Posts Tagged Self Defense

RIP Corey Ian Haim dead at 38

Posted by Rob on Wednesday, 10 March, 2010

Corey HaimCanadian actor, Corey Haim was pronounced dead at 2:15 AM on March 10, 2010. Hopefully I’m not breaking this news to you for the first time, like I did to my wife a few hours after it happened. She thought I was kidding.

Best known for his 1980s Hollywood career as a teen idol, Corey appeared in a number of films such as Lucas, Murphy’s Romance, The Lost Boys, License to Drive and Dream a Little Dream.

By far, my favorite Corey Haim movie was The Lost Boys (and Lost Boys: The Tribe, even though he only cameo’d during the credits in the sequel).

In The Lost Boys, Haim played Sam Emerson, whose family recently moved to Santa Carla, California, a coastal town plagued by gang activity and unexplained disappearances. Which ends up being vampires.

During the course of the movie, Sam meets The Frog brothers, Edgar (Corey Feldman) and Alan, who are self-proclaimed vampire hunters. They give Sam a vampire comic book to instruct him on how to defend against and kill vampires. Eventually Sam believes the brothers, and the rest of the movie continues with the guys trying to kill off the vampire gang and save the Emersons. We probably all know how it ends.

For the most part, I think more people would know how to handle a vampire or zombie attack, rather than defending themselves against a human assailant.

Sure some of the tactics differ depending on the actual vampire movie, but the traditional standbys are pretty well known and accepted. For sake of argument, lets just use crosses, holy water, garlic, wooden stakes and sunlight.

I would wager a bet that just about anybody could have come up with this standard list, and would know how to use each item on a traditional Hollywood vampire. Let’s face it, even if you don’t like vampire horror movies, you have seen or heard enough about them to know this without thinking very hard.

Zombie self defense in traditional horror movies is slightly more involved, but I’d also bet that once you heard the methods, it is something you would remember. Killing a make believe zombie is memorable because it is unusual and uncommon. Seeing a zombie movie and learning the techniques is one of those “I’ll never actually need to use this, but for some reason this is burned into my mind because it is interesting.”

Think of all the other stupid meaningless trivia stored in your bin of useless knowledge. You will never forget why the chicken crossed the road. You will always remember what came first, the chicken or the egg. Ok, well maybe not that one.

But what about some simple tips about defending yourself or loved ones from a human being with criminal intent? Rapist, murderer, run of the mill thug wishing to do you harm?

To be honest, even if you can recall Tips 1-8 out of the list of top 10 self defense tactics, you may not be in any better shape than if you splashed the thug with holy water or crushed garlic (although garlic juice to the eye wouldn’t be pleasant.)

Not even the Hollywood vampires will follow a standard script, just like certain vampires in certain movies will act differently when exposed to certain tactics. Just ask Corey and the Frog brothers.

Self defense is much more than memorizing a set list of moves. You need to train your mind and body to enter a dynamic state of awareness and a dynamic course of action. No two attacks or scenarios will ever be the same.

Without getting into a ton of details in this post (more to follow), truly your best line of self defense is recognizing a potential threat well in advance, and avoiding the situation altogether, before it even happens. When possible.

In the cases when this is not possible, and a situation wasn’t noticed until the last minute, or no forewarning was given, you need to employ a dynamic course of action.

Dynamic means ever changing, depending on any new environmental variable that is introduced. Go with the flow, but know who, what, where, when and how. This is not following a set script. This is having a well defined bag of tricks, if you will. Depending on what happens, you need to be able to employ a custom solution, and if some variable changed mid stream, you need to be able to quickly adapt to that change, and dynamically change to a new appropriate course of action.

Think of something you are really good at, such as your job or even your favorite hobby. How many times at work do you effortlessly “put out fires”? Big or small, things of all sorts go wrong or unexpectedly at work, and with out batting an eye, or with only minimal effort, you solve the problem and carry on with your day. These actions are normal occurrences, or things that you have trained to handle over and over again. Or you have enough working knowledge and experience that you can dynamically adapt to any given situation and take care of it.

Let’s categorize three types of home handyman. The professional, the handy-around-the-house husband, and the totally clueless.

The totally clueless person may call a professional electrician to come change a burnt out light bulb. The handy-around-the-house husband may be handy enough to install a ceiling fan in place of a ceiling light fixture. The professional electrician would be able to convert a fuse box to a circuit breaker box and rewire the home if necessary. Of course there are also several other in-betweens. It all depends on how comfortable that person is with what needs to be done, and how dynamic the actions of the person are if something else happens.

What happens if the husband successfully installs the ceiling fan, and then 1/2 the house’s power goes out? Can he fix it or does he call the electrician? Break out the Time-Life Home Improvement book and see what happens.

On the street, you can’t break out a manual, and calling a professional is not always practical. Hopefully you have enough self defense know how to get by. Depending on the situation, you may need to come out swinging. You might need to play along and wait for an opening to attack or flee. You may be able to just hand over your wallet and end it.

