The Realities of Self Defense (Part 1)

DSD gun defenseWhen if comes to self-defense there are no guaranteed answers.

There is no one martial art or training system that is guaranteed to keep you safe no matter what. Anyone selling you such nonsense is conning you.

Real self-defense is about understanding the realities of what you may encounter and looking at what strategies will work for you.

Our combatives based system is extremely effective but we have also found that we need to adapt our techniques to our students. What works for a 200 lb man against another 200 lb man is not the same as what works for a 130 lb woman against a 280 lb man.

To help explore this subject, I’ve created a list of self defense realities. We’d love your thoughts on the subject as you read through these.

Reality #1: A single punch can end a fight.

In the video below you’ll see a number of one-punch knockouts in actual fights.

Understand that a knockout occurs when the brain has it’s nerve impulses disrupted in some way. This most often is the result of the brain physically impacting the inside of the skull but can also result from nerve overload (striking the vagus nerve). There are three manifestations of a knockout – the typical knockout results in a sustained loss of consciousness (where the recipient looses all memory of the event), a “flash” knockout, when a very transient (less than three seconds) loss of consciousness occurs, and the recipient often maintains awareness and memory of the combat, and, lastly, a “stunning,” when the consciousness is maintained despite extremely distorted sensory processing. 

The real point here is that in a confrontation things can happen very quickly. A single punch can end things either for the better or worse (it can happen to a defender just as easily).

Reality #2: A single punch may do nothing at all.

As you see in the video above there are punches thrown that don’t do anything at all. Just because a single punch can knock out an attacker does not mean it will.

A key factor in training for self-defense – whether you train in Dynamic Self Defense, Krav Maga or any other combatives based system – is the multiple strikes principle. Hitting your attacker with multiple well targeted strikes has a much better chance of disabling them and allowing an escape than hitting once and seeing what the reaction is.

Reality #3: Awareness is the most important skill.

Awareness starts with a realistic assessment of what threats you are likely to encounter and what tactics you have in your arsenal to counter or avoid them.

In the video above most of the situations were antisocial situations. This is where a conflict grows and escalates out of some perceived differences. These are the easiest situations to avoid. All that is required is to check your ego and walk away. The point here is that there are usually very clear signs when a conflict moves from social to antisocial. Keep in mind that being part of an escalating antisocial conflict may undermine your claim of self defense as a legal defense.

The most dangerous threat is is the asocial attack – it’s a lot harder to avoid but also quite rare. An asocial threat doesn’t announce itself  – it’s just there. Serial killers for example don’t typically look like thugs or give you any clues that you might want to avoid them. And when they attack they do so without warning. There is no negotiating with an asocial attack – they don’t want anything from you that you can give up freely. The only defense in this case is violence.

The good news is that simply adapting some awareness skills can help you avoid most conflicts. We teach and train these on a regular basis in both our kids and adult classes.

Reality #4: Self Defense is NOT fighting!

If you and I were going to fight we would square off. There would be some agreed to or implied rules. Most importantly, we both know what coming. We know we are going to be in a fight!

Real self defense is not fighting.

Sure there are fighting skills in self defense. In Dynamic Self Defense for example, we teach strikes similar to Muay Thai, grappling similar to Jujitsu and weapons defense derived from special forces training. What we don’t teach is the key difference.

Looking at Muay Thai and Jujitsu as examples, both are pretty intense ring sports. There are serious injuries in both in the ring. However, when training for the ring fighters focus only on the other fighter. They know what rules they are playing under and they are most often paired with someone of similar size.

Physical self defense should only come up when a violent encounter can’t be avoided. In this situation there is an advantage to the aggressor not knowing what the defender knows or having any idea that the defender will react violently. When your only goal is to survive the rules go out the window and that gives an advantage to the defender.

Reality #5: You are not getting younger.

