BE YOUR OWN BODYGUARD IN TODAY’S INSANE, VIOLENT WORLD

ISIS, NORTH KOREA, PAKISTAN (141 children massacred), Ferguson, New York City. All in the news in the last week.  Incomprehensible violence threatening to get more violent.  The world is on fire. More violent than ever before, I think.  But those sorrowful episodes are matters for our police, CIA, SWAT, and other entities to deal with.  My question, though, for this post, is: How can you, the average woman (or man, boy or girl) protect yourself against increasing violence in your neighborhood?

SUPER SECRET POLICE SHIT THAT CAN SAVE YOUR LIFE

  • Self-Defense is 98% “Soft-Skills,” and only 2% physical (fighting).
  • Soft-Skills include making yourself a Tough-Target. You can do this by adopting a safety-philosophy of Fake It To Make It. Whether you feel it or not, adopt a Confident and Ready Demeanor. Manifest it in how you walk, how you keep your head up, how you Mad-Dog (look at potential assailants like, WTF do you want, Dude?) others.  PST (Positive Self-Talks) can convince you to breathe tactically and even “explode upon first touch” by a bad guy.
  • Soft-Skills also include having a Plan of Action.  Be one of the 2% who not only survives an attack but prevails.  The first time you think about what to do and how to react can not be when a assailant grabs or strikes one of your body parts!
  • USE THE ELEMENT OF SURPRISE!  It works almost every time. An attacker depends upon a few universal beliefs.  If and when these Beliefs Fail, there is a good chance he will either break off the attack, or, almost as important, lose confidence (which weakens him).  To survive, we need to turn his belief system against him through the element of surprise:

Next Post:  ”Using Surprise To Defeat the Bad Guy!”

Until then, stay safe and think “Confident.”

Hammer

PROTECTING COEDS ON CAMPUS, PART II

I said it in my last post, and, believe me, I exaggerate not.  If you are a girl or woman on a (high school, or) college campus, you are a target for a gamut of uninvited contact and even assaults by male students as well as non-students who live and play on the outskirts of your campus.  The statistics are harrowing (I’ve quoted them before), and, worse, the statistics for sexual assault, rape, stalking, and devastating threats doesn’t tell half the story because less than 2/3 of assaults go unreported!

PERSONAL SAFETY ON CAMPUS

A pity you must think like this, but, the implications are, if you are on campus, more likely than not you will experience some sort of attack.  What to do to physically take charge of your own safety?

  • Become what I call a Hard Target. Learn to walk in such a way and in such a manner that those who would target you as “easy meat” will change their attitude and leave you alone.  Learn to walk with confidence, swinging your arms contra-laterally and looking around for possible attackers as you walk.  A Victim-Walk is emblemized by a woman looking down at her feet and shuffling unaware from place to place.
  • Okay, second, prepare yourself.  Always arm your brain with a Plan of Action.  In other words, Be Aware, Assess everything around you and ANTICIPATE (what will I do if this or that happens).
  • Third, You Must Be Willing to do what you have to do to escape and evade the potential aggressor.
  • Protect Your Space!  Do not permit anybody inside your PSZ (Personal safety Zone/within 5 feet).
  • Breathe Don’t Freeze (89% of women freeze and hold their breath when first touched).
  • Be Target Focused.  Hit secondary targets (feet/ankles/shins/knees, hips, chest, ears, etc) in order to open up PRIMARY TARGETS (eyes, throat, groin, etc).  Hit them and hit them again until the threat goes away!

It is hard for me to go into self-defense techniques in a one-dimensional venue, so, please consider taking yourself a self-defense course.

Or, you can contact me at harrywigder@rcn.com for more information about self-defense.

Stay Safe,

Hammer

COEDS AWAY AT COLLEGE – How To Protect Yourself

Here’s a fact.  Colleges are under fire.  Under deep scrutiny concerning their lack of interest in protecting their female student body from the almost epidemic sexual attacks from young men, on and off campus.  Witness the University of Virginia media accusations that, despite years of complaints by coeds – horror stories about gang rapes, groping, stalking and other criminal activities – the administration took no meaningful actions against even the most pernicious of assaults.

My point:  If you are a young woman attending a college, it is in your best interest to take positive steps toward protecting yourself against any and all types of sexual aggression.

SELF-DEFENSE IN THE COLLEGE SETTING.  The First of a Two-Part Post.

First of all, if you are going to commit yourself to your personal safety on and off campus, you have to also Commit Yourself To a New and Specific (Warrior) Mentality. Why?   Because I firmly believe that successful self-defense is more about being willing to do whatever you have to than being able!

