Saturday, September 21, 2013

Protection for the Home, Office, Travel, or Working Out

No it's not a light-sabre from Star Wars... but that would be cool wouldn't it.  It's a tactical torch... one of several everyday objects that can be used as a weapon of self-defence.

Not impressed?  I won't be surprised if you weren't. Most people regard weapons as being things like a handgun, or a machete, or a knife. A torch isn't a real weapon

And that brings me to an interesting point. When most people go and buy a handgun, or a machete or a knife, in their minds they're buying power... as if the object by its very nature has a power that becomes yours when you hold it in your hand.

Now there's no denying the psychological effect of someone seeing a recognisable weapon in your hand... but just about anything can be used as a weapon... even a plastic credit card.

How? Why? Because it's the application and targeting that gives an object its power to protect.

So if you hold a small tactical torch in the palm of your hand, with the lens extending out from the base of your fist... and strike an attacker on the nose or the side of the jaw, you're going to disrupt their attack.  And that can give you the opportunity to quickly strike again... or to create a safe distance... or to begin your escape. 

You can buy small inexpensive torches (in a range of colours) at most petrol stations. They are lightweight, so it's easy to carry one while you're running early in the morning or late at night.

Of if you're a cyclist, you could attach a tactical torch to your handle-bars, to be both a headlight and a quick release self protection tool.

Now this brings us to something you can carry with you anywhere... and yet is has the capacity to knock someone senseless. It's the humble rolled-up magazine... and you can use it as a short baton... or strike with the butt (which extends down from the base of your fist).

For close-quarter striking you would use the same hammer-fist action that you would use with a tactical torch.  Every airline gives you one of these tools of personal protection for free, every time you board an aircraft... and they're usually quite thick and well-made.

Now we come to an object that many people carry, and yet most wouldn't consider it to be something that you could protect yourself with. I'm referring to a water bottle... just a small plastic water bottle that's filled with water. And it's the 'filled with water' aspect that gives this little  plastic bottle it's strength and striking power.

All you need to do is grip the neck of the bottle with your thumb and forefinger, with your palm positioned naturally down around the flange. With the main part of the bottle extending down from the base of your fist, once again you would strike by using the same hammer-fist action that you would use with a torch or a rolled-up magazine

If you carry a small aluminium or stainless steel bottle... well the impact potential speaks for itself.

The point to keep in mind with all of these everyday objects is that they're not generally considered to be weapons... which is very important in countries where it is illegal to carry handguns, knives, or weapons of any kind... even for self defence.

Finally, something that can be carried at work, on a plane, or when you're travelling overseas. It's not just a pen, it's a tactical pen... a pen that's so tough and durable that you can fight with it.

Again, all you have to do is hold it in the palm of your hand with your thumb on the clicky end... and use the same hammer-fist action that you would use with a torch, a magazine, or water bottle.

Personally I recommend Tuff Writer Tactical Pens - especially the corporate-styling of the Precision Press Series (above and below) which looks unassuming and professional in every situation. To see their entire Tuff Writer range go to this link :

A small range of Tuff Writer pens is now available through an agent on the Gold Coast… a company called ExTac Australia. So just drop them an email if you're ever interested in a specific Tuff Writer model :

Keep in mind that a tactical pen, a torch, a rolled-up magazine and a small bottle of water can all be applied in the same way... with a simple hammer-fist action.... striking with the section protruding from the base of your fist.

It's a simple and effective gross-motor action, and the 3 basic strikes are as follows : 
  • diagonally down (with a stabbing action)
  • backhanded horizontally (palm facing down)
  • and forehanded horizontally (palm facing up).

All you need is a little basic training, and you'd be surprised how confident you can feel with one of these everyday items in your hand. Remember it's the application and targeting that gives an object its power to protect.  YOU are the weapon... whatever is in your hand is just a tool.