Training to be the next Olympic Judo champion is probably not on the ticket for you. It doesn’t need to be. Even the best fighters end up defeated eventually. (Even the legendary Royce Gracie was defeated in 2006 by Matt Hughes) So the idea that you need to become a champion fighter in order to be any good at defending yourself is totally flawed.

Self Defense Eye Gouge From Ground

Self Defense isn’t about fighting fair…

We see self defense as a basic concept that should empower people of all ages. It’s not about a 40 something professional woman “fighting” a tattooed 300 pound man with steroid rage. It’s about realistically making the best of any situation – using what you have – including your intellect. To that end our training not only teaches you tactics and skill, it rewires your stress response. Maintaining an ability to think and act under stress is something that allows anyone of any age to practice effective self defense.

Looking back at the video above, each person that was knocked out had their head exposed. They were open to a punch or thought wrongly that they would be quick enough to react or could take the hit. Simple techniques such as keeping your hands up (something we call the “guard”) would have made every one of those hits much more difficult to execute. And that doesn’t take extraordinary physical skill or conditioning. It only takes repetition.

Bullets & Black Belts – The Best Caliber For Self Defense.

Bullets & Black BeltsThe argument for which bullet caliber is best for self defense has been going on for longer than I have been alive. It’s a debate that can bring with it a level of irrational fervor that is seldom matched.

What is the best caliber bullet for self defense?

A little level headed logic, research and application shows a remarkable parallel to self defense training.

Is bigger better?

One main argument surrounding the caliber of guns and self defense is that of stopping power. Our own research of police data shows that the average time to incapacitate an adult male with a single shot by a 9mm bullet was 15 seconds. 15 seconds is an awful lot of time for an attacker to continue their own attack. And as we will explore below, 15 seconds is an average. In reality that statistic can be misleading.

The theory of self-defense is that a bigger bullet has more stopping power and thus can stop an attacker before they can do you harm. The basic principle of force outlined by Isaac Newton over 300 years ago (Force = Mass x Acceleration) is at play no matter what caliber is used. Thus the larger and faster a projectile is the more force can be applied. However, in a practical sense there is a diminishing return.

There are also considerations for ballistic characteristics such as penetration, cavity and fragmentation. It can all turn very academic.

Looking at DOJ/FBI statistics (NCJ-148201) 75% of all crimes involving a firearm involved a pistol of some sort. And looking at homicides, the 3rd most used caliber was the .22 LR – arguably the one of the weakest calibers available. In fact it accounted for about 16% of homicide deaths. While a 9mm or .45 has more stopping power, it would be foolish to consider any caliber as “worthless”.

Keep in mind that a .22 almost killed President Reagan even though the bullet ricocheted before hitting him.

The weapon you have is the most powerful.

When it comes to self defense, the most powerful gun you can have is the one you have on you. I know that sounds a little elementary, but it’s a real factor. You can’t shoot what you don’t have. And a .22 in the hand is better than a 12 gauge shotgun back at home.

While having an ideal weapon may be the best, having anything at all is better than nothing at all. Knowing the limitations of what you have is also very important because it allows you to compensate. For example, 3 shots by a .22 LR bullet delivers about the same energy as a single 9mm. (116ft/lbs x 3 vs. 356ft/lbs).

This brings up another very important factor…

What you hit matters.

Remember the “15 seconds” statistic we talked about? It turns out there is a big difference between being hit in a vital spot like the head, heart or spine vs. a leg or an arm. A leg shot for example might not incapacitate the attacker at all. A lung shot may not always stop someone right away, but left untreated it will kill.

There are plenty of people who would have trouble hitting a target at 15 ft (across the room) with a .40 or .45 caliber handgun. Especially those who don’t practice much. This is why .22 handguns have become best sellers – despite their deficiencies.

If you can’t hit your target, caliber is irrelevant. And caliber isn’t the only factor. Training matters more than anything else.

Stationary target drills can help you get a feel for your weapon, the recoil and safe handling. Some ranges even offer courses for advanced shooters that allow drawing and shooting a holstered weapon.

