Monday, September 26, 2011

"I'm a Fighter not a Doctor"


As the voice of Star Trek's Bones McCoy echoes in my brain, I read another post about how important it is for you to know the specific medical effects and terminology of what happens to a guy when you hit him in the spleen. Seriously, did Mike Tyson know that when blasted a guy in the jaw he disrupted the trigeminal nerve and caused concussive force to the brain-pan? Is George St. Pierre more effective knowing that he's cutting off blood supply to the carotid artery when he's choking the snot out of someone?

Maybe? The point is, some people feel that if you know the specific medical jargon you will be better off (or sound like you know what you're talking about). While understanding what happens to a target when you hit it in a particular way is important, some of these guys get all CSI and quite honestly, I don't have the time to go to med school and my Latin is REALLY rusty. I'm not going to expect you know what a "Mental Foramen" is, as long as you know where the side of the jaw is located.

Instead of going to med school, I can save you the time and effort of purchasing a Grey's Anatomy and give you the layman's description of knock out blows.

A "knockout" is one that renders the receiver unable to face his opponent for no less than 10 seconds. It is a blow landed to some vulnerable spot on the anatomy.

MENTAL FORAMEN OR JAW STRIKE SDTS Module 1

The most common knockout blow, and the best known, is the "hook to the jaw" strike. Few clean knockout blows reach the extreme tip of the chin, as it is a hard blow to land, because of the natural protection of the hands and arms, and the keeping of the chin well down on the chest.

The left hooking type strike to the side of the jaw is the most common knockout blow. It is usually delivered at close range, being out of the line of the vision, and making it harder to guard off.

The line of drive is made so as to force the upper end of the jawbone, ball, and socket up into the brain area, near where it is fastened to the upper skull.
It agitates the nerve of the brain area, causing a concussion, or shock, and senselessness. It also affects the nerves, so that they act deadened completely, making it impossible to feel pain. The victim knows nothing until he begins to recover. When he wakes up, he usually hears a low, buzzing, and steaming noise, and faint ambient sounds.

This knockout blow also sometimes disturbs the fluid in the semi-circular canals of the ear, where the sense of equilibrium is located, causing a loss of balance as well. Sometimes old-time fighters habitually walk with a wobble, or sense of unbalance, caused by being beaten over the ear so as to partially destroy the sense of the balance fluid.

The most deadly effect is obtained when the blow is delivered and the jaw is not tense, especially when the fighter is tired or when the mouth is partially open. This is why fighters wear mouth pieces, or mouth-guards, so that the teeth may be clenched, and thereby take away any shock. A tightening of the jaw makes the blow much less effective.

CARATOID ARTERY, OR NECK BLOW SDTS Module 1

The caratoid artery, or neck blow, is the most sensational and least painful of blows. The strike lands on the upper side of the neck under the ear and just below the jaw, where the main external artery divides — one part supplying the brain, the eyes, and ears, and the other part supply the face, tongue, and internal parts.

This blow is reflectory, and sometimes induces a sympathetic action of the vagus nerve, causing a temporary inaction of the heart and breathing organs, thus bringing about senselessness. It is also very effective when the neck muscles are relaxed.

EAR, OR MASTOID, BLOW SDTS Module 2

The mastoid is located directly behind the ear, encasing the ear bones, and is the hardest bone in the body. The blow is landed directly behind or over the back part of the ear. It does not always produce a knock-out, but shocks the brain and causes the victim to stagger and wobble for a few seconds. Many boxers shows its effect by "cauliflower" or clipped ears.

TEMPLE BLOW SDTS Module 1 and Module 2

The temple is located directly in front of the ear, and just above the upper jawbone. It is the thinnest part of the skull. The temple blow is the most dangerous of all, and may have a fatal effect.

"Atlas C1 Vertebrae/ Mastoid Process or where the top of your spine meets your skull" SDTS Module 1 and Module 2

Strikes here in boxing are called "rabbit punches". These are blows delivered directly at the base of the skull or back of the head. It is usually delivered when you are behind your target or when he's in a bent-over position. Strikes here shock the brain and sometimes produce partial paralysis of the breathing functions. Concussions or shock are common. This strike is so devastating that
it's regarded as a foul in practically all parts of the world.