It's Primal Protection

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Making a Plan to Protect Your Family

This feedback on making a plan to protect your family comes from Melbourne martial arts instructor, Sean Genders.  He has been involved in the Australian Film Industry for the past twenty years, primarily as a Special Make Up Effects Artist, and now as a Director.
Complimentary to his film work Sean is a martial artist with over two decades of experience. His classes focus on reality-based personal protection, and how traditional concepts can fit into a modern world. Here's what he had to say about formulating an effective safety plan... something he had to apply daily when he was working in Namibia, on the set of the Mad Max movie 'Fury Road' :
The first thing to identify is where (and by whom) an attack is most likely to occur. In my case, my wife and I are prepared for a couple of different situations, and we adjust and discuss these depending on our travels.
If we're out in the city and an altercation starts, my wife will automatically move herself to a safe place, out of harms way. This means that :
  1. she won't get in my way should the confrontation become physical
  2. and I know she’s safe and I don't have to worry about her.
She will try to locate herself so that her back is to a wall, where she has a clear view of the situation, and will call police if necessary.
Having her back to a wall means that she is also safe from any unforseen friends of any aggressor that I may be dealing with. She knows that regardless of the situation her safety is paramount, and if need be she will get to a safe place, even if that means not being able to see what's going on.
In the event of a ‘home intruder’ the same rule applies - she will keep safe, and call the police.

Recently I encountered an intruder in my yard at 1am. When I went out to engage them, I closed the door behind me to keep my wife safe. She could see what was going on, and called the police.
In the event of an intruder ever getting into the house, she will ensure she keeps herself out of the way. In our current residence if need be, she will lock herself in our bathroom or bedroom, both of which have an added internal lock. And she will take her phone with her.
If you do have an intruder in your yard.. do not immediately turn on your lights or alert them to your presence unless there are a number of them and you want them to know that you know they’re there. You can see a lot outside of your windows at night, putting lights on just makes it easier for them to see YOU. However turning on exterior lights only will often have the effect of causing the intruders to flee.
Always call the police if you’ve had intruders!  Any description you can provide can help to identify and catch repeat offenders that may be on a crime spree in your area. Also to note that the first time you call is the first time it is reported… so if you wait until a 2nd or even 3rd intrusion it is legally recorded as just being the 1st time.
If you are going to have a small Tactical Torch to use as a defensive tool... give some thought to where you keep it?  I keep mine beside the bed, and because I don’t wear pyjamas, I also keep a pair of pants beside the bed. This is not being paranoid, this is being prepared.... I'm going to be taken more seriously if I'm wearing pants :) 
It's simple and easy to construct a ‘common sense’ plan. Start with a discussion with you partner, and explore the options of what you can do at home (or on the street) should a confrontation take place. Without a plan, your partner will most likely get in the way or distract you from protecting yourself, and them.

You might start with deciding which room is going to be your ‘safe’ room at home?… and check to see if it needs an extra bolt or something to make it more secure?

If you keep a bat of some kind by the door (for protection), always have a ball nearby as well… just to prove that you’ve got it there to play with occasionally. Otherwise it looks as though you have the bat there with the intent to use it as a weapon, which in some places can be a chargeable offence if you do actually hit somebody with it.

As an option, you might consider investing in an unbreakable self-defence umbrella :

It's Primal Protection.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Confrontations don't always require a physical response!

We all experience confrontations... and some might even escalate into physical violence. So wouldn't it be great to have a Conflict Management Strategy... a way of responding that deals with the kind of confrontation you are most likely to face in your everyday life.

This is not self-defence training as most people understand it. It's a ground-breaking approach to handling a confrontation psychologically... starting with the goal of avoiding a physical conflict by creating safe distance and applying de-escalation tactics.

For example, consider these questions about your personal situation :
  • where will you most likely experience a confrontation?... at work, on a train, in your car?
  • will it most likely be a stranger or someone you know?... a co-worker, a family member?
  • is anyone likely to be with you at the time?... no one, your partner, a child, a friend?
  • will you have anything to defend yourself with?... nothing, a bag, a briefcase, a pen?
The answers to these questions would be used to structure a tactical response for handling the kind of conflict that you're most likely to experience.

