“How Often Do I Need To Practice?”

The news has just showcased another robbery and unlike other news segments you’ve watched, this one hits home because this time the robbery took place down the street. Maybe you’re a parent helping plan their child for College and thinks “perhaps having some self defense training would be useful as they prep for College life.” Perhaps you’re that individual that has just experienced a confrontation, that fortunately had deescalated before any physical encounter ensued, puts you in a bad head spin and for the very first time in your life, you feel vulnerable.

Whatever the reason, you feel it’s now time to look at some sort of self defense training. Once you choose the school, then the real work begins. It is here that reality sinks in and you start to question “Do I really have the time to devote to a training regiment?”

Certain organizations prey on this vulnerable line of thinking because we as a society have become comfortable to the “quick fix” method. Why take time to practice self defense tactics when you can just buy some sort of weapon. It seems many companies utilize this philosophy onto an unsuspecting shopper but even if this was the route one prefers, there’s still an accountability factor to train in order to effectively use such a tool.

This leads to the topic at hand; “How often do I need to practice?” My reply would be “How skilled in your self defense tactics do you want to be?” No matter what we are wanting to learn a skill in, when our mindset is worrying about the amount of time we have to commit in order to be effective in said skill, we should pursue another avenue. In the long run, we are setting ourselves up for failure because we will not see the results we are looking for if we are concerned about the time we have to devote in order to gain said skill.

With that said, there is a way to combat the negative stereotype training commitments tend to bring when choosing to develop a skill. In this case, self defense. Lets take a look at each step:

  1. Find Your Goal – What level of skill do you want to be as a Self Defense Practitioner? Basic, Mid Level, Expert, Master?
  2. Training Time – Look at what you CAN do, NOT what you think you can do in a given week. Understand though that the more skilled you want to become, the more time you are needing to commit to.
  3. Have An At-Home Training Regiment – Most don’t realize that your At-Home Training Regiment is most important in your skill development. Class training is meant more to guide you towards what needs to be improved on as well as new material you need to know. Not to be your only source of training for the week. I urge my students to commit to fifteen minutes of training per day either all at once or broken up throughout the day.
  4. Create A Training Plan – Self Defense Students have many skills which require their attention in order to improve upon. Attempting to work on everything each day will only prolong your advancement. Instead break up each skill, applying it to a day in the week. For example you may focus on perfecting your blocks and punches on Monday while focusing more on kicking tactics on Tuesday, leaving footwork and ground tactics on Thursday.

The Importance Of Power In Self Defense!

Below we focus on what the term POWER really means and how it goes beyond just the physical side of your training.

  1. POWER in your techniqueApplying every ounce of force you’re able to muster, increases your ability to create injury thus shutting the opponent down. This is especially important when you are facing multiple threats where you may only get one shot at your current threat before having to face another coming at you! It’s one main reason at Dynamic Self Defense that we train to attack “through” our target rather than “at” our target.
  2. POWER in the effort you apply in what you’re learningYou may have heard the term ” Knowledge Is Power!” I disagree. Knowledge isn’t power. It’s WHAT YOU DO with the knowledge you’ve learned that gives you the power. Ever read a manual for an item, or a fantasy book and once finished, set it down, never to have been picked up again? Do you remember the troubleshooting options the manual suggested to fix the error you’re receiving in why the item in question isn’t working? What about the fantasy book? Do you recall all the major characters and their roles? What was the main back story or plot of the story itself? While you gained knowledge of the manual or fantasy book at the time you read it, that knowledge is gone due to that knowledge not being maintained.