Even these drills will bearly prepare you for the intense reality of real shooting situation. Every law enforcement and military trainer I’ve talked with has said the same thing – in a real situation you will be half as good as your worst training day.

While military and law enforcement is able to practice more realistic scenarios, civilians typically are not. Studies show that without these stress drills most CCW permit holders are unrealistically confident about their ability to effectively deploy their weapon.

The real goal of self defense.

The most basic goal of self defense is to survive a violent encounter. That starts with a realistic assessment of the real threats you are likely to encounter and weapons available to you – whether a gun or physical self defense training like DSD.

Understand that while there are no guarantees – no matter how strong you think you are – there are realistic steps you can take to significantly reduce your chance of being in a violent attack and increasing the odds of surviving one should it happen.

This starts with simply being aware of your surroundings. Using a little common sense – like locking doors & windows, lighting your exterior and maybe having a dog or alarm system. The basic rule is to stay away from trouble and not be an easy target.

Maybe you have a gun, maybe you don’t. They aren’t for everyone. But what everyone should have is a little basic training in physical self defense. Knowing how to strike an attacker, where to strike an attacker and how to prevent injury to your own vital areas can make a huge difference in the outcome of a violent attack.

One thing I like about self defense training versus or even in addition to CCW, is that you are never without your weapons. The skill and mental conditioning are assets you can take with you no matter where you go!

If you are interested in learning more about how Dynamic Self Defense can help you be safer at home and at work shoot us a message or give us a call.


Exploring Self Defense From A Ground Position

Every so often we like to post items that spur discussion among students and friends of DSD on our Facebook Page. This is similar to what our students experience in our self defense classes on a regular basis.

Recently we posted an image showing a kimora (double joint armlock) from a military field manual. The question was posed on how one would defend themselves from such a move. Readers were also challenged to find the vulnerabilities for both participants.

Kimora from side control

There was a very robust discussion that ensued. Those with a sport fighting background tended to provide comments indicating that this was an almost impossible move to get out of.

And to be fair, it is.

Combatives based self defense practitioners on the other hand saw a lot of flaws – such as both participants being open to attacks from another attacker to seeing attacks to vital areas.

We always love input from other martial arts practitioners. It’s almost a personal obsession to find weaknesses or vulnerabilities in methods but even more so in mindset – it’s mindset that ultimately is the root of any good self defense training.

So like we tend to do at DSD we actually put this move to the test!

At first we started in this exact position and we alternated through multiple participants. As some people in our Facebook discussion pointed out, being on the bottom of this move was not a great place to be. Depending on who the top and bottom people were changed the available moves. Being able to reach the eyes was only an option in about 40% of cases. The groin was a little more accessible in about 60% of cases. Using traditional measures only worked is the size ratio between the participants wasn’t too large.

So let’s look at some of these options…

  • Eye’s, throat or ear strikes. These targets tended to be accessible only if the bottom participant had a longer reach than the top participant. In some cases the bottom participant could turn into the manipulated arm and reach the face. But it was far from a sure thing.The big issue here was leverage. It was difficult to get enough leverage to strike with sufficient power. The main factor in the effectiveness was the size ratio between participants.
  • Groin strikes/grabs. This move was a little less obvious from the picture but it was readily available. Especially shorter bottom participants found that it was rather easy to reach up and grab a handful of groin. But it was far from 100%. If the bottom person grabbed the groins before the kimora was fully established it was much more effective. Once the kimora is fully “locked it” it’s hard to think through or get the position needed.
  • Traditional counters of pushing the hip and straightening the arm to avoid the lock and change the position of the top attacker was only effective if the bottom person was of similar size to the top person. When the ratio was high it just wasn’t an option at all. Of course when the bottom person was the larger they could just rely on strength to change the position rather than leverage.

Looking at this scenario from a self defense perspective brought out a very important realization: the only way (practically speaking) to get into this side mount kimora is by getting into a wrestling/jiujitsu fight. 