To appreciate the value of an experience like this, it’s important to keep in mind that most martial arts and self-defence courses don’t actually prepare you to face the kind of confrontation that you are most likely to experience in your everyday life.
For example, a busker playing guitar in the Mall is going to have to deal with a different kind of confrontation than a female security guard at a nightclub... or a tradesman working on a construction site.

In each of these situations, the attitude of your aggressor can require something different from the physical responses that are taught in most self-defence courses. And it’s for this reason that we’re not focusing on punching and kicking techniques.
Instead, we’re going to give you skills that will psychologically and physically prepare you to deal with the specific kind of confrontation that you’re most likely going to experience in your everyday life... starting with threatening words and gestures... and escalating to a physical assault.
Some of the subjects that will be covered include :
  • understanding how confrontations can suddenly escalate into an assault
  • how to always create a safe distance
  • how to apply verbal de-escalate techniques
  • how to adopt non-aggressive defensive body language
  • how to apply primal psychology to look like a hard target if the situation escalates.
In the early stages of the training you will be invited to define the most likely location you could be confronted… then develop a set of effective tactical responses. For example, it might involve a confrontation on public transport, in a pub or club, or in a work environment.

Some of the details you’ll be asked to consider include :
  1. where would you most likely be confronted?
  2. are you likely to be alone?
  3. what would you most likely be wearing?
  4. are you likely to be carrying anything at the time?
  5. is it likely that there will be more than one aggressor?
From the answers to those questions will emerge a simple plan of action that will allow you to deal with the kind of confrontation you’re most likely to experience in your everyday life.

It's Primal Protection.

For more information contact
Dean Whittle in Sydney on 0408 646 949
or Sean Genders in Southport on 0418 786 895

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Pacing like a Caged Cat - it's a De-Escalation Tactic

Verbal de-escalation tactics are techniques that can be applied to potentially reduce the level of violence in a confrontation... and they come in both passive and aggressive forms.

An example of a 'passive' form would be to : move back and open distance ; adopt non-aggressive body-language ; and say "Now how can we can sort this out!" 

It's something that most people could do quite naturally in a confrontation.

An example of a more 'aggressive' form would be to : stand side-on to your opponent, which is a natural defensive response that protects the body's vital organs ; lower your chin ; point straight at them with your forefinger ; and in a strong commanding voice tell them to "Back-off!"

This primal body-language expresses serious intent... and not surprisingly it's often referred to as a primal threat indicator.

Now this brings us to a even more aggressive form of de-escalation... something that can be used against one or more opponents. 
In fact it can be very effective in getting a group of attackers to think that maybe they're bitten off more than they can chew.
It involves the same posturing that I've listed above, but with an added twist.  You need to pace from side-to-side, swear like a truckie, and act like you're crazy out of your mind.
Why do you need to swear and act like you're crazy?  Well it's a primal thing.  We (humans) have an innate fear of the 'unknown'... in all its forms.  And to us, a crazy person is something unknown, because we can't predict what they're going to do.  So we tend to be afraid of them.
So if you're suddenly faced with the likelihood of being attacked by several people, and you don't want to risk being hospitalised, I recommend that you try to de-escalate the situation by simply :
  • pacing from side-to-side... turning on every third step... like a cat in a cage
  • pointing (stabbing the air) with your forefinger, and changing hands as you turn
  • swearing threats and aggressive insults... which is the only language predators respect. 
In short, you pace from side-to-side like a crazed cat in a cage... growling, ready to claw and bite.
Now you might think that's fairly easy to do... but for most people it's not.  Allowing yourself to explode in a seemingly out-of-control display of anger and aggression goes against all the social norms that most people live by. 
And what's especially challenging is that it's a just an act... a de-escalation tactic that may or may not work.  And if it does fail, you have to be ready to quickly put another tactic in play... like switching to a passive de-escalation, or even just backing away in preparation to escape.
So faced with that kind of group-attack situation, maybe you can understand how acting like you're out-of-control can be a life-saving tactic that's worth knowing. 
But it will take some practice... preferably in front of a mirror, so that you can see how convincing you are.  You don't have to swear out loud... but you should still practice stringing together a series of threats and aggressive insults.  Just do it silently in your head.
Why do you need to actually practice a string of threats and aggressive insults?  Because it won't come naturally to most people... and it certainly won't come naturally under the stress of a potentially violent confrontation.  You need to have your threats ready beforehand
Also, aggressive swearing is the language of the street predator... it's all they understand.  And they know to be afraid of someone who's looks crazy enough not to be concerned for their own safety.
In short, this tactic is a series of primal triggers that warn the attacker(s) to stay away from you! 
In reality-based self defence circles it's sometimes referred to as Aggression Therapy... and it not only develops a confidence in facing a predator who uses aggressive threats and intimidation... it gives people a way to potentially avoid being assaulted.
It all sounds a bit strange I know.  But if 'The Caged Cat' tactic can save you or your friends from being attacked, then it's certainly worth some serious consideration!
It's Primal Protection.  

