“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.


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


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

Emergency Preparedness-The Series-Part II
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

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


Wandering Warrior-Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

GracieBJJ logo

This month we will be learning about the world of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with Seta Reupenny from the Gracie Arizona Jiu-Jitsu Academy. Seta teaches the all women’s class on Saturday mornings.

Gracie Jiu-Jitsu is a martial art that focuses on grappling and ground fighting techniques which can be used by a smaller person to defend against attacks by larger, stronger opponents. Specifically, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu refers to the style developed by Helio Gracie in the 1900s from a modified version of pre-World War II Judo including some techniques from Japanese Jujutsu.
Because of Helio’s slight build, he developed a fighting style using technique, leverage and timing allowing a practitioner to successfully defend themselves against a bigger, stronger adversary.Today, we train in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu for self-defense, sport grappling tournaments (gi and no-gi) and mixed martial arts (MMA) competition.(www.graciearizona.com)

The first thing I saw when I pulled up to the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy was a sign that read “PROFESSOR PARKING ONLY ALL VIOLATORS WILL BE CHOKED.” I thought, “These people are either going to be really fun, or I’m in for a world of hurt.” It was a little bit of both.

After I changed into a Gi that they were nice enough to loan me, I had time to sit and watch the kid’s class before mine. I was blown away. There were 30 kids in the class and EVERY single kid was enraptured in what they were doing. And, they weren’t just rolling around on the floor “playing” and having a good time. They were rolling around on the floor, demonstrating good technique and well thought-out strategy…. and having a good time! I have never seen 30 children that focused on one task. Impressive.

I was welcomed into the family before class had even started. Donna, an experienced student, had spied me sitting alone and waiting for class to start. She didn’t hesitate to come over and make me feel at home. She said hello and answered several of my basic questions. With Donna on my side, I felt more secure in learning something new, which was good because our fabulous instructor, Seta, was calling us to start.

Now, I should tell you that I started off my morning with a 3 mile run. I figured, “It is my first day of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, how much could they really have me do? I’m sure it won’t be a very thorough workout.“I have one word for that plan of action…..STUPID! Even though it was my first day,I had a very good workout. And, I’m sure as you get better and better, (and your
instructor can spend less time explaining and more time doing) it will be an even more challenging workout. We started by warming up. This was achieved by running around the perimeter of the mat forward, then sideways, the other sideways, and then backwards. We then proceeded to run to one side of the school and slide down the floor on our backs and sides. This is called shrimping. It kind of looked like a switchblade opening and closing, but on your sides. Seta had to demonstrate this to me and then explained that no matter how long it takes, you always finish the skill that you are working on. We then ran back to the other end. Next we did forward rolls down the mat, run back, followed by backwards rolls down the mat, run back. I missed it, as the rest of the class did bear walk (I was learning the beauty of rolling backwards over one shoulder from Seta). I caught back up with the class when we did monkey walk. These were kind of like cartwheels, but on your knuckles, run back. At this point Seta figured that we were warm. Yep, pretty warm over here.

We made a large circle in the room and then began to swing our arms to loosen them up. Ah, time to breath. Having swung our arms forwards and backwards, we stretched our legs. Yay, more
breathing. We did forward bends over our legs and then straddled our legs and leaned forward again. We were back in my comfort zone, now, and I was feeling better. We laid on our backs and circled our hips and legs and then rolled forward and backward, coming up to a squat each time. I was a little behind the class, but was rewarded with a smile when I finished all 5 of my required tasks.

Now it was time for partner work. I was worried that I would be all alone when Donna came over and saved me. Seta instructed the class to go through a set pattern of drills that help to
prepare you for “rolling” later. “Rolling” is like sparring in other martial arts. But since most of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) takes place on the ground, they call it “rolling.”

