BattleBoard Scout

BattleBoard Scout

As you know, if you’ve read any of my other posts, I’m a firm believer in keeping paper maps handy for emergencies, and for tactical operations, the ability to “battle-track” on a paper map overlay is crucial.

Just before Christmas, I became aware of the BattleBoard Scout, available at

It’s a small day-planner sized case with a map sleeve that has a polycarbonate cover, so that you can write on a map folded inside.  The Scout version is small sized, and optimal for my work as a Certified Fraud Examiner in the private sector, enabling me to carry a map of the area of any surveillance or executive protection detail we are doing and make notes right on it.

Recently, during a major protest event, I used the BattleBoard Scout to battle-track in real time and it was a great tool to understand what was going on during the event.

In this article, first we will discuss the Scout and how I have mine set up, and then we’ll discuss how it was used to conduct tracking.

The Medium Scout is 7×9 inches, which makes it fit perfectly in my Bail-Out Bag or in the front pouch of my backpack.

On the left half inside, there are 7 pen loops.  I keep a standard pen, a mechanical pencil, and a  Rite In The Rain pen in the loops full time.  This area is the only drawback I’ve found, because if you fill all 7 pen loops, with a notebook inside, it doesn’t close evenly.  I solved this by only keeping a minimal amount of pens inside, and keeping a pouch of dry erase pens in the bag, next to the Scout.

On the right hand side, there are a few great features.  First, there is a lengthwise opening, where you can store documents inside, as well as sliding a notebook back cover in.  Inside this pouch, I keep blank 6×8 forms, like Observation Logs for surveillance, Note Sheets, etc.  I also keep in here one Rite In The Rain stapled notebook for general note-taking.


I also slide the back cover of a Rite In The Rain Tactical Fieldbook inside that slot, allowing me to use the book as a general note book as well.

There is also a half-page pouch across the width of the left hand side.  Here I store a map protractor and a supply of large index cards for note taking.

The entire Scout is covered in tough nylon, and closes with a durable YKK zipper.

When you are making the purchase, there is an option to add a LokSak, which is a zip-lock waterproof bag to place a map inside.  I cannot recommend this highly enough to do it justice.  I wavered before making my purchase, but I’m glad that I did.  The LokSak makes the map inside more secure from the weather, and makes it easier to slide the map in and out of the polycarbonate window.  Also, If you need to view a larger area of the map, you can do that while keeping the map still inside the LokSak, since it fits inside the polycarbonate window folded in half.  Additionally, you can write directly on the LokSak with dry erase markers.


I use mine daily as a general notebook, because it’s easy to carry and professional-looking.

During a recent protest event, I put a map of a downtown area inside the polycarbonate window and tracked the event.  I was able to list areas of conflict and traffic issues, and relay that data to other team members, maintaining a big picture overview of the situation as the day progressed, using wet erase markers. I chose wet erase so that any markings wouldn’t be accidentally wiped off.  At the end of the day, after over 12 hours of tracking, the window was wiped cleaned with nothing more than a paper towel and a drop of water.

Attached is a photo of the completed map.  At the beginning of the day, our observation post on top of the parking garage was noted on the map as a blue triangle, and the Capitol grounds were crossed in red to denote the area of the protest.  Since the main protest was intended to block traffic, as the event unfolded, I marked off the areas of stopped traffic with red X’s.  

Later in the day, as the police began blocking roads leading into the area to reduce the congestion, I marked those areas as black bars with X’s on the map.

The location of the only arrest for the day was marked with a black A.

Battle Tracking-Gridlock Protest

This map gave us a great situational awareness of how we could get help into the area in an emergency, and on routes out of the area that were not impacted by the protest, in case we needed to evacuate.

In conclusion, on a day when I needed outstanding situational awareness of a potentially volatile situation, the BattleBoard Scout performed admirably and exactly as advertised.

I highly recommend the BattleBoard Scout.

Are You A Good Shepherd?

Shepherds protect those entrusted to their protection.  

In the film “American Sniper”, Chris Kyle’s father describes the three types of people in the world: the sheep, the wolves who prey on the sheep, and the sheep dogs who fight the wolves and protect the sheep.  That story has spawned a generation of protectors who refer to themselves as a “Sheepdog”, along with a whole line of cool patches about it.

But, what does it really mean?

In the classic film The Patriot, after a stirring speech by young Anne, the Reverend joins the growing American rebellion.  When challenged by a townsman, the Reverend replies with my favorite line from the movie: “A Shepherd must tend his flock…and at times…fight off the wolves.”

Reverend Oliver isn’t wrong.  There comes a time when we all must decide what we are willing to do to protect those people and ideals that we care about.  Each person has to make that decision for themselves.

Fortunately, around 2,000 years ago, Jesus gave us all guidance on what is means to be a Good Shepherd:

“The Good Shepherd

Lays down his life

For the sheep”

-John 10:11b

A true shepherd, a protector of the flock, would lay down their life to protect those entrusted to their care, willingly and without reservation.

Just as important, though, is what the verse doesn’t say.  It doesn’t say that the shepherd throws his life away, it says “lays down his life”, implying a conscious decision.

That means making the decision that you will continue the fight, even if it takes your life, not just rashly throwing your life away.  It’s a small distinction, that makes all the difference in the world.

Mindset is everything in a life or death struggle.  Once you have made the decision to willingly lay down your life for something (even an ideal, such as individual liberty), any set back suddenly becomes a minor issue, rather than a limiting function.

In 1776, 55 men signed a document that concluded with these words:

“And for the support of this Declaration,

With a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence,

We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes,

And our sacred Honor.”

-Declaration of Independence

Those men were willing to lay down lives for the protection of the idea that all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. Can you image what the world would look like today if those men hadn’t made that decision, when they did?

What things are you willing to lay down your life for?   Most of us would say family.  The real question is would you lay down your life for an ideal, such as individual liberty?  Jesus clearly did, since He laid down His life all of us.

Thousands of men willingly laid down their lives on a June morning in 1944 on a beach in Normandy that most had never heard of, to free people that they had never met, for the sake of an ideal.

A brave King and 300 of his men (yes, I know that truthfully there were more than that) willingly laid down their lives on another stretch of beach at Thermopylae to resist tyranny.

Being willing to die for something doesn’t mean you are seeking death, it simply means that you are willing to pay that price to see the ultimate goal accomplished.  I think that is a worthwhile trait.

Too often in our modern society, we “go along to get along” and end up surrendering rights and freedoms, until we are beyond any hope of being able to resist.  

This is even a problem in the preparedness community, because so many just focus on how they as a family unit will survive, rather than how a community and its values might survive.  

I don’t have the answers, and you won’t find them here.

I am simply encouraging you to look inward, and make a decision today…Am I a Good Shepherd?  What am I willing to lay my life down for?

Should I Learn Ground Fighting?

First, let’s dispel the notion of “Ground Fighting”.  In real life self-defense, you don’t want to fight on the ground, ever.  Fights do end up on the ground, but this isn’t the UFC are you aren’t going for submission.

What you really need to learn is “Ground Survival”, and it’s very different from “Ground Fighting”.

Most ground techniques have their basis in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or Judo, which are both excellent martial arts.  The mistake is confusing either of them with real-life self-defense.  Can you use them to defend yourself? Absolutely.  Should you rely on always taking a fight to the ground to defend yourself? Absolutely not.

The reason is that even bad guys have friends.  It does you no good to take an attacker down and execute a perfect triangle choke from the guard, only to have his buddies take turns soccer-kicking you head.

Also, these systems feature virtually no strikes. Striking is absolutely necessary in self defense.

Don’t get me wrong, both are great martial arts and most other styles steal techniques from them to make up parts of their self-defense curriculum, but studying exclusively ground styles, which are actually sports, will lead to a limitation in a self-defense situation.

I teach a Ground Survival seminar that relies heavily on Brazilian Jiu Jitsu techniques, but rather than focusing on obtaining a submission, I have the students focus on breaking bones, returning to their feet safely, and disengaging from an attacker.

Any attacker who takes you down to the ground is endangering your life and should be treated as a lethal threat.  It’s too easy for his accomplices to kick your head, or for him to bash your head on the ground for you to treat it any other way.  

Another negative to fighting on the ground is that it severely limits your ability to see your attacker’s hands, and therefore increases the risk of being stabbed or shot.

Many people don’t invest ANY time on learning ground survival, which is an even bigger mistake.  I hear it all the time…”I carry a pistol, so I don’t have to roll around on the ground”.  That attitude usually results in injury when reality comes calling.

Everyone should learn some ground survival techniques, because you could be taken completely be surprise and end up on the ground.  The ability to effect a reversal, damage your attacker, and then safely get up is vital to anyone who is interested in real-life self-defense.

Another important skill that is among the first learned in any ground combat system is the ability to fall safely.  I know I’ve said this before, but list the number of times you’ve been attacked versus the number of times you’ve fallen down.  The ability to protect your body from damage when falling or being thrown is absolutely essential and saves lives in situations other than just being attacked.

One should train with objective of defeating an attacker, not winning a submission or tap-out.  What will happen on the street if you let someone go as soon as they tap out?  All your pain compliance is gone and the attacker is able to again inflict damage on you.

Ensure that your goal in training is always to be able to defend yourself and render your attacker unable to inflict further injury on you.

In short, you should never seek to have a real-life fight go to the ground, but you should possess enough ground survival skills to enable you to resist a surprise attack, effect a reversal, inflict damage, and then extend & escape.

Stay safe, train realistically.

How Much Training Do I Need?

The answer to this common question is simple: MORE.

No matter the skill, every physical skill needs practice or the skill will deteriorate over time. This axiom is true whether you are talking about martial arts, gun handling skills, or carpentry.

Don’t take my word on it…Let’s ask Bruce Lee:

I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks one time,

but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times”

Several thousand years ago, Solomon, the son of King David, wrote in Ecclesiastes:

If the ax is dull and it’s edge unsharpened,

more strength is needed,

but skill will bring success.

