelming feeling to protect is incredible. But what's more devastating is the impotence to be powerless while you watch your loved ones get ripped away from you. I know that sounds brutal, but it's the truth. at least Marla has the character and the iron will to stand and fight for what she believes in and while she still has not gained custody and with no end in sight to the ongoing litigation, Marla can still put her head on the pillow knowing that she is doing all she can.

Can you? I'm sure when Marla was wed to her husband, having to physically fight him was the last thing on her mind. Being put in a foreign prison and having to fight to survive was even farther from her thoughts. But it happens and you're only saving grace is that you try everything you can at the time to prevent it. Imagine the worst possible scenario and ask yourself one question, "Am I ready?"

I can't answer that for you, I can only offer you part of the solution. You provide the other part. It's an honor for me to have Instructors like Dan Neddo in South Bend who take treat their calling with the highest level of integrity and I'm glad that the SDC is able to play some small part in helping Marla stand up for her children.

At present, the case drags on and the state depart offers little help even though the children were born in the US and have dual citizenship. (State Department statement here)

Here's the link to Part 1 of the Article >>> CLICK HERE

Train Honestly,

Damian Ross, CEO The Self Defense Company


Damian Ross is CEO of the Self Defense Company and developer of The Self Defense Training System, the most lethal and effective self defense system in the world, The Guardian Defensive Tactics Police Combatives Program, 60 minute Self Defense and the Family Safe Program. Mr. Ross also founded the Self Defense Instructor Program that helps people develop their self defense careers from the ground up. Mr. Ross is originally from Ridgewood, NJ where he was a High School Hall of Fame Athlete in football and wrestling as well as a varsity wrestling coach. He then went on to Lehigh University where he was a varsity wrestler and football player. Mr. Ross has 3 black belts, 4th Degree in Tekkenryu Jujutsu, 2nd Degree in Judo, 2nd Degree in Tae Kwon Do. In addition to his martial arts experience, Mr; Ross spent 8 years in the professional security and personal protection business. He is internationally recognized as one of the foremost authorities in reality based self defense.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Keepin it Real- The Two Handed Strangle, Damian Ross The Self Defense Company



This is just one example of the many useless attacks that are practiced in every self defense class around the world. Training against these types of unrealistic attacks is part of the reason the vast majority of self defense systems have rendered themselves obsolete. If attacks were kept with in the realm of reality, a lot of what you see as self defense simply wouldn't exist.

Unless you're getting attacked by the Mummy or Frankenstein's Monster, no one in the world is going to choke you with their arms fully extended. The only time they will be fully extended is when they are in the middle of bashing your skull off of something or you've managed to stick a finger in their eye. Other than that their arms will be bent and locked tight.

This particular attack is meant to intimidate, disorientate and kill. When someone's trying to strangle you in this manner they're either setting you up for a head butt and or knee to the nuts, pulverizing your skull off of the ground, wall, van or car, trying to crush your wind pipe or a combination of all three. We can also assume that since they chose this type of attack they are larger, stronger and feel that they can inflict serious damage.

What they will NOT be is arms extended, waiting for you to make your move.

Like this:


or this:


Great defense against a front "massage", this guy could at least put his hands on her throat. Wait that's not REAL Krav Maga!!!- Ninja Please, sorry inside joke from another post.

In the real attack he will be constricting and shaking your head VIOLENTLY. Granted, when you start learning and training with a partner, you need to begin slowly, but your position and intent still needs to be correct. You still can apply a little pressure and movement. But only after a FEW TIMES you should be able to run through the scenario with some decent speed and power. If it takes you longer than a few minutes to feel comfortable with a defense, the DEFENSE IS INEFFECTIVE!. Skills that are meant to be performed immediately and without warning must be able to be learned in a matter of minutes. Otherwise they are far too complicated or just will not work.

Most of what is practiced today is against unrealistic attacks. In order to "keep it real" put yourself in the attackers frame of mind, if you were really going to try and strangle someone like this you would be really pissed off and not be gentle on your approach and execution. Attack with the mindset of success NOT failure. Only lessen the intensity of your assault when your partner has done something that warrants your slowing down. Taking it easy on your training partner is not helping them in the slightest. Obviously, use some common sense and slowly build up the intensity of your attack. If the defense is effective, you should be going balls to the wall in a matter of minutes.

Train Honestly,

Damian Ross, CEO The Self Defense Company


Damian Ross is CEO of the Self Defense Company and developer of The Self Defense Training System, the most lethal and effective self defense system in the world, The Guardian Defensive Tactics Police Combatives Program, 60 minute Self Defense and the Family Safe Program. Mr. Ross also founded the Self Defense Instructor Program that helps people develop their self defense careers from the ground up. Mr. Ross is originally from Ridgewood, NJ where he was a High School Hall of Fame Athlete in football and wrestling as well as a varsity wrestling coach. He then went on to Lehigh University where he was a varsity wrestler and football player. Mr. Ross has 3 black belts, 4th Degree in Tekkenryu Jujutsu, 2nd Degree in Judo, 2nd Degree in Tae Kwon Do. In addition to his martial arts experience, Mr; Ross spent 8 years in the professional security and personal protection business. He is internationally recognized as one of the foremost authorities in reality based self defense.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

"Ninja Please"


After the SDTS isn't Krav Maga post I got a few emails telling me either that I didn't know what I talking about and the examples I used weren't REAL or TRUE Krav Maga.