THE MENTALITY OF SELF-DEFENSE

  • Understand that you are in a combat zone. In my mind, the critical first step in self-defense is to believe that the environment in which you must live is a “combat zone.”  Girls and women are viewed as targets by both male students and predators off-campus.  My research and interviews with students, teachers, etc., shows that well over 80% of women have experienced at least one variety of sexual aggression (stalking, uninvited groping, date-attacks, alcohol-related sexual aggression, etc) in their (highschool and) college careers.  Also, in my considerable experience in and with law enforcement there are hundreds of stories of men assaulting coeds who were enroute from class to dorm.  Several abductions and murders—
  • Adopt the Four-A System. I know this is old and trite wisdom, but, believe me, it is a life-saver.  Always BE AWARE, meaning aware of those around you, subtle changes in body language.  ASSESS what you see.  What do these things mean to your safety?  Trust your gut-instincts.  They are never wrong!  ANTICIPATE. Meaning you should always have a plan of action.  If this guy does this, I will do that.  ACTION. Meaning, always be prepared to take quick action when what you anticipated comes to reality.  Oh, yes, when I talk about Taking Action, I consider always reporting any kind of sexual or criminal assault as critical to campus safety.
  • PROFILE. You know, not everybody on or off campus is trying to stalk and assault you.  As a matter of fact, most are not interested in attacking you.  But, you see, campus sexual assault is a totally different entity. Young men and even young women are fascinated and interested in exploring sex.  Many coeds are away from home for maybe the first time and are exploring exciting adventures. Naivety and curiosity is a pretty nasty combination.  There will be keg parties.  Invitations that are hard to turn down to a freshman coed interested in being popular in a new setting.  Add this to an alarmingly liberal atmosphere set by college leaders, well, hell, it is almost like “Boys Will Be Boys.”  I am not advocating locking yourself in your room, leaving only to attend class.  What I am advocating is to use common sense when responding to an invitation to a “party,” entering a room, and getting the feeling that You Are The Keg Party! Having the courage to turn around and leave may be your linchpin to self-protection!

In My Next Post.  Professional Self-Defense & Personal Safety Techniques Designed To Stop “Boys Wanting To Just Be Boys.”

Until then, Stay Safe.

Hammer

ARE OUR COLLEGES DOING ENOUGH TO PROTECT OUR DAUGHTERS?

I am in agony.  And there is nothing I can do to ease the pain.
Over and over we read about violence against girls and women on or near our campuses.  This has been going on seemingly forever.  Not too long ago, Hannah Graham, an 18-year-old Virginia University student vanished from this placid community school in Charlottesville,  never to be seen again. Odds are she was abducted, tortured, raped, and mutilated by a monster who is suspected of another abduction and murder in 2009.

As terrible as this is, women students have been stalked, harassed, beleaguered, targeted, molested, raped and even killed by male students and male intruders for eons.  Attacked in their sleep, fondled in hallways, raped and murdered and I can find no evidence any school is focusing on these issues through training, security, and/or addressing these issues in public forums.

I will address self-defense for college women, on and off campus, in subsequent posts.

Until then, stay safe.

Hammer

‘MAD-DOGGING” THE BAD GUY – DECIDE TO LOOK LIKE THE ANIMALS DO!

Much of this is from Lori Hartman Gervasi, the author of “Fight Like a Girl…and Win.”  I recommend this book to any woman, girl, boy or man who is interested in staying safe in this dangerous world.  Before I picked up this book, however, I was teaching the concept of adopting a a Survival Psyche, or Mentally Conditioned (Tough) Attitude in my SD For Women classes and, as a matter of fact, to many of my safety and survival classes designed for (mostly) male police, corrections, security and probation and parole personnel.

Several officers over the years have told me that this warrior mentality helped them prevail during dangerous confrontation with bad guys.

According to Gervasi, in self-defense, each of our five senses is important, but what we do with our eyes is absolutely crucial.  Take cats, for example.  Cats are easily among the best fighters in the animal kingdom.  They snap their heads to spot their foes.  They move and they size up their foe,  They silkily move forward, watching their enemy, reading him, reacting to him lightning quick.  The cat never takes his eyes off the foe, ejecting his claws—

Cats have forever known that “the fight is in their eyes.”

How does this relate to you and self-defense?  Simply put, you (we all do) are harboring this beast inside you.  And this beast, or animal, is waiting for you to call him forth and to set him upon your enemy.  Meaning, when you are attacked, like the women I spoke about in my last two posts, you can freeze, fail to breathe out of stark fear, or you can get angry and summon that beast now to give to the strength and power to fight for your life.

Or, you can summon that animal now! Now when you are not in danger.  Which to me is what self defense is all about.  Summon that animal and put it in your eyes!

