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

“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

 

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

I Challenge You!

…to get the stats!

If you picked up a newspaper, (ok, I am over 30) errr, or googled the news, or better yet, contacted your local police department, you probably would be shocked to see the amount of crime that is going on in your neighborhoods.  My office is in Scottsdale, AZ., so that’s what I checked. I simply entered “scottsdale violent crime statistics” in the search field and here is what I found:

2010 Crime Rate Indexes Scottsdale, AZ 85260 Arizona United States
Total Crime Risk 63 143 100
Murder Risk 58 144 100
Rape Risk 32 98 100
Robbery Risk 29 102 100
Assault Risk 33 112 100
Burglary Risk 66 139 100
Larceny Risk 48 127 100
Motor Vehicle Theft Risk 96 220 100

The data for Scottsdale, AZ 85260 may also contain data for the following areas: Scottsdale

“Crime Risk Index (100 = National Average): Index score for an area is compared to the national average of 100. A score of 200 indicates twice the national average total crime risk, while 50 indicates half the national risk. We encourage you to consult with a knowledgeable local real estate agent or contact the local police department for any additional information. Crime Indexes are based on numerous current and historical datasets as well as proprietary modeling algorithms which estimate values at more granular geographic levels when specific data is either unavailable or impractical to aggregate. While every effort is made to ensure accuracy, these are estimates and should only be used as a guide. For detailed information regarding crime and safety in a community, please contact local law enforcement agencies.”

Hmmm, although I am glad that Scottsdale falls under the national average in some crimes  (which we all know is too much to begin with) I wasn’t exactly pleased with the murder risk value. Burglary and rape didn’t exactly relax me either, nor did an overall crime risk of 63 which inched up toward the national average, and this is “Scottsdale”. Look at the rest of Arizona. Not too pretty at all.

Having moved here from NYC, I was wondering what was going on in that neck of the woods.  So I picked an affluent part of town located by Lincoln Center and the Julliard School to search next. Here is what I found there, and the comparison to Scottsdale.

2010 Crime Rate Indexes Scottsdale, AZ 85260 New York, NY 10023 United States
Total Crime Risk 63 133 100
Murder Risk 58 116 100
Rape Risk 32 80 100
Robbery Risk 29 432 100
Assault Risk 33 144 100
Burglary Risk 66 57 100
Larceny Risk 48 81 100
Motor Vehicle Theft Risk 96 111 100

If you live in Scottsdale, you may at first glance, think whew! (If you live in NYC this doesn’t surprise you, unless of course you live by Lincoln Center). However, Scottsdale, ask yourself two questions:

  1. Am I comfortable with the levels of crime that does exist in Scottsdale? Let’s face it, its not zero. And..
  2. Do I travel outside of Scottsdale, or do I live in a bubble?

I bet you’ve been to Tempe, a big college town as you probably know:

2010 Crime Rate Indexes Scottsdale, AZ 85260 Tempe, AZ United States
Total Crime Risk 63 162 100
Murder Risk 58 75 100
Rape Risk 32 117 100
Robbery Risk 29 115 100
Assault Risk 33 94 100
Burglary Risk 66 119 100
Larceny Risk 48 213 100
Motor Vehicle Theft Risk 96 288 100

OMG! Look at those numbers!  I am not saying this to scare you into taking care of your own personal safety and protection. I am saying it because it is happening. By the statistics in Scottsdale, 68% of you will not have a rape go to completion, however, 32% will! If you are in Tempe, the rape statistic goes up to 117, which is higher than NYC! Think again, where would you send your kids to school and what do we need to be teaching our girls??????

I want every woman to understand that learning to protect yourself is simply a VERY GOOD THING to know.

Stay safe out there, it’s Friday night. And we all know what alcohol and partying does to people’s judgment.

~KBC

 

3/1- Women’s Self-Defense Workshop Photos

The women who participated in the workshop alongside trainer David Bravo and his helper.
The women who participated in the workshop alongside trainer David Bravo and his helper.

The Women’s Self-Defense Workshop on March 1, 2014 was such an empowering experience. Throughout the workshop participants became aware of several things;

1. There are so many misconceptions when it comes to self-defense & attacks against women.For example, the neighborhood is safe, using common sense will prevent attacks, and there is no way to get away from a stonger attacker,therefore compliance is best.