I responded to them in the comments on the post, but that wasn't enough. Their reactions echoed negative comments on youtube or some of the self defense forums. My feeling on negative comments is that they're awesome. Not everyone is going to love us. Martial arts and self defense is filled with crack pots and wing nuts and if they love me, I have a problem. In fact the MORE pissed off people are, the better we're doing. I'll explain and I've said this before that you're never going to please everyone. So if you're not getting negative responses either you or your subject don't matter. I love the haters so much, I even have a little spot in my heart for them on the training forum.

The negative posts can be put into three categories, "The Experts" are the people who tell me that I don't know what I'm talking about or I will get me or someone else killed. "The lawyers" tell me we will kill someone, be sued or something to that effect and finally "The Cult". These are the ones who know the guy, who knows the guy who teaches the REAL form of whatever art I'm bashing..I mean discussing.

"The Experts" love to post their resume and tell you how long they have been doing art "XYZ". They will tell you how wrong I am or that the technique is too simple or I'm doing it wrong or it's called something else. Basically they're the guys who come to the meeting complaining about everything and offering nothing. They will tell you what's wrong and then provide no solution. They love the sound of their own keyboard tapping and are probably the most annoying person at the party.

"Ninja Please!"
Don't tell me, show me! Post a video showing your solution. I know we would love to see your awesome technique. Hell it will take you literally 5 minutes to put something together and throw it on youtube. I understand that this would require getting off your ass and doing something physical, but I'm sure you could muster the energy to show us your awesome skill, we're all waiting.

Oh, and filming yourself talking about it is the same as writing about it. You need to demonstrate an actual technique. If not, have a seat and let the men talk. A mentor of mine who was extremely successful in business told me as a young lad, don't say something negative unless you have a solution in mind. Other than that your not part of the solution, you're either part of the problem or part of the scenery.

"The Legal Eagles" spout on about liability, being sued and put in jail. All of the sudden they know the law for every state and the situation behind every self defense. They're also the people who look at movie fights and believe them. They are the same people who sit on a jury and tell the cop he could have shot him in the leg or the arm instead of emptying his magazine in his chest like he's supposed to do.

"Ninja Please!"
First of all it doesn't matter WHAT self defense you use, any method is actionable under the law and if the prosecution knows that you train in any type of martial art, self defense, or have had any military or police training it will come under scrutiny. Anytime you choose to use force you run the risk of injuring or killing the target or yourself. The fantasy of going up against someone who is capable and willing to inflict severe harm or injury on you or your loved ones with anything less than extreme prejudice is ludicrous. Look you can hang your hat on verbal judo and joint locks, we're going to knock him out as fast as possible and learn how to write a report and make a statement.

"The Cult"
The cult has existed as long as I can remember and it exists around every martial art. No matter what style you choose, the popular one is the "watered down version" and their exists a "Pure" or "True" version out there. These people know the truth, the world is all wrong and they are right. They laugh at the general population. Yet you can never see this true method because the expert they know is either dead or completely inaccessible. You would have to take two planes, a camel and get a Sherpa to go and spend 10 minutes with the guy who knows the truth. They know the truth and yet, when they demonstrate their method it still looks the same (or worse) than what is commonly taught.

"Ninja Please!"
Show me. Post a link, a video, draw a picture SOMETHING!!! With the millions of websites and videos out there I'm certain something must exist that shows even a glimpse of your true art form in action. Like I said before, it can take you all of 15 minutes and not cost you a penny to post a video. Every computer made in the last five years has a video camera, my kid's games have cameras, your cell phone has a camera. It doesn't have to be a Spielberg production, just shoot the thing "Blair-Witch" style and throw it on youtube.

Let's not waste each others' time, if you think you have something better, post it, if not "Ninja Please!"

If you think I suck, great- show me why, don't tell me.
If you think you have a better way that will WORK and keep me out of jail, show me how not to, don't tell me.
If you think you know the TRUE art, show me that method, don't tell me.

It's really simple, if I'm so wrong it should be extremely easy to prove your point. But you won't and you can't for one simple reason, I know what works and what has been proved to work. This isn't my first rodeo peaches and if Krav Maga or any other system was what it's supposed to be I would be training in that system and teaching that curriculum. Hell, it would have made my life a lot easier trading on an existing brand name. Every one and their mother has "XYZ" Krav Maga. I could have come up with American Krav Maga or Lethal Krav Maga or something goofy like that.

Anyway, don't tell me, show me...

Train Honestly,

Damian Ross, CEO The Self Defense Company


Damian Ross is CEO of the Self Defense Company and developer of The Self Defense Training System, the most lethal and effective self defense system in the world, The Guardian Defensive Tactics Police Combatives Program, 60 minute Self Defense and the Family Safe Program. Mr. Ross also founded the Self Defense Instructor Program that helps people develop their self defense careers from the ground up. Mr. Ross is originally from Ridgewood, NJ where he was a High School Hall of Fame Athlete in football and wrestling as well as a varsity wrestling coach. He then went on to Lehigh University where he was a varsity wrestler and football player. Mr. Ross has 3 black belts, 4th Degree in Tekkenryu Jujutsu, 2nd Degree in Judo, 2nd Degree in Tae Kwon Do. In addition to his martial arts experience, Mr; Ross spent 8 years in the professional security and personal protection business. He is internationally recognized as one of the foremost authorities in reality based self defense.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How to Defeat Larger Attackers


I received a few questions after the "SDTS is not Krav Maga" post regarding how to defeat larger attackers. For starters in the SDTS we naturally assume everyone who chooses to mess with us is bigger. After all, when sizing someone up, it's the first thing you evaluate (um..that's why it's called it "sizing up").

