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Violent Robber Sucker Punches Clerk

Protecting yourself from a robber requires Active Self Protection both before and during the incident. What would you have done if you were this clerk?

Original video and news story, part 1: http://get-asp.com/987c

Original video and news story, part 2: http://get-asp.com/x3sv

How do I protect myself from a robber?

1. Transitional spaces are places where we MUST be more careful of potential attack. A transitional space is any location that (1) allows attackers to prey on potential victims with an element of surprise and (2) provides ready escape for the attackers. Convenience stores are built purposefully as transitional spaces and must be treated as such, so if you have to work in one, beware of what that means!

2. Situational awareness is your best friend. It doesn’t mean that you always are paranoid or living in “condition orange,” but it does mean that you know Col. Cooper’s color code of awareness and you live by it. Pay attention to your surroundings, and recognize that when you’re in public places you need to be more aware of your surroundings than when you’re in private. In this case, the clerk allowed the register to take his entire awareness and it allowed the robber to launch his attack from ambush.

3. In any territorial or predatorial violence, the attacker gets to set the time and circumstances of the attack. They will almost always launch that attack from ambush, or as we like to call it in Kenpo, from “obscurity.” Surviving that ambush is one of the most important keys to successfully defending yourself. This robber launched his attack when he had the advantage, which is when they will happen.

4. Empty-handed skills are absolutely critical for self-defenders. First of all, more conflicts you will encounter as a self-defender will require empty-handed skills than will require firearms skills, simply because more self-defense encounters are physical than deadly. Second, since a firearm is a tool of last resort, self-defenders need to have non-lethal options that include empty-handed skills to protect themselves from likely incidents. Third, in the moment of the encounter you may not have the time to get to your gun before you can fight your way to it. This clerk, had he had a gun, would have had to fight his way to it to stop the robber.

5. To defend against this kind of attack, you need emotional fitness. Emotional fitness is defined as the ability to internally represent a situation or predicament to yourself in such a way as to make you strong and able to successfully defend yourself against it. Repeated practice and thousands of reps of sparring and self-defense absolutely build your emotional fitness to be able to handle whatever comes your way.

6. As well-meaning as police officers are, they cannot protect you from danger. As the old adage says, “When seconds count, the police are only minutes away!” You—and ONLY you—can protect yourself from danger when it comes upon you. A police response time of 5 minutes is considered perfectly acceptable in most suburban departments, and times upwards of 30 minutes can be the norm in rural areas! You need to have the attitude, skills, and plan to protect yourself from harm because the police simply can’t.

Attitude. Skills. Plan.

(music in the intro and outro courtesy of http://www.bensound.com)

Concealed Machete Used In Motorcycle Theft

How would you have responded to this man pulling a machete out from concealment like that? I think that it would take some significant Active Self Protection to be emotionally and physically ready to successfully defend yourself in this instance. So could you?

Original video: http://get-asp.com/o3lc

How could I protect myself against someone with a machete?

1. Situational awareness is your best friend. It doesn’t mean that you always are paranoid or living in “condition orange,” but it does mean that you know Col. Cooper’s color code of awareness and you live by it. Pay attention to your surroundings, and recognize that when you’re in public places you need to be more aware of your surroundings than when you’re in private. Awareness might have kept these guys out of danger by not getting in range of the thieves to begin with.

2. Empty-handed skills are absolutely critical for self-defenders. First of all, more conflicts you will encounter as a self-defender will require empty-handed skills than will require firearms skills, simply because more self-defense encounters are physical than deadly. Second, since a firearm is a tool of last resort, self-defenders need to have non-lethal options that include empty-handed skills to protect themselves from likely incidents. Third, in the moment of the encounter you may not have the time to get to your gun before you can fight your way to it. In the moment against a man with a machete who could swing imminently, it would be very difficult to get to a firearm. Better to deal with the immediate problem with your hands, then get some range, and THEN get to the firearm.

3. To defend against this kind of attack, you need emotional fitness. Emotional fitness is defined as the ability to internally represent a situation or predicament to yourself in such a way as to make you strong and able to successfully defend yourself against it. Repeated practice and thousands of reps of sparring and self-defense absolutely build your emotional fitness to be able to handle whatever comes your way.

4. We must never settle for being able to protect ourselves against a lone attacker because of how common multiple attacker engagements are. Rats travel in packs, so we must always be prepared to face multiple attackers! The man with the machete was only half the problem here!

