Identify your attacker, the A to J method

‘The A to J Method’

Scrolling through the week’s newspapers today, I came across an article written about a recent spate of attacks in the South Dublin area. The article broadly states the following:
The Irish police force – an Garda Síochana – have issued a warning to people in the area to be vigilant due to the increase in such attacks over the past few weeks. Both men, and women, have been targeted. In one case a knife was held to the throat of one of the victims while he was relieved of his possessions.
As we Senshido instructors continuously reaffirm to our students: it is ‘you the individual’ who is responsible for your own personal safety. The police can only be relied upon to arrive at a crime scene after a crime has been committed – then collect evidence in the standard format to help them catch the bad guy.
Ok – to the point: I am not here to preach about how vital it may now be that you take up self- defence classes. Nor am I here to cast aspersions on peoples’ life choices relating to self-defence – or lack of. How people choose to live is what makes a free society the envy of those who enjoy no such thing. What I am here to give is a valuable life-lesson if you are ever unfortunate enough to endure a violent attack, but fortunate enough to remain able to something about it afterwards. The latter could be from a variety of reasons – previous training, natural ability, or an external interruption to the attack.
The first thing that a law enforcement officer will ask for following a reported attack is a description of the attacker. Most people struggle with this – an understandable result considering the overwhelming sense of shock – but hey – let’s not beat ourselves up… I have often stood in front of groups of new students and spoke to them for 10 to 15 minutes, then called one of them out in front of me and asked him/her to turn his back to me and provide the class with a description of me. Its lucky for me that I have a good sense of humour, as the answers are often hilarious – at my expense – but they are rarely accurate.
So, if a person in a calm and attentive state of mind cannot provide an accurate description, then what chance does a traumatised victim have? An accurate description might mean the immediate apprehension of the attacker, or the subsequent arrest further down the road. It may also increase significantly the victim’s psychological recovery time.
Part of Senshido’s Fundamentals of Personal Protection Curriculum is to teach our students how to provide two types of descriptions of the bad guy. The first is what we refer to as a ‘Flash Description.’ This is a quick-fire way to bring attention towards an individual. For example: ‘A guy over there wearing black on blue, 5’10” – 6’ tall with dark hair is causing trouble.’ Ok, so now everyone is looking is looking for precisely that – a tall guy wearing a black top and blue trousers/jeans with dark hair. Again, I repeat, this type of description is used to draw attention to a person in the moment. It does not have a lot of information in it, but more than enough to dismiss anyone who does not match it. That’s what giving a description is all about – zeroing in on the bad guy.
However, a more detailed description is what we call the ‘A-J method.’ This is a system where every single piece of information we can recall about the attacker is given to the police. I will explain each part:
A) Age: Always try and bracket the age. ‘’He was approx. 30-35.’ ‘He was approx. 35-40.’ etc. Now, anyone not matching the age description is eliminated from the search and the net is closing in on that age group.

B) Build: Try and use your own build to judge the bad guys, I am an average build so if he/she is more lightly built than me he/she would be of a slim build. If bigger the converse would apply.

C) Clothing: What was the attacker wearing – black jacket on blue jeans – dark baseball cap – with dark shoes? Remember, however, that it is easy for an attacker to quickly change his appearance by, for example, removing his jacket, or placing a hat on his head. The fundamental point is that the more information you can provide the better.

D) Distinguishing marks: Anything that makes this individual stand out: ear rings, nose rings, tattoos, scars, print on clothing – anything!

E) -Elevation – height: As with build; always try to compare your own height to the attacker’s in order to help determine height.

F) – Face: Everything you can remember about his face. This will align with distinguishing marks. Consider the face’s shape, nose, eyes, facial hair, scars, ear/nose/lip rings – again – anything!

G) -Gait How did he or she walk – hunched over, with a limp, swagger etc?

H) – Hair: What was the colour – bald – tight hair – long hair – short curly hair etc.