We don't just assume he's bigger. We also assume he has friends, is armed, has intent on harming us and is willing to do so. We also make some more assumptions...like we may be fighting on ice, in the parking lot, or even in the sand or in the woods. We also think that we're probably going to be attacked when we're sick, tired, injured, older or otherwise distracted. Yes we make a lot of ASSumptions at the SDC, but they're not in our favor.

That being said, the question on the table is: How do you defeat larger attackers?
We address this from Module 1 of the SDTS and we continue this line of thinking throughout. The first and most obvious way is close quarters weapons. Impact weapons like black jacks, yawara sticks, sap gloves, steel toe boots and shoes, fist packs, clubs, axe handles, chains, hammers and a wide array of nasty little tools can help you even the score quick, fast and in a hurry. ( Reference SDTS Modules 9 and 11)
Let's also not forget about edged weapons, t-handles, boot knives, push daggers and anything else you can conceal and carry. (SDTS Modules 9 and 11)

Oh and there's also "non-lethal" methods like pepper spray, pepper foam and stun guns. Yes I've even heard real guns will do the trick too. So before you go running off to take on the world with nothing in your hand but your pecker and good looks, you might just want to consider the obvious. Methods that consider themselves military or even just self defense methods that don't have a systematic approach to offensive weapons training are suspect and can not be considered REAL self defense.
Krav maga for example only teaches weapons DEFENSE and has no real systematic approach to edged, impact or even firearms. Hmm...the Israeli Special forces don't use any of these?!?!

The Self Defense Training System, self defense in general for that matter is about one thing and one thing only...winning the fight by whatever means necessary. If that means using a weapon, then so be it. You may be morally opposed to using any form of weapon on another human being (but I'm sure that if some piece of shit was raping your wife or daughter you may make a concession). At the end of the day it's my job to give you the tools and it's your job to decide whether or not you're going to use them. I can't tell you, but I also can't sleep at night without giving you the option.

I once heard some puss- I mean some one say that "weapons teach you to be a violent person". This is the most inane, misguided and self indulgent notion I've ever heard. Weapons are a tool, they have been since Cain hit Abel with a rock. In the end it's about winning, no points for style peaches.

Not what you expected so far? We're the SDC, I'm not going to blow smoke up your dress and lead off with the LEAST effective form of self defense...empty hands.

Regarding empty hand techniques, this is what you don't want to do: grapple. Getting on the ground with someone who outweighs you by over 50 to 100 pounds is insane. Have you seen a lot of great heavyweight grapplers? Me neither that's because when you're on the ground you need to create space between you and your opponent and trust me, when you weigh 160 and the guy on top of you is 260 there "ain't no space." In all my years I've know maybe 3 guys on the planet who could submit very large people on the ground. They are all world class athletes and weighed at least 180 to 200 pounds, you're not them so please don't bother.

Striking the body, huge waste of time as well; especially with a larger attacker. Add to that clothing and jackets and your strikes will be muted. Your best bet ALWAYS is to attack his extremities: neck and head, knees and shins. The testicles are obviously a great target but are a little tricky to get to, you might want to start with some chit-chat and a few drinks...sorry, I couldn't resist.

The genitals are placed where they are on the body because they need to be protected and you will have to be at a close range to attack them. If you do attack with a kick, like a saddle kick or a point of boot kick you should distract him either verbally with a question or physically with something fast to his face like a finger dart. This will eliminate the flinch reaction that every man on the planet does when anything goes near that region that was not invited.

As detailed in SDTS module 1, knock out areas exist on the neck and mouth line as well as the sides and base of the skull. The only secret to exploiting these areas is that you need to hit them with enough force to cause a disruption in the nervous system and blood flow. How much force varies from person to person, but I assure you it's not as much as you think.

Tips to defeating larger attackers (or any attacker for that matter)
Use Weapons: Weapons were invented for a reason, they make the job easier.
Hit Hard: You must train to hit with power. The more power and the faster you can hit your target the faster you will win the fight
Hit First: You can easily discover someone's intentions well BEFORE they throw the first punch. If you're facing a good street fighter you don't need to worry about the first punch, you need to worry about the second, third, forth, fifth and sixth punch.
Attack the Extremities: lower legs, neck, head
Attack soft targets: eyes, base of the nose, genitals

Every fight comes down to Distance, Momentum and Balance. Close the distance, gain the momentum and keep him off balance. Always train as if nothing will work. In training, keep hitting and trying to destroy your target with every blow- it's not sparring and there's no such thing as "over kill".

All things being equal, the fight will always go to the bigger and stronger. Being smaller means you have to make up the difference with technique, technology, tactics and training. The only secret is to attack, attack, attack. Sure, there's some work ahead of you, SIMPLE does not mean EASY. If you want magic, go some place else, if you want the truth, stick around.

