Time For Change

written by Kris Costa

The hearts at Mindset are deeply saddened by recent events at Umpqua Community College.

Unfortunately, it is my belief that this will not be the last school shooting to take place. The rash of violence spreading across the nation against our schools and the innocents within is nothing short of evil.

My appreciation goes to the first responders, medical responders, crisis centers and others, whose grim tasks now include and necessitate drill upon drill of reacting to such domestic terrorist emergencies. No longer carrying an element of sheer surprise, these tragedies have become scenarios whose practiced responses are now a matter of protocol in our American culture. The re-enforced skill sets of our task forces, and other emergency preparedness teams and individuals have no doubt increased the likelihood of surviving such a horrifying scenario, however, much needs to be discussed and implemented to avert the terrorist act in the first place. It is not enough to deal with the after effects. These occurrences MUST be eliminated. It is my opinion that the most influential to facilitate effective change in our own schools lie with us, the civilian public.

I often wonder how many parents have asked the serious questions to our schools regarding  security and preventative measures, and if so asked, what are the responses?

Our government representatives and the like, will address various talking points around gun control, mental health, etc., all of which are vital and valid and necessary discussions to have,  for quite some time to come. However, let us not forget that it is not the government’s responsibility to appoint school security to all the schools in the nation and regulate it. Our Legislative branch will provide rules to govern society, and the Judicial branch will set ramifications when violations occur. The police and others will respond to such violations. However, the job of keeping our schools safe lie with us, the proactive general public. It simply is not acceptable or effective to wait around in fear for someone, or some other body of people, to do the job we need to be doing, which is stand up for safety of our youth and other personnel in schools.

If you are a parent, have you questioned your child’s school on security procedures? Do you know what the procedure is concerning lock down? Do you know if those procedures are drilled with any regularity? What situations are covered? Most importantly, how is the school addressing preventative measures? How is the school physically secured? Are there increased security measures in place?  Are there “No Gun Zone” signs posted? Does your school believe that is a deterrent? Would they consider additional preventative security measures if the budget for such could be supplemented? Would you pull your child/young adult out of the school if you were not satisfied with their answers? Is there a parent group formed and it is applying pressure  (and support) to the school to make the hard decisions and take serious action?

This is only the tip of the iceberg. Do your children know how to adapt to life where they hear about school shootings in the news regularly? Do they really feel safe? And there is so much more.

If it is not worth the effort to find the answers to the above, and more so, to do everything possible in our power to protect our children in school, then we may loose a lot more lives waiting for others to address these issues on our behalf. I believe in prevention, and it begins in our own neighborhoods. Speak up, form a collective, offer solutions, pressure the schools to respond, financially contribute. It’s not about who “should” be doing what, it is about doing the best we can and now. Lives matter.

There are so many facets to the issue of school violence and violence prevention. Enforcing physical boundaries against it, before it happens, may just be the easy part.

Here is the real question: If we could go back to the day before each school shooting, knowing what we know now, would there be one thing that could be done differently?  If the answer is no, then there is no need to pay attention to this post.

~KBC

Are You a Heart Saver? Saving Lives One Heart at a Time.

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Are You a HeartSaver? Saving Lives One Heart at a Time.

By Kris Costa


 

Let me  tell you a about a relative who had a heart attack in a mall one afternoon in December. Wisely, and frankly uncharacteristically, he made his way to the shoe department of Macy’s, which luckily was near an exit door, and complained to a cashier of pain in his chest. The ambulance arrived quickly and loaded him in. En route to the hospital, he went into cardiac arrest.

Fortunately, he was in trained hands who administered CPR and swiftly used an AED (automatic external defibrillator) to shock his heart and bring his pulse back. By the time I arrived, he was in the ER, laying in the recovery position (on his left side)—ashen and still, but alive. Alive, with the necklace he bought for his wife still clutched firmly in his hands. In the weeks to follow, as we celebrated the holiday season,
my family was acutely aware of how very close we had come to spending this time in a very different, very dreadful manner.

There is much to learn from this story. One thing for sure is to not ignore the signals that our bodies communicate to us. Another lesson is to call for medical help immediately, as the cashier did. Had one or two of those elements not been acted upon exactly as they had, this gentleman may not have been in the ambulance when he arrested. And what if he had not? Would another set of capable hands been available to save his life? Did anyone in the store know what an AED was, or where it was? I am grateful to leave that an open question in my mind. However, there is another lesson to be learned from this experience. What if someone were to go into cardiac arrest in front of YOU? Would you know what to do to save a life?

My relative was shopping alone that December afternoon, but what of the person whose family is standing witness, screaming for help to those who are unable to provide any? That sort of helplessness is a hell all its own—and it happens every day. People watch as others die. Anyone can learn CPR—and everyone should.