Get that “fight” in your eyes so you can “Mad Dog” each and every man you see.  This from Gervasi’s self-defense instructor, who went on to describe mad-dogging as staring into someone’s eyes in a deliberate way and then holding on for a bit.  The message mad-dogging sends is:  “I see you.  I see you plain and clear.  I will remember you and I will pick you out of a lineup if I have to.  You stay right where you are and do not move because I am watching you.  I don’t particularly like what I see, man, but make no mistake, I do see you.”

I have no doubt this strategy works.  Not only will it work, it will change everything.  Combined with great (confident) posture, a sure-footed, striding walk (again, think “cat”), and an overall awareness of your environment, mad-dogging will zing the predator considering you as a victim to back-off, probably choose another victim.

If your bad guy is one of those rare 1-percenters (bonafide, real killer bad guy), who will take the look in your eyes and your confident posture as a challenge, now this is when you must explode into action.  You must have and act upon a Survival Plan of Action. More on that in a future post.

Next post.  Staying Out of Jail.  Legal Parameters to self-defense.

Until then, stay safe.

Hammer

SURPRISE – THE ESSENCE OF POWER IN SELF DEFENSE

As I’ve written in many of my posts, the element of surprise, is nothing short of essential in the art – if I can call it that – of defending oneself against the predatory sexual assailant (women) and criminally violent attacker (women, men, boys & girls).  Double or triple that when dealing with an attacker who is larger, stronger, faster, meaner and more prepared to destroy you without a second thought and meaner than you.

 

It is an inarguable truism, far as I am concerned, that, without the use of surprise, you’ve got two chances against the criminally-dedicated criminal attacker.  Cremated or conventional burial?

 

THE 3 LEVELS OF SURPRISE,

 

I separate surprise into three basic categories.

 

  1. “TACTICAL SURPRISE.”  Tactical Surprise is an innovative and pre-planned response to whatever the Bad Guy throws at you.  Tactical Surprise is a scary and unpleasant undertaking because, usually in order to invoke this tactic, the Bad Guy would have to have at least invaded your PSZ (Personal Safety Zone, within 3’), and, more likely to have laid hands upon you (initiated “first touch”).  Tactical Surprise depends also upon your ability to think under severe (life or death) stress.  The intended victim must be thinking clearly under the most debilitating circumstances (Survival Stress floods the mind and body with stress hormones, initiating Sympathetic Nervous System activation, causing debilitating events, such as perceptual narrowing, visual difficulties, decision-making problems, and a truckful of physiological and psychological changes).

 

  •  Ergo, in order to employ Tactical Surprise, you must always commit yourself to Breathe Tactically (more on this in future posts); to use “First Touch (by the Bad Guy)” as a trigger to explode violently, and to commit yourself to prevail!
  • You must also understand what the Bad Guy anticipates you, as his chosen victim, will do when attacked suddenly and spontaneously.
  • In order to be able to carry off Tactical Surprise, you must have a Plan of Action in mind before the Bad Guy even approaches.

 

  • WHAT SURPRISES THE BAD GUY?
    • Immediate Action.
    • Loud & determined vocalization.
    • Logical Movement.
    • Target Focused Counterattack (instead of hapless “slapping” eyes-closed action of a frightened victim).
    • True Anger.

 

  • What exactly is Tactical Surprise?
    • It is any type of countermeasure where the intended victim employs Survivor Tactics rather than those of what the attacker expects out of his intended victim.
    • More likely than not, the Bad Guy has attacked his ‘victim” because he expects that “victim” to respond in such a way and in such a manner that will prove the least amount of resistance to said attack. 
    • Meaning, Tactical Surprise can be as simple as this: 

–        If an attacker with superior strength is using that strength to pull you toward a car, bedroom, isolated spot, whatever, surprise him by initially pulling against his power, which is exactly what he expects, then, at the right moment, use his power to pull you hard into his center-line targets, and, before he knows what is happening, violently and quickly drive your knee into his groin, temple into his nose, etc.   

–       If an attacker grabs your wrist with a powerful hand, use a conventional Wrist Release, which will come as no surprise to the miscreant, but – and here’s the dealio – if and when he re-grabs your wrist(s), it’s time for invoking Tactical Surprise.  Allow the Bad Guy to hold your wrist – the tighter the better – and, in your mind (I have actually said this out loud to an idiot attacker), say “thank you, Bad Guy,” because the attacker now has no use of that  hand, or, if he has grabbed you with two hands, he has no ability to block what you are about to do next, which should be a vicious front kick to the side of his knee, or a straight kick to his groin, followed up nicely. 

–       If the Bad Guy invades your PSZ & is verbally threatening you, maybe brandishing a boulder-sized fist toward you, put up both hands, palms facing the Bad guy, in the universal gesture of “please don’t hit me; I don’t want to fight!”  This is what the Bad Guy expects you to do as his targeted victim & by doing this you invoke a sense of security in the attacker, which will be short lived as you drive both hands forward and up into his face, driving it back on his neck and following that up with knees into his groin, hammer fists into the face, etc. 