Train Honestly,


Damian Ross, CEO The Self Defense Company


Damian Ross is CEO of the Self Defense Company and developer of The Self Defense Training System, the most lethal and effective self defense system in the world, The Guardian Defensive Tactics Police Combatives Program, 60 minute Self Defense and the Family Safe Program. Mr. Ross also founded the Self Defense Instructor Program that helps people develop their self defense careers from the ground up. Mr. Ross is originally from Ridgewood, NJ where he was a High School Hall of Fame Athlete in football and wrestling as well as a varsity wrestling coach. He then went on to Lehigh University where he was a varsity wrestler and football player. Mr. Ross has 3 black belts, 4th Degree in Tekkenryu Jujutsu, 2nd Degree in Judo, 2nd Degree in Tae Kwon Do. In addition to his martial arts experience, Mr; Ross spent 8 years in the professional security and personal protection business. He is internationally recognized as one of the foremost authorities in reality based self defense.

Monday, November 28, 2011

SDTS is NOT Krav Maga

Don't believe the hype. Sure Krav Maga "says" a lot of things similar to the SDTS but you can't judge a system by its marketing. Even though there are some good techniques in Krav Maga, a few good techniques or concepts does not mean it's effective.

In order to evaluate a system you need to look at it from a complete learning perspective. Most people will go through a curriculum technique by technique and judge each individual reaction to a situation as a good or bad, this is the wrong approach. In order to look at any system as a whole you need to look at it from the training experience perspective.

Take mathematics for instance. You learn basic principles and then you discover how to apply those basic principles to more complex equations. The same holds true for self defense. You need to see the same, viable concepts running through every situation. A viable concept must work under the conditions it's intended to work.

The problem with martial arts and most self defense systems is that they are based on the same formula: block, catch or grab the initial attack, strike, then finish with a wrist lock, take down or another controlling technique. They require a set of motor skills and reasoning that are not available under fight or flight circumstances.

Martial arts also attempt to provide different reactions to each individual type of attack. They look at each assault as an isolated incident from the attacker's perspective instead of looking at it from the defenders point of view. Meaning, here's the attack and if I were to disable this guy I would do X.Y.Z. the defender's point of view its about development of muscle memory and your ability to recall those actions under stress when you least expect it. Martial arts focus on your attacker while The SDTS focuses on what you will be able to do when you're attacked.

For illustration we took three attacks, a double collar grab, a collar grab with a knife to the throat and a collar grab with a gun to your head and compared the Krav Maga defense to the SDTS defense. Now we couldn't find any Krav Maga defenses for a knife with a collar grab or a gun with a collar grab either. Maybe they don't grab the shirt a lot in Israel, who knows, but we did manage to find a few to illustrate our point.

At first glance the the primary difference between the Self Defense Training System (SDTS) and Krav Maga are:

Krav Maga uses both gross and finite motor skills
The SDTS uses only gross motor skills
Krav Maga requires you to learn different, unrelated skill sets for each individual scenario
The SDTS gives you only one skill set for hundreds of possible scenarios
Krav Maga requires you to shift focus from weapon to attacker than back to weapon again
The SDTS has no real shift focus, after you clear the weapon it's attack, attack attack
Krav Maga assumes that you're only going to need to strike your attacker once (with the exception in Scenario 2 b)
The SDTS knows that not all strikes hit there mark and trains you to continue your counter attack until the threat is gone

Considerations
We know that under extreme stress you can not use fine [finite] motor skills. Fine motor skills are the coordination of small muscle movements which occur e.g., in the fingers, usually in coordination with the eyes. In application to motor skills of hands (and fingers) the term dexterity is commonly used. When applied to the theory of human aptitude this is called manual dexterity. Twisting the wrist, catching or grabbing an opponents hand, small movements and manipulations are all fine motor skills. On the contrary, gross motor skills involve large muscle groups and body motion.

Under stress you will only be able to focus on a single purpose. We know that once you decide to act you will continue to do that act until it's complete. If you decide to train a wrist lock, under stress you will continue to attempt that lock until you succeed. People fleeing a burning theater will burn to death trying the same locked door over and over again and will never look for another way out. Since you can only successfully focus on one purpose it must be to disable your attacker as fast as possible. Anything less will cause you to focus on something less critical, like a disarm. Look, if you hit him until he's unconscious, you won't need the disarm but if you try to wrestle the weapon away from someone who's has fight left in them you're leaving yourself vulnerable.

Scenario 1 Krav Maga defense against a double lapel grab you see a wrist lock (finite motor skills), and elbow strike and a cross stomp (finite motor skills). Shifting focus from hand strikes to kicks at close range is a little dicey. Why bother when you can just crack him in the head continually.



Notice the "stiff arm attack". When someone does grab you in this manner they do it to intimidate. That means they will jack you up and get eye to eye. Now the instructors does mention this type of attack but refers to a completely different set of skills to defend it! Adding another defense you have to remember.

Scenario 2 A Krav Maga defense against a knife to your throat clears the weapon (good), kicks him in the nuts (good), does a wrist twist (shitty). Here we see only one strike and then a useless wrist twist take down. Also, why does this technique differ so much from scenario 1? You could easily clear the weapon and elbow strike him.

