Traditional Martial Arts and Self defense

Before I get started into my blog post, take a moment to read this post from Tony Blauer.

I study traditional martial arts, holding rank in Taekwon-Do and Okinawan Kenpo Karate, plus various other arts here and there. In all of these we have studied self-defense, meaning “if person x does y, you do z”. As an example a bear hug defense might look like this:

In the traditional arts I have studied this is a pretty common self-defense training. Compare it to this security cam attack of what tends to happen on the streets when placed in a bear hug

Notice a little difference? I thought you might.

The issues I see with how self-defense is usually taught in the traditional arts are:

  • No context is given for the attack. Why is this person attacking you? What were you doing? Where were you?
  • Avoidance and escape tactics are rarely, if ever discussed. If they are it tends to be “and after you stomp his face into the ground you run away and seek help”.
  • De-escalation techniques are not discussed
  • You have a compliant attacker. Look at the first video again. Once the bear hug is placed around the person, the attacker does nothing further. Not uncommon for a bear hug to be used to move someone
  • The difference between self-defense and mutual combat is never discussed, legally there is a difference and you better know it

I could go on and on but hopefully you get the point. I’ll leave you this: Self-defense starts well before the person attacks you.

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Laws of Self Defense

A very important topic that too often gets overlooked by self-defense instructors is what are the laws? The best thing to do is talk to a lawyer in the area you live to gain an understanding of the laws in your area.

I also suggest reading Andrew Branca’s post called “In a Nutshell: The Five Principles of the Law of Self-Defense“.

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Be Your Own Bodyguard

One of the things you learn from Tony Blauer is to “Be Your Own Bodyguard“. I won’t go into the entire concept of the program but I do want to harp on the importance of being responsible for your own protection. Take this story out of Oregon:

An Oregon woman was told by a 911 dispatcher that authorities wouldn’t be able be able to help her as her ex-boyfriend broke into her place because of budget cuts.

Oregon Public Radio reports that an unidentified woman called 911 during a weekend in August 2012 while Michael Bellah was breaking into her place. Her call was forwarded to Oregon State Police because of lay-offs at the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office only allows the department to be open Monday through Friday.

Now imagine if you were the caller, someone is breaking into your house and the 911 dispatcher pretty much tells you that you are own your own. I am not saying that you shouldn’t call 911, do so if it is safe for you to do that but remember that until help arrives you are responsible for your safety and that of your loved ones..

What does this mean? Make sure you follow good practices for securing your home. For some good tips check out Alex Haddox’s book “Practical Home Security: A Guide to Safer Urban Living“. Make sure people in the household know what to do in an emergency. This goes beyond someone breaking into your house but should also cover fires and medical emergencies. Have a plan! I won’t tell you tell have a firearm in your home, that is your choice. But if you do make sure you train with it, everyone in the house knows proper firearm safety, and you keep it secured until you need to use it.

Remember, when push comes to shove Be Your Own Bodyguard


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Defending Against A Knife-Defensive Knife Use

Marc MacYoung will be in the Seattle area on March 30-31, 2013 to provide instruction on defending against a knife and using a knife for self-defense. The course is taking place at the Firearm Academy of Seattle. Should be a good course, I am planning on attending. For those interested registration information is online.


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Thoughts On Security

I was recently reading an article by Bruce Schneirer Phishing Has Gotten Very Good. Consider this one paragraph:

This is the problem. Against a sufficiently skilled, funded, and motivated adversary, no network is secure. Period. Attack is much easier than defense, and the reason we’ve been doing so well for so long is that most attackers are content to attack the most insecure networks and leave the rest alone.

Attackers will attack what is easy first, then escalate up from there. There is always a risk/reward model taking place here too. Attackers will go after the biggest bang for their buck, high rewards/low risks. As the high rewards get tougher and tougher they will take on more risk, and in doing so may adjust their tactics. An important thing is to not make yourself an easy target, get on the high end of the risk scale.


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How Would You Attack You?

Something to think about is “how would you attack you?” If you were the predator in what ways would you attack yourself? Where are you vulnerable, distracted, zoned out of the real world, etc.? Stop and think about things and find ways to make yourself less attarctive to a predator.

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PDR Certification

For those interested in getting their Personal Defense Readiness (PDR) certification with Blauer Tactical Systems in 2013 the first set of courses have been announced for February 8-10, 2013. And for what must be a first there will be two certification courses running at the same time, east coast and west coast.

PDR 36 in Vienna, VA

PDR 37 in Carlsbad, CA

Don’t miss this chance if interested in becoming part of the PDR Team


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The Environment

I’ll here people ask questions such as “what if I get attacked in a dark garage?” or “what if I get attacked in a bathroom stall?” Good questions, but they (in my opinion) looking at the wrong reason in asking such questions. Usually when people ask such a question it’s because they are allowing the environment to make the situation worse then it really at that time. The situation is you are being attacked, deal with it! The environment comes into play in three different areas:

  1. Cover and concealment
  2. Escape routes
  3. Improvised weapons

If anyone can think of another factor I’ll be happy to hear it. Is being attacked attacked in a well light garage better then being attacked in a dark one? Nope, you are being attacked, protect yourself and look at the environment in the three ways mentioned above.


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SPEARTips on Vimeo

Tony Blauer has been sharing his various videos on Vimeo. Be sure to check them out for some great tips and interviews.

SPEARTips on Vimeo


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Tony Blauer’s Summer Combatives Camp

Want to learn more about the SPEAR system and train with some great people? Well here is your chance. Tony is holding is Annual Summer Combatives Camp this August 4-5, 2012, at CrossFit Rubicon in Vienna, VA. Go enroll now.


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