Sunday, July 31, 2011

Workplace 'Bully' loses his advantage...

At Protect we don't use the term 'bullying' for any situations involving anyone older than around 10 years. After that age we call it what it really is: 'Peer Aggression'. By giving the issue the mantle that it deserves people tend to take the issue more seriously, and it is a serious issue. It causes loss of confidence, self esteem, and self belief, it has caused suicides, murders, assaults, and substance abuse, broken up families and ruined countless people's lives. It is not an issue that should be tolerated, either at school, the workplace or in any other facet of life.

Yesterday I received an email from a man who attended one of our recent 'Best Defence (phase 1)' courses, I'll call him Joe, which is not his real name. He explained how he had been the target of a 'workplace bully' for the past year. He had bought the issue up to management only to have it 'played down' and to a large degree, dismissed. It has caused him huge stress and affected his home life and his health. He told me that he has been looking for another job unsuccessfully, and that the sole reason for him wanting to leave his employer of six years (at a job that he otherwise loves) was because of this person.

At 'Best Defence' (as with all of our core courses) we address the behvioural and psychological aspects of self defence as well as the physical. Because of the way we train attendees there is an immediate shift in belief systems, resulting in greater confidence and a feeling of personal empowerment. This is the basis of effective self defence.

Jow explained that the course had such a deep impact on him that he walked into his office on Monday morning a different person, different to the person who left on Friday night. He took immedite action on the issue of his tormentor. He had a meeting with his boss where he confidently explained what was happening and what the options were for them. His boss has now taken the matter seriously and is standing behind Joe with the support and action required.

He then met with the man who has been causing the issues. Joe told me that he would NEVER have been able to have the conversation, with the degree of confidence and certainty, prior to the course. He addressed the issue in a non-challenging, non-threatening way, but with a confidence and focus that left his prior aggressor under no illusions of his options. He also did it in such a way as to let the man save face and have a 'way out' (which we teach), and the man took it. He has gained an apology and the past week has been a different experience for him when he arrives at work. In his words: " The weight is off my shoulders and I am actually enjoying going to work again"

How did this take place? Because self defence (real Self Defence) training empowers you with a confidence and belief system which all on it's own makes you a 'hard target' for aggressor's, it grows you as a person from your core.

Emerson once said: "Who you are screams so loudly in my ears that I can not hear what you are saying"

Joe told me that he originally attended our course (thinking like most people that self defence is all about martial arts and/or solely physical moves, which it is not) to learn to physically protect himself becasue he expected the situation to get so bad that he would be assaulted physically. He said that what he gained was infinitely more, it made him a strong person, with the confidence to stand up for himself and the skills to do it in a way which made the situation better and not worse.

I acknowledge Joe for realising the need to imporove his situation, for attending the course, for taking the action, and for sharing his story with me.

This is what self defence at Protect is all about.

Sunday, July 3, 2011


Some kids tag a man's fence, he sees them and chases them down the road with a kitchen knife. A fight ensues and he stabs one of them. The kid dies, the man is sent to prison. Many lives are destroyed. Why didn't he get descriptions and call the police?

A man is walking with his girlfriend when they are mugged at gunpoint for her purse. Because he is a martial arts black belt he tries to physically engage the mugger and is shot dead. Why didn't they just hand over the purse?

A champion kickboxer is training when he sees someone back into his car and drive off. He chases the car down the road and tries to drag the guy out of the car when it stops at an intersection. The guys pulls a weapon and kills the kickboxer. Why didn't he just get the car's licence plate and call the Police?

A man is in his kitchen when he sees a couple of youths kick his letterbox over. He chases them down the street and catches them. One of them picks up a rock and hits him on the head and in the face repeatedly with it. He is left with severe brain damage. Why didn't he just call the Police?

And then this today:

Youths threw eggs at their house. So they chased them, and now the lady is dead. Why didn't they just call the Police?

I have literally dozens of real stories, like the ones above that illustrate this point. Now I know it's easy to say what they 'could have done' when no-one can say for sure what should/could/would have happened unless they were actually there, but these are straight forward enough to illustrate a point.

That point is that when people have not had any decent self defence training, they are often unable to see the context of situations when they perceive threat or are at the mercy of fear and/or anger, and often act on impulse...Often with disasterous counsequesnces. Our courses prepare peoople to deal with the behavioual and psychological aspects of these situations so that these tragic outcomes can be avoided. This is real self defence, applicable to anyone, in any area, at any age...

Schoolgirl attack warning

This article appeared in the Herald On Sunday (3/7/11, italics are mine, see below the article for my comments):

A 17-year-old girl attacked by a sexual predator while walking home from school is warning other students about the dangers of wearing iPods.

The teen is one of two St Mary's College, Auckland, students grabbed by strangers while walking to and from school. The second was barely a week ago.

Both were listening to iPods via earpieces at the time and did not hear the men behind them.

The 17-year-old, who did not want to be identified, warned others to turn down the volume on iPods or to wear only one earpiece so they were alerted to potential danger.

"It's something nobody ever talks about. People from age 12 to my age think they're invincible," she said.

In March the teen was on Hamilton Rd, five minutes from home, when a man came up behind her and "tried to grab me and drag me into a driveway", she said.

"I got such a fright. I screamed and shoved him and told him to f*** off."

The man - whom she described as stocky and of Pacific Island or Filipino origin in his 20s - then took off.

On June 23, a 12-year-old girl from the same school fought off a man's advances with a kick to the groin.

She was walking along Douglas St in Ponsonby when the man came up behind her, made lewd suggestions and grabbed her arm.

Police described the man as in his 40s with long silver or grey hair and with an orange hue to his skin.

St Mary's College principal Sandy Pasley said students and parents needed to be aware of the dangers of wearing iPods, especially when walking alone.

Following the second incident, she sent a newsletter to parents warning them about the dangers and encouraged students to walk in groups if possible.

Both of the girls in these recent attacks did very well once they were confronted. Awesome in fact!

The reason this article bothered me though was this statement:

The 17-year-old, who did not want to be identified, warned others to turn down the volume on iPods or to wear only one earpiece so they were alerted to potential danger.

"It's something nobody ever talks about. People from age 12 to my age think they're invincible," she said.

Why did this bother me? Because I am saddened that this attack could potentially have been avoided if their situational awareness had not been restricted due to the ipod's blaring in their ears. And the fact is WE DO TALK ABOUT THIS! A LOT! It is a part of the safety discussions we do at every school we work with, and many other courses too. We have writtern articles about it, commented on the issue for media and many others. And not just Ipods, but drink spiking, texting, technology safety, taxi safety, getting followed, and many other safety strategies which make up just a part of the 'recognition and awareness' phase of our school courses.

The problem is that not enough schools are taking the proactive action to get us in there to teach their kids to be safe. And that bothers me. So many times girls have been attacked, sometimes with horrendous consequences, and the opinion of many is "It's terrible, but there is nothing anyone could have done to prevent it". And that is pure apathy, and is completely ignorant. Most of these situations can be avoided (not all, but most) and that is what we teach people to do. So to hear a 17 year old girl say that nobody ever talks about this stuff, after she has been put through a terrifying situation that could have been avoided is really sad to me.

We are here for any school who needs us, but they have to take the action to get us there. I really hope this changes soon, there are many attacks such as this one, and date rapes, acquaintance rapes, stranger rapes, sexual assaults, drug rapes, and many other situations (1 in 4 kiwi girls are sexually assaulted before the age of 16) which we can help avoid with the school's help.

If you have children at school, please send them our details and insist that they run one of our safety programs for their kids. These are life skills which are no longer a 'nice-to-have', they are a necessity.