The Edge Center Blog
Concepts, Ideas & Meditations of Master Vince Damiano
There are many character development programs out there and most of them are found in Martial Arts schools. Where a lot of programs claim to teach character building they promote it as an automatic byproduct of the training they offer and not a specific program. Others will buy a commercial program and plug it into their curriculum expecting it to generate results.
However- character building has to be custom tailored to the individual, through an intelligent process and then cultivated based on their needs, values and beliefs.
We first start by understanding what a student is looking for. There are some students that don't want to take the time to accelerate their development, rather they just want to grow through live and that's fine. For those that want to enhance who they are will show that. They might not say it, but their actions and attitude will tell you.
We then move towards values. What do they hold most important to themselves? What makes them who they are? When things get hard what do they default to?
Once we determine what makes someone tick, we get into their core beliefs. These are the meat and potatoes of personal character. Personal beliefs are what drives your life or holds you back. These also include weaknesses that someone may have.
I personally love building up a person's weakness because it shows the most profound results. If a person believes they have a weakness, we forge it into a weapon so powerful that no one can use it against you.
When seeking out a program for personal enhancement, whether it's for you or someone else- Make sure there's more to it than just arbitrarily saying words before and after class. Most Martial Arts schools are known for this. There is a ton of "industry constants" that make school owners think that simply teaching their art makes them life skill experts. Be sure that the instructor has a solid background in Leadership & Personal Development and has a proven track record of results.
A home invasion is one of the scariest events that can happen to you. Whether the event is a robbery or kidnapping you need to be prepared to defend yourself as if your life is in jeopardy.
Before We dive into this let's examine what could lead up to an event like this. Does your home look like no one is home? Have you set patterns when you leave? Do you have high value items and put the box on the curb for anyone to see? Having a few systems in place can also thwart a home invasion- such as outside light sensors, an alarm or a dog who barks at unknown noises and people. But just in case you don’t have all that or it fails, here is some advice.
First- You will need training: Start with Self-Defense Training. Not Martial Arts or BJJ or MMA, those are made for sports where there are rules. You need a combative art MADE for self defense. If it's too technical or complex and takes a long time to master- find a new system. As part of that training you will want to master Verbal Defense. You will need to project your voice with authority and confidence as well as knowing what to say and what not to.
Your next step in training is firearms: You will need to know how to shoot instinctively in low light conditions without causing collateral damage to anyone else in the house, destructive appliances such as a gas line and don’t forget about your neighbors, bullets go through windows walls. In your firearms training you will want to select the right firearm for the job. Forget about what your friends say you should use since firearm advice is usually based on personal preference and pick something that fits in your hand, is comfortable and has easily usable features. When choosing what type of firearms there you should have a pistol and a shotgun both with lights on them. Together this combination offers close quarters with the pistol and a shotgun will give you a higher chance of hitting a target. Contrary to one of the most given advice; DO NOT rely on the sound of simply "pumping the shotgun"- This does not scare the intruder away as told. Most of the time they aren't going to hear it and honestly, are you really going to have it in your mind to wait to see if it had the desired effect?
After you've been properly trained you need a plan. This is your Hold-Out & Escape method. Having a plan is as easy as keeping a flashlight, phone, firearm & shoes next to your bed. You will be able to get up and grab your essentials quickly and without looking for anything. Know what room in your house you can make your "Alamo" or what room you can easily escape from. This is usually a bathroom since most have windows and if you have made preparations you'll have an escape ladder to use. If you have to hold-out, make sure you have protection tools with you. If it's your firearm, great. If you don’t have a firearm have a bat or a club and even pepper spray. In a pinch you can make a defensive spray with rubbing alcohol and cayenne pepper in a spray bottle. If not any spray you have in a cabinet will distract someone enough to make an escape. Now once you’ve made your escape, where do you go? You will need a family rally point to meet at in case you get separated.
Once you have a plan- Rehearse it! Go through it with the whole family. Make sure the moment you realize your home is being invaded- CALL 911, and do this before you text someone that someone is in your house and before you take a selfie. If you cannot personally make the call specifically direct a family member to do it. Don’t say "someone call 911" if you do, no one will- you have to pick one person to do it.
You now have a decision to make. If you are not well armed you have no choice but to make an escape, and always make escape your first plan. If you are armed and well trained and ONLY if an escape is not possible you need to take action. By law you cannot just shoot or attack someone in your home. You first must identify yourself as an "armed citizen" and demand they leave, then you must give them the chance by leaving the way clear- meaning you can't stand in the doorway and say "leave" then when they can't get through shoot them, that doesn’t look good in the eyes of the law. After you’ve made yourself clear and the aggressor still makes their way towards you it's time to fear for you and your families safety. This is the time to use your training.
Having practiced, you know what hallways and rooms make a funnel. This is where the view from where you are is narrow and opens up the farther you go. if you are on the open side of the funnel- MOVE. Use your flashlight to blind the invader while giving loud, short commands. If they come at you - use your weapon to the limit of your training. Once the threat has been neutralized, always suspect there to be additional invaders. Now you need to clear your home. This is done room by room from the top down, leaving the light in the room on once its cleared. do this until finished or until police arrive, then advise them to the status of the house of either "clear" or "not clear". Take their directions from that point on.
When the whole event is over you will have to give a police report. If you had to neutralize the invader you and your family will be questioned to the nature of the attack and if you were "justified". The family has to know what to say. Basically YOU were fearful of your life and the lives of your family. You and your family all have to say just that in order to give no other option of the use of force you took.
This one article is not a definitive work on everything that could happen in a home invasion. It is simply one approach to dealing with it. The best advice to give is to seek out training and practice. The better trained you are and the more you refine your actions the better chance you will have to survive.