Monday, January 24, 2011

Say Good Bye to an Icon

RIP Jack LaLanne

In case you didn't know, Jack LaLanne died at the age of 96.

Jack LaLanne, the father of the modern fitness movement died Sunday, January 23, 2011 at his home in Morro Bay, Calif. He was 96. The cause of death was respiratory failure due to pneumonia. LaLanne spent more than 70 years preaching the power of strength training and healthy eating—long before either was popular.

In 1936, he opened the nation's first health club, a gym that doubled as both a juice bar and health food store, and became the prototype for future fitness spas. He reached the at-home crowd, too, hosting The Jack LaLanne Show, a TV workout program, from 1981 to 1983.

"People thought I was a charlatan and a nut," he once told The New York Times. "The doctors were against me—they said that working out with weights would give people heart attacks and they would lose their sex drive."

When LaLanne was 40, he wanted to prove that he wasn't past his prime, so he swam the nearly 2-mile length of the Golden Gate Bridge without surfacing, breathing with the aid of two air tanks that weighed 140 pounds. At age 60, he swam 1.23 miles from San Francisco's Alcatraz Island to Fisherman's Wharf while handcuffed, with his legs shackled, and towing a 1,000-pound boat. Even as he entered his 90s, LaLanne began every day with a two-hour workout: weight lifting, and then swimming against an artificial current or in place, restrained by a belt.

The following are some of Jack Lalanne's notable fitness achievements.

1954 Age 40: Swam the length of the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge underwater with 140 pounds of equipment, including two air tanks¦ an undisputed world record.

1955 Age 41: Swam, handcuffed, from Alcatraz to Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco, CA.

1956 Age 42: Set a world record of 1,033 pushups in 23 minutes on You Asked for It, a TV Show with Art Baker.

1957 Age 43: Swam the treacherous Golden Gate Channel, towing a 2,500-pound cabin cruiser. This involved fighting the cold, swift ocean currents that made the 1 mile swim a 6 ½ mile test of strength and endurance.

1958 Age 44: Maneuvered a paddleboard 30 miles, 9-½ hours non-stop from Farallon Islands to the San Francisco shore.

1959 Age 45: Completed 1,000 pushups and 1,000 chin-ups in 1 hours and 22 minutes and The Jack LaLanne Show goes nationwide

1974 Age 60: Swam from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman's Wharf, for a second time handcuffed, shackled and towing a 1,000-pound boat.

1975 Age 61: Swam the length of the Golden Gate Bridge, underwater, for a second time handcuffed, shackled and towing a 1,000-pound boat.

1976 Age 62: Commemorating the Spirit of ˜76, swam 1 mile in Long Beach Harbor, handcuffed, shackled and towing 13 boats (representing the 13 original colonies) containing 76 people.

1979 Age 65: Towed 65 boats filled with 6,500-pounds of Louisiana Pacific wood pulp while handcuffed and shackled in Lake Ashinoko, near Tokyo, Japan.

1980 Age 66: Towed 10 boats in North Miami, Florida filled with 77 people for over a mile in less than 1 hour.

1984 Age 70: Handcuffed, shackled and fighting strong winds and currents, towed 70 boats with 70 people from the Queen's Way Bridge in the Long Beach Harbor to the Queen Mary, 1½ miles.

Lalanne was also married to the same woman (Elaine) for over 50 years! Yes, her name is Elaine Lalanne.

If you notice something about Jack. Most of his accomplishments happened when he was in his 40's and beyond. Nowadays, this is not so uncommon, but in the 50's and 60's it was literally unheard of. As a child I remember looking at him on TV thinking that guy is in his 60's and my dad in his 40's couldn't keep up with him.

Jack to me was more about fitness, he was about living life to the fullest. So many people physically peak in high school and then once they start working and start a family, physically, they're done. They're too. Too tired, too busy, too upset, too injured, too sick. Before you know it, they're 52 years old looking at 60 thinking, I'm about to be old.

My dad died at 66 from a massive heart attack. He was about 200 pounds overweight. Eat, drank and physically pushed himself. He was the kind of guy who would do nothing all week and then go out and do 12 hours worth of yard work and be shot for two weeks. My dad was a slave to his body. Sleep apnea, high blood pressure pills, and a heart condition, he would miss work frequently and was not able to participate in coaching like he did 10 years ago. My dad was a prisoner trapped in his body.

His story is not uncommon. How many people do you know who are stuck physically and mentally. If you live an 80 year old life and your best memories are from your teens and early 20's. You've got 60 years to be miserable. 60 years of excuses, 60 years of reasons why not, 60 years of being unsatisfied with the way you look and feel. 60 years of avoiding a mirror, 60 years of avoiding conflict, 60 years of being half the person you used to be. What kind of life is that?

Jack Lalanne represents what we all should strive for: living life to the fullest. At 42 I'm in better cardiovascular fitness than I was at my competitive peak. I'm also on my way to being stronger. I look at people in their 20's and 30's who are out of shape, tired and unhappy.

Listen, if you're not happy with yourself, you're not going to be happy. The money won't matter (it helps a little, but it doesn't really help), the toys won't matter. This is why marriages fail and people have mid-life crisis. When you hit your forties something happens, you start to evaluate. One of two things happen, you get really happy or really sad.

At the end of the day we want to look good, feel good and be able to provide for and protect the people around us. Jack Lalanne understood this. He was a man among men and today I'm sad but I owe a little something to the guy in the sating jumpsuit.

Train Honestly,
Damian Ross, CEO The Self Defense Company Corporate Center World's Most Lethal Self Defense Police Combatives Training Keep Your Family Safe Turn Your Passion into Profits Self Defense for Everyone Free Resource Material
FREE Training Forum

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Truth About Knife Defense Part 2: You Can't Fight Mother Nature

The previous blog we spoke about why knife defenses fail and I demonstrated a Self Defense Training System tactic that was an empty hand defense without using he environment and without using a weapon. It is a given that leaving the scene, using a weapon or items in your environment are your first options. In the Self Defense Training Systemwe step you through how to train to accomplish this. In this instance we're talking about facing a dynamic knife attack when you have nothing at your disposal and no escape.

That being said, this happens without fail, people who agree with me on the self defense subject up until the "controlling the weapon" issue. This tells me that they really don't have a full grasp of the tactics and principles that make the SDTS successful. In module 1 we tell you, you have to assume your attacker is armed, even if you don't see a weapon. Which, according to the Uniformed Police Use of Force report, is true about 75% of the time. We tell you to always attack the man. We tell you you need to injure your target as fast as possible. The same principle holds true in all aspects of self defense.

But yet, the compulsion to go after that weapon is so strong. People still feel the need to want to try to control it. They get all warm and fuzzy knowing that the weapon is tucked away some place safe, not getting into any trouble. Now if you happen to have the advantage and the weapon arm falls in your grip, OK so be it. But the split second you decide to chase the knife in a dynamic situation, you are making a grave mistake. NOTE: This is not a STATIC situation where the knife is being pressed against you or used to threaten you in extreme close range, like in a mugging or threatening situation.

Why is chasing the weapon a bad idea?

You can't fight mother nature.

No matter how much you train and prepare your body and your mind are programmed to act a specific way under stress and there's nothing you can do about it.

Instead of responding with urban legend, martial arts myth, Hollywood movies and dojo speculation, I will let science, real life examples and fact prove my point.

No matter how intense your training, it's not real life. Your training only begins to scratch the surface of what you will experience. The government spends billions on trying to create realistic training stress and they still can't predict if the training was accurate until the situation is live. Unfortunately neither will you.