NOSE BLOW SDTS Module 1, Module 2 and Module 4

The nose often becomes hardened, or immune to blows, but many pugilists develop a case of soft nose, caused by a splitting or shattering of the bridge of the nose. The chief danger of a "nose sock" is that the blood flow interferes with the breathing and cutting off of the air supply. The notion of driving the nose into the brain is a wives tale.

TESTICLES SDTS Module 2, Module 3 and Module 4

The celiac plexus provides the autonomic nervous supply to the testis as well as to the liver, pancreas, duodenum, gallbladder, and colon. Therefore, testicular pain may result in gastrointestinal symptoms, such as abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting, through reflex stimulation of the celiac ganglion." In other words, some pain impulses race up to your brain to inform you that you've absorbed a jolt to the vitals, while others branch off to the gut and make you feel sick and possibly vomit, in case there was any lingering doubt.

Three main types of actions can cause severe trauma: blunt force, which is what it sounds like; penetrating trauma (gunshots and such); and degloving (tearing) injury, which may occur when the scrotum is caught in machinery and about which I'll say no more.

Severe impact can result in a condition called testicular torsion — a twisting of one or more of the testes and spermatic cord — which may be accompanied (once again) by intense pain, nausea, and vomiting. Another relatively unusual one is dislocated testes, in which a testicle gets knocked out of the scrotum altogether, potentially winding up anywhere from up by your hips to partway down your thigh. Motorcycle accidents are good for this type of injury too, collision with the gas tank or handlebars commonly being the culprit.

There have been rumored cases where a person squeezed an attacker's testicles until he went into shock. I can't speak 100% on this but I will say owning a pair myself and despite their being forged from carbon steel, getting hit or squeezed with sufficient force will be enough to take me out.

EYES SDTS Module 3 and Module 4

Attacking the eyes will cause anything from excessive tearing and temporary blindness to shock and nausea. Shock is the main component that causes death due to eye removal.

Shock is basically the body shutting down and not delivering blood to organs. Most defensive tactics use shock to incapacitate a target. After all, there are only so many ways people die other than old age, hypothermia, starvation and disease. Shock, loss of blood, loss of air, internal bleeding our swelling, disruption of the hypothalamus (The part of the brain that lies below the thalamus, forming the major portion of the ventral region of the diencephalon, and that regulates bodily temperature, certain metabolic processes, and other autonomic activities.)

Where is the hypothalamus located?


Incidentally, look how far you need to travel into the brain to pus someone's lights out.









Train Honestly,


Damian Ross, CEO The Self Defense Company


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

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Field Testing the Ugly Red Dummy

At the Self Defense Company Intensive Training Summit this past summer we took the opportunity to break out the Ugly Red Dummy prototype so the team could have a go at it. As you will see in the video, they had a blast kicking, stomping, strangling and basically being ill mannered to out hideous, crimson friend. Featured in the video are SDC Instructors Reuben Bean, Joe Landry, Damian Ross, Kevin Winters and SDTS Legion Member Lauren Mendenhall


Train Honestly,
Damian Ross, CEO The Self Defense Company


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

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Position of Advantage

Title and inspiration courtesy of Ed, my longtime friend, local detective and SDC Guardian Instructor.
Every few weeks Ed sends me a video with a question "What do you think?" or something to that effect. There's something you should know about Ed, he's a seasoned cop, very intelligent and obsessed with training and educating himself. He literally spends hours and hours watching video of police in use of force scenarios. Ed is the defensive tactics instructor for his department and the county as well. Ed gave me the "Position of Advantage" title.

This is the video Ed sent me this week, with the ever popular "What do you think?"



Whenever I look at something I look at it with the thought of "what I'm seeing will be useful to me and it must have some value." After all, the people taking the time to do it must feel there is something here. By assuming that mindset it allows me to go in with an open mind, which is damn near impossible.

Most people look at things technically, like how a technique is performed or what it's called. There are dozens of names for the same techniques, to argue over what something is called is ridiculous. To evaluate something you need to look at it TACTICALLY not technically.

Technical refers to the specific moves or techniques. Tactics refer to the bigger picture, the situation that surrounds the particular event you are watching.
In this case we are looking at a solution to a potential problem. The problem is this, "What if you tell a subject to take his hands out of his pockets and he pulls a weapon, in this case, a handgun?" This is an obvious problem, he draws a weapon and you're left there with your hands on your "wedding tackle." You're up shit's creek without a paddle or even a canoe.

