Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Fans Direct - karate principles in action

You will also learn principles and concepts at Marty Martin Karate. Here is an example, "Fans direct, watch how Coach Martin integrates more material into the technique. Note there is a part 2 to this technique which can be found in Coach Martin's free video membership section. Go there now, join the free section for even more material.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Strikes are common attacks - learn to defend against them

You tried your best to talk your way out of a confrontation, suddenly here comes a punch – how will you respond? How many ways can someone throw a punch or punches at you? Let Coach Martin teach you what to do. Learn how to defend against an assailant who just swings wildly, throws a 1-2 punch or is more powerful than you are! “Punching Set One” demonstrates techniques which will provide you with an excellent beginning to defensive actions against just about any type punch an opponent can throw at you!!!

“Punching Set One” teaches you to defend against various punches and punching combinations. Learn to use angular footwork, combination kicks, spinning moves, left side combinations, both hard and soft style motion, defend against a more powerful opponent, different directional takedowns, and the use of a lethal “closing” move. Collectively, the techniques in this set will provide you with an excellent beginning to defensive actions against just about any punch an opponent can throw at you!!!

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Thursday, September 21, 2017

First aide for muscle cramps

Here in Florida we train year round, we have heat indexes that reach into the triple digits so its important our athletes are familiar with what heat cramps are and how to prevent them.

Muscle cramps are common and may be precipitated by prolonged physical activity, high heat and humidity (black flag conditions), dehydration and/or poor conditioning. Cramps are characterized by the sudden onset of moderately severe to incapacitating pain in the muscle belly and may progress to involve other adjacent muscle groups.

The first treatment consists of immediate re hydration with a fluid containing electrolytes. After beginning re hydration, further treatment should consist of grasping and applying pressure to the muscle belly and immediately stretch the muscle  until the cramp resolves. The calf muscle, for example, would be stretched by flexing the foot toward the head, whereas a thigh cramp would be treated by flexing the knee, bringing the foot to the buttocks. 

I personally use Herbalife Drive C7 which replenishes the electrolytes lost when I train hard. Gatorade is good too just watch the sugar content. And the king is drink lots of water so you don't get dehydrated in the first place. 

Coach Martin

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Circles of Glass

There is so much more to this technique than most students realize. In his classes Coach Martin teaches you how to use the "parts" of this technique to build your skills. Even more - in Coach Martin's fight skills material he teach's you how to integrate the jiu jitsu "arm clamp" to control the attacker and then feed that to a standing "arm crush" or a guillotine finish. Want to learn more explore Coach Martin's Fight Skills.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Self Defense Set One - Video on Demand

Someone grabs your shirt and gets in your face, an attacker twists your arm behind your back, an assailant grabs you by the throat – they are choking you…“Self Defense Set One” teaches you how to protect yourself against these attacks plus 17 more!!!  Don’t let yourself get beat up – Learn how to defend yourself!!! Learn step by step what to do with Coach Marty Martin as your personal instructor.

“Self Defense Set One” covers the following “grab art” defenses. Defend against; two hand grabs, single and two hand chokes, bear hugs, headlock, a full nelson, a tackle, a two hand push, shoulder grabs from the front, side and rear, three different wrist grabs, an arm lock, and even the handshake. Learn to use a “block” as a “clearing” move or “striking” action in the “opening” moves of your techniques. The “body” of each technique demonstrates how to use the counter striking actions of Coach Martin's Kenpo Jiu Jitsu.

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Monday, September 18, 2017

Black Belt Excellence for September part 3

Marty Martin Karate

Black Belt Excellence for September

The effects of dishonesty on others.

Begin this lesson by explaining to the students that someone’s dishonestly can often affect others. Tell the following story and then explain how telling a simple little lie can keep growing and can affect others as well.

One day Isabel told a little lie. She wasn’t suppose to feed her dinner to her dog, Barker, but she did, and when her mother came in and saw her plate all clean, Isabel said that she had eaten it all. That was a little lie, wasn’t it? The dinner was chicken, and Barker got a bone in his throat. Pretty soon he started to cough and snort and act very uncomfortable.

