GRAPHIC: Brutal Attempted Murder Caught On Camera

VERY GRAPHIC. Do not watch this one if you’re squeamish, everyone. We do not glorify violence or murder at Active Self Protection, but there are some valuable lessons here that we want to remind us all of. How would you have responded if this man walked into a store where you were? How would you have responded after he was attacked?

Original video with additional information:

What do we learn from this attempted murder?

1. This is a great reminder to all of us to keep an individual first aid kit (IFAK) on our person. Stopping bleeding is a high priority item because if you get to the hospital with a pulse (i.e. with some blood volume left) the chances of living are high! If you need one, I carry this kit: and augment it with some hemostatic:

2. Reading the story on this situation, the man actually lived. That’s incredible! It just shows us the incredible amount of injury that the human body can endure. Use that information to your advantage to help you cover your ASP by knowing that even if badly injured, you can live and can even continue to fight.

3. This is also a great reason to keep your firearm on your person. This man might have been able to protect himself if he had one, and if any of us saw this happen in public I would hope that we would step in to protect the man who was almost murdered. I couldn’t see a murder like that and just stand by!

4. Injuries cause your situational awareness to plummet, so it’s something you have to be aware of. Emotional fitness comes into play here in big ways as well, because the injuries cause our focus to turn internally and to ignore the dangers that might still be lurking. Training and knowing what it’s like to stay in the fight while in pain, lots of sparring and ground work and physical training, can help you prepare for the worst moment of your life.

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:

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.

Domestic Fight Breaks Out in Police Department Parking Lot

That old adage that “when seconds count, the police are only minutes away” is shown to be utterly true in this video. Even in the parking lot of a police department, your Active Self Protection is what stands between you and a beating when a fight breaks out. How would you have protected yourself in this instance?

Original video here:

News story on the incident here:

How do I protect myself when a fight breaks out?

1. It’s wise if you’re being followed by someone dangerous to head to the closest police precinct office (or equivalent), but make sure you get on the phone with them and let them know you’re coming so that they can meet you outside. Call 911 and tell them the situation and your description as well as the description of the person following you. This couple got to the PD, but not in time to prevent a significant assault because they didn’t phone ahead. The police aren’t psychic, so they don’t know what you don’t tell them.

2. Lock your doors! Never leave your car doors unlocked. The problem in this instance might have been that the woman turned the truck off, which opened the door locks on the truck. Pay attention to your door locks and keep your doors locked, especially if you have any inclination that there might be a credible threat in your vicinity.

3. Empty-handed skills are a critical component of covering your ASP. When finally the fight breaks out, it was clear that the man in the red truck had no ability to really protect himself. If you’ve never trained, use this as your impetus to get to some martial arts or combatives training so that if you have to use your hands and feet to protect yourself, you have the skills to do so.

4. The couple in the red truck had been assaulted by the man in the Bronco and they thought he had shot at them. Turned out it was a pellet gun, but that kind of information was not something they could have had in the heat of the moment. If you’re facing an armed attacker, it’s a bad spot to be in to be unarmed yourself. So as your local laws allow, have a force multiplier like a firearm on you if at all possible. Heck, even a pepper spray would have been very effective when the guy in the Bronco opened the door of the truck!

Attitude. Skills. Plan.

Real Life Machete Attack Shows Five Ds Beautifully

Do you have the attitude, skills, and plan to engage a machete attack? You may not have the ability to draw a gun, but practicing Active Self Protection can help you if ever you need to fight this fight!

Original video here:×94

How do I protect myself against a machete attack?

1. Recognize that with any force multiplier, you want to control distance. You want ideally to stay out of range of the attackers force multiplier while being in range of yours! Obviously, staying outside of the range of the machete is a great idea because that machete can do great damage to you. As this video shows, though, if you can’t stay out of range, get inside the range of the force multiplier. This defender knew he had to get inside, and his double leg takedown got him in a range that the machete attack was ineffective because it couldn’t be swung effectively.

2. Ground skills are important. This machete attack changed with the defender changed levels and hit a perfect double leg takedown, then controlled his attacker from top position. Those skills come in very handy in a fight, so training takedowns and ground skills is important. Certainly, we would rather not be trapped on the ground in a public environment with potential unknown opponents, but as Skip Hancock is fond of saying, “the ground must be your friend and not your enemy.”

3. The Five Ds are significant in the successful ending of this machete attack. Deflect, Dominate, Distract, Disarm, Disable. This overarching strategy to fighting an attacker with a force multiplier isn’t designed to be thought through in the heat of the moment, but a training tool to engrain priorities when having to defend against attack. If you try to disarm before the first three, for instance, the chance of failure is high and the success rate is less. We see in the narration in the video that the defender practiced the Five Ds successfully to get himself out of danger and defeat his attacker.

Attitude. Skills. Plan.