Ecclesiastes 10:10

Now, Solomon was talking about swinging an ax to split wood, but the principle is the same.

On average, it takes 25 repetitions just to get the basic mechanics of any physical skill learned. That’s an important point, particularly for those who study martial arts for self defense. In an effort to keep students engaged, traditional martial arts instructors and those who teach self-defense seminars, generally move on after 10-15 repetitions of each technique. The 25 number is just the bare minimum physical muscle memory, not the ability to apply it under stress; that takes THOUSANDS of repetitions.

As a student, practice more repetitions on your own; as an instructor, resist the urge to move on to the next technique until they’ve done at least 25.

A multi-stage technique like a throw or a defensive combination (defense against a front kick, for example), needs that many repetitions OF EACH STEP. For example, for a throw, 25 reps on grabbing the opponent, 25 on unbalancing, 25 on the throw itself, and 25 on the follow-through. Then 25 more repetitions of the whole technique, just to get the basic mechanics down.

As you can see, in order to truly learn to apply martial arts for self-defense (or any physical skill), you need many more repetitions than you are currently getting.

This is where instructors start sending me emails about limited class length. Yes, I know; I’m a martial arts instructor, too. Stop trying to cram so many different things into each class every day. If you slow down the pace and spend more times on repetitions, your students will actually learn more and perform better. You’ll also end up with less complaints from parents, because their children will be performing much better.

A note for instructors about forms training: This applies EVEN MORE here. I can point at entire mornings with Sabomnim Collins of PKSA Karate ( where I did nothing but 4 steps of one form, until I had it perfect. Stop teaching entire forms in one class.

This idea holds true for gun handling skills. You would never consider taking one defensive firearms class and then carrying a gun every day with no other range time. If you would, I ask that you go turn in your concealed carry license.

If you carry a firearm every day for personal protection, it’s your DUTY & RESPONSIBILITY to continue to train regularly with your defensive firearm. If you don’t, you open yourself up to potential liability, both civil and criminal.

Notice I said “train” and not “shoot”. Shooting implies going to the range, and punching holes in paper for 30 minutes. I can do that at my desk with a 3 hole punch. Training means conducting realistic drills and engaging in scenario based training. For example, rather than just shooting 100 rounds, conduct actual drills. Some examples:

  1. Failure Drill: Two rounds center mass/one round to the head
  2. 3/3 Drill: Three rounds into a 3 inch circle
  3. Response Drill: Partner calls “triangle/circle/square” and you shoot that part of the target
  4. Emergency Reload: Fire 2 rounds, drop empty mag & insert new mag, then fire 2 more rounds

The possibilities are endless, as long as you use common sense. It’s worth noting that most ranges won’t let you do some more advanced drills, so find somewhere to shoot where you can draw and fire, move and fire, etc.

You can practice tactical reloads standing in your living room watching TV, as long as you aren’t using live ammunition.

A caution about replicating shooting drills that you found on YouTube: ask yourself if this is a skill that you will really use. A friend, whom I love dearly, is always showing me some new drill he’s working on from somewhere like “Uber-Ultra-Super-Tactical Skills” and while they look cool, he will literally never use them. One was shooting while walking on a treadmill at multiple targets. He said “It simulates walking and shooting”. I pointed out that if you are walking in a straight line at a steady pace, you’ll be dead, and that if your attackers are standing perfectly still while you walk at them, they deserve to die. I’m joking and making light, but this is a real problem. Don’t confuse cool things on the internet with real-life physical skills that will save your life.

Another area of physical skills that needs practice is first aid. This is probably the most overlooked skill set in the self-defense and preparedness communities.

Ask yourself this: How times have I have been attacked? How many times have I cut myself or came across a motor vehicle accident? I’m guessing that this will tell you that you’ll use first aid skills more.

I’ve taken probably 20 CPR courses, and I take them every chance I get. Standards change, and some instructor might offer a tweak to my technique that will save a life one day. I have given CPR to someone exactly one time in my life, but it made all of the training worth the time and effort.

If you train in martial arts to defend yourself, it makes sense to learn how to treat common injuries like lacerations or puncture wounds (knife cuts/gunshot), and broken bones. If you carry a firearm for self defense, it’s your responsibility to know how to treat a gunshot wound EFFECTIVELY.

Once you learn the skills of first aid, practice them like every other skill.

At the end of the day, so many people in the self-defense and preparedness community do the bare minimum to develop skills, but that won’t keep the skill at your disposal; constant training will.

Also, so many people allegedly into “preparedness” are really into “buying lots of cool gear”. Gear are just tools; without effective skills, they are a waste of money. I know lots of people who have mountains of gear (that they won’t be able to carry). I like to pick an obscure item from their stash and ask them how it works. They usually have no idea.

Train. Your opposition is.

Know Your Surroundings

An important part of personal safety and tactical awareness is understanding your surroundings and how to find help or refuge in an emergency. That’s our topic today.

What does the Ultimate Tactical Manual (The Bible) say about it? Before Joshua led his people over the River Jordan, he sent out a recon team, telling them:

…Go, look over the land…

…especially Jericho”

Joshua 1:1

Joshua knew that he shouldn’t just blindly rush into a location with no idea of what was already there, and neither should you. He wanted to know the general area, as well as his specific goal.

Think of the places where you normally go and ask yourself if you can honestly answer these basic questions:

1. How many emergency exits are there?

2. Where is the nearest hospital?

3. What police agency covers the location and where is the nearest station?

4. How do I get out of the parking lot if the main entrance is blocked and what road does that put me out on?

5. In the event of an active shooter, where is there a strong point with only one entrance that I could possibly defend myself and others from?

Knowing the answers to these questions doesn’t make you paranoid, it makes you SAFE. It really doesn’t take long to gather this information and it could easily save your life. In our age of handheld electronic devices, you can literally develop this information in seconds, even on the fly.

Start small; begin with your home, then move on to work and other places you frequent. As you develop the skills, it becomes a fun habit and you get faster at doing it.

Lets talk about how we do it.


The first step is called a Map Study. While it can be done on a cell phone, cell service may not be available in an emergency. I’m also not a fan of letting Google know where I am at all times, nor where I plan on going.

I’m a huge proponent of having paper maps. I keep a binder at home filled with paper maps, each opened and folded to an 8 ½ by 11 area of somewhere I frequent. I keep these in sheet protectors, so that they can be written on. This makes it easy for me to grab the applicable map and throw it into my Battle Board (and excellent product that lets you write on maps with dry erase markers – or my clip board with a clear dry-erase cover.

I also recommend buying large-format “gazette” type map books, which are combined outdoor and street maps generally covering an entire state.

Another good source for maps is your local township or county clerk. They generally give free maps to residents of the township or county. I’m not advocating lying to a city official, but I’ve never been asked to produce identification proving that I live or work in a city when getting a free city paper map.

Using the map, learn at least 3 and preferably 4 routes into and out of every area that you frequent, or where you are going. At least one of these routes should avoid major roads and intersections, which will be clogged in an emergency.

While looking at the routes, note any hospitals, fire stations, and police stations along that route. In everyday travels, these are “safe havens” you can use to seek help. In an emergency, they are places where people will congregate and should be avoided.

Maps, especially paper maps, will tell you which police and fire departments respond to the area and where their stations are.

As far as hospitals, note their location and at least 2 routes to the nearest hospital from anywhere you go. Most people say, “An ambulance will take me, why would would I need to know that?”. Review the news coverage from the last few mass shooting incidents; most people arrived at the hospital by private vehicle. I’m not to willing to leave my life in the hands of a government employee, so I’ll ensure that I can get there myself or take others there myself if I have to.

Also study ways you could leave the immediate area on foot; you may have no choice but to leave on foot and come back to your car later.


When you arrive somewhere, a quick drive around of the building only takes a couple of minutes and you can develop vital information on a drive-around.

First, you can note any graffiti in the rear alley, indicating roughly the propensity for criminal activity in the area.

You can also inspect the fence that surrounds most retail shopping centers – Not because we care about the fencing, but because if you have to escape an active shooter or other threat like fire, it’s good to know that you can get through the fence and not be trapped inside.

You will also see where emergency exits will let you out of the building at. If I escape through an emergency exit, only to be trapped in a locked utility space, I haven’t done myself any good.

You’ll also be able to determine the general security posture of a business by seeing if the back doors are locked & secure, or if they are standing open. You have to decide if you’ll patronize a business that doesn’t even care about their own safety, let alone yours.

Many retail strip centers also have more secure parking for employees in the rear with a walkway out to the main area, which may provide you with a safer place to park with less foot traffic.


Before getting out of the car to head inside a business, do two things:

1. HANG UP THE PHONE – Also, put it away completely to resist the temptation to scroll social media while you walk, distracting you.

2. Look Around – take a quick panoramic look around the lot before exiting the vehicle. Be honest – you don’t do this right now.


The on-scene assessment is very brief pause you can take anytime you enter a building; it only takes a couple of seconds and could save your life.

As you enter a building, step to the side of the doorway and glance quickly around your surroundings.

1. Note first what people are doing closest to you – people have walked in on robberies.

2. Note the emergency exits (look for the red signs).

3. Note any additional data – for example, in most businesses, a large red dot on a pillar or wall indicates the location of a fire extinguisher.

4. Locate restrooms immediately – not because you need one, but because they are strong points that have a single door, and the walls are generally tile on the inside, giving better protection than drywall.

Remain aware of changes the entire time you are in the location, especially if it’s open to the public.


Before leaving a building, stop just inside the door and look outside first (there’s a reason the door is made of glass), to make sure that you aren’t blindly stepping out into a bad situation.

Try to see the entire route to your car.

While walking, resist the temptation to check your phone or make phone calls.

Remain alert the entire way to your car.