I) – IC Code: Identity Codes are standard throughout  the UK but are not used in Ireland. However they are employed by military units worldwide. I will provide a break-down of the IC codes, but for now, don’t be too concerned with them, unless of course you feel the need to remember them. All you should need to know when it comes to an IC Code is what nationality the attacker was, when he/she spoke did he/she have a foreign, Irish, English, Eastern European accent etc. Remember it is all closing the net on the bad guy – giving the police something more specific to work off:

IC1 White – North European

IC2 Mediterranean – South European

IC3 Afro-Caribbean

IC4 Asian (in Ireland and the UK Asian refers to people from the Indian subcontinent like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal)

IC5 Chinese, Japanese or other (South) East Asian

IC6 Arabic or North African

IC9 Unknown

J) – Just like: When using a ‘just like,’ it must be somebody well-known. If you think he looked just like your auntie Mary – well unless you have a photo of Mary to reference with its not going to be much use, unless of course the police officer knows your auntie Mary. On the other hand; if the comparison is with a well-known celebrity the chances are the officer might very well know him/her. It is important to employ the ‘just like’ formula only if the assailant looks like someone well-known.

As I said, this is part of our Fundamentals of Personal Protection Curriculum, which covers many topics: from understanding what an attacker wants/does not want, victim selection, most common types of attacks, to proactive offence. Please feel free to share this information with your loved ones, family, and friends. Hopefully they will never need to use it.

Senshido, So much more than just self-defence.

Verbal Diffusion-A students perspective

De-escalation – its importance – and why it’s a bastard to get to grips with.

A lot of people who read this will, I am sure, agree that avoidance is a lot less messy in the grand scheme of things than getting dragged into the sort of shit we ultimately have very little control over. But we’re all human, and we all see red when the right buttons get pushed.
I’m a nice guy. I mean no harm to fucking anyone and I like people, but when some big smarmy looking fuck nearly runs me and my motorbike off the road and then spits in my face, I’m as human as the next guy in wanting to sort the fucker. This happened one morning a couple of years back. My visor was down so he didn’t actually get my face but you get the picture. I wanted to teach the bastard a lesson. So I ended up following the prick down a lane way, where it very nearly kicked off, but didn’t. At the very last minute my training kicked in. I took a look around, saw that the environment was becoming increasingly conducive to hospital or prison for one or both of us, and walked away – but I felt like shit.
That was my ego. My inner caveman, what Freud called my Id, wanted me to mimic Vinny Jones smashing your man’s head with a van door. Forty-five years of conditioning was calling me a cowardly bastard for walking away – real schoolyard stuff was going on in my head.
But with hindsight, this wasn’t a schoolyard. This was a back alley where some scumbag had stepped out of his van to put it up to me. Who or what did he have in the van? Fuck knows – but you get the picture. I could have ended up in a really bad way – then there are the ripples… My wife, kids, my job, my freedom, or my life for fuck’s sake…
Over a long career in a previous life as a Motorcycle Courier this shit used to happen a lot more regularly. The lads I worked with would exchange war stories of road rage in the boozer or the office. I really used to struggle with some of the shit that went on with other drivers. I ended up in chases that lasted for several miles – followed people – got rammed deliberately by a fucking gorilla in pick-up truck – but hey! Such is life. Whatever walk of it you’re in its coming at you one way or another.
Anyway – to the point. In more recent years I’ve done a lot of de-escalation/ verbal diffusion training with Senshido. I’m not going to say it’s a panacea for the perpetual failings of the human ego, but I get it. A lot of the philosophical side to it I was getting with anyway, over time. I gradually came to the conclusion that trouble the like of which I invited by following that muppet down the laneway is best seen in the rear-view mirror of your life. Of that there is no doubt. But convincing Captain Cavemen when the shit hits the fan is altogether another thing – it takes time, patience, and practice.
But as said, I’m not some suddenly enlightened paragon of wisdom – neither are any of us. That’s why I think the de-escalation training is so pivotal. But like all training it can become second nature to some, a lot more difficult for others, but at the end of the day – it could be the difference between life and death. Just because you want to rip somebody’s head off doesn’t mean he or she is going to roll over and let you, but do you really need the grief? Your call – I’m not here to lecture.
But personally, I can’t rate de-escalation/ verbal diffusion training highly enough. I know at a cognitive level that I’ve got nothing to prove to anybody, but I’m still a young lad at heart – a potential human tinderbox, with an ego as fragile and dangerous as the best of them. I wrote a piece a couple of years back on the importance of overcoming ego (read it here). The ability to do so renders the type of upper hand if things do kick off that very few systems train their members in.
Having said all this, however, there are times in life when we get confronted by people that the fucking Dalai Lama couldn’t de-escalate. There are situations when it’s going to get messy. I fucking hate them. Anyone who has trained with us in Ireland will no doubt be aware of the concepts of ‘dice-loading’ that we drill and learn to execute under extreme pressures. I’m not going into them here as I’m sure most of you are familiar with them. If you are not then I apologise, but at the end of the day, writing like this is academic, shit happening on the street is not. I’d recommend getting to a Senshido class at some stage.
That’s about it. De-escalation / verbal diffusion is not the most glamorous of topics. It’s a bit like when the cops get stick for there being so many gangland crimes. They often respond by saying that the ones whose plans never come to fruition as a result of effective intelligence vastly outnumber the ones that make the headlines. De-escalation is a bit like that, and is very fucking worthy.


