Holiday Shopping Self Defense Tips

sd tips

You’re just coming out of the store. Tired and struggling to hold unto a hand full of bags you barely notice someone approaching you from the rear as you continue to make your way to your car. What do you do? What if you have a child with you?

Situations like this are all to common during this time of year and many people succumb to those predators waiting for an opportune moment to strike so here are some tips to think about this year as you go shopping in the madness of the Holiday season!


Tip #1 – Be alert! – Sounds simple right? A no brainer really however so many people are so preoccupied by their phones, personal appearance and other distractions that they barely realize whats ten feet in front of them.

My suggestion: Hold off on the phone calls until a time permits itself as well as any other item that would take you away from paying attention to whats around you. Your eyes should be in constant motion scanning the surrounding area  looking for oncoming traffic as well as people walking towards you as well as away from you. If you find someones body actions (i.e. staring at you intently or having nervous twitches) are making you feel uncomfortable , follow your gut and take appropriate actions whether its going back inside asking for security assistance to your vehicle or going another direction to your destination.


Tip #2 – Keep your bags to a minimum – Predators are looking for prey they can easily subdue. They are looking for prey that is weighed down with bags or other items restricting ones ability to use his/her hands or be able to run.

My suggestion: Bring a buddy with you to help you shop. If you are unable to have a friend come along, ask for security assistance to your vehicle. Most if not all stores offer this and are happy to help. I do not suggest multiple trips to your vehicle without assistance because predators will be watching you and might attempt to strike when you come back.


Tip #3 – Be Conservative in what you wear and show– Thieves are looking to steal goods to either keep or sell. Flashing the gold and other high quality items as you strut into the store only puts a target on your back. You may not be the Predators first choice however you look like a bigger pay day as opposed to the person in sweats and a dirty coat so it could be worth the risk for them to try. Keep in mind Predators scan the full area INCLUDING inside the store.

My suggestion: By all means you should have the right to wear what you want but think about tip #1. Use common sense when flashing items, money etc to those around you. Be alert to those  paying attention to what you are doing. As you shop and you notice someone may be tailing you, seek the customer service desk and ask for security to assist you to your vehicle. It is what they are their for so don’t feel bad using that service.


Tip #4 – Back into parking space – I could take a full blog about tricks Predators use to get their victims out of their cars but by simply backing into the parking space allows for a quick retreat and adds to the level of difficulty for Predators to use their tactics! I would also like to add that when proceeding to your vehicle, WALK in the center of the lane to avoid any surprises from jumping out at you.


Tip #5 – Unnecessary baggage – If you cannot bear to lose it, keep it at home! Whether its purse stuff or wallet junk, keep it simple when shopping. Do you really need the ten pounds of “stuff” everywhere you go?

My suggestion: Most people I have spoken to have a plan of attack when shopping. They know what they are going for and how much they are able to spend. So if that is true for the masses I say bring just the necessary needs; I.D., credit card or cash (depending on what you are using to buy your items with) and of course any prescriptions needed.  I remind you about tip #3, keeping a conservative mindset helps keep you off the Predators radar.


Tip #6 – No you are not some Bada** no one will touch – One of the biggest issues I have with other schools is this mindset that because of what you look like and what you have been trained in you are somehow this untouchable beast. Simply put if they can keep control of the situation everything you know is flushed down the toilet so keep to the previous tips and be aware ANYONE can be victimized!


The chances of anything happening are slim however it is still possible so please be safe out there this year and if there is anything Dynamic Self Defense can do to further assist in your Self Defense needs please do not hesitate to contact us!

Understanding Young Child Black Belts

This Blog goes out to all those that bash Martial Art School Owners for allowing children the right to obtain a Black Belt. -Master M.

young white beltsAll to often you see many people attack School Owners for having young children in their programs let alone hold the rank of Black Belt as if it somehow demeans the curriculum or rank. While I am unable to speak for every school out there, I can speak for Dynamic Self Defense in hopes people will have a better understanding when meeting a child Black Belt.

What many people seem to not understand is that the rank of Black Belt is not what they picture in films and fantasy but goes deeper within. For some reason the common observer thinks every Black Belt is a highly skilled practitioner, able to take on a legion of fighters without breaking a sweat, making no mistakes! Keep in mind the rank of the student by no means determines how SKILLED they are regardless if its a Black Belt or other level of rank. How much they train and take what they are being taught seriously determines that!

