May 16, 2013 by Tim Larkin
(…And I need your help to change it!)
Frustrating is too civilized a word for how I feel about the current state of the self-defense industry.
I’ve recently come across two different articles giving “advice” to women about self-defense… both of them absolutely abysmal.
The first was an article from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs that advised women facing a rapist to either urinate or vomit in order to ward off the threat.
The second, a publication given out at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina, advised women it’s probably best to just submit when faced with a rape!
What I tend to find is that self-defense industry people don’t want to face facts about violence.
Anti-Social Aggression is not something to respond to with the tool of violence yet that seems to be the major focus of many prominent trainers in the industry.
They go on and on about how if you use violence in the wrong situation you will face criminal charges. I always looked at that as a failure of the instructor/system to clearly define avoidable versus unavoidable situations prior to beginning any training.
For years I dismissed this fact about my peers and instead focused on what TFT trains.
But it’s reached a point where this dangerous thinking is now permeating the Asocial Violence world (the truly unavoidable, where immediate action is always required).
I simply can’t ignore the stupidity any longer because even folks with no background in self-protection recognize the “advice” given in these 2 articles is ridiculous.
I find it particularly galling women are somehow treated as lesser creatures when it comes to their ability to use the tool of violence to protect themselves and told rather to capitulate when facing grievous bodily harm. Most advice is to engage the asocial predator socially!
Talking while he is raping isn’t a good equation, not to mention talking to him while he is punching, stabbing, or bludgeoning you.
Facing an asocial predator demands action.
After emphasizing why everyone must avoid these types of situations at all cost, the remainder of our TFT training specializes in insuring you have the specific information that enables you to generate effective results instantaneously under those very grim circumstances which simply cannot be avoided.
Think I’m ranting? Here’s a quote that Mike Murphy, Las Vegas Medical Examiner, gave me for my upcoming book, Survive The Unthinkable: A Complete Guide To Women’s Self-Protection (Rodale, Inc., release date: late summer, 2013):
“Don’t use half-measures! Half-measures only help me solve your murder… by giving me DNA and other clues. Make sure you hurt the other guy because then you get to talk to the police as a survivor!”
I wrote this book to take on this industry and its incessant promotion of ideas & dogma that are getting people killed.
In the next month or so I’ll be asking for your help in getting the word out about REAL self-protection.
Because regardless of your gender when it comes to Asocial Violence, it’s imperative we train using assumptions which align with real-world experience. This means we assume:
- He’ll always be bigger, faster & stronger than we are,
- He’ll bring weapons with him, and
- He’ll have one or more of his evil buddies there with him.
I trust reading these articles gets your blood boiling as it does mine.
My pro-citizen views on self-protection have already gotten me booted from teaching this information to residents in one country.
Now as I prepare to take square aim on this Industry in the media during my book launch, I expect the fireworks will be every bit as volatile as we move to an even larger stage.
Creator & Founder, Target Focus Training
April 15, 2013 by Chris Ranck-Buhr
We all have the same eyes—but that doesn’t matter in competition.
In competition we don’t look for equivalences, but for differences, and then use those differences for leverage to find out who is bigger, faster, stronger.
Someone will pull ahead and prevail because they were one or more superlatives up on the competition. When the underdog wins it’s usually because he or she exploited a blind spot, whether in training, technique or perspective.
All things being equal, the strongest man should win an arm-wrestling contest, though a weaker man with superior technique might be able to pull off an upset, for example. We refer to minor forms of such things as being clever or lucky; more egregious forms may be outright cheating.
In life-or-death violence—the antithesis of sporting competition—differences don’t matter.
If he’s bigger, faster, stronger, that just means that he has more mass, can outrun you, and can lift you over his head. Engaging him on one or more of these axes means you will compete with him, and lose your life.
The winning perspective in violence is to look for all the ways in which we are the same, the truths that no amount of physical training or mental toughness can alter or protect.
We all have the same eyes—and that’s all that matters in violence.
So it is with the whole of the human machine—while the bigger man can punch farther, the faster man can beat you to the punch, and the stronger man can punch harder—they all look upon the world with the same anatomy you do, with all of its attendant frailties. For all the ways he may be able to physically outclass you, you can still break things inside of him. Choosing to believe otherwise is giving in to a competition mindset and placing yourself, needlessly, in the loser’s bracket.