    Same thing happens in Self Defense. We learn many important and crucial mental and physical defensive tactics but risk losing said knowledge due to not having a powerful mindset to push ourselves to train and maintain what we’ve been taught. Good news is the power of our effort does improve with a class like environment! Because we are able to lean on our fellow classmates for not only pushing us beyond what we think we can do but it also provide us the encouragement we need to continue pushing forward beyond our limitations. Our effort to want to be better then grows more powerful instead of the negative mentality of just wanting to quit!
  3. POWER of your presence!You would be amazed to see that by standing your ground, not showing signs of being mentally swayed by intimidation or fear, most potential physical conflicts can be diffused. While being articulate about your position is important (stating your case without being belligerent), a powerful presence shows the potential threat that you may be more of a difficult target they want to deal with.

Examine your own training methods and mindset towards your commitment to improving your skill. Find the errors and speak with an Instructor on where you feel you are lacking. Together, a solution can be found to improve whether it’s creating a rigid workout routine or simply daily encouragement. Grab that power you have within and lets get to work!

Victory! -MM

The Self Defeatist Attitude

A defeatist attitude is a negative mindset in which you believe you’re going to fail before you even start. It isn’t uncommon to fall into this mindset when facing a situation you feel is very difficult to overcome.

In Self Defense it could be for various reasons. From the chaotic encounter that’s about to occur to merely the reality of amount of work that is required in order to get oneself back to their skill level due to not training for a long period of time.

Regardless, staying in this line of thinking will have disastrous results so how can we prevent ourselves from succumbing to this mindset?

  1. Create a schedule – Seems simple but its amazing when you actually set your mind to a schedule, how quickly we adapt to it! Twice a week is the norm for in-person class participation PLUS two days of at home training. Not only will it do WONDERS for your Self Defense skill, but also the confidence boost you’ll gain by the positive results you see!
  2. Stay Self Accountable – Like everyone else, I too want to just lay on the couch eating chips, telling myself there’s always tomorrow or provide myself some other lame excuse for not training. Instead I take that self defeatist attitude and turn it around by instead thinking about the positive. Aside from the self gratification of what being a skilled Self Defense Practitioner brings, being an efficient training partner and instructor provides positive direction to keep me focused on what’s important.
  3. Give Time To The Mental Side Of Your Training – Not all training has to be physical. Simply talking with a fellow classmate or involved family member about certain drills or techniques, provides in-depth discussion, opening the mind to see certain scenarios more clearly. Perhaps by talking about certain “What-If” scenarios will help you work out a possible defense tactic that can be worked on in class.
  4. Be Patient – Becoming a skilled self defense practitioner takes time and that “time” is different for all of us so be patient. Difficult I know! However to continuously get frustrated with yourself only leads to that self defeatist mindset and before you know it, you’re back sliding on your training and effort! Take a different approach. Look at what is creating the difficulty and break it down. Speak with your instructor about said issue and work to find ways to overcome the problem. Remember; where there’s a weakness, there’s a strength.
  5. Be Involved – Becoming a part of a self defense school is like joining a family. The more proactive you are the more you’ll get out of the school!

I wasn’t the best in what I was learning nor was I the most skilled out of my class but I was hungry. Hungry to learn and work to become someone that could protect themselves and others around me. It didn’t take a few short days or months but years to attain such confidence. Funny thing is I still have a ways to go and everyday that “Self Defeatist Attitude” creeps up everyday telling me to quit. The above steps help and I hope it does the same for you!

In closing, when in doubt, no matter what; get up, dress up, show up and no matter what, never give up! Victory! – MM

Women’s Self Defense Classes Make A Perfect Christmas Present!

It’s Christmas time again and Dynamic Self Defense has the perfect gift for your family member or friend! A Women’s Self Defense class not only provides that gift option for someone difficult to shop for but also provides a life skill that lasts forever!

