Common sense and self defense

Watch this first before you read my thoughts on common sense and self-defense:

Next, read Kathy’s thoughts on this video. She’s a firearms instructor and author of a good book on firearms for women. It’s a short piece and she makes a point I want to expand upon.


Common sense and self-defense

First, look up “anthropomorphism” if you need to.  Since when does it work to treat a bear like a person and argue with him, plead with him, threaten him or whine his ears off? The answer: since too many people have lost touch with nature and are increasingly shielded from danger in daily life. As a result, they don’t know how to handle things like dangerous animals and other high-risk situations.


Second, Kathy’s comments are spot on: certain types of criminals don’t care about your whining or pleading. They just hurt or kill you regardless of what you think or feel. This used to be common knowledge and common sense too. Not anymore, like a lot of other things. Some examples…
One of my students works in third world countries. He told me the story of having a new (young) colleague come over to Ethiopia and they were driving around to show her the place. All is well until she accidentally runs over a goat on the road.

He urges her to drive on. She doesn’t.

He tells her to just drop some money out the window and not get out. She doesn’t. [Read more…]

Paladin Press 45% off discount

A quick update:

One of my publishers, Paladin Press, is doing a big promotion for its 45 year anniversary:

From now until August 25, you get a 45% discount on all products.

That means tons of great instructional videos and books you can get at a extremely low prices. If you’re interested in my books and videos, now would be a good time to get them.  Follow this link to see an overview of them all.

Don’t forget to use the code “PALADIN45” during checkout.

Have fun shopping!


45% discount on all articles. Time-limited offer, don't delay.

45% discount on all articles. Time-limited offer, don’t delay.

The overlooked part of effective techniques

Last week I was reading an interesting article (if a bit dry) about deceleration of movements in sports. You can read it here, I think it’s worth it. One of the points it made is that little attention is given to studying deceleration. I agree. Compared to acceleration training, the attention deceleration receives is almost minimal. I always found that strange, as I learned many years ago that it is a hallmark of combat sports and martial arts, but it’s routinely overlooked. I’ll explain in a bit but first a quote from the article:

High levels of eccentric strength are required in tandem with appropriate training of deceleration technique specific to sporting performance, while the demands of the sport situation determine the critical distance, direction, and time that the deceleration must occur.

In other words, you need a specific kind of strength (eccentric) instead of the one you use for acceleration (concentric) while at the same time adjusting on the fly to changing conditions.

This is a bit of an oversimplification, but it’s a good rule of thumb. It is particularly true in martial arts and self-defense. Here’s why:

overlooked part of effective techniques power and control

Power is nothing without control…

One of the ways sports are classified is into specific types of movement: cyclic or acyclic (also acyclic combined but we won’t cover that now.)

Cyclic means a repetitive movement pattern like swimming, running or cycling. In those sports, you pretty much do the same movement all the time. The only main difference is if you do it with endurance as a goal (run as far as you can) or with speed (run as fast as you can.) I know this is also an oversimplification, but bear with me.

Acyclic means several different movement patterns are necessary. Examples are team sports such as basketball or volleyball, but also fencing, tennis and boxing. In all these sports, you perform a variety of techniques/movements and go from one technique to another. Acyclic sports typically require good technique, speed and power.


Whenever you fight, in the street or in competition, you perform acyclic movements. You punch, then you kick, then you move then you grapple, then you punch again, etc. It always changes. What’s more, these changes happen because your opponent does the same as you. You have to adjust whatever you’re doing to his movements. That leads to only one conclusion if you follow this reasoning: [Read more…]

The death of common sense regarding violence

Earlier today, I had a first interview with a new client who wants to learn self-defense. I explained how I view things and one of the points I made was this:

We live in an age where having knowledge about how violence actually works is frowned upon. Having experience with it is viewed even worse.

When you look around you, you can find many examples of this. Just to help you out, try this one, where you’ll see stupid behavior towards an armed professional. Or this one, where instead of letting it go, somebody chooses to escalate the conflict but gets way more than he bargained for.

One of the key issues I see is that in modern societies, a large number of people no longer have to face violence on a regular basis and haven’t had to for several generations. As a result, the knowledge and skills needed to handle it are deemed obsolete and no longer passed on.

It wasn’t always so. A bit over a century ago, to be considered a (gentle)man, you were required to learn to protect yourself as violence was seen as an inherent part of life (two interesting books about this here and, in a different vein, here.) You were supposed to know boxing, fencing and other skills that helped you face violence.

Let that sink in.

About 100 years ago, this was considered normal.

Today, it is seen as “wrong” by many Western societies.

What happened?

Many things, but mainly our societies changed and became more peaceful. The need for understanding and knowing how to handle violence diminished. Some people feel that it is gone entirely. These are the folks who say things like “Violence never solved anything” and mean it, notwithstanding millennia of human behavior proving them wrong. The end result: what used to be common sense regarding violence is now no more.

Case in point:

A cellphone case in the shape of a firearm. Take a look at these pictures: [Read more…]

Don’t mess with the Queen’s Guard

The Queen’s Guard has been in charge of protecting the reigning king or queen for hundreds of years. Tourists think they are just there for show and that these men are simply posing.

They’re not.

These are all real soldiers, often with combat duty behind them, carrying a real firearm, doing guard duty. There is some discussion as to whether they have live ammunition or not, which I can’t confirm as I don’t know the unit well. That said, firearm safety rules are pretty clear: assume every firearm you see is loaded.

Aside that, the bayonet fixed onto the rifle is plenty lethal in and of itself. So all in all, you’d be safe to assume the weapon is more than capable of killing you and the soldier holding it has the training do do just that.

You’d think it would only be common sense to leave such a person alone. As in, not annoy him. Or worse, touch him.

Common sense seems to be in short supply these days. Take a look at this clip:

In the media, this is now being described as the soldier “losing his calm” or worse.


The soldier is fulfilling his orders of standing guard and follows procedure to keep tourists at bay: the soldiers are allowed to stomp their feet hard to scare people off, shout at them to stand back, point their firearm or even detain them. So what this soldier does is perfectly acceptable within the parameters he is given.

The unacceptable part is civilians having zero respect for soldiers.

The sad part is people not understanding the common sense concept of leaving armed people alone. What good can possibly come of annoying an armed person, especially when you are unarmed?

Also, the soldier is responsible for that firearm. If he lets a tourist come too close and has his weapon taken away, it’s on him whatever happens with it afterwards. Including that “tourist” shooting or stabbing others with it, which in this day and age of Lone Wolf terror threats is not an unrealistic scenario.

So if you see a soldier on duty, just leave him alone.