This is why fighting back can help you survive

We talk a lot at Active Self Protection about being willing to defend yourself. So are you? One of these ladies was, and the other wasn’t, and while both were “okay,” I think the outcome from fighting back was preferable to not, personally. How about you?

Original of first video:

Original of second video: (WARNING: this site is very, very NSFW and filled with adult content…strongest warning possible)

Why should I fight back against a mugger?

1. First of all, you shouldn’t always fight back. Every situation is unique, and you must consider your attitude, skills, and plan in relation to the threat you face. I am not blaming these women for being victimized and not saying that the attackers were anything other than reprehensible for attacking them. If you don’t have the attitude, skills, and plan to protect yourself from an attacker then you’re at their mercy, which is not a place I want to be. If you want to defend yourself, though, read on.

2. That said, in studies of rape and attempted rape it has been shown that victims who resist are not at increased risk of the offender being physically violent ( for more) and that it has been shown to be effective at deterring rape attempts as well as fighting off attackers. Therefore, it is a wise strategy to be ready to defend yourself and resist an attacker.

3. As with any attacker, muggers are not looking for fights but for victims. When they meet significant resistance they often abandon their plans and flee. We certainly see that in the second clip, that when the woman mounted a semi-effective resistance the attacker broke off his attack and fled. Note, though, that I said that it requires a significant resistance. This cannot be a token resistance that hopes for the mugger to give up. You must commit to fighting back to the point of winning the fight and stopping the attack completely.

4. Of course, the presence of multiple attackers greatly increases the level of attitude, skills, and plan needed when fighting back. You learn these skills in the training center, so commit to empty-handed skills training!

5. Force multipliers are important tools for women to carry. (men, too, but these videos are both female victims) Against bigger, stronger, faster attackers a person really needs the most effective force multiplier they can have. A firearm is best, and if either of these woman had been armed the outcome could have been much different. If a firearm is not available, a pepper spray or a TASER or a knife would make them a far more formidable opponent than her bare hands. You’re a tool user, so carry tools!

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:

News story with details (there’s a reward for finding the perp):

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.

Motorcycle Jacking Caught On Video

Riding a motorcycle gives freedom, maneuverability, and fun. It’s also reason for practicing Active Self Protection, because a motorcycle jacking like this is easier to fall victim to than a carjacking. How could he have protected himself, do you think?

Original video:

News story with more on the incident:

How do I protect myself from a motorcycle jacking?

1. While in a car or on a motorcycle, recognize that stoplights are transitional spaces, especially in urban areas with a lot of foot traffic. 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. While moving, your car or bike is relatively safe from carjacking or motorcycle jacking. While stopped, you’re more vulnerable.

2. What this needs, then, starts with situational awareness. If you’re in an urban environment especially, be aware of pedestrians near where you are stopping. If possible, don’t stop your bike right next to the curb, but choose the middle lane or between cars (if lane splitting is legal in your city). Keeping some distance and an obstacle between you and danger is always wise.

3. I like my motorcycle and am loathe to scratch it, but if you’re attacked you’ve got to be willing to dump the bike to engage the attackers. A motorcycle jacking is not the time to worry about your chrome! If they steal the bike the chrome is gone anyway, so if you’re attacked you’ve got to have the emotional fitness to just let it go and defend yourself.

4. Multiple attackers are the norm more than the exception anymore, so make sure your training encompasses multiple attackers.

5. A force multiplier is a good thing to have along with you. A good pepper spray would have gone a long way here, if it was available and legal in his city.

Attitude. Skills. Plan.

“Unarmed” Man Becomes A Deadly Threat In An Instant

Do you know what your boundaries are in regards to when you would draw your firearm? When you’d use it? Practicing Active Self Protection means knowing when an encounter escalates from verbal to physical to deadly threat, and this showcases the truth of that!

Original video:

News story with more details on the incident:

How do I protect myself from an escalating deadly threat?

1. We must first recognize the changing nature of a confrontation. This applies well past LEO, to CCW holders as well. This situation started as a call about a man attacking a woman in the area, and this officer started very calm and verbal. The man quickly escalated it by retrieving an improvised weapon and attacking the officer with it. We must all know our boundaries regarding when we are willing to use deadly force to protect ourselves, and when a verbal altercation changes into a physical or even a deadly threat.

2. Movement in a gunfight is not just good; it is critical. You must be able to hit a target while it is moving and/or while you are moving. We almost NEVER see a gunfight where a person faces a deadly threat while standing still in a perfect isosceles stance and draws and fires. Far more often you will be in a compromised stance, moving. So learn to move! Move laterally, diagonally, and vertically. You must be able to move and shoot accurately, so hone that skill.

3. Spatial awareness is important. Knowing our environment (everything in us, on us, and around us) means knowing the best places to go if we have to move in a hurry. Officer Blanford did what he had to in the moment and I am not criticizing his action, so don’t hear me doing so. When he moved to his left, though, he got caught in a corner where he really had few movement options. After the suspect moved away, he did a great job getting behind the car (or where he could use it to maintain distance). If you can, know where your safety lies and try not to put yourself in a corner.