There are many options to choose from when it comes to a Women’s Self Defense course so why pick us? Below are just a few reasons:

  • Courses are Custom TailoredUnlike a group conducted class, teaching a universal style program, each Dynamic Self Defense Women’s Self Defense Class incorporates the individuals concerns whether it involves some type of work related environment or dealing with College life situations.
  • Course Is Privately TaughtThe client receives One on One instruction with a Master Instructor, training at a rate that is comfortable to them.
  • Master Instructor TrainingThe client is being taught by a Self Defense Master Instructor with over 20 years experience in Self Defense Training.
  • Flexible Date & Time OptionsBecause the course is taught privately, the client has the option to choose the date and time the course is held to make it as convenient for them as possible!
  • Flexible Pricing OptionsPrivately taught classes, custom tailored to fit a clients needs, does hold a higher value than a typical group class however we do assist in meeting a persons budget.

For more information on our program options, please click the link http://newalbanydefense.com/women-self-defense-classes/

Why Badly Executed Techniques Are Dangerous

Below is a video showing an individual attempting a take-down that goes horribly wrong! Let’s explore not only why it didn’t go as the attacker had planned it to but also was it necessary to administer such an attack.

Takedown Goes Horribly Wrong
  1. Cause For Reaction – The video does not provide enough information as to why the person (Attacker 1) struck first but what we can clearly see is that he is agitated by the person in his face (Attacker 2) and due to some possible emotional impulse, reacted violently. Most reactions are due to a sudden surge of emotion of some sort whether its rage, fear, etc. It’s at this moment we tend to not make such a wise decision and all to often regret such a decision once we’ve calmed down.

  2. What Went Wrong – Why didn’t the maneuver go as planned? From the video, it’s clear Attacker 1 was just inexperienced with such a take-down. From the improper hand placement (his body should have come in at a slight angle, aiming more below the waistline) to his footwork not being positioned correctly to assist in the opponent losing his balance, the maneuver was doomed from the start. Finally, both participants were of equal size and from the looks of it, equal strength making the turn on the maneuver more difficult for Attacker 1 to execute.

  3. Was That Maneuver The Best Option – At DSD we always strive to find the most basic, simple yet effective action to get out of a physical altercation. The main issue I have with Attacker 1’s action is it left him vulnerable to other attacks. Let’s say the maneuver was executed properly. Nothing would have stopped others from side blinding him with an assault once they both hit the floor.

    While we teach jujitsu based ground defense tactics at DSD, including take-downs, it is important to not only know how to execute a maneuver correctly but also WHEN to use it! With such close proximity, an eye gouge to the face would have been more controlled, easier to execute and help create a barrier (by eye-gouging Attacker 2, Attacker 1 can bring Attacker 2’s body in closer, turning to face any possible threat or threats) for any would-be helper to Attacker 2.

    Self Defense is a very detailed and complex area of study. Dynamic Self Defense strives to not only work the physical aspects of defense but also heavily explores the mental side so when our students are faced with a situation like the one in the video, their response will have the reaction of a positive outcome! Explore our blog to learn more or contact us to watch a live class or speak with an instructor.

“Finding A Martial Art School That’s Right For Me.”

Your child comes home crying due to a bully situation at school. Perhaps its a situation where you’re walking towards your car after a late night at the office and you sense someone walking behind you making you feel uncomfortable wondering if that individual has some evil intention and you not knowing how to respond, leaving you with a feeling of panic. Regardless of the reason, finding a Martial Art School can be a rather stressful process, especially with all the options out there and certain questionable tactics used to get you to sign on the dotted line.

To help with the search process I’ve created a Top Five List of things to consider when choosing a Martial Art School right for you!

#1 – “What Do I Want Out Of A Martial Art Program.” – The very first question I ask those looking for a school is what is their goal when training in a Martial Art program. Is it learning self defense, learning to compete in a tournament like a MMA match, losing weight, etc? Don’t be fooled when a school says they can provide all goals however! For example: Having a tournament curriculum and self defense curriculum are very different. One may say gouging the eyes is a good defense tactic given a certain situation where the other may say its against the rules. The body responds how it was conditioned and training two different ways can lead to the body freezing up under realistic conditions, figuring out what to do so having goals written out before visiting a Martial Art School will help in determining if the program taught will help you reaching said goal(s).