Also note that this is another stiff arm attack. Look, if someone is mugging you in the street they are going to get in your face in intimidate you. They're also not going to want to draw attention to themselves. That means they're going to be as discreet as possible. Coming in close not only is more intimidating, it conceals the weapon from the rest of the world.

Scenario 2 B Krav Maga defense against a knife to your throat requires you to clear the weapon (good), punch him in the face (good), then go to the elbow hook and start stabbing him with his own knife (ridiculous). Again, this starts off great but then get's ridiculous. However, it's good that he repeatedly bashes his attacker in the face, but then he goes for the cutesy, make him stab himself bullshit. Again, more stiff arm attacks from the bad guy.



Krav Maga Scenario 3 starts off great, clears the weapon (good), cracks the guy in the face (great) and then goes to some ridiculous disarm. You have the guy on the ropes, the gun pointing away from you, why not continue to bash his head in?!?!?

The beginning of this defense is similar to scenario 2 defense. What they really should do is use the repeated face punch for ALL scenarios. Heck, guy jacks you up, punch him in the face, the guy sticks a knife to your throat or a gun in your face, clear the weapon and punch him in the face repeatedly. That would be splendid. But they don't, they chose to get fancy and do the same martial arts BS.

A final note on Krav Maga defense 3. Punching your opponent in the head runs the risk of breaking your knuckles on his jaw or skull. Try grabbing anything with a shattered hand and squeezing, let alone performing a wrist lock-disarm, securing the weapon, taking aim and squeezing the trigger. This defense assume two major "what ifs" 1. That you can hit him hard enough once to enable you to disarm him and 2. That you didn't break your knuckles on his skull.

Krav Maga uses the typical martial arts formula is this, grab or block the initial attack, strike and then finish with a fancy wrist lock, take down or controlling technique. You know what the problem is with teaching fancy moves, when you teach them, that's all anyone wants to practice. They gloss over the strike and focus on the harder tasks, the block, grab and fancy finish. It's only natural that you do this, you can't help it. The obvious problem is this: you pay no attention to the most important part, the strikes that will disable your enemy. The result when your stressed is that you will focus on the thing you spent the most time on...the fancy shit that your body has no physiological chance of pulling off (remember the finite motor skill issue?). The result will be some gross motor skill interpretation of what you practiced and it will be neither effective or fancy.

Another glaring problem is that only 1 defense (2b) showed any sort of repeated striking. All of the other defenses assume you're going to knock your target silly with one strike!!!! Those of you who have been there know one thing's for certain, in the street you miss...a lot.

That being said, here's the SDTS reaction to ALL of these scenarios:


That's it, one technique for 3 different scenarios. Sure it's not completely sexy, but it's brutal and it works. It trains you to use one set of techniques. Do you realize what happens when you train similar techniques over and over again? They become awesome. No one got into the hall of fame for knowing a lot of moves, they got there from doing a few things really well. Bruce Lee said it himself, I don't fear the man who's done 1000 kicks one time, I fear the man who's done one kick a thousand times.

Conditioning for combat requires you program a behavior that you will do subconsciously. SAYING that you will remember to hit him repeatedly is not the same as practicing to hit him repeatedly. Once you start to injure him you need to continue it until he's no longer a threat. You can disarm him when he's unconscious. This business of taking a firearm away from a man who's will to point it at you is stupid, movie, Hollywood bullshit.

At the end of the day Krav Maga is like any other martial art. It teaches you separate techniques for each individual situation. It follows the "block or grab initial attack, strike and fancy finish" formula of martial arts. Let's call that the B.G.S.F.F. formula (look another fucking acronym is born!). It also assumes that every strike you do hits it's target with devastating power. The only difference is between Krav Maga and other martial arts is the lack of sparring!

A final note: training to hit and destroy requires that you actually hit something repeatedly. Hitting the air, pulling your punches or striking soft cushy pads doesn't do the trick. We suggest you train to hit things as hard or harder that all the surfaces of the human body have to offer...oh and don't forget about belt buckles, helmets and anything else kids are wearing these days.

I lied...I have yet another final note.

There's another reason why the SDTS doesn't punch and why I highly doubt that Krav Maga was ever anything but a commercial attempt to market the Israeli culture. In a military application, punching is useless. Punching with a closed fist will run you the risk of shattering your hand. When you break the knuckles of your forefinger you can not use that finger. Try squeezing the trigger of your UZI when your hand is smashed to bits. Try gripping a knife or anything for that matter when the for knuckles of your hand are crushed. In the SDTS you learn to use the heel of your hand or the edge of your hand as your primary strikes. You may dislocate a finger or two with the edge of hand, but your primary gripping fingers will not receive any damage. This will still enable you to grip a firearm or edged weapon. Any military system that uses a closed fist is highly suspect. Considering that most of your targets will have helmets, firearms and other gear that will turn your fist into oatmeal.

At the end of the day Krav Maga is really no different than any other martial art. It's just marketed better.

