Monday, February 28, 2011

The Four Pillars of Self Defense

The Four Pillars of Self Defense are Distance, Momentum, Position and Balance.
Every possible situation you may find your self in, these four factors remain constant.

Distance is how far you are from a threat. your proximity to target effects your options, from escaping to engaging. This also impacts the type of tactics you would employ at a given distance be it a few paces away or in a clinch.

Momentum is the product of the mass and velocity of an object (p = mv). Like velocity, momentum is a vector quantity, possessing a direction as well as a magnitude. In self defense terms, you increase momentum by taking ground and continually attacking and injuring your target. Increasing intensity while you gain the advantage. The person with the momentum wins. Good street fighters know this and will take the opportunity to get the first shot in and consequently follow it up with more and more vicious and ruthless attacks. In module 1 of the SDTS we show you how to establish a safe distance and determine in an instant if you're going to be attacked. Then we train you to take advantage of this opportunity, gain momentum and win.

Position is where you are in relation to your target. You both could be standing, or one on the ground and the other standing (either at close range or far range- we detail this in SDTS Module 3). you could both be on the ground, either he's on top or you're on top. You're in the guard, half guard or mount or he has your back or you have his back.

Balance: maintain yours and break his. If he is off balance he will not be able to strike, stab or even shoot. If you're target can't plant hiss feet and generate force, he can't create power. Plus when you are driving him and pushing him back in the real world he will eventually stumble, trip and fall, or at least run into something. If he's off balance, he's all but useless.
In the SDTS you learn to do this by taking ground and training combat convulsive attacks that cause maximum injury to your target and minimum if injury to yourself.

In order for you to survive and win in combat you must control the four pillars of self defense.

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, February 22, 2011

Do 1,000 of Something...Anything!!!

Jack Lalane was famous for his feats of fitness. Even in his 60's he was still doing things men 1/3 his age could only dream of doing. One of these feats was the 1,000 push up-1,000 pull up challenge. He did this in 82 minutes when he was 45 years old.

Drilling for wrestling and judo that magic number again is 1,000. 1,000 of a single throw or take down done in one sitting with a partner alternating sets of 25 or 50 was key to developing muscle memory and recall.

The whole point is to reach a place where you didn't think about the movement. Where you were too tired to care and you just stop thinking about it. You reach a point where your mind gets out of the way of your body and let's your body perform the movement efficiently.

Technically, we're all lazy. Our bodies want to perform an action as efficiently and effortlessly as possible. however, our conscious mind works against us. Anxiety over whether you are doing the move correctly, being self conscious about mistakes you're making will literally short circuit your body and create wasted movement and undue stress that inhibits performance.

We've all been there, trying to learn something new, worried about making a mistake and what we look like in front of our peers and our self. But you need to get past those anxieties to really start the learning process and the easiest and simplest way to do that is to fatigue your mind through physical exertion.

The more experienced you are the less time it takes to reach that point of "not caring". In the beginning, it may take several hundred reps to reach that point and you may only get a handful of good techniques out of 1,000 reps. But once your body figures out what to do, it remembers and the next time you may triple that number until it becomes easier to get to that sweet spot.

Once your body figures it out you can repeat it with new tasks so the process grows shorter each time. Some people call it "knowing your body". Athletic people have the ability to get to this point sooner than others. They naturally understand the letting go process because they can manage the anxiety of learning. Most children can do this easier than adults because they don't have all the mental baggage grown ups carry. Most kids simply "don't care" what they look like until that day comes when they do. To get to that point, you must trick yourself into not caring through physical exhaustion.

Start with something simple, like a horizontal Edge of Hand from Module 1 of The Self Defense Training System. Do this 1,000 times and note when you stop thinking about it and just do it. Then the next time you do 1,000, note the number when you stop thinking about it and then compare the two, I'll bet you dollars to donuts the second number is significantly lower than the first. Once you can get that number below 15 or 20, it's time to work on another technique.

You need only do this with your core techniques (edge of hand, chin jab, tiger claw/ heel of hand and whatever other main techniques you feel fit your tool box best). After that you train to apply those core techniques to any situation and guess're done.

How many techniques in your main tool box? You only have room for about 6. That doesn't mean you can't recall dozens, it's just that five or six is all you can commit to instinct and train to be convulsive.

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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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bad Neighbors and Bullies

I received this email from a member of the SDC Community about a potentially dangerous and frustrating situation.

It starts:
I just wanted to share with you.
I've spent my life doing the very same thing that you teach. I've worked in nightclubs as a bouncer, I have a PI license and have done a lot of security work.

Even after care surveillance and success. And being rewarded admirably for my works. Then something happened at home.....

My neighbor being in the very next apartment, after first meeting him. Seemed to be a cut above with his law school and former being an LEO [law enforcement officer] in the coastguard.