WHY TAKE ACTION?
• Failure to act in a cardiac emergency can lead to unnecessary deaths.
• Effective bystander CPR provided immediately after sudden cardiac arrest can double or triple a victim’s chance of survival, but only 32% of cardiac arrest victims get CPR from a bystander.
• Sadly, less than 8% of people who suffer cardiac arrest outside the hospital survive.
• The American Heart Association trains more than 12 million people in CPR annually, to equip Americans with the skills they need to perform bystander CPR.

THE GOOD SAMARITAN LAW:
The Good Samaritan Law protects individuals who assist a victim during a medical emergency. Every state in the United States has a Good Samaritan Law or Act to protect individuals who offer reasonable aid during a medical emergency.Since a Good Samaritan typically does not have medical training, the law protects him or her from being liable from injury or death caused to the victim during such assistance. As long as a layperson has good intentions to aid the victim to the best of his or her ability during a medical emergency, he or she is protected under the Good Samaritan Law. Under some Good Samaritan Laws, as long as medical personnel, such as doctors, nurses, or medical responders, are following normal procedures, they too will be protected under the Good Samaritan laws. Each state law has specific guidelines.

AUTOMATIC EXTERNAL
DEFIBRILLATORS:
Automatic external defibrillators (AED) save lives. An AED is a portable device that checks the heart rhythm and if indicated, can deliver an electric shock to the heart to try to restore normal rhythm.

CPR/AED classes are taught nationwide, and many are taught for free. CPR/AED can be learned in one day, in just a few hours. Contact your local Fire Department for more information. Make sure the CPR course you inquire about also teaches AED. Many also teach child and infant CPR/AED, adult and child choking, and first aid. There is no excuse not to learn these life-saving techniques. Get going, get trained, learn how and when to use your training, and be prepared! You may never know when you may be called upon to save a life.

Kris Costa
Editor in Chief Mindset Self-Defense Magazine

KBCHeadShotEd

RESOURCES:
CPR/AED:
htp://www.redcross.org/take-a-class – (also offers pet CPR course).
http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/CPRAndECC/CPR_UCM_001118_SubHomePage.jsp
Or contact your local Fire Department.
PET CPR:
http://www.pettech.net/index.php
GOOD SAMARITAN LAW BY STATE:
http://www.heartsafeam.com/pages/faq_good_samaritan

Read our article on pg. 34-35 with facts from the American Heart Association.

Safety Unplugged

Safety Unplugged
By Dan Ronin

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One of the greatest concerns parents face today is the challenge of keeping children safe in a fast moving and ever
changing world. The world we live in today is not the same as the one we grew up in. We grew up in a much smaller and slower
moving world than that of today’s youth.

When I was growing up, I played outside from morning until the streetlights came on with little-to-no adult supervision and in relative safety. The streetlights indicated dinner time, which was a cherished family gathering around the dinner table. We enjoyed our meal together and conversation of the day’s events. This was our time to connect. Television was a part of life, but not the main focus. We had a telephone on the wall, and when someone was talking on it, the rest of the family was quiet and respectful. With no cell phones, Dad was only summoned at work if the house was on fire or an equally important emergency! We learned to problem solve because we had to.

Another important factor, which was much different than today, was that we lived in the “now” reality. While actually
doing something without a cell phone or computer at hand, we were forced to focus on our activity. Creativity flourished,
delayed gratification was a developed by the natural wait for things, and it was not so easy to be distracted from any negative consequence of actions that may not have been in our best interest! Today we do not live in the now, we live in the “screen,” and such fixation can be a sure impediment to learning necessary life lessons. Often, children make choices not by a set of family values but by what others are doing. They are all too quickly aware of and informed in the advent of this “selfie” society, where good examples are hard to come by and even harder to filter. If we want our children to grow up and live in a safe world, we need to teach them to make good choices. When it comes to self-defense, children and young people are often at a disadvantage. They are smaller, weaker and more easily influenced than most adults. However, this is also the precise time period when the most important form of self-defense self awareness, can be developed. This is when the mindset can be formed and if we teach good safety habits when our children are at a young age we have a head start!

Train your children to be aware. Awareness is lacking more now than at anytime in the past. Most situations can be avoided by simply being aware of the world around you. Teach your children that they need to pay attention to what is happening in their environment. They won’t learn this on TV. Let your children make their own decisions, guided, of course, by your sound judgment. By allowing your child to seemingly make their own age- appropriate decisions as soon and as often
as possible, they build their insight, ability and confidence in making sound choices. When children are allowed to make their own decisions, they learn by their own successes and mistakes which path of judgment is best. When we learn, we grow our minds, and our ability to problem solve increases. The more problems solved on their own the better, and the better equipped they will be in life.

Additionally, if children are respected for their good decisions, they will treat others with respect as well as be able to
recognize “disrespect.” This is an important factor in developing healthy personal boundaries. This will translate to a day to day skill set, making the on screen challenges seem more like the fiction it is. Your child will be able to recognize real warning signs in the real world, and will be able to avoid tangible potential problems unlike the drama scenarios they see on TV. Remember, the key here is age- appropriate decisions with your guidance.