This is wisdom in a competitive setting—it’s a good thing to recognize that you would probably be destroyed if you stepped into the ring with a top-seeded MMA champion. Such honest self-appraisal will save you unnecessary disappointment as well as possibly permanent wear and tear.
But the seeking of difference in life-or-death violence is self-defeating. You may believe there are many reasons why you can’t be expected to prevail… and I can assure you that none of them will matter to the person who wants to kill you. The only thing that is going to make any difference at all in that moment is your recognition of the things that make you the same—the realities and vulnerabilities none of us can escape. The human machine can be broken and one of you will get it right first.
We all have the same eyes, the same groin, the same crummy knees, the same soft brain. We all go to pieces in precisely the same way when sufficient force intersects a square-inch of anatomy not rated for that traffic. We are all vulnerable to suffering if someone just chucks the rules and cheats.
To win in violence you need to exploit the ways we are the same to make the ways we are different not matter.
TFT Master Instructor
February 5, 2013 by Chris Ranck-Buhr
If you had to choose a single thing to worry about when fighting for your life, what would it be?
• What might happen to you?
• What he’s doing?
• What you’re doing to him?
Whatever you worry about most will most likely happen.
And, no, I’m not talking metaphysics here, but rather about the simple idea that you will act on your preoccupation.
If you’re worried about getting hurt, you’ll hesitate and go defensive, making that outcome more likely. If you worry about what he’s doing, you’ll get to find out just what that is while he’s doing it. If you focus on what you’re doing to him, then that’s where you’ll put all your effort—into a target to cause injury.
Anything else actually helps him.
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December 29, 2012 by Chris Ranck-Buhr
I was walking toward a storefront, thinking the everyday thoughts we immerse ourselves in when we tread familiar ground blindly, when I suddenly became aware of the person in front of me, coming out of the door.
We were uncomfortably far apart, that is, I was not close enough to catch the door upon his exit but also too far to make holding it open obvious and easy. We were both caught in that awkward no-man’s-land where the social dances don’t engage cleanly. I could speed up, and yet that would be kind of weird, as if I expected him to hold it for me. That would be assuming too much, a possible imposition. I saw the inner struggle on his face, which suddenly went calm as he stepped aside and stopped the door with his foot, waiting for me. I graciously accepted the gesture and thanked him, this person whom I will, in all reality, never see again.
And that small decision changed the trajectory of my mood, my day, and is still with me more than a week later. That moment, and others like it, larger and smaller, is what we’re here for.
How many times do I expect to hurt someone? The real answer is never, even though three times a week I entertain the idea and put it in practice, lecture and teach the physical application of violence, demoed in twisted, grunting forms. These are not the shapes and sounds of happy people, or direct good. It is, as I’ve said before, the failure of everything we love. And though I’ve devoted my life to it, I hope to never do it outside of the training environment again.
So the opportunities for mayhem are thankfully thin…
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December 20, 2012 by Chris Ranck-Buhr
I am here to indirectly prevent a murder.
Yours. And perhaps those of the people around you.
I won’t be there if (God forbid) it ever happens to you. It’ll just be you, by yourself, armed only with what you know, what you practiced.
It’s one thing to hear about the true victims who wanted nothing more than to escape… and another thing entirely to hear about those who turned to fight—but had no idea what to do. Lives lost for want of a little bit of information.
The motivation is there, the intent is there, as well as the physical ability to get the job done. The only thing missing is the knowledge of what to do with all of that, where and how to put it for maximum effect.
I have heard too many stories now of people with the will and the strength to survive being overcome by raw ferocity and insanity, engaging in a wrestling match for their lives and losing because wrestling is hard when you’re out-massed and untrained. It’s like trying to stop a moving car by getting in front of it instead of turning off the ignition.
In an objective, physical world knowing what to do is such a small thing. Like most life-changing fulcrum points it’s a matter of mere inches. In a subjective, psychological world the difference is a yawning gulf between our comfortable, everyday lives and a frightful alien landscape beyond the horizon. It’s not just unknowable, but unthinkable.
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November 25, 2012 by Chris Ranck-Buhr
I’m proud to announce the release of our newest training video, Accelerated Destruction.
