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.

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.

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.

This is Why Your Defensive Skills Need To Be Sharp

While compliance may not get you what you want in an armed robbery, at Active Self Protection we talk about attitude, SKILLS, and PLAN for a reason. Do you have the skills and plan to win the fight in confrontations like these?

Original of first clip:

Original of second clip:

Why are my defensive skills so important?

1. Attitude is the foundation of everything we do at ASP. (I study martial arts at Attitude First Martial Arts Academy, which should tell you a lot about how I view attitude!) These men both had the attitude that they would stop their attackers from harming them, and that is tremendous. However, it’s not enough on its own! Attitude is FIRST, but it is not ALONE.

2. To successfully defend yourself, you need skills. The first clip required skills using a long stick like a pool cue as well as empty-handed skills and skills for dealing with multiple attackers. Those skills don’t come overnight and they require an investment of time and money and attention. The second clip required firearm skills, draw and shoot skills, and movement skills. While many people think they’re easier to acquire, in reality they are perishable skills that need constant practice and training. You can’t do that at home exclusively; you need to sit under the teaching of a competent teacher to hone your skills!

3. Once attitude and skills are sharp, it’s time to focus on the plan. Do you have a heart and plan in place to take the fight to the bad guy with ferocity? If you have time, like the guy in the first clip did, can you formulate your desired plan of attack and then carry it out? Just “I will hit him with my cue” isn’t enough…you need a path to total victory! Do you have a plan that you’ve trained if your blaster pukes in a gunfight? Can you overcome that problem, or if your gun doesn’t go bang are you dead? That’s an important question to ask.

4. The bottom line in this is that these clips must lead us to a place where we make defensive training an important part of our lives. As Dave Grossman has famously said in his book “On Combat”, “Do not expect the combat fairy to come bonk you with the combat wand and suddenly make you capable of doing things that you never rehearsed before. It will not happen.” Don’t it back and think that you’ll rise to the occasion, because you won’t. Train like you will get the worst you have in the moment, and make that as good as it can possibly be so that you have a chance to come out alive.

Attitude. Skills. Plan.

GRAPHIC: Real-Life Knife Attacks Caught On Video


WARNING: GRAPHIC. Are you prepared for a real knife attack? Not a Hollywood scene, but a real life, honest-to-goodness knife attack? An awful lot of training I see out there is directed towards single attacks and telegraphed movement, but Active Self Protection exists to realities of attacks so that we can learn how to defend ourselves from what really happens.


Video Download

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Guest Message

Video Lessons

How do I protect myself against a knife?

  1. It takes great emotional fitness to really survive a knife attack when you’re unarmed. Emotional fitness, the ability to present a situation to ourselves so as to strengthen our inner self to face and overcome the situation, can be trained and must be maximized. It is scary stuff to fight against a knife-wielding attacker, but doing it in training again and again can give us confidence and inner strength to do so successfully. So hit the mat!
  2. Recognize that real-life knife attacks are fast, brutal, repeated, and not telegraphed. I see a lot of “knife techniques” in martial arts and combative schools taught against a single thrust with the assumption that the defender will stop the attack and disarm the attacker on the first strike, but that is not really realistic in my opinion unless you’re a master who gets really lucky as well. The best you can probably hope for in real life is to deflect the first attack and buy a brief moment to weather the ambush and regain composure for the second strike that is coming immediately.
  3. The Five Ds are the larger general principle to work on when facing an armed opponent, and this holds true for knife attacks again and again. Deflect, Dominate, Distract, Disarm, Disable. If you practice them as principles to prioritize in self-defense they will certainly help you in a real fight.
  4. Empty-handed skills are crucial in surviving a knife attack. I carry a firearm every day and recommend that you do, too, but there is no way that you will be able to immediately draw a firearm in this kind of attack. You must have empty-handed skills to weather the ambush to get to your gun!
  5. Spiritual fitness is the foundational fitness and the foundation of covering your ASP. Several of these victims simply didn’t survive the ambush, and there is no guarantee any of us will either in a real ambush against a knife-wielding attacker. Make peace with God so that if today is your day to meet your Creator, you’re ready! And then train like you want that meeting to be a long ways down the road.

Student Bonuses

These are the Student Bonuses

Teaching Points

These are the Teaching Points

Disabled Does Not Mean Defenseless!

At Active Self Protection we talk about disabled self defense with some regularity. You’ve got to be your own self-defender, and this guy certainly was!


The interview with the good guy is awesome: What a stud!

More on the story here:

What does disabled self defense look like?

1. All self-defense starts with attitude. I love the interview with Larry, the Good Samaritan. I love that he says he is just doing what he was raised to do, which is help people. The baseline of all self-defense, let alone disabled self defense, is an attitude that says that you are worth protecting and that everyone has value, worth, and dignity. Attitude First!


2. I love that the defender did not consider his disability (which he got from an ATV accident a decade before) a detriment. He had the ability to protect himself and the clerk who was being assaulted by the robber, and he did. Self-defense is about what you CAN do, not about what you CAN’T do. So work with what you have! Paraplegic? Learn to use your arms effectively. Missing a hand? Use your other, your legs, and whatever you have. It’s all about what you have, not about what you might not.

3. The good guy had some skills here. Some might think that his skills were lacking because the guy got out of his holds, but any jiu jitsu practitioner can tell you that holds and locks are much tougher against a non-compliant opponent. He did what he needed to do to get the robber off the woman, and his skills were good! He had a rear naked and a guillotine in there at one point.


4. The other shoppers didn’t fall victim to the Bystander Effect, and that’s tremendous. Because the first person stepped in, the others were spurred to action. Frankly, if you see a guy in a wheelchair stepping in and you don’t help him, shame on you! These other people stepped in and lent a hand as well, which is fantastic. Perhaps they could use some work on their swarm tactics, but that’s forgivable at this point.

5. Convenience stores are transitional spaces. Be extra careful in transitional spaces because they are frequent places of danger. When you’re in transitional spaces, be careful!

Attitude. Skills. Plan.