Not to rag on my class, cause I love them, but I just finished a Self Defense for Women program at a local community college, and once again, for the 14th consecutive program, not one of the women – despite my urging to the contrary – ever uttered one “kai!” when responding to an “attack” during the 4-week course!

Mind you, it’s probably a reflection on my instruction.  I really have to come up with a creative way, in the early stages of the program, to encourage the women to reach down inside and bring out a gutteral yell when fighting, or, shout in a bad guy’s face when he has the nerve to invade their personal space.

But, Hell’s Fire, ladies, think about this:  Who do you think look and acts more like an Ideal Victim to a predator?  A woman who, when approached by a stranger, or grabbed by surprise, says nothing and does nothing for a second or two, and who holds her breath – yeh, that’s another thing, during Red Man drills, unless I yell out, “Breathe, dammitt!” the woman not only say nothing, they rarely breathe – or, a woman, who, immediately upon being touched or approached, yells out in obvious anger at the stranger, takes a step or two to regain her distance, and explodes into some kind of action?

Well, of course, the noisy woman who becomes a blur of sound and movement is the woman who is prepared to Fight Like a Girl—and Win!  The silent one, when “tested” by the stranger stays quiet and still, is your Ideal Victim.

The lesson here is dog crap simple.  Be you a woman, girl, man or boy, learn to break whatever tendency to be meek and silent.  Whoever socialized you to be a “nice girl/boy” did you no favor when it comes to self defense.   Re-socialize yourself and give yourself permission to Mad Dog It (one of the themes of my SD training).  Draw that animal from inside you and BE THE BEAST/BE THE MAD DOG!

Not only will making noise (scream Kai! when you hit) save you during a fight, it may prevent you from being chosen as a victim in the first place.  So, when you think you are facing a possible attack, say something (prepare ahead of time with something to say to make the bad guy reconsider you as a victim (”What do YOU want?”  “Don’t I know your mother?”  “Get back now!”).

If ever grabbed by a stranger, use his First Touch as a Trigger to explode into both sound and action!

Stay safe until next time.



When we talk self defense, be you a woman, girl, man, or boy, we need to talk (think) about mental conditioning.  My SD 4 Women classes are dominated by physical movements and techniques – you know, strikes, headbutts, escapes, evasive footwork, and the such, but – and I tell my class this – the truth is that, if I can somehow influence them to work on three non-physical elements in their everyday lives, I can do more to help them stay safe then I ever could in a classroom during my 8-hour course.


  1. GET MENTALLY CONDITIONED – Conditioning yourself psychically is actually easier than it sounds.  Matter of fact, your mentality is one of the few things you can exercise control over before, during and after a physical confrontation with a predator, bully, abductor or assaultive attacker.  Also, understanding that there is an unmistakable and crucial connection between body and mind should motivate you to spend some private time getting your mind and body (spinal) tuned to fight to your maximum ability – or, in many cases, above what you now consider your maximum skill level.  Simply put, you can Spinal Tune (a Warrior Science term for being mentally conditioned) yourself by thinking actively, not reactively. Do this by forcing yourself  to be AWARE of your surroundings at all times, to sense (see, hear, smell, touch, your instincts) changes, subtle and major, around you.  You must make yourself ASSESS what you see, hear, smell, feel and sense.  Assess body language and trust what your instincts are telling you.  ANTICIPATE. Meaning, simply, you need to ask yourself questions (I’ve talked about playing the “What If Game” in previous blogs to tune your mind in your relaxation time in order to create a “Warrior’s Mind”) challlenging yourself to decide what you would do if a worse-case scenario exploded in your face.  Always have a Game Plan and even a Failure Plan.
  2. MAD DOG IT. Consider these facts.  (A)  Self Defense Is Not an Injury Free Activity.  (B)  The Bad Guy’s strategy often involves hurting you immediately, scaring you and intimidating you immediately, and causing you humiliation straight off, so you will be frozen or cemented to the spot on which you are standing!  A rapist might order you to take off your shirt, blouse and/or dress/pants in order to”freeze you in humiliation.”  A man seeking to control you might slap you hard across the face to stun you and scare you into frozen surrender.  What I ask you to consider, if you choose to defend yourself, is to Mad Dog It. Reach deep inside you (see the last post) and find that Bad Ass Beast that lurks within you.  It is there inside me, I know. It is there inside you.  Mentally accept the fact that punches, kicks, grabs, slaps, and tackled are going to hurt like hell, but you can stand the pain.  You can prevail over the hurt and deflect the pain & the fear – cause you have no time to be reactionary.  Understand that, if need be, you can fight in a state of undress instead of feeling  embarrassed You only have time to shake it off and fight!
  3. BE THE PAIN. Seconds after the strike, the slap, the attack, you have to realize that you are still alive, probably still standing.  I have done this.  I have mentally conditioned myself to take the pain and make it part of me, of my fighting agenda.  Believe me, there is hardly anything more liberating and empowering than that feeling!