So instead of training for the training exercise, you must train for what is really going to happen to you and operate within those parameters.

You don't need a behavioral psych degree from Johns Hopkins to understand how the mind works under stress and you don't need to be a combat war vet either. All you need to do is some reading. There are several books you should check out if you haven't already: Grossman's "On Combat" and "On Killing", Applegate's "Kill or Get Killed", Debecker's "Gift of Fear" and Strong's "Strong on Defense".

Grossman really get's into the science of it. In "On Combat" he offers a list of what you will experience when you are fighting for your life:

Perceptual Distortions in Combat

Diminished sound (auditory exclusion)
Intensified sounds
Tunnel vision
Automatic pilot ("scared speechless")
Heightened visual clarity
Slow motion time or Fast motion time
Temporary paralysis
Memory loss for parts of the event
Memory loss for some of the subject's actions
Dissociation (detachment)
Intrusive distracting thoughts
Memory distortions

You may experience some or all of these effects. In addition to the above, you will lose control of your finite motor skills. This means you will only be able to perform gross motor movements and simple, primary thought functions. This is why troops are trained to operate their weapon in a manner that enables them to function under fire. The simple act of acquiring a target, firing, reloading, clearing misfires and maintaining position becomes extremely difficult (and that's with extensive, focused training). Yet martial artists will learn many, many different self defense techniques with far less time and intensity in training and are expected to recall them under stress.

Plus, you never know what you're mind is going to hook into. A popular example is the California Highway Patrol. On range they were told to collect their shells after they emptied their firearms. So every time their gun was empty, officers would bend down and pick up the brass. What happened next was completely unexpected and deadly. When the officers were under fire and their firearm was empty, they would leave safe cover and bend down to collect the brass shells on the ground and put them in their pockets. Without any rhyme or reason, they would leave the safety of their position because they were programed to in their training. While a reasonable person would know not to pick up the shells, the stressed person followed their training.

One thing can be deduced from these observations:
1. Complex locking motions are impossible to perform under stress. The finite movements of performing a wrist or an arm lock will be reinterpreted under stress ad a gross movement. The result is a movement void of any effectiveness.
2. You never know what you are going to hook into. Chances are, you're compulsion to control the weapon will override your priority of injuring your attacker.

This problem is solved by training to hit with power, take ground on your assault, keep your attacker off balance and focus on attacking high percentage targets on the body.

Personal Note: I love the internet and for every 10 positive comments I receive, I always get some misguided chuckle head. This one is from "GS" who commented that in the SDTS defense I should have abandoned the strikes to the back of the attacker's neck to stomping his knee. Why on earth I would abandon a sure knock out strike for a tertiary target like the knee is beyond me. Also, when you are attacking someone, taking ground and your legs are busy doing something like moving and keeping your balance. He also commented that the heel of hand strike was "weak." The only response I have to this comment is: you're a moron.

What has worked since Cane hit Abel with a rock.

The only logical proven solution is to attack the man and cause as much injury as possible as fast as possible. Since you'll only be able to do one simple act, make it a damn good one. You must attack as soon as possible. Every second you wait, increases your chances of failure and incurring more injury.

You can't reason with self defense.

Martial artists like to take a self defense situation and inject it full of reasoning. "Do this because he does that." To you, this seems reasonable and logical. Unfortunately when you're placed in a situation, in fact, most of the decisions you make during your life are not based on reason at all, but are based on coping.

When you view a situation as an observer, you use reason and logic. It's like watching a pro football game or a fight. "Why doesn't he pass it to that guy?" or "why doesn't he just punch him?". When you're an objective observer you can see the field and weigh all of the options. However, when we are placed in that situation we use coping skills instead of reasoning skills. As you may have guessed, coping has little to do with reason and logic.

The study on Coping vs. Reasoning (ENHANCEMENT OF COPING THROUGH BLURRING 1 Manfred KOCHEN The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, U.S.A.
Study is HERE

"What is imprecise about the situations of real life is how they are perceived,
interpreted and evaluated. The situation of the fleeing patron of a burning,
crowded theater could be objectively measured by others with great precision. To
him [the person in the fire], the situation is vaguely threatening: he may not know exactly where the fire is or how serious it is; he may not know exactly how to get to the nearest exit, or the effect of his fleeing behavior upon all the others, or theirs upon him. He is unlikely to resort to reasoning in this situation, partly because he is not certain that reasoning will help him survive. (This is not to say that: he ought not to stay cool and resort to reasoning.) Yet many people can cope with such situations, and not necessarily only those with superior reasoning or precise thinking abilities."

In survival mode you're going to act instinctively not reasonably. You will not react the way you think you will react. While the reasonable mind will logically provide a solution, your coping mechanism will prevent you from performing those actions. All martial arts based self defense systems are based on reasoning skills. "Control the weapon", "De-fang the snake" and "control the chaos" are nice tag lines and good notions, but in the heat of battle you can only fight what;s directly in front of you and you can only perform one action. Don't "de-fang the snake", "kill the snake".

The only plausible solution is to program yourself to react in a way that gives you the highest percentage of success. In order to do this you must resist the temptation in training to let reasoning creep into your solutions. Martial artists and other experts love to provide "reason based solutions" for coping based reality. It sounds good in class and makes everyone feel warm and fuzzy. Plus they look cool twisting some poor volunteer around in pain.

Don't believe the hype.

Techniques like joint locks and submissions give you a false sense of power and confidence because they feel empowering. When you can cause controllable pain over another human being it gives you a real boost. I'll admit, it's cool getting someone to tap with a finger lock or pass out with a strangle, but in reality those methods are inefficient and improbable. While joint locks are appealing and look bad ass, they are improbable and a handful are only successful after a subject is under control. Submissions do work, there is no doubt about that, but they should be viewed as secondary techniques since they require more time in training and should only be used when striking is not an option. Depending on your position, most strangles can still be replaced with a strike.

The more you know, the worse off you will be.

Ever heard of the Hick-Hymen Law?

The Hick-Hyman Law, named after British psychologist William Edmund Hick and Ray Hyman, describes the time it takes for a person to make a decision as a result of the possible choices he or she has. The Hick-Hyman Law assesses cognitive information capacity in choice reaction experiments. The amount of time taken to process a certain amount of bits in the Hick-Hyman Law is known as the rate of gain of information. Given n equally probable choices, the average reaction time T required to choose among them is approximately

T = b \cdot \log_{2}(n + 1)

Translation: the more choices you have the slower you're reaction time. If you have several choices, it will take you that much longer that if you had a single choice.

When you have multiple self defenses to recall for a multitude of situations you will freeze. Single minded, simple solutions will give you the fastest reaction time. In the quick and the dead world of self defense, it's better to be fast than accurate. Any counter attack you provide creates an opportunity for another attack. Chain a few together and you have the momentum. Gain the momentum and you can cause injury. Cause more injury and you will win the day.

Now, while most experts will agree with what I have to say, their actions are contradictory because they still let reasoning and conscience fears creep into a situation that is devoid of reasoning and common sense.

Proven defensive tactics must be:

1. Extremely simple with limited options
2. Based on distance, position, balance and momentum
3. Inflict maximum damage on your target and minimum damage to yourself

Getting cut with a knife will not kill you.

You will get cut, it's a fact. Most martial artists will say that before they teach their twisty-wristy technique. These are the same guys who will comment, "look the knife nicked him in the leg".

In response I would like to offer medical fact and a quote from Grossman's "On Combat" to your keen observations.

"Your resolve to succeed must include the possibility of losing some blood. You can loose a half-gallon of blood and your body will continue to mechanically function. Ceasing to fight before that much blood is lost is due to a lack of will, not lack of hydraulics."