Remember to connect with your children on a daily basis. Find a ritual and stick to it. Dinner can be difficult with kids
on the go, but it is very important to do your best to make that work. On the nights where it does not, have a plan B for connecting. Don’t let a day go by.

In a world where people are endlessly challenged to make safety decisions, make sure your children learn well how to interpret information and do what they think is best. Hopefully, they will grow to be the person who can teach their children the same!
Read this article on our E- Magazine

-Dan Ronin
RoninDan
Dan Ronin has trained in the martial arts for over 30 years. He is a combat veteran who served as a Military Police Investigator in the Army for 8 1/2 years. Dan offers classes in Counter-Attack self defense for open hands and weaponry, as well as disaster/emergency preparedness. Contact Dan at dan@roninproducts.com or 602-373-9630

“If-Then” Self-Defense

if-thenI am always interested in the studies of crime statistics, probabilities and scenarios. Certainly these studies yield important information and can act as prediction indicators of the occurrence of crime but the information they gather, simply put, are generalities. IF such and such is in place, THEN we may assume that x,y,z will follow. Basically, when it comes to crime indicators, I think the if-then scenario concludes the following predictability reliability: Sometimes. When it comes to predicting whether or not a certain person will commit a violent crime one must consider the individual with their ever changing experiences, chemistry and soul status. I am sure that even the most organic of us cannot predict with any certainty what another will do from one moment to the next.

No one is immune from crime. If we were, we wouldn’t need all those statistics, probabilities and studies to predict its occurrence in the first place. Life itself is an “if-then” scenario. If we are in the path of any number of scenarios that manifest into a violent crime, then we must know what to do. Danger is always brewing somewhere.

In terms of safety, we simply are safe until we are not. Sounds simple but it is true. Here’s another if-then scenario to think about. If you learn nothing, then you will know nothing. Although our basic instinct may be to survive in the face of danger, that often is not enough to actually survive. It is not enough to want to survive if you don’t know how.

Logically speaking, there are just too many threatening scenarios to think about preparing for. At the end of the day, we live with so many risks all around us that it just doesn’t make sense to consider them all and wonder which one we will most probably have to deal with. We rely on studies and statistics, to make educated choices about our safety based on our best guess of where we fit into those statistics and that is helpful, however, crime doesn’t always make sense therefore statistics can not be 100% accurate and only so much of our society can be patrolled at once.

Simply put you will never really know what is coming your way until it is happening.

The only thing we can really rely on is ourselves. The best defense to the myriad of risks that ebb and flow around each of our interactions in life is to know where we stand within them. By it’s very nature, violence is not a predictable event. If it were, no one would become a victim, and clearly, there are victims of violent crime every day all day long.

What safety really becomes is another if-then scenario. Simply put, if I am attacked, then I need to know what to do to survive. If I know what to do then it doesn’t really matter if I am attacked. I know how to defend myself so I will.  That skill will help me get out of trouble. It is the same way that I approach renting a car at the airport. If I know how to drive, then it really doesn’t matter what make or model they hand me the keys to.  If I know how to drive, then I will and increase my chances or arriving safely because I have the basic skill. You cannot always predict which threat in life you will have to deal with, but if you know how to protect yourself, then your chances of survival increase no matter what situation you find yourself in. But only if you have the skills.

We are not born with appropriate self-defends strategies because the nature of threats against us change with the climate of the era. However, it is essential that we do learn to protect ourselves because we never know which situation we will be handed. Without skills, we live a life of chance of which threat we may actually encounter, and common sense tells us that it is not a matter of If, but a matter of when.

~KBC

Mindset Self-Defenese offers workshops, products and a cutting edge magazine dedicated to the self-defense, personal protection and safety of women. Learn more at http://www.mindsetselfdefense.com

 

Hands On- Think Before you Click

Hands on Preparedness
Youth Safety-Think Before you Click
By Tim Ralston

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It is our natural instinct as parents to protect our children and keep them safe at all times. If it were up to us, we would shield them from all of the negativity that takes place in this world in the hopes of keeping them innocent as long as possible. As much as we would like this to be true, it is unrealistic to believe that we can be the sole protectors of our kids. This is evident in the fact that we are not together with them 24/7; they attend school, they have social lives, they explore virtual worlds… meaning
they are guaranteed to have experiences for which we cannot control.

While certain issues of safety may seem uncomfortable to talk about, you will only do your child a disservice by not doing so. In fact, by providing them with the knowledge and tools of how to avoid danger, along with what to do if they come across it, you will help transform their fears into empowerment during the times they need it most.

