Thursday, April 3, 2014

Vulnerability - Understanding Yours

If I asked a class of students to look around the room and point to the person that they feel might be most vulnerable to becoming a victim of crime, some of the things that each person would be looking for in the others, in order to make this determination, would be:

1) Age - Probably the oldest Person
2) Gender - Most likely a female (Big mistake in some cases!)
3) Strength
4) Fitness Level
5) Speed
6) Size

The person chosen would likely have the the highest combination of the worst of each of these attributes, as applied to an ability to defend themselves.

The interesting thing about this?

Few, if any, ever choose themselves!

So, let me tell you this:

We are all potential victims of crime!

Criminals, however, choose their victims in the same way that predators in the animal kingdom choose theirs - they look for vulnerabilities and choose what they see as the overall weakest available "subject" or potential victim to them.

So we must look at ourselves! Both overall and then within each unique circumstance of life, assess our vulnerabilities, and strengthen them. What do I mean by the unique circumstances of life? These are "micro-scenes". They change based on things like where you are, what you are doing, those around you, etc. For example, vacationing and sightseeing in an area that you are unfamiliar with; getting lost and being in an area that you are unfamiliar with; being anywhere that you are just not 100% comfortable with and familiar with the area or the circumstances around you; being anywhere where that there are people around you that you are not familiar with and, therefore, cannot fully trust. So, pretty much, unless you are inside your home, business or other area where you know and trust everyone, you are in a "micro-scene" and you must therefore assess your vulnerabilities and strengthen them. For those of you who have taken our training courses in Practical Personal Defense, this is an ongoing, ever changing process of the mind - very similar to OODA Loop.

To be able to quickly and accurately assess your vulnerabilities while in a "micro-scene", we need first take the time to assess ourselves overall, determine what we have that might be considered weaknesses, and fix those things as quickly as possible. The fewer vulnerabilities that we have in a "micro-scene" the fewer things we'll have to deal with and therefore the quicker we will complete the process and make decisions. For example, if you are weak and out of shape, take steps to correct this! Being in good condition is one of the most critical factors in whether you win or lose a fight! They say that a full fledged fight for one minute is the equivalent of running 5 miles! I can tell you, from experience, that this is absolutely fact!

So, again, fix whatever vulnerabilities that you determine yourself to have that never change regardless of the situation that you find yourselves in - strength, physical conditioning, fighting skills, etc. All of these things "are what they are" and never change regardless of how the situation around you changes.

The second thing that is critical in vulnerability is acute awareness. This alone can be a huge deterrent to those looking for a victim! Most victims of crimes are oblivious to their surroundings! Criminals are looking for potential victims that are "just not paying attention" or "those who appear content" and "feel safe". The bottom line - learn to be acutely aware, at all times!

What else? Intuition! Be aware of it, hone it, and listen to it! So many people just "blow off" their intuition as "ridiculous" or "over-reacting". Don't do this! We have intuition for a reason. It is a tremendous weapon if we recognize and listen to it. If you don't not feel right about something or someone, leave, go the other way, get away from the person, etc.

To learn more about the practical skills of personal defense, please see our schedule of ongoing courses on various topics of defense.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Why Vital Points are Critical to Study for Practical Defense

I read numerous article each day about various ways that many feel are the most practical ways to defend yourself in a violent encounter. Typically you will hear about techniques like "the clinch", "guard", half-guard", etc. As martial arts go, these are some of the more practical things that you can learn. As far as styles go, Jiu-Jistu, Aikido, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and mixed martial arts rule the day. And again, these are extremely practical systems. I read an article the other day that said that, ultimately, finding a target and striking this target with tremendous force, multiple times, is the number one way to win a fight.