Stop in the driving aisle, before stepping between your car and the one next to it. Take a look between the cars before stepping in to that enclosed space. If you don’t and someone attacks you between the cars, you can only get away in one direction. Stopping in the aisle, you have many other escape options.

Once inside the car, lock the doors before doing anything else.

A side note on the remote unlock feature on your car – set it so that one press unlocks only the driver’s side door. Many default to unlocking all doors, but that’s unsafe, especially if you’re alone.


Planning ahead is smart, only takes a few minutes, and is a good habit to get into.

Take a few minutes to plan ahead, and you may well save your life.

Guarding Your Information

Our modern social media landscape has convinced us all to share every small detail of our lives with people we haven’t spoken to in person in years. Think about the implications of that.

Samuel Culper, of the outstanding website Forward Observer, has this to say about Social Media: “We should farm data from it, but never plant”.

Reaching back even farther, to the times of Solomon, the best advice book ever written has this gem for us:

Those who guard their lips preserve their lives,

but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.

Proverbs 13:3

As my friend best-selling author Ivan Throne says, “Concealment is the Second Law”. Every time you are tempted to reveal some personal data, do a risk assessment on it. What is the benefit of sharing this information, versus the risk that exposing it will cause. It doesn’t have to be just about safety. Consider this….you make a social media post about opening a business, what are the chances that your competition will then start actions to thwart your plans? A vindictive neighbor? A government bureaucrat?

It’s perfectly fine to want to share information with your friends, but think about all of the information that you are putting out there. Many people essentially “narrate their lives” on social media, which can put your property and your safety at risk.

It’s not only social media that is a risk, but so is social engineering and general conversation.

Elicitation is a technique that spies use to get information from people without them knowing it, and it happens every day by criminals, too, they just don’t use the fancy name.

Let me give a quick example from an investigation I was involved in. A restaurant chain in a heavily Middle-Eastern community in Detroit had their waitresses engage in conversation with customers, learning their travel plans back to the Middle East. When they found a customer who was leaving the country soon who paid with a credit card, they used a spare credit card machine to lift the “third track” off the magnetic stripe on the credit card. This track contains name and address data. The leaders of the ring would then conduct a burglary while the customer was out of the country and not only steal high value things, but they would also sell the furniture and decorations online.

Social engineering is tricking you into giving up information that can be used to guess your online passwords. The most common variation can be seen on Facebook dozens of times every single day. It goes like this….”Let’s see who will do this with me” and it then proceeds to ask you to complete a series of seemingly innocuous questions about your life. Within those questions, you’ll find commonly used “forgot your password” security questions, and you are WILLINGLY giving everyone the ability to hack into your life.

I’ve seen a variation with one Twitter user who claims to be randomly asking questions like “What’s you favorite food” and “Where would you like to go on vacation”. Intermixed every so often is a security question type question. He’s counting on you getting used to commenting on the random questions and blindly answering security question answers.

Another area that invites risk is “checking in” or “tagging” yourself in locations. If I tag myself at a movie theater, I’ve just told the world exactly where I can be found for the next couple of hours. More importantly, I’ve told them where I’m NOT, such as my home. The best strategy in this area is to not do it all, but if you feel that you must, tag yourself as you are leaving the location.

We all want social media to portray our lives as fun-filled and happy, so many people spend their days posting photos of their activities. Just like tagging or checking in, you’re telling the world where you can and cannot be found in real time. I understand that you want the world to see your awesome cruise experience, but you can post those photos as soon as you get home instead of telling everyone that you are in Belize with no plan to get home for several days.

Have you ever noticed how after you go somewhere or you discuss something with friends, you instantly start getting ads about what you discussed? It’s called surveillance capitalism and it’s a huge business. Open your phone’s settings and check “app permissions”. You’ll be surprised at how many apps can access your location for no other purpose than to sell that data. Yes, they are selling surveillance reports on everywhere you go. Turn these settings off, or to “only while using the app”. There is no reason for you to let some random company profit off your location data and there is absolutely no reason why your Scrabble game ever needs to know your location or record audio.

At this point, many people I advise tell me “But I have location turned off on my phone”. I laugh at that comment. Your travels are Google or Apple’s biggest money-making product…do you really think they’ll let you turn it off? Tucker Carlson ran a segment where they took a phone that had location turned off and another phone that was TURNED OFF COMPLETELY and traveled around Washington DC for a day. At the end of the day, they checked the phones, and both were sending location data to Google, despite the settings and the one phone being turned off.

During the current CoronaVirus pandemic, Governor Gretchen Whitmer said during a press briefing that she had received location data from Google about the movements of Michigan residents to determine if residents were abiding by her Stay Home Order. Do you remember giving your consent to that government search of your private data? You didn’t have to , because Google violated your 4th Amendment rights, and they aren’t bound by the Constitution.

The only way to be sure that a phone isn’t sending location data is to remove the battery. Did you notice that you can no longer remove the battery? That’s on purpose; your location data is their biggest money-making product.

Have you noticed that whenever you get a text message or an email now, you get a list of suggested responses? That’s not for your convenience; it’s because they are reading your messages looking for information to sell.

Try this experiment: open your photo gallery and click “Search” type in anything you’ve taken a photo of and hit enter. If you typed dogs, it will show you every dog photo. Again, this isn’t for convenience, it’s because they are analyzing your photos to see what they can market to you.

Check Facebook. Look at your security settings for a tab call “Off Facebook Data”. It’s default setting is “on”, allowing Facebook to capture all your data on your phone, including your location data, for them to sell. Change it to “never” and delete the history.

The only way currently to ensure that your phone isn’t recording your audio (they really do, read the fine print), video (yes, that too), and location, is to store it turned off in a Farady cage except when you are actually using it.

Privacy should be a major concern to you. Many of my clients say “I have nothing to hide, so I don’t care”. Your personal, physical safety is worth protecting and if the data can be sold to advertisers, it can be hacked and downloaded by bad actors.

Guard not only your lips, but also your digital data as well.

Fiercely guard your private information. Share online sparingly.

Mindset – Should I Train In Unarmed Self Defense?

Knife Defense

In this modern era of “Shall-Issue” Concealed Carry Licenses, a common question that arises is, should I train in unarmed self defense?

The answer is a resounding yes for a few reasons:

  1. You can’t carry a gun or a knife everywhere, even with a permit.
  2. Not every threat justifies the immediate use of deadly force.
  3. Just because I “can” use a firearm in a situation, doesn’t mean I “should” (crowded area/neighborhood).
  4. You’ll never never leave you arms and legs at home or in the car.

But just as important as these considerations, is the consideration of “mindset”. In his book, “Tactical Manual”, Max from Max Velocity Tactical lists unarmed self-defense skills as among the areas you need to develop in order to obtain a Warrior Mindset. You can find his outstanding book on Amazon or at

Similarly, Israeli Krav Maga Association Chief Instructor David Kahn, whose books & videos I highly recommend (Amazon), quotes that age-old Tactical Manual known as the Bible in his book, “Krav Maga – Professional Tactics”:

Blessed be the Lord, my rock,

who trains my hands for battle,

and my fingers for war”

Psalms 144:1

To me, that sounds like a Biblical command to obtain and, more importantly, retain unarmed self-defense skills.

But, how one obtains these skills is critically important. A YouTube search will get you hours of videos on self defense skills. Nearly every second of it will be unrealistic garbage that has exactly no relavence to real-life skill.

I recommend taking a course from QUALIFIED instructor. Most martial arts have organizations that certify instructors and require some sort of standards. Beware of the guy who has created his own system and declared himself the 10th-Degree World Supreme Grand Dragon Master. Find a reputable organization and seek out reviews.

Books are a great source, but you must practice the skills and you really need a knowledgeable instructor to help ensure that you are actually applying the techniques correctly and realistically. Many martial arts schools teach complicated and great-looking self defense techniques that will never actually work because either you won’t remember it or you won’t be wearing a martial arts uniform.

Video training with a qualified instructor is a great idea and again, make sure that the instructor is qualified. This training will also most likely require a training partner.

It’s important to realize the difference between theoretical training and real life. Let me give you a quick illustration. I once hired a martial arts Master I had trained with to work with me as a retail loss prevention investigator. Once faced with an actual suspect resisting arrest and truly trying to assault him, he learned that there was a huge difference between performance in a controlled class environment and on the street. Now, the two men who trained us (recently featured on the cover of a major martial arts magazine) made sure that our training would stand up on the street, but the street is less forgiving than a classroom.

The point is that you should train for the street, not for belt tests. Ironically, training for the street will improve your performance on belt tests, but the opposite will get you hurt.

Another reason to train in unarmed self defense is that in a self-defense situation, you may not ever get the chance to draw a gun or a knife, if your attacker has surprised you. Having skills will enable you to be able to deal with the immediate attack and develop time and space to introduce a defensive tool.

Unarmed self defense skill also develops awareness. That awareness will keep you looking for threats and hopefully avoiding or mitigating them before they can harm you or anyone else.

Another area that unarmed self-defense skills develops is self confidence. Once you are aware that you can defend yourself against attacks, you will feel less afraid and project confidence. Criminals profile their victims, and one who appears aware and projects confidence will not be targeted.

A criminal’s goal at the end of the day is to go home, and if he is confronted by someone ready, willing, and able to defend themselves, he will most likely move on to another victim.

As it says in the Tactical Handbook of Life (the Bible)…

Resist the Devil and he will flee from you”

James 4:7b

An important self defense skill everyone needs to know is how to fall properly. That skill is the most commonly used self protection skill. Answer this question: How many times have you been attacked versus how many times have you fallen down? I’m betting that you’ve fallen down many more times. Nearly all martial arts and self-defense schools teach falling, because it’s such an essential skill and the odds are that you will fall down at some point in your life. Having the skills to protect yourself from injury while falling will help everyone.

In short, you should develop unarmed self defense not just because they might come in handy, but because they fully develop you into the Warrior Mindset.