The road to Black Belt requires a certain responsibility of the student regardless of age allowing them to test to the next level which allows them to take that next step to the goal. At Dynamic Self Defense when it comes to students testing, students are tested on the knowledge of what was taught to them, making sure they understand and are able to demonstrate what was taught. We do not test their skill because people have different strengths and weaknesses, so to compare one to the other in itself is futile. I will point out however that we do require each belt to perform to the best of their ability! In children that in itself can be challenging at times especially if they would rather be doing something else.

Yes we teach and test young ones (age 6 and up to be exact) because,while having a certain belt is a good way of setting goals for them, Self Defense is the main goal and young children are susceptible to being bullied just like teenagers and adults.

We have mentioned in previous blogs discussing our training methods and philosophies talking about the rigorous demands we hold on students providing the closest real life scenarios we can. These drills can become emotionally overwhelming at times and students do tend to struggle with it.

In fact its the younger ones who struggle the most in class! The curriculum is intense and detailed which can be difficult to understand when you’re 6, 7 even 8 years of age. Adults understand what they are getting into and what lies ahead of them in order to obtain a Black Belt. It takes the dazzle of  the cool looking maneuvers and techniques to wear off for children to truly see what is in store for them to obtain such a goal and for those that do see it through to Black Belt, deserve recognition!

Here at Dynamic Self Defense we are proud of our child Black Belts!  It not only shows their ability to see something through to the end but also the kind of character they have. A character not to many people possess.

Think before you pass judgement on the next child Black Belt you see. Try and imagine what sacrifices that young student had to give up, the many bruises and possible injuries they acquired while  training, the many times they could of quit yet stuck with it pushing through. Hopefully you will have a new found respect for that young Black Belt hoping some of what they have will rub off on those that need it!

The Belt Curriculum Curse

scott blackbelt

Belt Curriculum’s in the Martial Art world have been highly scrutinized as nothing more than a money making idea, allowing the Instructor to squeeze every dime out of their students.

Many believe the belt system derived from ancient times. When a Martial Artist trained, their clothing would become worn and dirty thus changing their color especially the cloth they used to tie around their waste. Color of the cloth signified how hard the individual was training. Supposedly the darker the color the more skilled the individual. Others suggest it started in the states under the Tae Kwon Do Art for tournament purposes. Both are debatable with no clear winner. However the purpose of this blog isn’t to try and figure out where exactly Belt Curriculum’s originated from but why they can hold some value, given taught and explained logically.

Sadly many schools have destroyed what I feel is the true reason behind Belt Curriculum’s. I cannot speak for every Style out there but for Dynamic Self Defense, our Belt Curriculum serves some unique and important purposes. Here are a few regarding our program.

The first thing to understand is the Belt of the student DOES NOT in any way state their skill level! I have discussed many times that skill solely lies in how hard you train and how much you train. By giving 100%  in every training regiment you do and making Self Defense a daily routine, can you ever hope to advance your skill level.

Second is the Belt of the student shows where they are in their training. Having a structured Belt Curriculum will help students be able to effectively learn at a pace comfortable for them. It makes no sense training someone an advanced drill when the key foundation of targeting, technique, footwork and awareness have not had an opportunity to develop. Classes would become a swirl of chaos, confusing and frustrating beginners as well as holding back advanced students ultimately wasting everyone’s time.

Third is the Belt holds a form of goal setting for the individual. Society today holds goal setting in just about everything we do from work projects to sports! Self Defense training is no different. Setting goals for a certain rank insures the student stay focused on the objective working hard to meet that set goal.

Lastly the Belt shows a sign of respect. Dynamic Self Defense teaches that respecting those of a higher level is a sign of discipline and humility recognizing what that student had to endure and work for in order to obtain said rank. As any student of mine can tell you, I don’t give belts away in my school. I do not hold nor condone”feel good sessions”. We are all about training you to be strong and focused in any situation and with that comes some hard training exercises, not just physical but mental as well. With that said any Belt achieved in Dynamic Self Defense is one that has been well earned.

I invite you to come in and experience a different, and maybe for you, a more beneficial way of training in Self Defense. A Belt Curriculum may not be what you had wanted but after observing what Dynamic Self Defense is all about, you might want to give it a try.


Why dealing with “Keyboard Warriors” can be a good thing!

keyboard warrior    In today’s age, the internet seems to be the best way to get out to the masses what your wanting to say, sell or show. With that type of audience comes those who wish to shut you down or at-least annoy you to know end without the threat of being known and having to deal with you face to face. These types of individuals are known as “Keyboard Warriors.”