Did you get that boys and girls, you can loose a half gallon of blood before you start to seize up.

So let;s recap the facts as we know them:
1. You can not perform finite motor skills under stress, this includes small circular motions or precision type movements (read: trapping or catching the weapon!!!!)
2. Your mind will hook into one single act. Your best bet is to ensure that act is the most productive act possible. Injuring your attacker trumps chasing the weapon.
3. You will not die instantly from any stab wound, even less from a superficial stab wound.

Some people get it, others don't or aren't ready too. Personally, I've spent years and thousands of hours of training on methods that just didn't work. And before you say "well you weren't training the right way or you weren't good enough." I think 3 black belts, several national championships, being all state in two sports and a division 1 college athlete will qualify me for having the skill, the will, the determination and the hand eye coordination to perform physical acts under stress. Plus my coaching and instruction reads like a who's who list (you can see that list a the bottom of the page HERE).

When I started this in 1989, all I wanted was the truth. It would be very easy for me to offer up what everyone offers, the right dialogue with warmed over martial arts. I'm sure the people offering other solutions really believe what they are saying, but they get caught up in reasoning and let the solutions satisfy the conscience of the people watching, from a distance and far removed from the real life situation, these methods appear to work. But in the crucible of reality they fail miserably.

I didn't let ego and time invested determine what works. I prefer science and fact. Hey, I was one of those guys. I knew tons of self defense techniques, I knew over 30 katas, I competed in everything from point fighting, kick boxing to grappling. But when I reflected my own real life experiences against my training I realized there was a huge disconnect. What I did in my real life was more like MMA. I found myself "fighting" with people. This took a lot of time and energy. There had to be a better way.

The other observation I made was that when I witnessed tough, accomplished martial artists use force in the real looked the same. One strike and grappling. No wrist locks, no fancy breathing and mind control. Just destroy what's in front of you. Any other "hold" was performed when the subject was pinned down by other team members OR when the subject was knocked unconscious.

I also love the story of Gichin Funikoshi in "Karate-Do". In it, he recalled his only real life self defense situation when he was about to get mugged. He didn't even punch the guy, he simply grabbed his testicles and squeezed until the guy fell down. Not only did I find the passage revealing, I found it honest and right on point. For all that training, he just grabbed his nuts.

The problems I found with all methods of self defense was that the situations never happened the way I was trained or told they were going to happen. I found myself looking and waiting for the right opportunity to strike. This almost got me killed. Thank God I wasn't alone.

Which brings us to MARTIAL ART'S FATAL FLAW.

There is one major problem with all technique-based self defense systems. This flaw will get you beaten and left for dead. The flaw is not in what you train, but more in how you train. The flaw is training to wait. Waiting is the biggest mistake you can ever make. When you train you wait for him to grab you, you wait for him to show the weapon, you wait for him to punch, you wait for him to make an aggressive mood towards you. You wait, you're finished.

This training trains you to hesitate. Does he have a weapon, does he have friends? What does he want? Listen, and listen good, once someone attacks you your chance of survival decreases dramatically. Speed beats accuracy.

You need to system that takes all of these possibilities into account with every move you make. This way, it doesn't matter what he does. It doesn't matter if he has a weapon, it doesn't matter if he has friends, none of that will matter. It can't. The only decision you need to make is GO or NO GO.

I used to know hundreds of self defense techniques. Now I know only one and it's based on DISTANCE, POSITION, MOMENTUM and BALANCE.

Some people see the SDTS and get it like I did in 1989. Others will try to cling to their wasted time, money and effort. Martial arts has it's place, it's just not in self defense. Hey, it doesn't matter to me, I know the truth. I've been down that road. It's funny, I know exactly where you are, just by the comments I receive. Some people aren't ready for it. No problem, there are millions who are...I'll talk to them.

Train Honestly,
Damian Ross, CEO The Self Defense Company Corporate Center World's Most Lethal Self Defense Police Combatives Training Keep Your Family Safe Turn Your Passion into Profits Self Defense for Everyone Free Resource Material
FREE Training Forum

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

VIDEO: The Truth About Knife Defense

No one wants to get stabbed. The compulsion to avoid being stabbed and shot is completely normal. However, if you find yourself in the most unfortunate position of facing an armed man and you are completely unarmed you can survive and even win, but it's not like you've been lead to believe.

Self defense is like religion. It takes a large group of insecure people and gives them what they need to hear. Self defense and martial arts makes people feel safe and confident. Most people seek out these endeavors because they are scared or think they are insufficient in certain areas. That's OK, we all felt this way at one point or another. Martial arts calms those fears and gives them something tangible to do about it without actually having to do it. Martial arts have been engineered to manage those fears.

Martial arts instructors tell their students "Do this and you won't get hurt." "Do that and you will discourage your attacker without having to hurt him." Now I don't believe they do this with malicious intent, they believe they are telling the truth. It's just that they have been fed misinformation, just like their instructor and their instructor's instructor.

I should know, I used to be one of them.

Look, no one in their right mind wants to get hurt or hurt someone. We want to live our lives and not be bothered. Unfortunately, there are people who don't feel the same way and who don't really care if you live or die if you have something they want. Now you have a choice: hedge your bet and hope nothing ever happens or do something about it.

Because you're even reading this you obviously want to do something about so here goes.

Let's get one thing straight: weapons defense or any self defense for that matter is like going through a wall of flame. You know there will be pain involved, but how much depends on how fast and how hard you go through it. Dancing around the fire will get you burnt to extra crispy. You're best bet is to go through it and charge hard.

The same holds true for self defense. Most people want to avoid the risk of injury and pain of self defense. So they dance around it and provide solutions that make you feel warm and fuzzy. They will show you methods that will appear to work and wrap the attacker up n a neat little package. While this appeals to your natural aversion to pain and violence, it is incredibly and dangerously wrong.

First, it trains you to believe that the self defense scenario will follow a specific pattern. He attacks like this, I do that. He does something else, I do something else. You are trained to think an attack is a finite set of moves when in reality those finite set of moves are infinite. The only thing finite about an assault are the common denominators of any attack: distance, position, momentum and balance. Everything else is secondary. In fact, what the Self Defense Training System tells us is that everything else is almost irrelevant.

Second, there is pain in self defense. Even if you hit him, you're hand will be sore and bones may be broken. Your best bet is to prepare for the inevitable and get ready to endure and inflict pain. Defending against an all out knife assault isn't any different.

If you ask any martial arts instructor about defending against a knife one of the first things he will tell you is "you will get cut." But then he proceeds to show you a technique that has you focusing on controlling the weapon and keeping it away from your body, being very careful not to let the weapon touch you. Like this guy here:

Here is a typical knife defense

A couple of key points you need to take a look at:
1. Expert says that if he get's stabbed in the belly, the fight is probably over.
Ask this guy if the fight was over:

You're body is designed to withstand a lot of punishment. Most knife assault victims, without any training at all, have suffered severe stab wounds and didn't even know they were cut until AFTER the conflict. So the bad news is, you will probably get cut, but the good news is you won't even know it, you won't die instantly and you will still be able to fight. What you need to do is to train aggressively, hit hard, take ground and destroy what ever it is in front of you. In the Self Defense Training System (SDTS) you learn how to hit and cause damage from Module one through Module 12. It is imperative you develop the skill set to do this.

2. The Fancy Wrist Lock.
OK, stop looking at the picture above. I know, it's gross, but the guy actually survived. Anyway, sliding up the elbow and performing a joint lock requires finite motor skills and the HUGE assumption that you're going to be able to identify the attack and react accordingly. t requires your target to remain still and to STOP HIS ATTACK. Hey, if this attacker wanted to gut him from his A-Hole to his appetite, do you think it would look like this?