This means following some underlying set of rules.

Rules have no place in self defense.

We discovered that there are so many places that self defense techniques and strategies had to fail before getting to this position that the bottom person would need to be nearly unconscious to be there. In which case the image is entirely academic.

Let’s look at this from a practical DSD standpoint…

  • A self-defense situation is not a fight. If you are squaring off with someone to fight them it’s no longer self defense. The laws you are under are different and advantages you may have had evaporate. Better to simply not be in this position.
  • It the scenario starts standing up something has to happen to bring it to the ground. It’s very hard to even get into a clinch with someone that is training in a DSD style of self defense. They will kick, strike, knee, head butt, and do all kinds of targeted attacks before you get there. Same goes for a shoot (double leg takedown). In self defense the practitioner is not limited to sport moves. They can use an improvised weapon, and strike areas like the back of the head and spine that are off limits to sport fights.
  • But all things considered there is no guarantee things will not wind up on the ground. Which is why we train for them. Simply being on the ground is not the end of anything. Establishing control on someone that is “fighting dirty” all while you are fighting fair isn’t that easy.For starters you need to make it past their guard. If you are still standing they will kick at your knees and legs. As a solo attacker this is a tough spot as you are vulnerable as you go in.
  • Once one the ground the attacker still has to establish control – either a side mount like in the picture or a full mount. The defender is going to work to prevent this and possibly even work to reverse the mount. In the process they will strike any targets they get access to with whatever weapon they have available.

Only after getting through all that mess would the attacker have a clear position to lock in a kimora and do the damage they can with that. For most of the DSD black belts that would basically mean they had to already be beaten into unconsciousness which makes the kimora more or less academic.

Now don’t get me wrong… the kimora is a staple of arm control. We use it in our own curriculum depending on the situation (typically less violent social situations – NOT in asocial violence).

We are one of the only martial systems that I know of that doesn’t have any issues learning other options from other arts. We often find that a certain technique is more difficult to execute for some students and so look to find other options our students can work more effectively.

We always challenge our students to look at anything they see from other martial arts systems or from actual self defense situations and find both the advantages and flaws. It’s a simple tenant first expressed by Sun Tsu who said that to defeat your enemy you must know your own strengths and weaknesses as well as those of your enemy.

Many martial arts systems focus only on their own strengths while ignoring their weaknesses. If you are interested in practical self defense training in a family friendly atmosphere please contact us to talk with a instructor.

Training Kids To Become Ultimate Fighters

Training kids to be effective in self defense is very different from teaching them to become ultimate fighters. And this isn’t just a subtle element that’s lost on those not in martial arts… it’s a major factor into determining what will be effective in self defense and what will not.

The Associated Press did a story the other day on an MMA studio in Arlington, VA that teaches kids self defense… and while there are a few things shown that I have issue with, the core of this video are right on. However I think the producers didn’t really understand the difference between sport fighting and self defense.

Here’s the video for you to watch…

The Problem With Takedowns and Sport Fighting

The first thing that came to my attention was that these kids were practicing takedowns. This is where you find a way to essentially trip or throw your opponent to the ground.

The basic idea of taking an opponent to the ground is sound – you let gravity do the work of injuring your attacker. But getting into a grappling match – which this video shows – is silly for both adults AND kids.

In an even more basic sense – takedowns are impractical for children. Takedowns are only really effective when similar body sizes are in play. When a smaller person tried to takedown a much larger person they often fail because they don’t have the relative strength to position their opponent to a point where they can use leverage effectively. In other words – the window where they have effective leverage on a larger attacker is rather small if there at all.

Kids MMA for self defenseThis is one of the key reasons jiujitsu and wrestling sports matches have weight classes. Even in MMA size matters… and often the larger person has an advantage in reach and strength.

In contrast we teach our kids that there are quicker and more effective self defense tactics that they can use to cause enough injury so that they can remove themselves from that situation. The nice thing is that they don’t have to think about whether this bully is too big for them to grapple with or if there are two or three of them.