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

We need to give Teenagers the facts about Bullies!

Would you tell a Zebra that if you don't bite the lion, the lion won't bite you?   No of course not.  We know that's unrealistic... predators do what predators do... and lions eat zebra

And yet we (as a society) often expect a teenager who is confronted by a bully (a predator) to just say "Leave me alone" and walk away. 

Unfortunately, that approach only encourages a predator to attack. Why?  Because it's an indication that you are a risk-free target ... an easy kill.  

Also, predators of every kind are hard-wired to chase their intended victim if they turn and make a run for it... or just try to walk away. 

But even zebra know that if you're going to run, you should always try to discourage the predator from following... in their case, with a quick kick to the head! 

So let's look at how your child can discourage a bully's advance....

Firstly, the most important point to keep in mind is this : As long as a bully experiences no risk of pain or injury, they will keep trying to close the distance on their intended victim

A bully generally closes the distance by using threats and intimidation... which usually frightens the victim into being passive. Or if that doesn't work, a bully might even switch from being aggressive to being friendly... move in close, put their arm around the victim, and then suddenly start punching.

I've even seen situations where a predator was pushed away, then claimed that they had been assaulted... at which stage the victim thought they had done the wrong thing, and they actually let the predator get close (again), and suffered a sudden surprise attack.

So distance is always the first-and-best defensive response.  There's no point trying to get a predator to see reason... their brain doesn't work like that... all they can see is an easy kill.

We (as parents) might not like the idea of our children having to stand-up to a bully and potentially be attacked and traumatised. But the least we can do is arm our children with the facts... to empower them with an understanding of a bully's attack ritual :
  • first they select their victim and make eye contact 
  • then they close the distance
  • and try to intimidate their victim into not resisting
  • then they launch a sudden surprise attack.    

So the best thing to do is never let a person you don't feel good about get too close to you. As soon as they try to get within two feet, atep away or move around to create a safe distance... and don't let them talk their way in close to you.  

You can tell them to "Stay back" or "Back off"... but don't expect them to really listen to what you say.  All they want is to get in close and attack... so regardless of what you say all they're going to hear is "Blah, blah, blah."

If they keep trying to get close to you, then firmly push them away with both hands... and step back away yourself to open the distance even more. 

If they don't look like giving up, then start speaking their language... the language of intimidation.  Stand side-on, drop your chin, point with your forefinger, and aggressively tell them to "Back-off... just back-off", or something to that effect. 

This is called a de-escalation tactic... and the body-language is called a primal threat indicator ... something that a bully will unconsciously recognise as serious intent

It sends a message that maybe - just maybe - you could cause them some pain and suffering.