But you have to have the bag of tricks down and be ready to adapt to the situation, without going all deer in the headlights. You don’t necessarily need to be a 10th degree Grand Master martial artist either. Have a plan, have some options, be handy-around-the-street. Practice in your head, practice in person.

I’ll follow up over the next few weeks with some ways to turn some traditional self defense tips into a dynamic self defense mindset. It’s not that hard, doesn’t require taking a lifetime of devotion to gain martial arts mastery, but it can help you think like a professional martial artist and take charge of your personal protection.corey haim

Self Defense – Defending one’s Self. – Go with the flow, adapt, overcome.

Be Safe, Be Prepared. Rest In Peace Corey.

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Self Defense and Safety Training Seminar Warning

Posted by Rob on Tuesday, 2 March, 2010

I just read an article about another neighborhood that has become fed up with their escalating crime rates. These residents are no longer going to tolerate these crimes without fighting back. The community has decided to host a Self Defense and Safety Awareness Training, much like many, many communities across the United States.

While these programs inherently seem like a good idea, you must also consider the false sense of security that often occurs after spending the hour or two “learning to fight back.”

I discussed this awhile back using the Kim Kardashian self defense episode from her Keeping Up with the Kardashians show. You can click that link to see that whole blog post.

There are a couple major problems with these one-time self defense classes.

Problem #1: Anyone can claim to be a self defense expert and decide to host a training class. It doesn’t matter if the class is offered for free, or they charge cash. The expert instructor may even be a black belt or otherwise trained in some form of martial arts, but if this individual is not well-versed with effective street worthy defense techniques, you are wasting your time, and unknowingly putting yourself at an extreme disadvantage if something unfortunate were to occur.

Problem #2: Once you learn these “techniques of mass destruction”, unless to habitually train and practice these moves, I guarantee you will forget them. Many people think that showing up for an hour session will grant them the keys to the self defense kingdom, and many times the instructor will reinforce these beliefs before you leave, telling you that you are all set to handle anything that comes your way. Then you leave, never giving these moves a second thought until you are put in a situation where you need to utilize those since forgotten techniques.

Problem #3: You give away your secrets beforehand. This typically happens when you try to show someone else what you just learned, and is one of the exact problems Kim Kardashian’s sister illustrated for us. Khloe went home and told her step-dad everything she just learned, and then tried to demonstrate. All of her techniques failed, crushing her recently inflated sense of security and confidence.

Ok, so how do I learn some meaningful self defense techniques then, you ask?

punch in the faceWell, solution #1 is difficult. You expect an instructor standing in front of a room of people to be competent and trustworthy. Many times, It may not necessarily the instructors fault, he might truly feel he is conveying effective methods for defending yourself, but has no real world experience to back up his claims that sound good on paper, or worked fine in a training dojo on targets who acted out their role in what we would refer to a perfect environment.

My best recommendation is to take anything you learn at one of these classes with a grain of salt. Carefully consider its merit, but also realize that you are not going to gain 10 years worth of martial arts training in an hour or 2. Keep your ego in check.

Solution #2 is easy. Practice, practice, practice what you have learned. Did I say make sure you practice?

The worst thing you can do in any situation, whether we are talking about self defense seminar information, buying pepper spray or a stun gun, or even playing basketball, is to not practice.

You need to practice enough to make sure you are comfortable enough to do whatever it takes, and effectively utilize these moves in a stressful situation. If you have to stop and think what that instructor told you, you fail. If you forgot what pocket you stashed your pepper spray, or never flipped the safety switch before until you had a thug in your face, you fail.

And we aren’t even talking about 3 hours of hardcore training every day. You can “get away” with 20 minutes a couple times a week if that is all you can squeeze into your busy schedule. Trust me, if you are ever faced with a situation where you need to kick someone in the groin, or douse someone with pepper spray, you will treasure all of the practice time you put in. This isn’t like winning a gold medal in the Olympics; well maybe it is, but a gold medal in living if your life just happened to depend on it…

Solution #3 isn’t rocket science either. One of your best defenses is the element of surprise. Most of the time, an attacker is not counting on you to fight back. Kim and her sister’s problem was they told her step-dad what to do, and what they were going to do. So to prove a point, the step-dad did not do “what he was supposed to do,” which flustered the Kardashian sister and rendered their entire “two hour” arsenal useless.

When you practice, you need a good partner but you cannot rely on one way of doing things. A good example is if your technique required you to kick your opponent in the groin. One, you need your training partner to act the part, and act like they got kicked. The problem is: what is the correct way to react to a groin kick? What if they bend over and fall backwards, what if they simply drop straight down to one knee, or what if they collapse forward into your body? If you only ever practiced one way, how would you react if they did something off-script? You need to be prepared for an alternate finish. What if your attacker was jacked up on meth, and just stood there with no effect whatsoever? What if you missed the groin kick and hit them in the inner thigh, that reaction will be less than what you expected? I bet your Self Defense and Safety Training seminar instructor didn’t get in to that great of detail.

