Day 313 (W, 111109) — Health and Self-Defense

A Public Service Announcement from NJ4NY.  This may be one of the most important posts I make all year.

Most likely, you will not be the victim of violent crime today.  Or tomorrow.  Or even this year.  But over your lifetime, there is a fairly high chance of something bad happening to you (or someone you love).

When I was younger, I spent several years training in martial arts (with a strong focus on self-defenseº).  Not as much time as I would like, but enough to have met some people who know what the hell they are talking about and to have picked up one or two things.

One things I’ve come to understand is that it is YOUR responsibility to learn how to protect yourself.  Otherwise, you are either:

  1. setting yourself up to be hurt (or worse) or, worse,
  2. you are saying to the rest of us, “Someone else come protect me!  Somebody else come put their life and health in jeopardy because I did not bother learning to protect myself or my family!

There are no other options.

Today, I read a great article by Sam Harris entitled The Truth About Violence.

It may seem onerous to prepare yourself and your family to respond to violence, but not doing so is also a form of preparation. Failing to prepare is, generally speaking, preparing very well to do the wrong thing….

Why can’t civilized people like ourselves simply rely on the police? Well, look around you: Do you see a cop? . . . . If you are ever targeted by a violent predator, whether you and your family are injured or killed will depend on what you do in the first moments of the encounter.⁠ When it comes to survival, therefore, you are entirely on your own. Once you escape and are in a safe place, by all means call the police. But dialing 911 when an intruder has broken into your home is not a strategy for self-defense.

However, instruction in self-defense need not consume your life. The most important preparations are mental. While I certainly recommend that you receive some physical training, merely understanding the dynamics of violence can make you much safer than you might otherwise be.

Good Principles. Harris offers three good principles to avoid violence:

  • Principle #1: Avoid dangerous people and dangerous places.
  • Principle #2: Do not defend your property.
  • Principle #3: Respond immediately and escape.

Read the article for his explanation of each one.

It is unpleasant to study the details of crime and violence—and for this reason many of us never do. I am convinced, however, that some planning and preparation can greatly reduce a person’s risk. And though there are exceptions to every rule, I don’t believe that there are important exceptions to the advice I have given here. May you never have occasion to find it useful.

Don’t leave it up to chance.  Learn.  Find out.  Protect yourself.

Great Resources.  One of the very best resources you can use is a guy Harris recommends, a guy I’ve known for about ten years and who offers some of the soundest advice (and deepest thinking) about dealing with violence available anywhere: Marc MacYoung.

Marc’s website, No Nonsense Self-Defense, has more free information than you can take in.  Really. It does.  It’s an absolute firehose of well-thought out, well-structured information that covers several hundred webpages.  Use it as a resource and as a spur for pondering important questions about personal safety.

For example, Sam’s first rule is similar to this quote from Marc:

Hand-to-hand combat is a last ditch effort when other, more effective, preventive measures have failed. For civilians, the best preventative measure of them all is not to put yourself into situations where you need to fight your way out.

He has pages on just about every topic you can think of pertaining to violence:

The list goes on and on and on.  Find a topic and research it.

Much like reading an encyclopedia, you may find yourself losing several hours as you traipse down one thread after another, following Marc’s musings about the massive, complex, and interrelated issues of violence.

You can contact Marc and ask him question if you so desire.  He’s one of the nicest dangerous men you’ll ever meet (at least, after he’s had some coffee in the morning ;-)).  Seriously, if you want to know more, email him, be nice, ask a question, he’ll respond.  He’s like that.

Take the time to educate yourself, folks.

Its important.


Exercise.  My workout went well on Monday.  I’m still in the planning stages of trying to turn my current do-the-same-thing-over-and-over regimen into some sort of progressing campaign, but I’m hopeful I’ll be able to work something out (pun intended).

As usual for this phase of my exercise campaign, I’ll do all sets of each exercise in a row with minimal rest between sets.

Exercise Sets Reps Notes
1 Myotatic Crunches 2 30
2 Cat Vomit Exercises 2 10
3 Kettlebell Swings, 50 lbs. 2 25 working up to 1 set of 75-100 reps not today
4 Push-ups 4 25 decline
5 Pull-ups 2 10 assisted then standard
6 MEFT — Knee Raises 2 10

Review.  pending


Plan for Week 44.*

Day Fast? SCD? Run/Exer?
Sunday No Yes No** No
Monday Yes Yes Yes
Tuesday Yes Yes No
Wednesday Yes Yes Yes
Thursday Yes Yes No
Friday Yes Yes Yes
Saturday No No Yes
Red = a negative deviation | Green = a positive deviation | Blue = a note


º As opposed to tradition/physical art/self-discipline, spiritual/health reasons, sport/tournament sparring, or demonstration techniques. (See here for more.)
Assuming you are not one lucky and miraculously live a risk-free life.
Mystery Exercise for Today
* There’s a birthday this week so that may change a thing or two above.
** I ate cake and ice cream Sunday night.

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