Train Honestly,


Damian Ross, CEO The Self Defense Company


Damian Ross is CEO of the Self Defense Company and developer of The Self Defense Training System, the most lethal and effective self defense system in the world, The Guardian Defensive Tactics Police Combatives Program, 60 minute Self Defense and the Family Safe Program. Mr. Ross also founded the Self Defense Instructor Program that helps people develop their self defense careers from the ground up. Mr. Ross is originally from Ridgewood, NJ where he was a High School Hall of Fame Athlete in football and wrestling as well as a varsity wrestling coach. He then went on to Lehigh University where he was a varsity wrestler and football player. Mr. Ross has 3 black belts, 4th Degree in Tekkenryu Jujutsu, 2nd Degree in Judo, 2nd Degree in Tae Kwon Do. In addition to his martial arts experience, Mr; Ross spent 8 years in the professional security and personal protection business. He is internationally recognized as one of the foremost authorities in reality based self defense.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

It's About Kicking Ass- Damian Ross, The Self Defense Company

When you get down to it, there is only one real reason anyone gets into martial arts, to know how to kick someone's ass. Yep, I said it and I'll say it again, I don't care if you're a Shaolin Monk or Thelonious Monk, you got into martial arts because you wanted to know how to kick someone's ass. It's like the only real reason to go to a dance club is to hook up (don't trust anyone, gay or straight who says it's to dance, or the music). There's a reason why you stop going when you're attached, it's because you don't have to.

I know you probably give explanations for choosing your martial arts path to friends and family. I'm sure the reasons range from fitness to spiritual. Unfortunately that reasoning is pure and complete bullshit since there are dozens of other hobbies from yoga to triathlons, that will give you either or both of those benefits. Side note: Anyone uses the term "path" or "spiritual" in a sentence needs a swift boot to nuts.

The only reason ANYONE EVER signs up for a martial arts class is learn how to fight. Think about it, why "martial arts"? The only possible explanation is that you want to know how to physically impose your will over another human being. This doesn't make you a bad person, it just makes you human and aware that sometimes people misbehave and are in dire need of a smack down.

Don't give me that "reluctant warrior" crap, the "I don't like violence but if pushed I will..." save that speech for the dojo moms. I don't care who you are, when you put a bully in his place or fight to survive and win, there's a certain satisfaction that comes from that. I've been around all levels of martial artists, soldiers, cops and defensive tactics instructors and when you're among your peers you can't help but crack a smile when telling those stories. It's not a sadistic smile, it's more of a "glad I was the one who walked away" smile that's a combination of satisfaction and relief.

Then there's the people who have actually faced REAL assaults and attempted rapes. Do you think they want to spend time learning "alternative and peaceful solutions" for the next time? Guess again. Most of them- at least the ones that The Self Defense Company train, just want to know how to win the fight as fast as possible by whatever means necessary. I realize we hit a certain demographic and the "peaceful alternative" types don't exactly contact us, hmmmm. I wonder why that is?

Let's call a spade a spade (don't be racist), It doesn't matter if it's Muay Thai or Tae Bo, you get into martial arts to kick ass and take names. If you wanted to get fit and be spiritual you would go take pilates, yoga or some other activity that will get you in touch with your feminine side. If just wanted to get fit you could do a whole host of things to torture yourself on your time off. All of these endeavors come with the social element you claim from martial arts.

In the end, just spare me the rhetoric. There are very few things that are better than standing up for yourself and providing a good old "foot to ass" solution. I've competed in sports all my life from judo, jujitsu, football, baseball, tae kwon do, wrestling and the list goes on. When it came to martial arts, it was just another sport. It wasn't until I started training in the methods that lead to the SDTS that a light went off and I realized that THIS IS WHAT I GOT INTO MARTIAL ARTS FOR!!! No bullshit, just demolish that guy in front of you as quickly as possible. No forms, no stances, no bowing, no rules!!

This is the world we live in and when it comes to dealing with violence there is only one response that ALWAYS WORKS, it is swift, brutal and unforgiving. Live your life ethically, show forgiveness and compassion before and after you need to use violence. The people who say violence isn't the answer are scared, rightfully so. On the other hand it's the people who use violence as a means to ensure that those people can spout their non-violent, pacifistic theories. In the words of the late Richard Jenni "Violence may not solve anything, but it sure stops a lot of shit."

Example? How about World War II? I'm sure the people of Poland, France and all of the Jews, Gypsies and Homosexuals put in death camps might have a different opinion. I'm sure the good people of Afghanistan loved the Russian occupation or the Taliban rule. Sure, the jury is still out what's going on over there but one things for sure, nothing has blown up in the US since 9-11 and that was over a decade ago, say what you will but I know there are nations of people who would enjoy seeing scores of US and British citizens dead. And believe me, they are trying everyday. So (knock on wood) something IS WORKING!

It doesn't matter if it's global conflict or close combat, a good offense in the ONLY defense! Attack, attack, attack until they can't attack you. The only way to do that is to inflict more injury than your target can inflict on you. It's a simple, little equation.

I got into martial arts to know how to systematically kick someone's ass. There was a while there, yes, I may have sipped the kool-aide and believed my own bullshit. OK, maybe I didn't sip it, I got drunk and took a shower int it, but even I eventually woke up and smelled the pepper spray.

