Two Armed Robbers Show a New Tactic in Armed Robberies

These armed robbers give those who practice Active Self Protection a different threat and different necessary response. There are important lessons to learn here!

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Original video with some details from Dayton:


Original video from San Jose, CA was found on the SJPD Facebook page but has since been deleted.


How do I protect myself from armed robbers?


  1. One of the five pillars of lawful, moral self-defense is “imminence” (get a nutshell here: or the whole concept here: Imminence means the threat is happening RIGHT NOW, that it’s neither too late nor too early for you to defend yourself! The standard of imminence is seen as a triad of ability, opportunity, and jeopardy (also known as the AOJ triad, which is explained here: The question is whether these armed robbers, who showed that they had firearms but didn’t actively point them, met the triad. Clearly they had ability (they could hurt their victims) and opportunity (they were in range), but were they in jeopardy? This depends on jurisdiction, but the answer here is likely YES. The armed robbers had both shown intent to do harm by threatening with the firearms if their demands weren’t met, meaning that the victims WERE in imminent jeopardy of grievous bodily harm or death.


  1. 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. These victims certainly weren’t on the offensive, and armed robbers always attack when it’s best for them. This puts defenders on defense and on the reaction, which is a disadvantage we must plan for in our training.


  1. Do not stay in the danger zone if you can possibly help it. So many times people get decision paralysis and freeze, but you cannot stay in a place where a deadly threat exists! Either act to leave the area, or act to protect yourself. Every second you give an attacker is another opportunity they have to do you and yours harm, so don’t allow that. If you can, get out of there immediately. If you can’t, then look for your opportunity to ensure your own safety by whatever means necessary. The woman in the Dayton armed robbery did a good job of exiting the danger zone as soon as she could! Armed robbers are unpredictable, so don’t stay where they might hurt you if you can help it.


  1. In the moment that armed robbers attack you, you must look for your opportunity to protect yourself. It is strongly possible that the moment of the attack is not that moment. You want to wait for the time that the armed robber is not focusing on you to act with decisiveness to protect yourself.


  1. If you do not have the attitude, skills, and plan to protect yourself from an attacker, then your only option is to submit to their demands and hope it works out for the best. I would never suggest that a helpless person try to defend themselves against a carjacking or armed robbery, though of course if it’s a matter of life and death you must do whatever you can. The point, though, is not to be a helpless victim! This is the heart of Active Self Protection, to motivate you to train and help you develop the attitude, skills, and plan so that you can choose to protect yourself if it makes sense in the moment rather than being forced into compliance with a violent felon.


Attitude. Skills. Plan.


(music in the intro and outro courtesy of


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