Awareness, do you practice what you preach?

My Belgium brother Eric Lemaire, senshido and ACDS Instructor  once told me: “Self-defence, in a nutshell, boils down to three things:

Who you are,

 Where you are, 

What you are doing there.

The more I thought about this, the more sense it made to me. Let’s explore this statement for a minute:

Let us introduce our imaginary friend Joe Bloggs and use him as an example:

Joe Bloggs works as a Nightclub door supervisor. While technically the same person, on-the-job Joe is different than sitting-at-home-with-his-elderly-father Joe, and again different from chilling-by-a-pool-with-a-cocktail-in-hand Joe.

Why is Joe Bloggs different every time? Simple: his awareness levels vary greatly from situation to situation, and environment to environment.

A door supervisor (or Bouncer for our American friends) at a nightclub has a simple job: keep the bad guys out and let the good guys in, while taking into consideration certain variables such as dress code, previously consumed alcohol levels, among others factors, and depending on the club’s policies. But in essence, the job remains the same, with the door supervisor (doorman) “interviewing” every potential patron.

bigstock-Awareness-Level-Conceptual-Met-51868162After greeting the customer, the doorman has to make a decision: Is s/he dressed appropriately, is s/he slurring, does s/he appear drunk, does s/he appear to be carrying weapons of any kind? This is where intuition as well as solid observation skills plays a very important part, should the doorman get any bad feeling about the person, entry is denied. Period.

Now before anyone starts screaming “That’s wrong! You can’t do that!” please remember that the doorman is partially responsible for the safety and well-being of every customer in the night club, since he is the one who let people in. Alcohol, when taken in sufficient quantities, and combined with ego, insecurities, unhinged libido, and the presence of attractive members of the opposite sex, can turn honest-to-God teenagers into fucking werewolves, resulting in mayhem to the club and personal Injury to other customers. And sadly, the closest thing to a monster hunter is that same guy who let the little angels in, our friend Joe.

Doorman Joe now has to attempt to verbally de-escalate the situation, taking into consideration flared egos, alcohol-induced rage, venom-spewing girlfriends, a room full of edged weapons, the possibility of third party Interference, CCTV coverage, and an entire room full of witnesses. So, it is safe to assume that Joe needs to be “switched on”.

But our buddy Joe sitting at home with his elderly father doesn’t have such worries, his concerns are completely different: Is dad comfortable, is he feeling ok, does he need a helping hand to climb the stairs, is the house alarm set?

Also, Joe’s awareness requirements are totally different when he’s lying comfortably by the pool in the Bahamas, with a cocktail in his hand.

Are you starting to see the picture here?

A lot of Self-defence clubs and organisations use Colonel Jeff Cooper’s Colour Codes of Awareness to train and teach their students about Situational Awareness. They are as follows:

–          White: Totally unaware

–          Yellow: Switched on, scanning for threats

–          Orange: Potential situation, observe more closely

–          Red: Danger, threat imminent

–          Black: Engaging enemy

So, logically speaking, the instructors teaching those colour codes should at the very least have a good solid understanding of said training aid. The truth, however, is different: I personally met “Instructors” (I will use that definition very broadly here) who preach the same shit over and over, “self defence is all about awareness and avoidance, be the grey man, keep your head on a swivel, yada yada yada…”  but have about as much awareness as a three-wheeled shopping trolley.

