By Damian Ross, The Self Defense Company 

While I consider the Self Defense Training System (SDTS) to be the best I know I’m a little bit biased, but that said when selecting a martial art for self defense certain standards have to be met regardless of your system or style.

For those of us at the Self Defense Company we go by eight simple rules that can help you evaluate whether a martial art will be effective in actual combat.  For those of you involved with the SDTS Combatives program this mindset is nothing new, but everyday someone new joins.

I’m writing this to help you make an informed decision.

So read through the following and see how your style of choice stacks up, you might be surprised.

For any fighting system to be considered a legitimate form of self defense it must prepare you to:


  1. Assume that an attacker is intent on permanently injuring or killing you.

    The Petit Family. Brutalized in their own home for being in the right place at the wrong time.

The fact is when you’re out on the streets you don’t know who you’re dealing with. If you bump into a person, the vast majority ofpeople will be more than happy to accept your apology and go about their day. However there are a small percentage of people who will use that as provocation to escalate it into a full on attack.  People are assaulted all the time for trivial reasons like parking spaces, spare change or simply crossing paths of some psycho like what happened to that poor Petit family in Connecticut.  Has your training prepared you to deal with a life and death struggle against someone who has no regard for life? You must train with INTENT.




  1. Consider any and every environment.
Icey Parking Lot

Not the dojo – this parking lot is where you’re most likely to be attacked.

I’ve seen some impressive acts of strength and agility, but those usually take place in a nice gym or dojo.  Will your skill set be effective in the park, on a snowy street, or even in the jungle?  Real fights don’t take place in the ring, but where ever people are in conflict.  While every environment has its own difficulties you’ve got to be able to function effectively no matter what. Take a look around you; you probably can’t go 10 feet in any direction without running into

something or a change in elevation like a curb or a step. The world is a hard, unforgiving place. Motions where you slide your feet work great on the smooth floor, but try that in the middle of the woods where there are rocks and stumps or grappling on broken bottles and concrete. You must train to ADAPT.

  1. Defend yourself even if you’re not feeling 100% 
    Daniel Craig Sling

    Even James Bond gets hurt.

You’ve got the flu,  pulled a muscle, or you’re on the mend from surgery.  All you want to do is get home from the pharmacy and fall asleep.  The problem is there is a whole class of scum out there looking to take advantage of your situation, and they won’t have any pity.  When you’re in great shape you can do a lot of things easily, but can you pull off what you know when you’re under the weather?  Bad things happen to people on their worse days, so you always need to be ready to fight. Predators pick the weak because they’re easy targets. You must have a skill set that will enable you to be effective NO MATTER WHAT your physical state is. If you can leave your house you better be READY.




  1. Assume there is more than one assailant.

Not the chess club.


Unlike in the movies in a real fight people won’t politely wait to take their turn to beat the hell out of you.  Trust me I’ve learned from personnel experience people get brave when they have numbers on their side, and they’ll use this to their full advantage.  If you’re only used to dealing with one person at a time you can quickly be over come by your attackers.  It might not be fair, but they want to win so you’d better be able to take on more than one attacker.  It’s never easy to fight more than one person, but if you practice in training you’ll be able to protect yourself. Truth is you can only “fight” one person at a time. So you must train to get rid of your attacker as FAST as possible.



  1. Assume your assailant is larger and stronger.

It’s common practice in training to match up people who are around the same weight, so that they can improve their abilities.  While this might be great for sports the real world is filled with bullies who take whatever they want from people who they think are weaker.  Can you fight off someone who towers over you? Ladies have you ever practiced fighting off someone who has 50lbs on you and a distinct strength advantage?  If you can’t say you’re ready to deal with a monster than your style won’t do you any good. You must be READY to do whatever it takes to survive.


  1. Assume your assailant is “tougher” and accustomed to violence. 
    Nazi Tattoo

    Like you, career criminals are committed to their life style.

There are always people that are ready and willing to fight.  Thugs and bullies know their business and their business is hurting people.  Things like sportsmanship and human decency are foreign concepts to them.  They know what they’re doing and they will hurt, rape, or kill you if you don’t know how to fight back.  Be honest with yourself and ask yourself are you truly ready to deal with a real street fighter? Rules are for safety. Training with rules creates a habit of following them. Training without rules is the ONLY way to train.


  1. Assume that your assailant is armed.

An attack can turn deadly in seconds when an assailant pulls a weapon, and you’ve got to be ready to deal with this change quickly.         


Forget the movies – if someone is willing to threaten you with a weapon – they’re willing to use it.

