Archive for the ‘Self Defense’ Category

A recent article was published in the Wall Street Journal regarding how higher economic status may be linked to unethical behavior.  It quotes a study that was conducted by Berkley.  Here is the full study.

So why should us urban survivalists care about what people think about those in a higher economic status?  Because, you may be one of them; or be PERCEIVED as one of them.  Again, so what, why should you be worried?

We at Zenshin LLC, do not care much for politics, be we care about and study human behavior.  Our last post was about surviving a gang attack and the victim of that attack was described primarily as a driver of a Range Rover SUV.  The news outlets focused not on the victim as a person but on his status (what he was driving).  All you need to do is keep track of the talking heads and there is a serious trend to demonize those that have money.  Again, we do not care if this is justified or not, but it does add to the possibility that one’s socio-economic status may now be a factor in determining whether you are targeted individual.

Those who have money just are not helping.  Take this rich girl for example. She basically says “Let them eat cake.”  Well, we know what happened to the last person who said that.

RS_RUA4139.jpg

She went on a rant that went viral about how she is sick and tired about being put down by poor people.  Here is her rant.

So I ask you, when there is a black-out or a natural disaster and a mob forms because they felt they were left behind and not treated fairly because they are poor, who are they going after?  Other poor, left behind, disenfranchised people?

So where do you fall in all of this?  Check below to see (2010 statistics).  Note, half of this nation’s wage earners make less than $34,338.  That is potentially a lot of angry people going after the top 25%.  If you are in the top 25%, I would worry.  The top 1% can afford to get on their planes and get out of dodge.  What are you going to do, get in your Range Rover SUV?

percentage earners

This YouTube video recently had over 11 million views.  It discussed how wealth is perceived and what it actually is.  The general population actually thinks there is greater equity and they are better then they really are. Now, with videos like this, people are now being educated on where they stand on the wealth inequity scale.  Over 11 million people watched this video. It’s not going to be pretty.  The question is, what are you going to do?

We left off with the topics of:
Fleeing a mob via a motor vehicle
Surviving a gang attack alone and/or while protecting loved ones

These two parts of the motorcycle attack are the most difficult.

Fleeing a mob via a vehicle should be easy.

Whether your attackers are on foot or on motorcycles, the combat formula applies. The rule of combat is “all other things being equal, the bigger stronger person wins.” So it should be easy, the car wins. You can flee by simply driving away or if your attackers are stupid enough to get in your way, use the mass of your vehicle and run them over. Unfortunately, this is why urban survival is different then surviving in the wild. In the wild you have to worry about these types of animals:
bear

In the urban environment you have to worry about these:

motorcycle wife

The victim of the motorcycle attack in NY fled after he was attacked and as per news reports ran over one of the motorcyclists.  Here, the attorney for that motorcyclist run over by the victim comforts the wife of the motorcyclist while announcing a multimillion dollar lawsuit filed against the victim driver.

So, it’s not that simple if you consider that if you flee one attack you may have to face another.  You may want to consider the phrase “better to be judged by 12 then carried by 6.”

Surviving a gang attack alone and/or while protecting loved ones:

To survive a gang attack alone and/or while protecting loved ones, you have to consider the psychology of combat, your physical abilities, your fighting capabilities and the environment.  At Zenshin LLC, we teach that there are typical psychological responses both the aggressor and the potential victim display.  If you can interrupt that learned response you have a great chance of disrupting the attack long enough to escape.  Of course, being physically fit is important, more important is knowing what your physical limitations and  strengths are so that you can increase the odds that you will make good combat choices.  Above, I stated the rule of combat is “all other things being equal, the bigger stronger person wins.”  There is a second part of the rule that says, “although it is possible to change that outcome with skill and environmental factors.”  Train everyday and when you are not in combat, practice how your environment may help you.

The planning you do now may help fend off all types of animals that may want to do you harm.

Ever since the motorcycle gang attack in NYC

motorcycle attack

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505263_162-57606470/new-video-of-nyc-motorcycle-road-rage-attack-shows-men-kicking-suv-driver/

people have been discussing how such a thing could happen and how to prevent these attacks from happening again.

Here at Zenshin LLC we analyze these attacks with a view toward survivability. We assume that these attacks will occur, it is just a matter of when. The news is full of examples. This is just the latest one.

In our Psychology of Combat series we discussed briefly how understanding the psychology of the gang can be used to protect yourself. You can read that post here.