As Supreme Grand Master Hwang Kee (Tang Soo Do) said, “When there is preparation, there is no fear”.

Having What You Need, When You Need It

JD’s Apollo Ruck by Highland Tactical

David asked Ahimelek, “Don’t you have a spear or a sword here? I haven’t brought my sword or any other weapon, because the King’s mission was urgent”

1 Samuel 21:8

Have you ever needed something and not had it? Gotten to a meeting and realized you left your notes or your laptop at home?

The same thing can happen to us in an emergency. I know many people who are into preparedness and readiness, but never take an emergency bag with them, because they aren’t planning on having an emergency.

Here’s an actual conversation I had recently:

Her: “Why do you have a tourniquet in your backpack?”

Me: “In case I get shot. What are you going to do if you get shot?”

Her: “I don’t plan on getting shot.”

Me: “No one PLANS on getting shot.”

As funny as this is, this mindset prevails in daily life. People prepare and organize gear, but then leave home without any extra gear, because there is no emergency at the time.

Today, I want to go over what I carry everyday, in a backpack in the rear of my SUV. This is my EDC bag, and, for my fellow veterans, it would also double as my patrol/assault pack. I carry it when I go hunting, and it’s actually part of my fitness routine, as I ruck carrying it.

The bag itself is from Highland Tactical ( I use the Apollo backpack. Their gear is great and reasonably priced. I also use their Ranger Duffel as my outdoor-gear bag, a Squad 1.0 Duffel as an overnight bag, and their Mobility Waist Pack as a first aid kit (because it attaches to the other bags easily).

In a molle-attached pouch, I have a first aid kit. Inside this kit, I carry some band-aids, gauze, antibiotic, a pressure dressing, some gloves, and a CPR mask. Additionally, because I’m allergic to bee stings, I carry a small packet of Benadryl. Behind the first aid kit, I have a pair of EMT Shears secured.

Below that pouch, there is another small pouch, and in that I have a pistol cleaning kit, insect repellent, and a camouflage face paint compact (you never know).

On the opposite side of the pack, there is a large pouch. Inside that pouch, I carry a few basic tools, wrapped inside a green camping towel strip, to reduce noise. The tools are a small hand shovel, a folding saw, and a pair of small multi-tools.

There is a pouch at the bottom of the main pack and I keep gear I might need quick access to in there. It contains:

  • Shemagh: Can be used as a face cover, a scarf, or a bandage
  • Gloves
  • Rifle Cleaning Kit
  • Wet Start Strikable Tinder: Great product made by Uco (
  • StormProof Matches: More Uco gear
  • Ferrocerium Rod & Striker: Yet another great Uco item
  • Beverage Powder/MRE Sandwich: Emergency food that has a long shelf life
  • Sanitizing Hand Wipes
  • Camouflage Face Mask
  • Knife Sharpening Stone
  • Cooling Towel: In Realtree Camouflage

The side zip pouch on the back of the bag is also used for items that may be needed quickly:

  • One cut-down MRE: Removed from the original package & taped together to save space
  • P-38/P-51 Can Openers: Two sizes to open any can
  • USF Tactical Spork: Any eating utensil is better than none, and this has a bottle opener, can opener, a screwdriver, and 3 small wrenches.
  • 2 pouches of USCG approved emergency drinking water
  • Package of Flushable Wipes: Incredibly useful and biodegradable
  • Lensatic Engineering Compass

The smaller compartment contains:

  • Rite in the Rain Notebook and Pen
  • Several pens
  • Index cards in a Zip-Lock baggie
  • MRE cheese & crackers
  • Small penlight
  • 10-inch notebook tablet

Inside the main compartment, there is plenty of space for day or mission specific gear, but the permanent items in the main compartment are:

  • Esbitt Solid-Fuel Stove: Several fuel tablets are stored inside the stove
  • USMC Issue Poncho-Liner: A great emergency blanket
  • Propper H2O Waterproof Pants: Rain Gear
  • Propper H20 Waterproof Parka Outer Shell: Rain gear
  • Spare Under Garments: Extra T Shirt, underwear, and socks stored in a Zip-Lock, these can prevent hypothermia in an emergency
  • USMC Issue Poncho: Makes an excellent emergency shelter if needed
  • 75’ of Paracord: Paracord is handy in all kinds of situations
  • Spare trauma kit
  • 2 MRE Protein Shakes: Perfect emergency food source

Attached to the outside I have three carabiners, a solar phone charging bank, and a whistle/thermometer. There is also a fixed blade knife that is attached to the large side pouch.

Attached to the shoulder strap on the left side (my weak side) I have a Jobsmart high-intensity angle head flashlight from Tractor Supply. It also has a magnetic base.

The weight of the pack is very manageable at 25 pounds or so, and it contains the bare essentials to survive in most situations for at least 72 hours.

Imagine being at work on the other side of a metro area when the power goes out, and cars don’t start (EMP Scenario). This backpack could very well be the difference between making it home alive or not.

The most important note though, is that you must carry it in the vehicle EVERY DAY. It’s easiest just to leave it in the car, but I bring it inside every night, because you don’t really know when you’ll need it.

Check the contents regularly, especially any emergency food (expiration dates). I sometimes change out the items seasonally, like adding a sweater or the parka’s liner, although I usually wear the liner as a jacket year-round.

Don’t be like David in the verse above and rush out to accomplish an urgent mission, yet not have the gear you need to handle the situation.

Should I Train to Fight With A Knife?

This question comes up often in the current climate of concealed firearm permits…Should I train to fight with a knife, since guns are so common?

The answer is a resounding yes, for a few reasons. Let’s discuss why first, then I’ll give some practical exercises and resources.

Reasons to train with a knife:

  • There are many places that you can’t carry a gun, but that you can carry a knife.
  • Knives don’t jam or run out of ammunition.
  • Knives have a multitude of other uses and are generally good to have around (for example, whether your evening involves cutting cheese or stabbing an attacker, a knife is HANDY).
  • Knives can be found in many places to pick up and use for self-defense.
  • Knives are psychologically frightening to attackers.
  • Skill with a knife, like unarmed defense skills, builds self-confidence and a warrior mindset/ethos.

The Three Blade Rule

A common tactical precept is the “Three Blade Rule”. Generally, you should have these three tools available at all times. There aren’t many situations which one of these three can’t solve for you.

  1. Folding Knife – Generally a pocket folder, used for everyday tasks, but can be used for self defense. Carried in your pocket.
  2. Multi-Tool – Also great for everyday tasks, and has limited self defense utility, but it could be used. I carry two Gerber multi-tools in my EDC laptop bag, along with a second folding knife.
  3. Fixed Blade Knife – A full sized fighting knife. I use a Gerber LMF Infantry knife or a KaBar USMC Fighting Knife. I keep this in my emergency backpack in the back of my SUV.


First, the very best defense against an attacker who has a knife is a firearm.

Second, any attack with a knife is deadly force, so respond accordingly.

Take a real knife course from a real knife instructor. There are thousands of videos on the internet about the topic, and nearly all of them are garbage.

Go and attend a knife fighting course at a professional facility, or find a school that specializes in it, like Filipino Martial Arts schools.

Another good source of instruction are Krav Maga Instructors, as they have a reality-based knife fighting program, born of necessity for Israeli soldiers.

A great book on the topic with outstanding techniques is the Complete Michael Echanis Collection. It is based on the Korean Martial Art of Hwa Rang Do, and the book includes knife defense, knife combat, and stick combat.

Solo training is possible, once you’ve learned the basics with an instructor.

Don’t work on fancy defense against a knife moves, because if you’re ever really in a knife combat situation, OFFENSE is the ONLY way to win. Keeping the opponent on defense keeps him from sticking the pointy end in you. Learn the 8 basic slashes and 9 basic thrusts and you’ll be able to develop hundreds of offensive combinations.

Again, don’t get stuck in systems that train exclusively on responding to the attackers attack…If you miss the block and he stabs or slashes you, you’ll never be able to show off that cool deflection/jump spinning crescent kick combination because you’ll be too busy bleeding out.

Learn to attack with a knife because action is faster than reaction and if I can keep my attacker focused on defending, he can’t think about attacking me.

One knife skill I will mention, however, because a lot of schools don’t due to liability. I’m more interested in your survival. Cutting out refers to, once you’ve conducted a thrust into an opponent, twist the blade 180 degrees. If you inserted the blade palm down, twist til your palm is up, and vice-versa. This creates a larger wound channel, causing more bleeding and pain, and prevents suction from holding your knife. I don’t say this because I want you to give grievous wounds to your attacker, I say it because a larger wound may end his attack before he gets hurt worse, or you do.


I’m not going to go into the 8 angles of attack or 9 basic thrusts, because you need instructor interaction to learn those, but there are some basic drills you can use with a kicking bag to develop your skills.

Buy a good training knife that resembles your EDC knife.

When building combinations, it’s easiest to put the next technique where the last one ended. For example, after a slash attack, thrust (stab) at the end of the slash. Conversely, after a thrust, drag the blade in a slash from where the thrust was. Combine two or three techniques.

  • Practice slashing and thrusting combinations on the bag while keeping your empty hand covering your body, static at first, to develop muscle memory.
  • Advance to stepping to the outside and parrying with the weak hand across your whole center-line, followed by slash and thrust combinations from a 45 degree angle to the bag, to simulate stepping outside of the attack.
  • Once you’ve mastered that, incorporate low-line kicks to the knee, thigh, or solar-plexus between the parry and knife combination.

Again, see an instructor to learn actual physical skills (no, not YouTube).


It’s vital that you completely understand the local knife laws where you live and where you work. They can vary widely from city to city.

In conclusion, knife training should absolutely be a part of your training regimen and you should learn those skills at first from an actual instructor who knows what they are doing. Keep training to retain those skills.