Online World
The Internet has been both a blessing as well as a curse for us as parents. When used properly, it has opened up doors for our children with its endless possibilities of educational value.Unfortunately though, it is also a gateway into the evil side of
humanity. There are those in our society who hide behind their screens to embark upon immoral acts, such as bullying and sexual inappropriateness. No matter how sheltered you try to keep your child, the second they turn on the screen, they are exposed.

Some parents take action by monitoring social media pages, putting time limits on Internet usage, or even installing specialized computer programs. These are all excellent ways to protect your child online. Ask yourself though, are they really
enough? This generation of kids is tech-savvy beyond belief, and if there is a will, there is a way. Especially if you take these security measures without informing your child of your reasoning, it will only heighten the chances of defiance. I recommend opening up a conversation with your child about the grim realities of the Internet. They should be made aware that you cannot be trusting of all that you read, nor all that you see. In particular, address predators on the chat sites. This is an extremely serious issue, which each year leads to numerous crimes against adolescents. Speak frankly; speak
graphically, whatever it takes to make them realize that Internet communication with strangers is not a game.

Another area I would focus on is the type of material they select to share online. How well do they grasp the fact that what they do and say is forever in print? Talk about how a future career might be affected, or the day they have children. Inform them that it is in their power to control how positive or negatively they are represented. It is all about choices. The main goal is to have your child choose proper Internet behavior not because you say so, but because they understand the importance in doing so. Help them achieve this by giving them ideas for self-protection, such as passwords and who can view their social media pages. Lastly, encourage non technological activities! There is nothing more rewarding in childhood than experiencing it in “real life.”

The Real Real World
Most emergency situations are unpredictable. From natural disasters to acts of violence, there is no telling when a catastrophe could occur. As adults, we are usually the ones who prepare our households for these types of events. Yet, it is just as crucial that your child be prepared as well. I would recommend beginning the conversation with your child by asking questions. (What would you do if the lights were to go out? What items do you think would be helpful?) Make it a game of sorts, praising them for their answers. Kids become very engaged when they are having fun, and also thrive with positive feedback.

Read more of the article on PG.18-19
-Tim Ralston
Tim Ralston
Author Tim Ralston is an international spokesman and recurringfeatured survival expert on National Geographic’s #1 rated program DOOMSDAY PREPPERS. Tim owns the survival brand
Gear Up, exclusive manufacturer and provider of cutting-edge survival gear and apparel. Contact Tim on Twitter:@gearupguy-tim
Gear Up Center: (480) 306-4945

Emergency Preparedness-The Series-Part II-The Low Down on Lock Downs

Emergency Preparedness-The Series-Part II
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The Low Down on Lock Downs


In the aftermath of well publicized school shootings, it only makes sense to address the possibility of any threat on school grounds whether it be trespassing, or an armed suspect.There is no longer room the “simple threat” attitude, the cost of the potential problem is just too great.

Although most schools will never experience a threat as horrific as a school shooting, there is no down side to expecting the best and being prepared for the worst.

To that end, here are how Arizona schools are prepping to handle the worst case scenario of a potential school shooting on their grounds. This information has been gleaned from the AZ Department of Education and the AZ Republic website. Also, be sure to visit the Mindset Self-Defense You Tube account at: XXX for video’s on school preparedness, sourced from the Department of Homeland Security. Click on our School Safety
playlist.

Valley schools typically announce lockdowns whenever a potential threat is identified and the situations run the gamut and are not distance sensitive. For example; a bomb threat, a suspicious person who appears to have a weapon or suspect on the run, even if several blocks away. What prompts a lockdown is anything that presents a danger to children — not just criminal. When a lockdown is announced, teachers sweep the area, bring in adults and students to the nearest classroom, lock the doors,remain quiet and turn off the lights. If the school has a resource officer, they are notified and police agencies might send officers to schools to guard the perimeters.

Five Chandler schools were placed on lockdown for about four hours this year when a man was spotted reportedly carrying either a rifle or shotgun near Chandler High School. A Tempe middle school went into lockdown last school year after two students reported another student showed them a handgun in a backpack. The weapon turned out to be a pellet gun. A Mesa high school in 2013 was placed on lockdown when a student called in a bomb threat.

Usually, it is the police’s call to lock down a school, but district administrators work with police agencies to learn how and when to implement lockdowns.

Similar to other districts, Mesa schools conduct at least one lockdown drill a semester, Mesa schools
spokeswoman Helen Hollands said.

Lockdowns are stress producing for parents. Most parents find out about them through either district administration communications, posts on district websites, email alerts or at times letters home if a situation warrants it. Often times the children themselves contact parents through social media, which at times are the quickest way parents received information. It is important for parents to know that the information they received via their children may be prompted by a false alarm and not to panic until the
information has been verified.

