3 reasons people risk their lives. Which one is yours?

People purchase car insurance, health insurance and other insurance policies that do absolutely nothing to prevent that actual event from occurring. Car insurance doesn’t prevent the accident and health insurance doesn’t prevent the injury. So why wouldn’t people actually invest in something that could prevent actual injury or death? I have forever pondered why people don’t actively engage in their own self-protection and that of their family. I am aware, that being in the business of teaching self-protection, I may appear to have a bit of a bias, but come on! You would have to maintain an actual clinical deficiency to not be aware of the existence of violence in this or any society. Rape, home invasions, murder, beatings, domestic violence, gang violence, car jacking, kidnapping, molestation, robbery, trafficking and the list goes on and on and on and on. So why do so many continue to bury their head in the sand?

In my 30 plus years of experience I have come to some conclusions about this. “I don’t have the money for that right now.” Or, “Well, we just don’t have the time.” These are the normal brush offs we get in the industry. But that is just another way of saying it’s not a priority. So lets look a little closer at a few of the more honest reasons people fail to take stock in their own protection, essentially putting their lives at risk.

The first is that the majority of people feel exclusionary towards violence. For these people, geography and status keep them from being in the path of violence. For these people violence has always been packaged as a minority figure; a stranger who prowls on the weak and helpless. This figure is highlighted in news feeds and discussed second hand (so to speak), so there is no immediate threat. This group also assumes that the extra $20,000 they spent to live in an area with historically “low crime”, granted them immunity from violence. This group doesn’t feel that the creeper neighbor is anything to worry about. Or, they feel that pedophilia is somehow restricted to impoverished areas. They have not yet grasped the reality that their perfect little town is the best and most ripe garden for the pickings of human trafficking. This group is the same group that doesn’t see violence as anything other than the outwardly appearing thug! They don’t see the man in the suit using a “sales pitch” to gain trust or entry into the home. Or the friendly neighbor that has been getting closer and closer to gaining the trust of their daughter. This group is the perfect example of the biggest group of people with their “heads in the sand”, or in denial. This mindset/thinking is held by so many in suburban America. If you fall into this group ask yourself this; do people who live in places where there isn’t cold weather still get colds? Let that sink in for a moment, that’s the same logic.


Another reason for peoples inactive nature towards their self-protection is image. Now I don’t hate golf, but I am the first to admit that I suck at it! I suck at working on cars, I suck at a lot of things. But i’m not concerned how sucking at those things make me look to others. And if you asked, most are honest and would say that there are things they suck at as well. This is of course what every experience is like when you first start it. The learning curve becomes harder to deal with as an adult, but most expect it. Yet when it comes to fighting or self-defense, very few people (men for the most part) want to go through that period of sucking. I have met so many that would rather look good loosing than look bad learning. Nobody wants to go through the learning curve. They just want to show up one day looking good and being immediately coordinated. The truth is, that if your going to be good at anything you will have to get over the initial period were that voice that says, “I know I look stupid”, “I feel so ridiculous”. The more you do this the more you realize that the voice is an illusion. Imagine your child learning to walk. He/she gets up and takes their first step, then while going to make the second step the child falls. Now imagine looking at your child and being able to hear their thoughts. “Man I bet the kid across the street is doing way better than I am, I feel so stupid!” “I can’t believe I just blew it, everyone is still looking at me… I am so done with this walking thing, who needs it anyway?” “Ill just spend the rest of my life in this walker thing.” Yep , if you could hear your internal voice, that is how ridiculous you would sound.


Finally, the comfort zone. An embedded part of training Counter Violence is being comfortable being uncomfortable. Yet the routines of work, home, kids, sleep, repeat keep most stuck. We then tell ourselves that the sacrifice we are making for our kids…blah blah blah. The ego then kicks in and begins to tell us how such violent things could never happen to us and so on and so forth. Then its our favorite TV shows and routines that keep us in a pattern, and these patterns are generally not productive towards anything healthy. The comfort zone tells you that you have worked all day and deserve rest. Social media has become such a huge issue and contributes to the prison of comfort so much that we have only begun to uncover its effect. We do know that the time it takes to learn self-protection is just a fraction of the time most people spend on social media. Life begins to feel dull. People stuck in this zone begin to post spiritual memes, talk to friends about how they are going to get in shape with one another. They tell themselves that as soon as they get into shape they are going to join your self-protection course. (Let that sink in for a moment.) They make all of these grandiose plans to start feeling alive and yet do nothing and blame their schedule or somethings else. But talking about it and making broken plans every 6 months scratches some itch that makes them feel as though they are trying. Truth be told, most productive people have a self-storage unit filled to the top with excuses of why I shouldn’t do the things that are best for me and my family, yet I do them in spite of those excuses. The comfort zone is a prison and one needs to be broken out of it from the outside. Self-protection usually breaks this prison as a result of something tragic and personal happening to close friends or family. Or if a doctor says if you don’t get off your ass and exercise your children will find you in a pool of your own vomit. Much like those who wait until their house is in ashes before they get a fire extinguisher. Your comfort zone will be the end of you.