I once spoke to another “self defence Instructor” about a very unusual  haircut he was sporting when he showed up in a foreign country for a training seminar, this drastic hairdo really stood out, but when asked he candidly replied “Oh, I get this done whenever I travel abroad!” So let me get this straight, we teach people to avoid drawing attention to themselves, to avoid standing out in a crowd, and then go do the complete opposite? Do as i say, not as I do?  C’mon, WTF?

Again I ask how many of us actually practise what we preach?

How many of us actually conduct awareness drills and incorporate them into our everyday lives?  Do any of us actually continuously scan our environment for presence of the abnormal or is it just something used as class fillers?

Going back to what Cooper refers to as Code White (Unaware and unprepared). You are at home, chilling. There is a documented rise in a worrisome new threat, home invasions in various incarnations. Let us examine some of its many subtypes:

–          Invade-Subdue-Burglarise: Robbers would break in the houses of their victims, usually at night, overpower its inhabitants, restrains them, interrogate them, then go hunting for valuables before leaving (Rape and murder optional)

–          Invade-Kidnap-Exploit: The Express Kidnapping Modus Operandi is used, but what differs is that one home invader takes a spouse to withdraw as much money as possible from ATMs or banks, while other criminals stay home with hostages until the task is accomplished (Rape and murder optional)

–          Invade-Murder-Leave: Kansas in the 70s to 90s witnessed a particularly brutal serial killer, Denis “Bind Torture Kill” Rader, who murdered his victims in their homes after stalking them. He often told victims that he “just wanted to rape” and used family members against each other by having one tie up the others through threats of hurting a hostage. As you can imagine, it never ended well for the victims, and they were all killed gruesomely at BTK’s leisure. Rader was caught in 2004 (almost THIRTY YEARS after the fact) because of a mistake that led investigators to him. (Burglary optional)

–          Tiger Kidnappings: In 1972, the Irish Republican Army invaded the homes of their targets, and used the threat of murder to force a member of the household to go out and perform a specific task for the organisation, ranging from theft to dropping bombs to murder. An innovative and pioneering way to escape detection by security services as profiling didn’t work in those cases. This tactic is still used to this very day by organised criminal gangs

Now, let us go back to our friend Joe Blog. Unlike many, Joe is smart, knows Violence intimately, and realises that the World has many lurking dangers. He has a good guard dog, as well as a state-of-the-art security and alarm system. He is home with his family, and they’re all sitting around the dining table, eating and messing around with their ASDs (Short for Awareness Sucking Devices meaning Smartphones, tablets, laptops, portable videogames consoles). As I have said before in a previous post (, the most common type of attack is now cybercrime. Thousands of new malware being Introduced every day and since we are connected to the digital world most of the time, we are at constant risk of being scammed or victimised. So, how does Cooper’s Color Codes circa 1950s fare nowadays as an awareness template? Not too good, huh? Personal security is crucial and so is physical as well as home security but they’re not enough to keep you and your loved ones safe.

Crime is constantly evolving, and so must we evolve with it or be left behind. I have seen so many “self defence experts” post across social media safety tips like, Do not have stickers on your car bumper with children on board, it gives away too much Information to would be attackers, only to update their status an hour later with shit like, Out for dinner in (whatever restaurant) with the whole family, I’m having blah blah blah for starters and the wife is having… come on, WFT! Are you for real?????

I can, in all honesty, put hand to heart and say with pride that, when it comes to Situational Awareness: “I practise what I preach.” Am I just paranoid?


Your  thoughts on this?

Mick O’Brien

The most common modern-day attack

Upon reading the title, one might conjure a vision of a new breed of MMA-trained bad guys, terrorists using Kalashnikovs and suicide vests.

Truth is that, while those are (sadly) becoming common occurrences, monetary crimes are still king (and I am not talking about being held up at an ATM by a gun-toting criminal nor mugged in a dark alley by some junkie needing cash for his fix).

While Personal Protection is an umbrella approach to self-defence, coving all aspects of Violence, how many of us really take the time to improve online safety?

Someone once told me that Senshido, while excellent at unarmed combat, including the pre and post contact aspects of violence survival, should “Just focus on hand to hand combat”.

I beg to differ.

Because Senshido teaches a holistic and evolutionary approach to self-preservation, it has to include other facets of personal defence, such as firearms, edge weapons use, among other things.