Here are some common questions that many parents would like answers to:

How are school lockdowns handled?
The specifics of each plan differ, as do the responses, based on the specifics of a situation. In general, each plan involves the designation of an emergency-response team; development of evacuation, shelter-in-place and lockdown procedures; preparation of a portable emergency response kit that contains key information and supplies; designation of one or more appropriate evacuation sites; provisions for training personnel and updating the plan; checklists for dealing with specific types of incidents; and resources for help before, during and after an incident.

Read more on Pgs.22-23

Kris Costa
Editor in Chief

KBCHeadShotEd

Emergency Preparedness- The Series

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Emergency Preparedness-The Series

Part 1-Overview


 

You probably never heard of Staten Island, the small borough I grew up on in NYC. I never once thought about hurricanes or massive flooding from the ocean that lie just a few feet from where I lived and played. However, thanks to Hurricane Sandy, you now may know where S.I. is. Residents are still recovering, just as others are from Katrina and countless other natural disasters and challenges. Thanks to Dan Ronin for this series, and Tim Ralston’s Preparedness column, for teaching us what we need to learn to be prepared and manage a crisis.

-Kris Costa

Are you ready?

By ready I mean prepared, prepared for most tragedies that might befall you, your family or community. Whether it is a natural or man made disaster there are steps you should take immediately to insure your safety and survival. First your family needs a plan. You all should know what to do and where to go in the event of an emergency. It is highly
possible the phones will not operate. There is a remote possibility your car won’t or can’t be used. You should have a back up plan for the family members who can’t follow the plan on their own. A disaster can come in many forms. Here are a few examples, I’m sure you can think of many more:Earthquake, Fire, Volcano, Tornado, Tsunami, Hurricane, Flood, Extreme drought, Mudslide, Epidemic, Pandemic, Plague, Nuclear War, Chemical or Biological attack, Rioting, Gas or food shortage, Marshal law, EMP, Financial collapse or Terrorist attack.

For most of man kinds existence it was natural to grow food to eat now and store food for leaner times. Sometime ago people started to label others who were prepared for disaster;
“survivalist”or “prepper” usually with a bad connotation.

Where did we go wrong? Doesn’t it make sense to have emergency preparations? A plan in case the worst happens? I think it makes perfect sense, so let’s look at what you should do.

First of all what do you need? Well it depends on your plan and/or the situation, like whether you are going to stay at your home or have to evacuate. Obviously staying home is
easier, however sometimes it is not an option and you might have to evacuate, maybe in quite a hurry. Here is a list of essential items you would be glad you had in case you needed them.

1. Water
2. Food
3. Shelter
4. Weaponry
5. First-aid
6. Transportation

Let’s Break it down….

Water
Remember you can go several days without food. It won’t be comfortable but you will live. . The same is not true of water, without water you will die. Painfully, in a short period of time. You should store and rotate large water cooler type bottles in your home. I recommend a minimum of 1 per person and they should be replaced every couple of years . There are many alternatives to not having water stored. First of all if you have enough warning you could fill up your bathtubs, sinks and any portable receptacle you might have. If not your water heater is full of fresh water that you can drain. If you have a pool you can filter or treat the water in it. You should have a couple of ways to purify water to drink. Most people have chlorine liquid bleach. A few drops of bleach in a gallon of water will kill most pathogens. Boiling will also work, remember “big bubbles, no troubles”! You can acquire chemical treating tablets that will purify water from most outdoor or camping stores as well as various filtering options. If you go with a method like filtering or chemically treating as opposed to storing then you need to practice using it so you know how to correctly do it when the time comes. Obviously a combination of all options is best.

Food
The easiest way to build an emergency food storage is to buy a little extra each time you go to the store. Things like canned and dry goods have a very long shelf life such as tuna, chicken, vegetables, beans, rice and pasta. Keep all canned and dry goods rotated for maximum freshness. The next option is dehydrated and freeze dried food. You can find a very wide variety of food that has been either dehydrated or freeze dried. Both options are very effective for long term food storage and have the added benefit of being ultra light. If you own a home or rent an apartment there are many ways to have a garden. While it is difficult at best to grow enough food to eat, it is a nice fresh addition to your menu. If allowed you could also keep chickens and reap the benefit of the regular eggs. Hunting, fishing and gathering are last on the list but you have to do what you have to do to survive. So learning to hunt and fish is a good idea as well as becoming confident with what foods grow wild in your area and where to find them. Just as with water, have a
plan, be prepared and use a combination of food sources.

Read more on Shelter, Weaponry, First-aid, and Transportation on page 21-22.

-Dan Ronin
RoninDan
Dan Ronin has trained in the martial arts for over 30 years. He is a
combat veteran who served as a Military Police Investigator in the
Army for 8 1/2 years. Dan offers classes in Counter-Attack self defense
for open hands and weaponry, as well as disaster/emergency
preparedness. Contact Dan at dan@roninproducts.com or
602-373-9630

 

Personal Protection- International Travel Safety

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Security concerns for international travel are really not that different than travel within the United States, or for that matter to the United States.