A fellow Martial Art practitioner of mine, Faron was in training recently preparing for a huge sparring tournament and wanted to show to his friends and family how his performance was doing. Like most of us, Youtube provided the means for him to post his videos and show everyone what he was up to. Unfortunately that’s when the “Keyboard Warrior” strikes and the ensuing derogatory posts begin. What was supposed to be an informational video for those interested in Faron’s interests, soon became a battle of words.

This is an all to common tale and usually leaves the one who posted the video or blog, frustrated and distraught, taking their eye of the original plan and losing focus on what their main intent was. But can these “Keyboard Warrior” posts be something we can turn around and use to our advantage?

Of course the “Keyboard Warrior” mentality goes way beyond our computers. Companies have been bad mouthing their competition for years. One of the most famous was the battle between Burger King and McDonald’s some time ago when Burger King came out with several commercials demeaning the McDonald’s  brand. One in particular showed three young adults eating Burger King when one says that they all need to get back to work to which all three of them put on their McDonald’s hats. And what was the public reply? According to Forbes*, McDonald’s is the #1 ranked fast food chain with Burger King being 6th!

In the eye of Martial Arts in general Dynamic Self Defense (DSD) is just a minnow in the big pond yet DSD gets heavily attacked on our beliefs of proper training tactics and theories. We however encourage such onslaughts! It means we the minnow, can cause concern for big fish forcing them to be accountable for what they teach and re-evaluating what and how they run their program! DSD is making the public think past the dazzle of the school and skilled trainer. We encourage the public to look at the curriculum itself and wondering “Is this really Self Defense? Can I really use this in a street fight if needed?”

There will always be that “Keyboard Warrior” mass out there and we openly accept them for it allows us to educate people in what we do and what we are about, providing an articulate answer with statistics and facts based on our research. McDonald’s took the commercials about them with good humor and replied to Burger King thanking them for the free advertising! We take the ridicule the same way just hoping they spell our name right!


Keeping It Simple Yet Effective

Self Defense Eye Gouge From GroundSelf Defense training shouldn’t be just for the in-shape cardio health fan, physical strong man or for the incredibly flexible . A Self Defense curriculum should be able to cater to anyone regardless of age, size or disability for ANYONE can be a target of crime.

In my time researching other possible affective techniques for my students, I get amazed at the overwhelming amount of misinformation that seems to cater to the “Dazzle” of a move rather than if the technique in question would actually be affective in a real life scenario. As an Instructor I not only have to look at whether the technique is practical but also if the technique can be applied by the common person.

When training with any technique, I also compare the maneuver with muscle memory response as well as how and when the technique can be used. I also look at several scenarios. Am I in a situation with multiple attackers or one? What if there is only one way out, What if I am in a tight space or there are obstacles around me, limiting my movement?  You see a technique is more than the visual appeal. You have to look at the whole picture!

When looking at the big picture, simple techniques like eye gouges, elbow strikes and kicks below the waist while basic and not very eye appealing, deal massive amounts of damage to the target and are easily applied by even the most non-athletic person out there!

When learning anything, the student should always apply not just the maneuver but also the way it is applied to any potential real life situation and ask themselves “Is this something practical for me..”

Dynamic Self Defense is a program designed to adapt to current situations, sorting out what works and what doesn’t. By applying simple techniques anyone can use, allows for a more affective training regiment for anyone whether it be the 22 year old triathlon runner or the over weight 45 year old with bad knees.

To see first hand how Dynamic Self Defense can help you contact us today.

Welcome To McDojos: May I Take Your Order?

Is your karate school a McDojo?Martial Art Schools are like any other small business. They market a product in hopes to draw in potential customers and make a profit to survive. The popular the product, the more successful the school. The more successful the school, the more the competition strives to mimic what their doing.

It is at this point many schools offer a wide range of options outside their normal Art as if to say “My style is missing something so let me offer what is working across the street to get people to come here.” Another example would be a school trying to cater to very need which in turn can cause confusion amongst the students. It is in these examples that the term “McDojo” is generally used. And with that name comes negative press.

An example of the poison a McDojo can emit is hiding the true nature of the so-called “Special Deal”. It isn’t until the individual is reviewing the terms with the Martial Art School that they find out that if you want to participate in the grappling class, or kick boxing session that the “Special Deal” has now turned into a car payment. Many people end up feeling let down or highly pressured into signing up for something they truly are not sure about especially when their child is dazzled by the glamor of the school setting or uniform they get to wear. Some call it good business I call it deceit.