Note: in this scenario this is not a subject you are arresting, this is a person of interest. Maybe you're responding to a call about people loitering, maybe you're breaking up a fight. The main point is, you don't know if the subject is dangerous or not or if the subject is the reason for the complaint. All you are doing is talking to the subject.

This problem is an obvious and real issue. Though it doesn't happen with every contact with the public, the video suggests that it may happen in one in one thousand, who knows if that's accurate, but lets work with that number. So 1 time you will be correct in assuming that the subject is armed and 999 times the person is unarmed.

The expert offers a seemingly viable solution that completely solves the problem. The person is controlled and brought to the ground and the good guys win the day. Now this works if the person is armed. So 1 out of 1000 times you will be completely justified in using force on the subject and tossing said subject to the ground.

What about the other 999 times?

You are using physical force on an unarmed subject. Now I don't know about you but I carry my car keys, wallet and cell phone in those pockets. You might think a gun and a cell phone are very different, but under stress when you put your hand on something that might feel like a weapon you're going to act first and ask questions later. Try explaining why you just dumped unarmed John Q. Citizen on his head...999 times.

Now consider this, if the subject had murderous intent, do you think he would let you assume a position behind him? I'm sure if it was "kill a cop" day, he would give some sort of resistance.

Ed brings up the point of "Position of Advantage". You should always stay behind cover when ever possible. Sitting behind your car door and telling the subject to take his hands out of his pockets is a hell of a lot easier (and safer) than coming up behind him and playing grab-ass. As Ed says "if you're approaching a guy and his hands are hidden, stay behind cover until he removes them. If he takes them out and puts them back in suddenly while you approach, that gives a pretty big hint to his intentions."

From a liability stand point, when you start putting your hands on John Q. Public for no apparent reason, he's going to get pissed off. Sure he shouldn't have hesitated but when you tell your average citizen to take his hands out of his pockets, they will probably freeze because they're scared. Once you start becoming physical with them for no apparent reason, even the most law abiding citizen is going to be upset. But if you keep your distance, draw your weapon, demand a show of hands and they shit themselves, they'll have a funny story to tell their friends and less likely to sue the cop who bullied them because they were frightened.

When you deal with use of force, it's an all or nothing proposition. You're either arresting him, or you're not. You either completely dominate your subject or you don't engage. There is no need to "create" an unnecessary use off force situation, it's reckless at best. Use the tools that have been issued to you.

To learn more about the Guardian Program Visit www.legaluseofforce.com

Train Honestly,
Damian Ross, CEO The Self Defense Company


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

Friday, September 16, 2011

I Train with Mother Nature

I just received a blog update(yes I do subscribe to a number of mail lists) titled "Israeli Gun Disarm Secrets" That is the title the post has all the trappings a catchy headline needs. "ISRAELI" has been a buzz word ever since the Mossad emerged as a force to be reckoned with after the 1972 Olympics. They wrote the book on counter terrorism and protection tactics. I have had the opportunity to meet some of these people in seminars in the early 90's and they were most impressive. Unfortunately counter terrorism has nothing to do with personal self defense. It has everything to do with gathering intelligence, technology, weaponry and tactical planning. If you are using your hand to hand combat in a counter terrorist situation a lot has gone wrong. There are only 24 hours in the day. Most of your training is intelligence gathering, small arms and other technical devices. Hand to hand is a part of it, but a very small part of it. The Israeli moniker is a marketing buzz word. Because underneath, it's just the same old martial arts myths and misconceptions.

I just use this article as a jump off point, the same can be said for the vast majority of self defense, not just what is being promoted as Israeli Elite Commando. Let's put it this way, I have seen a lot of things. I know, I'm only one man and one life. I have only met a handful of people on the right track. A lot of them "talk" the same language, but their actions turn into the same old stuff. They may execute it harder, or faster, but it's still based on the wrong principles.

The mistake lies in the way we think. We all have a tendency to Monday Morning Quarter Back our lives. It's easy to watch a professional fight and yell at the screen "Why isn't he just punching him." But unless you're in there, you don't know what's going on inside his head. Martial arts look at self defense and project REASONING into it. You look at a situation "logically" and come up with a solution. This may work in practice, but under real world conditions, reasoning is non-existent.

Fighting and pain evoke emotional reactions, not intellectual responses. When you take yourself outside the emotion and you THINK about a self defense situation you will come up with response based on reason. This is natural, this is how we all think. Heck, we all can give the best advice in the world, but when it comes to our own lives, that's a different story. That's because you act on emotion and feel, not reason.

