Thursday, September 27, 2012

New seminar scheduled for December 2012

I have added another Warsaw seminar to the schedule for Saturday December 1st, 2012. The topic has yet to be determined but will it run from 12 noon to 3pm at Absolute Fitness Academy, Warsaw, IN.

I will post the topic once it has been decided. If you think you can make it and would like to see a particular topic, just send me an email request and I will see what I can do.

Take care and stay safe,
Steve Zorn, ICPS
Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Criteria of "Self-Defense"

In the previous post I bluntly talked about martial arts being different from self-defense but how can we actually determine if what we are being taught it real self-defense training? Many years ago I was training in a specific style of martial arts. I was lead to believe that I was learning "self-defense". However, after 4 longs years I realized that I was still unable to protect myself during moderately stressful belt tests. If I couldn't protect myself in a controlled environment how in the world would I be able to protect myself during a violent attack? To rectify this situation I spent the next 20 years learning as much as I could about crime, violence, and real assaults. In the process I came up with simple questions that helped me quickly determine if the training was geared to surviving real-world situations, or if it was just martial arts claiming to be "self-defense".

1) Does it require years of training in order to be effective under the stress of a real assault?
2) Does it emphasize sport-based skills- boxing and wrestling?
3) Is the training performed in some kind of uniform or common street clothes?
4) Are the skills equally applicable to men, women, and teens? Are they applicable to the elderly?
5) Are students required to wear protective gloves to protect the hands due to an emphasis on punching?
6) Does the training begin in a symmetrical match-fight scenario, aka dueling?
7) Does the training include education on the legal aspects of self-defense?
8) Are the movements based on unnatural skills that require thousands of reps to perfect?
9) Does the training emphasize attacks most likely to be seen on the street? Does it include defense against common weapons (guns, knives, clubs, etc.)? Does it include defense against multiple assailants?
10) Does the training include post-assault and pre-assault information or is it exclusively physical training?
11) Is the training exactly the same for law enforcement, military, and aware citizens?
12) Are skills practiced on static training partners or someone moving in a realistic and dynamic manner?
13) Have the skills been proven to work during real assaults or at least pressure-tested in a chaotic training environment?
14) Is the training based on techniques or concepts?
15) Does the training include the study of physiology and psychology of self-defense?
16) Does the training emphasize defense against unrealistic attacks like wrist grabs and martial arts-based punches / kicks?
17) Is there an emphasis on learning pressure points or other hard-to-hit or ineffective targets?
18) Is the system itself more important to the instructor than the end result?

I am sure I could come up with many more questions but these generally cover all of the basis rather well. The reality is that any effective self-defense system will be fairly easy to learn, easy to retain and easy to use effectively under stress. The movements will be based on natural and instinctive skills that have been proven to work successfully for survivors of real attacks, not complex techniques that require years to master. The training will be concept-based rather than technique-based and will be equally applicable to men, women, and teens regardless of age or athletic ability. Even elderly will be able to learn and use the skills effectively. It will require the wearing of common street clothes (or duty gear) and the material will be based on the specific needs of the intended audience. Law enforcement, military, and aware citizens all have different needs and the training will reflect this. It will be void of common sport-based skills like boxing and wrestling and instead will focus on skills designed to slow or stop the assault as efficiently as possible. The training will also include all aspects of non-physical skills to include awareness, physiology, psychology, pre-assault, post-assault, and common legal aspects of self-defense. There will be an emphasis on common realistic attacks performed in a dynamic manner during training. This will include defense against all types of weapons as well as multiple attackers. Little to no emphasis on stylized martial arts attacks (wrist grabs, punches, kicks, etc.). Simple but effective attack-stopping targets will be taught, no pressure points or hard-to-hit targets. The end result, the survival of the student will be more important than anything else.

This is the criteria I use to help me determine whether the training truly is "self-defense" or not. If self-defense is what you really seek feel free to use it as a guideline and it will keep you from being lead to believe something that just isn't true.

Stay safe,
Steve Zorn, ICPS

Martial Arts vs Self-Defense

I have written about this topic numerous times over the years but it's something I have to keep bringing to the surface...

There are many martial arts schools and now MMA schools out there claiming to teach "self-defense". As I have said thousands of times over the years there is a HUGE difference between martial arts and self-defense. While some of these martial arts and MMA schools do include physical movements that might be applicable in self-defense, the majority of what they offer is not conducive to surviving potentially violent or life-threatening situations. Any instructor claiming otherwise is essentially out to make money, nothing more. The reality is that there are thousands of martial arts for a reason. Some focus on art, tradition, and culture while others tend to focus on fitness and aesthetics. There are also arts that emphasize the sport aspects such as MMA. The point is that even when a martial arts style or system includes several of these aspects, they still tend to specialize in one specific area. We all know that MMA is sport-based. Anything they do will be heavily influenced by the rules, regulations, and principles of sport competition. Most people are aware that Tae Kwon Do is heavily based on tradition as well as modern competition. While these two dramatically-different arts will be extremely valuable for those seeking sport-based training they have little to offer the average man or woman seeking to survive a violent assault. I am not picking on either of these arts but just using them to make an extremely important order to effectively teach specific skills the system or training methodology should be geared specifically to the desired objective. If surviving modern violence is that objective then the system and instructor should specialize in this subject.

