Personal Safety Tips: PART ONE – Adults and Teens

This week I offer some simple, no nonsense tips to help you protect yourself from most assault, abuse, & other violence:

1. Act Calm & Confident. People will listen to you more and bother you less when you act aware, calm, and confident, not scared, mad, or aggressive. Show confidence in a way that is respectful, not challenging.

2. Stay Aware. Pay attention to everything around you: people, animals, cars, buses, & bikes. Notice people’s voices & gestures. Think about what you notice. Avoid using headphones.

3. Make Safety Plans. Identify the safest way to go places, even if the safest way is longer. Decide where you can get help, like in stores, along your routes. Practice interrupting & saying, “Excuse me, I need help.”

4. Plan to Carry Stuff Safely. In public, keep money & expensive items, like phones, out of sight. Use bags or carts that make it easy to move confidently. When possible, carry less.

5. Use Simple Safety Strategies. Consider sitting closer to the front of the bus or train, not the back, or by the aisle, not the window. Keep an important key or ticket in a pocket, not in a bag that could get stolen.

6. Move Away From Trouble. If someone’s behavior seems unsafe, leave as soon as you can. Move closer to a place you can get help, like a store or office. Speak up to get help. Persist until you get help.

7. Let Go of Stuff. Fighting over possessions is dangerous. Leave valuables at home when you can. If people are threatening to get your stuff, let it go. Leave. Go to people who can help you.

8. Speak Up. If something bothers you, say so. Set clear boundaries. Know how to say ‘Please stop.” Be ready to yell in an emergency. Be specific about your problem, where you are, & what you need.

9. Use Words Safely. Using mean, threatening, or attacking words, even if someone else did it first, can make problems much more dangerous. Using calm, clear, respectful language is safer.

10. Don’t Let Other People’s Words Control Your Feelings or Behavior. Filter verbal attack so you can notice unsafe, disrespectful words without letting them control your own choices and behavior.

11. Control Your Space. Open the door to your home only when you know you want to let the other in. Be willing to leave places, conversations, or relationships to be safe. Get space from people pressuring you to give money, time, or attention you do not want to give.

12. Put Safety First. Get Help. Being polite, kind, and respectful is important, but being safe is more important than being polite, kind, and respectful. Know how to get help from people you know and how to get help from strangers in public. Safety is more important than embarrassment, inconvenience, or offense.

13. Know Basic Physical Self-Defense Skills that Work for You. In a short time, people of all abilities can learn simple physical self-defense skills that fit their ages, physical condition, and life situations.

TAKU’s NOTE:

This free resource provided by Kidpower Teenpower Fullpower International, a nonprofit leader in education for the prevention of bulling, abuse, abduction, and violence since 1989. Serving people of all ages, all abilities, and all walks of life. For more, visit www.kidpower.org, call 800-467-6997 ext.1#, or email safety@kidpower.org.

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Teachers and Mentors

By Mike Suyematsu

I have had many great teachers and mentors in my life. Number one would be my Dad, Taro Suyematsu. He worked two and sometimes three jobs his whole life. He raised a family of five rowdy boys who never really gave him rest until the later years of his life. He had his share of dust ups and fights through out his life first as a young boy protecting my Aunts from “Jap” haters and later as a bartender.

Dad was big on teaching us boys to behave, but always gave us permission to stand up for ourselves. He hated bullies. I was raised in a small town where I stood out as a complete oddity being mixed race. I got picked on and jumped in school, at the park, on the way to the store, at the carnival, etc, etc.

One time when I was about 12, I was afraid to go to school because this idiot kept picking on me and I knew if I fought him I would get suspended. I told Dad about it and I remember our conversation like it was yesterday…

“Hey Dad I’m afraid I might get in trouble at school. This kid keeps on picking on me and he won’t leave me alone.”

Dad looked up from his dinner and asked, “Is this guy an idiot?”

“Yeah Dad he just won’t leave me alone and I don’t know what to do.”

“Mike, if this guy is an idiot you don’t have a choice. You can’t talk to an idiot. The only thing an idiot understands is pain. The only thing you do with an idiot is beat the shit out of him. He will understand that.”

The next day I got suspended from school. The idiot walked up to me in the hall before first period and started his shit. I lit him up with a single punch to the nose which dropped him into a pile of sobbing snot and blood.

It was the best day I ever had at school. Dad made me do chores and kept me busy for the three days I was off from school. I had lots of witnesses who came to the principal to testify that my actions were in self defense.

I had to apologize to the idiot, but everything was cool from then on. Pain is a great communicator. At that point, my Dad set my attitude in stone…

I have great respect for Dan Inosanto, Vut Kamnark, the sayoc system, etc. the reason I studied Martial Arts was not to compete, it was to save my ass. The number one thing you have to have is attitude. The system you learn may or may not work for you. You can develop tools, like punches, kicks, take downs and chokes. You can develop attributes like timing, speed, agility and strength.