Your body is engineered to react emotionally to danger and physical stress. This is actually a good thing when you learn how to channel the adrenalin rush. Training to make your body REASON and go against instinct is an exercise in futility. You can't go fight mother nature. You must accept the fact that you will react a certain way and prepare for that reality.

This is what happens to you when you are under stress.

From the book "On Combat" by Grossman

"An understanding of the stress of close combat begins with an understanding of the physiological response to close-range interpersonal aggression. The traditional view of combat stress is most often associated with combat fatigue and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which are actually manifestations that occur after, and as a result of, combat stress. Bruce Siddle has defined combat stress as the perception of an imminent threat of serious personal injury or death, or the stress of being tasked with the responsibility to protect another party from imminent serious injury or death, under conditions where response time is minimal.

The debilitating effects of combat stress have been recognized for centuries. Phenomenon such as tunnel vision, auditory exclusion, the loss of fine and complex motor control, irrational behavior, and the inability to think clearly have all been observed as byproducts of combat stress. Even though these phenomena have been observed and documented for hundreds of years, very little research has been conducted to understand why combat stress deteriorates performance.

The key characteristic which distinguishes combat stress is the activation of the SNS (Sympathetic Nervous System). The SNS is activated when the brain perceives a threat to survival, resulting in a immediate discharge of stress hormones. This "mass discharge" is designed to prepare the body for fight-or-flight. The response is characterized by increasing arterial pressure and blood flow to large muscle mass (resulting in increased strength capabilities and enhanced gross motor skills--such as running from or charging into an opponent), vasoconstriction of minor blood vessels at the end of appendages (which serves to reduce bleeding from wounds), pupil dilation, cessation of digestive processes, and muscle tremors. Figure 2(below) presents a schematic representation of the effects of hormone induced heart rate increase resulting from SNS activation. "

That being said, let's review what will happen to you with the "Fit hits the shan."

1. Tunnel Vision
2. Auditory Exclusion
3. Loss of fine and complex motor control
4. Irrational behavior
5. The inability to think clearly

You will however have increased strength and the capability to run away or charge your target.

Now marinate with that for a few moments. Think of all the gun disarm techniques, all the "weapon control" techniques. All the complicated trapping and subtle movements you've been training for decades. I'm not going to tell you they are a waste of time (BUT THEY ARE). Physically, it will be impossible to execute them. Being tired is different than being stressed under combat. This effect happens when hormones hit your blood stream and that only happens when you feel your life is truly in danger.

I'm sure somebody has heard of someone doing something at some point in time that resembled a complicated disarm. Hey, even a broken clock is right twice a day. I'm not going to hang my life on something I heard some guy did somewhere. I'm going to depend on what I know is fact. You can convince yourself into thinking (reasoning) that you will be able to remove millions of years of evolution in a few short years of practice OR you can embrace what the good lord gave you and train in a manner that takes advantage of what your body is designed to do.

Things like "gun disarms" are a fantasy. All of the "disarms" I have ever seen involve two things 1. diverting your attention away from your attacker towards the weapon for an extended period of time (more than a second) and 2. Complex motor skill movements that will be beyond your capability when your SNS takes over. You know what happens to complex movements when you try to process them when your SNS takes over. They turn into gross motor movements and look like twitched and convulsions. You may just manage to put your hand on the weapon and then you will stop. The best disarm is when the guy pointing his gun at you is knocked the f#ck out. Then you can bend down and pick up the gun.

Why is it that the more dangerous the situation, the more complicated the technique?
This is funny, or tragic, that martial arts and self defense experts teach more complex techniques for weapons defense and less complex techniques for unarmed defense. Sure the SDTS teaches you THE SAME TECHNIQUES for both and I know, it's too easy (Sorry for not wasting your time). The right answers MUST be complicated and difficult (being sarcastic here).

The first thing you learn in the SDTS is that if your faced with a gun or any other weapon at a distance is to escape. Even with firearms, the FBI and the Department of justice show that in situations where a firearm was present less than 20% of the victims were shot at. Less than 2% of those people were actually hit and 0% were seriously injured or killed. That's right, there is a 100% chance you will live when you run .

NOTE: Pepper spray or a "substitute" can work wonders against a knife or club attack from a distance! On the other hand, pointing pepper spray at someone who has a gun trained on you might be a big mistake.