So what is my problem with this? Nothing, in a general sense. Except that rarely will a target present itself and stay there to absorb multiple strikes of tremendous force. Our natural reaction to pain is "to pull away from the source" right? So if someone where to strike you in the kidney for example, would you simply freeze and allow your kidney to be struck with tremendous force even a second time? Of course not! Unless the first strike rendered you unconscious in which case there would be no further need for your attacker to continue to strike you. And if you, or your attacker, did continue to strike under these circumstances, you may be looking at legal charges for excessive use of force!

The same thing is true of "the clinch" or "guard". These are highly valuable tools that works very well in organized fighting where the goal is to survive the duration of a timed fight with highly regulated rules. A "street fight" for your life is completely different. The goal of a street fight is to survive and get away quickly rather than survive for the duration of a timed and regulated fight.

This being the case, prime targets will being moving constantly AND you will be moving yours simultaneously to avoid injury or death. There is a lot going on in a street fight that typically only lasts seconds or a few very long minutes.

So what can you do? You can study and learn every single sensitive point on the human body and the numerous ways in which to manipulate those points to cause enough pain to render your attackers plan useless, if even only for a fraction of a second, which can be enough for you to gain the upper hand and/or create space, regroup, or ideally, retreat.

Finally, you should never have to think about what you need to do to make a technique successful! It should be thoughtless, quick and effective. If you have to think about any more than this to complete a technique, then you will rarely be successful. You need to have multiple targets on the body that can be manipulated to create extreme pain, with little thought,  regardless of the position that you find yourself in during a fight.

Blue-U will be adding a Vital Points course to our offerings very shortly. In the meantime, think regularly about some of the areas on the body that take little stimulation to cause tremendous pain.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Protecting Your Company’s Most Valuable Asset

When you read the title of this article, which particular asset  “popped into your head”? Equipment? Product? Buildings? People? Intellectual property? They are all obviously important! I think it safe to say, however, that “people” are our most important assets! Agreed?

Have you ever heard of an “Active Shooter”? I’m certain that most everyone has. You can’t go any more than a couple of days without hearing of a violent act at a school or business somewhere in this country. When you hear of these incidents, what do you think and feel? For most it’s a simple “that’s to bad”, “I feel bad for them”, “those poor people”, “what is wrong with people” (referring to the shooter), “how could anyone do that”, etc.  Few, however, really understand the real potential for becoming a victim themselves.

If you are an employer, did you know that OSHA and/or most all State Labor Laws have a General Duty Clause that requires you to train your employees in the area of Active Shooter and/or Workplace Violence? I have worked with and talked to numerous corporations ranging in size from 10-50,000 employees and, believe it or not, few have considered or have a plan for Active Shooter or Workplace Violence.

So what does your company do to protect this “most important” asset? Most provide health insurance coverage or some type of benefits, right (in many cases anyway)? Health insurance, in general, is a reactive benefit designed to help those with an established need. We train employees to safely run and maintain equipment. We spend thousands, hundreds or thousands and even millions of dollars on training and maintenance to protect equipment and keeping it running and producing revenue for as long as possible.  We spend thousands of dollars and devote much time to preventing and dealing with fire (fire drills) in schools, businesses and our homes. In fact, we’ve all participated in fire drills all our lives!

OSHA statistics show that the top four causes of workplace death or injury are:


 1) Driving
 2) Assault/Violence/Homicide
 3) Contact with Equipment
 4) Falls

The top two, Driving and Assault, Violence, Homicide account for 57% of the total! And Assault, Violence, Homicide are the leading cause of death amongst females in the workplace!

USA Today published, in 2013, that Traffic Accident Fatalities were 12/100,000 people and for Firearm Related Violence 10/100,000.  We all know that there are way too many people killed each year in traffic crashes! If violence related fatalities are that close statistically, should we not be extremely concerned?

Conversely, does anyone know how many people are killed or injured each year as a result of fire in either schools or businesses? Very, very few! Yet, again, we train for fire related tragedy all our lives, on a regular basis.

Consideration #2:

Are your employees only important to your business while they are at work?