“Do you know what’s wrong with Barker?” asked Mother. “No,” said Isabel. That was another lie, wasn’t it? But Isabel had to do it so that Mother wouldn’t know she told the first lie. Mother looked in Barker’s mouth but couldn’t see anything. “Did Barker eat something, Isabel?” “I don’t know Mommy.” That was another lie, wasn’t it? But she didn’t want her mother to know about the first two lies.

Barker got worse, and Mother took him to the animal hospital. Isabel went too. “What happened to the dog?” asked the doctor. “We don’t know,” said Isabel. That was another lie, wasn’t it? But if Isabel had told, then Mother and the dog doctor would know she had lied before. The dog doctor said, “If it’s just a bone, we could get it out with an instrument, but it might be glass, so we may have to operate.”

Isabel decided it was time to tell the truth. She said, “It’s a bone, and I did know Barker ate it, and I didn’t eat all of my dinner, and I did give it to Barker, and I won’t tell lies anymore, because if you tell one, you might have to tell more and more.” Isabel started to cry, but her mother loved her and she decided she really would tell the truth from then on.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Wrist lock control and takedown

This wrist control takedown is part of Coach Martin's "Boxers Defense Series". In Coach Martin's fight skills classes he teaches students how to add the arm bar finish from standing, from mount to arm bar, from modified side mount to arm bar and if the opponent rolls away how to take the back for a rear naked choke finish. All part of Coach Martin's Kenpo Jiu Jitsu material.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Learn the "Key Set" of Karate

You’ve decided you need to defend yourself, you want to learn to defend yourself, but don’t where to start…the answer is right here… 

The “Key Set” establishes the foundation of blocking, striking and kicking combinations for beginners. This set developments and explores the basic responses to various types of straight line attacks from various directions. Developed just for beginning level martial art students these techniques provide you with the tools needed to respond in a variety of situations and prepare for next level of self defense training as taught by Coach Marty Martin.

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Monday, September 11, 2017

Black Belt Excellence for September part 2

Marty Martin Karate

Black Belt Excellence for September

Truth or Consequence

This is a game that can help children understand the long-term consequences of honesty are always better than the long-term consequences of dishonesty. Prepare pairs of index cards so that one side of each card in the pair describes two different courses of action – one honest and one dishonest – along with short-term consequences of each action. Fill out on the back side of the cards so that when the cards are flipped over the long-term consequences are revealed. Play this as a game, letting the students decide, by looking at the front sides of the cards only, which option they would take.


Front sides:
You are at the store buying something and the clerk gives you $30 too much change. You keep it. After all it was his mistake and not yours, you go to the mall and buy a new video game.


When the clerk gives you the $30 dollars, you tell him he gave you too much change and you give the $30 dollars back. As you leave you start thinking about the video game you could have bought.

Back sides:
You know the money wasn’t yours. You start to worry that the clerk will have to pay the store $30 out of his wages. Whenever you ride your bike, the new handle grips remind you that you were dishonest.


You feel good and strong inside because you were honest. Whenever you ride your bike you remember that you need handle grips, but you also remember you were honest.  