This is where enrolling in a good martial arts school could help. It would probably cost you up to $100 a month, but you would get regular training sessions a couple times a week, and some personalized instruction and feedback. Just make sure you are studying at a reputable dojo that teaches effective and realistic self defense. Something like a good American Kenpo or Krav Maga school.

Tae Bo and Cardio Kickboxing are great if you are looking to drop a few pounds and get in shape, but do not confuse exercise classes, sport karate or traditional tai chi styled martial arts with real world self defense. Train where you want; just realize what you are getting out of it.

Another option is instructional self defense DVDs. Now before you condemn video instruction, think about what you are getting and how often you watch YouTube clips to learn other tasks. Sure, you are not going to master a martial art by going through prepackaged white belt through black belt video correspondence courses, but instructional self defense videos aren’t bad.

What you are getting is an hour to a couple hours of self defense footage, but the difference between these DVDs and the training awareness seminar is that you can watch the DVD over and over again, practicing correctly and fine tuning your skills. You do not have to worry about forgetting what you learned 3 months ago and the local YMCA. Just rewind and review over and over, and you may even recognize the martial arts expert in the video, not just some Joe Schmoe local expert…

Or, if you can’t be bothered with learning all that martial arts mumbo jumbo, you can quite simply go the pepper spray, stun gun, TASER device or other self defense weapon route. These items are effective when used properly (meaning buy, practice, carry and deploy when needed).

Just like the self defense techniques, none of these self defense tools will do you a lick of good if you don’t carry them, carry them in inconvenient places, buy it and don’t know how to use it, or if you are simply unwilling to pull the trigger.

Don’t get me wrong, any extra information and awareness training you can get is a good idea. Anything that gets people to pay attention to their surroundings, and warns people to stay out of dark alleys at 2 AM is good. Just don’t fall into a false sense of security thinking you are invincible after a short seminar or that your new keychain pepper spray is a magical shield of protection. And don’t think avoidance is the key, sometimes bad things seek out good people in good neighborhoods or in broad daylight.

Teach yourself the difference between losing your purse and staying unharmed, or fighting for your life or the life of a loved one. Self defense isn’t an exact science; it is full of gut instincts, practical experience and practice, practice, practice.

Every little bit helps, just don’t rely on one sole mechanism to protect you. Always stay alert, use your head and assess the situation – the best you can. That is all you can be expected to do.

Be Safe, Be Prepared.

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Stun Guns and Tasers Don’t Kill, People Do

Posted by Rob on Monday, 1 March, 2010

To borrow one of the anti-gun control slogans “Guns Don’t Kill, People Do”, I’d like to offer the following:

“Stun Guns and Tasers Don’t Kill, People Do”

If a person really wanted to kill or otherwise injure you, just about any object could work. A steak knife, a tire iron, a two inch thick tree branch cut into a club, even a ball point pen used in a certain manner… Equal opportunity at its finest.

Yet you will not find crazed opposition picketing in front of Bic Pen Headquarters or otherwise trying to ban and regulate pen use.

But seriously, even if some sort of ridiculous legislation was passed to specifically make it illegal to stab and kill someone with a ball point pen, it would not stop a criminal from doing so. Criminals could care less what the laws are. Best case the killer may opt to use a legal mechanical pencil instead… yeah right.

Let’s for the sake of argument, we use the newer, politically correct term of “Less-than-lethal” self defense weapon, since “Non-lethal” falsely implies that a fatality could never occur… (insert eye roll here)

arrestSo now a police officer, doing his unenviable job of keeping the peace, and protecting the public comes across an unruly person resisting arrest or attempting to harm someone. It does not matter if this person was pulled over for speeding or is being chased down the street after robbing a liquor store with a gun.

The uncooperative suspect is going to be tasered if he does not comply with the orders of the police officer. Stop means stop, no means no. If the officer does not have a “less-than-lethal” TASER Device as an option, he is left with his baton or gun.

But then you are going to have people question their judgment while trying to uphold the law, protect civilians, and keep themselves safe in the process? I’m not talking about blatant Rodney King style police brutality, which is wrong and would need to be dealt with on a case by case basis. No one is arguing that. I’m simply talking about police officers doing their jobs, apprehending the bad guys, and protecting themselves from those who resist arrest. And OMG possibly having to use a TASER device!

It is so easy for those not in harm’s way condemn something, but these same people would be wishing they had a stun gun or a TASER device if they were being beat half to death by some thug in an alley. That is unless they would just rather have their cell phone to call 911 instead, I mean violent criminals have rights too, who are you to fight back…

Did you see that story the other day about the math teacher who tackled a shooter in a Colorado school parking lot? A 32-year-old gunman was walking through a middle school parking lot with a bolt-action hunting rifle, taking shots at students. He shot 2 kids before David Benke tackled the man, and wrestled him to the ground.