Anyone interested in self-defense should strive, as they say in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, to become a “Master At Arms”, knowing the use of every defensive tool from empty hands and feet out to a rifle at 500 meters.

The Importance of Outdoor Skills

…Go out into the hill country and bring back branches from olive and wild olive trees, and from myrtles, palms, and shade trees to make temporary shelters…”

Nehemiah 8:15b

If you were stranded in woods and had to build a shelter, could you? Could you build a fire?

Just a couple of generations ago, every person in Western Civilization would be able to say yes. Not so today.

Just over 10 years ago, I went along with my son’s Boy Scout troop on a camp out, expecting a nostalgic return to the woods, like in my youth. These “Scouts” could only cook on a modern grill and were mostly worried about battery life on their electronics.

After some soul-searching and a long tirade by me, the Scout Master and I decided that the next camping trip would be a “When the old guys were Scouts trip”. Despite the complaints at the outset, the boys had a great time once they learned real outdoor skills like cooking with no modern conveniences and what a true backwoods hike with map and compass was like.

The point of this is that in our current situation, what would you do if the power and gas stopped working? Could you cook, ensure your water was safe, and prepare a shelter? For the majority of Americans, the answer is a resounding no.

With a little reading, a lot practice, and a sense of adventure, everyone can return to these roots. You’re here because for millennia, humans could do all these things.

An excellent book to get started learning basic skills is the SAS Survival Handbook, by John “Lofty” Wiseman.

The first exercise in this is something I first saw on Viking Preparedness, by Pastor Joe Fox (an outstanding resource and a good author as well). Pack a backpack, walk out one hour into the woods (not a park). Once you are there, make a fire and prepare a meal. After the meal, pack up your waste and walk the one hour back. Simple, right? But do you think the average person would ever consider it? This simple test is a first step to self-reliance and self-confidence.

When you first learned how to drive, how did you get more comfortable driving and develop skills? By overcoming your fears, getting out there, and driving. Outdoor skills, or as we called it in the Marines to sound even tougher, rough country skills, are learned through practice.

The basics everyone should strive to learn are:

  • Fire Building – The ability to build a fire gives warmth, light, a way to dry things, and a way to cook.
  • Water Procurement – Not just how to find water, but also how to make it safe to drink. Even tap water, if the power grid is down, should be made safe before you ingest it.
  • Shelter Building – The ability to build a shelter to keep you out of the elements is critical. As Nehemiah pointed out in the verse, natural materials should be used, and they’ll not only keep you dry & warm, but hidden as well.
  • Land Navigation – Even avid outdoor people have become over-reliant on GPS. I’ve heard the argument that even if the power goes out here, the satellites will still work, but the truth is that if the ground stations don’t have power, you’ll get false readings. Learn how to navigate using a GOOD compass and a paper map. Paper maps are invaluable.
  • First Aid – Yes, first aid. There is really no excuse for not knowing advanced first aid in our modern society. The learning resources are there and are generally free. The resources are widely available. I’m not a nurse or an EMT but I know how to treat most common and many uncommon injuries, including how to reduce tension pneumothorax, and how to run an IV. Get quality training and build a first aid kit.

After learning the basic skills, develop an “emergency bag” for yourself and carry it everywhere (mine is in my SUV). In my emergency bag I have:

  • A USMC issue wool sweater – This will keep you warm even when wet.
  • Rugged outdoor pants and shirt – If I’m dressed for work, I’m not dressed for survival.
  • Boots – Dress shoes are not practical anywhere but the office.
  • Rain Gear – Both a poncho and a rain suit…the poncho has many uses.
  • An entrenching tool – collapsible shovel. Mine also has a knife and saw blade.
  • Two tarps and Paracord – I can make a pretty deluxe shelter with 2 tarps held up by paracord.
  • Shemagh – Can be used as a scarf, a bandage, a signal flag, or a mask.
  • Fire Starting Gear – Storm-proof matches, tinder that lights when wet, and a ferrocerium rod/striker.
  • Fixed Blade Knife – Always useful.
  • Food – I keep a few non-perishable and canned items (usually backpacking food) in the bag.
  • State-Wide map book and compass.

I also keep a separate first aid kit in back of the SUV, along with my personal ruck (another emergency/tactical kit, but that’s another article….).

Once you’ve built the kit, it does you NO GOOD unless it’s always near you. Just like carrying self-defense tools, you don’t know what day a disaster may strike and the coolest gear bag ever won’t save you if it’s at home and you’re at work.

Frequently recheck the bag and adjust spare clothing seasonally. Watch expiration dates on food.

Get started today, learning these skills will be fun, build self-confidence, and just might save your life.

As Nehemiah said, “Go out into the hill country”….

Solo Training During Quarantine

Maintaining your self-defense skills is important at all times, and it’s critical during the current Stay-At-Home Order situation. Police departments have advised that they are limiting services and avoiding non-essential public contact, so you are truly on your own.

Training without a partner can be just as effective as training with a partner.

When we are talking about physical unarmed defense skills, muscle memory is the most important thing, and that can be maintained with solo training.

What are the best solo training drills? I don’t claim to be THE authority, but let’s use history as our guide. For thousands of years, martial arts students have used forms training to learn unarmed defense skills.

But, what is forms training? Is it only practicing traditional forms? In his classic book “Knife Fighting For Combat”, Hwa Rang Do Master Michael D Echanis said that a form is any preset or pre-planned movement. Using this definition, every combination or self-defense technique can be considered a form. Yes, using a partner develops timing, but the actual mechanics and muscle memory can be developed by “free-form” solo training.

Let me present a couple of techniques to illustrate this:

1. Leg Sweep Takedown (Osoto-Gari)

  • This technique is generally taught as a defense against a punch, so the first step in solo training is stepping inside of the attack and blocking (either a high block or in to out block).
  • Simulate seizing the attacking wrist and opposite shoulder.
  • Simulate pulling the seized wrist and pushing the opposite shoulder as you simulate sweeping the leg – but exaggerate the leg lifting behind you after the sweep, to ensure that in actual combat you remove the attackers foot from the ground.

2. One Step Sparring – defense against a single punch

  • All One-Steps lend themselves easily to free form training, and that is generally the first step in learning them.
  • Begin with the defense – In this example, stepping outside with the left foot, while executing an in to out open hand block with the right hand.
  • Simulate grabbing the attacking wrist while executing a right leg roundhouse kick to the solar plexus.
  • Simulate an open hand forearm attack with the left hand to the attackers elbow joint.
  • End with a reverse elbow across strike with the right elbow to the attackers face.

As you can see, both are very practical self defense combinations that can be trained without a partner very effectively.

The examples also show that you can take any martial arts technique and break it down into it’s component parts, and practice them as “free forms”, allowing you to maintain your skills.

The next issue is repetition. Most people in self-defense training do far too FEW repetitions. Some who knows 75 techniques, but only does 5 repetitions of each once a week, won’t be able to use any of them in real life. Modern McDojo schools encourage this by trying to fit too many different techniques into a single 45-60 minute class, hoping not to lose the classes attention. Every time you train on any technique, 25 repetitions should be the bare minimum. For instructors, imagine how much better your students would be at leg sweeps or a one-step technique (Il Soo Sik) if you spent an entire class period on just one technique, rather than teaching four. For a technique to become instinctive, you need over 1000 repetitions… doing them 5 at a time, you’ll never get there.

Visualization is an essential skill. Visualizing every free form combination as a defense against an actual attacker will indeed develop the skills for you. In Korean Martial Arts, visualization is referred to as Che Myun Sul and involves visualizing every repetition as an actual attack. Your mind is an amazing tool and it will treat these solo repetitions as with a partner.

I’m not advocating replacing partner training, just the opposite. The two compliment each other, not contradict. Solo training is not a substitute for training with a partner, but it is a way to maintain your skills and some fitness during these times of “social distancing”.

Since many have become used to my tying tactical training to the Bible, let’s remember Psalm 144:1:

Praise be to the Lord my Rock,

who trains my hands for war,

my fingers for battle.

Train. Your opposition is.

Surrendering Freedom

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.

Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Galatians 5:1

Paul wrote those words just under 2,000 years ago, and today, as I sit at home because the government has ordered us all to, they are equally relevant.

Our ancestors came here because they were oppressed at home. They were told that they couldn’t worship as they wished and that they must do the bidding of the state.

The men who first established colonies here were Men of God, Warriors of the Spirit, looking for the freedom to worship and to live as they pleased.

As the years wore on, the Imperial government began restricting rights of the colonists. They banned public gatherings, limited freedom of movement, and even attempted to confiscate firearms. Does any of this sound familiar?

We threw off the yoke of slavery to our imperial masters then and established a nation based upon the rights of the PEOPLE, rather than the powers of the GOVERNMENT, which was unheard of at that time.

Some 60 years later, we had an internal struggle. Most modern teachings state that we were trying to fight slavery, but that was only part of the larger issue. The Civil War was caused because of the Federal Government increasing it’s control over the authority of the states, using the guise of fighting slavery, a noble and just cause, to trample State’s rights.

I’m not disputing slavery…It was a vile practice that God detests and was ended by Western Civilization first. It is still practiced in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia to this day.

What I am saying is that the government began taking control over many aspects of everyday life, in the name of lofty social causes (sound familiar?).

Today, Americans are no longer the brave men who fought for their own freedom in the 1700s, fought against Muslim slave traders and against slavery here in the 1800s, or even the brave men who stormed Pacific Islands and Normandy, to free those held under oppression and slavery.

We’ve become so accustomed to our modern conveniences that as our state Governors are issuing unconstitutional orders, trampling our rights, half of the country is cheering them on, and the other half is too lazy to resist, other than with snarky tweets.

There is no Constitutional authority for the government to order businesses to close or to order you to stay home. The orders to not assemble and to not attend church both are SPECIFICALLY prohibited by the Constitution.