But, when walking away is not an option, you will need to do a two things:

1. React in a manner you that you are capable. SIMPLE, GROSS MOTOR MOVEMENTS
2. Get out of immediate danger and inflict as much damage to your target in the shortest amount of time.

Gun disarm, sure when you gingerly pluck it out of his unconscious hand. Complex movements and Hollywood disarms look cool and are fun, but in reality you are NOT going to pull them off, your engineering simply won't let you.

NEVER die in training.
You will be surprised on what your body can endure. Google "knife wound" or "gunshot survivor." Gruesome, I know, but the people survived. Hey, I'm the first person who doesn't want to get shot or stabbed and my doctor has recommended I avoid this as much as possible. But you have to understand that people with out any training at all who attacked their assailant first sustained minimal damage.

Using paint guns, markers, chalk knives and shock knives are good but you must train with them correctly. Getting touch with a shock knife might mean you've been cut, but it doesn't mean you're dead. What ever you do, train to fight HARDER after that happens and DON'T STOP! It's not a game of tag, train to fight through the pain. Train know that these things will happen. DON'T assume you will be able to walk away without a scratch, that's just plain silly.

Work within the parameters of your engineering and stop trying to fight mother nature. Instead, use what she has given you to your advantage, embrace her, take her out, she's quite the MILF.

Train Honestly,
Damian Ross, CEO The Self Defense Company


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

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Miyagi vs. Kreese Who Wins in the Street?


It's been 24 years since these two squared off on screen in Karate Kid II where Cobra Kai Instructor John Kreese was left with bloody knuckles and broken dreams. On screen the ill-mannered Kreese was toyed with by the fly-catching, chopstick wielding Kesuke Miyagi. But if these two characters were to face off in the street, who would really win?

For our answer, let's go to the Tale of the Tape:

Age: John Kreese is 35, Miyagi is 52, the Edge goes to Kreese.

Occupation: Kreese is a karate instructor who trains bullies and future date rapists, Miyagi fixes toilets, bikes and trims little trees. Edge goes to Kreese.

Military Background: Kreese was Special forces in Vietnam, Miyagi was infantry in Vietnam. Edge goes to Kreese.

Real world experience: Kreese flushed rat holes in Vietnam, VC ear necklaces and kicks puppies in his pare time. Miyagi killed many Germans and kicked fisherman ass. Edge goes to Kreese.

Style: Kreese teaches American Karate, Miyagi Gojo-ryu Karate. Edge, Miyagi.

Training: Kreese was trained by some ill mannered karate instructors and the US Government. Miyagi, his dad. Edge, Kreese.

It's a cruel, cruel summer for Miyagi-san with a 5 to 1 ass whopping loss to the evil dojo master! In the real world, John Kreese would have swept the leg and beat his drum technique to death. In the end, the aging Miyagi was no much to the Spec Ops sociopath. Sorry Daniel-san, you're really going to need that body bag.

Train Honestly,
Damian Ross, CEO The Self Defense Company


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

Friday, September 9, 2011

Fighting Naked Sucks


The Gi(uniform) vs No Gi debate regarding self defense is ridiculous. Yet some people seem to think that training without a gi is some how more realistic than training in a uniform. Here's a news flash, training without a gi is not more realistic, its just easier.

The reason why they don't wear gi's in MMA is because the uniform adds a whole new level of techniques that take years to master. A uniform opens the door to a multitude of submissions and take downs, that number well into the thousands.

On the other hand In a no gi vs gi fight, the clear advantage goes to the man without the gi since the uniform provides handles and levers that enable you to manipulate your opponent a lot easier. It's like going into a fight with a noose dangling from your neck. It was only a mater of time since the fighters in the UFC ditched the uniform, it just made sense. On a personal note, I always thought Royce Gracie had brass balls going into the ring wearing a uniform against no gi opponents.

The notion that no gi is more real is ludicrous. The vast number of confrontations occur where you spend the majority of your time: where you live an work. Unless you live in a nudist colony or have an extremely liberal employer, you're clothed and wearing shoes the majority of the time. It makes sense that this is how your should spend the majority of your self training.

Now I know some chucklehead will say "What happens if you get into a fight at the beach?" I know there's a slim chance that I might get caught in my birthday suit, (Let's not get into the details, but fighting naked isn't fun or funny, it's awkward at best(I have no idea how the Greeks did it - OK, maybe I do...) and how I know this is a whole other subject on a completely different blog.