He showed me his unlabeled bottle of steroids, with needles that he used to "shoot up".

He seemed to have "two personalities". He would want to play fight, and then get serious. After being attacked 10 or more times. With my neighbors and kids watching. I had no choice but to call the Sheriff.

I was asking himself at the time, "Here is my next door neighbor". What kind of liability is going to happen if I use my martial arts training. Am I going to be sued ? And my next door neighbor at that. I could no longer use my street smarts and self defense training that I could have at work. Just what was I to do. Little did I know that this sense of "superiority was very prevalent with steroid users".

And as a Brother, Martial Artist. What to do at home, with the addict ??
Being that you'd never believe he's the same person that you first met.-Henry


First of all let's answer your question, martial arts or self defense training does not preclude you from defending yourself. The only time it becomes an issue is if an opposing attorney uses that to paint you as a violent person. Beyond that you have the right to protect yourself based on your local laws.

Contacting the local police was a good move from a legal perspective. It establishes a history of violence and immediately sets you up as the good guy. second, if this man is an attorney and a member of the coast guard who uses drugs and engages in felonious behavior he will be disbarred and tossed out of the Coast Guard. He has a lot to lose. But that doesn't guarantee he will stop his behavior or escalate it.

This is the crappy part. If you are going to continue to live in the same community you need to manage him. Given your experience, I know you already know this, but for the sake of the people reading it, I'll post it.

You can't be alone with this guy, ever. Now that you have drawn you line in the sand and we have established this guy as a loose canon, he can never be alone with you unless you are prepared to do what it takes to survive. He has already demonstrated sociopath type behavior, so it his possible he can go from friend to foe in a blink of an eye.

You are also going to have to be on alert when you come home. Until you are locked in your apartment, you need to stay aware. Hallways, parking lots, tree lines and doorways are good ambush spots. It's unfortunate that you can't relax until you're in your home, but now there is a real threat happening.

your best option is to move. Hey, I know it may sound cowardly, but it is far from the truth. Living your life, waiting to be attacked by an identified threat is not fun. I have dealt with bad neighbors and crappy co-workers an unlike something that happens in the street, you must face it every day. Sure, you would like nothing better than to toss the pain in the ass the beating of his life...but you can't. Unless you are physically threatened, you have to wait and the waiting is really the most painful part.

Years ago I had a neighbor who was literally insane and a passive aggressive son of a bitch. He would get pissed when people parked on the public road, in front of his house. One time I parked my car there and he parked his truck on my bumper and left it out of gear so when I pulled away, his truck would roll behind me. At first I thought he made a mistake and being the good neighbor I took his keys along with a note and put them in his mailbox. As time went on, he said something to my friend's girlfriend and then I put it together. Did I confront him, yes I did. Did I make sure he knew how I felt, absolutely. I even went as far as to try to get him to make an aggressive move towards me, but he didn't bite.

I had to deal with the SOB until the day I moved. Remember, every decision is based on that risk-reward equation. Is that scumbag worth it? The stakes are higher when it's your neighbor and coworker. Hell, its not like no one knows who you are.

At the end of the day, you did the right thing.

Steps to take for dealing with asshole coworkers and insane neighbors.
1. Let them know. Tell them in a polite, matter of fact way that they're behavior is causing and issue. If you want to avoid confrontation, do this when they are not engaging in the behavior. For example, your neighbor uses bad language in front of your kids or drives his car too fast down your street you could say something like "The other day you guys were using some pretty rough language and my kids were outside, can you try to avoid doing that?" Listen, if the guy is a dick he's going to be a dick, if he wants to be a good neighbor he's going to apologize.
2. Call the police. After a two conversations, if he's not going to stop the behavior tell him, "Look, I've asked you a few times and really, it hasn't stopped. So I'm going to file a complaint. I tried to be polite, but now it's out of my hands."
3. Build your case through audio and video recordings. Remember, it's not who's right, it's what you can prove. If you have audio and video of the guy breaking your fence or letting his dog poop on your lawn, it will be pretty compelling evidence when you are defending your actions in court.

You have to make a choice: take crap or not to take crap. You are not required by law to take anyone's bullshit. You are allowed to defend your home, yourself and your loved ones. You are not defenseless. It just takes a little effort on your part.

Neighbors Resolving their Differences

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, February 2, 2011

Rules of Self Defense (Revisited)

The Rules of Self Defense

The rules define the game. Judo rules, create the sport of Judo, MMA rules create the MMA the sport and martial arts have a style and etiquette all their own, based on their culture of origin. These rules are designed to balance entertainment with participant safety or pay homage to their native land. While technically in self defense there are "no rules ", there does exist a specific set of tactical factors to which you must abide.