Friday, September 8, 2017

Elbow Injuries - excellent article from JJM

Elbow Injuries

I have been working with International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation for the last 14 years covering tournaments in the entire Western region of the United States. I have been privileged to have the opportunity, and over the years, I have seen a lot of injuries. My day is only busy when someone gets hurt or has been hurt and they are looking for information on how to manage their problem are. One of the most common areas that I get questions about is the elbow. It’s also the area of the body that is most frequently injured in competition (roughly 20% of the injuries we see). But the injuries are not always directly related to competition but also to training. This article will discuss elbow injuries, how to manage them, and how to prevent them.
An armbar, or armlock, is one of the most basic jiu-jitsu maneuvers, and usually one of the first submissions taught to you in class. It’s a submission attempt whereby the opponent wraps their legs around your armpit and neck from the front side while holding your arm between their legs in a hyperextended position. The lever arm is increased by grabbing the wrist and driving the hips up toward the ceiling. It can cause pain at any part of the elbow, but most commonly the pain is the medial (inside) part of the elbow.
Gripping Activities 
With the nature of the sport, gripping is a necessity to performance. Many successful jiu-jitsu practitioners discuss the importance of grip strength. Having good strength here may prevent your opponent or training partner from getting away from you. Gripping requires strength in your forearm and wrist flexors (muscles of the inside of the elbow), but also requires your wrist extensors (muscles on the outside of the elbow). It is also a normal human activity in which we grasp, push, and pull with for everyday undertakings.
The bone of the elbow consist of the humerus (upper arm bone) and the radius and ulna (forearm bones). These three bones also make up three joints in the elbow. All of these bones are considered long bones which means they can be used to provide leverage in the case when you get caught in an armlock. The motion that happens among these bones can be significant enough to affect all the way down into your wrist.
The ligaments hold the bones together along with the joint capsule. These two structures often blend together seamlessly. These structures are known as static restraints, meaning that they provide stability when no motion is happening. The ligaments of the elbow are primarily on the inside and outside of the elbow. On the outside, you have the radial collateral ligament (RCL) and the annular ligament. This annular ligament wraps around the radial head to allow you to turn your palm up and down like you are waving. The RCL provides stability to any forces that would push laterally (outwardly). The biggest ligament, and arguably the most important, is the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL). This ligament connects the humerus and ulna together and is very broad and long when compared to the RCL. It prevents force moving medially. This is the area of the elbow that is particularly vulnerable to armlocks and even Americana armlocks.
When armlocks occurs, it can also damage the muscular complex around the elbow. Flexion and extension (bending and extending) of the elbow after an armlock is often quite painful if damage happens but can also affect pronation and supination (turning palm down and palm up). When there is damage to the muscle or tendon complex, it can generate a muscle strain/pull or tendinopathy. These muscles create and can control motion at the elbow. These are known as dynamic restraints which means they provide stability when motion is occurring. When an armlock is applied, the muscle that are affected will likely be the biceps brachii, pronator teres, or other wrist flexors. This can also be dependent on the hand position and what is going on at the shoulder during the attack. For instance, if you are placed in a position where you shoulder is also extended behind you, a large amount of tension is placed through the long head of the biceps at the shoulder as it is being tensioned down at the elbow by the attack (shown right). Gripping activities or wrist extension will affect the extensor carpi radialis longus and brevis and extensor digitorum (wrist extensors). These are affected by overtraining or profound changes in your training schedule.
Mechanism of Injury
There are two primary mechanisms for elbow injuries in jiu-jitsu: the armlock and tendinopathy injuries due to unaccustomed activities/overtraining. Besides direct trauma, the tendon injuries happen from multiple causes. In men, it is frequent to see tendon injuries at the lateral elbow which is commonly referred to as “tennis elbow.” This can be due to muscle tightness in the elbow, wrist or hand, a recent change in training schedule, work ergonomics, or typing on a computer.