Train Honestly,


Damian Ross, CEO The Self Defense Company


Damian Ross is CEO of the Self Defense Company and developer of The Self Defense Training System, the most lethal and effective self defense system in the world, The Guardian Defensive Tactics Police Combatives Program, 60 minute Self Defense and the Family Safe Program. Mr. Ross also founded the Self Defense Instructor Program that helps people develop their self defense careers from the ground up. Mr. Ross is originally from Ridgewood, NJ where he was a High School Hall of Fame Athlete in football and wrestling as well as a varsity wrestling coach. He then went on to Lehigh University where he was a varsity wrestler and football player. Mr. Ross has 3 black belts, 4th Degree in Tekkenryu Jujutsu, 2nd Degree in Judo, 2nd Degree in Tae Kwon Do. In addition to his martial arts experience, Mr; Ross spent 8 years in the professional security and personal protection business. He is internationally recognized as one of the foremost authorities in reality based self defense.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sacrifice or Regret - Damian Ross, The Self Defense Company


Take your pick. Every choice you make comes with this price tag. Do you sacrifice something of lesser value for something of greater value or do you let the opportunity pass you by. Every time you say NO to something you're saying YES to something else. NO to studying means YES to failing. NO to working out means YES to being a fat shit. NO to training means YES to being vulnerable.

When I was a kid and I had to leave my friends to go to practice my dad would say, you're true friends would always be there. He was right. Later as friends were joined by girls, it was a little tougher but after practice, after the sacrifice the world looked a little brighter, things tasted a little sweeter, heck even the air was a little crisper. My sacrifice made me appreciate the things around me that I normally took for granted. (Girls like me more too!)

After the sacrifice came the rewards of success: admiration from peers, family and a good education. Later when my efforts turned towards martial arts and self defense, I had success in the it was the knowledge of knowing that I could protect myself and the people around me. Knowing that whatever task I was given, I would be able to accomplish that task. Oh and yes, girls liked it too and my family and friends were equally impressed...did I mention the girls?

Later I would discover how to adapt those sacrifice skills to my professional life and family life. It was easy and the rewards have been many. I would like to say I'm lucky, but luck is where preparation meets opportunity. Preparation comes from sacrifice.

Hey, not taking action is easy and it's easy to make excuses...they FEEL REALLY GOOD!!! The easy way always does. Like the saying goes "Hard work pays off in the future but laziness pays off NOW!" . But the payoff of hard work is infinitely better and more profound than laziness could ever dare to be.

It's never the perfect time. It's never the perfect time to change jobs, never the perfect time to get married, buy a house, have kids or go back to school. Any major decision comes with this feeling of the time has to be perfect. It's never going to be perfect. The perfect time is an illusion, it doesn't exist. To make change you have to take one bold step to start the wheels turning and the momentum moving. Like Newton says, a body at rest tends to stay at rest, but a body in motion tends to stay in motion. Once you start making decisions and taking action, things begin to happen.

The most successful businesses, the most successful training regiments, hell the most successful anything didn't start on a Monday at 9:00am and it sure as hell didn't start on January 1. It begins the second you decide it's time and the moment you get off your ass and do something. There will always be something pulling at you, it's life and you have to kick life in the ass and put it in it's place. Unless someone is sick or dying, it can be managed.

Short term loss vs. Long term gain.

What are you REALLY sacrificing? Lest take SDTS Training for example. A handful of hours per week for 8 to 12 months? How much of that time is spent watching TV, on the computer or eating and drinking things you probably shouldn't? If you look at your life, there is always going to be a roadblock. If you truly don't have any time for yourself each week...you really need to change your life.

If you work at a rate that doesn't allow you time for anything else, you need to check your life.

If your family obligations are so over bearing that you don't have anytime for yourself, you need to check your life.

We all get busy from time to time but you need to make the time and create the habit. Great things don't happen because it was a convenient time. Great things happen when someone stands up and takes action.

On the other hand, Regret is bitter. Regret doesn't require any action. All you need to do is sit and watch opportunity pass you by. Regret is what makes people miserable. Regret reminds you how old you are. It tells you how fat and out of shape you've gotten. Regret is a douche bag. He's that nagging voice that tell you times are passed and you had your chance. Fuck Regret, make him your bitch.

Tomorrow always comes again and again until one day you're at an age that, well...you're just too damn old.

Train Honestly,


Damian Ross, CEO The Self Defense Company


Damian Ross is CEO of the Self Defense Company and developer of The Self Defense Training System, the most lethal and effective self defense system in the world, The Guardian Defensive Tactics Police Combatives Program, 60 minute Self Defense and the Family Safe Program. Mr. Ross also founded the Self Defense Instructor Program that helps people develop their self defense careers from the ground up. Mr. Ross is originally from Ridgewood, NJ where he was a High School Hall of Fame Athlete in football and wrestling as well as a varsity wrestling coach. He then went on to Lehigh University where he was a varsity wrestler and football player. Mr. Ross has 3 black belts, 4th Degree in Tekkenryu Jujutsu, 2nd Degree in Judo, 2nd Degree in Tae Kwon Do. In addition to his martial arts experience, Mr; Ross spent 8 years in the professional security and personal protection business. He is internationally recognized as one of the foremost authorities in reality based self defense.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Haters Gonna Hate- Damian Ross, The Self Defense Company


I love the show Kitchen Nightmares. It's not Ramsay's over the top persona, or how he rips into people (if you get a chance to watch some of his earlier shows from the BBC he's a lot more mellow and tolerable) it's the combative attitude of the people trapped in a failing business.

He comes in, a successful, Michelin Star chef and Restauranteur and tells them exactly what they need to know and every time, without fail, they fight him every step of the way until eventually they break down and give in. When I watch the show with my kids we call it "When Adults Cry" and point out every time it happens. What else am I going to do? They're a little too young to play the drinking game...