When you practice with friends in a well lit training facility, these techniques appear to work. The only problem is, you both know what is going to happen. Even if it's a "random" training drill, you still have practiced it enough where your attacker literally knows how to approach you and you know which type of attack is coming next.

In the real world, there's a split second where your mind needs to grasp the reality of the situation (We call this the "OH SHIT!" moment). One second you're thinking about what this guy wants from you and the next "BAM!!!" He's stabbing the crap out of you.

When the attack happens, it's surreal, that's why you need a method of training that puts you on auto-pilot. You need to flip the switch and attack. Methods that teach complicated movements will cause your mind to freeze while systems like the SDTS that teach you a handful of core techniques and train you on how to adapt those methods to different situation work in the crucible of reality.

3. What is this cutesy bullshit of stabbing the guy with his own knife? Are we really taking this seriously. I've seen every one from Bas Ruetten to this guy do this crap. Just knock him the F#$K out!!! That's it. I'm sure, in this particular case, the bad guy isn't going to resist since he was just trying to gut you a split second ago. Especially since the expert HASN'T EVEN HIT HIM YET!!!! I'm sure your attacker is just going to sit there while you fillet his kidneys.

This defense also depends on the presumption that you're going to be attacked with a single thrust. If you think he's going to attack you with a single technique, think again...

This is what a worse case scenario looks like:

So kids, what did we learn from this video?
10" blade and the victim didn't die instantly. Wait, what? He got stabbed and didn't fall down?!?! (Maybe he's a witch).

Seriously, this is as bad as it gets, you're sitting there one minute thinking how many hours you have left on your shift and then BAM you're getting skewered. No harsh words, no posturing, the bad guy just comes up and starts stabbing you. Looks like the security guard was trying to what...grab the knife. His reaction to control the weapon only leads to him being stabbed over and over again. Good luck with that tactic. Look at it this way, at least if you get stabbed in the body, you'll have an open casket.

Next you have stuff like this:

Now this guy says a lot of correct things, he starts off strong except the "if you get stabbed you will probably die instantly". He's correct with the continue striking but of course he knees the guy in the body which is a lot tougher than hitting him in proven knock out spots. And then what does he do? On his initial contact...HE GRABS THE DAMN KNIFE ARM.

Listen, if you happen to wind up with it OK. The problem is that the split second you search for it, you're done. You can't train like that. When the "fit hits the shan" and you start trying to control the stabbing arm you will be locked into completing that task before you start striking him.
This is important to understand and goes over a lot of people's heads. If in some point you are trained to control the weapon "AS A PRIORITY" you will try to control the weapon until you have control of it. This is how we act under stress. If you chase the weapon the attacker will then do to you what you should be doing to him and that is: BEAT YOU TO A PULP. Great you have two hands on the knife, he has one hand free to destroy you with.

Training is all about developing habits. Tactics are a set of techniques based on a specific set of priorities. Your priority is to disable and injure the attacker as fast as possible.

Plus, the bad guy makes it easy with a "looping" type of attack. I teach assailants to ATTACK PISSED OFF. Keep the assault tight and strong.

What works is simple, avoid the initial attack and then destroy the attacker. This defense from Module 8 of the SDTS actually fits with what the krav maga guy was telling you better than the technique he demonstrated.

The only real, proven method for any knife attack is to ATTACK, INJURE AND DISABLE THE ATTACKER AS FAST AS POSSIBLE. Take a look at this A-HOLE:

*Just a note. I got some responses to this video saying "why don't you kick the knee or why are you hitting his back." First, I'm only hitting his back because I don't want to kill him He's my friend and I've grown attached to him). My strikes are really going for the back of his neck. Second, why in the world would I bother with his knee (a secondary target at best when I'm knocking him out). Sometimes I forget that the clips go out to non SDTS members.

This is an outtake from Module 8 of The Self Defense Training System "Weapons Defensive Tactics" and yes, the A-Hole is me. Which is another truth. This is an outtake from Module 8 of the SDTS and this goes with the knife defense blog post. I should point out that the strikes are to the back of target's neck. His back gets hit because I've grown attached to him over the past few decades. In realty, this is the only type of proven defense to actually work under real world conditions. Evade or PREEMPT the initial attack and then take the target out as fast as possible. Which means attacking his most vulnerable areas as fast as possible. The head and neck are the most obvious choice for two reasons. First, its a target rich environment offer you many places to knock hm cold. Second, it controls his direction, power and ability to use the weapon.

You don't get points for a partially correct answer. A lot of guys have the correct response with an initial evade/strike. But then they go chasing after the knife. WHY BOTHER?!?!?!

If you don't knock the guy out with the first shot, you still have a fight on your hands and even if you do grab the weapon hand/limb, he still can injure you with strikes as well.

If you knock him a little silly or even get him to pause he won't be stabbing you and you will have an opportunity to inflict more damage on him. The more injury he suffers the less dangerous he becomes. If you get him to pause and then go for the knife, you've just given him the opportunity to recover and realize that he's got a fight on his hands.

If he's knocked out, he's not stabbing anyone.

"But what if one of his friends comes along and picks up the knife and stabs you?"

A: Use some common sense. If he had another friend there intent on killing you, don't you think he would have stepped up while you were beating the crap out of his friend?

Also, are you going to sit there and watch while some guy comes along and picks up the weapon...OR are you going to stop hitting him and take the time to chase the weapon if he happens to drop it?

Let me see, he drops the weapon and you're going to stop attacking him, go get the weapon and give him an opportunity to recover and attack you again. I'll take my chances continuing my counter attack. Besides (all you budding budo-lawyers) wouldn't using his weapon against him be an act of murder?!?!?!?! That's a dig, I really don't care.

A weapon, any weapon is only as dangerous as the maniac wielding it and getting cut while you're pummeling someone to a pulp is a 180 degree different than getting stabbed while someone is killing you.

Finally, it's the rhythm of how you train. Self defense has a rhythm. It is 100% all out in a short burst (like a drag car race). There isn't any posturing, there isn't any time. There is only GO and NO GO. Once you decide to act it must be ruthless and brutal. Methods of self defense that feature sparring are counter productive to methods of self defense. Sparring and sporting based systems teach you to size up your target and look for openings while self defense trains you to attack and take whatever you can get. It is a "ready-fire-aim" formula.

If you spend most of your time sparring and grappling you're doing you're undermining your defensive tactics. Self defense trains you to determine intent and then act ruthlessly and viciously without quarter. This is why you should always avoid conflict unless it's absolutely necessary. Because it's not getting him to tap or say uncle, it's you fighting for your life.

Train Honestly,
Damian Ross, CEO The Self Defense Company Corporate Center World's Most Lethal Self Defense Police Combatives Training Keep Your Family Safe Turn Your Passion into Profits Self Defense for Everyone Free Resource Material
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VIDEO-Close Combat Footwork with Damian Ross of the Self Defense Company

The boring, basic things are the usually the most important to learn. Everyone wants to learn a fancy, secret movie move, but the truth is: fundamentals will save your ass. In this clip, Damian Ross of the Self Defense Company shows you the real applications of the fundamental footwork from Module 1 of The Self Defense Training System. You never know where you will be attacked, snow, sand, street or your office. So instead of learning to move several different ways, the SDTS shows you one way to move for ANY TERRAIN. This common denominator approach is vital to the SDTS.