If you loose an employee as a result of an accident or violent encounter while they are away from work, is the loss to your business any less valuable?

So, assuming that it is, in fact, no less valuable a loss, then why are we not training our employees to keep themselves safe both while they are at work AND while they are away from work?

How About Drug Abuse?

Do you drug test your employees? If you don’t, you should. If you are a follower of Blue-U, frequent our blog or attend our training you know that drug abuse is at all time highs (pardon the pun). It is extremely serious, a huge problem and highly prevalent in even the best of people. It is a problem nationwide AND locally – Its Everywhere! Just watch the news! This explosion in drug addiction and abuse is becoming recognized as one of the biggest problems our country is currently facing! Whether it is legal prescription pill addiction or illegal narcotics that stem from legal prescription abuse, there are millions of people with addiction problems. I see it every day as a Police Officer. I see the good people who have out-of-control addiction problems that go to work every day at highly reputable companies! Do you recognize an employee who has a problem with addiction? If not, you MUST take steps to educate yourself! The loss that your business suffers each year from the impact of drug addiction is huge. Most just don’t realize it.

Again, few companies take the appropriate steps to train their people and staff to recognize this huge problem that can seriously impact employee (asset) performance and company liability.

Blue-U Defense Corporate Resources

Blue-U Corporate Resources Training Programs cover the areas of Active Shooter, Drug Recognition, and Practical Personal Protection for companies, schools, employees, and students both while at work/school and away from work/school. Our training is unique! Our curriculum is designed to develop “master’s of self preservation”; experts in mentally preparing for and dealing with sudden, unplanned, violent encounters; master’s of making good, fast decisions; and experts in understanding and mastering the control of fear, adrenaline and tunnel vision. We use both classroom and live scenario training, a combination that we have found to be extremely effective. 

Our instructors are all full-time or retired Law Enforcement Officers and/or SWAT Team Commanders or Operators.  Why is this significant? Experience and control in sudden, high stress experiences are critical if you are going to teach others how to master these critical elements of personal protection. 

What else? I worked as an upper-level executive in very large corporations for over 20 years prior to becoming a Law Enforcement Officer. I understand the corporate world as well as the law enforcement and personal defense world.

The Bottom Line?

Whether you call on Blue-U Corporate Services to assist you with your Active Shooter/Workplace Violence, Practical Personal Defense, Physical Site Security, Drug Recognition, Home Security or Executive Protection needs or another company, just call on someone! It’s absolutely critical!

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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Blue-U Stand Your Ground Seminars Now Scheduled for 3rd Friday of Each Month!

Due to the success of our Stand Your Ground/Firearm Laws Seminar, the resulting increase in demand, and the tremendous need for the subject matter, we are scheduling this seminar on a recurring basis on the 3rd Friday of each month, starting April 18th, at the Cheshire County Fish and Game Club. Pre-registration is required and you can sign up using the Seminar Registration tab at the top of this page. If you are not a Paypal user and still want to attend, please email me to reserve a spot.

Our seminars have received nothing but extremely positive feedback from attendees with highly diverse backgrounds.  Whether you are a very experienced firearm owner, long-time firearm owner with little real shooting expertise, a brand new firearm owner, or just someone who wants to learn make good, solid Use of Force decisions, our seminar presents subject matter that is highly unique yet of extreme importance. You must understand and respect the laws including Stand Your Ground and Use of Force.

We hope to be able to serve you in the near future!

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

New Blue-U Training Course - Recognizing the Signs of Drug Abuse and Distribution

If you have been following our blog,  and our Drug Abuse Series in particular, you are well aware of the  explosion in the abuse and distribution of both legal and illegal prescription drugs and narcotics not only nationwide, but locally! Right in our backyards and, in some cases, our homes! This problem is negatively impacting our towns, cities, schools and businesses on an unbelievably huge scale! It is alarming and of extreme concern to us! And again, it is affecting good people whether it be addiction problems of their own or it is a problem with a loved one or employee. Just watch the news! It is gaining nationwide acceptance as one of the biggest problems that we are currently facing as a country. People are dying daily of drug overdose and finding family and friends to be "shocked" as they "had no idea that the victim was using drugs",  is not unusual! In many cases victims are dying so rapidly that the needles utilized to consume the drugs are still in the victims arm when emergency services arrive. Its almost instantaneous death!