This motorcycle incident is a very specific act but illustrates the several ways in which we have to focus our attention when dealing with mobs. In this case these subjects come up:

Driving through a mob
Being attacked while in a car
Fleeing a mob via a motor vehicle
Surviving a gang attack alone and/or while protecting loved ones

Driving through a mob is the easiest to discuss.  It’s simple, don’t do it.  Drive over to the side of the road and yield to the mob.  Look for the best possible location to move over.  Keep in mind, some places are not conducive to protecting yourself.  Be aware of where you go at all times and where you can exit if necessary. Do not allow them to engage you.  The most important thing is to keep moving.  If you keep moving they have to move with you.  This means even just driving 5 miles an hour, moving back and forth, in circles or in reverse.  They will have difficulty dragging you out as long as you are in motion.

So they caught up with you and they start attacking the car.  In this instance, they smashed the windows and punctured the tires.  How far can you drive on flat tires?  Pretty darn far!  So keep going!  As the mob starts smashing the windows you have to assume they are going for you next.  The most important thing to remember now is to ensure that the doors are locked.  If the doors are locked they can’t drag you out.  Hopefully, you are still moving so it would be that much more difficult.

Check out our next post for ideas on fleeing a mob and surviving a gang attack while protecting your loved ones.  In the meanwhile ask yourself this question….What do you have in your car to protect yourself and your family?   Comment with your answers and why you have what you have.

Be safe

Since the Summer is upon us in the northeast many of my fellow urbanites are heading back to the gym. There are gym membership discounts advertised all over the place. This got me thinking, “is there a workout that would address the needs of an urban survivalist?”

Gym Meathead

I asked a personal trainer at a gym that advertised one of those special rates what he thought was a good workout for an urban survivalist. Okay, he never really did not understand what an urban survivalist is but he went on with his sales pitch anyway. He said all said the same things trainers have been telling me for years; strength training with cardio training…. duh. Of course now there are all these new machines in the gym that my money would be well spent on.

When I looked at all the meat heads at the gym, it reminded me when I was in the police academy. There were some very large muscle-bound guys there. The funny thing was that they consistently failed gym. They couldn’t run, do push ups or sit ups and could not hold up their own body weight for pull-ups. Wait a second! That’s it…. those are the skills one would need to employ to be a successful urban survivalist. You need to be able to run from danger, lift your own body weight to escape various situations, the strength to carry heavy objects and the stamina to not gas out when you are defending yourself. Frankly, the gym machines are not the answer. But I did find inspiration in the most unlikely of places.

Inmates exercise at the California Institution for Men state prison in Chino

I remembered many years ago there was a park in NYC that was a block away from the “tombs” …. the local jail. Every day there were these guys who would work out in the park using only what was in the park as their equipment. It reminded me of how inmates worked out. They even had the quintessential convict physique. If you live in any urban environment, you know what I mean. You can tell when someone just got of the joint just by the way they look. Now, they had no choice on the equipment, that is a given; but they adapted to their environment and were able to condition their bodies to do what they needed to do. Run, jump, carry and fight. I am not going to glorify what these guys do. Instead I will take what i learned from them and adapt it to our needs. Given the light-hearted theme of this blog…. I present the manly art of playground workout (see below). If you can get past the guy’s mustache, it is really a good balanced workout. As you progress, you can add other elements. My friend has taken to lifting boulders on the beach….. If you have any other good workout ideas, use the comment function and share with the rest of us.

Playground Workout

The Alabama Department of Homeland Security published some helpful information on surviving an active shooter scenario.  Many thanks to my friend Ted for sending it to us.  Feel free to comment after you watch the video and read the information on the site.

Here is the link to the Alabama DHS webpage that has additional information:

http://www.dhs.alabama.gov/activeshooter.aspx

Warning:

The video below is a security camera view of an actual unprovoked attack on a 16 year-old girl in the UK.

The victim was interviewed after the attack and gave this account.

The perpetrator was subsequently arrested.

This girl is an innocent victim and did not deserve what happened to her.  Given that the attack was caught on tape, it gives us a rare opportunity to learn from it. So now we can discuss both the actions of the perpetrator and the victim.  This does not mean that I believe the victim is any way at fault. The only one who is at fault is the person who perpetrated this crime against her.

There is one constant to predicting human behavior.  A person’s past behavior is a good indicator to a person’s future behavior. There are of course some exceptions, such as when a person strives and works on their own personal growth. Most people, unfortunately do not.  So when we have opportunities like this to dissect a crime between one victim and one perpetrator, we take it.  Knowing a little bit of history between the victim and the perpetrator allows us to predict what may happen in the future to others under similar circumstances.

