By Mike Suyematsu

Hello to everyone out there in Hybrid Fitness land!  My name is Mike Suyematsu and it is my honor to be your guide into the world of self protection strategies. First of all, I need to clarify my position as we go forward. I consider myself a life long student of Martial Ways and Self Defense. My goal is to bring you the lessons I have learned at the feet of Masters, mixed with my own experience.

Hopefully you will all benefit in some way from my obsession with what really works in the streets. I will share with you what I have learned to avoid, evade and escape danger, We will also look at physical options if evading,  avoiding and defusing fail to do the job.

I will detail the lessons I have learned about what you must prepare for mentally and emotionally to deal with a real hostile threat.

I will show you what I believe are the best methods of defense. Purpose driven weapons, improvised weapons and natural or unarmed weapons for self protection / self defense.

You will also learn about use of force or appropriate levels of what you may legally do in response to verbal or physical confrontation. Force must always parallel danger.

I will recommend books, DVDS and training that will educate and prepare you for what you must do to protect yourself and those you love.

Let’s get started…

We will begin with mental preparation. We know the mind controls the body, so without mental preparation, awareness skills or what I am calling “Active Awareness” you will not be prepared to do anything physically.

My first book recommendation is “The Gift of Fear” by Gavin DeBecker. It is a must read by anyone interested in self defense. It teaches us to listen to the intuitive signals in the brain that help warn us about danger. I just got the Kindle version off Amazon the other day. I got my first paperback copy 12 years ago as part of a reading list assigned by Tony Blauer in his Personal Defense Readiness Program.

Speaking of Tony Blauer, my next recommendation is his Mental Edge Audio CDs. They are full of incredible information and form the basis for much of what we will be doing here in the future. Cruise over to if you want to pick those up.

Most of the time folks get the wrong idea about what true self protection really is. They think that the physical techniques they may have seen in movies or on TV or even You Tube are what they need to know to protect themselves and or their families. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Real self protection skills begin by listening to your own intuitive radar. This is not some weird voice from beyond, but rather an inborn gift, traceable back to our primitive ancestors. If you do your homework and read or listen to DeBecker and Blauer, you will already be light-years ahead  of the average person out there who just believes that bad things always happen  to someone else and that it could never happen to them…

I will return to the subject of intuition later, but for now I ask that you do some homework and I will move on to how to cultivate a more active awareness both internally and externally.

Now back to the mental side of self protection or what I call “active awareness.”  Let me state again, In order for you to defend yourself physically, you must be engaged mentally. The term “awareness” can be applied to your awareness of what is going on outside you in your environment and also what is going on inside your mind, INTERNAL ACTIVE AWARENESS.

Back in the 70’s I read a book entitled “Zen Karate” by Randall Bassett. His approach to the mental side of fighting included some unique ideas on what he called using self-presence in the face of a threat. According to Mr. Bassett, one has to be aware what he described as negative subconscious “tapes” which tend to sabotage your efforts to take action. His examples include “tapes” like, ” This is going to be bad!” or ” You don’t have what it takes!”

You will no doubt have your own way of talking to yourself, the important thing is to listen to how you talk to yourself. Monitor your mind content and when you are defeating yourself, counter and overcome your negative thoughts with positive or productive thoughts which motivate you to move forward and deal with the challenge in front of you.

More soon…

Mike S.

P.S. I should mention that my good friend and co-conspirator here in hybrid fitness land, Liam Bauer, Is also an expert in the world of self protection skills and has been an Instructor for at least 15 years that I know of.  Liam teaches from the heart and has personally instructed hundreds of people throughout the years on how to defend themselves. We will tap into his considerable knowledge, insight and experience as we progress . We’re extremely lucky to have him as resource here on the subject of self protection.  Years ago I attended one of Liam’s classes with my oldest daughter. It was a truly eye opening experience.  I will write more on this later, but if you ever have a chance to attend one of Liam’s Full Power classes, jump on

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:



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.