The government is now also using the Defense Production Act to seize LAWFULLY purchased items if they deem that you have more than you need. Now, I’m aware that the first cases were people who were price gouging, which is immoral. However, you have to see how this can impact people who planned ahead and are sitting on a stockpile of food. That Act allows the government to seize your property NOW and give you due process (fair market value) at some point in the future.

Many will argue that laws being used have to be Constitutional because they are on the books…but that isn’t true. No law is inherently Constitutional, that’s why we have a Supreme Court.

In Marbury v Madison, the Supreme Court stated that “act of the Legislature, repugnant to the Constitution, is void” and that “the Constitution is superior to ordinary act of the Legislature”. These orders and emergency laws banning church, free movement, right to assemble, and allowing the seizure of your property, all violate the 14th Amendment:

…No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of Citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law…”

Ordering me to remain in home seems to violate the whole thing. I understand that there is indeed a deadly virus out there, but we don’t surrender our freedoms out of fear that something MIGHT happen to us. I don’t see a clause about “unless there is a virus” in the Constitution.

Paul warned us 2,000 years ago not to take up the yoke of slavery again….yet here we are, sitting in our homes, not attending church, not gathering in groups of more than 10.

Everyone should consider Paul’s warning and ask yourself…Where will I draw the line? What am I willing to do to ensure all of our freedom?

On Being Ready – Nehemiah

Nehemiah is one of my favorite characters and one of the first people to live a tactical/preparedness lifestyle. He was appointed as the governor of Jerusalem and was sent to rebuild it by the King.

There was just one problem though….Jerusalem was surrounded by people who didn’t want to see it rebuilt. Does that sound familiar?

How did Nehemiah and his people keep safe? With today’s piece of Tactical Wisdom From the Bible:

From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armor…

Nehemiah 4:16a

This principle is still used today by most modern military forces…half the force engaging in security, while the remainder works or rests.

How can we apply this to our daily lives?

First, ensure, like Nehemiah did, that your home is secure to begin with. Good locks, lighting, proper landscaping, and maybe even a few cameras are a good start. Having a safe and secure storage method for defensive firearms, while keeping them readily accessible in an emergency is also a good start.

For example, when I’m home, if I’m in the home office, a firearm is either in a holster on my hip or in a top desk drawer. At bedtime, it moves to the secure nightstand. That simple, and I’m armed 100 percent of the time while at home.

If leaving the home, all firearms are securely locked up.

Second, ensure that wherever you go, you are as armed as you lawfully can be. How that looks depends on your lifestyle and the local legal environment.

It may mean a concealed pistol license (did you know I offer that class?) and a handgun. Know your state’s odd quirks of gun laws before doing this. As an example, in Michigan, you can’t carry a concealed gun into a bank, even if licensed, but if licensed to carry, you CAN open carry a handgun into the bank, but an unlicensed person can’t (I know, it makes zero sense).

Most state and local government offices and all federal offices (including the post office) ban guns, but you can generally carry at least a pocket knife inside them. Invest in a good knife, not a cheap one, you are betting your life on it. Know local knife laws as well.

Airports, airplanes, and courthouses poses problems in that knives are banned in them as well. Solution…get a tactical pen and know how to use it. A caution here, though, don’t get the ultra-tactical looking ones… a simple, solid metal pen is sufficient. While I’ve never had one of any type seized, and I’ve flown a lot, I did have one spirited discussion…so keep it low-key.

When leaving the house, if you have a concealed carry license, your minimum standard should be a firearm and at least one spare magazine, a quality pocket knife, a high-intensity tactical flashlight, and a tactical pen.

A note about flashlights…buy a high quality one. Many places sell what they call “tactical high-intensity flashlights”, but they aren’t designed for self defense or use with a firearm. I only use Surefire, Streamlight, or Smith & Wesson lights myself, but there are many other brands. You’re betting your life on it, make an INVESTMENT, not a purchase.

Also, if you truly believe in a preparedness or tactical lifestyle, a well-stocked first aid kit is an absolute requirement EVERY SINGLE DAY. I’ve used the first aid kit more than any other item.

Many people say, “Aren’t you being paranoid?” or “What do you need that for?”. My first answer is that it’s no one’s business but mine. The best answer is that you can’t possibly know where or when you’ll have to defend your life (or that of someone else).

It’s easy to say, “But I’m just running to the gas station” and not go to the trouble, but you are statistically more at risk at the gas station than at home.

Also, the worst possible tool to need, is the one you don’t have with you when you need it. If you forget a credit card, or a set of keys, you can can run back home and get it, but you’ll be seriously injured (or dead) if you need a self defense tool and left it at home because it’s a hassle.

Take the thousands of years old advice of my friend Nehemiah, and always have your sword, spear, and shield at the ready.

Having a Team

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves,

a cord of three strands is not easily broken”

– Ecclesiates 4:12

Many people in the preparedness and tactical training community train to defend themselves as a single entity in a Without Rule of Law (WROL) situation, such as a disaster, rioting, or emergency.

While that mindset is perfectly OK for normal life, going to work, running errands, etc, once the ability for rapid police response goes away, as in a WROL situation, you’ll quickly find that you need friends.

While you certainly can defend YOURSELF effectively as one person, you can’t defend a home, or property, or your family. You need allies for that.

This piece of tactical wisdom has been around since Solomon walked the earth, and the name of the Bible book “Ecclesiastes” means “Teacher” in English. The passage is no less relevant today.

Let’s first take the example of protecting your own home or neighborhood in a WROL situation. If you alone are protecting it, you have to sleep at some point. With 2 people, you double the amount of rest, and with 3 you triple it.

Even going out in public in an emergency situation (like our current pandemic) requires more than one person. If you’re going to the store alone, you’re focused on what you’re looking for. If you go as a 3 person team, one can look for what you need to buy, the second protect the first in close and the third can protect the vehicle (which probably is filled with supplies) and provide overwatch.

You can use the three-person method effectively for nearly any task, and remain relatively safe.

For those who only intend to work as solo operator, understand that the opposition, criminals, will be working as teams. Your odds of successfully defending yourself against a group working together, no matter how much you train, drop significantly if you’re alone, and rise dramatically with a team.

However, you can’t just grab two other people and instantly meld into a cohesive team. It takes training time and experience to work together effectively, especially when firearms are involved.

An excellent resource for small team training is Max Velocity’s book “Small Unit Tactics”, available on Amazon (no, I don’t get a commission from MVT).

If you are going to work as a team, a good suggestion is to have common gear and equipment. The crew I work with every day, all use the same sidearm and carry their spare magazines in the same place. Similarly, we all carry the same backpack, with additional magazines in the same place. In an emergency, you don’t want to have to search for something. As far as rifles, we all use the same style, in the same caliber, using the same magazines, so that we can share and redistribute if needed.

Our team trains together at least once a month on individual tactics as well as team tactics. The ability to move and reload while the rest of the team maintains a volume of fire, while also not straying into their line of fire is a skill set only obtained through training together. You will develop an instinctive feel for your teammates.

The Tactical Wisdom From the Bible that I share is always just as applicable as it was at the tme it was written, thousands of years ago.

Find teammates, plan, and train together. As the Teacher (Solomon) said in Ecclesiastes, “two can defend themselves, a cord of three strands is not easily broken.”

Comment below.

Adapting Forms Training to Self Defense

Many proponents of so-called “real-world self-defense” downplay the value of traditional forms training, saying that it’s outdated or “too rigid” to be used for self defense.

I say that depends on how you train.

Now, if you go to a McDojo and everyone learns forms just because it’s needed to advance to the next level, then you’re right; you might as well be at dance class, because that’s what you’re learning.

Some instructors say that it teaches how to move and combine basic actions into combinations. I agree completely, but, if you only practice those combinations in the context of the form, it has no value for self defense.

How do I teach them and then apply them? By pulling out each combination and defense in the form and having the students learn it as a stand-alone combination or technique. They learn it first without partner as a simple combination, then they progress to defending against the actual attack.

As an example, in the Tang Soo Do form Pyung Ahn Ee Dan (one of the Pinan/Heian forms for other styles), there is a reverse in-to-out block, followed by a front kick/reverse punch combination. Rather than only practicing it during forms training, practice it as a combative combination. A great way to train this and make it realistic is that rather than stepping FORWARD, as the form dictates, have the students (or yourself for solo training) step BACKWARDS as you apply the block, then come forward with the counterattack, like you would in real life.

Take that one example and use it for every usable combination in every form you know. I don’t get hung up in the “But my Master says that it is supposed to be…”, each combination in a form is used for WHATEVER WORKS BEST FOR YOU. The true purpose of martial arts training is development of self, so do what works for YOU.

Forms training is just like everything else, you’ll get out of it whatever you put into it. If you approach it with the attitude that it’s just something you have to do, you’ll get nothing out of it. Come at it from the attitude of it’s teaching me combat movement and combative combinations, and you’ll get far more out of it.

Let me make a note about tournament competition in forms. If you train in forms to win tournaments, good for you, but then understand that tournament performance in forms has nothing at all to do with real-life applications. Generally, the method in which people perform tournament forms and win is softer and more free-flowing than those who train in forms for self defense. I don’t want my forms to be pretty, I want them to be powerful.

By the way, if you’re truly into TRADITIONAL martial arts, power and real-world applications is the key, not competition. The Hwa Rang knights of the Silla Kingdom didn’t defeat the other two kingdoms in a tournament, they defeated them in battle with their martial arts skill. They used forms training to prefect their combative techniques. Train with the goal of the ability to defend your life.

I hope this helps you in your training. Post your comments/favorite forms and combinations below.

Preparation Wisdom from Proverbs

In the current environment of social distancing, closed restaurants, and quarantines, we are facing shortages everywhere and unprepared people are panicking. If they had followed simple wisdom that has been around for thousands of years, they would be calm.

The wise store up food & olive oil, but the fool gulps theirs down.