For instance, the victim recounts the interaction between her and the perpetrator before the attack.  This interplay, whether conscious or unconscious, led the two of them to the end result.  Although there may not seem like a lot of interaction to analyze here, there is.  Unfortunately, discussing it all will take up more space than would be permissible in this blog.  However, we can look at one very crucial time in the attack and analyze it.  The moment just before the perpetrator attacks.

Slow down the video (you can press pause a few times). Look at what happens as the perpetrator comes within a few feet of the victim.  What does the victim do? (it’s okay, go back to the video.. I’ll wait).

She clutches her handbag……….  What does this mean?  It means she was aware of a danger prior to the  physical encounter.  She may not have actually been conscious of this danger but she reacted to it by protecting her possession, her purse.  Remember what I said earlier about human behavior?  The victim throughout her life probably had many more experiences protecting her property then her physical self.  So when she felt a danger, she did what she had learned to do, guard and protect her property.  That is why at Zenshin™ Urban Survival Training we teach the Psychology of Combat.  We teach our students to identify and pay attention to their unconscious driven behaviors that often help them “see” a danger before they are consciously aware of it.  With this extra time, we then teach them the best way to react.  Although this was an unprovoked attack, the victim had some time to react.  She did… she clutched her purse.

What would you have done? What are you doing to prepare your loved ones in the event this happens to them?

Martial Arts vs Self Defense… true or fake?

We prepare, we practice, we may even really engage in…. combat.  

In reality, we are in combat everyday.  It may or may not be the types of scenarios we discussed previously in our “what would you do if…” series but when you are dealing with an abusive ex or just trying to renew your license at the DMV…. you are in conflict.

Urban Survivalists, Preppers, Martial Artists all aspire to predict how they will react in conflict.  Surprisingly, those people (myself included) don’t always react in the way in which we anticipated.

 

What is the process by which we make those decisions while in conflict?  Can we make better ones?  One of the ways martial arts helps us, is that martial arts provides us with a mechanism to role-play.  We can practice being in conflict (attacks) and then practice a response (defense).  Role playing is one of the best tools we can use to make a decision, in particular a decision while in conflict. But even martial artists make bad decisions in conflict. Why?

Lets’ say this is you

YOU

You become in embroiled in a conflict with another person

You would make a decision on what to do by assessing what is around you, correct?  You would assess who the person is in front of you, their perceived capabilities, the enviroment, your own capabilities, etc.  You would have to do that all while actually being engaged in conflict.  You are in real-time.  That is, you are reacting as things occur, you do not have the time to look back at the past (how the heck did I get here) nor can you see the future (more on this in part 2).  You see only what is on this plane of existence. But this position provides only a small amount of information and it is occurring during active conflict.  Our view is here is limited and that affects how we make our decisions.

One way to expand our field of view is to ask for help.  In this scenario our help will just observe and report what he sees to you and maybe offer advice (sort of like a BFF).

A little help here…….

Your BFF’s perception now includes what he sees you doing (which you don’t), what your opponent is doing (more so because he is in a different position), he is not engaged in the conflict thus he has a little more time to assess, decide on an action and then recommend an action to you.  People use others they trust to help make hard decisions all the time.  Marksmen use spotters, I pay a divorce attorney (well maybe that is not a good example) and even Generals use forward scouts.  Obtaining help from others gives us a greater perspective of our conflict and will inevitably help us make better decisions.  More in Part 2.

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle”   Sun Tzu

Photo/video credit:

http://www.123rf.com/photo_6375709_two-fists-punching-each-other.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ni89mBXwKZg

Hello all.  First, let me say that if you have subscribed via email, your email message usually does not contain the whole post.  To see the whole post you may have to go online.  Usually I put the most relevant information at the end after a some nonsensical jokes or something …like…. this!

Recently, I happened to come across two of my colleagues talking about how long it would take to respond to various scenarios such as some of the scenarios you may have read right here on the Urban Survival Blog.  Specifically, they wanted to know how long it would take to respond to an unforeseen threat.  The problem of course is once you tell someone you are going to do something it becomes impossible to really catch them off guard.  Nevertheless, they wanted to give it a go.  So they had to come up with a way to “test” reaction time to an event (stimulus for those egg heads out there).  Now most people would choose to do this by, I don’t know…… dropping a ruler and seeing how far the ruler drops before the other person catches it.?  You can find this very intuitive experiment here: http://www.raftbayarea.org/ideas/Human%20Reaction%20Time.pdf

