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 Best Martial Art For Self Defense

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

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

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

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

The Demonstration Side

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

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

The Ring Competition Side

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

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

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

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

The Practical Combat Side

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

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

Practical self-defense isn’t about fighting…

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

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

The Best Martial Art For Self-Defense

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/54192017[/vimeo]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See our segment on 10TV

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

Jujitsu Self-Defense Myths Exposed

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

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

He’s right!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VIDEO:

 

Amanda Berry Story Shows Self Defense Women’s Classes Vital

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

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

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

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

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

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

Odds are they felt powerless to do anything about it.

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

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

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

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

Remember… Self Defense Women are Empowered Women!

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!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For example…

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

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

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

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

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

Avoiding Injury In Self Defense Training

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

photo credit: Robbie Veldwijk via photopin cc