Knives, bats, and guns along with a host of other objects are used in fights all the time.  If you don’t know how to deal with an armed assailant you’re at a tremendous disadvantage.  You might want to win a fight without hurting anyone, but some people will do whatever it takes to win. Treat EVERY attack as a weapon attack.





  1. Assume that you’ll be dealing with the worst-case and most nightmarish scenario you could ever imagine.

It could be a shooter blasting his way through your school or place of work.  Terrorists turn what should be the time of your life into a living hell.  You wake to the sounds of someone invading your home.  He keeps coming closer as you fumble for your car keys and he doesn’t give a damn that you filed a retraining order.  There all kinds of situations that scare people, and some are so scary you don’t even want to think about them.  You don’t pick the time and place of the attack, THEY do.


Don’t get hung up on a system or style. If you’re intent is self defense then there’s only one thing you should care about…RESULTS. It either works or it doesn’t work.

Most defenses that work in the dojo against willing attackers who “know their part” will not work out in the street, against someone who is hell bent on beating you into the ground. There is only one solution for self defense and it is SIMPLE, POWERFUL and BRUTAL.

There’s no such thing as “Advanced Self Defense”. It’s all simple because it has to be. When someone approaches you and decides to “turn it up” and your adrenalin hits – all those fancy and intricate moves go right out the window.

Why bother training 10 different defenses for a wrist grab when you can just HIT HIM!?!?

If it works, check that box and get on with your life.

It’s Not About Who’s Right, Only Who’s Left.




  1. James kuhse 11 months ago

    Your absolutely right.I wouldn’t know what to do in any of the situations you mentioned.But I believe a person has only seconds to act.Big fellows under the influence can be handful.It would be nice to be able to handle a huge person with out fear.I have no intention to hurt anyone.Just would want to make sure myself and my family are safe.

    • Jerry 11 months ago
      Member Since: 07/13/15

      No such thing as “…handle a huge person without fear….” Life and death fear results in immediate sympathetic nervous system reactions of FREEZE, FLIGHT, or FIGHT, “that’s it”, no other options at that time of extreme stress. FREEZE will leave you dead or injured at the scene; FLIGHT can save your life, if you can successfully escape but what if you are with loved ones who cannot get away on their own? The last choice is FIGHT! I heard at a U.S.A. Olympic games competition, “There is no substitute for good preparation!” So use your fear to motivate you, to get prepared, to be ready, to become the fiercest, most brutal fighting lion you can be, for the time needed to ensure the proper safety. Bravery is not the absence of fear, it is overcoming adversity in spite of fear! In life and death situations, police officers and military personnel often say, “It was my training that saved me. My training took over…. I reacted instinctively based on my training.” So use fear to motivate, train like you mean it, if you want the best odds of survival!

  2. Wayne Buck 11 months ago


    • Author
      theselfdefenseco 11 months ago
      Member Since: 01/24/18

      Sounds like you either had the WORLD’S WORST LAWYER or your daughter did something INSANELY excessive.

      Oh, if you want to discuss this further, please post a link to the case file.

      You can find it by just googling the parties in the case.

  3. Jerry 11 months ago
    Member Since: 07/13/15

    Comprehensive self-defense requires not only the skills needed to survive a vicious physical assault, but also training to prevent or minimize possible victimization by the legal system as the “after-math” of an assault. An injured aggressor can obtain the services of a savvy attorney who might twist the truth completely out of anything believable, or an investigating law enforcement officer might draw the wrong conclusions. Innocent people have been found guilty, and there are those who are good at manipulating the legal system for their own ends. So I suggest you consider the proper training to increase your odds of avoiding or minimizing legal repercussions!

  4. Jerry 11 months ago
    Member Since: 07/13/15

    P.S. If facing a brutal ass-kicking and escape is not possible, I am going to defend myself with every bit of savage tenacity that I can muster. I’d rather take my chances with the legal system afterward, than to be found dead in a dark parking lot with no signs of a struggle. I am not going to be a cooperative victim, “no thanks!”

  5. tony 11 months ago
    Member Since: 05/10/14

    ..sound advice….

    plus u should especially train your own goto principles and techniques….a million times…..knife hands… get ups when on the floor……

    keep it real simple…eyes balls throat………over and over again..

  6. FACE 9 months ago

    And all this can be done at ghome?

    • Anonymous 9 months ago


  7. FACE 9 months ago

    (Sorry for the extra ‘g’…D’OH!)

    (And NEVER apologize…. :-)

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