But everything is worthless until the mind is engaged. Some of the absolute best fighters I have ever met have no name recognition. In fact some of them are dead or in jail. Most of them never opened schools or made it in to Black Belt Magazine.

Here is a short list of names of some of the most dangerous fighters I have ever trained with:

Henry R.
Alfred C.
Angel Cabales
Tony Blauer
Eric Shingu
Vince Lopez
Raymond Lopez
Mike S. (not me!)
Brandon B.
Ryan M.
Hank D.
Keith K.

I have left out the last name of some on the list because they are in prison or don’t wish to be identified. At least one of them is currently in a witness protection program. A few are active LEO’S, SWAT Officers, Snipers and have experience in MMA and Kick Boxing as well as BJJ. A few have killed doing crimes and a few have killed in the line of duty protecting us from the bad guys.

Most of my life has been spent looking for what works in the street. Ring sports like MMA and Boxing are sources of entertainment and knowledge. There is some overlap between ring or cage sports and street, but they are definitely not the same.

In order to train for the street you must include dealing with multiples opponents and opponents with weapons, single or multiple. It is in this arena that things get radically different than the cage or ring.

That being said, on the physical side of things you must be able to mount a good unarmed attack because you won’t in most cases have your weapon out and ready to in everyday life. Learning to take contact is critical. Anyone can do it, safely and scientifically with the right teacher and equipment. I love Tony Blauer’s High Gear just for that purpose. If you do MMA, Kick Boxing or Boxing, you can deal with contact.

Here is my first lesson for anyone who is interested in learning about learning to protect yourself or loved ones from a street assault.

1. Check out Tony Blauer’s Cerebral  Self Defense audio CDs.
2. Check out Marc McYoung’s website.
3. Pick up a copy of Rory Miller’s book, “Meditations on Violence

That’s it for now.

Take Care,

Mike

TAKU’s NOTE: Last December I mentioned that we would add some new articles about Self defense from one of our inner circle Mike Suyematsu. Well it took me a while to get around to it… Thanks to Mike S. for sharing some of his stories with us. I’ll be looking forward to many more in the not too distant future.

Motorcycles and Personal Safety

All of us here at Hybrid Fitness share many common interests and enjoy many of the same recreational activities. Besides the obvious passion for cultivating a balanced, healthy, lifestyle all three of us have a long standing interest in marital arts, personal protection and developing good people safety skills. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, we are all motorcycle enthusiasts.

Now, you might wonder what riding a motorcycle has to do with health, fitness, or personal safety. Well, I’ll tell you. When riding a motorcycle you must learn to be hyper-vigilant. You can not afford to ever go on auto-pilot. Being physically fit, well fed and well hydrated all add to the ability of a person to be agile, alert and aware. These qualities are some that are worth cultivating at all times in our lives, not just when operating motor vehicles.

There is an acronym I use when I ride my motorcycle which I feel readily applies to moving through the world safely, regardless of our mode of transport. It is S.E.E.

S.E.E. Stands for:

S. Search around you for potential hazards

E. Evaluate any possible hazards.

E. Execute the proper action to avoid the hazard.

Let’s break it down a little. The first letter is “S” which stands for SEARCH. While out walking you should always remain actively aware of your surroundings. This means to notice other people as well as places where someone might easily conceal themselves along your chosen route. You could even go as far as noticing cracks in the sidewalk or uneven pavement so as to avoid an unwanted spill.

You can take this a step further by looking at your life ahead of time. This is where the first “E” comes in to play, Evaluate. Begin by thinking about the places you visit on a regular basis. Are there safer choices you could make en route to the bank or while out for an evening jog? Where is safety? If I had a problem, how would I resolve it in this environment?

Finally we need to be ready and able to “E” Execute our plan when needed. This may be something simple like crossing the street when we feel uncomfortable while out walking alone; or it could be something more intense like setting a firm verbal boundary or actually physically defending ourselves.

Now, don’t get all nervous and crazy just because I brought all of this to your attention. As my friend Tony Blauer says “there is a difference between being paranoid and being prepared”. The S.E.E. model is just one of many useful personal safety strategies. Tony Blauer teaches the “three D’s” Detect, Diffuse, Defend. At Kidpower we teach the concepts of be aware, take charge and get help.

If you have ever wondered how you might handle an emergency situation or worried about the safety and welfare of those closest to you perhaps it is time you took action and stopped just thinking about it.

Remember all of us here at Hybrid Fitness are dedicated to spreading the word of health, fitness and wellness and this includes having good people safety skills.

Remember to go to Hybrid Fitness and register your name and email address on the sign-in box.  We’ll keep you up to date on what’s happening…stuff you won’t want to miss!  It looks like this:

PAU for NOW

TAKU

For tips and ideas about people safety and info about where you might take a course yourself click on the link below.

Kidpower-Teenpower-Fullpower International

 Liam “TAKU” Bauer is a certified instructor of Kidpower Teenpower Fullpower International, a nonprofit organization that has brought “People Safety” skills to over a million children, teenagers, and adults, including those with disabilities,  and people from many different cultures around the world.