While I personally do not teach weapon handling or weapon proficiency skills (Being from Ireland where civilians are prohibited from carrying firearms), other Senshido instructors, namely from the U.S and the Middle East, do.

All of our instructors do, however, use the Internet and so do billions of people worldwide.

But, mention the words “Online Safety” and “Senshido” in the same sentence, and cries of “That’s not self-protection; just stick to what you’re good at.”

I am sorry, but the most common attacks, those in which we pride ourselves on teaching, are not the only form of attack anymore. In the past week, I have experienced three attempted robberies, with the latest being this morning.

All of those were Internet-based phishing attacks, a very popular method used by felons every day of the week against ordinary people to separate them from their hard-earned money.

Let me deconstruct the latest, as I am pretty sure you have all come across something similar at some point, or probably will.

mailsBeing from Ireland, I have an account with Bank of Ireland, one of our main banks in the country. Said bank provides an E-banking service called “Banking 365”, to which I am subscribed. Early today, I receive this email, which at first glance looked quite legitimate, so I open it.


Now, the sender knows that I have opened the mail and that this email address is a live one, making it a recipient for a boatload of spam. However, as soon as I opened the email , alarm bells went off Immediately:

Here is my bank, contacting me by email, asking me to login to my account and confirm my Identity, a probable situation however unlikely.

inboxBut let’s just assume for a moment that my spider senses are still dormant. After all, the sender is only enquiring if this transaction was correct. To confirm or cancel the payment, you only need a quick log in and out using the link provided.

Decisions, decisions…

Ok so I decided to call my bank to get confirmation about the mail, but after being put on hold by customer services for 5 minutes, I got sick and tired and hang up.

Because I wanted closure, I opened my browser and typed:


This is an easy to use, online program that will now give me the location of the email sender, by using the full header of the email. Copy and paste it in, click find source and bingo!


Much to my surprise, the source IP address was from Romania.romania

Now why the hell would Bank of Ireland email me from Romania, asking me to login to my account and confirm my Identity?

In a series of quick steps I now have spotted a potential scam and avoided becoming a victim of hackers.

Nobody held a knife to my throat, put me in a headlock, or grappled me to the ground. But somebody did try to rob me in a sneaky yet increasingly common way.  Im no IT specialist, I know my way around a computer and have taken some courses in online safety, that doesn’t make me an expert, but it has served its purpose.

So your thoughts, Is online safety  part of your self protection package?


Senshido – So much more than just self defence.

Senshido’s top 10 safety tips

Having been contacted by many organisations, newspapers and radio stations asking about safety tips, and knowing that not everyone can make it to a seminar or self defence class, I have decided to put this together to share with everyone. None of this information belongs to any one person, group, or organisation, but it is what we teach at Senshido seminars. This is not about self defence, a term I use loosely (The very term ‘self defence’ implies that I’m already a victim that is in the process of defending myself, a reactive act) but more about self-protection (Becoming a hard target through proactive behaviors and acts).

I hope you will enjoy this article, find this information useful, and share it with your loved ones and as many people as possible. Remember, Just one piece of information, yes, just one valuable tip could be enough to someday save your life. This statement has been validated by some of our students who were able to prevent and survive violence with minimal training.

Here are Senshido Irelands top 10 safety tips.

1) You are important and worth fighting for.

The first and most important rule to remember is – Everybody is important to somebody, you are somebody’s son/sister, mother/father, brother/sister, friend etc. YOU ARE SOMEBODY. You play an important role in somebody else’s life.  An attack on you is an attack on your entire family. Let us consider for a moment the ripple effect of an attack.

Let us look at violence from a woman’s worst case scenario: Battery and rape.

Statistically, 80% of rape victims know their attacker, and, because sexual predators study their targets before committing the crime, we can safely say that attackers know their victims 100% of the time. Now, as a survivor, you’re trying to deal with this horrible crime, police statements, blood and pregnancy testing, praying the physical injuries will fade so you can continue with your life without people stopping you to ask what happened to you, praying that, one day, you will be able to close your eyes and not see the face of your attacker, or relive parts of that terrible moment in your life, hope that you can have a normal sexuality once again. Life is not the same anymore, and neither is your husband’s. He’s seeding for revenge. He knows he’s going to get it too, after all, this bastard will be walking the streets a free man until he is charged and proven guilty before a judge and jury.  Is that not the how our legal system works? Innocent until proven guilty, beyond a shadow of a doubt?