Head Injuries Beware

Head injuries are a very serious issue and it’s the light being shed on concussions throughout scholastic sports is well placed. Kicks and punches to the head and falls that cause a head impact can be serious. This is where any sparring that allows intentional full contact to the head should be avoided. However the head is a legitimate target in self defense… in fact there are close to 20 targets on the head that can sustain very threatening injuries beyond just a concussion.

In our self defense training we teach all of our students – including our kids – that strikes to critical targets can have very debilitating effects. They learn when and only when it is appropriate to strike those targets. To put any target off limits is irresponsible from a self defense perspective.

In our school we train with safety in mind. We use the appropriate safety equipment and limit full out person on person sparring. In fact we don’t free spar or point spar at all. We have adapted training methods from military combatives that allow our students to train the various aspects (technique, speed, power) of our curriculum without unnessesary injury. Do bruises happen? Yeah, sometimes. But we’ve never had a serious head injury as a result of the way we train.

Come join us…

If you want your child to have more confidence in the world they are growing up in give us a call. We would love to have you stop by our New Albany studio to watch a class and talk with some of the kids and parents that attend our school.

The Best Martial Art For Self Defense

Adult Self Defense ProgramsLook around the Internet and you’ll find articles that rank various arts for self-defense or extol the virtues of modern styles like Krav Maga over more traditional styles like Karate or Tae Kwon Do.

But the argument is actually false in it’s nature and usually self-serving.

To understand this argument it helps to understand that all martial arts once originated as methods of self defense. In Okinawa, for example, Karate evolved to counter the Samurai. The Samurai were armored and armed while the Okinawans had only farm tools and their bare hands.

Over the centuries Karate as with most martial arts developed into 3 distinct components. And to understand what makes a martial art it’s important to understand these 3 components.

The Demonstration Side

Most martial arts have a display or exhibition side to it. Shaolin Kung Fu for example is an impressive display art. Shaolin Monks actually tour the world with their martial arts demonstrations showing incredible athletic and mental stamina. However much of what you see – like the acrobatic butterfly kick – has lost most of it’s combat value.

Tai Chi is another example of a demonstration art that’s beautiful to watch and has even been proven to provide healthful benefits for practitioners yet has no role in practical combat or even ring competition.

The Ring Competition Side

Most traditional martial arts have evolved from lethal force to adopt a competitive aspect. The traditional JuJitsu of the Samurai for example has become almost exclusively a competition sport in Brazilian Jiujitsu. In fact it’s the most trained martial art in MMA – a sign of it’s competition dominance.

Tae Kwon Do is another example of an art originally developed to counter the feared Samurai that is now best known as an Olympic sport just like Judo and Greco Roman Wrestling. Likewise, French Savate started as a self-defense style for merchant sailors and is now one of the most aggressive kickboxing sports.

While competition sports certainly have their value in developing and testing skill, they also come with rules attached. In fighting both participants know that they are going to fight, both have been trained and the rules allow both to know what to expect. This makes sport training of only limited use when it comes to combat or self-defense.

In Tae Kwon Do and Karate competitions safety gear is often used and punches to the head are forbidden. Even in the roughest of MMA matches, lethal or crippling strikes (to the spine, groin, back of head) are not allowed.

The Practical Combat Side

What was practical in medieval rural Asian countries isn’t necessarily what is practical today. This is how sword and spear techniques for example migrated from combat purposes to demonstration. It also explains why only about half of martial arts schools surveyed teach self-defense.

In today’s world ‘practical’ involves dealing with empty hand attacks and often with multiple attackers. This means that to be practical an art has to be able to deal with one threat quickly and move on to the next.

Practical self-defense isn’t about fighting…

The average person can take a lot of non-specific trauma – hits to the face, gut etc. This is the realm of sport fighting. Self-Defense is about shutting the attacker down in the quickest way possible while limiting injury to yourself. This means striking very specific targets that accomplish this objective and doing so reflexively.