4. We train and practice to shoot until the threat stops. Officer Blanford executed an excellent double tap in this instance that was effective in getting the suspect to change course and stop his attack, and once the threat ended, Officer Blanford stopped shooting. We do not shoot to kill but to stop the threat. Once the deadly threat has been stopped, we stop shooting and re-assess our needs for follow-up actions.

5. An attacker can be a deadly threat from a long way away. You might feel safe when someone is 10 or 15 feet away, but they can close that distance remarkably fast. Officer Blanford had his firearm out and on target when the suspect charged him, and still he was able to close that 15 or so feet and pose a deadly threat before the officer could shoot. Don’t think that distance creates safety automatically!

6. Respect the LEO in your life and your town, because they’re making $18 an hour (that’s under $40,000 a year before overtime, friends) to deal with stuff like this.

Attitude. Skills. Plan.

Two Lessons In Facing Multiple Attackers

We see again and again that real-life Active Self Protection involves facing multiple attackers. So are you capable of protecting yourself? Train these principles on the mat to improve your skills and plan!

First video, with details on the incident:

Second video:

How do I protect myself from multiple attackers?

1. As a first point, we must reiterate that the best way to protect yourself from multiple attackers is to live a consistent lifestyle of avoidance, de-escalation, and escape. Your verbal judo must be strong, your willingness to avoid problems must be resolute, and your desire to escape potential danger must be honed. You win 100% of fights you don’t get into, and winning this kind of fight is difficult at best. Stay out if you possibly can!

2. If you can’t avoid the fight, then you need to begin the physical fight with attitude. All self-defense starts with attitude. The attitude that we always adopt is an attitude that we can and will stop the attackers from hurting us. (this is the core attitude we work from in Kenpo, taught to me by my teacher Lawrence Robinson and his teacher, Skip Hancock) Whether one or multiple attackers, we begin with the core truth that we have the right to protect ourselves from harm, and we will protect ourselves from harm.

3. The skill set necessary to protect yourself from multiple attackers is larger than the skill set necessary against a single attacker, which makes training important. You need to get on the mat and train! Skills necessary here include movement, multiple attacker engagement, awareness, and effective striking and manipulation of an attacker so that you can get them out of the fight quickly.

4. If you can, deal with one attacker at a time. Move so that you’re not in the middle and being swarmed, and take one down before quickly moving to the next. Use the principle of knocking the attackers “out of time” (or, in gun folk speak, disrupting their OODA loop) so that you can then transition to another attacker.

5. If you run, don’t just run away from the danger. Run TO something. Don’t simply run away. Run TO a place of better position where you can face fewer at once, or a higher spot to have an advantage, or to a doorway to go through to cause them to have to come one at a time. Run TO something.

6. This all requires good emotional fitness. Emotional fitness is the ability to internally present a situation to yourself such that you are powerful to successfully overcome it. To beat multiple attackers you must have strong emotional fitness!

Attitude. Skills. Plan.

Dash Cam Catches Road Rage in Toronto

Do you make a conscious decision to avoid road rage while driving? Practicing Active Self Protection means swallowing your pride so that situations like this don’t happen to you!

Original video with more information:

How do I protect myself from road rage?

1. Your ego is one of the most dangerous attributes you possess. While ego isn’t evil in and of itself, too much (as seen here) makes you need to be right and have your way. As Ed Parker, Sr. once said, the best way to win a fight is to let the other guy be right. Wave him in. Give him the right of way, or let him merge. Let go of the idea that you need to tell him what he did wrong and get him to admit he can’t drive.

2. Stay in your car. Exiting your vehicle is a normally a bad tactical move for many reasons! First, if the other guy is still in his car you’re at a huge disadvantage of force multipliers. Second if he isn’t, you’ve just accepted his invitation to fight and can’t rightly be called a self-defender anymore. You’re now in mutual combat. Stay in your car and, if he exits his, use the opportunity to drive away.

3. If for some reason you have to exit, such as an accident or you’re blocked in, do so knowing the gravity of the situation. You’re in DANGEROUS territory, so treat it as such. Keep your cool. Stay aware. Use de-escalation techniques and verbal judo to try to avoid the fight.

4. If he won’t be dissuaded, a force multiplier like a pepper spray is a good idea to have for these kinds of situations. A solid spray to the face will stop the fight for long enough for you to get back in the car, get out of there, and call 911. For the guy in the red car in this video, it would certainly have been preferable to the beating he took!

5. As a last resort against deadly force, I do recommend having a firearm on your person.

6. The guys who broke it up first had to overcome the Bystander Effect to do so, and that’s awesome that they did. They prevented this from becoming a really bad scenario. If you see this happening, be sure you know what you’re doing before you step in.

Attitude. Skills. Plan.