What the hell is wrong with some people these days, you may ask?

Good question. You just never know when minding your own business, some random lunatic with a gun, baseball bat, pocket knife or machete might turn his head funny and trigger a chemical imbalance induced act of violence.

Personally I’d rather have a telescopic steel baton and some pepper spray first, then my cell phone to call in the cleanup crew afterwards. Unless there is a real “protect and serve” police officer already standing there. But I’m not going to wait around and take a beating, especially if there is only a “observe and report” security guard watching from a safe distance.

Be Safe, Be Prepared.

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Cold Weather Crime Rates

Posted by Rob on Wednesday, 17 February, 2010

When the air gets frigid, and the snow starts to fly, it’s just a simple fact that things start to slow down. No one likes to brave the cold weather more than they have to. This in turn, means less people to target and fewer criminals out to commit their acts. Like supply and demand… and being lazy.

Sure there are still burglaries, muggings and whatever other nasty crimes going on in the winter, just less of them. Let’s face it criminals are lazy. You go out and get a job, work hard, make some money, cash your check and then some loser on the street mugs you and steals your wallet, iPod and cell phone. Why work when you can just rip off someone else who does? Hrrm, that kind of sounds like this redistribution of wealth crap, Obama’s answer to the US economic troubles? Well that’s another story.

Back to lazy criminals. So basically you have fewer criminals willing to camp out behind the bushes in the freezing cold or less hoodlums hanging out on the streets causing trouble because it just isn’t fun to stand around freezing your butt off. And it’s just too hard to run away with your loot in 2 feet of snow and on icy streets.

Many of the areas that have been recently affected by the sudden back-to-back(-to-back) Mid-Atlantic blizzards have noticed a temporary lull in criminal activity. Don’t get too excited, it won’t last long.

Once the streets get plowed or the snow starts melt, the stir-crazy thugs will be back in business. The economy isn’t getting any better, and the criminals are not getting any less lazy.

Once the good weather hits and spring has officially sprung (it isn’t too far off, no matter what that stupid groundhog says), the thugs will be back in full force.

Get yourself ready now; don’t wait until the streets are hopping.

If you are living in a location that isn’t experiencing Jack Frost Winter Wonderland conditions, you probably are not getting any seasonal breaks and should be tooled up year round. Just in case. You never know when the next lazy thug may target you for a redistribution of your wealth… or worse.

Be ready to redistribute your supply of pepper spray or voltage from your stun gun. Fair is fair, right?

Be Safe, Be Prepared.

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Self Defense vs. Self Offense

Posted by Rob on Tuesday, 16 February, 2010

The term Self Defense is actually a misnomer, what you really want is Self Offense. But it is 10 times harder to market self offense, everyone wants to hear self defense. It sounds nicer. To most people, offense is what the aggressive, black cowboy hat wearing bad guys do. Offense is what the street thugs with bad intentions do. No good person wants to be like the bad guys…

OK, so lets reverse the thinking for a minute. Do you want to chase or be chased? Think cheetah vs. antelope. The chaser always has the advantage, and the chased only has to be caught once. Then it is over. Dead antelope.

But what if the antelope decided that at the split second he was about to be chased – he would turn the tables and attack the cheetah? Sure the cheetah is stronger and faster, but what if the antelope forcefully and unexpectedly kicked the cheetah in the throat? Or gouged out his eyes? Hey, the cheetah started it. Or, less realistic for the antelope example, but when we revisit the human being scenario, what if the potentially chased person was armed with powerful pepper spray or a cell phone stun gun?

You want action to action, not reaction. As soon someone conveys their intent to harm you, BAM! It is on. Shift your gears to the offensive and make the creep sorry he made the mistake to mess with you. Be it with pepper spray, a TASER C2, a Stun Master stun gun or a flurry of martial arts strikes and kicks, let him have it.

Be Safe, Be Prepared, Take Control of the Situation.

Action to Action, it won’t make you a bad guy, and it may save your life.

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Non-Believer Finally Changes Her Mind

Posted by Rob on Monday, 15 February, 2010

Over the past several years, I have received many, many orders for self defense products. Whenever I get a new order, I check the name to see if I remember them as a past customer making a repeat purchase. If I remember the name, I’ll look back through previous orders to see what they purchased last time. More often than not, they are now buying something for a friend or family member the second or third time.

But this past weekend, I received a surprise order from a name I remembered for a different reason. We’ll call her Amanda. For about a year and a half, I have been receiving “hate mail” as I called it from good old Mandy on a fairly regular basis. I never really bothered me much, and I never felt the need to respond, but I’ve put up with her calling me violent, saying I promote violence, and even once calling me a “warmonger”, all because I sell pepper spray, stun guns and other less-than-lethal self defense weapons.

She obviously visited the website and blog rather often because she routinely commented on various new products and statements I have made on the blog over the past several months. All expressing negative opinions. I just kind of laughed her off, she seemed to have quite a bit a free time. I did wonder if she was singling me out, or going after other dealers too?