2. How to utilize tactical thinking instead of emotional thinking( getting past the anxiety) in life-like scenarios.

3. How to establish strong verbal boundaries and portray confidence so that we are not seen as a victim and therefore are less likely to become a victim.

4. That women have so many weapons to utilize if we are faced with an attack that have nothing to do with size, weight,or strength. We can do damage by using tactics like knee kicks, open handed hits, scratching ( we have nails!), biting, poking eyes etc.

Mindset's new Personal Assistant (left of trainer David Bravo) along with two other women who participated in the workshop
Mindset’s new Personal Assistant (left of trainer David Bravo) along with two other women who participated in the workshop
A participant practicing the "Knee-Kick" tactic taught in the workshop.
A participant practicing the “Knee-Kick” tactic taught in the workshop.

3/1 Scottsdale, AZ Women’s Self-Defense Workshop!!

wsd.2014edited

PREDATOR PERSONAL PROTECTION!

 This innovative Self-Defense training course is unlike any other. Real attack scenarios, real learning!

“What are you trained to do to protect yourself or a loved one in a violent attack”?

This workshop will:

Develop your skill to NOT become a victim, regardless of age or fitness level. You will learn “real world” techniques that will work on any attacker.

Build your confidence by teaching what you need to know to handle most violent situations and get home safely.

Learn to think tactically and instinctually, instead of emotionally and fearfully, to violence of threat of violence.

If you take just one step forward in personal protection, take this class.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Taught by David Bravo
4th Degree Black Belt
Personal Protection Expert
Tactical Response Trainer
Over 19 years experience.

Saturday: 3/01/2014
10:00am – 2:00pm
Price: $99
Limited Time Offer

Client Registration is limited. Call Today.
602.909.0840

Self Awareness Before Self Defense

432c35f99ce667a4f268abb9b0397e23While I am a huge proponent to having the physical ability to defend yourself, I have found that if you are “aware” the chances of being involved in a physical confrontation drops dramatically. Although it can be a fine line between “awareness” and “paranoia” to some people, even adopting some of the following will strengthen your personal security.

Begin your journey of “situational awareness” by regarding yourself and your immediate family members as a “secure area”. For your area to be secure, you need to implement awareness of a 360 degree perimeter at all times (or as often as possible). This means that as you go about your normal activities try to be attentive to what is going on all around you. If you do this you will be in a better position to react to a problem before it is too late.

Here are a few simple examples of how to increase awareness that can easily fit into every day life :

1. When driving, never be trapped in a center lane, use an outside lane if possible and scan what is going on as far in front, behind and side to side as you can. This will increase your readiness if an emergency should arise.

2. When dining, pick a table near an exit where you can view the entrance and be aware of who comes in and what they do.

3. When returning to your car, have your key ready and approach your car from an angle so that you can see around most of it. Only unlock the doors and enter the car when you feel safe. Once inside, lock the doors and leave. Do not remain in your vehicle checking texts, email, etc.

4. Human nature and its curiosity can sometimes get the best of us when witnessing a confrontation, we sometimes to want to see what is going on. Don’t stick around! It is always best to leave the area as soon as possible., and get help.

Any confrontation, from a dissatisfied customer at a retail store, to shouting parents at their kids’ sporting event, can quickly and unreasonably escalate into dangerous situation, especially In todays world. Stay vigilant about your awareness and you will decrease your chances of being caught in a bad spot.

Next time I will give you my list of rules for living safer!

Cheers!

Dan

Ultimate Self-Defense

Image

Imagine you had the ability to embark on a journey into a brave new world, one in which you have never seen or heard of, one in which you do not speak the language and no one even really resembles you. The purpose of your journey is to navigate this new world, its terrain and elements, master its’ inhabitants’ language, and align with its’ culture. If successful, you have would have the opportunity to experience a new world full of natural beauty, empathetic compassion, soulful inter-connection and a myriad of physical sensations. Additionally, this new adventure holds the potential to learn skills and concepts beyond your current imagination. Your mind would expand exponentially. Best of all, this new environment is one full of hope, excitement and support where you can live, learn, grow and love in peace and safety. 

What would you feel like and how would you behave once you have returned from your journey? How would it change you? Would you want your loved ones to go to the same place and have the same experience that you had? Would you dedicate your time and effort in assisting with their ability to journey as you did?