-Proverbs 21:20

Now, toilet paper isn’t exactly olive oil, but the concept is the same.

What can a person with limited means do to prevent such a shortage in the future and be ready, while following the tactical wisdom from the Bible?

For food, each trip to the grocery store, I bought two or three items of canned or long-term storage food and stored them completely separate from the day-to-day food supplies that we use. In a relatively short period, you’ll have weeks of food stored up, long term. Remember to rotate food from the storage to regular use, to ensure that stored food doesn’t expire before you use it.

When buying long term storage food, it’s better to buy it in smaller cans rather than larger ones, because if there is no power, you won’t have a refrigerator to store the unused amount. Also, smaller cans be carried in backpacks for local patrolling/foraging trips, and is more portable if you have to leave the area.

The same thing can be done with most household goods that you might need.

Let’s consider toilet paper, in light of the current situation. Buy double your normal amount for a couple of shopping trips, then set aside the extra. Once you have a 3 to 4 week supply of extra, you can set it aside and never use it, except in an emergency.

You can do this with any staple supply. I also do it with batteries, because you’ll always need batteries. I’ve also done it with candles, flashlights, medical supplies, and clothing.

Yes, I said clothing. Many people consider ammunition, food, and toilet paper, but they never consider clothing. Have you considered where you will buy underwear if stores are closed long term? Or pants? Clothing doesn’t begin to wear until you put it on. You can buy a few extra packages of underwear or other clothing, and store them away. From a health perspective, it’s a vital element that often gets overlooked and it never goes bad.

Historically, humans used to gather all year in preparation for the winter, when there was less forage to be found. Our modern society has made us lazy and allowed us to put ourselves at risk. Most houses in the 1800s had about 8 months worth of food stored, today it’s generally 48 hours.

By going back to Biblical principles, we can prepare ourselves to weather any disaster.

Martial Arts Weapons & Self Defense

I frequently get asked, “Can martial arts weapons be used for self defense?”

The answer is both yes and no, and there are some caveats to consider before launching into a program.

First, understand that most schools that teach weapons are teaching things that look great in TOURNAMENTS to WIN MEDALS, not self defense. Even with a useful weapon, like a bo staff , which could be very useful for self defense, most schools only teach flashy forms that look cool, but have absolutely no real-world application.

Second, realize that not every cool-looking weapon is something you need to learn to defend yourself. For example, the Naginata is wicked-cool looking and I could lop off heads with it, but am I ever going to actually carry one? Never.

Third, learn BASIC ACTIONS before launching into forms. The coolest form won’t help me if I don’t know how to execute a block or a strike.

With these ideas in mind, let’s look at which weapons have real-world value. As always, check with local laws, because some states have silly restrictions.

  • Fighting Stick: 2 ½ to 3 feet long, the most applicable…you can always find a stick, an expandable baton, etc.
  • Bo Staff: You can adapt this to a broom handle or a long stick/closet bar.
  • Nunchaku: Easily concealable, but be careful as most forms aren’t realistic. Many police departments use a variation of these.
  • Tonfa: A great tool, but again focus on basics and not forms. Many police departments use the tonfa, calling it a “side-handle baton”.

The ones with the least:

  • Kama: Although, some kama skills do translate directly to the tomahawk, you won’t exactly be attacked for your wallet while out harvesting the wheat with a sickle in your hand.
  • Sai: Not something you’d ever carry or find.
  • Double Sword: You’ll rarely in every day life have one sword, let alone two.

You’ll notice that the knife isn’t listed. Knife fighting is an entirely different and absolutely essential skill set only marginally associated with traditional martial arts. Stick fighting skills are most closely related to knives.

To adapt forms training to self defense, pull out the usable combinations and train on them incessantly, because you’ll use a high block/strike combination for more naturally than the really awesome “drop to a knee and spin the bo staff like a helicopter over my head” part (sorry Master Martin and Master Seegert…you’re both still awesome).

I have a rule that before my students can learn a tournament form, they have to understand the history of the weapon and be able to defend themselves with it against basic attacks first. Then, with each form, they have to be able to describe the combative combinations inside the form and demonstrate them in a self defense context. That was the original purpose of forms training, anyway, but that’s another blog post entirely…

There are some who believe that for true self defense weapons, only firearms are needed. That’s absolutely and unequivocally untrue. Many times, a firearm isn’t legally appropriate. There are other times when it’s more dangerous to insert a firearm. Having additional tools is a plus.

For the true end of the world, power-grid-down situation, you will eventually run out of ammunition and/or spare parts for your firearms, but traditional weapons will still be usable and there won’t be any instructors, so learn now.

An under-considered weapon is the cane. Hapkido and Hwa Rang Do, both traditional Korean Martial Arts, have extensive cane-fighting techniques. Can you think of anywhere that you can’t take a cane?

In short, a true warrior trains in any weapon that he could conceivably use, and the time to learn those skills is BEFORE they are needed.

I hope this helps answer the question for all of you.

Awareness Vs. Panic

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In our current environment regarding the CoronaVirus, people are generally at one of two extremes. First, there are people buying into the media’s abject panic. On the other hand, there are people at the extreme other end, saying this is nothing to worry about and that to say otherwise is “fear-mongering”.

What should we do?

Proverbs 27:12 has the answer.

The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.

Nearly the identical verse appears at Proverbs 22:3:

The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and pay for it.

Which seems to be more prudent, in not just this situation, but in any:

A) Taking precautions and being overly careful, when you didn’t need to be.

B) Taking no precautions and being careless, when you should have been cautious.

Seems fairly obvious, once you remove the “Twitter Mania” and politics from the situation, doesn’t it?

If I am cautious and careful, and didn’t need to be, then I’ve got a few extra cans of food that I was eventually going to eat anyway and I’m healthy.

If I’m careless and not cautious, but the disease does turn out to be bad, I’m sick or dead.

I know which side I’ll err on.

Taking the Biblical advice, I can ensure that I have some basic household supplies (not 36 packages of toilet paper) and some non-perishable food & water on hand, while not running around screaming that the sky is falling, and not berating people who are legitimately concerned.

Decide what “take refuge” means to you…it’s different for each person or family.

I have always had hand sanitizer on hand, because it’s ALWAYS been prudent to do so. I’ve always carried some in my car, had some in my desk at the office, and had some at home.

As far as masks, I generally don’t allow people close enough to me to make that a concern. I don’t use public transportation, because I don’t intend to give anyone else control over my movements, so I don’t end up closer to people than I’d like. In my laptop bag, I’ve always carried some type of bandana to use a dust mask or a bandage, so no new steps needed to be taken.

Yes, some people are over-panicking and buying up supplies, but if you’ve been prudent as the Proverbs advise all along, you already had some supplies on hand.

If you’ve been prudent all along, you didn’t need the government to tell you to wash your hands and teach you how to do it. Besides, letting the government tell you what to do leads to the orders to get on the rail cars at some point.

A good friend of mine (and my Korean Martial Arts instructor) said just yesterday, regarding the panic at Costco, “Did these people not wash their hands or use toilet paper until now?” Everyone wants to make fun of people who choose to be prepared, but at the first sign of trouble, most people became “last-minute preppers”.

You know who WASN’T at the warehouse stores over the weekend, freaking out? PREPPERS. They had already stocked up on supplies before an urgent need, and therefore had what they needed. There’s a lesson in there somewhere.

Trust in yourself, take prudent measures to “take refuge” and don’t buy into either the panic or the over-carelessness.

Adapting One Step Sparring for Realistic Self-Defense

One-Step Sparring, or Il Soo Sik in Korean martial arts, is a common training segment for all martial arts. It incorporates a pre-planned defense against a punch, usually from a formal ready stance.

Many people say it’s outdated and no longer relevant to real-world self defense. If you only train it from a straight punch and always from a formal beginning, I agree.

Again, the use of the formal bow and ready stances, and the letting the partner know when you’re ready is for having structure to obtain muscle memory and learn the mechanics.

In order to transition to making one-steps realistic self defense techniques, after learning them formally, abandon the ready stance (except for testing, of course) and practice the technique free-form, with the partners moving in relation to each other.

  • Begin with the same basic attack, a straight punch. Then apply the defensive response as trained, but without worrying about stances and without warning.
  • Once that has been mastered, begin defending against hook punches or wild punches, with no warning.

Once you’ve done this with at least 100 reps, you’ll see that one-steps are just as valid today as when they were developed, and that the formalized positioning traditional martial arts schools use is nothing more than a teaching method.

On a serious note, if you don’t practice the one-steps the way I just described, the free flowing, real-world self defense application, ask yourself why you are training.

You’re not… You’re doing interpretive dance with a partner.

In Combat Hapkido or Hapkido, you won’t find forms training. What you’ll find is twice as much Il Soo Sik, or one-step, training to learn how to defend yourself against common street attacks.

In Tang Soo Do and Tae Kwon Do, you’ll also find Ee Soo Sik, or two-step Sparring, which involves defending against a kick followed by a punch. Follow the exact same guidelines as for one steps (learn the mechanics formally, then begin free-flowing training and defense).

You’ll find that this method multiplies your ability to learn and UNDERSTAND martial arts and then apply it to real world situations.

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Being Ready – Nehemiah

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When the Jews returned to Jerusalem with Nehemiah, they were returning to a destroyed city, completely surrounded by enemies. The lessons taught in the Book of Nehemiah are just as valid today in either a Without Rule of Law (WROL) situation, or even in everyday life.

Nehemiah 4:23 says “Neither I, nor my brothers, nor my men took off our clothes, each had his weapon; even when he went for water.”

This isn’t bad advice, no matter what century.

The point of the advice is to remain aware and ready to defend yourself at all times. This was referred to by the legend Jeff Cooper as “Condition Yellow”. It means remaining engaged and being aware of the people around you, your environment, and potential issues that may develop, rather than being distracted by your phone or daydreaming.

