Willpower: Practice Makes Perfect

Willpower: Practice Makes Perfect
By Dan Ronin

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I remember one night long ago. I was in my back yard practicing Iaido (Japanese sword form) and having difficulty with how the cut ended. No matter how many times I practiced the cut the end was less than satisfactory. My practice finished with me feeling despondent about my ability. It made me question whether or not I had it in me to be a competent Martial artist and if I was wasting time that could be better spent doing something else.

The following nights I continued to practice again and again and again. After doubting myself I decided that it was the practice that made me a martial artist, not my ability. If I continued to practice the only thing that could happen is that I would improve. But why? Why not. Who cares? No one. What difference does it make? Not a thing, except to me.

Ask any athlete, martial artist, artist or anyone who really specializes in something, how they became as good as they are at what they do and you will probably hear, practice. That is generally speaking not what most people want to hear. More than that, it is very difficult to dedicate yourself to regular practice sessions.

You really have to find whatever it is inside of you that will constantly renew and restore your interest in what you are practicing so that you don’t quit. It seems that in today’s world if we can’t become an expert in 20 minutes it isn’t worth it so we give up. Some people are fortunate enough to have a natural ability toward something. The rest of us have to try harder!

One of the most important lessons I have learned is the lesson of perseverance. No matter what happens in life we have the power in ourselves to overcome the hardships and adversities placed before us if we simply carry on. Quitting or giving up is the polar opposite of willpower. Willpower is the well you draw from to help overcome adversity. You are correct in your beliefs no matter what you believe. By that I mean; If you don’t think you can do something, you are right! If you think the task is too hard or the distance too far, it is! However the opposite is not only true but more powerful then most people can imagine. You can never give 110%, the math is bad. You can give 100% though and I challenge you to.

Next time you are doing something you may not be fully into, try giving it 100% and see if it makes a difference. Through the power of your will you can accomplish anything you put yourself 100% into. It starts by setting a goal and seeing yourself accomplishing that goal. Once you set a goal and do something everyday towards that goal you will reach it guaranteed. However there is more than that. Once you learn the strength of your will you can direct it where it is needed. If you truly want to meet someone, go to a certain college or work for a certain company it will happen. Beyond that once you fully understand your potential you will realize that there is nothing you cannot accomplish if you apply yourself. In addition if your will is strong no one can coerce you into doing something you don’t want to! Learn to harness your willpower and your life will change forever!
-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 Investigtor 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@roinproducts.com or 602-373-9630

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

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

Blade Basics

Knife pic

The knife has been one of mankind’s greatest inventions. Most people have a visceral fear of blades, and this aspectalone may be used to your advantage when defending
yourself. A knife or blade can be a discreet but incredibly effective weapon for self-defense, when used properly. In terms of selection, it may not necessarily be
the size that matters, but rather the deployment that matters even more. There are several aspects to carrying a knife or blade that need to be considered and training in its usage is highly recommended!

There are basically two types of knives: the folding blade and the fixed blade. Lets look at the attributes of each.
Folder
1. The folder is easier to conceal and keeps the sharp
edge of the knife safely “folded” into the handle.
2. The folding knife needs to be opened before using.
3. The folder is usually carried in a pocket with a clip.
4. It comes in a variety of sizes and blade types.
5. Left or right-hand clips are available.
6. Generally not as durable as a fixed blade.
Fixed
1. difficult to conceal because it has to be carried in a
sheath.
2. can be used as soon as it is out of the sheath.
3. sheaths are available in different types and
materials.
4. It comes in a variety of sizes and blade types.
5. Can be worn/carried in many different
configurations.
6. Generally more durable than a folder

No matter what type of blade or knife you decide to carry, each type requires a lot of practice to become proficient in using. There are many aspects to consider when
choosing a blade for self-defense.

1. First of all, a blade is a touch weapon and requires
little to no strength to be effective. This is advantageous
to a woman.
2. Getting your knife from how it is carried to be ready
for use is paramount and requires training and practice.
3.An equal amount of instruction and practice go into
actual “cutting”. Repetition and speed is highly important
when it comes to effectively using your blade to defend
yourself.
4.Targeting is another aspect which must be considered
when protecting oneself with a blade. Unlike impact
weapons such as batons, sticks, clubs and bats which are
most effective when striking bone or hard targets, you
will want to direct your counter attack toward soft
targets. Skin parts immediately when it comes into
contact with a sharp cutting instrument. It happens so
quickly it usually takes time before the person who has
been cut may even realize it.

So how do you get started?
To get started, visit a store that has a large assortment of knives to choose from. Next, you will want to put some handles in your hands. Handles, like knives, come in as wide of a variety as blades. Just like hands, some fit together better then others, so try as many as you need until you feel comfortable with the fit of your hand in the handle. There are many ways to hold onto your knife and a seemingly unending amount of opinions. Many experts will tell you which ways are right, and there are just as many that will say they these ways are wrong. A large part of my weaponry background is in the Japanese sword, so my preferred way of holding a knife (or very short sword)is the same. The easiest way to explain it without a demonstration is this: Have a friend shake your hand and relax your grip. Have you friend remove their hand from yours and replace it with the knife, handle blade facing away from you. As you train and become familiar with holding onto something while you cut with it, you will see that there are many other ways to hold it and can practice those grips as well. Once you have a knife that fits your hand and you are comfortable holding it, the next thing you need to do is become proficient in deploying it. Decide how and where on your person you will carry you knife and put it there. If there is a “training” blade for the model of knife you are going to carry, get one to use for practice. It would be bestto practice with a dull blade. Start slowly, and practice drawing or opening your blade. Do not worry about speed. Speed without multiple repetitions can result in accidents. Accidents teach you how easy your blade will cut. Unfortunately it will be you getting cut! So take your time, and draw your blade a thousand times. Then you will start to have a good feel for it. Then, do it a thousand more.
Once you are comfortable with your knife and practiced in getting ready to cut with it, then it is time to learn touse your knife for its intended purpose. To cut!
I will walk you through this part, but I strongly encourage you to practice this with a good teacher.Written communication is not up to the task to explain my way of cutting, so without physical instruction, we will have to do as best as we can. First, decide what you want to cut. I recommend plant matter; it has good resiliency to the cut, and replenishes itself. Hanging what is going to be cut by a cord is my preferred method for holding what will be cut. Now that your target is hanging in front of you, draw/open your knife and prepare to cut. Put the same foot forward as hand your blade is in and prepare to cut. If
you can, imagine how a chainsaw blade runs along the top of the bar until it gets to the end. It runs along a short arcing curve, and returns along the bottom of the
bar. You should make your cuts as close to that as you can, and as your blade starts its path back after the short arcing curve, this is when and where you want the blade to contact and cut through the target. You should feel little to no resistance, and the cut should pass through the target. Now, do it a thousand times, and you will begin to have a good feel for it. Then do it a thousand times more. Remember to train safe. If you train with a blade, eventually you will cut yourself. Have a first-aid kit ready. Be cautious and careful but never afraid. I hope this cuts through some of the mystery!
-DR
Dan Ronin

Dan Ronin
Dan Ronin

Read published article on p. 34 here

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