The fact is that we, as human beings, have already made the jump into that journey.

The day before you were born, you were very much alive. You did not breathe as you do now, but absorbed your oxygen and nutrients from the fluid that surrounded you. What you heard of the sounds of the world, and whatever you could see, also first passed through this same fluid. You had virtually no control of your body, knew nothing of the new world’s language, and had no idea what another human being even looked like. The journey you were on was completely foreign. If there were a way to infuse the knowledge to the vulnerable you that in 24 hours you would be breathing not water, but air for oxygen, eating food, learning the basics of a foreign language, navigate obstacles, see, hear and feel through new, yet undiscovered senses, in a land you could not even imagine, life would certainly at that point be utterly and completely unrecognizable to you. Yet, that is what ear  and every one of us have done. Our truth and very existence changed in yet a few precious moments. I wonder how many of us would  have in fact been brave and courageous enough to have been born, if given the choice?

There are other times in history where truths have changed. In Galileo’s time, the truth of the world was that its’ surface was flat. If we traveled to the “edge,” it was believed we would simply fall off into an endless abyss. Today we all know that concept was not the truth, simply “the truth of the time” and what the masses believed in, so for a while, it became their truth. What kind of spirit, fortitude, and belief in oneself, must it have taken for his theories to be pushed through until proven.

Then there were the myriad of courageous explorers in days gone by who traveled and colonized new lands. Armed with tools, ships and the like, their beliefs and sheer will were probably among their most important assets to continue onward. They just kept pushing forward toward a new world, a new life, and new truths. 

The funny thing about some truths, is that they are not just there waiting to be discovered. There is no concrete substance to a truth that one seeks and then finds. Truth exists only in the minds of those who believe it, and the resulting culture is the manifestation of those thoughts and beliefs. Truth is evidenced into existence through action and behavior.

Fast forward to 2014 and our cultures have their own sets of current truths. One truth is that we live in a place of much beauty. Our lands are graced with natural beauty from majestic mountains to red rock canyons to turquoise waters and pure sandy beaches. We are blessed with an abundance of colors, changing and blending constantly everywhere, different species of life to live amongst and learn from, and the power of self-renewing passion and inner strength, that we can draw from and share with others of our own kind. Yet, there are other truths. The truths that some subscribe to that cause humans to choose to kill each other, imprison each other, torment, deny, and destroy each other. Clearly the former are simply supplied to us, luckily we come by such beauty naturally. Violence is always a choice. One that begins in the mind, out of fear.

The day before we were born we had no choice, and we had no fear, only progression. There was only one way to go, forward, and why not? Hopefully, that transition was into loving arms and a new beautiful world full of hope and possibility. That was the truth for some people, and not for others. Clearly then there is no one truth, and the only thing we can control is ourselves. There is only your truth that you bring to the world through your thoughts and your actions. This is our choice as human beings.

What would you choose if you had no fear? What could you become? Would you choose to shine with beauty as a gift to all those around you if you knew you would be accepted? Would you, like Galileo, take the natural gifts in front of us and pursue new ways to interpret and combine these elements to open up the boundaries of our environment? Or maybe it is simply enough to see the need in just one other person, and respond. If you are reading this, you probably have been around long enough to figure out, that there are many improvements we can make in the way we are living today and we could all use a little more grace.

No one asked you years ago if you were brave and courageous enough to leave the only home you ever knew and be born alone into a strange new one.Today, however, you can ask yourself if you are brave enough to choose a new attitude of enlightened empowerment, enhanced encouragement, deeper consideration, empathy, kindness, and support. If we did accept this challenge, that would certainly be the ultimate form of self-defense, because we simply would not need any.

How brave will you be in 2014?