The biggest misconception in all of martial arts and combat sports is this: "the more moves you learn, the better you are." Your instinct is to try to cover your bases with tiny, technical details. At one point in my life I tried to practice and master hundreds of techniques, while in reality, I really only ever used 5 and probably needed 3.

All you need is only a handful of primary techniques coupled with sound tactics. Like good, convulsive, ground pounding footwork for example. This is in direct contrast to the sliding type motions taught by most traditional style martial arts. Over the years I've heard a variety of explanations for sliding foot work from the "understandable" to the downright ridiculous. One guy, who shall remain nameless, actually said "you should slide your feet in case you were fighting on the ledge of a building". My response was, "Should I shit myself, then slide my feet or slide my feet while shitting myself?" Seriously, who am I, Bruce Willis? If I'm fighting on a ledge, I've got way bigger falling to my death.

Yes, martial artists tend to make up a whole host of wild explanations. And I don't think it's malicious. It's just that for years we've been forced to learn superfluous techniques without any reason why. I remembered learning a "Mountain Block" in a Tae Kwon Do form. I tried finding an image but it was extremely difficult, so I'll describe it. You step into a horse stance (feet spread a shoulder and a half width apart, weight distribution is equal on both legs). When you step into the horse stance you bring both arms up at the same time until they are bent at 90 degrees. You end up looking like you're doing a double bicep pose. I was told this was to block two round kicks at your head simultaneously. Even though I was still sipping the Kool-Aide, I knew, in no way, that this was ever going to work in the real world...EVER.

So I digress, your footwork should be stomping and weight bearing. This will not only secure your footing on unfriendly terrain, but every stomp could scrap a shin or an instep.

If you don't have good footwork, you won't be standing very long. If you don't have good foot work, you won't be able to deliver power in your strikes. If you don't have good footwork, you're useless.

Train Honestly,
Damian Ross, CEO The Self Defense Company Corporate Center World's Most Lethal Self Defense Police Combatives Training Keep Your Family Safe Turn Your Passion into Profits Self Defense for Everyone Free Resource Material
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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

VIDEO: Cold Weather Hand to Hand Combat Training with Damian Ross, The Self Def...

Gi or no gi...bullshit. It's cold, you wear clothes. Unless you get attacked at the beach or in you sleep in the buff and have to fight naked (this did happen to me once and I do not recommend it, that's a long story and even a longer post).

Even a t-shirt is enough to grab and manipulate. You train for where you live, you train in what you wear. This time of year the northeast US it's freezing. There's ice on the ground and we are wearing clothing that not only can be grabbed, but restricts movement as well. Logic dictates that if you're serious about self defense, you need to prepare for the likely event that you will be attacked, outside, in the cold on the ice and snow. This is featured in module 1 of the Self Defense Training System

You need to practice in what you wear and hit something when your hands are cold. during my football days, when the temperature dropped, and you hit someone there was an extra sting to it. A tiny shot of pain over the normal violence of the game. The same holds true for close combat, especially hand to hand. Your hands will sting, your muscles will feel sluggish and you'll feel like your stuck in cement. It is a frustrating, awful feeling so you better get used to it. You better practice, even if it's just a few times, in the cold.

If you can't move your dummy outdoors or in your garage, use a pad or a pillow and duct tape it to something. Set it up where there is snow and ice on the ground. Practice your favorite combinations without any warm up and wearing your everyday clothing. When I wore a suit, I trained consistently in a suit. About once every few months. Not long, about a 1/4 of the time of a normal workout. This was just enough to mind set for the likely event that I would be protecting a client or working my day job.

While were at it, next time you're at work, which I'm sure the vast majority of you already do, imagine a live shooter scenario. Practice calling 9-1-1 and then look at the layout. Notice where the exits are, imagine f you were boxed in and had no where to go except through the shooter or, your just one of those people who would have to go all "Bill Badger" on the SOB. Whatever the case may be, you don't need to actually go through the movements and freak out all of your coworkers. But you can go through the scenario in your mind. It probably won't happen the way you imagine, it hardly ever does, but it sets a foundation for action and action saves lives.

Train Honestly,
Damian Ross, CEO The Self Defense Company Corporate Center World's Most Lethal Self Defense Police Combatives Training Keep Your Family Safe Turn Your Passion into Profits Self Defense for Everyone Free Resource Material
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Monday, January 17, 2011

GI Joe's a Pussy, Give Me Bill Badger

Am I missing something? Why hasn't Oprah had this guy on yet?

His name is Bill Badger, the hero of the Tuscon shootings. President Obama barely mentioned him in his speech. Hell, the news hardly even mentions him. All I keep hearing about is that scumbag, child killer Jarod Loughner!!!! Are you kidding me? Thanks to mass media, I know what this piece of crap looks like, where he went to school and what his friends thought of him. I had to go to a local college radio station (No shit, college radio) and learn about Bill Badger: man among men.

So, for the record...

Bill Badger is a retired Army Colonel, 74 years old who was grazed with a bullet during the shootings. He managed to disarm Loughner and pin him to he ground.

GI JOE's a Pussy, give me Bill Badger.

Bill Badger said in an interview at University Medical Center that he was wounded and disoriented in Saturday's shooting but still managed to assist three others in holding the suspect down until police arrived.

Badger said that when he first heard shots ring out, he thought he was hearing the pop of firecrackers meant to harass Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, whom he had hoped to meet. He said he saw no gun but could see the gunman's hand extended as he began firing on the crowd.

"By the time I looked over there and saw him, he'd already shot the congresswoman, the 9-year-old girl and the judge," Badger said, referring to Christina-Taylor Green and U.S. District Judge John Roll, who were among six killed. Giffords, Badger and 11 others were wounded by gunfire.

I'll ask again, why isn't this guy pasted all over the news? Why isn't there a "Bill Badger Day"?

I really haven't any commentary for the media except that the vast majority are weenie, panty-wastes who are afraid of even the slightest amount of heroism. Even the byline "Helped Subdue Gunman" suggests a dependency on authority and government to save you. For the record, he didn't help subdue the gunman, he subdued the gunman by himself! The police arrived to bag and tag the psycho scumbag after Bil was literally sitting on him.

File this once again under the notion that big brother will coddle and protect you. "Let the police do their job." Hey, there's no bigger supporter of the local PD than me. rumor has it, I even occasionally train some guys for free. But the police can't be everywhere. True self preservation and protection is your responsibility.

The line, "wait for the trained professionals to show up and do their job" is almost laughable. Cops and news media say this like as if there is a real danger of vigilante groups forming and lynch mobs lining the streets with torches and pitchforks. Image, a town full of Charles Bronsons, armed to the teeth, shooting anyone who looks suspicious. Imagine...ahh...I'm sorry, I drifted into fantasy land, I'm back.

Like I said before, the police can't be everywhere and even if they could, the police have been hamstrung by use of force policy that it's a miracle more cops don't lose their lives. God bless you for doing your job.

Oh, and contrary to popular belief, the police aren't your protector. Check out the 2010 ruling of the Supreme Court Castlerock v Gonzalez for a mind numbing reality check. That's the one where the mom had a restraining order against the husband who took the kids for his court appointed visitation. When the mom sensed something was wrong, she contacted the local police, they said they weren't responsible since he technically, didn't due anything wrong. End note, kids killed and husband offed himself outside the police station. YAY!!!

But wait a second...doesn't Arizona have a conceal carry law?!? Where was the firepower? I bet is he were at an NRA rally he wouldn't have got off that many shots.

Anyway, I digress...

What if Bill Badger didn't react? What if he didn't step up? The body count would have piled up faster than you can say "Virgina Tech."