Well….. that’s for namby pamby 7 year olds!!  Not Urban Survivalists!  They decided they wanted to try something more realistic.  So they agreed they would test if one could block a slap in the face.  One person would slap the other.  The person being slapped would try to put his hand on his cheek to mitigate the slap. To be fair they would take turns slapping each other. It kinda looked like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=5D8LaFAZMZ4

So folks what have we learned?  Well…… no one likes getting slapped in the face. When you think you were hit just a little harder then you hit, you make up for it and voila!  You get a slapfest. Okay…. I really did not want to post a video of a slapfest but I couldn’t help myself….  for those too high brow to watch two people slapping each other just skip the next video 🙂 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=foCW-tPkiks&feature=related

Okay, now that we got that out of our system, let’s talk human reaction time.  We all have different reaction times.  These times are dependent upon the stimulus, our own physical condition, our mental/emotional condition and of course, the environment.

Believe it or not there is a lot of science behind the study of human reaction time. Think about if a 100 yard runner could react to the sound of the starter pistol 100th of a second faster.  That may very well mean the difference from obtaining a gold medal rather than a silver medal.  But what would happen if there was a slight incline in that person’s lane?  Would that affect how fast that runner could run?  If that runner had a big bowl of egg foo young the night before and is feeling that wonderful queasy eggy side effect?  Would that impact how fast that runner would hit the finish line?  Lastly, what if that runner heard some devastating news the minute before the sound of the gun?  Would that effect the runner’s start time?

Makes sense.  In the world of Urban Survival, reaction time can mean the difference in making it and not making it.  So what do you do?  Can we do things that will potentially improve our reaction time in the event we are faced with a life and death situation?  The answer is yes!  My colleagues, although funny to watch actually got better at protecting themselves as time went on.  Now, I don’t suggest you grab your friend and start slapping each other (if you do please post the video here).

There are fun and easy ways to improve your reaction time starting right now.  One simple way is to be in better physical shape.  Exercise more.  You cannot respond if you are gassed out.  Second, be in better mental/emotional shape.  Practice meditation, and practice mind enhancing games (see below). Lastly, be aware of your environment at all times.  You can read the post on situational awareness here:  https://urbansurvivalblog.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/urban-survival-situational-awareness/.

To start you off,  here is a fun reaction time game my friend Bill sent me.  I warn you, it can be addicting!  So get to it!  Thanks Bill for the game and the inspiration for the post. http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/sleep/sheep/reaction_version5.swf

Sometimes when I tell people I teach urban survival, they think of the time during WWII when occupied urban territories were the battle ground for resistance fighters. The resistance fighters did not have conventional weapons so they improvised with what they had. Fortunately, France had a lot of wine bottles and liquor and made good use of the molotov cocktail.

I have to admit, I thought the molotov cocktail was derived from some Israeli word (I guess similar to Mazel Tov?). I was wrong.  The term molotov cocktail was coined by the Finns during the Winter war of 1938. They were fighting the Soviets who invaded Finland that year. The name is an insulting reference to the Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov. Who knew?

So yes, a core component of my urban survival curriculum is using your environment for things like self-defense, shelter, food, etc.

For example, I can assure you that unless you are sitting at your desk nude, you have on your person an object that can be repurposed for defense. If you are reading this at your desk in the nude, please at least put a towel on the chair seat. Someone else may want to sit there later. Ewwww.

So what’s in your pocket (or purse)? Some common items may be coins, keys, a wallet and maybe make-up. It is well-known that keys make a nifty self-defense weapon. Coins may be used as a distraction and can be thrown in the face of an aggressor to buy you (no pun intended) that small amount of time to get out of Dodge. Plus, it doesn’t really cost much to do it either! My Bubby would be so proud. I can hear her now…. “I’m so proud of you!  You saved your life and it only cost 75 cents!”

Your wallet may contain a credit card that can be used to cut an aggressor. Lastly, make-up cases, brushes, powders, liquids can all be used as defensive weapons.

There are many sites out there that lists people’s ideas of improvised weapons from rolled up newspapers to teddy bears.  I encourage you to look at them.  In my courses I go over many items that are uniquely repurposed for defense.  For now, look around you.  What is on your person that can be repurposed for defense.  Then reach around……….  your area.  What is in arm’s length that you can grab and repurpose.  As you walk around town ask your self what is around me that I can use for defense if I needed to defend myself right now.  The more you get used to thinking about these things, the more it becomes second nature.

BTW, if you happen to have any other good ideas for an improvised weapon and would like to share…..  especially ones that are uncommon, please do!