We, in the self-defense industry, often stress changing patterns. Driving patterns to work. Stores we shop at. Haunts. Weekly routines and times. Check for tails. Actively look for strange driving behavior. Take note of faces that you see more than once. Pay attention to high vantage-possibilities and entry points. Really, why?!! If nothing’s happening, you’re not in the professional counter-violence industry, no one’s after you, you’re not in illegal trouble with powerful enemies, and THERE’S NO LEGITIMATE REASON TO DO THIS….why the hell is this advice always given?!!

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If your life or location is not high-risk and not in constant danger, and you live in the ‘burbs, just bloody live it. You’ll be just fine. Focus that paranoia on where it might be better-off being….are you paying enough attention to your loving wife and attention-asking kids? Interacting enough with the folks as they age? Reaching out to valued friends you haven’t heard from for a while? You’re not Jason Bourne or John Wick….hell, the majority of you aren’t even the traffic cop or neighborhood pub bouncer. Bloody hell, you’re not even the shifty vacuum-cleaner salesperson that just ripped off that nice couple on Berman Avenue. Just. live. life. Repeat as needed until it is, actually, needed.

Here’s a bit of advice: look at things, not for them. Make deductions from what’s present, not what’s not. The tangible, not the imaginary. If you’re conscious and cognizant and something’s off, you’ll know and your sensors will go off. If nothing is, your constant searching elevates blood-pressure, heart-pressure, paranoia, anxiety, psychological disorders, unnecessary fear – which all lead to far greater internal enemies than the invisible one you’re constantly searching for. At, not for. “If needed”, not “just because”.


  1. I actually contend that in some ways having constantly new surroundings etc. Is a negative to safety because it dulls your sense of awareness when it is constantly bombarded with new shit anyway. How do you recognize something out of the norm? And fully agree. There are much easier ways to be prepared without taking active measures to defend against the bogeyman who is really more of a dream.

  2. May be some do this from a strange view of self importance, but i peraonally dont know one in the flesh, life is not an action movie. I hat a past wich i do not reckommend to copy, and i have really what you could call enimys.
    I didnt even move out of Town, tho there was some dangerous man with a violent reputation on my ass.
    I sold my appartment in the city and moved to a house in the suburbans, where I can things see coming. I broke up with my old gang and made new friends. The only thing i did beyond that, i dont went with my real name on facebook, but with an alias. That shit worked out fine for almost fifteen years now, and old crutches seem to fade away anyway, given enough time. Most of my enimys are now geriatric, so i am not concerned a lot now…. focus on the positive things, do not wish the negative things in your life ( but dont deny it either).
    Good read as always

  3. Fantastic commentary. People so rarely realize the factors that they contribute to their own lack of personal-safety and that put themselves directly in the line of danger or greater-risk. (or at least don’t admit to it as it would mean they’d have to take responsibility, look in the mirror, make internal changes, and admit vulnerability….all of which are extremely healthy things to do in real-life, yet in the counter-violence world….) I have little to add to any of this other than thanks for continually reading the blog and contributing value, my friend. 🙂

  4. I’ve spent 23 years in Mindanao as an itinerant sales rep and later as Sales Supervisor. There are clear and present dangers in a region that has not seen peace for the last 50 years. Part of my AOR then while employed with three companies, Zuellig, Carnation and Nestle were in those danger zones.

    I don’t possess scientific knowledge in coping and preparing myself in high stress situations such as a lethal confrontation. I never bothered to delve into the science on this subject, much less sink into an analysis paralysis over a situation with so many unpredictable variables. Neither did I give so much thought that my martial arts background and my practical shooting skills would be a game changer. There was even a period in my “tour of duty” in Mindanao that I haven’t done any shadow boxing, or that stick twirling crap, nor shot more than 100 rounds in the range during weekends. I spent more time doing guitar scales than anything martial. But, I never stopped doing cardio, rode my bike every other day, did one hour on the swimming pool during weekends, and run for an hour in between.

    Despite a lucky missed shot that barely grazed my nose in Bayugan by drunken lost command armed men, beating two would be robbers to a draw in Tandag, chasing in high speed motorcycle riding in tandem gunmen in Trento, and several other close calls, it never came to point that I would become paranoid, going about my daily routine like a nervous wreck constantly watching my back. I was nonchalant about all these life threatening experiences and fatalism was more of a factor than having to dwell with personal preservation 24 hours a day seven days a week.

    I never let it control my life, and went about my daily routine segmenting my state of consciousness. Whether I’m driving, walking towards my next customer, going to church with the family, a joyous road trip to my wife’s home town – a lot of things fill my mind; basically consumed with music, jazz chords, syncopation, fast scales, arpeggios, improvisation. Jobim, Bacharach, Rogers & Hammersteins, Cole Porter, scenes from favorite movies, famous actors and de Niro, Al Pacino, Steven Spielberg, college days, friends, gorgeous ladies, 70s disco, and sex. But the martial arts, self-defense and combat practically never occupy my consciousness, only when I’m on facebook and writing an article such as this.

    I don’t think much about danger, neither do I offer various templates to deal with it; maybe on a super conscious plane, but that’s another subject I’d rather not delve into. An overload of responses and preconditioning oneself with tactics in handling different scenarios could lead to tragic consequences. This has always been the fatal mistake of many “martial artists”.
    But when my built in alarm bells ring, something inside my hard drive just switches on by default and everything goes into auto pilot, laser focused and very violent when needed. Everything that follows is instinctive.

    I won’t dare to offer my of readiness / alertness in a state “suspended animation” as a survival solution; it may or may not work with every individual.

    A Nestle customer Eddie Burgos once asked me: “Tin, how can you shoot so fast? Can you still acquire the sight picture and target?” I answered, “It’s hard to explain Ed, but yes, I can see the front sights on target like it’s slow motion, but the gun just shoots by itself, not me”. Mr. Burgos was perplexed and just shook his head.

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