5. Many attackers use their support or guard side arm as a gauging tool, holding their opponent with it to either guard their strong hand (with a force multiplier in it, often) or to put their intended victim at the preferred distance for their dominant hand to strike with maximum effect. You have to train repeatedly as a self-defender against the gauging arm so that you can deal with it before the dominant arm comes into play.
Attitude. Skills. Plan.

(music in the intro and outro courtesy of http://www.bensound.com)

Officer Involved Shooting In Missouri

Whenever there is an Officer Involved Shooting (OIS) caught on video we should work hard to see what Active Self Protection lessons we can glean from it. I think this officer did a fine job! Could you have won this fight?

Original video from the Columbia, MO POA: http://get-asp.com/8kom

News story with details of the incident and what led up to it: http://get-asp.com/wc9m

What does this Officer Involved Shooting teach LEO and CCW alike?

1. Even in a gunfight, empty-handed skills are important because many gunfights close to “extreme close quarters” or “bad breath distances.” Knowing how to protect your firearm from being taken, and how to win the fight that you’re actually in rather than the fight you want to be in, is crucial. This officer knew that he had no time initially to draw his gun; he had to win the fight he was in and earn his draw. That’s an important skill to drill again and again in a fight. Whether an Officer Involved Shooting or an armed robbery, empty-handed skills are key.

2. To defend against this kind of attack, you need emotional fitness. Emotional fitness is defined as the ability to internally represent a situation or predicament to yourself in such a way as to make you strong and able to successfully defend yourself against it. Repeated practice and thousands of reps of sparring and self-defense absolutely build your emotional fitness to be able to handle whatever comes your way. This officer was on his back, with a man trying to kill him, in a fight for his life. In that situation you need to be mentally strong first before physical skill takes any effect!

3. The human body is designed to take a ridiculous amount of punishment and still function. You can shoot someone multiple times and they can still pose a deadly threat! Even mortally wounded people can continue to pose a threat for several seconds to even minutes after being shot, so don’t think for a moment that shooting someone will necessarily immediately incapacitate them. That is Hollywood myth. If you read this story, the second officer (who didn’t get on camera) shot this attacker multiple times eventually, and he kept fighting and kept resisting. Those shots, in the back, were not incapacitating! In many an Officer Involved Shooting we see the same.

4. The Five Ds are a tool that we use at ASP to organize our training and preparation for defending ourselves against an armed attacker when we are not armed ourselves. (or if we are armed but outdrawn such that we must deal with the problem with our hands) Deflect, Dominate, Distract, Disarm, Disable. We pursue them from first to last, in order, to give us the best chance of successfully defending ourselves against an armed opponent. Deflect their force multiplier, Dominate as much as possible (best is the whole person, second is the arm with the tool, last is the tool itself), Distract the attacker (usually using pain, redirection, movement, etc.), Disarm the attacker, and Disable the attacker. We couldn’t see them on the camera in all their details, but we certainly saw deflect and disarm and disable.

5. Fights are physically demanding. Sure, a pure gunfight might last 10 seconds and not place a huge burden on you physically, but the vast majority of encounters we see here at ASP involve physical self-defense as well. Getting into a honest-to-goodness fight with someone is incredibly physically demanding, so being physically fit is an important part of maximizing your chances to protect yourself. Fit people are harder to beat and harder to kill! Get on the mat and spend 30 seconds brawling with someone trying to dominate you and see how winded you are!

6. As one of my martial arts mentors, Skip Hancock, is fond of saying, the ground must be your friend and not your enemy. You must know how to fight on the ground and not panic if the fight goes to the ground! You must have skills from bottom position, from top position, and in the scramble. You must be able to regain your feet and fight from wherever you find yourself. Too many fights require this skill to ignore it!

Attitude. Skills. Plan.

(music in the intro and outro courtesy of http://www.bensound.com)

Guard Murdered During Armed Robbery

You certainly can’t win every fight, but practicing Active Self Protection can help you to have the best chance to survive. This is as true in an armed robbery as any other situation. How much training have you done against multiple attackers?

Original video: http://get-asp.com/oira

News story with some scant details: http://get-asp.com/2pif

How do I protect myself during an armed robbery?

1. Situational awareness is your best friend. It doesn’t mean that you always are paranoid or living in “condition orange,” but it does mean that you know Col. Cooper’s color code of awareness and you live by it. Pay attention to your surroundings, and recognize that when you’re in public places you need to be more aware of your surroundings than when you’re in private. Especially when you encounter danger, you’ve got to recognize that there is likely MORE danger that you haven’t seen yet, and keep your head on a swivel! When you are involved in an armed robbery there is always more danger around than you are ready for.