With the armlock, if your opponent is able to take the arm into the position of elbow extension and your thumb facing straight upward, then there is a risk of damage to the elbow joint capsule and elbow flexors (biceps brachii, brachialis, and brachioradialis). If your opponent moves your elbow into extension and then turns your palm upward, it makes it harder to finish the submission but does stress the medial (inside) part of the elbow. Then there is risk of damage at the UCL and pronator teres muscle. Lastly, if your opponent moves your elbow into extension and then turns your palm down, it also is harder to finish the submission and stresses the lateral (outside) part of the elbow. Then there is risk of damage at the RCL and lateral elbow muscles.
With such a submission, and the long lever force that is generated, there is an inherent potential for both fractures and dislocations. A dislocation can be more obvious because of the large deformity that usually exists, while a fracture can be less obvious. The only way you will know a fracture is to seek a physician consult for imaging study. The rule of thumb for fractures is when in doubt, go get it looked at. For both of these situations, medical intervention should be received for proper injury management to be certain there is no nerve damage or laxity (increased motion) into the elbow joint.
If the serious injuries, like dislocation and fracture, have been ruled out, then the injury can likely be managed conservatively. The worst thing you can do is ignore the injury. Most of these elbow injuries can be managed conservatively with four simple steps. It is best to implement these steps immediately and progressively, and if your problem exists without improvement beyond 7-10 days, then seek medical attention or your nearest physical therapy specialist for a thorough assessment.
1.  Control the pain and inflammation –Training should be halted here, or significantly modified, until these are under control. This can be achieved simply by applying ice to the area. Inflammation control is important because it creates muscle inhibition (makes muscles harder to function appropriately). Although inflammation is a necessary role for the body to heal correctly, excessive amounts are thought to prolong the recovery time. So early intervention is the best intervention here!! With ice, you can apply it to the injured area for 15-20 minutes only. Any longer than that and you risk making the inflammation worst. (This is a shout out to everyone who keeps ice on for an hour. Don’t do it!) If the elbow injury is severe enough, using a sling or elbow strap may be necessary for a short time to remove additional stresses to the injured elbow to reduce the pain and inflammation.
2.  Restore range of motion and increase muscle activation – Training should still be halted or modified here, but you should be attending class and work on the psychological part of your training. Mindfulness and meditation can be extremely beneficial here. It will also build team camaraderie. Range of motion can be achieved by simple range of motion movements by flexing and extending the elbow and also turning your palm up and down at the wrist repeatedly throughout the day. You do want to work within your comfort zone but know that bending and extending will be the most uncomfortable to start. So, go slow! If the movements produce big spikes in pain again, then you are likely going too far and need to back off. As your range of motion improves, then using a light hand weight or light resistance band to perform the same motions will work well. Proprioception, or joint position sense, is also imperative to retrain at this point. This can be achieved by assuming a push up position and holding for thirty seconds to one minute. You can take some of the load away by going onto your knees or doing this push up position on the wall. If it is painful, then it is likely too soon to do this. This needs to be done repeatedly throughout the day, working up to one to two minutes at a time.
For those that have lateral elbow pain with gripping, stretching the wrist flexors and hand muscles are very important. The wrist flexors get tight from the activities we do daily plus grabbing in jiu-jitsu. Wrist flexor stretches can be done by simply grasping your fingers with your opposite hand and pulling back while your elbow is straight. Another stretch that works great for this is called a lumbrical stretch. First make a hook grip with your fingers, use your opposite hand to extend your fingers over your big knuckles. You should feel this stretching into the palm of your hand. Hold for at least 30 seconds.