Some martial arts have tried to blend all three aspects of martial arts into one curriculum. This is often the root of confusion for the average person that believes all martial arts are about self defense. To some degree I think even practitioners can fall victim to this mindset.

The Best Martial Art For Self-Defense

Ultimately while one art or style may indeed be more practical than another when it comes to self-defense in the modern world, in the end only an art that you can execute reflexively is worth anything at all.

The argument then isn’t about Wing Chun vs. Jeet Kun Do or any other such nonsense but rather about knowing your own objective in training in a specific art or style.

While it’s possible to learn techniques you can use starting on day one, on average it takes about 6 months of training to build a solid base for self-defense. It may take years to become an expert. This means committing yourself to a school for some time.

If you are looking for a self-defense curriculum ask yourself…

  1. Does the curriculum focus primarily on self-defense?
  2. Are the movements something that I can learn to do?
  3. Is the training built around real world scenarios?
  4. Is the school environment positive and are the people the kind I want to associate with?

I would welcome you to schedule a time to stop in and view a Dynamic Self-Defense class at our New Albany school. We’re located in North East Columbus between Westerville and Gahanna – right off 161 at Rt 62 in New Albany.

Children’s Self Defense Classes in Columbus Ohio Make Kids “Bully Proof”

Children's Self Defense Classes Columbus Ohio10TV News was out at our self defense school in New Albany recently. Their segment shows how our children’s self defense classes in Columbus Ohio can help make kids bully proof.

The segment talks about a major concept in self defense – that bullies look for easy targets.

This is where self defense training can play a major role in preventing attacks in the first place.

The first step is of course knowledge. Knowing the right moves, when to apply them, how to strike, where to strike and so on is a big factor in being able to defend yourself physically. But it’s not everything… and I would argue not even the most important part of self defense training.

The most important part of self defense training comes when kids are taught to use their knowledge under stress. At Dynamic Self Defense we do this by adding reality elements into our training. Making kids deal with multiple attackers, role play in scenarios and focus while doing intense drills helps give them the confidence that they can indeed use what they learned if they had to.

Ultimately it’s confidence that helps prevent bullying. When kids are confident in their physical ability they are not threatened by words alone. This is something I have observed myself with DSD students. Once they are confident in their physical skills they can shrug off verbal comments much more easily. They can also look a larger bully in the the eye and tell them to back off without hesitation or feeling afraid. This level of confidence is what we strive to build in our students.

Fighting is always a last resort. But the irony is that fear can lead to more fights than solid confidence. Bullies don’t want to fight – they certainly don’t want a fair fight much less one where they think they might get hurt. What they want is an easy target that helps them stoke their ego and improve their social rank. And in this way DSD really can make your child bully proof.

See our segment on 10TV

If you are in NE Columbus or one of the suburbs or surrounding communities – Westerville, Gahanna – we invite you to schedule a time to watch one of our classes in action. See for yourself if we’re the kind of people that you want your child to be a parts of.

Jujitsu Self-Defense Myths Exposed

My 12 year old nephew (DSD Green Belt) was watching the news with his mom last night when a story came on about Brazilian Jujitsu being the “ideal” form of self-defense for all people… especially women.

It didn’t take him long to turn to his mom and tell her that this isn’t very practical at all and wouldn’t go very far in a real fight.

He’s right!

Jujitsu based ground defenseHere at DSD we use a lot of Jujitsu moves in our ground fighting (grappling). Where we diverge is in the fact that the street and the ring are two very different scenarios – so they require very different goals and training approaches. Our goal is never a submission and we never waste time getting wrapped up with a single attacker.

In the ring you are often matched with someone of similar size and usually similar athletic ability. It’s an athletic competition with clear rules and it pits skill against skill.