Like I said before, I never responded to her e-mails, but she was persistent nonetheless, seemingly knowing I was at least reading them. Since she never purchased anything from Worth Protection Security, I didn’t feel the need to waste anytime dealing with her critique. I’m in business to sell self defense products to willing customers. If I spent all my time trying to convince people that didn’t want to protect themselves that they should, I’d never get anything done. I’ll write some general persuasive blog posts to argue my case, but I’m not going to one-on-one argue with someone. Even If I feel my point is more correct .

Now that I mention it, it did seem like I hadn’t heard from her in awhile, so I guess I was about due for some sort of contact. So imagine my surprise, when the next time I see Mandy’s name, it is on a order form, actually buying some of the products she previously condemned?

Mandy wrote a rather long message in the comment field of the order, which was good, because I was rather shocked to she her purchase. In her comments, she very eloquently states that she was wrong in her past objections, and I was right. She went on to tell me that one of her closest friends was attacked and severely beaten late last month, and is still recovering in the hospital. She is expected to spend several more weeks in bed, but isn’t expecting any permanent damage.

Her friend did, however confess to Mandy “I wish I had something I could have used to defend myself.” Talk about a wake-up call, which Mandy says those words “hit her like a ton of bricks.”

Her order included 2 canisters of Mace Pepper Gel, a couple of Wildfire pepper spray key chains, and a couple other self defense products. I imagine she was tooling up herself and her friend at least.

Unfortunately, the non-believers and even the on-the-fencers wait until something up close and personal happens to themselves, a family member, or a friend before they decided to protect themselves. It took this brutal attack on a close friend to change Mandy’s mind, but it shouldn’t have had to get to that. But, some folks need brutally vivid evidence to walk right up to them and smack them straight in the face.

Mandy did mention that she fully intended to carry her personal protection items from now on, not just buying them and leaving them at home. That is extremely important. There is nothing worse than actually owning a self defense product, and not having it on your person when you need it most. Carrying a stun gun, TASER, pepper spray, or a telescopic steel baton should be as habitual as putting your wallet in your front pocket (tip for you), or grabbing your car keys on your way out the door. I’ll never go anywhere without first patting myself to make sure I have everything I need on me at all times, wallet, cell phone, keys, and self defense items.

This means even on short, quick runs to the convenience store to grab a coffee, or slurpie. That means even when you to go to the doctor’s or dentist’s office, or even the post office. I carry something on me everywhere I go, except for checking in at the airport (but you can pack self defense items in a checked suit case to be retrieved immediately after landing).

As the late, great SGM Ed Parker once said, “He who hesitates, meditates in a horizontal position.”

Don’t be the one that waits, don’t be the one that hesitates, and don’t let a friend, family member or yourself get severely beaten before you are ready to take action. Be Safe, be prepared, and act now. Protect yourself and loved ones now, and avoid Mandy’s situation.

Hopefully you may only need to protect yourself or a loved one once in your lifetime. Personally I hope you never have to, but wouldn’t you rather be ready for anything, instead of wishing you had something while lying in a hospital bed?

Be Safe, Be Prepared.

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How To: Fighting Stance

Posted by Rob on Sunday, 14 February, 2010

Your fighting stance is one of the most basic, yet most argued body positions in the martial arts. Every style of martial arts has their own variation of how to hold your hands, where to place your feet, and how to angle your body. And every martial arts practitioner will attempt to try to convince you why their stance is better than yours.

To a degree, each of these variations has it own merits, and fits nicely within the style and techniques of said art. However, many of these traditional martial arts do not translate very effectively to confronting an opponent on the street. I have practiced sport Tae Kwon Do for many years when I was a teenager. It was lots of fun, a good workout and I won lots of ribbons, medals and trophies.

While sparring in a tournament ring for points, you may lose a match and not get a prize. In a life threatening street fight, you could be seriously injured or lose your life. Don’t think a Billy Blank’s Tae Bo workout position will help you much. Sure it is great for cardo, not so great for real self-defense.

So let’s start with the basics. Turn your body to the side, step back with one foot, knees slightly bent, and hands up. Sounds easy enough right? Well, let’s break it down and go into some more detail. We are going to base this version of a fighting stance on an American Kenpo Karate Neutral Bow, but go ahead and simply keep calling it a fighting stance.

Assuming you are right-handed, the first thing you would do is fortify your stance by turning your left foot 45-degrees inwards. Next, you will want to step your right foot backwards, putting your power hand and leg in the back (more on striking in a later post). Contrary to many 90-degree facing styles, you will want your body facing 45-degrees towards your opponent.

Imaging you are straddling a line on the ground. If you were to look down, you want your front toe and your back heel to roughly line up on opposite sides of the imaginary line at that 45-degree angle. If your feet are too far to either side, correct your stance. The more you practice, the easier this becomes and you will soon not even think about it.