3.  Increase your strength and endurance –Training can start here but still be careful with who you train with and make them aware of your injury. The elbow muscles need to function appropriately to provide muscular stability and control to the injured elbow. If there is still inflammation, this can inhibit muscles from working, and then they must be retrained. Or they may not reactivate. Running can offer cardiovascular benefits, but muscular endurance of the elbow can be trained with loading activities (push-ups, hand walking, and pull-ups to name a few). Strengthening of the elbow can be achieved by progressing the resistance bands and hand weights to improve elbow flexion and extension strength and endurance. Don’t forget about pronation and supination. This can also be achieved by doing more big movement activities like push up variations which require more force production. But remember, never sacrifice QUALITY of movement for quantity. We often will recommend repeated movements for time rather than a number of reps. This way the focus is on the quality. Start slow and controlled and progress to faster but always use correct technique. 
For those that have lateral elbow pain with gripping, strengthening the wrist extensors with resistance bands and hand weights work well. Usually doing reps of 15-20 of #1-5 bands works well to address both strength and endurance of the lateral elbow muscles. You can also use a dowel with a weighted rope to address the strength in this area. And if you have one available, doing battle ropes up and down work great for the entire shoulder complex and wrist extensors with an overhand grip. Do this for 30 seconds to one minute and you will feel these muscles working.
4.  Increase your functional performance –At this point, you should be feeling great and have already been back to rolling and training. The light is at the end of the tunnel, but you are not quite there yet! This stage is the longest and the easiest for people to stop because they are feeling much better. You need to continue to address overall strength with complex movement activities like plyo push-ups, burpees, and plyo-ball exercises. You can progress from two arm activities to one handed loading activities, which will also challenge your core muscles. It is very important to continue working the proprioceptive of training with faster movements on your hands and dynamic stabilization activities. The more stable you are, the more efficient you will move.
A delay in treatment often leads to extended healing times and lost time with training and rolling. So get treatment right away to achieve the best outcome. If your injury does not progressively improve, you will need to seek intervention consult with a sports/orthopedic physician and/or physical therapist to properly rehabilitate this injury. Improper management of your injury will increase your risk of future injury. So finding a specialist to tend to your injury is very important in the long run. The specialist will be able to work with you and guide you toward the best outcome to match your goals.
Risk Reduction – Prevention
We know that the number one predictor for injury in jiu-jitsu is a previous injury. As mentioned previously, the ligaments and capsule are static restraints and the muscles and tendons are dynamic restraints. When both function as
Right elbow radiography. Open and closed position
required, good stability, motion, and strength at the joint can occur. However, if one or all of these structures are damaged in some way or do not function properly, then there is an increased risk to the joint and therefore for that athlete. Ligament laxity/damage can lead to an impaired joint motion, whether if it moves too much or not enough. This is where strength training and proprioceptive training are very important to continue. The same elements described in “Management” can be applied, particularly steps three and four. If you implement these into your training regimen, then you should see a significant reduction in your own risk of injury and less down time when you do get injured. Also, seeing a movement specialist to identify potential risk factors can be even more beneficial to look for these and then address them.
When it comes to jiu-jitsu, elbow injuries are the most commonly seen in competition. This information cannot necessarily be extrapolated to everyone who trains, but the rate is higher than everywhere else in the body. After an elbow injury, it’s possible to get back quickly by incorporating early intervention strategies for the injury, which often leads to better and faster outcomes. Strength training to regain muscle function and proprioceptive training to controlthe elbow are necessary for recovery. If not, you increase your risk of injury. When exercising, always stay in control. Start slow and progress to quicker movements. Remember that recovery is also an important part of functional performance so listen to your body. If you are feeling tired, then take a rest recovery day. And if your elbow injury is not progressing as it should, seek consult from your physical therapy specialist and/or physician to help get you on track and back to the mats as fast as possible. He/she will be able to give you quick recommendations and intervention after a thorough assessment to get you back quickly. Stay healthy… and see you on the mats!!!