First, let’s look at what someone traveling here might think. Before I go too far, let me start with the fact that I am pro-gun. Imagine how scared many foreign travelers are when planning
a trip to the USA where many of us carry guns, and where we have incidents of people being shot at because of a difference of opinion. Furthermore, we have incidents of drive by shootings,
movie theater shootings, and school shootings. How could you bring your family somewhere like that? What special security concerns should you take into consideration before booking that trip?

Is it really that unsafe here? Or is it just unsafe everywhere? I, like many people, think it is unsafe everywhere, but I travel. I travel within the US and internationally as often as my
inner Sagittarius will allow. Having lived in one of the toughest neighborhoods in the Los Angeles/Long Beach area in southern California, I learned many traits to keep me from getting in trouble early on. Hopefully my bad times will help you avoid some of your own.

I think basically people are people all around the world, and for the most part, they want to be left alone to live their lives. But if anyone believes that there is not real evil in the world, they are wrong! Th ere are many people who would hurt, rape, maim, or kill you just to be part of some gang or group, and many more who would do it just because they like it! Th at is what you need to be able to recognize, avoid and react to. Oft en this type of criminal/predator will conceal true intentions behind a well-rehearsed act or subterfuge. More stuff for you to learn to recognize.

10 key things to consider when planning
a trip outside the U.S.A:
1. Clothing
2. Jewelry
3. Passports
4. Currency
5. Weaponry
6. Contact Information
7. Itinerary
8. Medical Emergency
9. Evasion/Escape
10. Legal
1. CLOTHING
Nothing says “American” like what we wear. Many Americans wear jeans, fleece, sportswear (when not engaged in a sport), baggy or loose-fi tting clothes, team logos, and designer logos. Whenever possible, try to see how the locals dress and imitate that as close as you can. I know it is against the thought process of many Americans, but try to blend instead of standing out. For example, have clothing that will properly cover your body if you are going to a Muslim country. Don’t dress provocatively or disrespectfully, and you wont be treated with disrespect.
2. JEWELRY
Jewelry should stay at home in your jewelry box or in your safe. Avoid wearing a big wedding ring, instead, buy inexpensive silver bands to wear, or leave the wedding rings at home. If you have to wear a watch, wear an inexpensive one that nobody would want to steal from you. The point is to not draw attention in the first place. Wearing lots of big expensive jewelry or watches will draw attention and increase the possibility of getting mugged or worse.
3. PASSPORT
Your passport is the only way you can get into and out of most countries. Keep it on your person, preferably in a zipped pocket. Have passport photos left with a relative and have the numbers to call to get a new one in case of emergency (see contact info).
4. CURRENCY
A lot of countries use the US dollar, but even if they do, you shouldn’t. Exchange as much money as you think you will spend into the local currency. Know the exchange rate and be able to use the local money (without) using your fingers for math!
5. WEAPONRY
Everything is a weapon if you look at it that way. Some work better than others. The best I have found is to travel with a mask, snorkel, fi ns and a dive knife! Without
that option, you have to resort to “weapons of opportunity.” I recommend acquiring the first weapon you find and improving it as you go. Things that make great weapons are all around you. Your credit card or car key make a good knife, your belt makes a good whip, and a coffee mug a great impact weapon.
6. CONTACT INFORMATION
You should make a copy of all phone numbers,email addresses, addresses to properties you will be staying at or visiting, US embassies or consulates, passport emergency replacement numbers, your lawyer, your doctor’s information along with any medications you are taking or allergies you have. Give a copy to each person you are traveling with and all primary contacts at home.
7. ITINERARY
Much like your contact information, you should make copies of your itinerary. Each person in the group and contacts at home should have as detailed as possible an itinerary detailing where you will be and when you will be there each day and the contact information whenever available. When going on a spontaneous trip, leave a note in your room detailing your plan.
8. MEDICAL EMERGENCY
Answer these questions before the need and your results will be much better. Does your health insurance work where you are traveling to? Do they have 1st world medical care? Do they have great medical care really cheap? Do you need travel health insurance? Do you have a really good first aid kit and the training to use it? If you have a medical emergency, do you plan on taking care of it where you are or when you get home?
9. EVASION/ESCAPE
If the country you are traveling in suddenly becomes unsafe locally or nationally, what is your plan? Do you have a car? Could you get one? Do you need one? Could you get to the airport? What if it is closed? Could you get out on a boat? Is one (nearby)? Could you walk out? How far? Are the neighboring countries friendly? Would they be if the one you are in became unfriendly? It is important to think of the answers to these questions should your travel destination become unsafe.
10. LEGAL
Sometimes no matter how hard you try to avoid it, you get in trouble with the law. Have the number of your lawyer and have them recommend a local legal contact as well.