2. Empty-handed skills are absolutely critical for self-defenders. First of all, more conflicts you will encounter as a self-defender will require empty-handed skills than will require firearms skills, simply because more self-defense encounters are physical than deadly. Second, since a firearm is a tool of last resort, self-defenders need to have non-lethal options that include empty-handed skills to protect themselves from likely incidents. Third, in the moment of the encounter you may not have the time to get to your gun before you can fight your way to it. Here the third part is most important, because this guard never had a chance to get to his gun. He needed to know how to end this fight immediately, using his hands, so that more danger didn’t come his way before he could respond to it.

3. The Bystander Effect is real. There were lots of people around here, but no one stepped in. You cannot count on anyone breaking the Bystander Effect to help you, especially if the attacker is armed and any help would be at a force deficit from it. Usually the best way to break the Bystander Effect is to have a force multiplication advantage, which is a great reason to keep your force multiplier on you at all times. There will by bystanders in almost every armed robbery, but you and only you can be counted on to protect yourself.

4. Spiritual fitness is an important part of Active Self Protection. You don’t often get any advance notice of the last day of your life, but we see over and over that self-defense isn’t a guarantee of winning every fight you might be placed in. You want to be at peace with God, because you’ll need that peace on the day that you meet Him. Since you can’t guarantee advanced notice, make peace today. I have no idea of this guard’s fitness in this area, but his lesson for all of us is valid.

Attitude. Skills. Plan.

(music in the intro and outro courtesy of www.bensound.com)

Officer Involved Shooting Caught On Video

This officer involved shooting in Costa Rica goes down in a hurry, but also contains some significant lessons for all of us, LEO and CCW alike. Could you have prevailed in this instance?

Original video: http://get-asp.com/tc7e

News story (Google Translate required): http://get-asp.com/c2xh

What does an officer involved shooting teach all of us about self-defense?

1. Marksmanship matters! The old saying is quite true: you can’t miss fast enough to win a gunfight. As a self-defender you need to practice and train to put your first shot on target as fast as you can, but the key is to put as many shots on target as possible. Thankfully, the armed robber’s first shot missed and the officer’s didn’t.

2. In a gunfight, movement is your friend. You must be ready not only to draw and fire, but to draw and fire while moving laterally, back, and diagonally. You simply will not stand still in a gunfight because it is against every instinct you have when in mortal danger! People who focus too much on stance or isosceles vs. Weaver forget this fact, but as self-defenders we must know that we will be moving. So practice and train movement on the draw and fire. This is a great reason to have airsoft trainers and practice draw and move in your dry-fire regimen as well. In this instance we can see from the officer that the second the shooting started, he started running. You need to train to move while you shoot so that in the real thing you do so smartly.

3. Transitional spaces are places where we MUST be more careful of potential attack. A transitional space is any location that (1) allows attackers to prey on potential victims with an element of surprise and (2) provides ready escape for the attackers. I am guessing that this cop wasn’t looking to be involved in an officer involved shooting that day, but as he came through the door of the establishment he walked right into one! When you’re approaching a transitional space, be aware of what is going on inside and outside so that you’re ready for what might come.

4. The human body is designed to take a ridiculous amount of punishment and still function. You can shoot someone multiple times and they can still pose a deadly threat! Even mortally wounded people can continue to pose a threat for several seconds to even minutes after being shot, so don’t think for a moment that shooting someone will necessarily immediately incapacitate them. That is Hollywood myth. In this instance the mortally wounded attacker was still able to chase the officer down for perhaps 5 or 6 seconds after being shot. Lesson: shoot until the threat stops!

5. Capacity matters. My rule of thumb is that I want a minimum of 5 rounds for each bad guy I might face, which accounts for 2 misses and 3 shots on target for each. (of course, you never want to miss…I am just accommodating me on my worst day) This officer involved shooting shows this principle as well, in that the officer took 8 shots just at this one suspect. If he was shooting a 1911, he was out. If he was shooting a neutered 10 round pistol, he had 3 left (considering he loaded a full mag plus one in the chamber). The lesson: carry the highest capacity firearm you can reasonably conceal, and keep a spare magazine with you if at all possible.

Attitude. Skills. Plan.

(music in the intro and outro courtesy of www.bensound.com)

Kidnapping Caught On Surveillance Camera

I think that this is the first actual kidnapping I have seen caught on camera at Active Self Protection. Could you have protected yourself from this kind of attack?

Original video: http://get-asp.com/cv1u

How do I protect myself from a kidnapping?