Your feet will be shoulder width apart, with your chest, hips, toes and knees facing 45-degrees. Your head will be facing directly in front of you, eyes on your opponent.

Turning to the side will make your body an even smaller width target, but staying at a 45-degree angle keeps more of your weapons available. This stance is slightly more of an open stance than turning completely sideways, but is far more functional with less wasted motion when using your rear arm or leg. Remember you have two feet, two hands, two knees and two elbows at your disposal.

One of the most important pieces of this stance is having a strong foundation. Bend your knees slightly and keep your feet approximately shoulder width apart. You do not want your feet too close or too far apart and throw off your balance. You want to feel comfortable and be able to move around freely and quickly.

Do not lock your knees and stay on the balls of your feet. This will help your speed and help prevent injury from a low kick. Bent knees still have some give; a locked leg has nowhere else to go. Keep this in mind when striking your opponent. If an attacker’s knee can no longer support him, he will be unable to fight or chase you. Two-way concept here.

Your weight should be distributed 50/50 between both of your feet, with your heels only slightly off the ground. Your shoulders should be square over your hips and your back should be straight. If you feel any twisting, leaning or other discomfort, you are probably out of position. Once you settle into it, this should be a very compact, comfortable and natural feeling stance.

The last major component is your hand positioning. You want to keep your guard up to protect your face, without losing protection to your body. Your front fist should be just below your eye level, with your arm bent at a 90-degree, but cocked at a 45-degree angle. Your back fist should be closer to your chin, with your elbow about a fist width from your body, arm also cocked at a 45-degree. Keep your pinkies facing towards your opponent; don’t twist your hand into an awkward position.

Resist the urge and correct any chicken flapping of the elbow. You will need to be able to block shots to your side, rib cage and other vital areas with minimum movement. Your front arm needs to be high enough to protect your face, but not obscure your view. Each arm will accommodate the slight adjustments needed to go up or down depending on the incoming attack, while still protecting your opponent’s main targets.

Remember to keep your hands close enough to your body so that you can properly block, but not too far away, leaving other parts of your body open for an attack. This will take practice, but eventually become instinct.

Don’t chamber your rear hand. If you don’t know what this is, good. There is no practical street application for this. Seriously. Also, if you are left handed, follow the previous directions in mirror image. Once you get good at one side, you will also want to practice your off side too. No exceptions, you do not want to be one sided.

There are many other considerations, especially when adding other stances, moving around, blocking and striking, but we have to start somewhere. “Putting up your dukes” is about as basic as we can get. Practice, practice, practice.

That is it in a nutshell, Fighting Stance 101. As I said earlier, there are several variations, some with minor tweaks, and some with major differences. The best fighting stance you can possibly use is the one you are most confident with and are successful at defend yourself with.

If you had to emulate the fighting stance of a famous martial artist, at least pick a successful UFC Mixed Martial Arts fighter with good form. Stay away from the Hollywood movie actors that have cool looking choreographed fight scene moves and crazy stances. I liked Kung Fu Panda as much as the next guy, but I’m not trusting any of his self-defense moves on the street.

In addition, the Karate Kid’s crane stance only worked once, and that was back in the 80s. Although if you busted it out on the street, your attacker might fall to the ground laughing and you might be able to get away. Not suggested however.

Remember, there is no shame in getting away, you know the saying, to live and fight another day. Nevertheless, if push comes to shove, and shove comes having to defend yourself, make sure you are ready.

It also wouldn’t hurt to sneak a canister of pepper spray, a stun gun or telescopic steel baton into your fighting stance. In fact, get yourself two steel batons and you can go all Jeff Speakman on an assailant. It would take some practice, but Jeff Speakman (American Kenpo Instructor/Actor) is the man. If you can find it, buy or rent The Perfect Weapon (1991). Last time I checked it was only available on VHS though. You can probably YouTube all the good clips if you want.

If you are looking for some more details, you can check out some of the instructional fighting DVDs available, such as Combat Karate with Dale Comstock.

Like I said previously, there are as many fighting stances as there are martial arts or fighting systems. Your basic goal is preventing your opponent from hitting you in the face, while allowing you to strike them in one of their vulnerable areas. If you can do that standing square forward with your arms at your side, more power to you.

Be Safe, Be Prepared.

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Observe and Report in Seattle Bus Station

Posted by Rob on Wednesday, 10 February, 2010

If you like Seth Rogen movies and haven’t seen “Observe and Report”, it’s pretty good. Much better than “Paul Blart, Mall Cop” in my opinion. Both movies poke fun at the rent-a-cop stereotype.

However, the following rent-a-cop story from Seattle is no laughing matter.

Surveillance video captured a brutal assault on a 15-year-old girl by a group of 10 teenagers in an underground Seattle Metro bus tunnel. Apparently the altercation started street level, and eventually made it’s way into the Westlake Station.

The victim was being harassed by the group of 8 guys and 2 girls in a department store, and they followed her into the bus station where the verbal assault turned viciously physical.

