Private Investigations and Personal Security/Defense


Hi Marc,
 Being a survivor of a recent assault, I have been looking into ways to improve my safety. During my incident, my intitial reaction was to  freeze and comply with my attacker. Since this incident, I have taken a RAD self defense class which helped a lot with making my response to fight more automatic, but I am still really concerned that if it should happen again, fear will get the best of me again. Any tips on what to do to help make that fight reaction an automatic one? I have also looked into martial arts, but I don't have the time to commit to going to a studio right now. However, I was wondering what some of the good ones are for defense purposes and if there is any benefit or any way of trying to learn some of the skills on my own? Also, is there anything that I can carry that could possibly be beneficial in the event of an attack? Some things people have mentioned are guns, knives, mace, personal alarms, kubotans...are any of these things worth having? I'm not to high on the idea of carrying a gun at the moment..and I currently have a knife, which I heard can be more dangerous then helpful?, and mace, but im not really sure what the best type of mace is. Any ideas or tips on any of these products?
Thanks for your time!

Wow, that's a lot of turf to cover.
My first recommendation for a whole lot of your questions is to go to  and take a cup of coffee you're going to be there a while.

Let's take a step by step run down on this post. First your freezing.

Tell me, do you have a lot of experience with violence? I mean are you used to being physically assaulted on a regular basis? The reason I'm asking is that unless you are, then freezing is a very common response. What would make you experienced enough not to freeze?

I mean face it, being attacked is a scary experience. Most of us are not accustomed to effectively responding to a combination of  unchecked emotional aggression and physical assault. You can't realistically take one course and expect to be able to immediately overcome a lifetime of civilized behavior.

As for being able to immediately flash into violence when threatened. I, who could flash into immediate violence, once was sleeping in bed when the woman I loved walked into the bedroom. Now she claims that she had made the sound that we always made to identify each other. I was asleep and I woke up with someone looming over me. I grabbed her by the throat and threw her across the room. With an inarticulate snarl of rage I landed on her, cocked and locked to crush her skull. Her terrified scream of "It's me" wiggled its way through my   animalistic rage and I realized who it was. That was the beginning of the end of our relationship.

So, tell me, how is having this ability to immediately flash into violence going to help you in a functional relationship?  I had it -- and still have it -- and quite frankly the cost of it generally out weighed the benefit.

Now I know it sounds like something that would help if it ever happens again, but realistically, don't you think that focusing on making sure it never happens again would be a better strategy? I mean, after all life skills/people skills and a firm understanding of who you don't want to associate with will do you a whole lot more good. Not only to prevent further assaults, but to help with career, relationships, friendships and life in general.

I spent my entire life focusing on surviving violence and at the end, my ability to break bones never paid my rent. It was my ability to talk, negotiate and communicate that ended up doing me a whole lot more good. Including keeping out of the kind of trouble that I used to get into.

If you go to study the MA let me put it to you this way. Any MA can be used for self-defense. If by that you mean, block and run like hell.  If you are asking which MA will allow you to "win" next time you are in a violent situation, I'll tell you none of them.

That's because to come out ahead in these kinds of situations you need to do so on four fronts.
1) You must be able to react
2) You must be able to neutralize your attacker
3) You must do it in a way that won't get you arrested
4) You must do it in a way that you would win when you're sued.

As for carrying a weapon...first of all I will tell you what my step dad told me as a 10 year old child. "Don't carry a weapon unless you're willing to pull it. Don't pull it unless you are willing to use it. Don't use it unless you are willing to kill with it."

A weapon is not a magic tailsman that will save you like a cross from a vampire.

Are you willing to take a human life? That's not a macho, posuer question. Can you overcome the natural resistence to killing? Are you willing to live with the trauma, emotional and psychological damage for the rest of your life of having ended someone elses? Are you willing to spend the rest of your life in prison if you take someone's life without just cause? Even if was justified are you willing to spend a minimum of $20,000 to defend yourself in court?

Those are the realities of carrying a weapon.

Now I know you really want to find emotional stability and a sense of safety after being attacked. That is a normal and human reaction, but let me assure you that you won't find it through further violence -- much less training to win next time.

I don't have the page up on PTSD right now, but I would highly suggest that you take a look into it. Your world was rocked. Your sense of safety was destroyed. And you're self-image of a competent and self- reliant person was blown out of the water.

That is a normal reaction to being thrown into a situation that you aren't prepared to handle.  The fact that you froze is no bad reflection upon yourself or your competence. Unless you are beaucoup familar with operating under those circumstances, there is no reason you should NOT have frozen. You were thrown in over your head, of course you aren't going to be able to find the "proper" response. That's not your fault, nor is it a condemnation on your competence or you.

As someone who spent his life dealing with violence, please beleive me that "preparing to win next time" is not only a dead end trail, but it will further entrench the PTSD as well waste a lot of money, time and energy.

My advice is work on closing the doors that allowed the violence to enter your life. Your safety and sense of well being will not be enhanced by learning how to gouge out eyes  and head butt.

Like I said, go to and spend a day reading. It will save you a lot of money and help you find a better solution than focusing on violence.

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