In self-defense there are no rules. Often your attacker wants to kill you or at the least cause serious injury to you. You don’t get to choose the size of your attacker or whether or not they have a weapon. And many times there will be two or more attackers, not just one.

When it comes to joint manipulation or the next step, join breaks, Jujitsu is remarkably efficient. However, because the moves are often very technical, they become impractical for the average person. You see the more technical a self defense move is, the more you must train itin order to be able to use it.

As you watch the video below, consider what my young green belt recognized…

  • Attackers don’t wear a Gi (martial arts uniform) and neither do you on the street. Jumping guard and other high athletic events just don’t work like that when you are wearing street clothes.
  • Attacks never start in a clench (a stance where both opponents grab each others Gi) nor do they stand still and allow you to throw them or choke them out. While you are doing this they may be unloading a magazine of bullets into you or beating you into unconsciousness with a piece of re-bar.
  • Many Jujitsu grappling moves only work within a certain size differential. A lot of things change dramatically when your attacker is 50% bigger than you – something sport Jujitsu simply does not train for.
  • You will rarely face a lone attacker. Even if you are really good at Jujitsu, and you get a guy locked up, you yourself are locked up too. All another attacker has to do is kick you in the head or pull a weapon – you are an easy and mostly immobile target. Sad part is that I have heard this very scenario first hand at least three times – each case ending in very serious injury to the Jujitsu expert.
  • Jujitsu techniques have their place on the “street” but not in place of more practical techniques that assume multiple attackers and the fact that your performance will suffer from stress, fatigue and possibly an already sustained injury.

Sport and competition martial arts have their place, but they should not be seen a synonymous with self-defense. Unless you train extensively for self defense situations, you will revert to sport martial arts when in a self-defense situation. Statistically speaking, applying sport martial arts to an encounter where someone literally wants to kill you or do serious bodily harm, is like bringing a knife to a gun fight.

If you want to train in 100% self-defense (including practical striking, grappling and multiple attackers)… schedule a time to stop by our school in New Albany and see if Dynamic Self-Defense is right for you or your child.



Amanda Berry Story Shows Self Defense Women’s Classes Vital

The recent news of three girls abducted and held captive in Cleveland highlights the need for self defense women’s classes.

According to the news reports (read the full story here) Amanda Berry and 2 other women, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight were held captive in a Cleveland Ohio house for about a decade.

While the details are still forthcoming, we can infer vital clues from what has been released.

  1. The girls were between the ages of 14 and 19 at the time of abduction.
  2. While abducted almost a year appart, they were all abducted within a block of each other on the same street.
  3. The suspect was known as a nice guy and a former school bus driver.

Based on this information it’s likely that the suspect was targeting girls in the area. It was likely in a part of town he knew well and his target was specifically sexually mature females. It possible the girls recognized the man or at least did not perceive him to be an immediate threat. Maybe they knew him from the school bus and perhaps he was being helpful in offering them a ride home because it would be odd for a young girl to get into a vehicle with a stranger on a busy street without a struggle and we know that abductors are not wanting to call attention to themselves. The more that their initial abduction goes unnoticed the more likely it is they will get away with it.

So while we can imagine that the girls at first didn’t suspect anything, at some point they did. Perhaps it was when they didn’t take a familiar path home or when they pulled up to a strange house. Maybe it wasn’t until some point later… but over the course of less than an hour they would have known that they were in a very serious situation.

Odds are they felt powerless to do anything about it.

Perhaps the abductor had a weapon or maybe he used chloroform to drug them. Regardless there are opportunities to fight. It might mean waiting for the right time or for the right target to present itself but there are opportunities. Not even the best trained security personnel can be on high alert at all times – much less a run of the mill criminal deviant.

Self Defense Women's Classes at DSDI literally get sick thinking about how these girls must have felt – frightened, alone, helpless, hopeless – and how a little knowledge could have gone toward preventing their abduction or cutting the 10 years to just days. I know we don’t know all the details yet and I admire Amanda for taking the opportunity to escape when she saw it.