In order to combat this problem we must recognize, accept and deal with the problem once it becomes known to us. We have said that we, as Police Officers, cannot fight this problem alone! We need the involvement of everyone - Parents, Teachers, Students, Friends, Neighbors, Grandparents, Employers, etc.

Unfortunately we have come to realize that there is a huge void in not only the general knowledge of this growing problem but also the recognition of the signs of abuse and/or illegal distribution of narcotics.

As a result, we have developed a short seminar designed to thoroughly cover the scope of the problem and, most importantly how to recognize the signs and eliminate the problem once it is recognized and confirmed. It also covers understanding addiction, the addict, dealer, etc so that you can play an active role in helping your loved ones, employees, friends, students, co-workers, etc. avoid the problem, beat it if already involved, and eliminate the problem of illegal distribution initiating a battle against it. We cannot allow drug dealers to function comfortably in or around our homes!

Come and learn how to join the fight!

Stay tuned for the schedule of upcoming seminars.

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Sunday, February 9, 2014

Drug Series - Recognizing The More Physical Signs of Abuse

So now that we know how drug abuse can happen, that it can happen TO ANYONE, that addicts are not bad people, and that in order to lessen the possibilities of addiction we MUST KNOW our loved ones, lets get into the signs of addiction. These are the more specific things that will cause you to wonder "whats going on"; the things that make you think "he/she doesn't seem right lately".

Again, we have the gift of intuition for a reason. While most dismiss their intuition as being overly paranoid, you cannot and should not, do this! Trust me, following your intuition will save your life and assuredly has saved your life many times over.

Sign #1:

Your loved ones will start to change. It may be very subtle initially, but this is the time when you will start to notice that something is different about them. They may start to become just slightly withdrawn, more tired than normal, they are not as excited about doing things that used to excite them. They may not be home as much or at different times (like dinner time). They may start to talk or act just slightly disrespectfully towards you and other figures of authority and family members. They may have a problem or two with the police. The problem is that there are so many different signs that it would be impossible to list them all. You may find that they have been consuming alcohol or smoking (gateway drugs?), things that you never thought they would do. Even if it what they explain to be a "one time" or "first time"occurrence, treat it very seriously! Again, you will know what I am talking about. The key is that you cannot dismiss it as paranoia or "thats just what kids do".

At this point talk with your loved ones! Confront them and tell them that they have not seemed right. Get them to answer to your concerns directly and continue to confront them as long as the signs persist. Ask them flat out if they are doing something that they know that they should not be doing. Again, more than likely there will be an explanation that will pacify you because the last thing that you would want to hear is the truth if they were using illegal or addictive substances. Do not let this happen. You can accept their answer however only with complete caution! And follow-up! Watch them! And let them know that you are concerned and watching them.

Try and determine what changes there may have been that may have had an impact on your loved ones life. Like what? Anything thats different. There is one thing, however, that can have a major negative impact on your child's life:

Do they have any new friends!

I am telling you, meeting one wrong friend can change a life from what one might consider "perfect" to complete devastation! I have experienced it and seen it happen in countless families. You assuredly have as well.

Watch their friends and make certain that you know who they are hanging-out with! If you are not comfortable, do something to change the situation. Remember, you have all the power as a parent and your child has ZERO! I see so many parents allowing themselves to be "rolled-over" by their kids! Be a leader and keep control of your kids regardless of how you have to do it. You cannot worry about things like respecting privacy, allowing them to make adult decisions when they are acting like children, giving them space, etc. The second that they violate your trust, IN ANY WAY, deal with it harshly!