Thursday, September 7, 2017


smith wesson handgun


Being prepared to carry a defensive firearm is not as simple as just going out and buying a gun. Much more is involved in being mentally and physically prepared to use a firearm. Photo: author
I’m not asking if you passed an arbitrary state minimum course or qualification course as an armed professional. I’m asking, are you really ready to carry a defensive firearm? Many people in both the civilian and professional worlds seem to believe that passing these minimum standards means they are ready — but that could not be further from the truth.
Much more training and study are required to get to the level you should attain prior to carrying a defensive firearm. You don’t need to be an expert shooter. In this article I explain what I believe your minimum level should be prior to carrying a defensive firearm.
I teach a lot of newer students who are taking a defensive handgun training class to obtain their concealed handgun license. Many of them are able to meet the requirement but in my opinion are not ready to carry. I am open about this with students and in certain situations have even told students, “Don’t carry a gun.” Here are a few things I think are important to prepare you beyond an arbitrary state minimum requirement.
Using deadly force to protect property or money is wrong regardless of legal issues. Photo: author
Using deadly force to protect property or money is wrong regardless of legal issues. Photo: author


Prior to carrying a defensive firearm, take a step back and check your reasons for carrying. If these reasons include to stop a robbery, protect your money, your car stereo, or any other personal property, you should not carry a defensive firearm. Trying to stop crime as a civilian is absurd. Your defensive firearm’s only mission is to protect you or others from a threat of serious bodily injury or death, not from financial loss. The financial, psychological, and social losses of using deadly force far outweigh any benefit, and killing someone over property is not acceptable in modern society.
Law enforcement officers do not get this luxury and are sent into the bad places to capture the bad people, but there are important notes for mentality in law enforcement as well. Many times law enforcement has trouble backing away from a situation to get help. The complacency of the “routine” domestic call or “routine” traffic stop, where the person is being verbally or physically non-compliant, can be a killer. Understanding that just because 100 people in the past eventually complied does not mean that the 101st is going to can save your life. 
Recently in my area, an LEO entered a room with a subject who had mental health issues and was believed to possibly have a handgun. The LEO left himself very exposed, and the subject used a pistol-shaped object under his shirt to convince the LEO he had a handgun. The incident ended with the LEO shooting and killing the suspect. I believe this LEO’s intentions were good and he didn’t think for a moment he would need to shoot the suspect. I am sure in his fairly lengthy law enforcement career he had been involved in many similar calls that ended peacefully. 
The fact that the LEO entered the room did not make it “wrong” that he shot the suspect, but this is a case where a life may have been saved had the LEO reconsidered entering the room. This is a perfect example of when using discretion and accepting that you cannot solve by yourself all the issues you will face is important knowledge to have. 
Reading On Combat is a great way to learn about the psychological and physiological effects of combat.
Reading On Combat is a great way to learn about the psychological and physiological effects of combat.
On the other end of the psychological spectrum is the person who is not capable of using their firearm. The act of killing another human is a difficult task mentally. This is especially true in close quarters, which is where your defensive encounter is most likely to occur as a civilian or in law enforcement patrol operations. You must mentally prepare yourself for the idea that by carrying a defensive firearm, you are accepting that you may need to take another human’s life. Using techniques such as visualization, realistic training targets, or reality-based training using Simunitions can help.
I suggest reading Lt. Col. Dave Grossman’s book On Combat to learn more about the psychology of killing in combat. It explains how you are affected mentally and physically in a fight and how you should prepare. Lt. Col. Grossman is also a PDN contributor and covers these topics in numerous videos here on the PDN site. 


Many people carry prior to being ready from a safety perspective. People often tell me they carry without a round in the chamber for safety reasons. I am always quick to tell those individuals that they are not ready to carry a handgun if they are not comfortable with the idea of a loaded chamber. Modern defensive pistols are made to only fire if the trigger is pressed. Specifically, striker-fired semi-automatics have nearly a 0% chance of going off unless the trigger is pressed. Many times I have seen someone fumble a draw and throw their gun, and never once has there been an issue with the gun going off. 
Why then do people feel the need to carry without a round chambered? I believe they are compensating for their lack of training and understanding, as well as attempting to cover themselves for their lack of trigger-finger discipline. Training yourself not to touch the trigger unless you are prepared for a bullet to leave the muzzle is the best way to prevent a negligent discharge. Your trigger finger should be high and away from the trigger and not visible from the other side of the handgun.
In every defensive handgun training class I teach, I have students with trigger-finger issues. I suggest to many of them that they practice where to place their finger – but not with their defensive firearm. Instead, get a toy gun or an airsoft gun. Hold it while you are watching TV or other such activities and make sure you maintain proper trigger-finger discipline. If you continue to have trouble, tape your finger in the proper position with first-aid tape. Continue doing this until it becomes natural to hold the pistol in this manner.
Law enforcement is by no means exempt from this rule. I have heard of departments that will not move to striker-fired guns due to worries of officers having negligent discharges. If an officer has issues with trigger-finger discipline, they are no more ready to carry a gun than the average citizen with the same issue. One department I know of with this issue carries a traditional double-action pistol that has a heavier first trigger press for this reason and will not make the switch. I have read research that shows the clenching of the hands when holding an object that is caused when the person is startled has been measured at up to 25 pounds. This far exceeds what is necessary to fire a double-action trigger. The answer is not a piece of equipment but more training for the officers who have the issue.
emergency medical kit
My everyday carry gear includes this basic trauma kit and combat tourniquet. Photo: author


I carry a firearm the vast majority of the time, but also a small trauma kit, including a tourniquet. I cannot stress enough how important medical training is. Even though I am a firearms instructor teaching defensive handgun training, I firmly believe medical training is more important. I routinely tell classes this and they look shocked. I remind them that although I have never had to shoot someone, I have had to render first aid many times. I hope it stays that way.
You are much more likely to need to bandage a wound, stop bleeding, or provide CPR than you are to shoot someone. If you are in the unlikely situation of shooting someone, your chances of needing this medical knowledge are extremely high as well. 
If you are carrying a defensive firearm to protect life, you should also know how to protect life through basic medical training.
For any medical gear you carry, open the package and learn where each item is located. Having the right equipment (bandages, hemostatic agent, et al) but not knowing where they are or how to use them means you waste valuable time. 
These students were in class to improve their skill levels. This was not a course to meet a state requirement. Students attended because they take their defensive handgun training seriously. 
Photo: author