#2 – Contracts, Contracts, Contracts – Martial art Schools need income to survive. It’s basic business 101 however be careful on what you are signing up for. Some programs love to dazzle potential students with flashy uniforms, weapons training and various high end training tactics but fail to tell you that each of those training areas come with an additional price of a standard class setting. While I agree we need to make money to live, shady tactics of hiding certain fees until you’re hooked is just bad business practice so make sure they provide all fees up front before the dazzle begins.

#3 – Instructor Participation – Is having the main Instructor teaching the majority of classes, important to you? I hear all to often, people meeting the senior instructor and how they were the one that sold them on the program yet rarely taught them. Usually it was several senior belts that were always teaching the class. While I am a fan of Assistant Instructors and the role they play in a school, having that information of who teaches the class should be provided and discussed so you don’t feel blindsided or cheated if things are not what they seem.

#4 – Belt Systems – Every school has some sort of belt system for structure and learning purposes. The question is though what are the requirements for obtaining a belt level? Usually there’s an added cost to cover the out of pocket expense the school takes when testing their students. Or the school may just build it into a students monthly fees to cover such costs. What may not be shared is a student may have to attend a certain amount of tournaments (mainly for tournament style curriculums), donate a pre-determined amount of their time to teaching young belts, conduct several classes or assist in testing days in order to acquire their next belt level.

#5 – Gear And Other Required Items – Most schools are pretty good at providing a costs list of everything you may be financially responsible for and is often a sheet placed within a welcome packet you receive at the time of your first visit however there are some schools who tend to not openly provide the costs without being asked first. Make sure you double check the packet or ask for a price sheet of everything just in case! I have heard to many horror stories of parents and students getting billed for costly items they were not aware of that was required of them in order to participate in certain training drills. A standard class special price may seem like a good deal but you might be trapped in either paying for high priced gear to continue the class or be out the fee you paid for up front if you choose not to purchase said items!

We at Dynamic Self Defense welcome all who wish to visit our school to see how our program works and figure out if we are the right fit for them! Whether its our Master Instructor taught classes, month-to-month membership fees or our no-nonsense approach to effective self defense training, we strive to have something for everyone!

Mechanics: The Key To An Effective Technique!

Whether you’re throwing a punch, applying a kick into your assault or simply positioning yourself for a possible physical encounter, proper mechanics ensure your technique(s) are at peak performance!

It’s late. You’ve finished a 10 hour workday yet still have to head to the store, make dinner and put the kids to bed. Knowing you’ve still got a few hours before you can go to bed, you grab your things and head to your car to begin your evening requirements, exhausted. As you’re about to open your car door you hear someone calling out to you.

Turning around, dazed and unfocused due to the grueling work day you’ve had that’s drained almost all of your energy, a stranger approaches within 10 feet of you.

While this situation can go several ways, your actions will require some form of technique to ensure safety and control of the situation (topics for another blog post). Take the technqiue of a simple body position. In Dynamic Self Defense (DSD) we teach that having certain proper mechnics of said body position including the body being slouched, knees bent with hands towards the facial area (specifically at the cheeks) similiar to a boxers stance, best protects vital areas of the body including the head and ribs as opposed to a more restricted position where knees are locked with hands by the waist or chest area.

The body being slouched with knees bent allows for more fluidity allowing the defender to better weave, step and engage. The mechanics of bent knees and a slouched body also provides better stability if the defender were to get struck or pushed!

Of course its not just ones position that insures a successful defense response but proper mechanics in blocking, punching and kicking all play a role as well! Poor blocking might expose a weak spot on the defender for example or by having a sloppy strike might inflict a self inflicted injury!

At Dynamic Self Defense we take the time to cover the importance of good mechanics in our skills and give time for our students to adapt to said training within their ability. It’s a part of what makes our program so unique and effective! For more information on our program we welcome you to contact us at newalbanydefense@gmail.com or call 614-304-1406

Holiday Shopping Self Defense 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.