And again, you must be there for your kids! You must know them, pay attention to them, be involved in their lives, and care about what they are doing AT ALL TIMES! Although its difficult, you must be a true example rather than a "do as I say, not what I do" parent! In other words, if you smoke, telling them that smoking is bad is probably not going to have much impact on them. That, however, doesn't mean that you have to allow them to smoke!!! Nor should you!

What Else?

Again, there are so many things that should be considered major cause for concern that its difficult to list them all. Here are some others however:

School:

Are they as dedicated to school, to whatever their normal established level may be, as they always have been? Are their grades consistent with the past, or have they fallen? Do you even know?

Let me ask you this:

Do you attend parent teacher conferences? Most of you who are reading this may think this to be an insulting question. But again, you would be appalled by how many parents DO NOT attend parent teacher conferences. How are you going to know about changes in your child in school if you don't pay attention? Know the intimate details of your kids school life!

Diet/Health/Hygiene:

Are you loved ones eating normally? Many times drug abuse will cause abnormalities in diets. Things like a major increase or even craving for sugar; rarely hungry, overly hungry!

Has their overall hygiene changed? Do they no longer care about cleanliness the way they typically have? Are they showering in the same frequencies as is normal? Is their bedroom suddenly not as clean and orderly as it normally is?

Bathroom Time:

Are they spending inordinate time in the bathroom? How about being in the bathroom more frequently? Many drug addicts use the bathroom as their "place of business". Be mindful of this!

Physical Signs:

Are you finding pieces of cotton or Q-Tip heads? Are you finding hypodermic needles or caps? How about bottle caps separated from their bottles? Razor blades? Brillo? Small pieces of plastic baggies? Many drugs are sold by placing the substance in the corner of small plastic baggies, tying the corner off and then tearing of the finished corner for distribution. If you are finding anything that resembles this, you more than likely have a serious problem! If you are finding the complete baggie, less the corners, you likely have a child who is actually dealing illegal drugs. Scales? Grinders? Pipes, bong or rolling papers?

There is little or no reason for your kids to have any of this stuff. Again, if they do, be very, very concerned.

To Emphasize This Again:

I am probably not getting complete agreement on this but it is a must if you truly want to protect your kids:

Monitor and control their social media accounts, diaries, journals, cell phones, etc. Check their text messages directly on their cell phones. Did you know that you have a right to a report from your cell phone company for a print-out of text messages that were sent/received from your own phone? You would likely not need to go to this extent unless your child knows that you're checking the messages and begins to erase them. This act alone should be a huge red flag! If your child's phone is in your name, its your phone!  And either demand to know their phone "passcode" or do not allow them to have one. Heck, my business is far more worthy of privacy than a child's and I don't even use a phone passcode. Nor does anyone I know.

And remember this:

If your child is a juvenile, most likely their cell phone and/or automobile or computer are yours! If you do not get satisfactory results from your kids, who are required to do exactly what you tell them to do, how you tell them to do it and when you tell them to do it, take away the things that enable them! Their automobiles, computers and/or cell phones! Their means of communication!

You may think that this is obvious and most of you probably do these things with little thought. But again, you'd be very appalled by how many parents just can't figure this stuff out! If you could see it for yourself, you'd have no wonder about why things are so difficult in this current age!

And finally, don't expect the Police to discipline your kids!

We must take responsibility. Everyone must work to better the world! Drugs are truly out-of-control and getting worse every single day in every town in this country! The Police cannot fight this war on their own. Every parent, teacher, neighbor, family member, etc must get involved and start with controlling what happens within their own circles. Do not allow it!

Next I will be talking about how to recognize signs of drug distribution. This is critical because if everyone not only recognized the signs, but reported them, and did not allow dealers to function in their neighborhoods, we would take a huge chunk out of this problem.