As the father of a tween girl myself I place a priority on having her know basic self defense skills. She plays other sports and takes part in many other activities that all have value in and of themselves – yet none of them have the real potential for saving her life like her self defense training. She may be physically overpowered by an adult male, but I know she can leave that male impotent, blind and crippled if presented with the opportunity.

If you have a daughter  between the ages of 12 and 20 consider taking self defense women’s or adult group self defense classes. Even a single class will provide more benefit than not knowing anything. But to build skill consider at least a 6 week program. And be sure to download our free self defense report to get some insights you can start using tonight to avoid danger and violent situations.

Remember… Self Defense Women are Empowered Women!

How Fit Do I Need To Be To Learn Martial Arts?

Knife DefenseI was cruising the web today and came across another martial arts site that talked about how their black belt program was the toughest around. They made a point to talk about the physical challenge by pointing out that board breaks must be broken on the first try and that participants must be able to go all out for 30 minutes on air shield and focus mitt drills. This and the pictures of splits and high flying kicks brings up a common question…

How fit do you need to be in order to defend yourself or learn martial arts?

Don’t let other martial arts programs kid you. Self defense is a very simple concept… come home safe.

The easiest way to do this is by first avoiding being a target – and there are many way to do this (we teach them here at DSD).

The other option is the only one you have when you can’t avoid a fight and that is to simply injure the other guy before (or more than) he injures you. Injury is simply a component of kinetic energy delivered to a target.

With most fights lasting less than 15 seconds, 30 minutes of fighting might prove you have extraordinary stamina, but it doesn’t mean you’ll be better at defending yourself. You might need that for an MMA match, but MMA isn’t self-defense.

Yes it takes a certain amount of strength to be able to injure an attacker. A light hit, a slap or anything that isn’t moving your entire body weight through your attacker isn’t going to cut it. Cardio capacity is nice to have and we work at building it in our workouts, but it’s not as important as strength. But it’s also a lot more than just about strength.

Where you hit first, then second, third and so forth makes a HUGE difference.

For example…

The easiest way for me to break your knee is by kicking you in the groin!

Breaking a knee is hard. It’s going to take more than just a quick kick. It’s a big joint and it takes your full intent and body weight to make it snap. It’s a lot easier to do when your attacker is reacting to another injury.

When you know what targets are the most vulnerable you can set up your defense in an efficient and devastating manner. This is something that DSD students learn throughout the curriculum.

If you want to learn how to defend yourself in any situation I would invite you to give us a call and schedule time to view a class for yourself. What you will find is a bunch of REAL people just like you that will prove that this stuff works no matter how old or fit you currently are!

Avoiding Injury In Self Defense Training

medium_355290507Martial Arts is not a “no impact” activity. But that doesn’t mean that needs to be an activity riddled with injury and pain. Avoiding injury in self defense training should be priority number one in any gym or studio.

Most adult students realize that getting older means that things don’t work quite as well as they once did. We don’t heal as quickly after injury and we tend to get injured more easily.

At Dynamic Self-Defense our goal isn’t to injure students, it’s to prepare you to injure an attacker. With that in mind here are a few tips to help you prevent training injuries:

Strength Training: Research shows that moderate strength training can help prevent injury by building muscle mass and strengthening joints. When it comes to martial arts, we recommend working those parts of the body most commonly injured in training, shoulders, knees and lower back.

Go Easy On Joint Manipulation, Falls and Take-downs: Rapid shock to joints can extend injury beyond just the range of motion. For this reason remember to go easy when manipulation joins or practicing take-downs as these exercises can easily create undesired injuries

Know Your Limits and Speak Up: Our training is supposed to make you stronger. Working an injury can prevent you from making progress. Be sure to let your instructor and training partners know of any injuries or issues so they can work with you and at a pace where you can improve.

For more on aging, weight gain and strength see: Why We Gain Weight As We Age

photo credit: Robbie Veldwijk via photopin cc