When planning travel, do not plan a backpacking trip on the border of Iran or North Korea. Check with the state department on locations where travel is not recommended and then listen to those recommendations. Feel free to travel anywhere in the world, but before you go, familiarize yourself with that country’s customs and courtesies and use them when you arrive. Be a traveler and not a tourist. No one owes you anything so do not act like it! While in a foreign country or a far-away state (or any time any place) it is a good idea to have a backpack with water and/or water treatment, food, warm clothing, a first-aid kit,and maybe something for shelter. Then, no matter what happens,you won’t become part of the problem. Remember, your
mind is the most powerful security tool you have, so use it!

When in unsafe areas, be aware of your surroundings at all times without looking around. Do not make eye contact with anyone. Do not speak to anyone. If approached, shake your head side to side like saying NO, and hold up your hand like a stop sign, and walk away from the person approaching you. Likely they have some well-rehearsed subterfuge to make you feel sorry for or want to help them. Remember it is not why you are there. If they follow you, ready a weapon. If they stop you and will not let you pass, you could be in big trouble. You will have to choose between fight or flight.

Personally I prefer flight. It is not as “macho” as fight, but if you take a lesson from the animal kingdom, you will see they do too! Seldom is fighting the solution, but once it is, it is the only solution. I will repeat this because it is as accurate as a statement can be: Seldom is fighting a solution, but when it is, it is the only solution! When you have exhausted all other options and all you have left to do is fight, then fight! Fight like your life depends on it because it does! Worry about everything else after you survive.

That being said, if you are in a fight in a foreign country and survive, you most likely seriously injured the other person. Which means it might be time to leave. It might be the best time to get your stuff and get out of town. Remember, you are the stranger, and as the stranger, people will oft en side with their own, not you! People, police, judges, jailers and anyone else can
ruin your life. Do not give them the chance! So go and go now. While it is important to be aware of dangerous travel scenarios and be prepared, don’t let the possibilities discourage you from experiencing the world of travel. So remember, the world is a big beautiful place with many sights to see, so never be afraid, but always be prepared. Have a great time. Travel and make memories. Life is short, fill it up!
-Dan Ronin
RoninDan
Dan Ronin has trained in the martial arts for over 30 years. He is
a combat veteran who served as a Military Police Investigator in
the Army for 8 1/2 years. Dan off ers classes in Counter-Attack self
defense for open hands and weaponry, as well as disaster/emergency
preparedness. Contact Dan at dan@roninproducts.com or
602-373-9630

Arizona Martial Arts

Arizona Martial Arts

When I first wrote this article it was based on several questions I had received over many years of teaching martial arts by a wide variety of people. So, you can look at this as sort of an FAQ. Now keep in mind this was written about Bushin Ryu which is a Japanese Martial System that we teach here at our Headquarters Dojo located in Arizona. This means that while some questions may be relevant to you or schools in your area you may wish to speak to the instructor of any school you’re looking at and ask these questions. This will help you define the many different types of martial arts and martial arts schools out there.arizona martial arts

Learning a martial art is a wonderful experience. And, like any new thing, deciding to take the first step (and not just thinking about doing it) is the hardest. In martial arts, especially, I have found that many people like a certain art, but instead of actually learning it, they are content just watching and reading about it. Why is this so? I believe it is such a wasted opportunity when a person finds something they are really interested in, and then choose to be contented with watching and appreciating instead of actually trying it out.

I will list some very common misconceptions of the martial arts per our system. It is with great hope that dispelling these myths will help you choose to consider joining a martial art class and actually step on the mat and try it out.

1)      “I have to be in good shape to do martial arts.” You don’t have to be an athlete to start training in a martial art. It is the job of the sensei, or instructor, to factor in your physical condition and fitness level in teaching you. A competent instructor customizes his approach to each of his students, thereby optimizing learning in his dojo. A word of caution: People with prior medical conditions should consult with their doctor first before joining. Prudence is always a good practice and your sensei is not a doctor.

 

2)      “Will I lose weight doing martial arts?” Losing weight is the responsibility of the individual and not the art! In whatever martial art, even if you train for the entire day, this won’t matter at all if you don’t control your diet. Always remember that weight management is a balance of calorie input vs calorie output. Like other martial arts, Bushin Ryu is a way to exercise (calorie output); but it won’t really help unless you learn to control what you eat (calorie input). Please see the “ask the trainer” section of this website as this is a great resource on such material.

 

3)      “It will take many, many years before I can defend myself.” This is difficult to estimate. In the case of martial proficiency, however, the length of time to achieve this varies from student-to-student. There is a process in the road to learning. There are no shortcuts in getting good at anything. You really have to dedicate time and effort, and most especially, to persevere and never give up.

 

4)      “I’ll have to break boards and bricks.” No. the only things we “break” in Bushin Ryu is balance and aggressive intent.