I always come back to the term "subject-matter expert". Someone that teaches sport martial arts would be a subject-matter expert on the topic of martial arts for sport competition. To be more specific, this person would be a subject-matter expert on the particular art that they have trained in. In other words, a Tae Kwon Do instructor may be an expert in regards to Tae Kwon Do and it's sporting applications but that wouldn't make him/her an expert at Mixed Martial Arts or all of things that go along with it. Also, the act of earning a black belt in any style or system of martial arts doesn't automatically turn the person into a subject-matter expert on this particular art. This generally requires going above and beyond the simple act of earning a belt and delving deeper into the complex details of "mastering" the knowledge and the skills of said art. Also, it's important to note that the act of training in martial arts alone doesn't automatically qualify anyone to teach "self-defense". On a similar note, law enforcement officers and soldiers aren't necessarily qualified to teach civilian self-defense either unless they have undergone extensive specialized training to do so. Keep in mind that those working in such fields have different options for dealing threats than the aware citizen.

That being said, would you go to a plastic surgeon to get treated for a common cold? Would you take your vehicle to a construction company to have the oil changed? Would you go to an Italian restaurant to order a cheeseburger? The point is obvious. If you want to gain the knowledge and skills to successfully survive a violent life-changing event be sure seek out a subject-matter expert that can provide said knowledge and skills. Don't risk your safety, your health, or your life by attending those martial arts schools that teach unrealistic sport-based or traditional skills claiming it's "self-defense".

Take care and stay safe,
Steve Zorn, ICPS
Friday, September 21, 2012

October Self-Defense Seminar in Warsaw, IN

DATE: Saturday October 27th
TIME: 12 noon- 3:00pm 
LOCATION: Absolute Fitness Academy - Warsaw, Indiana
TOPIC: Counters to Common Attacks
COST: $25 per person

Only $15 for active Law Enforcement and Military personnel. 
Saturday, September 08, 2012

Traditional Grab Releases and Escapes...NOT Realistic

While perusing the internet I come across various website and videos promoting traditional grab release techniques and escape tactics for women and children. These sites claim that these complex techniques are easy to learn and easy to use. The instructors also claim that the participants will not be "roughed up" during training and won't have to learn how to fight back as escaping is better and safer.

Let me be perfectly clear regarding this subject...anyone promoting these techniques over other more viable tactics is simply trying to make money by telling people what they want to hear.

I agree that escaping is better and safer. The fact is that if a person is properly trained they should be able to successfully escape the majority of potentially bad situations BEFORE they are forced to physically protect themselves. Any solid self-defense system will emphasize awareness and prevention over physical self-defense. However, with that being said, those traditional escape and release techniques commonly promoted for self-defense are next to useless when a situation requires the use of physical force. These techniques are generally practiced in a controlled training environment against compliant training partners playing the role of bad guys. This is all fine and good, until the people that are taught these techniques are forced to try them under the chaotic conditions of an assault.

Attackers rarely just grab an intended victim and then stand there waiting for a release or escape to be performed. In fact, if there is a grab it's quickly followed by a violent strike or a quick shove or pull in an effort to move the victim to a nearby vehicle or a more secluded location. This generally happens so fast that any attempt to just pull away will be quickly defeated by aggressive motion. Also, if the attacker is adrenalized it will most likely be difficult to out-muscle his convulsive grip. There is nothing wrong with learning grab release techniques as long as they are placed in the proper perspective and as long as they are combined with vicious strikes, explosive body movements, and proper mental conditioning. However, effective counter-attacks alone will likely reduce the need for the common release techniques that are erroneously being promoted as methods of defense without having to "fight back".

Just my thoughts...

Steve Zorn, ICPS

September Seminar

Upcoming seminar-

DATE: Saturday September 22nd
TIME: 12 noon- 3:00pm 
LOCATION: Absolute Fitness Academy - Warsaw, Indiana
TOPIC: Self-Defense against Weapon Assaults (knife, gun, club, & more)
COST: $25 per person

Only $15 for active Law Enforcement and Military personnel. 

About Me

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-27 years training in personal safety -Multiple martial arts black belts -Multiple instructor certifications -Certified law enforcement trainer -Crime Prevention Specialist -Previous self-defense trainer for one of the country's largest airlines -Child safety specialist -Certified Fitness Trainer -TACTIX Fitness Trainer -High Intensity Training Specialist -FAST Defense Instructor -Kid Escape Instructor
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