• Springtime, Mud, and Other Slippery Surfaces

    by: Dynamic Defensive Arts

    Happy spring!  Winter this year was brutal, but now we’ve officially hit spring season!  Sunnier days and increasingly warmer temperatures are here as well.

    On the down side, temperatures that shift dramatically and drop at night can still mean you may have to contend with ice, pooling water and muddy areas.  Basically that means that your footing can change from stable to slippery and back again in an instant depending on where you step next.  That can be quite troublesome in a self-defense situation.  You can’t be aware of everything all of the time – even with a fair amount of situational awareness training.

     An efficient reaction to a startled response can be hard enough to train into your brain and muscles without having to worry about slips and falls – but if you want your self-defense reactions to be effective, you need to have a back-up plan if you end up on the ground – whether it’s by force or by accident. 

     Ground defense is one of those topics that can create some debate.  Some insist on making ground defense a major part of their training.  Their view is that most if not all fights (self-defense situations) end up on the ground so ground defense should be a primary focus.  Others avoid ground defense training at every turn believing that their skill will always keep them on their feet. 

     I believe that if you are training to defend against real world scenarios - meaning multiple attackers, surprise attacks, uneven footing (dirt, gravel, stairs, etc.) - then you should have a least a basic understanding of defending yourself from the ground.

     Ground defense is part of our overall training here at Dynamic Defensive Arts.  The goal, if you are taken (or slip and fall) to the ground, is to use your training and experience to get back up on your feet; not to try to hold, pin, or lock your attacker.  By getting on your feet, you are better able to plan your defense and escape. And most are familiar with ground techniques from popular fighting competitions where there are rules and referees. In the real world, holding, pinning and locking could make you vulnerable to your attacker’s buddies; if you are busy committing a submission hold, there isn’t much you can do about multiple attackers before it’s too late!

     Remember, in an attack situation, this is self-defense plain and simple.  It is not a mixed form of martial arts, wrestling or any other sport style or competition.  You are not waiting for a referee to recognize a “tap out.”  Your attacker(s) will not fight fair.  Defend yourself on your feet, on your knees or on the ground, retrieve and be ready to use any weapons or improvised defensive tools (keys, pen cell phone, other), be ready to use them (if legally justified), recover to standing and get out of there!

     In any self-defense situation, the amount of space you have can give you more time to make the best decisions in rescuing yourself (in addition to anyone with you that you may feel responsible for!).  If the ground is slippery, you are not only at a disadvantage in enacting your defense, but also at a disadvantage for gaining traction in getting distance – the thing that will save you the most!

  • 4 Things You Need To Know About Kicking

    by: Dynamic Defensive Arts

    Kicking may seem like an easy enough thing to do.  After all, we’ve been kicking one way or another since we were kids playing Soccer, Kick Ball, etc.

    However when it comes to kicking for self-defense, there are more wrong ways than right ways to kick.  How you position your foot and/or toes, how to deliver effective power and speed, the correct angle of kick delivery - and not least of all - how to do all of this while maintaining balance is critical. 

     If you don’t deliver a kick correctly in a competition, you can lose the match.  If you don’t deliver a kick correctly when defending yourself, you could end up in the hospital or worse.  An attack on the street can force you to face multiple attackers, weapons or both in addition to several other life/safety threatening factors and any mistakes made can result in your attacker(s) gaining the advantage.

    The larger part of my experiences and training still have me believing that kicks should never go above one’s own belt line as there is a big difference between street defense and competition.  Kicking above the belt line, in my opinion, is extremely risky in a street attack. 

    Almost all kicks are a 4-step process.  Most people don’t think to break down the necessary steps of a kick to keep it quick, powerful, and most of all – in control.  The steps are not difficult, but would-be kickers should understand that the steps must be done in order as follows:

    1.  The Set Up. 
    Often this is simply picking up the knee of the kicking leg.  Almost all kicks originate from picking up the knee.  The angle of how the knee is picked up depends on the type of kick selected.

    2.  The Delivery. 
    This step is where power, speed, accuracy and balance need to come together not only for effecting the target, but also for controlling the kick during as well as after the impact.

    3.  The Recoil. 
    Recoil is where most practitioners can make a major mistake.  Targets move in the real world and Fight or Flight, fatigue, even anger can result in an uncontrollable kick - often resulting in the kicker falling forward – very often into the path of an opposing attack.  As said in Step #2, kicks need to be delivered with power, speed, accuracy, and balance so if a target moves, the kicker will not fall forward.  Rather they can choose to land forward or retract the kick altogether in favor of another response.  Just like any other strike, kicks should have sufficient recoil.  Much like cracking a whip, a kick has more shock wave, resulting in greater power, if it returns quickly after impact.

    4.  The Recovery. 
    This is simply returning the leg/foot to its original position.  If the foot is not replaced on the ground, a second kick will not have as much shock since the foot could not spring from the ground to help generate power.

    If you’re forced to defend yourself and you decide to use a kick, kick smart and don’t let emotion, adrenaline, or bad technique get the best of you.

    This is Jack from Dynamic Defensive Arts reminding you... "We don't do helpless!"

  • Springtime Defenses--Bring on the Rain!
    Springtime Defenses--Bring on the Rain! photo

    by: Dynamic Defensive Arts

    Umbrella Season has arrived

    Spring is here! Now that we are in April, I thought it might be a good time to discuss preparation for spring weather. After all, "April showers bring May flowers," so we need to prepare for wet weather. This is relevant for defensive tactics training because, as you know, our Improvised Defensive Tools (IDTs) are not designed to be objects of defense, but rather, they double as objects of defense.

    I suggest that now is the time to get out your umbrellas. Travel umbrellas are small enough that they can fit into the door pockets of vehicles and into a purse or backpack. You'll be glad to have it for two reasons: (1) It will help keep you dry, and (2) it may help keep you alive!

    All of my students know that a travel umbrella is light enough to wield - i.e. it can be swung rapidly - and is dense enough to cause damage to your attacker(s). An umbrella requires no special permit or license to have and can be taken almost anywhere - including your workplace - without fear of violating a policy.

    For those of you who are not yet students of Dynamic Defensive Arts, I caution you that this does require some specialized training to become proficient, and you must understand the legalities of using an object to defend one's self (or others) even if you know you are in the right!

    So get those umbrellas out and put them in an area that you have easy access to. I hope you won't need it for anything other than a shield for the rain.

    Good luck, and stay dry!

    This is Jack from Dynamic Defensive Arts reminding you... "We don't do helpless!"