Moving forward, if you do get into a no gi situation and you will be able to adapt a lot easier if your primary method of self defense is not grappling and does not depend exclusively on the uniform. In other words, striking translates beautifully to no gi. It doesn't matter what he's wearing, he'll get knocked the F#$% out just the same. Remember, grappling skills are secondary or back up forms of self defense. They're terribly inefficient when compared to striking. They take more skill and more physical conditioning to become proficient. Let's face it, it takes a lot less time to knock someone out with a punch than it does with a strangle.

If you do train in a uniform, its a lot easier to transition from gi to no gi than from no gi to gi. In fact a lot of fighters who've never trained in a uniform tend to avoid starting because it's a very different game and against an opponent who has gi experience they'll have their hands full.

At the end of the day, you prepare for your purpose. If you're training MMA, by all means, train no gi, if you're preparing for Judo, BJJ or Sambo the opposite is true and if you're training for self defense, prepare for the most likely scenario. Don't fall for the no gi is more realistic line. It's not more real, it's just easier.
Train Honestly,
Damian Ross, CEO The Self Defense Company


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

Friday, September 2, 2011

Karate for Defense Only

"Karate for defense only" I can still hear Mr. Miyagi delivering that age old piece of advice to Daniel-san. Those meaningful words resonated in my head still to this day. This notion of "karate for defense" and then martial arts for defense only has transcended time. Even the term "self defense" conjures up this image of "never throwing the first punch."

And there it is, the almighty "NEVER THROW THE FIRST PUNCH". This is what fathers have been telling their kids for centuries. "Never throw the first punch, son." In the right context, this is good advice. When my son (or daughter) has a problem in school with one of their classmates and it gets physical, I tell them if they push you, push back. If they hit you, hit back until they stop. This works among friends and classmates. But it does not work in the real world against older people who aren't your friends or people that you have to deal with on a daily basis. It sure as hell doesn't work as an adult, especially when that adult is someone you don't know.

Given our mantra of "never throw the first punch" and karate's "for defense only" it is easy to see how the idea of waiting for the other person to throw the first punch in self defense situations has evolved and how it has continued to hang around in every dojo across the country.

So what's with the notion of "Karate for defense only"?

Karate or any form of self defense should be for defense only. The issue is where self defense starts. The general idea that self defense starts when it manifests itself in a physical act is wrong. Self defense begins in your mind. The moment you perceive a threat, that's when it starts. By the time the contact turns physical, it's tactically too late to launch a plan. If you do manage to counter attack an initial assault, consider yourself lucky because the the overwhelming people who win* a fight are the ones who escalates it the fastest.

Miyamoto Musashi is the sword saint of Japan. As a preteen he was already winning duals. Most people make the same assumption about sword fights that they did with showdowns at high noon. Two fighters meet at a predetermined time and place to face each other with honor. As we now know, this happened only a handful of times in the old west and the same is true for feudal Japan, it just didn't happen. Musashi was notorious for ambushing his opponents, or making them wait and completely pissing them off. His quote "It's most regrettable to die with your sword still in your sheath" tells a lot about his view of fighting for your life. As soon as the decision to attack is made you attack. The longer you wait, the less your chances of success. The longer you wait, the more you give the other guy a chance to attack.

A great quote from the Unforgiven (Paul credit)
Little Bill Daggett: You just shot an unarmed man.
Bill Munny: He should have armed himself if he's gonna decorate his saloon with my friend.

"Karate for self defense" is about a mind set, not a tactic. You should not actively seek to start fights or attack people who are innocent. It means you should live a good and moral life. Be the good guy. Be the guy (I can't include "girl every time I write "guy" so just go with it)who saves the day NOT the guy that causes trouble. Use your knowledge and skill to make the world a safer place, not a more dangerous one. That's what "Karate for self defense only" is all about.

**WIN I can hear you now "there are no winners in a street fight". While this may be true from a social perspective, to me there are CLEAR winners and LOSERS in a fight. The loser is the one one the ground. The winner is the one with the sore hand.

Just like that perception of never waiting to throw the first punch, things are not always what they seem. Mr. Miyagi was an actor playing a role written by some guy who wanted to create a story. This is the reality of Mr. Miyagi, who looks like a lot more fun than the karate instructor.



Train Honestly,
Damian Ross, CEO The Self Defense Company


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