The same holds true for the show Bar Rescue, Salon Take Over or most any other business make over show. The excuse for failure is ALWAYS something external: the economy, the competition, the neighborhood, etc. It's never something that the business owner does. Yet, upon further inspection it's always the product, service and atmosphere that are all lacking one way or another.

The process is always the same: expert comes in and tells them the truth, their product is awful, their place is filthy and how service is dreadful. The business owner goes through anger, denial, acceptance and finally follow through. Note that the ones that fail are usually too far gone or don't follow through. But the formula for success is always the same.

There's no place better to see this type of angered resistance than in the self defense world. People will fight me to the end, until one day they realize, I'm right because, like Chef Ramsay, I know the truth about self defense. I know what works. You can tell me that I don't own a black car all you want, but I know I drove up in one and it's parked outside. To me you sound like all those failed business owners on Kitchen Nightmares holding on to something that simply doesn't exist. I've been where you're standing and have the black belts to prove it. Eventually you will come around or quit or remain stubborn and cling to a method that really was not intended for life or death situations.

There's a reason that the majority of people who enroll in the SDTS are former or lifelong martial artists who have had real life, adult street fights. They understand the reality of what happens and have had enough insight to reflect on their training and identify the obvious problems.

The biggest issue with most systems is that they're only PART right. They have a few solid ideas and concepts and then fill it in with what ever they can think of to make it larger and more complicated than it needs to be. People get pissed when I tell them you don't need to spend all that time practicing and learning technique upon technique. It's like martial arts hoarding. They feel secure in the fact that they "know" a lot of stuff. But more is not better, it's just more and knowing a lot of things is A LOT worse than knowing a few things well.

"I fear not the man who has practiced 10000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10000 times." ~ Bruce Lee


In fact, instead of training in those complex moves, why don't you lift some weights and do some real cardio? After all, the over all tactical benefit of being physically fit will greatly out weigh the cool parlor trick you're trying to pawn off as self defense.

The road to self defense is simple...but not easy. How many black belts do I need to have to tell you that I know the f'ing difference? Sure, your style is different and your instructor knows the truth. I can't speak for every instructor on the planet, but after 30 plus years of this stuff I know that the vast majority of systems out there are WAY OFF! It only takes me about one lesson to determine whether there's anything worth while. To be honest, I can probably do it in 5 minutes, but I'm just being polite.

People hate me because I will tell you that all of the time and money you invested is pretty much wasted (unless you got yourself in shape and made some friends, than it's not completely useless). From a self defense perspective I can pretty much guarantee that what you're doing is useless. Sure a punch is a punch and a choke is a choke but do you really need to train 8 hours a week just to punch someone in the jaw?!?!? NO YOU DON'T and I don't care what your sensei says (I have more black belts than him, so there).

The funny thing about martial arts, self defense, yoga, pilates or any other subculture you can get your hands on is the people. More often than not, people seek these activities to fill a void in their lives. That explains why people loose their shit when you tell them they're wrong. They come back with the witty retort:
"1 billion Chinese people can't be wrong" my answer to that is, "Shit yes they can, explain communism?"

The truth is, most people are wrong (or right a small percentage of the time). You have to love Jack Nicholson's line in The Bucket List: “If life has taught me anything it’s that 95% of the people are always wrong.” Do you know who's right? The successful, happy people. Heck, they crucified Jesus so I guess I'm doing OK. (Did he just make a Jesus reference? Yes I did).

If you make a stand and no one reacts than either you don't matter or your stand doesn't matter. Hate me if you will, but for every one of you there's a free thinking. ass-kicking person right behind you who's done sipping the Kool-Aide and just wants to know the truth about self defense which can be summed up in a few words:

1. Inflict the maximum amount of damage to your target in the shortest amount of time possible.
2. Cause more injury than you receive.
3. Stay in good physical condition
4. Use whatever tools you have at your disposal to expedite points 1 and 2.

That's it. Hell, I don't care if you train in the SDTS or not. OK, that's a lie, I want you to train in it, that's kind of my point of this post. But, if you adopted that 4 point attitude you would quickly eliminate a lot of crap from your training.

Always seek to simplify and develop the skills you already have. Sure you can punch, but can you shatter a mans jaw in six places? OK, how about 8?

There's no such thing as overkill because you "can't over win"!
Train Honestly,


Damian Ross, CEO The Self Defense Company


Damian Ross is CEO of the Self Defense Company and developer of The Self Defense Training System, the most lethal and effective self defense system in the world, The Guardian Defensive Tactics Police Combatives Program, 60 minute Self Defense and the Family Safe Program. Mr. Ross also founded the Self Defense Instructor Program that helps people develop their self defense careers from the ground up. Mr. Ross is originally from Ridgewood, NJ where he was a High School Hall of Fame Athlete in football and wrestling as well as a varsity wrestling coach. He then went on to Lehigh University where he was a varsity wrestler and football player. Mr. Ross has 3 black belts, 4th Degree in Tekkenryu Jujutsu, 2nd Degree in Judo, 2nd Degree in Tae Kwon Do. In addition to his martial arts experience, Mr; Ross spent 8 years in the professional security and personal protection business. He is internationally recognized as one of the foremost authorities in reality based self defense.