This is the culmination of the last five years of thought, research and training in our ongoing work to distill more than 20 years of experience into something that is illuminating, achievable and useful—in other words, showing you how to do what we do without having to jump through all the hoops that got us here.
We captured a two-day “advanced” course on the concept of strike-break-throw in order to answer two frequent questions:
“Yeah, but how would you do it right now, as an expert, knowing what you know?” …and…
“What’s the next step in training?”
EFFECTIVENESS VS. EFFICIENCY…
For the first one, it’s important to understand the difference between effectiveness and efficiency. Our base seminar is about pure effectiveness—we don’t care how you look as long as you get the job done. Coordination and physical grace have nothing to do with brute-force trauma. Either you get the result or you don’t. How well you moved when you did it has no effect on the outcome.
read this entry »
November 4, 2012 by Tim Larkin
By this time next week we’ll have put the wraps on the FINAL live training class of 2012.
So I wanted to alert you to this last opportunity to attend one of these life-altering sessions.
But before I do, Let’s take a moment to address 2 things that many people are still confused & concerned about training in TFT — whether you’re looking at video of TFT online, watching it on DVD or attending a live class.
Of the two items, the first is the biggest question we get; the second, the largest ‘unspoken’ concern.
- “I really hope I don’t get hurt practicing TFT.”
This is still everyone’s main concern – whether planning to attend a class or participating on one of our live calls we hold to answer questions about video or DVD training questions.
Here’s the thing: injuries in TFT are rare. They happen FAR less often than with any other self-defense training (and when they do occur, they’re usually minor).
Many of you know why – we train super slow (everything you learn is designed to cause serious injury at a minimum, and potentially, lethal results, if needed. So it must be done slow).
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October 28, 2012 by Chris Ranck-Buhr
At a recent training I looked out across the mats and saw dead people.
Not dead because they had been stopped, dropped and ended on the ground, but dead because they weren’t making it real in their heads. They were just going through the motions, slap-fighting, playing grab-ass; smiling, joking, helping each other up. I saw people who were going to be very surprised—scared to death, if you will—when confronted with the true savagery of asocial violence.
And so we called them on it and jumped all over them, as we must… because we actually care.
It’s not enough to learn the “technique” or touch the target or do the move. You have to make it real in your head, rewire your brain for serious, all-out engagement.
You have to narrow your focus to a single target, make it your world, and make the destruction of that thing your only goal. All other considerations must be pushed aside and away—you must become the bullet looking out the end of the barrel. Then pull the trigger and drive yourself through the target to smash it.
How serious are you when you practice with a firearm?
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October 13, 2012 by Tim Larkin
‘Bash a burglar’ ministers sued by self-defence expert: Ministers face embarrassment for encouraging householders to fight back against burglars, as they are being sued by a self-defence expert who has been banned from Britain.
Interesting developments in my legal battle to overturn the UK Home Secretary’s travel ban against me.
Seems the UK Prime Minister agrees with me about UK citizens being able to protect themselves from predators doing grievous bodily harm.
Now… if there was just a way he could get his Home Secretary to understand this we’d be well on our way to settling things over there.
And in the process letting the folks in the UK make their own decisions about how they choose to protect themselves from thugs on the streets.
Creator & Founder, Target Focus Training
September 19, 2012 by Chris Ranck-Buhr
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Beyond a basic misunderstanding of our stance on the use of violence (it is only ever the last resort), the part of our program that receives the most criticism is our training methodology.
Silent, slow, and cooperative.
The silent part is easy enough—we don’t want to communicate if we’re training to operate in the place where communication has failed (preparing ourselves for asocial action)—but going slow makes no sense whatsoever. Especially when everyone knows violence actually happens at full speed.
And “reacting” for each other is equally nonsensical; working against full resistance makes much more sense as no one’s going to move for you in the real world. The old, and well accepted paradigm of full-contact sparring is in order—time-tested, satisfying, and in-step with our expectations and understanding of violence.
Except that full-contact sparring ignores both modern innovations in the training of physical coordination and the mechanical facts of successful violence… besides, if no one goes to the hospital, how effective is it, really?
SLOW IS SMOOTH… SMOOTH IS FAST
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