When I approach a commercial building, like a store or gas station, I glance through the door or windows first, then as soon as I enter I take in the whole scene, noting all potential exits. It only takes two seconds and could potentially save your life.

In a true WROL situation, this becomes even more important. Nehemiah’s admonition to always be armed takes on special significance in the wake of a natural disaster, mass quarantine, power grid failure, or economic collapse.

In urban areas, the average house has about 48 hours worth of food in it. After the ability to quickly restock food from the corner store has gone away, hungry people will get desperate and remaining armed at all times can be the difference between safety and injury, or worse.

In that situation, you and your team should be fully armed and in “full kit” (sidearm, fixed blade knife, long gun, spare ammunition, and RADIO) at all times. When sleeping, be clothed, like Nehemiah suggests, with all your gear within arms reach. Luke 11:21 says “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his house, his possessions are safe.”

I also recommend highly the “3 Blade Rule”. You should always have available in everyday carry (EDC) and on your body in a WROL situation, 3 blades. First, a folding blade knife, which can be carried in a pocket for EDC or on your gear otherwise. Second, some type of multi-tool. For EDC, my Gerber Suspension and my Gerber M600 are in my laptop bag and in WROL, they have pouches on my web gear. The third blade is a full-size fixed blade knife. For EDC, the fixed blade knife is in my “Emergency Egress” backpack in the rear of my SUV (I carry either a Gerber LMF Infantry or my trusty USMC Ka-Bar). With these three blades, you can solve nearly any emergency, self-defense, or survival need.

As far as EDC carry of a firearm, Nehemiah said they carried their weapons everywhere, even to get water and it’s solid advice. There is no purpose is obtaining a Concealed Pistol License and then not carrying a pistol. I recommend carrying whatever your EDC gear is, whether it’s a handgun or a knife (and it should be both) everywhere that you legally can. You can’t possibly predict when evil or flawed ideology will touch your life, so it’s your responsibility to always be ready.

One more point about EDC: Whether or not you choose to arm yourself for EDC, you should ALWAYS carry a first aid kit. If you do choose to lawfully carry a firearm or knife, you MUST carry a first aid kit. Carrying first aid supplies really isn’t hard and can save lives in any emergency. I’ll do a full post on these, but here’s a recap of what I carry and where:

  • Laptop bag: Ziploc bag of various band-aids, some gauze, a pressure bandage (for gunshot wounds or any penetrating trauma), a tourniquet, and a CPR mask/gloves.
  • Emergency Egress Backpack: Full kit with band-aids, wipes, antibiotic, gauze, pressure dressings, triangular bandage, Cellox, EMT shears, gloves, CPR mask.
  • Trunk of SUV: Full Size med kit with multiple pressure dressings, tourniquet, band-aids of every size, combine pads, gauze, triangular bandages, tape, wipes, antibiotic, conforming bandage, EMT shears, minor medications, CPR mask, and gloves.
  • IFAK (moves between bags): Full kit like above, but also with Cellox for blood clotting.

The first aid kits may seem to be a bit much, but I’ve been blessed to be able to help injured people at accident scenes many times in my life. Having the right gear and never needing it is FAR better than needing the gear and NOT having it.

Thanks for reading!

The Battle of the Valley of Berakah

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In 2 Chronicles 20, we are told the tale of the Battle of the Berakah Valley. King Jehoshaphat was warned by his spies that a vast army from three different nations was advancing. The King immediately sent out recon teams to keep watch and determine the enemy’s avenue of approach. The King sought guidance from God, and decided to set an ambush at the very far end of the Berakah Valley, where the advancing army had to pass through the narrow Pass of Ziz.

The King put his recon elements out to watch the enemy approach up the gorge while he set up an ambush on the high ground.

Before the King could spring his ambush, the enemy groups began fighting each other, eventually to the last man. The invading army had defeated itself and Israel was victorious without losing a single man.

What sort of tactical wisdom can we glean from this story, aside from the fact that it’s always helpful to have the Creator of the Universe on your side?

The Value of Intelligence

The King was only made aware of the enemy approach because he had an active intelligence network.

How can we as citizens have our own active networks in place? Monitoring the media, including social media, talking to people, joining a network of like-minded people, and cultivating sources. Get on your local police and fire department notification services, as well as the local health department warning network.

Advance knowledge is the key.

A caution about social media though…I recently heard a great quote, “We should harvest data from social media, not plant it”…In other words, gather information, but be careful what information you post on social media.

Recon is Key

Once you know specifically where an actual threat is, you need to keep eyes on it. Bad people left unobserved can slip around you and attack from an unexpected direction.

Anytime you know where a KNOWN hostile element is, you should have someone from your network or group keeping an eye on them and reporting back, even if it’s as simple as having one member assigned to watch a social media page or spot check a known trouble house in the neighborhood.

As GI Joe famously said, “Knowing is half the battle”.

Use Terrain to Your Advantage

Once you know the enemy’s “Avenue of Approach”, your defenses should dominate the key terrain facing that avenue, yet also able to observe alternate approaches from the same direction.

Anytime you analyze terrain, use “KOCOA”:

  • Key Terrain
  • Obstacles
  • Cover & Concealment
  • Observation
  • Avenues of Approach

Don’t Interfere When the Enemy Makes Mistakes

Here, when the King heard they were attacking each other, he could have easily ordered an attack and won the battle while the enemy was distracted, but he risked losing lives. Waiting was the better option.

As Sun Tzu said, “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake”.

Another Sun Tzu truth exposed in this story is “The Supreme Art of War is to subdue the enemy without fghting”.


The Battle of Berakah Valley, as told in 2 Chronicles 20, teaches us to have intelligence gathering in place ahead of time, conduct reconnaissance when a threat is detected & maintain observation, dominate the key terrain, and (most importantly) never interfere when an enemy is making a fatal mistake.

Why Do They Still Teach Wrist Grab Defense?

A common question I hear is why do traditional martial arts schools teach wrist grab defenses?

Is there some epidemic of bad guys running up and grabbing people by the wrist?

Is there any value at all in modern self defense to learning wrist grabs?

The answer is a resounding YES. Here’s why: if I’m attacked and attempt to deploy a defensive tool (knife, gun, flashlight), what is the very first thing my attacker is going to do?


It may be a same-side wrist grab, a cross-grab, two-on-one…. It’s going to be something to attempt to stop my deployment of the tool.

Where students go wrong is on ALWAYS practicing them the way that they are taught in traditional schools. They are taught with two students facing each other from a ready stance and they follow a pre-set pattern where one side grabs, then the other defends.

Learning that way has VALUE. It’s a standardized way to learn the mechanics of a technique, and develop muscle memory. Once you have enough repetitions in that way (at least 100… Yes… 100), then you can move to more realistic training.

Both partners should start from a realistic stance, such as a bladed defensive posture. There should be no forewarning, just a sudden grab of the wrist and an IMMEDIATE defense, without worrying about stances. Yes, hip and shoulder twist matter, but stance doesn’t in the real world.

Once you’ve practiced it empty handed, move on to a training knife or a training gun, practicing to execute wrist grab defenses while retaining an object in the seized hand. Go ahead and do a few reps using your tactical flashlight.

Obviously, in this training, any wrist grab defense that involves a hold with the seized hand can’t be used, but throws and holds using the free hand can.

This will get you to appreciate that there is indeed a real world value to wrist grab defenses, and hopefully better prepare you to face evil in the real world.

Can Traditional Martial Arts Help?

There are a lot of people who say that Traditional Martial Arts are too outdated to be useful for self defense.

That’s both true and untrue… It’s all in how you train and what you do AFTER CLASS.

For example, if you always practice self defense techniques from some formal stance and with pre-determined steps, you’ll not be able to apply it to real life.

After you’ve gotten the basics of a technique down, if you and your partner then practice the technique from a more realistic stance and from different angles, without prearranged timing, it can become a powerful tool.

We’re going to be discussing how to apply traditional techniques to the real world here in our self-defense blog, so stay tuned.

I’m a KyoSaNim (certified instructor) in Tang Soo Do with an Ee-Dan black belt degree, as well as an instructor in Krav Maga.

What is Tactical Wisdom?

This is a site where we discuss preparedness, self-defense, tactical ideas & training, and gear. It’s NOT a cool-guy, shoot-em-up, unrealistic site. Here, we will discuss real world applications and what true preparation means…. Skills, not just the coolest guns and gadgets.

All the coolest gear in the world won’t help you if you get attacked while packing your car or if you don’t have the skills to apply those tools.

We’ll address unarmed self defense skills, which are really an absolute requirement for self defense, confidence, fitness, and a Warrior mindset.

We’ll also review some of the gear that can help you with a focus on real world uses, not the specialized high-level high-speed stuff that has no real world use for the average person.

We’ll also address tactical knowledge from a couple of angles. First, we’ll discuss tactics that a small group of people can apply to defend and secure their homes. We’ll also discuss everyday carry and self-defense.

A unique area we’re going to dive into as well is Tactical Wisdom from the Bible. There is a wealth of advice and skills discussed in the Bible, aside from basic Christian beliefs, that are just as applicable today as they were when it was written.

I hope you’ll join us on our journey.

Who is JD?

Welcome. Have a seat.

My name is JD and I’m a professional investigator in the corporate security world. I’m also a KyoSaNim in the Korean Martial Art of Tang Soo Do. When I’m not doing those things, I’m an NRA Defensive Firearms Instructor, and a Krav Maga defensive tactics instructor.

I’ve worked as an investigator, an executive protection agent, and a US Marine.

What I’m hoping to do is share some tactical lessons learned, share some self defense tips, some defensive training tips, some gear reviews, and even some biblical tactical wisdom (yes, really).

Some many people focus their preparations on all their fancy cool-guy guns and the latest night vision gear, that they’ll NEVER USE IN REAL LIFE.

I’m hoping to share some real world knowledge with realistic people.

I’ll hope you’ll join me on this quest.