Donna did a great job of being patient with me and helping me to understand the “hows” and “where fors” of each technique. The first thing you need to know about BJJ is that you will be
VERY close to your partner. An anorexic tapeworm would not fit between the two of you while you are practicing. I took an all- women’s class and can see how this would be much more comfortable for a beginning student. That being said, the Gracie Arizona Jiu-Jitsu Academy is the only school that I have seen with an all women’s class.

Our partner practice started with “going up and down the body.” You practice where you would put your feet on the other person to gain the largest advantage.(hook behind the knees, locked on the hip joints, and pushing against the crux of the elbow). You work your feet up and down your partner’s body focusing and pushing as necessary.

Next, we practiced “sweep 1” and “sweep 2”. I never really “got” these two, but the general concept is to move your body around in the way that you would need to in order sweep your partner from the right or left side. A sweep is when you position yourself and your partner in a way that you are able to “sweep” their legs out from under them and they end up on the ground.

I felt much better about my attempt at the “berimbola.” This was an intricate combination of rolling over and placing your hands and feet on your partner. You use their legs for leverage and
move in and out of their legs in a rolling kind of dance. I’m sure it wasn’t pretty but at lease I kind of got it.

Finally, we laid on our backs and held our partners ankles while they stood. We did a series of leg lifts that would have made Jillian Michaels proud. I was beginning to see why Seta was in such great shape. Donna told me she was a mother of 6, but you would have thought her abs had been flat her whole life.

With our drills completed, Seta called us all together to show us the technique we would be focusing on that day. The all women’s class isn’t a beginner class, so this was an advanced description of the intricacies of the technique. Seta, carefully demonstrated all the weak spots you need to “shore up” in order to succeed when you roll. Fortunately, I had Donna to fall back
on since I had never seen these before. Seta had us focus on making sure that our weight is spread out evenly. She suggested that we visualize a tent. Each corner of the tent has a spike to hold it in place. We should endeavor to be this stable. It is key to stay close to your partner and block them from being able to move. If they can move, they can move you-not what you
After I had practiced with Donna for a while, Seta came over and showed me some of the places that I needed to shore up. BJJ is an excellent combination of physical workout and mental mastery.
It is like a chess game. You and your opponent are constantly searching for each other’s weaknesses. Seta, showed us one more key point to focus on and then it was time for us to roll. Donna left me, and I thought for sure I would just end up watching the others roll, but I was so impressed. One by one, the other students came over and invited me to roll with them. We switched
partners about every 5 minutes, and not once did I feel left out or awkward. One of the students always jumped right in and made me feel welcome. With that, class was over.

We shook hands and hugged each person from the class. If you If you had had the pleasure of working with that person that day, you thanked each other as well. After all the hugs were over, Donna came over one more time. She asked if I wanted to join her in the following class, as she usually stays for two more classes and then 2 hours of yoga. What? After I politely declined, she said she hoped to see me next Saturday. These are some Gung ho women, and I was inspired by their openness and commitment.

Where will you send me next?

Read the Interview and more on pg.43 at http://joom.ag/jSbb

-Jill Roth
Jill Roth holds her fourth degree Black Belt with the American Tae Kwon Do Association, a Blue Belt in Kempo, a level 2 Reiki and an NRA Certification in Basic Pistol. She has taught Tae Kwon Do across the country. She studies different types of martial arts all over the state and writes about her experiences in our Wandering Warrior section.

Personal Protection- International Travel Safety

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
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.
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.
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).
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!
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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
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

Know your Rights- The Law and Abusive Relationships


Arguably the most important part of life is to be in relationships with other people. A good relationship, whether with a family member, friend or spouse/significant other, is a great blessing.
However, human interaction is complicated, and sadly, some relationships turn sour and can become outright harmful. Abuse can be physical and/or psychological and can cause enormous harm to the person on the receiving end. What, if any, remedies does the law offer a victim of domestic abuse?