Taking a single intro-level class or even a law enforcement qualification course by no means completely prepares you for carrying a defensive firearm. In fact I believe you can never be prepared enough. You should continue to train not only to increase your skill levels but to maintain them. Defensive shooting skills are perishable and you do not want to find out how many of those skills you have lost when you need them to save your life. 
I can personally attest to some loss of skills myself. A few years ago, I had more time for defensive handgun training and practice on a regular basis. But now being busy teaching and working full-time makes it hard to find time to practice. I have fit training into my schedule and can see a depreciation in my skill level. I am now making even more of an effort to seek out training myself to improve my skill level and knowledge. Even after taking a single class recently, I saw dramatic improvement. 
This does not necessarily mean you have to pay hundreds of dollars to train every month, but you should be out practicing defensive drills that you have learned in class to maintain and improve your proficiency. Taking a new class every month or even every three months may not give you the time required to become proficient in those skills. Learn the skills and practice them, then seek further knowledge rather than just bombarding your brain with a lot of different knowledge and not being able to ingrain it.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Universal block against roundhouse kick

What to do when someone who tries to kick you isn't covered very often in most self defense programs, however here is an example from Coach Martin




Another article from Personal Defense Network again supporting my view of why we training in several disciplines in all our classes.
                        Coach Martin
Standing on a line and developing your defensive shooting skills is important, but shouldn’t become your obsession. Photo: author
Commit yourself now to the reality of your responsibility to protect yourself and those you care about in a worst-case scenario. If you’re reading this, I assume you already think you’ve accepted that reality. But have you committed to being able to do it without your preferred tools? Have you committed to being able to do it outside of your pre-rehearsed scenarios? Have you committed to being able to fight, and empowering others to do so, regardless of the circumstances, simply because you must? 
Inside personal defense circles, I find many people who spend many hours and much money preparing to defend themselves, but very few who do so in a diversified way. I find very few who train in counter ambush methodology. Counterintuitively, I find that many of the people who spend the most money and time in areas of defensive training are the ones who become the most specialized and least likely to do well under circumstances they haven’t specifically prepared for. I’m talking now about people who have become training hobbyists — people who train, practice, and collect gear for the sake of those activities and the feelings of joy and accomplishment that doing so gives them. Let me explain.
unorthodox shooting positions
Diversifying your firearms training to include unorthodox positions is just the start of preparing to apply your marksmanship skills to defensive use. Photo: author


When I speak of people “least likely to do well,” understand that I consider “doing well” similar to “reaching your potential.” Competency in areas of personal defense is a subjective issue. Given any amount of strength, dexterity, stamina, visual acuity, intellectual processing power, and a host of other traits, a human being will have a higher or lower potential for the physical and mental skills of personal defense. Given any collection of gear, a person will have the potential for dealing with a specific variety of circumstances. Given any investment of training/practice resources (most importantly, time and money), a person should be close to reaching their potential in the application of their chosen skills, techniques, and tactics.
In order to have a clear idea of true potential, quantity and quality of all these assets must be accounted for. Someone with more strength will have a higher potential in certain areas of unarmed defense. Someone with a more reliable firearm will have a higher potential in the area of defensive gun use. Someone who spends a large amount of time training in an unrealistic way will not have as high a potential for skill application as someone who trains and practices with reality-based methods.
unarmed defense
Are you prepared to defend yourself against an armed threat in close quarters without using a firearm? You should be. Photo: author