Meanwhile, the blame game is on, the big finger of blame has to point at someone, so it must have been the victim’s fault. Yes you… You led him on, you must have flirted with him, you wore that short-cut dress that night, why did you allow yourself to be alone with him, why didn’t you fight back???!!! Those accusations seem endless, happening day and night, the children hear them but try to muffle them from their tiny ears, they cry at night, “somebody hurt our mummy. Why? Did she do anything wrong? Why are bad people free to hurt good people?”. As a result, they cannot concentrate in scWomens Self Defencehool, they are too tired, the fighting and arguing continued into the early hours this morning, their homework is never completed. Grades are dropping and now the teachers are getting involved. The only way for this to stop is through  separation, it’s for the best, it’s for the kids. Family and friends are now heavily involved, the neighbors are talking, their own sad little lives are so uneventful “This is top gossip!”.

But life doesn’t give you a break, you still worry about your husband or brother or male relative seeking revenge, “If my husband gets his hands on him, he will kill him! He will do time, he’s told me this, he said it over and over, he will go to prison for the rest of his life before he lets this bastard get away with what he did”.

The ripple effect is huge, especially if we look at worst case scenarios such as sexual assault. Reality bites, hard. Always attack the attacker, do not succumb to common ignorant, sexist myths claiming that fighting back will only make your attacker angrier. Fighting back not only increases your chances of survival but was clinically proven to assist in the mental healing of victims of rape and other horrible crimes.


Always trust your intuition, it is very seldom wrong. It is your inner voice that lets you know something is not right….TRUST IT… Its job is to warn you of impending danger and only has your well-being at heart. I cannot stress this enough.

Let me give you an example, a simple one this time: Have you ever found yourself walking along a dark country road or lane at night, only to find, all of a sudden, that you have this urge to break into a jog or a run? That’s because intuition, this little guardian angel on your shoulder, not comfortable with these surroundings, telling you “Let’s get out of here as quickly as we can!” Don’t question it or fight it, Just Trust It!


Displaying confident body language can be the difference between being selected as a victim or being passed over for some other unfortunate soul.

Walk with purpose and keep your head up, looking around continuously, scanning your environment, watching out for people’s behaviors and hands. The name of the game here is blending in with your surroundings. Remember: Prey Behavior Induces Predator Interest.

Make quick, but not challenging, eye contact with people, letting them know that you see them, know they are there, and recognise them.  Anyone who is familiar with Senshido’s teachings knows we educate people about attackers’ wants and needs, as well as fears and dislikes. Those are explained in great detail in Senshido founder Richard Dimitri’s best-selling book “In Total Defence Of The Self”.


Never put your safety before your fear of appearing rude to a complete stranger.  If a stranger for example offers help, and your intuition rings the bells of alarm, overcome your reluctance to be rude by remembering that THIS PERSON IS A COMPLETE STRANGER, YOU DON’T KNOW HIM/ HER FROM ADAM, AND THAT YOUR TRUST HAS TO BE EARNED, NOT GIVEN DUE TO SOCIAL OR PEER PRESSURE. “No thank you… I do not want your help, I do not need your help, thank you and good bye”.

Don’t like the look of taxi driver? Simple, don’t get in the taxi. “It’s fine sir, I’m waiting for a friend, I’ll catch the nexthqdefaulttaxi. Thank you and God speed.” No additional explanation neither needed nor given.

Never put safety before your fear of appearing rude to a complete stranger.  Remember, the word “No” is a complete sentence, if somebody ignores your “No”, they have nefarious purposes and should not be trusted.  This goes for absolutely anything, from the person at the bar looking to buy you a drink, to the person asking to walk you home.  If your “No” is being ignored, that person is trying to control you. Tread cautiously.


Analyse your daily routine and look for areas where you see yourself as being a potential victim.  Try to put yourself in the position of an attacker and ask yourself ‘would I make a good target’.  Remember an attackers wants and needs, while you analyse your routine.  Take this into consideration while conducting this short exercise.

There are also many awareness exercises and drills that we teach that can help you increase your awareness levels. Remember, if you don’t know what you’re looking out for, you will never spot it.