The victim is pushed off of the platform, into the bus lanes, and then gets mercilessly beat down, at least 10 punches to the face and head, kicked and stomped in the head a 1/2 dozen times, and then as the victim lies motionless on the ground, she gets stomped in the head again for good measure.

When they were finished, the gang of hoodlums took off with the girls purse, cell phone and iPod.

How can such a travesty occur at 7PM at night? Weren’t there any bystanders that could have come to her aid? Weren’t there any security guards on duty?

Of course there was. A bus full of people watched the events unfold from the safety of the bus. Worse yet, at least three contract security guards, in uniform (bright yellow jackets, big bold SECURITY written across the back) stood by and Observed, and called in a Report by radio, but offered no form of assistance what-so-ever.

“All of the passengers, we were all up against the side looking, like, who is going to do something? Do something, do something!” said a witness that was sitting in the parked bus next to the attack. “Why on earth are there three security guards standing there watching it? And actually allowing her to come back and kick her in the head again!”

Even when the beating is over, and the guards could safely do something, you see on the video that none of the guard even bend down to check on the girl to see if she is breathing or needs any help.

“Really? You’ve got three male security guards and there’s a young girl getting kicked in the head, lying on the ground, motionless? And they couldn’t do anything? Doesn’t seem like security,” says the witness.

The guards from Olympic Security Services are not trained police officers or even Metro Transit employees. Apparently this is quite the cushy job, just hang around in the tunnel and talk on the radio. Not like they have to secure anything.

“If you’re not there to help out in these circumstances, then why are you there?” says the witness. Good question.

According to their outdated contract, the guards are under “observe and report” orders and are not supposed to get involved.

“You look at what’s happening to the victim and you say something got to be changed, that’s just not going to be acceptable. We’ve had that ‘observe and report’ for years in our contract and this incident clearly shows that we need to change that.” says Metro Transit General Manager Kevin Desmond.

The opinion of most of the people who’ve seen the surveillance video commented that common decency should have prevailed in this incident, not contractual language.

Authorities were able to track down a number of the assailants and make a couple of arrests. They also report that the girl will be OK.

So what can we do differently here?

First off, if the $10 an hour rent-a-cop security detail isn’t getting trained or paid enough to actually do a damned thing, get them the hell out of there. Use the combined saved salary and stick a real cop or two in there.

Or you can train the security guard to do his job, pay him a real wage and give him some pepper spray, telescopic steel baton and a TASER device. I still can’t believe they just stood there, trained or not.

What ever happened to people like that good Samaritan in San Diego? How can a bus full of people just sit there with their faces pressed up against the windows watching?

How old is old enough to carry self-defense items?

It wouldn’t be the best idea to further arm the teenage hoodlums that attacked the 15-year-old girl. But what about the victim? Well, it would depend on the individual. If you feel your child is mature enough to handle carrying a key chain pepper spray, you never know when it would come in handy. Typically personal alarms are suggested for younger teens, but in this case, I doubt an alarm would have drawn any additional attention.

By definition, self-defense, means just that. The art of defending yourself. Obviously you can’t always rely on others to come to your aid, even in a crowded bus station, with security guards standing around eating doughnuts.

When seconds count, the real cops are minutes way at best.

Be Safe, Be Prepared to Defend Yourself.

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Product Review: Stun Master Telescopic Stun Baton

Posted by Casey on Tuesday, 2 February, 2010

Day by day it is becoming hard to live peacefully and life has become even harder for women all over the world. We aren’t talking some post-apocalypse degradation of society like in those futuristic movies, but cases of theft, break-ins, robberies and rapes in the news are just as common as the daily sunset. So what exactly can people do in sticky situations which pit them against nasty miscreants?

Begging sounds good but it doesn’t even wiggle a tick on their ears so it’s best to give them some of their own medicine. Carrying a pepper spray is just too easy, and a small burst of OC spray may be just enough distraction to increase your success at running away.

Another impressive self-defense innovation is the “Stun Master Telescopic Stun Baton”. These batons can serve a couple different purposes such as:

- You can use them effectively as a flash light
- There’s an in-built alarm system which is shrill enough to pierce your assailant’s ears
- More importantly, just flip the safety and press the trigger and your Telescopic Stun Baton extends into a High-Voltage (800,000 volt) shock emitter

This stun baton is capable of causing muscle spasms, mental disorientation, fear and confusion against your target. Once you have purchased this product, just charging it up (it’s rechargeable, no batteries needed) and strap it to your hip. Your Stun Master Telescopic Stun Baton will make those predators cringe with jolts of pure electricity while simultaneously alerting those passer-bys through its high pitched 120 decibel sound.

The best feature is the telescopic reach. It is 21.5 inches long when fully extended, keeping extra distance between you and your attacker. If your attacker has a stun gun himself, or a knife, you want him as far away from you as possible.

