“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!

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.

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!

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.


Doubling Your Odds: Krav Maga and the 200% Defense

When talking about probability and human behavior, a 100% probability translates into the fact that a specific action is guaranteed to produce a known outcome every single time. Krav Maga, DSD, and most martial arts consist of a variety of hand defenses; using one’s hands and/or arms to deflect or block a strike.

In the case of a static person (feet planted, upper body still, neck locked into place) using a hand defense against a strike to the face, the probability that the strike will succeed in hitting the person’s face depends upon a variety of factors: hand speed of both the attacker and defender, time of attack recognition, body position, and proximity to the attacker.

In the case of a slow defender or a late attack recognition, a defender will at worst get hit by an unobstructed strike and at best get grazed by the strike; he or she will get hit, but will reduce the strike’s damage.

Now what if the defender were to both use his or her hand to deflect the strike and at the same time reposition his or her face and/or body? The defender forces the attacker to deal with two variables: the attributes of the hand defense itself and the movement of the target (in this case, the head). This is a 200% defense.

The 200% Defense

Krav Maga 200% DefenseIn Krav Maga, a 200% defense consists of two components: a hand/leg defense to deflect or block the strike and a body defense, in which the targeted part of the body is moved off the line of attack.

In an overhand knife attack, where the attacker’s target is the head or upper body, Krav students are trained to block with the arm and at the same time move their head and body slightly forward, almost short of a head-butt (of note, they are also trained to strike at the same time).

The logic is that if the blade is long, the hand defense might stop the trajectory of the blade, but the blade will still be long enough to pierce the head. Furthermore, if the arm is slow to defend the attack, then at the very least, a vital target like the head will be out of the knife’s path.

The same principle applies to underhand knife attacks. The arm halts the knife’s movement, while leaning forward creates distance between the defender’s midsection and the blade. Defending with the hand or leg in combination with the repositioning of the body is referred to as a 200% defense.

While a statistician would argue that a “200%” defense is mathematically non-existent (100% being the maximum), the term is used in Krav Maga to indicate that the defender is utilizing two types of defenses at the same time.

In the case that one defense fails, the other type of defense will either successfully protect the person or reduce the damage that would otherwise be the consequence of single, failed defense. In fact, it is deemed so critical, that a student can actually fail a technique during a Krav Maga test for failing to exhibit proper body defense.

This principle is also adapted for Krav Maga or Israeli third-party protection tactics. A protection agent is trained to defend a third-party as if he or she is the lone agent assigned to the party (or principal). When defending the principal from an attack, the agent’s recognition of the attack might occur late, particularly in environments with large crowds or lots of cover.

From the Krav Maga perspective, an attack happens in such a short amount of time (2 seconds or less) that a protection agent (body guard) cannot shield the principal, control the principal, and neutralize the attacker with his or her own firearm all prior to the attacker’s strike. Furthermore, the protection agent cannot effectively and successfully perform all those tasks at once. Even worse, if an agent in a single-person detail is neutralized by the first attack, as a result making him or herself into a human shield, the attacker will proceed to harm or abduct the defenseless principal.

One solution is for the agent to literally shove the principal out of the line of attack and then draw his or her weapon. In other words, we are moving the attacker’s target as we defend (or in this case, counterstrike). This forces the attacker to adjust his or her aim and extend the time of the attack. Even if it lends the agent an extra sliver of time, it may be sufficient for the agent to strike the attacker before the attacker’s weapon is fired or re-aimed at the principal.

Similar to the basic one-on-one situation, we are doubling our chances of success by simultaneously using two types of defense that, most importantly, can both be accomplished effectively prior to the moment of impact.


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.

How I Became A Reluctant Black Belt

New Albany Black Belt

What’s your image of a black belt? Young, male, fit?

Yep – I had that same thought. I don’t fit that image… Nearly forty, female and a wimp.

Here’s my story – the story of the Reluctant Black Belt.

When I started with Dynamic Self Defense, it was to be involved in an activity with my husband. He had always wanted to get into a martial arts and liked the idea of earning a black belt. Me, not so much… I was somewhat reluctant. I wanted to be with my husband and learning self defense was just a bonus.

Over the first few months I got to know all the adults and to my surprise there were women there! Most of us adults were not the young and fit type either. I found a place that I could be comfortable, work up a sweat and have fun.

As I progressed, I found a sense of confidence about the skills I was learning and I really impressed myself with these new abilities.

This doesn’t mean there were times that I wanted to quit and be done with it – because there were many. Sometimes an injury would make me frustrated and achy or I would feel totally overwhelmed with the rest of my life and feel that I needed a break. But, I had the support of my classmates – all of them having similar issues and many of whom are now black belts too!

There was a point when I realized that I wanted that black belt. I determined that I was worth the struggle and I was going to push through and earn it.

Now, with a black belt around my waist, I look back at the 3 years of training and I am so proud of myself. I accomplished something I didn’t set out to do but turned it into something worth doing for myself.

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!

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!