You are most likely to know your attacker – now defend yourself

Attackers are more likely to be someone you know than it is for them to be a stranger.  This is especially true for a young person.  Many times the attacker feels a grudge for the other person, doesn’t like them for some reason or has been encouraged to attack them by others.

What can you do if someone tries to pick a fight with you or is pushing all of your buttons?  Unfortunately if you decide to take them on physically you may be making a bad situation worst.  Once the aggressor has decided you are their target they have already put themselves into a higher state of aggression with adrenaline running high.  They may have mind altering substances in their body which are making them irrational.  If you engage that personality, you may be in for a physical fight that could have been avoided.

Can you de-esculate the situation?  In many cases you are able to de-esculate long enough for you to remove yourself from the area.  This is very important if the aggressor has got you alone or away from others.  It is harder to do when there are others around, not because we cannot use our skills to de-esculate, but rather because our ego or theirs may be getting into the way.

This is not the time to prove how strong or talented we are in the area of ‘beating someone up’.  It makes more rational sense to allow ourselves to be seen by others as less than, and survive, than to be trying to prove a point. Using our words to de-esculate may not always work, but our staying calm will not make the situation worse.  Saying and doing things that do not threaten your attacker can give you some control.

In the end if the aggressor continues – then of course you must defend yourself, even physically.  Learning how to do so and practicing in a safe environment like Balanced Life Skills is the best way to be prepared.

Self Defense: What would you do….

What would you do if:

Teaching children self defense

while you were playing outside, a

This can be a difficult subject to talk to your kids about without scaring them into thinking that every stranger is out to get them.  On the other side, studies have shown that many, in fact the majority of children, even though their parents have talked about this will put themselves into a dangerous situation when faced with this situation.

Here is what you want your children to know:

  1. It is OK to say NO to an adult
  2. Adults should go to other adults for help, not children.
  3. Never go towards or near a car when it is someone you do not know
  4. Always turn and run back into your house and tell an adult right away

The child may fear that they have done something wrong.  They may have been further out in the yard than you generally allow them to be.  Reassure them during their training that they are not in trouble if they tell you their story.

To give your children the best chance to know what to do and the courage to do it remember this quote:

“Tell me and I forget, Teach me and I may remember, Involve me and I learn.”

The most important part of this kind of training is role playing it is involving them in the training.  Have the child pretend with you different scenarios, role play different questions with them.

“would you like to see my puppy?”

“can you help me find my puppy?”

“do you want a piece of candy?”

“can you help me carry these packages to the door?”

Depending on the age, limit the amount of time on each session you are teaching your children. It is better to schedule a self defense day with the family on a regular basis.  Some days it may cover this subject or many others like the ones we talk about at Balanced Life Skills.  Consistent short trainings are far more effective than a one hour class that you take one time.

We are here to help you keep your family safe.

Happy Valentines Day – Preventing Heart Disease Is Self Defense

HeartHappy Valentines Day!  While it is a day possibly for you to think about those that you love, it is also a good day to think about being around to express your love for family and friends for a long time.  Valentines Day is symbolized by the heart.  So here is a self defense note for all of us – old and young.

Heart disease is preventable, yet heart disease is and has been the number one cause of death for a very long time.  In 2010 597,689 people in the United Stated died due to heart disease.  Nearly one fourth of everyone who passed away did so due to a preventable disease.  Every single day of the year 1637 mothers, fathers, grandparents, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters lost a loved one who will no longer be with their family to enjoy each other.

For me this is very personal.  My father died of heart disease 46 years ago.  Maybe they did not know as much as they do today or maybe they did and he did not pay attention.  What I know is that he was not a part of my life when I needed a father more than anything.  What about you?  Do you have children or others depending on you, looking up to you, wanting you to be there for them.  Here are the facts:


Just a few tips:

  1. Control high blood pressure
  2. Get active
  3. Eat right
  4. Achieve and maintain a healthy weight
  5. Manage stress and anger
  6. Control diabetes

Be mindful of these tips and take action and you reduce the risk factors.

Have you noticed that the self defense that Balanced Life Skills teaches includes anger management, stress reduction, healthy eating and good exercise.  This kind of self defense is just as important as knowing how to escape a physical attack.  In fact, all of us are more likely to be affected by heart disease than to be attacked physically. (there were 16,259 deaths in the same period of time due to homicide)   It is most likely all of us will be affected by stress and anger even if we practice good eating and exercise.