The next time you go out on that hiking trip, stroll in the park or just a picnic in lush green woods, make sure you have Stun Master Telescopic Stun Baton with you. You just never know. We understand that deep down inside, every human being demands a safe and secure environment. Although, we can’t make this world a perfect place, you can certainly gain an upper hand through self defense products.

We get many questions asking on if  Telescopic Stun Batons would be effective on defending against dog attacks. Many of the described attacks are vicious attacks on other dogs and their owners, usually causing injury or trama to the pet. Often, there are more than two dogs are involved and breeds like American Pit Bulls, Rottweilers and other large dogs are typically blamed.

As we certainly do not advocate cruelty or mistreatment of any animal, we do believe in the safety and security of our customers first. Everyone has the right to defend themselves,  others, and their pets from unwanted injury or attack. We have been getting several cases of positive feedback on the effectiveness of these Stun Master Telescopic Stun Baton when used in defense against attacking dogs

The effects of a less-than-lethal stun device on a canine is similiar to the effects on a human, and in many cases, the dogs are smaller in size allowing the device to work quicker. No man, woman or animal wants to go toe-to-toe, or paw-to-paw with 800,000 volts of attitude adjusting voltage, while the extended reach of the telescopic stun baton is ideal for keep some distance between you and the animal or reaching the shorter animal without bending down to its level.

Be Safe, Be prepared. 

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Tom and Jerry Vs. Tommy Vercetti

Posted by Rob on Monday, 1 February, 2010

Back in the day (and by that I refuse to admit it was that too long ago), we used to play “cops and robbers” or “cowboys and indians”. Opps, am I still allowed to call that game that or is there a newer politically correct term? When we played video games, we were playing Centipede, Pac-Man and the original Donkey Kong. Yes, the one when Mario was second billed to a monkey.

We used to actually play dodge ball in gym class! We watched violent cartoons like “Bugs Bunny” and “Tom and Jerry”. And it seemed like society was pretty normal, at least it seemed the news wasn’t reporting as much crime and adolescent mayhem.

More recently, children are exposed to the likes of Tommy Vercetti, the popular character from “Grand Theft Auto 4 – Vice City”. He is a perfect stereotypical bad guy that gets what he wants by any means necessary. Not the best role model.

Computer games don’t affect kids, I mean if Pac Man affected us as kids, we’d all be running around in darkened rooms, munching pills and listening to repetitive music.
Marcus Brigstocke

You are always seeing reports about how today’s video games are negatively influencing our youngsters to such an extent that they actually want to gravitate towards violence. The sad part is that some misguided adolescents actually find it funny and amusing, while killing “school mates with a gun”, slashing your dad’s throat with a knife over a video game, or just trying to rob a jewelry store for kicks and laughs.

I suppose this is a far cry from a cat and mouse smacking each other silly with a frying pan or wooden mallet, then immediately getting up and returning the favor before running away. Did we just understand action/consequence better back then? I mean I would watch the cartoons, laugh, and then NOT hit my brother with a frying pan. I knew the difference. What is so different today?

Take for instance that botched “Benson Jewelry and Loan” robbery attempt a couple years ago by Brandon Bowie and Kendall Tealer. Fortunately for the owners, but unfortunately for the would-be burglars, there was a gun behind the shop counter for security.

While Bowie pulled a gun on one of the owners, the other owner pulled their gun on 18-year-old Bowie and 17-year-old Tealer. Bowie was shot and fell inside the business and ended up paralyzed, Tealer was shot then collapsed and died outside when attempting to flee. The authorities found in favor of the store owner, and deemed he acted in self-defense when he fatally shot the two armed robbers.

It was later reported that both of those burglars had a disturbed childhood and a history of criminal activity already at an early age. You can bet it wasn’t from watching “Tom and Jerry”, but is quite similar to something you might see in Grand Theft Auto I, II, III or IV.

Nonetheless, the important thing is that in this unfortunate day and age of violence, you can never be safe enough. I personally consider those people with Pepper Spray cans or TASER Devices for self defense to be much wiser than those wandering around oblivious to the possibility that they may need to protect themselves. Even worse, when you might need to protect a loved one from harm.

It’s nice to think you will just run away and make it, but that is pretty weak when you leave your wife in high-heels lagging behind, or your children unable to catch up.

You see, some people understand that dangerous opportunities don’t leisurely stroll up to you and wait until you are ready after knocking. They just run right up, violently knock you over and can leave you completely lifeless.

Your best bet is to be alert, and be prepared, packing self defense weapons at the ready, backed by having practiced using said items so you are both competent and confident using them. It is NOT enough to have pepper spray with you, if it is buried at the bottom of your purse or if the first time attempting to use the device is at the brink of being attacked. Epic Fail.

Self defense and personal protection, by definition is personally defending and protecting yourself. When seconds count, the police are minutes away. And like that story last week from Toledo, Ohio, you can’t even count on people driving by in broad daylight.

Be Safe, Be Prepared.

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