Until the next post, stay safe.  “Okay, Now Your Spinal Tuned.  Now, Kick His Ass With the Fighting Arts.”


Fighting Arts for Women – Reverse the Predator/Prey Principle

According to Lori Hartman Gervasi, in her seminal book, Fight Like a Girl–and Win, EVERY attack against women starts with the element of surprise. Although I might argue that some attacks are highly predictable, mayhap even expected by the victim (consider domestic violence, for one), for the sake of brevity and time, let’s concede the point.  Fact is, the male (and sometimes, female) attacker understands the cogency of the element of surprise in first charming, then disarming, and finally destroying the victim with as little fight as possible.

In my Fighting Arts for Women classes the theme is always this:  Reverse the Predator/Prey Principle. Simply put, I advocate taking the attacker’s mind set and expectations and totally flipping the mentality upside down by invoking the Element of Surprise on our part!

In any “life or death fight” where one side is dramatically overmatched, I say, Surprise is probably the only thing that can change the game in the woman’s (or child or teen facing a predator, bully, etc) favor!  Think of this:  when a woman is attacked, more often than not, her attacker is larger, stronger, faster, armed, in the company of an accomplice, plus, is often prepared with an attack plan.  Not only that, the bad guy has often tracked his prey for minutes, hours, days, sometimes months.  He has given this attack a lot of thought, even to the point of waiting to assault you in an environment with poor lighting, poor footing, and in a space where his victim has little room to escape or fight.


Good question.  A little tempremental, but, still, good question.  What you do – what you must do – is do the unexpected. Believe it or not, you have an edge.  Not a big one, but an edge nevertheless.  And what is that Edge you have?

The Bad Guy’s Expectations.

In 97 to 98% of the attack scenarios, the bad guy expects you to be meek, to surrender without a fight, to beg for your life.  He often gets off on your fear, on the look of terror in your eyes. That look of “recognition” that you are the prey about to be dragged into an isolated corner of the world so the predator can torment and torture you until he finally rapes, robs and murders you.


Open up a big can of Whoop-Ass on the monster by using the element of surprise.  Sensei Michael Pace used the acronym “SNEAK” to describe the process.

Surprise is the first and most important element.  Surprise is activated by fulfilling the bad guy’s expectations initially, and, then, suddenly exploding in his face!

Non-Violent is the 2nd element.  Before counter-attacking, you must appear non-violent.

Explode is the 3rd element.  You must “explode” from non-violent to ultra-violent in a split second.  When you explode, go nuts, liberate the beast.  You are all over his ass!

Aggressive:  Incorporate an aggressive attitude.  No longer a nice girl.

Knock the Bad Guy out of the fight.

Okay, you might be saying, that’s nice, but how the hell do I do this? In the next few posts I will be going over a few strategems, but, how about trying this one on for size?