Tis The Season

My Dear Friends:

It never cease to amaze me the amount of energy that is put into making this joyful and meaningful holiday season as frenetic as it possibly can be in the endless effort to make it “perfect”.  It’s amazing how people will beat each other out to purchase  the “perfect” gift, secure the “closest” parking spot or prepare the “perfect” meal. Ever notice how the tensions rise around this time of the year? I cannot tell you how many times in the last few weeks, I have seen people cut each other off in parking lots, in retail shops and in grocery stores. Why? So they wouldn’t miss out on getting “the best” of whatever it is? And Heaven forbid the thought that an establishment just might be out of stock on a particular item or size. Clearly, this is the only day in life where one can enjoy whatever it is that they are fighting for. When children become afraid on line in a store because someone ahead of them is throwing a fit for an out of sock item, I would say that emotions are running a little on the high strung side. So, at the risk of sounding like a humbug, I am offering the following tips:

  1. Expect to run into people who are rude, hasty, obnoxious and self-centered AND have a plan before hand to deal with them. Whether it is a parking spot or other disputed item (even when it is clear that you are in line for it), decide before hand what battles you will pick, how you will respond (if at all) and where you will draw the line in an escalation. Remember, any one  who is so attached to something transient that they are willing to behave like a locomotive on a crash course for it, probably could use a hip check on their own life in the first place. Don’t be their brick wall. Let something else stop them in their tracks. You have a life.
  2. Watch yourself in parking lots. They are very dangerous assault areas. Don’t park in isolated areas, and shop at times that make sense so you are not the only one in the parking lot. When leaving your vehicle, LOCK IT, and walk briskly to where you need to be. When approaching your car, look underneath it from a distance. Look into the back seat before you get in. Have your keys ready, throw your purchases inside, get in and LEAVE. Don’t make a phone call, send a text, check your Facebook, rummage through your bag, mark off a checklist., etc.  Do these things before you leave the store.
  3. Watch yourself at ATM’s. Supermarket ATM’s are better than the bank’s isolated ones if you need cash after business hours. Supermarkets are open later, and you will be in plain sight of others. Put your cash away before walking to your car.
  4. Keep an eye on your kids, especially in crowded areas. If your kids are cranky or screaming while shopping, it may be best to arrange to go without them. Screaming children infuriate most people on a good day.
  5. Scan your exit points in stores. Know a way out whenever in any public building.
  6. Don’t let yourself be distracted. Be in tune to the environment, especially in crowded areas.
  7. If you see something weird, say something to someone in authority.

Remember, the holidays are not warm and fuzzy for everyone. There are those who have suffered great loss, are alone, destitute or depressed who see festivities as a stark contrast to their perception of their own lives. People do strange things around the holidays, sometimes dangerous things. Give people a break, you never know what they are dealing with and what may set them off.  Stay low key while getting your tasks accomplished. Just get in, get what you need and get out. Spend your time where it really counts, with the people you love.

Above all, trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right to you, it probably isn’t. I cannot stress the importance of considering a self-defense class. If you consider yourself in a confrontation, think of how much better you would feel if you had more confidence and skills to deal with the situation, not only for yourself, but for any children or loved ones you may be out and about with.

All things being equal, most enjoy the holidays without a hitch, but emotion does run high this time of year. Don’t be caught up in the frenzy, pay attention, and stay safe.

Happy Holidays

~KBC

You Are Worth Defending!

 

So what are we all about here at MSSD? Are we aggressive, headstrong, adrenaline junkies just looking to change the world? Actually, yes, when it comes to protecting you and your loved ones, you bet!

So why are the people behind MSSD on this mission? We are on this mission because you are special. Emotions and creativity, expressed through our bodies and capabilities, are worth defending and in this far from perfect world (whatever that is) there are people creating circumstance to take those very concepts away. We are not OK with that.

So what is worth defending? Your freedom is worth defending. Your freedom to live your life in this world any way you like, as long as you are not dangerous to others or yourself while in the journey. Freedom from judgments, harassment, emotional harm, physical violence. The freedom to be who you are. Without these freedoms and others like them, we are not living fully, but just existing, moving from place to place like the quarter in the shell game, pushed and directed from another’s motivation. Usually, their motivation is not inline with our true selves. Then we are cheated, and so is the world.

When you go to bed at night, you close and lock your doors, (hopefully). You do this because you need to be protected while you sleep, so your mind can relax and your body can replenish while you settle. You need to be safe in this place, so you can wake up in the morning and be all that you can be. Our bodies are our shells, and if we don’t learn the skills we need to keep them safe, how will we share our unique selves with our loved ones and the world?

So those of us behind Mindset want to help you make your self-protection a more natural process. We are not going to persuade you into taking a fight into the world. Far from it. What we want is for you to be free to be who you are, so you can help make this world a better place. And, we want to give you tools, to protect your precious self, because there is not one person in this world who has a right to take you, your loved ones, or your freedoms away!