1. Never, ever, under any circumstances allow yourself to be taken to a second location. The odds of terrible things happening to you rise exponentially when an attacker is allowed to get you isolated and in private. You must make the decision that if an attacker tries to take you to a second location that you will fight to the death to prevent that. This takes spiritual fitness, the courage to know what you’re willing to fight for.

2. Situational awareness is your best friend. It doesn’t mean that you always are paranoid or living in “condition orange,” but it does mean that you know Col. Cooper’s color code of awareness and you live by it. This couple certainly needed it! Pay attention to your surroundings, and recognize that when you’re in public places you need to be more aware of your surroundings than when you’re in private. If you are paying attention to your world you are much harder to ambush.

3. Transitional spaces are places where we MUST be more careful of potential attack. A transitional space is any location that (1) allows attackers to prey on potential victims with an element of surprise and (2) provides ready escape for the attackers. This is a transitional space because of the ease of approach and escape for the attackers; being on the roadside walking down the sidewalk is absolutely a time when you need to recognize there is an increased risk of danger. This certainly includes more than kidnapping; seeing cars coming can keep you from getting run over by a distracted driver as well!

4. To defend against this kind of attack, you need emotional fitness. Emotional fitness is defined as the ability to internally represent a situation or predicament to yourself in such a way as to make you strong and able to successfully defend yourself against it. Since kidnappings are something that most people don’t encounter often, it’s easy to get stuck in the “this isn’t happening” mindset. Instead, you have to be able to flip the switch in your mind that it IS happening and deal with it. Repeated practice and thousands of reps of sparring and self-defense absolutely build your emotional fitness to be able to handle whatever comes your way.

5. Empty-handed skills are absolutely critical for self-defenders. First of all, more conflicts you will encounter as a self-defender will require empty-handed skills than will require firearms skills, simply because more self-defense encounters are physical than deadly. Second, since a firearm is a tool of last resort, self-defenders need to have non-lethal options that include empty-handed skills to protect themselves from likely incidents. Third, in the moment of the encounter you may not have the time to get to your gun before you can fight your way to it. In this case, it’s the third reason that is most significant.

Attitude. Skills. Plan.

(music in the intro and outro courtesy of www.bensound.com)

Armed Robbers Surprise Victim On His Mobile

Honest question: how often do you allow your smartphone to make you unaware of your surroundings? This is what can happen when you allow your cell phone to steal your attention! Armed robbers love mobile phones because of how easy they make their job.

Original video: http://get-asp.com/9mav

How do I protect myself from armed robbers?

1. You must accept that danger exists and that it can happen to you. This is the foundational core of spiritual fitness and the first step in taking proactive steps to protect yourself and your loved ones. If you live in a fantasyland that nothing bad can happen because nothing bad has happened in the past, you’re setting yourself up for a terrible letdown.

2. Situational awareness is your best friend. It doesn’t mean that you always are paranoid or living in “condition orange,” but it does mean that you know Col. Cooper’s color code of awareness and you live by it. Pay attention to your surroundings, and recognize that when you’re in public places you need to be more aware of your surroundings than when you’re in private. This man didn’t pay attention in a public place and it put him in far more danger than was necessary.

3. Transitional spaces are places where we MUST be more careful of potential attack. A transitional space is any location that (1) allows attackers to prey on potential victims with an element of surprise and (2) provides ready escape for the attackers. In this case, we must realize that a bar is a transitional space because of the large number of people who are coming and going, making for more opportunities for ambush by attackers. Our mobile makes us easier to ambush as well.

4. Your mobile phone is a useful tool but a dangerous one. It can be used to communicate, to get emergency help to you, and to avoid problems altogether in numerous ways. It can also be a very dangerous distraction, because it is designed purposefully to grasp our undivided attention and hold it. When in public, use your mobile sparingly and correctly. Don’t allow it to hold your attention for more than 20-30 seconds at a time, and hold it high so that your head is up and you can see past it to what is going on around you. This victim is a perfect example of what the mobile phone can do to our awareness, so learn from his negative example!

Attitude. Skills. Plan.

Unaware Woman Walks Right Into A Mugging

This woman definitely wasn’t practicing Active Self Protection, but her mugging at least teaches us some important lessons to keep ourselves safe. How would you have protected yourself in her situation?

Original video and details from Camden PD: http://get-asp.com/a9rd

How do I protect myself from a mugging?

1. The main lesson in this video is situational awareness. When you’re in public you must be aware of your surroundings and do appropriate threat assessment of anyone else you encounter. This mugging was telegraphed a long way away, but she walked into it because she wasn’t doing any threat assessment and wasn’t aware of her surroundings at all. We must be better than that!