I ask you again, why isn't this man getting the kudos he deserves? It's a damn shame that my google search pulls up Jared Loughner faster than it does Bill Badger.

On a technical note:

You should also note a few other things about the incident from a defensive tactics perspective.

1. Reaction time.
He thought they were firecrackers. I'm sure a retired Army Colonel has heard a gun rapport before. Yet when heard out of context, it takes a while for the mind to adjust. I have known war veterans who have seen action react the same way when working as a cop stateside. Lesson learned: it will take you a few seconds to understand the violence that's unfolding before your eyes.
What can you learn from this? What works for bad guys also works for good guys. If you act first, you will have a huge advantage over your assailant.
2. Your pain threshold is higher than you think.
He didn't realize he was shot. Martial artists assume that you will react to a gunshot or a knife wound the same way it happens in the movies. You get shot, you're dead. Unless you're hit in the hypothalamus or a major organ/artery is severed or ruptured, you will be able to stand a lot of punishment. After, in the hospital, when the adrenaline wore off, Bill was a little "hazy". This is common after the fact. I'm impressed the old war horse didn't pass out.

Train Honestly,
Damian Ross, CEO The Self Defense Company Corporate Center World's Most Lethal Self Defense Police Combatives Training Keep Your Family Safe Turn Your Passion into Profits Self Defense for Everyone Free Resource Material
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Friday, January 14, 2011

Get More Out of Your Workouts NOW (and it won't cost you a dime)

The Secret Your Personal Trainer Won't or Can't Tell You

The one thing great about the web is that I can express my self to tens of thousands of people a day instead of just a class, a team or my wife and friends. Today I was working out with a friend of my, another 40 something who does Ironman triatholons for which the training is not necessarily overly insane, but takes way to damn long. I really don't have the time to train for a 110 mile bike ride. start at 8:00am and get done at 3:00pm...oh then tomorrow you have to run 30 miles and after that, go swim for 2. Don't start correcting my on the distances chumley, this is training.

Anyway, he's got me on the treadmill doing some ridiculous hill running interval workout. Note here: I hate the treadmill but it's mid January and I hate the cold even more. I'm done running in sub-30 degree weather. we get to talking and the subject of improvement, getting stronger, getting faster even when we're in our 40's, 50;s and beyond comes up. We look around and we see the same faces at the gym every day and you know what, they all look the same. they're not thinner, stronger or faster. They're just...the same.

Hey, I'm 42 and i have a six pack, run 6 minute miles and can rip off around 30 pull ups. I can still do more than what I did as a competitive athlete. The only difference is recovery time. But to tell you the truth, I was so banged up then between football, wrestling and Judo, even when I was in great shape, I was not injury free. Now at 42 I'm in the shape but I don't have anything pulled, broken and I'm not concussed.

My buddy is no different, a scholarship athlete at Michigan and an accomplished triathlete, we're both in pretty good shape, regardless of our age.

So enough talking about us, the point he brought up was this, why is it that the vast majority of people show no signs of improvement.


OK, there are some benefits to doing the same work out, and jogging the same distance everyday. at least your getting your heart rate up, but if you want to look better, be stronger and run faster you have to...Lift more weight, run farther and run faster!

That's the big f'ing secret and there's NO WAY AROUND IT sunshine.

Combine that with a high protein diet and a multivitamin, you're all set. Drink more water, less soda and booze and you're on your way. Diet is a completely new post that I'll tackle later.

For example: I've been training my wife for the last 5 months and she's getting in great shape compared to her friends who spend as much or more time in the gym than she does. She or I don't use balance balls, we don't take spin, yoga, pilates, power core, zumba or stripper classes. All we do is run and lift.

Does this Ball Make My Butt Look Big?

Yes, we vary exercises and repetitions and YES there is a method to what we're doing, but it's not something out of the ordinary. which s a completely different post as well (shit now I have two more things I need to write).

I'd like to think that I'm some genius trainer, which, we all know I am, but it's in my ignorance that I'm a genius.


What ever you're dong right now: add more weight, run longer, farther and faster.

Grabbing a couple of 10 pound dumbells and sitting on a balance ball every day is a joke. I watch these trainers putting housewives through stuff that is just designed to create interest, not results. If you have good technique with your weight lifting you will not get hurt. However, you may get hurt when you slide off the ball and the dumbell hits you in the head.

If you just did dead lift and military press for 5 sets, 10 to 15 reps (week 1) for muscle building, 5 reps for power (week 2) and mass or 20 reps for endurance (week 3), Ended with 4 sets of 25 reps of abs and 4 sets of 25 reps for lower back and then ran/walked for 60 minutes 3 to 5 times per week in 3 months you'll be an animal.

Just increase the weight when the sets become easier and increase the speed when you feel you can. NOTE: some days you will lift more and run faster than others.

The point is, what ever work out your doing, push yourself!!! I have a life of pushing myself. I know what it's like to have to puke after or during a workout. I lke when my lungs burn and my vision is blurred.

Do I feel like working out or practicing every day. Ahh...HELL NO!!! would much rather sit on my ass, have sex, drink red wine and order take out. (I still do that, but only after working out).

All athletes, professional and otherwise, don't feel like pushing themselves until after they get started. A body at rest wants to stay at rest, a body in motion will stay in motion. I start every workout with, the idea that I'm just going to warm up and go light. But then after I break a sweat and the endorphins kick in, I'm like, well, I came this far, WTF? The next thing I know is that I'm running farther, pushing more weight than ever before.

Injury is not an excuse, you just need to work around it. I've blown out my knee, torn my pectoral muscle and broken almost every bone in my hands and wrists (all when I was much younger). Even though I have shoulder issues as well, I've learned to work around it, so should you.

My dad used to say is it a hurt or an injury? An injury has swelling, discoloration, limits your range of motion and has a lot of pain. A hurt, well, just hurts. Note: if it is treated with an ACE BANDAGE, it's a hurt.

Finally, you're not working out if you can:
Drink a cup of coffee
Engage in conversation
Change the Channel

Listen, if you're having trouble at the gym and you've hit a plateau, you need to push yourself. If you think you're pushing yourself and you're not seeing results over a 6 to 8 week period. Then you're not really that tough.

I'm just being honest, because that's the only way I know how to train.

Damian Ross, CEO The Self Defense Company Corporate Center World's Most Lethal Self Defense Police Combatives Training Keep Your Family Safe Turn Your Passion into Profits Self Defense for Everyone Free Resource Material
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The "Quick Fix" for Self Defense

The Self Defense Training System has been called the "quick fix" of martial arts. I'm assuming by traditional martial artists since when you post "anonymously" I really can only assume.

NOT AN SDTS MEMBER (though he probably would be if he knew what he was getting into)

First off, The Self Defense Training System (SDTS) isn't martial arts. It's not a sport or cultural exploration. There are not any forms to learn or uniforms to wear. There isn't a required time period or number of lessons. There aren't any sporting techniques or complicated movements. Quite simply, it's tactics and techniques that can be mastered in the shortest amount of time and recalled under extreme stress. It should go without saying that the methods are designed so that you inflict the most damage to your target while incurring the least amount of injury to yourself.

So, is it a "Quick Fix". I say HELL YES IT IS. It also happens to be the ONLY FIX, the quick fix is the correct fix. The alternative...the long fix is not really a viable self defense alternative at all.

Listen, before I start ruffling feathers, martial arts has it's place. Fitness, character building, community building and self confidence and you can get those benefits from martial arts or any other sport activity under the right coaching. The only thing martial arts provides that sports don't is a chance for the below average and average participant to receive proper instruction since sport coaches tend to focus on the better athletes. Plus, as an adult, there really aren't too many activities other than yoga, pilates and martial arts.

