January 18, 2021
Fights are not static. Things move. People move. Bear-hugs and headlocks and all that stuff happen sometimes in a fight, but they are transitional actions. You do not get bear-hugged just to be held (except by bouncers). A Threat wraps his big arms around you from behind either to pick you up and shake you (disorienting and intended as an intimidating show of strength) or to drive you into a wall. Maybe to throw you over a balcony. If you practice technique-based defense, will they work if the Threat refuses to stand there? If he is using that headlock to slam you from wall to wall?
The Lowest Level of Force
December 7, 2020
The Records area at Rusafa Prison Complex in Baghdad is enclosed by a chain-link fence and was almost always crowded. It’s a stressful place, with inmates being processed in and out, Iraqi military, police, corrections, advocates, politicos, and sometimes families of the convicts are present and a small handful of American advisors.
The Role of Intuition
October 19, 2020
There's science behind your body's natural reactions to fear even if you haven't consciously registered the fact that you are afraid. Fear stimulates your brain and triggers a release of adrenaline and other stress hormones throughout your body. This rush of adrenaline is what causes your heart to race and your palms to sweat. It's also responsible for goose bumps, which are what make your hair stand on end.
Defining the Threat—Perception vs. Reality
July 20, 2020
Let’s perform a little mental exercise. I want you to close your eyes and come up with a mental picture of what you think a terrorist looks like. Be honest with yourself; don’t think about what’s culturally or socially acceptable, just form the image in your head based on what you know about terrorism. What do you see? Where is this person from? What do they look like? Are they poor and underprivileged? Are they well off and nicely dressed? Come up with as much detail as you can. No matter what image you came up with in your head, I can guarantee the reality is much more diverse.
The Basics of Predatory Behavior
June 22, 2020
To better understand predatory behaviors, let’s start by breaking down and categorizing the different types of predators and their basic motivations. In his book, Facing Violence: Preparing for the Unexpected, Sgt. Rory Miller breaks down predators into two groups: resource predators and process predators. A resource predator is looking for tangible items, be it cash, jewelry, or even your shoes. They’ve decided they need something and they’re going to take it from you. Predators in this category include your basic mugger, pickpocket, or burglar.
A Plethora of Weapons for Self-Defense - June 27, 2011
There are a plethora of deadly objects out there that you may encounter on the street. Knowing how they work can give you a leg up on protecting yourself from harm. Major categories include hand weapons, knives, swords, mass weapons, pole arms, multi-element weapons, projectiles, and unusual weapons.
Fighting Ranges and Danger Zones - June 20, 2011
Once a criminal selects a victim, he must move into a position from which an attack is possible. Always remember that to assault, rob, or rape you, he must be close enough to talk to you. He will attempt to maneuver into this position by stealth (which is defeated by being alert), or by ruse… Positioning prior to the assault is vital to him, as he relies almost totally on surprise for success.
More About Violence Dynamics - May 23, 2011
Social violence can roughly be delineated as the Monkey Dance (MD), the Group Monkey Dance (GMD), the Educational Beat-Down (EBD) and the Status-Seeking Show (SSS). The MD and GMD were discussed in <a href="/articles/violence-dynamics">part one</a> of this article. We will continue starting with the Educational Beat-Down.
Violence Dynamics - May 16, 2011
Bill and I were talking to the warden in an Iraqi prison, drinking chai. A gun fired. Other than ours and the warden’s bodyguards there shouldn’t have been loaded weapons in that section of the building. I put down my tea, stood and drew my sidearm. I started clearing the building.
Self-defense: Down and Dirty - May 9, 2011
Let's start with one, very simple thing—power generation. A traditional martial artist is taught how to hit hard. Different systems have different methods of power generation, but two of the most common involve a solid connection with the ground and good structure.
Interview with Kris Wilder, Nicholas Yang, and Rory Miller about "Crossing the Pond Martial Expo 2010" - September 13, 2010
YMAA Publication Center supported the inaugural "Crossing the Pond Martial Expo" held Aug. 14-15 in Seattle, and Aug. 21-22 in Coventry, UK. This expo brought together six well-known and highly-skilled instructors of martial arts and self-defense.
The Dojang—A Safe Haven During 9-11 - September 6, 2010
On September 11, 2001, I was employed in New York City at a job that I would soon vacate in favor of teaching martial arts professionally. On that tragic but stunningly brilliant morning, I stood on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Nineteenth Street watching the destruction of the World Trade Center unfold before my very eyes.
Thwarting Terrorist Bombing Through Awareness—Part 2 - June 28, 2010
Awareness of timing has to do with the time of day during which terrorist attacks are most likely to occur. Terrorists are very conscious of media attention, timing attacks carefully to achieve the highest possible level of public impact.
Thwarting Terrorist Bombing Through Awareness—Part 1 - June 21, 2010
This article was written right after the bombing on the London transit system in 2005 and was published in Neth Publications. It is just as timely today with the recent bomb threat in New York City in April 2010. Although some of the statistics are five years old, the core of the article tells you that awareness is the key to survival...
Wicked Words that May Kill You - March 15, 2010
While sticks and stones can break your bones, your words may actually kill you. They can also save your life. Having to be right despite the cost, reacting indignantly in the face of a threat, or insulting an adversary often guarantees that a conflict will escalate to violence.
It’s Hard to Fight When You Can’t See - February 1, 2010
I purchased the wrong type of coffee yesterday, a ground drip blend rather than the whole bean variety that I normally buy. When I popped the top of the vacuum-sealed can, a blast of grit exploded into my face and left eye.
The Seven Aspects of Self-defense - January 13, 2010
The following article is an excerpt from an upcoming book by Rory Miller, tentatively titled 7. It will explore the seven aspects that are critical to self defense, giving you a few hints on staying alive, or if you teach self-defense, some critical information you can pass along to your students.
Listen to the Subtle (and Not-so-Subtle) Warnings - January 6, 2010
We’ve spent much time writing about awareness on the street. It’s important in relationships too. Don’t turn your brain off when you walk into your home.
Violence: What Everyone Needs to Know About Fighting - August 2, 2009
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, men commit about 80 percent of all violent crimes in the United States, serious stuff like homicides, rapes, robberies, and assaults. Men are twice as likely as women to become victims of those same violent crimes, except for rape.
Never Surrender - June 16, 2009
The goal of self defense is not to win a fight, but rather to avoid combat in the first place. After all the only battle you are guaranteed to walk away from unscathed is the one you never engage in. Taking a beat-down can seriously mess up your life, yet winners have consequences too.
Spotting an Adversary’s Tell - April 27, 2009
In more than twenty years of working stadium security I have witnessed, interceded in, stopped, or prevented well over 300 fights. Yet in all that time I have only been sucker-punched once. I didn’t like it much, but obviously I’ve managed to avoid repeating that mistake by taking it upon myself to pay close attention and learn from the behavior that precedes violence.
Mob Violence Is An Eruption With No Warning - February 17, 2009
Gang violence gets a fair amount of copy in the media. But another form of violence is mob violence. Mob violence rises up, explodes, and then recedes.
Occasionally Hollywood Can Actually Teach You Something - January 5, 2009
Recently I watched "Felon", a movie that makes some realistic and valuable points about self-defense. In most jurisdictions a person can only resort to deadly force to escape imminent and unavoidable danger of death or grave bodily harm.
Meditations on Violence - May 22, 2008
People are weird. They have an almost infinite ability to learn and communicate. At the same time, this amazing ability is used as much for fantasy and entertainment as it is for information and survival. Take, for example, the rhinoceros and the unicorn.