If you find yourself in a confrontation and it has not yet got physical, remember the four rules of verbal de-escalation:

–          Never Threaten

–          Never Challenge

–          Never Command

–          Never Contradict

Everyone knows that the most fragile thing on this planet is the ego, especially the male ego. Add to it intoxicants, insecurities, and libido and you have a recipe for violence.

Thread carefully when dealing with potential violent individuals, listen to what they’re saying (The Problem) and try to offer a face-saving solution to the aggressor. Never use verbal strategies that can escalate the confrontation.


Use a passive stance when dealing with confrontation, it has the ability to make your attacker over confident and drop their guard. Never adopt an aggressive fighting stance as it only prepares your attacker and creates legal hassles for you later on (“They both looked aggressive, he took a boxing stance and they just started fighting…”.  Who would you rather hit, the attacker that is ready and prepared or the one that will never see it coming?  Again which strike hurts the most? yes you got it, the one that got you totally unawares. This is your opportunity to start loading the dice in your favor in the event physical violence becomes unavoidable.


Never let somebody take you to a secondary location/ crime scene regardless of their threats, you must fight back where you are as it presents your best opportunity for survival. What is a secondary crime scene? It’s where they find bodies.

So, suppose you made some bad  choices by withdrawing money at an ATM in a bad neighborhood, late at night, and now some  junkie is holding a knife to your throat demanding cash. Since material possessions are replaceable and not worth dying for, you decide to hand the money over in hopes of ending the encounter with no injury or loss of life. Sadly, Life dealt you a shitty hand and the nice mugger wants you to come with him or he will cut your throat.

Now is the time to fight back, your possessions were not worth fighting for but now this guy wants you in a secluded location to cause you physical harm or murder you. The game has changed, this is your best opportunity for survival, remember, you are important! It also goes without saying that if you let an attacker tie you up, your chances of being found alive and unmolested drastically decrease.


Always remember to do what you would tell your children or loved ones to do if they were in that situation. This will help you decide the best course of action quickly and eliminate threat. You and only you can decide your course of action, there will be no “instructor” there to guide or help you and no referee to stop the fight if it turns ugly. For better or for worse, the stage is yours and yours alone. No doubt, once all is said and done, there will be an army of armchair commandoes and keyboard warriors to critique your actions and nitpick your tactics. So, do yourself a favor and take your own advice, as it’s your blood on the line.


Only use the amount of force necessary to achieve your immediate aim….. to get home safe… Remember self protection begins with the self, you may need to justify your actions in a court of law.  We hear repeatedly “I’d rather be tried by 12 than carried by 6″, well I would rather neither thank you very much!

This is but a taste of what we teach during our Fundamentals of Personal Protection seminars. I hope you have enjoyed the read and found the information useful, please remember to please share this information with your loved ones.

Mick O’Brien.

Senshido International team member

Thank you, from Senshido Internationals newest members

A few words from Senshido Internationals newest member Jani Luukkonen.

Jani and Jurgan were officially brought into our family as team members and certified instructors yesterday 24 May 2015

They have been assistant instructors for several years under the Senshido Europe team, they are dedicated, passionate and have worked extremely hard to get to where they are now.

We want to welcome you guys to the family. Well deserved from your long road to our membership.


Jurgen Cuipers

Jurgen Cuipers

 Jani Luukkonen

Jani Luukkonen

I wanted to write something personal on this as my journey in Senshido has been wonderful. Sure there have been downs and lows, but overall a fantastic journey.

I first came across the Shredder (everybody was talking about, nobody mentioned Senshido) in 2004. One of my colleagues told me about and showed some stuff. Ok, it wasn’t even close to Senshido grin emoticon but the thought was interesting. I had read about Richard Dimitri in Black Belt magazine maybe 1998 or something? Didn’t make the connection back then, though.

We started training with Markus in 2005. Or we just started experimenting with the ideas, we didn’t have any material. We just kinda continued doing MMA with knives and stuff like that. We had hockey helmets on and we were just going full force without consent.

Then we had a trip to sweden with Niko to study some grappling. That was probably another turning point. We talked about this and somehow I knew I had to find a way to study Senshido more. So then I found out that Ville Kaivonen had brought this mysterious art to Finland and I ordered the two tapes he had produced (Puolustaudu 1 and 2). I watched them over and over again and we started training Senshido every week, even two or three times a week at best.

