Keep Showing Up!

Most people never take a single martial arts or self-defense class.  They never take piano lessons, try ballroom dancing, write a blog, start a business, found a charity, run a marathon, teach a class, or author a book.

However, most of us know martial artists, pianists, ballroom dancers, bloggers, business owners, charity founders, marathoners, teachers, and authors.  These things can be done…and they can be done by you, if you so choose.

The hardest part is showing up the first time…when you’re the newbie, the white belt, the novice, the unpublished writer, or the first-time teacher.  Swallow your pride, grab hold of your hope, sprinkle some ambition and courage on top, and show up.

Keep showing up, and you WILL make progress.  Invest some additional time or practice, and you’ll progress more quickly, hone your skills, and be able to employ new and more advanced techniques in your chosen endeavor.

Consider what you wish you had done a year ago, or even 10 years ago.  Now, take the first step.  Sign up, show up, and keep showing up.

You Have No Idea Who You’re Dealing With


You have no idea who you’re dealing with.   Photo by sebastiaan stam on Unsplash.

If you watch TV or movies at all, you’ve likely heard the trope, “You have no idea who you’re dealing with.”  Awkward grammatical structure aside, it’s true for most daily encounters.

Almost anytime you’re in public — when you walk into a restaurant, get on a bus, attend a concert, or go grocery shopping — you’re quickly surrounded by people you don’t know.  This doesn’t mean you should treat everyone as a threat.  You have a wealth of knowledge and experience at your disposal, and every day you make dozens of assessments about the behavior of people around you that ultimately will affect your safety. Continue reading

The Perfect Woman

the-perfect-womanI see you.  Trying to act casual and fade into the background, hoping nobody notices you. I watch you checking things out, looking at groups of people talking and laughing.  In this massive swirl of humanity, you stand out.  You don’t belong.  You’re alone, out of place.  You don’t interact with the people around you.  You’re not engaging with your surroundings, only waiting.

Who are you waiting for?  Someone who perhaps isn’t paying enough attention?  A young woman who is preoccupied with her smartphone, has her arms full, or seems dejected and is walking alone?  You probably have the perfect woman in mind.

What will you do when you see her?  Will you offer her your assistance?  Will you flirt with her in an attempt to lure her to a more private place?  Will you ask for directions, tell her your child is lost, ask her to help you find your elderly parent, offer her free concert tickets…or will you tell her that she’s beautiful and you’re looking for models just like her?  And when your ruse works, what happens next?

It doesn’t matter what you’re planning.  It doesn’t matter, because I see you, and I’ll take action.   Law enforcement, security personnel, vigilant parents, and “watchdogs” of all types…we all see you.  And you won’t leave here with a victim.  Not today.

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Freedom has a price.

freedom-isnt-freeOn Independence Day especially, I contemplate the countless freedoms we enjoy in the United States of America.  Our freedom was paid for with the blood of patriots, and our unalienable rights set forth in the Declaration of Independence include “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Your own freedom also has a price.

In order to maintain and enjoy your personal freedom, you must not infringe upon the rights of others; obey local, state, and national laws; pay your bills; and make good choices with regard to mental and physical health and safety.

If you break the law, you may lose your freedom through incarceration.  If you fail to be financially responsible, you could lose the comfort and security of your home, your means of transportation, or even face incarceration.  If you aren’t a good steward of your physical body and mind, you may lose your freedom of movement, forfeit your sight, or even face an early demise due to your own poor decisions.

Making safe choices for yourself can help ensure your own freedom from harm, threat, or grievous injury.   Be aware, stay alert, and be present and thoughtful in your choices and decisions, so you can enjoy the countless freedoms we as Americans – and you as an individual – have.

God bless America.  Stay safe!


No is a complete sentence.

Verbal self defense“No” is a complete sentence.  Anything else either clarifies or amplifies your message.  In terms of self defense, anyone who won’t take “no” for an answer likely doesn’t have your best interest in mind.

It’s okay to say No:

  • No, thank you.
  • No, I don’t want your help.
  • No, I won’t give you my phone number.
  • No, I can’t help you.
  • No, you can’t sit with me.
  • No, I’m not interested.
  • No, I’ll take the next elevator.
  • No, I’ll take the next cab.
  • No, I don’t want to sit with you.
  • No, I won’t go up to your room.
  • No, you can’t join us.
  • No, I’m not okay with that.
  • No, you can’t come in.
  • No, I don’t want to share a cab with you.
  • No, you can’t use my phone.
  • No, you can’t call me.
  • No, I won’t be your Facebook friend.
  • No, you can’t sit with us.
  • No, I won’t loan you $20.
  • No, I won’t let you give me a ride.
  • No, I’m not going anywhere with you.
  • No.

Any of these sentences has the potential to save you from a compromising or dangerous situation, if you’ll simply say the words and mean them.  And if the person doesn’t respond appropriately, know in advance what you’ll do next…and do it with conviction.

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Stay safe!

How to Fight: Two Simple Steps


  1. Don’t do it. You could wind up in the hospital, the court system, or the morgue.  Use every available means NOT to fight.   Apologize.  Make it right.  Draw attention to yourself and the situation.  Clearly state that you don’t want any trouble.  Call the police.
  2. If you must fight, fight like your life depends on it. Commit fully, don’t hold back, and stop as soon as the threat is neutralized.  No one who picks a fight plans on losing, and you never know what advantages they may have.

Every situation is different, so trust your intuition and react quickly.

Stay safe!

How to Choose the Right Martial Arts School for Kids

choose-the-right-martial-arts-school-for-kidsIf you haven’t read my previous post on selecting the right school for adult students, please take a moment to do that, as it will provide context for this information.  

As a martial arts instructor, I evaluate potential students by asking myself:  Will this child be able to learn successfully in my class, without hampering the learning of my other students?

Very young children should not be in a standard martial arts class with all ranks and all ages.  We all believe our children to be prodigies…far more coordinated, talented and brilliant than other kids.   It’s very important, however, that your child is old enough/sufficiently mature to communicate effectively (I need to go to the bathroom/my foot hurts/I don’t understand) and participate fully (listen, understand, and follow instructions) so he or she has a safe, positive experience. Continue reading