Balanced Life Skills is dedicated to teaching peace.  Peace is self defense.

October: Preventing Domestic Violence & Bullying

There are two awareness campaigns that take place annually in October that are important to creating a culture of peace in our community and the world.  First it is National Bully Prevention Month and second it is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

These two areas of needed awareness contain similarities and can even be related.

Domestic violence occurs when one person believes they are entitled to control another. 
Bullying occurs with a power imbalance and one person attempts to control another. 
Domestic violence may include spousal relationships, dating, children, elderly abuse
Bullying may involve children, adults, elderly, workplace or domestic relationships
Domestic violence may be physical, verbal, emotional
Bullying may be physical, verbal or emotional
Domestic violence victims may become fearful, depressed, withdrawn, confused etc..
Bullying victims may become depressed, physically sick, sleep deprived, anxious etc..
Domestic violence occurs at a higher rate to those with disabilities.
Bullying occurs at a higher rate to those with disabilities.
Domestic violence victims are many times slow to report their abuse.
Bullying victims are many times slow to report their abuse.


Children who witness domestic violence or are abused themselves in some manner, many times will learn the same behaviors and become the bully and or violent with others.  As they grow older those same children may become abusers in dating, spousal relationships, or even with their own children.

Included in domestic violence is teen dating violence, which is one of the major sources of violence in teen life.  Our goal of education in compassion, awareness and respect is needed in these areas of domestic violence and bullying more than ever – if we are to create a culture of peace in our community and world.  In this month ahead, what can we do to educate ourselves and our children on these topics?  Here at Balanced Life Skills I will be talking to our students and writing on our website about violence and bullying.  As always we are here to help families and individual children develop their own place of peace and be compassionate, aware and respectful of others.

Internal Self-Defense Part II

Last year I wrote in this blog about internal self defense, what it means and its importance. I focused on the power of emotion and the need to learn to protect oneself from negative feelings. This is a major thrust of my training here in Wudang, and I thought a little more discussion was in order.

Remember that in Daoist theory, a person is like a bottle filled with water. We are a container of vital energy. When we are born, that container is full. We spend that energy in our everyday activities, sometimes intentionally and more often through habitual leaks. When the bottle is empty, we die.

To continue the water bottle metaphor, this is a bottle that takes a lifetime to empty, so from day to day the change is so minute we might overlook it. Indeed, a person can go for years thinking they are as vital as ever, only to wake up one day to notice that an important reference point has been passed. It’s a quarter empty! It’s HALF EMPTY! But the perception that the water suddenly vanished is wrong: every action of every day effects the level.

I am learning that a big part of my training is sensitizing myself to the effects my actions have on my vitality. The exertion of full-time training, plus my master’s insights about replenishing our energy, means that the level in my bottle drops and rises more noticeably, which with practice is helping me learn to monitor it and make good decisions that fill up the bottle.

I explained that so that I could explain this: I am starting to understand that the vital cost of my actions themselves is not as significant as the vital cost of the emotions engendered by those actions. A training day when I allow myself to be grouchy and negative is many times more draining than an identical day when I stay calm and positive.

This puts me in mind of some of the elderly individuals I have had the honor to know. Many of those who reach a great age and still seem vital and energetic are those whose characters are calm and optimistic. These individuals do not avoid effort in order to spare themselves the expenditure of vitality. But in their industry, they face each task quietly and purposefully. When the task is over, they do not bemoan the effort or overly celebrate it’s completion. They seem calm and gratified.

Other people I have known, of all different ages, seem prematurely dissipated. They seem to have a greater emotional reaction to every new task. If they are working already, they complain of the additional work. If they are resting, they resent the end to their rest. When a task is finished, a celebration is in order, and in this celebratory play they are as excessive as they are in their work. Each action carries an unnecessarily heavy toll on the water in the bottle.

The key here is that the vitality in the bottle is not just sand in an hourglass, measuring out a lifespan. It is the essence that determines the quality of a life as well. Without the toll of negative emotion, there is more energy to spare each day on the things we do and the things we love, without diminishing ourselves.

Safety Tips for Kids: Broken Glass

If we make a mistake and drop a plate or glass and there is broken glass on the floor our children need to KNOW that walking on or touching broken glass is not safe and will cause serious injury.  Even the sound of broken glass, children should be taught the following.

TEACH:  Stop, Freeze, Look to see where the broken glass is and call for help.  Do not move until help arrives!