Back to our hobbyists. There is nothing wrong with someone who enjoys training in a martial art for reasons other than self-defense. Traditional martial arts training yields many positive outcomes (dexterity, discipline, flexibility, etc) that are not specific to defensive use. Of course, it should be obvious that those traits could also be useful in defensive situations, but there is a difference between spending time training specifically for such a use and engaging in an endeavor that enhances defensive skills as a by-product.
In this regard, competition shooting can be viewed in the same way as traditional martial arts. Tens of thousands of people engage in competitive shooting every weekend across the country. Some of the shooters are very interested in defensive shooting skills, and some not at all. None of them are expending their resources in the best way possible to prepare for the defensive use of a firearm. Most are not using gear, nor using it in a way, that is best for purely defensive situations. 
A person who spends hours of free time in a gym and obsesses over eating healthily is going to be more physically fit. Again, there are defensive benefits, but the areas they spend the most time on may not be the areas best suited for personal defense. Certainly, if someone goes to an extreme in any area (marathon runners or body builders, for example), they may actually hurt themselves in some areas of defensive fitness. 
vehicle defense
Do you train to defend yourself in the settings you spend time, such as your workplace or your vehicle? Photo: author
Here’s the rub: The hobbyist who believes they are doing more than just enjoying an activity and the accomplishments that come directly from it might be mistakenly convincing themselves they are spending all their time and effort becoming more prepared … when they really aren’t. They may be ready for one specific defensive contingency, but poorly prepared for any variety of others. They may be a great “shooter” in a choreographed environment, but almost entirely unable to apply their skills efficiently when in unorthodox or dynamically changing situations (i.e., unable to reach their perceived potential). They may be outstanding martial artists in the context of their art, but entirely unprepared for a street fight without traditions, rules, and warnings. They may, tragically, be so falsely confident that they don’t take the appropriate steps to avoid conflict when possible, or they may even charge into a situation with the best of intentions and find themselves quickly in over their heads. 


As a guy known primarily as a defensive shooting instructor who runs dozens of defensive shooting courses a year, I can state that the worst hobbyist examples I see the most frequently are those who have spent a great deal of time and energy investing in their firearms and shooting skills with little regard for anything else. They have made minimal, if any, investment in unarmed skills, fitness, medical skills, thinking about improvised defensive techniques, tools and tactics for when the firearm isn’t available or fails, etc.
I also find that many of the most dedicated shooting hobbyists invest their firearms training resources in extraneous gear for specialized circumstances and the high-end shooting skills of the type that are rarely needed in defensive situations. By now, you realize I feel that many of those resources should be redirected to other pursuits.
medical gear for self defense
If you are skilled with a gun and/or well prepared in unarmed defense skills, you should own these items and know how to use them. Photo: author
It is also vital to expand the mindset beyond just firearms-related defense. There are many situations in which firearms are the best choice, some where they are mediocre, and many where they are wholly inappropriate choices. I think of situations like the spree killing in the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, where only a skilled firearms owner using some very specific tactics would likely have been successful in stopping the threat. There are also countless scenarios of sexual assault where the victim was surprised and would have needed to fight their way to their firearm with unarmed defense skills or were in situations where they knew and trusted their attacker prior to the assault and wouldn’t have had immediate access to a firearm. 


The key is to diversify not only your training, but also the way you train. Take a comprehensive approach to your personal defense preparation. Spread your training resource expenditures over a wide area of valuable areas. Spend more time in the areas that you are least prepared. It may not be as much fun as getting incrementally better in one area of skill, but you can often take huge leaps in capability very quickly in a new area of endeavor.
counter ambush book
While primarily focused on armed defense, the book Counter Ambush explains in great detail why diversifying your training and practice is important to preparing for application of your skills.
It may mean you need to train and practice with a new group of people. It may mean selling off some of your redundant gun or knife collection so you can afford the training and gear for non-lethal responses or rendering medical aid to yourself and those you care about. Ultimately, it may mean you are not outstanding in any one area of defensive skill but very capable of dealing with a wide variety of circumstances and situations that you could be ambushed with. 
You should also diversify your training. I have written and lectured extensively on the topic of counter ambush training, the concept that your training should involve the processing of information immediately prior to and concurrently with the execution of your tactics and techniques. You should be able to utilize your tools without expending much cognitive or sensory energy on them (like you drive your car every day) while you focus on the variables created in your practice environment to simulate the dynamic nature of a real-life defensive situation. Counter ambush training models are all reality based, in that they stress methods, gear, tactics, and skills that excel in unpredictable circumstances, not just in choreographed settings and drills. 
You cannot predict the exact way you may need to protect yourself. If you could, the best idea would be to avoid the situation entirely. The nature of self-defense demands diversification. It really is the most important thing you can do if you want to truly be prepared to meet the responsibility to protect yourself and those you care about.