2. Your car becomes a transitional space every time you get in or out of it. Remember, a transitional space is any location that (1) allows attackers to prey on potential victims with an element of surprise and (2) provides ready escape for the attackers. Because we are often preoccupied when entering or exiting the vehicle, the car becomes an easy place for attack. When you’re approaching transitional spaces, you need to be MORE aware and ready for what might come your way.

3. This woman might have been able to see this mugging coming from as much as 25 yards away. The earlier you see the potential problem, the more options you have to protect yourself! Had she seen the potential mugging coming from 25 yards she could have stopped with her child and avoided it entirely. As she approached the vehicle and saw it, she could have responded definitively at about 7 yards and had lots of options to use her voice or get to her force multiplier. But when she saw it as he attacked her, she had almost no options at all.

4. You should practice hand-fighting with a purse on you or a bag slung if you ever sling a bag or purse, because the ability to throw your balance and posture off is significant and can really affect your ability to protect yourself.

5. Also, do NOT keep your firearm in your purse if it’s at all possible. If she had a firearm in her purse, it could not have helped her once the mugging started because she couldn’t have gotten to it. So keep your force multiplier on your person if at all possible!

Attitude. Skills. Plan.

Two Police Officers Murdered In Cold Blood On Camera

Are you ready in the moment to fight like your life depends on it? Are you ready at the end of that fight, no matter how hard you tried, to meet your Maker? Of course, we never want to see police officers murdered, or anyone else for that matter. At Active Self Protection, both concepts are important, and these officers needed both in their moment of need.

News story: http://get-asp.com/9mf8

Original videos: http://get-asp.com/alks and http://get-asp.com/nnpe

What do we learn from these police officers murdered?

1. Spiritual fitness is important, ASPers. There is nothing you can do apart from living on a deserted island to completely prevent an ambush from getting you, so you need to be at peace with God as a self-defender.

2. Situational awareness is critical to all self-defenders. These two police officers murdered both gave up their awareness at the same time, and that was a major factor in their deaths. If you have a partner (be it a fellow officer or a spouse or your BFF) with you, then you can at times give primary responsibility to one or the other to allow one to “check out” for a bit. The key is not to let both check out at once!

3. The first officer complied and died anyway. The second officer tried to fight back, and died as well. No strategy is fool-proof. At least the second officer went down fighting! Neither was an acceptable outcome, but the second one had a chance of succeeding at least.

4. The problem for the first officer was that when he felt the gun at his head, his reaction was to cower. There are plenty of solutions to this problem if you’ve got the Attitude, Skills, and Plan to execute them, but if you’re not practiced and drilled and competent you’ll hesitate like this man did, and unfortunately likely die.

5. The problem for the second officer was twofold: (1) he had two and at one point three guns on him, and (2) he tried to draw on a drawn gun. That’s a dying man’s game for sure, but he might have stood a chance had he moved IN on the gun and practiced the Five Ds, using the first murderer as a shield between him and the others. It is low probability, but he was a dead man anyway so some chance is better than none!

Attitude. Skills. Plan.

Navy Veteran Brutally Assaulted From Behind

What do you see in this video that you can use for your own Active Self Protection? This man was assaulted from behind in what looks like a random attack, but it definitely shows us some important reminders as we seek to protect ourselves.

Original video: http://get-asp.com/kh51

News story with details (there’s a reward for finding the perp): http://get-asp.com/y4pw

How do I protect myself from being assaulted?

1. This video is all about situational awareness. You must know what is going on around you, and that means using your eyes as well as your ears. If you watch the original video, after awhile the man gets up and you can see that he has headphones in. If you have both headphones in, you’re much less aware. Always think about your awareness when you’re out in public!

2. It takes great emotional fitness to be able to weather the storm and stay in a mental place to protect yourself after you’ve been attacked. The best ways to build that emotional fitness are (1) being physically fit, and (2) sparring a lot on the training mat, taking some good licks, and staying in the fight. These experiences give you points of reference to be able to weather the storm and stay in the fight.

3. Random evil exists, and the first step to covering your ASP is recognizing that it does and then being willing to protect yourself from it. Make that decision for yourself today and start training to defend yourself.

4. We don’t have the context behind this. It might be random, in which case the main lesson is awareness. It might have been precipitated by a confrontation on a train car or the station, in which case there could be some more to say about being aware of threats before they become physical and de-escalating them. Without more story we just don’t know, but it’s safe to say that we should all be aware that conflicts escalate and so avoiding them is wise.

Attitude. Skills. Plan.