Another example would be the Instruction of the classes. Many owners with a nice collection of awards and degrees, dazzle the prospective student into signing up with the thought of the student being trained under them, only to turn around and have other students teach the classes. Turns out Instruction of the Head Instructor is available but only for private sessions which is an additional cost to the student.

One of our posts titled “The Best Martial Art for Self-Defense” is an article I urge all potential students to read in order to help them make a decision on what they are looking for in a school. Having the right questions to ask the Martial Art school will save in becoming succumbed to the “McDojo” trap.

We work very hard to sway away from the “McDojo” realm which is why Dynamic Self Defense has a no nonsense policy. Our curriculum is purely self defense based covering all areas of defense whether it be on the ground or on foot. We are not a tournament nor cage fighting style school. We don’t pressure parents into signing long term contracts nor confine students to certain days of the week to train. Even though the school has an excellent Assistant Instructor staff, the Master Instructor handles 99% of the schools class instructions.

For more information about Dynamic Self Defense and its views please check out our additional blog posts and website sections, contact us online or phone 614-304-1406

The Top 5 Self Defense Skills Students Struggle With


Self Defense Women's Classes at DSDWe make no bones about it: Dynamic Self Defense is not your typical Martial Art School. Our curriculum and staff keep things as real life as possible in our drills and techniques, applying real world applications to multiple conflicts.

These real world applications are known as “drills” that work specific parts of our defense system whether it be skills dealing with Awareness or understanding the importance of footwork when defending oneself. With Dynamic Self Defense striving to be number one in not only providing the most realistic form of self defense training, but also in educating and helping our students and potential students in some struggles they may deal with in their training! It is with that I bring to you my top 5 list of “Skills a Self Defense Student Struggles With”.

TOP 5 Self Defense Skills

  1. Taking the Hit – The body is capable of sustaining damage without getting injured. It’s all on where your getting struck. Take for instance blocking. The arm connects with a fist preventing it from striking your face. Sure it may hurt but not enough to take you out of the fight! DSD works several drills to help combat the need of wanting to freeze up, squint the eyes or cower into a ball in situations like this. In the long run the more your body gets used to the impact reality the better your able to focus on your attack response and situation your dealing with.
  2. Having a Quick Response – This is a very important skill for having a quick response will greatly alter a situation in your favor. This doesn’t just cover your attack response but also your DEFENSIVE response whether it be blocking, weaving etc. Drills that force you to think on your feet help in creating a fast positive response skill.
  3. Controlling the Situation – This skill is referred to as Awareness. Simply having good technique and a good physique is not enough! When facing several potential threats, having a proper Awareness skill can be all the difference in getting beat up or getting away. Even though we train for multiple attacker scenarios doesn’t mean I’m ready to take them all on. Using my Awareness skill by surveying the situation, controlling one opponent and pushing them into the others allowing me to escape seems the more logical choice
  4. Proper Footwork – Footwork helps with stability and balance. We take our footwork skills from the field of Boxing. Keeping your feet separated and knees bent, allows for more maneuverability and makes it difficult for the attacker to get you to the floor. Drills that help defend against attackers with Wrestling or Jujitsu training is best given these types of styles focus on getting their opponent to the ground.
  5. Keeping Hands Up – While this may seem simple, many students struggle with this skill set simply because we don’t normally keep our hands up past our waist in a normal situation. It’s easy to drop your hands when not thinking about keeping them up which results in exposing the face and ribs to the attacker. Drills DSD uses to help with this skill include our “Pattern” and various “Focus Mitt” drills.

I invite you to watch the video below to give you some insight on some of the drills mentioned above and skills talked about. For more information on our self defense classes and times please email us in the contact section above.


Complacency Is Dangerous For Self Defense

BB Board Break KVI watched a story on CNN talking about a missing girl being found dead and the RapistMurder responsible behind bars. The girl was found buried in a shallow grave along side a river bank no more than a few blocks from her abandoned vehicle. The story reports she had decided to go jogging along a familiar road by her home when she went missing. Unfortunately there have been many stories similar to this one about women being attacked while jogging.

Complacency is dangerous for self defense. It leads to a lack of awareness which is arguably one of the easiest and most effective self defense techniques.