The “Rules” of Self Defense

1. Your techniques must be simple, gross motor skills.
When you experience fight or flight stress, millions of years of evolution kick in and prepare you for battle. You will experience dozens of perceptual changes from tunnel vision to loss of hearing, your heart rate increases and your blood will flow from your extremities to your vital organs and major muscle groups. There is no amount of mediation or stress inoculation that will reverse these effects. Your only choice is to train to operate within those conditions. You will only to be able to perform gross movements of the legs and arms. Finite skills that involve subtle movement of the fingers, wrist, small precise movements and tactics that require cognitive planning and strategy will be impossible. You'll only be able to perform a handful (3 to 5) of simple skills. LtCol Grossman’s Book “On Combat” gives an excellent analysis of this physiological and psychological experience.

2. You will be attacked when you are vulnerable.
Injured, tired and older or distracted, criminals, like predators, choose targets of opportunity. If you appear weak, you will be a target. The most effective defensive tactics enable you to perform under any possible physical restriction. This includes the use of weapons. The rule is simple, if you can leave your home, you better be able to protect yourself. Methods that require athleticism and coordination are not recommended. Instead you need techniques that are simple and easy to perform.

3. Your assailant is armed.
Criminals will stack the odds in their favor. Career criminals who know that using a weapon carries a heavier sentence, may try to strong arm you instead of using a weapon during the first contact. After you survive the first attack and offer some resistance, he may then decide to use a weapon. According to the 2005 study by the Bureau of justice in approximately 70% of violent crime arrests there was a weapon present. This very real possibility demands that you dispatch of your threat as quickly as possible.

Another scenario is an attack under in low light. In a dark parking lot, how can you tell if that punch isn't a stab? Therefore you must assume every attack is a weapon attack. Methods that require you to first identify the weapon and then shift gears to use a different set of techniques have an extremely low success rate. Hick’s Law proves this as fact. Hick’s Law describes the time it takes for a person to make a decision as a result of the possible choices he or she has. The more choices you have, the slower your reaction time. You need one common denominator reaction for a multitude of assaults.

4. Your attacker is larger and stronger than you.
In the street, intimidation is a big factor. Larger people with bad intent will choose smaller, weaker victims. Nothing has changed since grammar school. Knowing this, methods that require you to overpower your enemy should be avoided. While grappling is a worth while endeavor, it is not a primary form of defense since it requires a great deal of skill, power and endurance to subdue a much larger attacker. Striking is and always will be the preferred and most efficient means of first line, empty hand defense. Weapons of course trump all empty hand defenses.

5. Your assailant will have friends.
Criminals need an edge. It could be a weapon, it could be size or it could be accomplices. Most times you won't even know it's a multiple attacker scenario until it's too late. Smart street fighters will have friends waiting in the background. The idea of having different tactics for single and multiple attackers is ludicrous for two reasons. First, every attack is a multiple attacker scenario regardless of what you see initially. Second, you can only fight what ‘s directly in front of you. Once you engage, your mind will only allow you to focus on one act, one target and one direction. (See Rule number 1) To ensure a high success rate you must train to eliminate the first target as fast as possible and move forward from there. This includes maintaining a forward drive and taking ground. Besides keeping your primary target off balance, moving forward will make you a moving target to the other threats. This is why it is extremely critical that you train in a way that keeps you moving forward. Practicing defensive tactics while you’re standing toe to toe is ill-advised.

6. You must consider every environment.
Attacks happen where you work and live. Through the course of your day and depending on the season, your environment is constantly changing from icy parking lot to carpeted floor. You can’t move 10 feet in any direction without running into a wall, a piece of furniture or a change of elevation. Sliding foot work that looks good in the gym or dojo is impractical under real world conditions. Even your footwork must be “pre-programmed” to handle any terrain.

7. You must use techniques that cause maximum injury to your attacker and minimum injury to you.
This is the name of the game. The person who wins is the one with the least amount of injury. From weapons to empty hand, everything thing you do must cause more damage to your target at a faster rate than you ‘re being injured.

8. Your attacker has intent on killing or injuring you.
Anyone who is willing to threaten you or use force on you has no regard for your safety. In order to maximize your survivability you must assume this to be true and react accordingly. That means doing whatever you need to survive without any regard for your attacker’s safety. Anything less will leave you vulnerable.

What makes a good self defense system?
An effective means of self defense only needs to consider the factors of distance, position, momentum and balance. Distance: where you are in relation to the target. Position: how you are and your target is situated. Momentum: increase yours by injuring him and moving through him. Injuring him more and more with each attack until he can no longer counter attack. Finally, balance, maintain yours, and disrupt his.
The techniques must attack his most vital areas, consist of gross motor movements and cause the maximum damage to your target and minimum damage to yourself.

These criteria for self defense are purely tactical. There’s no mention of style or system. These are common denominator, common sense factors. Along with good fitness, the right system and an "assume the worst and hope for the best" attitude. You will be able to survive and win most any situation.
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