View Full Version : Self-defense on the trail
I'm looking to enroll in a good self-defense school so I can defend myself on the trail.
What I've found is that virtually all of these schools claim that they are somehow connected with US Special Forces.
The one that interests me the most right now is http://www.defenseinstitute.com.
It claims that: "It also excels in training elite units of the military, to include such long standing clients as the 10th Special Forces Group,"
Does anyone know if this is true? Does anyone know how to, in general, verify claims that an organization has a connection to Special Forces?
Does anyone have any general advice about good self-defense schools in the Colorado area?
Hi Foo. While certainly not an expert on martial arts, I grew up on army bases, and we always had various dojos on the bases I lived at. GI's would come back from duty in the orient with skills they learned overseas. I made brownbelt in Shotokan (Japanese), and red belt in Taekwondo (Korean), if belts really mean anything. But I believe without a doubt that Aikido, Jiujitsu and Judo are the most effective and relevant martial arts around as far as self defense in today's world. My favorite moves are the ones that involve utilizing an attackers wrists to ground them and make them realize they made a big mistake. They're the same moves that are used by all of the military and police forces. There are also some important pressure points that are used to gain submission of an assailant. Most of those are about the head and neck areas. The most effective strike on a pressure point would be an open hand slap to his eyeball. A strike here will definately put him down, and could possibly kill him, so you have to be real careful with it. But as far as which school is better than another, I do highly recommend any of the afore mentioned ground fighting techniques. Whichever you choose, practice, practice, practice. Repetition is your most effective teacher. Practice each move until they become second nature, so they come automatically when needed. (wax on, wax off)
Martial arts are fine for conditioning, muscle strength, etc. But for self defense, get a 4 inch barreled .357 revolver, shooting lessons, and a concealed carry permit. Shoot at least a case of your chosen ammo through it before you carry it on the trail. With a revolver, you don't have to come within reach of your adversary to defend yourself. Often, merely showing you're armed is enough to change the mind of a belligerent.
Guns are fine for an armed assailant who isn't within arms reach. The problem is those unarmed assailants that are already pounding your face in while you fumble for your gun. How would you defend yourself in court for shooting someone who hasn't hurt you yet? Then there's the very real possibility that an assailant can take your gun from you. Sorry, but if I see a fist coming for my face, I have to parry and counter. I don't have time to reach for my gun, unstrap it, pull it out, disengage the safety, chamber a round, point and shoot. Guns just aren't the end all that people make them out to be. And FWIW, if an armed assailant does get within arms reach of me, I can disarm him. I've done it twice. Once to a car jacker, and once to a jealous boyfriend in a bar. Both of them guys spent time jail, but they are still alive. Don't get me wrong. I'm a firm believer in your (and my) right to carry. I just don't like to put all my eggs in one basket. Besides, I had to carry one in the Air Force. At first it was cool. After a while it was just extra weight. Plus not all states allow concealed carry.
Self-defense is such a broad subject that no one recommendation will be the end-all for someone. There are just too many scenarios to consider. If you look at the people whose job it is to fight, i.e. military personnel, and to a lesser extent, the police, they use a combination of what works from various sources, and are constantly improving on and modifying what they’ve learned from past experience. Some may disagree with the order I put them in (the second and third may be switched depending upon how imminently the danger is, but here are a few things that I’ve noticed: First and foremost, they always work in teams; if you are willing/able, then take a friend. All those stupid clichés about strength in numbers are true. Second, when they get into a combat situation, the first thing they do is call for even more friends, aka: backup. At the least, keep your whistle handy. Third, when they can’t drop a bomb, their primary weapon is a rifle and secondary is the handgun (or the other way around for most police departments); learn how to operate a handgun properly and get the proper permits to carry it legally: I highly recommend a reputable shooting school such as Gunsite, Thunder Ranch, or Front Sight if you can afford it, otherwise, check out a few classes at your local ranges. Practice as often as possible; 15-20 rounds twice a week is better than 100 rounds a month. Fourth, hand-to-hand combat is the last ditch of someone in a life or death situation, but your hands and feet are the only things you can 100% guarantee will be there when you are in trouble. I would avoid the martial arts that focus largely on tradition or sports, such as judo. Most fights end up on the ground, and most people get disoriented when not standing upright, so ground-fighting techniques are a must. Submission holds and joint locks are very effective, but are also very complicated and cumbersome to perform in the stress of combat. Fine motor skills diminish rapidly with the addition of adrenaline to the system, so they must be thoroughly ingrained into ones muscle memory to be used effectively. Otherwise strikes to the face with hands and elbows, and strikes to the groin with the feet and knees are the easiest, most effective techniques one can use (if you’ve ever been hit hard in the nose or groin then you know what I mean). I don’t know what kind of schools are out there in Colorado, but call a few up and ask if there is a free trial period (like with a gym membership) and check a few of them out. Finally, self-defense is more of a mindset than anything else. Having a confident attitude and being alert, watching for potential danger and using common sense, will keep you out of many dangerous situations. Criminals prefer helpless victims; don’t act helpless, you’re not.
I think the best self defense is situational awareness and knowing the most likely points of trouble. Don't camp close to roads or houses, stealth camp, and be friendly but cautious.
Maybe I'm being naive, but I've never really been concerned with my personal safety on a tral, at least as far as fellow hikers or Deliverance-style locals are concerned. I guess I should be more concerned, since (a) I typically hike with at least one piece of photo equipment and (b) I live 20 miles from the Mexican border and therefore share the trails (at least theoretically) with pollos, coyotes, and drug "mules." I was even foolish enough to sleep in my car on two separate occasions in Organ Pipe National Monument, often regarded as the most dangerous pak in the U.S. (plus I believe OPNM Park Ranger was recently listed as one of the top 10 most dangerous job in the US).
Not sure what the solution is. I have friends who hike with sidearms, yet they've told me they have never even had to show it to someone, much less use it in their own defense. Other friends who hike unarmed have told me that every Mexican they've seen on the trails around here either pass by nonchalantly or scatter to the four winds when they meet someone on the trail. I wouldn't know -- I've yet to come across any.
So, I've managed to add little to this dicussion other than my own lack of experience with danger on the trail. Give it as much (or as little) weight as you want, I guess.
Don't know if this link will work if you don't have a membership but here it is anyhow:
http://hem.passagen.se/slavosipdta/TOPICS.htm#Quick Time Combat
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