The SDTS isn't pilates and it isn't martial arts. So that begs the question:

Why do martial artists still sipping the kool-aide hate me so much?

It's simple, if I'm right (which I am), then the self defense benefit claimed by martial arts is done like dinner. After MMA they climbed on the self defense band wagon and started saying what we've been saying for years "MMA is a demanding combat sport, not self defense." This is true, but memorizing pre-arranged dance moves and sparring in plastic booties isn't self defense either.

If you're a smart martial artists, you know the difference. But if you're claiming that you teach sport, self defense, grappling, mma and traditional martial arts you're a snake oil salesman (which I have been accused of). The average martial artist trains between 2 and 5 hours per week. Listen, you can't do all that in that limited amount of time. It would be like trying to be a painter, carpenter, engineer and architect. There just aren't enough hours in the day.

To run a successful martial arts school you need students enrolled longer. On the back end you will find testing fees, contracts, private lessons and upsells into other programs. The more complicated it is, the longer you will have to stay. The longer you stay, the more you spend.

Don't get me wrong, if you're enjoying your martial arts experience and you think it's worth it, great- who am I to tell you what you enjoy. But if you think that you have to spend 5 years and thousands of dollars to learn how to protect're sadly mistaken.

All you need is the will to survive, something to hit and the proper instruction. Most people training in the SDTS see results in a month. After about a're good to go. Two years to become an instructor. Like I mentioned before, no fancy moves, sport sparring, kata's or forms frees up A LOT OF TIME!

Hell is takes a soldier 6 weeks of basic training to get in shape and learn how to shoot a weapon. Let's say basic training is 12 hours a day (I'm including chow time), That's about 432 hours. If you did 6 hours per week (1 hour a day for 6 days a week) you would see similar results in 18 months. This includes any physical training as well. So in a year and a half you could learn how to kick ass and be in boot camp style shape. But no, your local martial arts guy brags that it takes someone 5 years to know what you're doing. Hell, lawyers take less time (insert lawyer joke here).

Let's roll the clock back a bit on traditional karate. In it's infancy, Okinawan Karate was primarily two techniques (reverse punch and front kick). Sure there are more techniques but your primary focus was on these two techniques. You did a ton of hand conditioning, makiwara training and over all physical fitness. The goal was ikken hitsatsu (one strike, one kill). The purpose was to develop those skills to the point that you destroyed everything you hit. Sparring contests were extremely boring by today's standards where two combatants would stalk each other until the perfect moment to strike. This mind set and method came directly from came from the samurai way of dueling.

Those two techniques could then be adapted to any combat situation. Is the answer to combat that simple? The truth is yes it is. When you're training for combat you only care about one thing: what works. It was later that martial arts became commercialized. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, it's just the way things are. By the time Karate hit the US, it was already WAY OVER HYPED thanks to WWII and the prowess and folklore of the Japanese soldier. Westerners played no small part in perpetuating that hype and in some cases, making it more brutal than it was in previous years. But unfortunately you can't earn a living being brutal. In reality only a small percentage of people are willing to subject themselves to rigorous training. And even those people are prone to injury.

The modern business model for martial arts studios includes a lot of aerobic and kickboxing activity coupled with calisthenics. This is all fine, but very little is focused on self defense or even the building of those skills. Most fighting skills are centered around sparring that has little to do with actual street fighting. MMA is even more convoluted since the time is split between striking, grappling and submissions. The fact is even at 5 hours per week, you will never be able to be seriously proficient at any of those skills for several years. Grappling is by far the hardest to master (ever wonder why the vast majority of MMA studs are elite wrestlers?).

What is called self defense by martial artists is a series of unconnected, choreographed movements that are based on the action = reaction principle. That means, he does this, I do that. If laws of physics teach you anything is that Action s always faster than Reaction. So if you think some guy is going to grab your throat and wait for you to do something...good luck with that.

The SDTS is not a reaction based system of self defense. It's position and distance based, just like firearms. It does not contain a huge quantity of techniques to master. It's funny, years ago I remember receiving a return from a woman who said, this is very repetitive. My answer was simply...No Shit. I know, not very corporate of me, but then again, I ditched the suit and tie a long time ago.

Listen, it's simple, it's quick and it only takes between 8 to 14 months to become awesome. Physical conditioning not withstanding. FACT: the better in shape you are, the better chance you have to survive but if your time is limited would you rather learn to beat the piss out of someone or do 20 minutes on the treadmill?

Quick fix, yes it is, but IT IS A FIX IF NOT THE ONLY FIX. Listen, I could have given you martial arts repackaged with a cool name, but I didn't. Why didn't I just give you karate, FMA, Judo or AIKI JUJUTSU, BJJ, Wrestling, TKD or an MMA style program to cash in on what's already popular. I'm clearly qualified to do so. I could put out anything I want. The reason I didn't is simple, this is what works and it's not that complicated. Anyone who tells you you need to spend several years training to become proficient in self defense (not martial arts or sports) is either trying to get your money or has not idea what they are talking about.

Here's Your Quick Fix CLICK HERE

Until next time, Train Honestly,
Damian Ross, CEO The Self Defense Company Corporate Center World's Most Lethal Self Defense Police Combatives Training Keep Your Family Safe Turn Your Passion into Profits Self Defense for Everyone Free Resource Material
FREE Training Forum

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The decline of youth sports and the decay of America

Obesity is on the rise. So much in fact that instead of rejecting unfit applicants, the US Army has modified its physical training and selection process. In one of the largest and most comprehensive studies of its kind funded by The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, American children become less active once they hit the teen years: While 90 percent of 9-year-olds get a couple of hours of exercise most days, fewer than 3 percent of 15-year-olds do.

15 to 20 years ago, every high school program had full varsity teams, junior varsity teams and middle school teams. Now, most schools are dropping some staple programs like football due to lack of participation.

I’ve seen our area program get cut in half and suffer over the last two decades. While there are still good kids and elite athletes, the talent level of the average to the above average player has declined severely. If you took the average wrestler, soccer player, football player in 1984 and put him on the field today, that kid would be all-league. The median athlete is almost gone. What you have are elite athletes and kids who really shouldn’t be on the court at all.

The problem is this: kids are starting younger and specializing sooner. Kids are specializing in middle school when they should be specializing in college. Year round training, specialty training clubs, elite young travel teams have taught parents that if you’re not playing year round, you will not succeed. It has taught kids that if you’re not the best, don’t bother.

The results is that by the middle school age when sport participation is most critical. This is when kids get involved in drugs, promiscuous activity and crime. Let’s face it, if you’re a teenager, you’re going to need to do something with the excess energy and time on your hands. Since this is the time kids become more independent they are left to their own devices. Finally, on a social level, sports create a common, positive interest that encompasses both the physical and if taught correctly, mental development as well.

The ironic issue is that compared to 15 to 20 years ago, the level of participation in youth sports has almost doubled. Kids can play any sport, year round from the age of 4 or 5 and up.

Well, the younger, year round idea is not working. I don’t need the study from The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to tell me that. The result is that the average athlete has been ignored and this has consequently lowered the level of skill significantly across the board. Now elite athletes are attending private schools with other elite athletes, leaving the other schools to try to compete with kids who fundamentally have been ignored for most of their careers since the tendency of coaches is to focus on the better kids in hopes they don’t leave the program for a private one.

My feeling on the subject is this: focus on the team. Focus on the overall scope of the program, not just one or two kids. In a few years’ time your program will be head and shoulders above the competition.

