Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Do You Know Karate? Instructional Fighting DVDs and You

Okay, I admit it: The ad copy for our Instructional Fighting DVDs can be a bit . . . extreme. That's why we use the phrase "more fun than Jackie Chan movies" to add a bit of levity. We know that the average, sane guy doesn't want to "slaughter" or "destroy" anyone, but the truth is that a little attention getting never hurt anyone. That's a fact, because this post is a response to the level of traffic our instructional DVD pages get.

That's why I want to take a moment to talk about self-defense training in straightforward language, without the, shall we say, "excitement" of the ad copy. How will you get the most out of an instructional video?

Exercise before Karate!

Lots of people buy self-defense DVDs because let's face it: There are big, strong guys out there that make us all kind of nervous. That's a bit of a clue - to be more confident, think about getting stronger! Work on your cardio. Go outside. Not everybody wants to be Mr. Universe, but an active lifestyle with fitness goals is one of the foundations of personal self-defense. Training won't make that go away.

No Secret Moves - Just Practice, Practice, Practice

Yeah, the ad copy talks about "lethal moves," and secret techniques, but if you ever watch these things the actual techniques are usually applied, refined common sense. For example, Paul Vunak's videos often talk about the "straight blast." What is that? Well, you punch someone and move forward, then you do it again, and again, and again, to overwhelm your opponent. There are lots of little details but that's basically it!

The "secret" is to do a good job of it, by getting the details right and practicing over and over again, with equipment and if you can manage it, a partner. DVDs provide the right visual reference, allowing you to perfect your technique.

It's One Part of Self-Defense

Remember to put all of this stuff in its place. Hand to hand combat is a very small part of self defense. 90% of safety is situational awareness and determination, along with the other elements we covered in our last self-defense article.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Knives: Dangerous Personal Protection Gear

We sell knives. They're one of the most popular self defense products, and also among those most rarely used by their purchasers - and thank God for that. Knives are dangerous!

Our catalog features two different kinds of knives: self defense pen knives and what knife enthusiasts call tactical folders. These knives can be used as tools but they're primarily designed to cut somebody who poses a serious threat to your well being. They're pretty, too. There are plenty of knife enthusiasts out there who appreciate a good blade's craftsmanship and aren't bracing themselves for the worst. Make no mistake, however: Carrying a knife is one of the most extreme measures you can take to protect yourself.

A Knife is a Lethal Weapon

Don't carry a knife believing you'll use it to scare someone away or just cut them "a bit" if they get too close. It takes very little force to mortally wound someone with a sharp knife and in the right spot, a cut can cause a fatal "bleed out" in seconds. Do not assume you'll be able to control the amount of force you use. In fact, knives are not any less lethal than many handguns. In other words, a knife is for scenarios just as serious as the ones you'd reserve a firearm for - situations where you're prepared to kill an attacker.

Knives are Unpredictable and Hard to See

To understand how knives work, you have to know how they're used in criminal assaults. Throw away visions of the wide, sweeping motions and threatening gestures you see in action flicks. You will never, ever see people "duel" with knives, either. Assailants conceal knives right up to the attack -- then they hit fast, and often. Many knifing victims don't even know they've been stabbed until the assailant's long gone and they start bleeding heavily. That's when they discover that each "punch" was a knife blow. Tap the bottom of your fist lightly but firmly against your desk ten times. That's how quickly someone can stab you ten times.

In a Fight Against a Knife, You'll Get Cut

You can see, then, that a knife is less of a deterrent than a way to protect your life from someone who will not be stopped with nonlethal means - a larger and/or armed attacker determined to do something terrible to you or your loved ones. If the attacker has a knife too, expect to get cut. Remember: he's probably already stabbed you a few times before you can even start protecting yourself. This is why a gun can't protect you from a knife, either. Police studies (specifically, the Tueller Drill) show that within 21 feet, an assailant can close and stab an officer before he has time to draw his gun. Training to defend against a knife is about maintaining as large a safety zone as possible and if that fails, receiving the cut in a way designed to minimize injury.

So Are You Ready?

Assuming you don't just want to buy a knife because you're a collector or martial arts enthusiast, let's use the above facts to help you decide whether or not you should buy a knife. Do the following points apply to you?
  • Are you willing to kill someone in an extreme situation - to save your life, or that of a family member, for example?
  • Are you willing to "ambush" someone instead of passively waiting for an attack?
  • Will you keep fighting after being cut instead of freaking out at the sight of your own blood?
  • Do you understand that carrying or using a fighting knife is as serious as carrying and using a firearm, and that the authorities will likely see it this way as well?
If you can accept the above, then by all means, exercise your rights; buy a tactical folding knife or a pen knife. If not, have you considered an alternative, like a stun gun?