I am all for exercise and one should be able to venture out into areas of choice to jog or run without being scared or nervous. However just like wanting to keep your weight down by taking proper steps, personal security should have the same mindset. By allowing a few moments of time to ensure a safe training regimen, the risk of becoming the next front page headline decreases dramatically.

Defense 1. Partner up! The number one best line of defense is to have someone come with you. Even having a dog by your side will make a predator think twice. If these options are not available to you, having a “walking stick or baton in your hand is better than nothing. Remember predators look for an easy target. Someone they can easily dominate without having to work for it.

Defense 2. Stay alert! Keep the headphones off! Headphones mute all surrounding sound and can be used to tie up the victim so the predator can work more easily. Also try and keep a good distance from tree lines and other areas where someone could surprise you.

Defense 3. Locations! I’m all for nature but real life is not what you see in movies or on postcards  Wooded areas, hills, back roads, and all heavily populated places with trees, bushes, and dense foliage are a predator’s lair. Most all attacks occur in these types of places. If you are unable to jog or run with a partner have another option available. Its just not worth taking the risk.

Defense 4. Know your limitations. I have been doing Self Defense training for nearly twenty years and I still do not overestimate anyone’s abilities. Regardless of what you know or what you think you know, if you suspect a confrontation or your gut tells you to get away, DO SO!

Self Defense isn’t just about blocking and responding to punches or kicks, its also on a preventive approach. By taking certain steps to ensure oneself from getting into potential confrontations is the best defense anyone can have!

7 Year Old Stops Bully

medium_5653340435Mr. Mulhollen guess what happened to me today?

7 year old Nicholas came in to the school with a skip in his step as he called out to me. ” Mr. Mulhollen? MR. MULHOLLEN? Guess what happened to me today?” His father looked on with smiles as he helped Nicholas take off his coat. ” Hello Nick!” I said “What happened?” Nick motioned for me to lower down so he can whisper it in my ear. As I bent down on one knee, Nicholas clasped his hands up to my ear and said “I had to defend myself against a bully today.

Can I share it with the class?” I smiled and assured him before class was dismissed that he would be able to tell his tale. After an intense instructional training session, it was time for Nicholas to share his story. I motioned for Nicholas to come up front so everyone could see him and with a clearing sound of the throat, Nick began to speak. “Today in gym class a bully came up to me and grabbed my shirt, before he was able to do anything else, I stepped into him and while grabbing him around the waist, I knee’d him in the groin and pushed him away. I ran to get a teacher while the bully was on the ground.” Faces showed signs of approval as I peered over his fellow classmates as they all clapped for Nicholas doing the right thing.

It wasn’t some fancy move or difficult maneuver that helped Nicholas but rather a few practical and effective techniques that Dynamic Self Defense students train on everyday. Practical, effective, and realistic: These words are the backbone of how we train. Stop by and see for yourself what Dynamic Self Defense can do for you!

photo credit: Philippe Put via photopin cc

When Is It OK To Strike In Self Defense?

Dynamic Self Defense Kids TestingThree 8th graders had approached one of my 6th grade students from behind as he was walking towards the school gym. My student had not noticed them coming up from behind and with no teacher in sight, the 8th graders decided to do a little physical bullying. One of the 8th graders pushed my student to the ground as they passed, and proceeded to taunt him while he was on the ground. My student immediately got to his feet and asked, “Why did you do that?” The 8th grader, who did the pushing, came right up to my student’s face saying, “what are you going to do about it?” My student, feeling threatened immediately replied with a knee strike to the gut and an elbow to the face! The other kids fled and my student ran away leaving the bully on the ground with a bloody nose.

Violence should never be a first response of action but sometimes it’s unavoidable. In the case above, the bullies did not let up causing my student to feel threatened. The response he had was valid given there might not have been another opportune moment for him to strike. What if my student decided to just stand there and the bully all of a sudden blind-sided him? Or what if one of the other bullies in the group jumped my student from behind?

The fact is you just don’t know that bullies won’t act on their threat – expressed or implied – and in my school, you train to not give up what you know for what you don’t. My student knew that he had an opportunity to strike when the bully approached him with his guard down, right up in his face; hence he took it. The techniques used were basic, practical and above all EFFECTIVE! The actions of my student were enough to diffuse the situation, control the fight, and be able to walk out of there with no damage to himself.

Violence is never pretty. Nobody ever wants to be in that type of situation but if it does happen shouldn’t you be prepared? Will you know what to do? Will what you know have a positive affect in your favor? Dynamic Self Defense can help… call or email now for details.