The tool most readily available is an Order of Protection, (also called a Restraining Order, an Injunction Against Harassment, etc.). Such an order, properly issued and served, prohibits the
perpetrator from having any contact with the victim(s) and can even prohibit the person from going near the victim’s home or work. One can be obtained by applying in person at the court nearest you. If contact occurs, the perpetrator can be charged with a crime, and if caught, they will be arrested even if the contact is nonthreatening or non-violent. A person convicted of violating a protection order will likely be ordered to complete a violence intervention program and could be sentenced to jail time.

When should you get an Order of Protection?
For instance, if your ex is messaging you 400 times a day about getting back together, and you have asked that they stop but it continues, you may want to consider getting a protective order.
Even if none of the messages contain any threats of injury, this can be harassing and stressful. Of course, if threats are uttered or physical violence is perpetrated, a crime has been
committed, which deserves police attention in addition to providing a reason for a protective order.

Once the order is signed by the judge, the person against whom it is issued (the Defendant) has a right to respond. Upon being served, the Defendant can request a hearing and contest the
allegations. Here in Arizona, any incident alleged must have occurred within the previous 12 months. If the incident occurred outside of the previous year, the order will be dismissed. An order is in effect for one year unless renewed for good cause, and they can be dropped early upon the request of the protected party.

If the relationship between the two parties is that of spouse, lover, significant other or parent of a joint child etc, the defendant is prohibited from possessing firearms during the duration of the order. If the defendant is caught possessing a firearm during while subject to an order, felony charges can be brought for “Prohibited Possessor of a Firearm.”

Due to being a cynic and apt to state the obvious, A protective order does not protect anyone from a person who ignores it. Earl; the man of song lyric notoriety “who walked right thru the restraining order,” comes to mind (The Dixie Chicks), but it is a tool that ups the ante on a perpetrator after the fact.

Always use common sense; in imminently dangerous situations call the Police!!! If the situation is ongoing, seek help from family and friends, religious or other non-profit organizations that focus on helping victims of abuse. In addition, many prosecutors’ offices have Victim Advocate Groups that assists crime victims during the perpetrator’s court process. Although not a legal system remedy; do not overlook martial arts training both armed and un-armed for the most extreme situations; the skills learned can be beneficial outside the realm of abusive relationships.

Notes of caution. There are two disturbing phenomenon surrounding protective orders. First, there are victims of SERIOUS PHYSICAL ABUSE who do not even report the incident to the police, much less have a protective order in effect! For your own sake and for the sake of those who love you, please do not find yourself in this category.

On the other hand, sometimes alleged perpetrators are framed by a person hiding behind a protective order and concocting accusations out of spite. For the sake of others, avoid belonging to
this category.On a positive note, many defendants report that they have greatly benefitted from the violence intervention classes they took after violating a court order. They have gone on to happier, more peaceful lives and healthier relationships.
Magnus Eriksson is a Criminal Defense Trial Attorney based in Scottsdale and is currently licensed to practice in the Sate and Federal Courts of Arizona. contact Magnus at: magnuse@cox.net

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.
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.
1. difficult to conceal because it has to be carried in a
2. can be used as soon as it is out of the sheath.
3. sheaths are available in different types and
4. It comes in a variety of sizes and blade types.
5. Can be worn/carried in many different
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
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!
Dan Ronin

Dan Ronin
Dan Ronin

Read published article on p. 34 here

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.



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.

Erin Go Bragh


As green day approaches, lets take a moment to talk about awareness and safety!

  1. Pack light! Whether doing the pub crawl or visiting a house party, bring only your drivers license (or a designated driver!), a few bucks in your pocket and your cell phone.
  2. Beware of pick pockets and other hoodlums if attending a parade (situational awareness is the key here).
  3. If you are the designated driver (DD) be aware of those that are swaying around you, either in a vehicle or on foot!
  4. Consider public transportation.
  5. Avoid being alone, use the buddy system.
  6. Don’t drink on an empty stomach, eat and drink lots of water before and during the festivities
  7. Don’t EVER leave a drink unattended!
  8. Find the phone number of a reputable taxi company before you go out, just in case.

These are just a few pointers.

Have a great time and stay safe out there!!

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