One or two studs may make a program for a few years, but eventually even those kids are going to understand what it is to be part of a team. The elite kids will get their supplemental training, don’t worry about that. But if you wan to really build a program, or more importantly, raise a child with the best possible chance of reaching their potential, help them to be stronger, faster and agile.

Raise athletes not specialists.

An athlete can do every thing, a specialist only one thing. If and when it comes to pass, your kid will make a decision. But until they’re in college, make sure they train to be bigger, faster and more agile.

Kids ages 5 and up. If you want them to do anything, have them run short races, kick a ball, some basic gymnastics and basically play. As they get older around 8, you can do it in a more structured manner, but no more than 35 to 45 minutes, two time a week. This should also include basic calisthenics. Sports are done IN SEASON ONLY. Stacking sports like indoor soccer wrestling or basket ball is nuts. When they’re younger they can do more than one sport in season. (Like wrestling and basketball) schedule permitting. However, when they’re young they can try one thing one season and another, the next. Or even attend a sport clinic if they want to try it. The options are there that weren’t around 15 years ago.

Off season if you want you can have them attend one or two camps per sport per year. Give them at least a few weeks off in the summer of nothing. After all, they’re just kids.
As far as physical training, that should be done consistently throughout the year taking every 5th week off.

In season physical training, in junior high and high school is tough. A full class day, study and practice, it’s hard to find the time to do the in season physical training. It turns into only once or twice a week if you’re lucky. By this time you should be narrowed down to two or three sports. When and if you get to college, well, that’s another 40 hour a week job and a whole other level.

Until next time, Train Honestly,
Damian Ross, CEO The Self Defense Company Corporate Center World's Most Lethal Self Defense Police Combatives Training Keep Your Family Safe Turn Your Passion into Profits Self Defense for Everyone Free Resource Material
FREE Training Forum

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year's Resolutions are BULLSH#T

Do you have a New Year's Resolution?...don't waste your time. Save your money and your effort. If you're not doing it now, you will never do it.

Change doesn't happen on a time or a date, it happens when you're ready. Nothing magically happens when the clock strikes midnight on January 1 except that you lie to yourself and create unrealistic expectations and proceed to place incredible demands on yourself that you can't possibly sustain.

Change is like trying to move a huge boulder (Like the one from Raiders of the Lost Ark). In the beginning it seems impossible to move. You push, you grunt, it moves a little only to roll back. You try your frigging best to get that SOB moving and it doesn't budge. Or maybe it moves so little, that all of your effort doesn't seem worth it. This is point when most people quit. You expect to get that thing moving with one or two shoves. But it doesn't work like that. It takes a while to get that potential energy stored up enough to get that thing moving an inch. Then somewhere along the line something happens, and it's starts moving!!! Slowly at first, but then it pick ups momentum. After a while a funny thing happens; you don't have to push that hard to keep that thing rolling.

Take fitness for example. First of all, the better in shape you're the "smaller your boulder is". The longer you are sedentary or the more you are out of shape the "larger your boulder". Once you're in shape or the better shape you're in the more time you can take off and the more you can "cheat." You can go on a week long bender and in a week be back where you left off. It's pretty incredible.

Remember Newton's Law of Inertia: "An object at rest will stay at rest, forever, as long as nothing pushes or pulls on it. An object in motion will stay in motion, traveling in a straight line, forever, until something pushes or pulls on it."

Objects (you) will have a tendency to stay at rest forever, while objects in motion tend to stay in motion or are easier to keep in motion with a lesser amount of force than is needed to set the object (you) in motion.

Listen, the hardest part it to set aside the time to do it. The other hardest part is to allow yourself to rest, miss and cheat. What happens over time is that you will want to cheat and miss less. Remember you can create good habits just like bad habits. There was a time you didn't smoke, drink or eat (yeah, I remember 3rd grade too). The only difference is that good habits are usually a lot more difficult to create. Hey if it were know the rest.

Be realistic, don't expect to quit smoking, loose weight or anything else in the time "As seen on TV". A lot of testimonials are flat out lies, some before and after shots are done in the same day; check out the documentary "Bigger, Faster. Stronger". Also, quite a number of them are fitness models or people who were normally in shape, let themselves go and get in shape. I'm not saying that results like this can't happen, you just need to manage your expectations.

If you have not done any physical activity in the past 7 to 10 years you need to give yourself about 3 months of 4 to 5 times a week of regular exercise to see results (We break this down in Module 7 of the SDTS titled "Combat Conditioning"). It will take a solid year to get to where you think you should be. But even if it doesn't happen, who cares? ANYTHING IR TRULY BETTER THAN NOTHING.

So what's the big deal anyway? Why do you need to "Be All You Can Be?"

Because self improvement and learning leads to happiness. It's all about doing it better than the generation before you. that's progress. A better quality of life, physically, mentally and spiritually. The day you stop trying to learn and trying to improve is the day you die. Life is learning and improving. It's also about helping others to learn and improve at a faster rate. Kids, students, friends it doesn't matter. If you got a great deal on tire would you let your friend waste time and shop around or would you just tell him? Well if you're his friend you would tell him, if you're a dick, well you know...

The same should apply to martial arts, self defense and all sports activities. For some reason instructors get hung up on how much time you need to put in in order to be proficient. This type of thinking is ridiculous. Some people have a higher aptitude or certain activities while others don't. Using a time standard, you punish the person who has a talent, works harder and more often than the others. Also, if you're not promoting or seeing improvements at a faster rate then your teaching model needs to be updated. If it took someone 4 to 5 years to earn a black belt from the same instructor 20 years ago, don't you think that time should shorten over two decades? With the Self Defense Training System we are always looking for ways to get results faster through new and updated methods. We also accomplished faster results by streamlining techniques and eliminate all the fluff and extras with regards to self defense.

At the end of the day, what we are all talking about when it comes to changing your life is about achieving a greater happiness. A better job, get in shape, stop smoking, learn to protect your self, have more sex, less sex, better sex or no sex at all. It all leads to being happy. Learning and understanding how to enjoy life. Happiness comes internally. It's almost as simple as deciding that you're not going to be miserable anymore. It is a fact, that if you're financially secure, it's one less thing to think about, but it does not guarantee happiness. I've been both poor and rich and have both poor and extremely wealthy friends and I can tell you, the rich ones can be just as miserable. Yea, I know, I want to punch rich people when they bitch, too. But the fact remains, external factors don't make you happy.

You can go through life miserable or you can go through life happy. I've met stage 4 cancer patients with more upbeat attitudes than people who have their health, a family and gainfully employed. Because it's not the goal that matters, it's the journey. When I was a kid I thought about what was it about scoring a touchdown I liked the most? Wast it before, during or after? The answer was clearly before and during. The preparation and the struggle to your end goal is what I enjoyed. After it was over, well, it was over.

The Book "The Legend of Bagger Vance" makes the point "Life is not a game to be one, it's a game to be played." Because when we're dead, we all go to the same place. Face your fears, get out of your comfort zone and above all, become a better friend, brother, sister, husband, wife, teacher, street sweeper. What ever you do and who ever you are, just do it better.

You don't need to be thinner, taller, richer or better looking. You just need to be the best you you can be. The rest will happen.

So what the hell does this have to do with kicking ass and self defense? It's all connected. Living a safer, healthier life without all of the BS that you are forced to endure to get simple questions like "Can you just show me what I need to protect myself?" answered.

Happy New Year,

Until next time, Train Honestly,
Damian Ross, CEO The Self Defense Company Corporate Center World's Most Lethal Self Defense Police Combatives Training Keep Your Family Safe Turn Your Passion into Profits Self Defense for Everyone Free Resource Material
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