 

In the next post, we cover the next two levels of Surprise.

Until then, Stay safe.

 

Hammer

SELF DEFENSE AS SIMPLE AS A GRAIN OF SAND. PART II.

Would like to share an interesting, and, in my opinion, compelling self-defense theory that I ran across earlier today.   I must admit that part of the reason I favor it is it dovetails with what I have been preaching for years.  But Matt Bryers of FightAuthority.com articulates his beliefs in such a pure and simplistic manner that I wanted to post this ASAP.

 

Bryers starts off with a photo of a hand holding a small heap of sand and implies that when presented in that manner against an attacker larger, stronger and meaner than you, the sand is meaningless against the assailant.  He can crush it in your hand, swat it deftly away, or, goodness knows, he can take your hand and drive the sand into your face just for the hell of it and then pound you into oblivion.

 

But then think about this:  what if, instead of holding a handful of sand outstretched, you waited

For the right instant and threw the sand into the attacker’s face and eyes, instantaneously distracting and (temporarily) blinding him?

 

Yes, you could easily take off and avoid and evade the attacker.  And, yes, you could take advantage of his inability to see and his shock to knock him down, kick him repeatedly until he no longer moved.

 

I am not suggesting that from this moment on you carry with you a handful of sand.  What Bryers and I are suggesting, however, is that, instead of focusing on the attacker’s strengths – which is what any attacker would prefer you do – for that is where he had you beat before you even got out of bed that morning – it is in your interest that you focus on universal weakness – injury – and “Be That Grain of Sand.”

 

After all, Bryers insists, “everyone has different strengths, but we all break the same.”

 

In future posts, then, we will talk about the Universal Weakness, which is injury, and how we can concentrate our efforts, if ever attacked with true, raw (Street) Violence, to cause injury to that person who has the misfortune to choose you as a victim because you are perceived to be weaker, slower, less violent than he.

 

Remember.  We all have different strengths and there are those  out there who will attack you because of your perceived weaknesses.  It is part of the attacker’s game plan that you will counterattack his strengths (he pulls you toward a car or an alley or grapples with you or tries to strangle you & you try to use your strength to pull away or pry his hands off your neck) instead of what I ask you to do, counterattack his weakness and his secret fears by being that grain of sand!

 

STAY SAFE

HAMMER

SELF DEFENSE – AS PURE AND SIMPLE AS A GRAIN OF SAND.

Would like to share an interesting, and, in my opinion, compelling self-defense theory that I ran across earlier today.   I must admit that part of the reason I favor it is it dovetails with what I have been preaching for years.  But Matt Bryers of FightAuthority.com articulates his beliefs in such a pure and simplistic manner that I wanted to post this ASAP.

 

Bryers starts off with a photo of a hand holding a small heap of sand and implies that when presented in that manner against an attacker larger, stronger and meaner than you, the sand is meaningless against the assailant.  He can crush it in your hand, swat it deftly away, or, goodness knows, he can take your hand and drive the sand into your face just for the hell of it and then pound you into oblivion.

 

But then think about this:  what if, instead of holding a handful of sand outstretched, you waited

For the right instant and threw the sand into the attacker’s face and eyes, instantaneously distracting and (temporarily) blinding him?

 

Yes, you could easily take off and avoid and evade the attacker.  And, yes, you could take advantage of his inability to see and his shock to knock him down, kick him repeatedly until he no longer moved.

 

I am not suggesting that from this moment on you carry with you a handful of sand.  What Bryers and I are suggesting, however, is that, instead of focusing on the attacker’s strengths – which is what any attacker would prefer you do – for that is where he had you beat before you even got out of bed that morning – it is in your interest that you focus on universal weakness – injury – and “Be That Grain of Sand.”

 

After all, Bryers insists, “everyone has different strengths, but we all break the same.”

 

In future posts, then, we will talk about the Universal Weakness, which is injury, and how we can concentrate our efforts, if ever attacked with true, raw (Street) Violence, to cause injury to that person who has the misfortune to choose you as a victim because you are perceived to be weaker, slower, less violent than he.

 

Remember.  We all have different strengths and there are those  out there who will attack you because of your perceived weaknesses.  It is part of the attacker’s game plan that you will counterattack his strengths (he pulls you toward a car or an alley or grapples with you or tries to strangle you & you try to use your strength to pull away or pry his hands off your neck) instead of what I ask you to do, counterattack his weakness and his secret fears by being that grain of sand!

 

STAY SAFE

HAMMER

REFUSE TO BE A SILENT VICTIM – VERBALIZE!

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.

Hammer

BE THE PAIN, BABY!

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.

THE THREE GREAT ELEMENTS OF SELF DEFENSE

  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.”

Hammer