In 2009 or 2010 Richard came to Finland to host a seminar in Tampere. I was sold for good. I talked with Richard for a minute after the seminar and agreed that I would train with Ville about becoming an instructor one day.

There is a lot more to the story, but after 2010 I have studied and taught many people along the way. This has been (and will continue to be) an amazing journey.

I would like to thank couple of people:

Ommik: You don’t even probably know this, but you actually caused this. You threw the snow ball if you catch my drift.
Niko and Markus: thank you for guiding me to this road.
Ville Kaivonen: without you this might not have been possible.
Richard: for doing some shit. Especially Senshido.
Tuomo: for your friendship and for kicking my ass forward.
Janne: for your hard questions and your guidance.
Anders: for challenging me more in the future.
All my students. We have learned a lot together and will continue to do so in the future.

.. and all the Senshido team members for accepting me in your family. I actually only recently learned something about the character I will strive for and for that is to thank Marc. You are an example for us all.

And most of all, thanks to my wife Paula, who has been there with me during the good, the bad and the ugly times of Senshido (“oh, so your nose is bleeding again? Go wipe it off”

I love you.

Jani Luukkonen

Integrity vs commercially viable self protection programs

slideFirst, this is my personal opinion, if the shoe fits.. wear it. real self protection, admittedly is not “palatable”. The potential purchaser clings to a perception acquired in the media, TV and cinema. The topic makes him uncomfortable, the real issues makes him uncomfortable. In other words, serious self protection training is a nightmare to market.

What I loved about my situation is that I never banked on my teaching to make a comfortable living. So I taught it raw, honestly and if I went months without students …. no problems. If John Q. Public did not like the syllabus? Did not care. I never watered stuff down to make a buck. Will never do.

Sometimes I worry… so far I have rarely seen anyone making a decent living at this who has not altered, compromise on retooled his values to sell his programs. The big organizations will always water themselves down on their own. When you start selling affiliations at 2 to 10 thousand dollars a pop, standards drop. No matter what anybody assures me. Quality control my arse. Human nature….

I never certified anyone, never will, I have info to share, pay me… Showing me a certificate means shit to me. At the fear of committing heresy, I never gave a crap wether the senshido europe boys had a paper or not. I saw for myself that the lads are first class and would have made it with or without the senshido label. They are “that” good. Knowing Rich, he saw the same.

As Billionaire Mark Cuban said: “only acquire companies that would make it with or without you” . The freedom to develop your material, when you don’t have a care in the world if it will sell or not is awesome. Lineage… affiliation…. the things give me a freaking headache.

The Malevolent Preacher

Fit enough or not? conditioning and its relationship to self protection

1488946_642009255914249_3244089265359969220_nAs oppose to Connor Mc Gregor who is prepping for Jose Aldo, you don’t have prior knowledge of when the next drooler will jump you or where you will be. Therefore you need to be in an acceptable condition all the time. It is impossible to be in peak condition all year round. And if you pull it off, you will have sacrificed your tactical training (Counter ambush simulation and tool development) for extra time in the gym. Remember… training time is at a premium. You have jobs, family, girl/boyfriends, social obligations and whatnots. It is never a perfect scenario.

The following is aimed at John Q. Public. In a good scenario, you have maybe 10 hours of time you can free up/allocate to activities for yourself . First accept that you will not turn yourself into GSP. Second accept that your tactical ability, tool development, is more important than your benchpress. I know some of you are students and great if you have tons of time, but some of us are lucky to have that 10 hours. Back ob track. So your goal here is two fold; 1. Find the most time efficient way to train and 2. Find opportunities to squeeze in exercises in “non allocated times” for exercises. Examples stairs at work, push ups at breaks etc…

I feel (and please add your own ideas in the comment section) that conditioning circuits are the best. All one needs is his own body weight, maybe a few KBs, med balls and you can do 20 to 30 minutes of intense exercises that will at least give you enough fitness that will be transferable to self protection. You can use these circuits to “pre fatigue” before a scenario, to simulate a situation when you have to engage after a chase and you are already exhausted, whatever.

Be smart, train smart