Finally, keep in mind that if your children are given the facts about how-and-why bullies use threats and intimidation, then they've got a better chance of handling a confrontation themselves. And using these simple psychological tactics will not only develop self-confidence, it will lay the groundwork for handling bullies in later life... both on the street, and in the work-place. 

It's Primal Protection.


For a quick course in Standing Up to a Bully, click on the link below :

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Standing Up to a Bully - an Avoidance Strategy

In Nature, a predator will select the easiest target available. It might be the youngest or the oldest... the smallest or the sickest... but it will always be the easiest.

This is a simple survival strategy, because catching an easy target conserves energy, and involves less risk. And that's why predators aren't keen to lock horns with a hard target. If they get injured in the hunt, they might die. 

Well a human predator is no different... and a bully is simply a predator who uses threats and intimidation to frighten their victim into submission. And like any predator, they prefer easy targets.

What I'll explain now is a primal strategy for dealing with a bully in the lead-up to a physical assault. It's not a self-defence strategy... it's an avoidance strategy... an attempt to prevent the situation from escalating into physical violence. The goal is simply to look and sound like a hard target

If you're teaching a young child, then I recommend that you do it in the form of a game... and repeat it as often as you can until they're confident. Confidence is the key to them applying it effectively.... and having permission from you to stand up for themselves! 

You can start by teaching them to :
  1. step back away with either foot to create a narrow side-on position
  2. extend their lead hand forward as a stop sign, and in a firm voice say "No! Stay back!"
If you eventually want or need to take things to the next level, you can teach them to :
  1. place both hands on the bully's upper chest
  2. step forward to use their leg muscles to push the bully away (a strong push not a strike)
  3. and again say "No! Stay back!"

For tweens (aged 10 to 12) and teens (13 and up), the confrontation becomes more involved.... and the potential for life-long emotional scarring increases significantly. So it's important that they understand the tactics that a bully/predator will use, and why.

Firstly, it's important to remember that a bully wants to frighten their victim into submission... and to do that they will move in close and use threats and intimidation. So as best you can, you need to come across as looking and sounding like a hard target.

Note : Using the 'Stop' hand gesture is not going to be effective for a tween or a teen, simply because a seasoned bully is going to see that gesture as a sign of weakness.

So with that in mind, the following sequence would be the kind of scenario that a tween or a teen needs to practice :
  1. firstly, when the bully approaches you, immediately open the distance to 4-6 feet
  2. stand side-on and extend your hands forward as a natural defensive-barrier
  3. look them in the eyes, and in a firm voice say something like "What do you want?"
  4. they will try to close the distance again, and when they do, firmly push them back away
  5. then adopt a primal threat indicator (serious intent, chin down, point with one finger)... and in an aggressive tone of voice tell them to "Stay back!" or "Back off!"

Whatever words your child feels comfortable saying, they should practice them so that they come out automatically and confidently.  Practice in front of a mirror if possible... and keep in mind that the goal is to look and sound like a hard target.  That might take a bit of practice! 

Now let's review the 5 simple de-escalation tactics I listed above : 
  1. open the distance
  2. create a defensive barrier
  3. engage them verbally
  4. push them back away with both hands if you have to
  5. and adopt a primal threat indicator to show them that you're a hard target.
It's important to understand that it's only at this point that self-defence techniques come into play.  Up to now it's all been about applying de-escalation tactics in the hope of avoiding a physical confrontation.  And hopefully your child has made the bully think twice about attacking them.

If your child already knows some martial arts techniques, it's vital that their practice sessions include a reality-based scenario like the one above.  Over my thirty years of studying and teaching martial arts I've known many 'traditionalists' who were set-up and knocked down, simply because they didn't understand a predator's intention and tactics.

Below is a link to a post that was specifically written for parents and teenagers... so they could appreciate the realities of a violent confrontation. Whether you're a mum or a dad, please find the time to read it... because the bullies of today become the street predators of tomorrow!

 It's Primal Protection.

Click on this post link below for more insight to help teenage children :
"But mum, dad - that won't happen to me!"