 

5)       “I will have to bow to everybody.” Yes. We bow to the shomen (front of the dojo) at the beginning and end of each session. We also bow at the Sensei after he presents a technique for us to practice. We also bow to each other at the beginning and at the end of partnered training. Bowing is a sign of respect, not worship. Bowing to each other symbolizes goodwill, gratitude and humility. In Bushin Ryu, we value our training partners, they are essential in learning the art. And bowing is our way of showing how much they mean to us.

 

6)      “I am too old (or too young!) to start doing Bushin Ryu.” Most competent instructors individualize the training regimen of their students. We are reminded to “train at our own pace”. In Bushin Ryu, one should find their own way to achieve their goals. For as long as you can follow instructions, I see no reason why you cannot enjoy experiencing this wonderful system.

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7)      “Martial Arts will make my children violent.” There are many contemporary studies that question this very stereotype. Just type benefits of martial arts training on Google! For the most part, martial arts actually teach self-respect and respect for others. Now, obviously, if you choose a school which focuses on competition and sport then the student is taught to be aggressive. Conversely, if you choose a school based on tradition and self-defense the student is taught to be balanced in such matters. In Bushin Ryu, cooperation and the study of harmony are regarded as the most basic learning tools of the system. (see Masakatsu Agatsu).

 

8)       “Martial Arts are not for women and girls.” Bushin Ryu, in particular, is not about brute strength. Bushin Ryu is actually enjoyed by more women than you think! This is one of the best qualities of Bushin Ryu; by not relying on strength, but rather on the technique and the physical applications of martial principles, anyone can learn it regardless of gender, build, or age.

 

9)      “There is a relatively high risk of injury.” Injuring each other is the last thing we would want in our dojo. Before even letting you join, a dojo usually asks you to first observe or participate in a trial class to see what you are getting yourself into. The basics of safety (see ukemi) are generally the first thing taught to beginners in order to prevent injury. Again, the intention of Bushin Ryu is not to harm each other but to live in harmony with each other. This sentiment also applies to how we train in the dojo.

 

10)   “Receiving my black belt means I am an expert.” Being a black belt is only the beginning in your martial arts journey. It signifies that you have a good grasp of the basics. Think of it as an intermediate level. In Bushin Ryu, we generally do not think of ourselves as an expert (this is why we do not use terms like “Master” or “Grandmaster”). We are all students in martial arts.

It is my hope that people start to actively seek their interests and goals. If you find that trying Bushin Ryu is something you are interested in, I suggest that instead of just thinking about doing Bushin Ryu (or any martial art), why not visit the Dojo, ask, observe, and try it out for yourself! To live a life without regrets, we must not give up before we have even started.

For more information please visit us at: www.MartialArtsMesa.com

In Oneness,

Sensei

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Commitment

Self-Defense | Training | Commitment

The most important cornerstone for building a foundation in your own personal protection is understanding the importance of training and the commitment level with which you chose to subscribe.

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy and the chance to draw back. That always leads to ineffectiveness. Think about this statement. Today I want us to look at commitment in a new, more definitive light.

I think there are many historical lessons we can look at to gain insight on current objectives. For this lesson I believe the story of Hernando Cortes would be quite appropriate. Hernando Cortes was a Conquistador who was tasked with conquering the central corridor of Mexico. He went to the new world with a handful of ships which had a compliment of roughly 300 men. Now keep in mind that the Mayan and Aztec cultures were already in place with millions of inhabitants at this time. Doesn’t sound like a very fun job with odds like that, now does it?

The interesting thing was that, at one point, after several engagements with the native people his troops’ commitment to their job started to deteriorate.  His men wanted to mutiny and head back home. So before yet another battle Cortes sank his ships.

Why do you think Hernando Cortes sank his own boats? After all this was the only means of returning to safety. The Conquistadors were shocked that Hernando Cortes had ruined their only way to escape. But let’s pre-frame this from his standpoint. He personally was committed to the task at hand. Without any way of escape – how do you think the Conquistadors fought? Why?

Once you are fully committed, a whole stream of events is put in motion. Things you probably wouldn’t have even considered prior are now on the table. And when you are fully committed, your creativity and perseverance are at their peaks. How does this apply to your martial arts training? What area or areas within your training or within your life have you been hesitating, holding back, or avoiding?

If you do not fully dedicate yourself there is a lack of sincerity in your actions. Indecisiveness and hesitation are roadblocks that will hinder you from reaching your full potential. Don’t be that person who has one foot in and one foot out so if things don’t go according to plan you have an escape route. Commit yourself to those you love, and to yourself, and to living your fullest life possible. Make sure you do not have the means of escape built into your mind as this will cause you to stumble.

Sometimes we don’t know what the outcome will be. As long as we hold back, we will never know what it COULD be – therefore, dream big dreams and make a commitment. Eliminate the possibility of retreat or failure and begin with boldness!

I dare you to be GREAT!

In Oneness,

Sensei

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