The Bad Guy approaches with that “look” in his eyes.  Despite your protests he steps into your space.  Your gut instincts are screaming at you to get the hell out of there, but when you try to move he blocks your exit.  You know for sure you are about to be attacked in some way.  Put both hands up in front of your face, palms facing the guy’s face – the universal “Compliance Stance” – and you even “beg” him to let you go.

Then, suddenly, you bend your knees for power and drive both hands hard and fast into his head, driving up as if trying to knock his head off of his shoulders.  Before he knows what is happening, his head snaps back and he is off-balance and all his Primary Targets are open for a follow-up strike!  There are no apologies or excuses in self defense:  Show No Mercy and hit those open targets with everything you have until it is safe for you to escape.

Even if the Bad Guy has one of your hands under control.  Use your free hand and go for his head.  No head can withstand the power of your entire body.

This will work.

Until the next post, stay safe.

The Hammer


YES, INDEEDY. I have been preaching this in self defense classes for decades, and, trust me,  it is as true and ageless as time itself.  Deep inside you there is a phenomenon that some wizards of The Fighting Arts call the ki or chi. Your chi (Chinese),or,  ki (Japanese), according to these wizards, these great masters of The Fighting/Martial Arts, are a source of great power and energy. Imagine this chi, or ki, “right in the center of your body, deep within your midsection.  Think two inches below  your belly button, but straight back into the middle of your torso,” according to Lori Hartman Gervasi, in her great book:  Fight Like a Girl—and Win.

But, here’s the dealio.  If ever you face an attacker, before the debilitating element of fear sets in and paralyzes you, first you must get your ass in gear!  You see, this chi or ki is there, but it cannot be released like some ancient genie by simply rubbing in some arcane manner on your center.  It is up to you to have the courage, fortitude and willingness to get yourself  in action ASAP!

Your ki/chi works like the ignition of a car – from nothing to full throttle, according to Gervasi.  Instant power and energy!  Explosion from the inside-out!  But, like the key in the ignition of a powerful automobile, you must first turn it on!


So, how do we explode from the inside out?  How do we pull our energy and power source to the surface?   Actually it is dog crap simple.  Release your power and energy right from the get-go.  Get moving and use the sheer power of “fierce and immediate movement from the core of your fighting spirit (which is within every one of us).”  Get moving and turn that ignition key.  In other words, instead of standing there frozen, trying to analyze what the attacker is saying and/or about to do, you need to Do Something Now! When you act definitively and immediately, you do several things that will help you pevail:

  • You invoke the Element of Surprise.
  • You get the attacker back on his/her feet & weaken his potential attack.
  • You transcend the debilitating element of “Fear.”
  • You flood your body with Stress Hormones and take advantage of an Adrenale Dump, which empowers you to fight harder and better, to run faster, to endure injuries and pain.
  • And, finally, it empowers you to Unleash That Animal – that Beast – Inside!

Deep inside you, in a place where you must go mentally, is a beast.  It has been there for 250,000,000 years.  Give yourself the permission to grab onto it and become it. Yes, BECOME THE BEAST!  Turn that fear into sheer energy and power.

  1. When your gut instincts tell you something is wrong, believe it always!
  2. Breathe.  Get oxygenated blood flowing to your brain.
  3. Move now.  Do something:
  • Put some distance between you and him.
  • Put a barrier or barricade between you and him.
  • Say something.  “Stay back!”  “Nine-one-one!”  “What do you want?”  “I don’t have time for this!erbal SelfDefense (more on that in a later post).”
  • Verbalizing also serves the purpose of unlocking that hold fear might have on you, plus, it let’s the goofball who is threatening you know that you are not going to allow him to intimidate or bully you.  Use Verbal Self Defense (more on VSD in a later post).
  • Have an idea ahead-of-time, what you will do, if he gets aggressive, and, then, do it!
  • By all means, keep moving.  Don’t allow yourself to be cemented to the floor when he attacks!
  • If possible, strike first and use the element of suprise!

In the next post:  Using the element of surprise with your first strike!

Until then, stay safe.