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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Drug Abuse Series - Signs of Trouble

The previous posts in this series have been designed to establish not only the widespread scope of drug abuse, regardless of where you live, but the very high levels of risk that your child or loved ones are subjected to in their daily lives, and how addicts and dealers become addicts and dealers. And again, regardless of how good or risk immune you feel your loved ones may be, do not ever think that drug use and abuse is not possible. Many of the most successful people, both by positional status and/or financially, have drug abuse problems that ruin their lives. Mayors, Senators, Congressmen, business leaders, athletes, actors/actresses etc! Rich or poor? It doesn't matter! No one is immune! So again, WATCH YOUR LOVED ONES!

So what are we looking for? What types of things should be cause for sleep loss? There are many lists out there of general symptoms that are extremely important. In fact, in just a minute I am going to give you "a list". Beyond that, however, its critical that really understand what you are seeing. Like I said in my last post, addicts are professional liars and highly convincing. This combined with the fact that your nature will be to "yearn" to believe that they "would never do such things", or that "you are over-reacting to nothing", or they are "just stressed out or tired", because you will not want to face the reality of a loved ones addiction.  Its easy, relieving and soothing to hear, from them, that everything is ok.

And as we teach in every one of our seminars, you have to know and understand your enemy to have any chance at beating them/it (drugs, alcohol, etc). In this case, the enemy is addiction and the substances and the circumstances that cause it.

The circumstances that cause it?

It is critical to know this enemy! Circumstances. There are always circumstances that lead to ultimate conclusions in life. So wouldn't it make sense to first try and understand the typical circumstances that lead to addiction and eliminate them? This should actually start early in life and be maintained to and into adulthood. What types of things create circumstances that elevate the risk of substance abuse?

Being left alone, parentless, for large percentages of time (being with friends is far different than time with parents)
No parent/child interaction
Not knowing your child
Not caring about your child
Giving one child more/less attention than others
Not dealing properly with traumatic circumstances and ensuring that they are coping and healing in a healthy manner
Not allowing them to witness yelling, screaming, swearing, sexual activity, physical altercations, etc
Making sure that they are not required to act as "responsible adults" well before they are of age (having your 10 year old provide the primary care for your 2 year old)
Not providing appropriate consequences for wrongdoing and/or bad decisions
Accepting the use of "gateway" drugs

All of these things create circumstances that lend themselves to a higher probability of substance abuse.

In my opinion, a big part of this problem that we are battling is a severe lack of" knowing" those people most important to us in our lives. Knowing our kids, our friends, our families, our students, our patients, etc is critical. Why? Because we cannot see change in a person if we don't know them. Many incidents of violence and the beginnings of drug abuse can be halted if only those around the ultimate perpetrators (in the case of acts of violence) or victims (in the case of drug abuse) would be able to note a problem and deal with it before it gets out of control.  I understand that life has become very busy for many people. It takes so much, these days, just to survive. And much of our communication has become "electronic"! Its very difficult to "read" people when we are communicating electronically. Many people would rather communicate via email or text message than actually make a phone call. Try and make it a point to talk with your kids rather than using electronic messaging. Many times drug abusers will purposely avoid voice or physical contact because they know that there parents will pick up on a problem immediately.

General List of Indicators That Should be Cause for Concern:

Behavioral Changes
Changes in Personal Appearance or Grooming Habits
Drug Paraphenalia
Changes in Personal Habits
Health Issues
School/Work Issues
Physical/Cognitive 

As a general summary to a very general list:

You know your kids! If the physical signs and changes, or your intuition, tell you that something is not right, then something is not right. Don't let it go. And if you do not know your loved ones well enough to be able to see changes, then get to know them so that you can see them!

The next post in this series will outline some of the details of the above list. This stuff is critical to know! Following that, I will get into the signs of drug dealing which is an area that is just as, if not more, critical.

Stay tuned!