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There are a couple of other very serious reasons that fall square on the shoulders of the self-defense industry as a whole, but I will address in our next blog. Until then, ask yourself which one of these is your reason for risking your safety and the safety of your family.


Michael VanBeek

Guns / self-protection


There has never been more of a hotter topic than that of guns and gun control. I used to get a ton of questions regarding the usage of firearms within the realm of self-protection. But because of the political polarization of guns, over time, it became more of a political and less of a self-protection question. The political question is, would there be less murders if there were less guns? That is not a question we can answer. There are plenty of experts that get paid a ton of money to argue over the validity of those types of statements and claims, and at the end of the day an educated guess is still speculation.

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The 2nd amendment to the constitution guarantees the right of self-protection, specifically a firearm for the purpose of self-protection; including but not limited to, being able to remove tyrannical governments (This amendment works in concert with the 4th amendment). The first knee jerk response is usually, "come on, come back to the real world; our government isn't going to turn against it's own people!" I hear this and I immediately look at the testimonies of refugees from Syria, China, North Korea, Africa etc. How much of that treatment of those civilians started with the taking away a peoples right to self-protection. And if they had the ability to protect themselves would we see the humanitarian crisis in those countries that we see today? Did it start with a Government manipulating is own people to turn in their own guns or to turn against the ones that have them? Again, we can leave that up to speculation. But knowing that it is the natural course of power to corrupt ultimately, the 2nd amendment was installed as an accountability towards the governing body.

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The firearm and it's relevance for self-protection is something that is very clear and logical. Violence uses a system of attack that creates a negative position on the power curve for the victim (meaning the attacker is doing all the damage). The gun or firearm is a weapon. A weapon acts as a force multiplier in any violent engagement. The victim will remain the victim until he or she secures the superior position on the power cure. Logic then dictates that the victim needs a force multiplier to go from a negative position to a positive position on the power curve to survive this attack. The most reliable way would be to use a weapon as your force multiplier. It is possible to actually become a force multiplier in and of yourself, however it takes years to truly weaponize yourself (just your body). Therefore, one would use a force multiplier in form of a weapon. What that weapon is is a variable, not an ingredient. 

The key to all self-protection starts with understanding the threat disparity contained within the fabric of violence makes violence a-symmetrical. It is this a-symmetrical component of violence that creates the dynamic of attacker and victim. There are often times when a knife would be a better more attainable option for a self-protection weapon. There are other times a firearm is what is needed to stop the deaths of you and yours. One of those other times is if the attacker has a firearm to begin with. By being bigger and stronger, having more people, ambush style attack and the use of weapons is how violence creates dominance and threat disparity. It's what we call "Force Resistance". 


Everything we know about violence tells us one thing. If you don't want to be a victim, weaponize yourself. Now what weapon you use is up to you, your state laws and a hand full of tactical principles. When looking at how to stop an attacker with weapons, specifically a gun, the principle shouldn't change because its a single shooting or a mass shooting; maintain equal or superior weaponry and the ability to use it. This is the physics of  countering violence. The bad guy, his intentions and the victims; those are the ingredients that need to be effected to foil the violent act. The means or weaponry is a variable and changing a variable doesn't effect the bad guy, his intentions or the fact that there will be victims.

I wish I could make it so no emotionally or psychologically displaced person could have access to weaponry of any type, especially a gun. However, if you are a well adjusted human being that is even somewhat cerebral and have a moral compass, you should obtain weaponry if you need to protect more than just yourself, and yes a gun is a good option for home invasion. It is both my  personal and professional opinion that anyone who owns a firearm should be extensively trained in safety, shooting, tactical acquisition, yearly check ups and maintain the ability of in-fight weapon access.

If you are concerned with being a victim of a shooting, a stabbing or any  other type of violent encounter then you should train! Now ask yourself this question, if while your mother, daughter or sister was being attacked, rapped and beaten, she had access to a gun, would you or would you not want her to use it?


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