Monday, October 15, 2007

W.E. C.A.R.E. Kids Program Instructors

Bruce Gunderson is now offering to certify instructors in the Winning Edge Child Awareness Rapid Escape (W.E. C.A.R.E.). The program is designed to teach three different age groups of children in safety, awareness and physical escape techniques designed to defeat abduction attempts.

Contact Bruce or Kelly Gunderson at 847-292-0900 or 630-567-7686 or email at or

Saturday, October 06, 2007

It's not if, but when

It was incredibly uncomfortable as she recounted her tale to us, because you could see her reliving the fear. Her young teenaged son nervously looked down and shuffled his feet as we listened.

A woman came into Bruce Gunderson's school with her son, who was a former karate student, to ask for our advice on a situation.

She and her family had been hassled, intimidated, then physically attacked by a group of young men at a resort -- a resort that she had specifically picked out because it was in a safe part of a safe country.

This woman had planned a family vacation for her Chicago-area family at a very upscale French resort which is known to be frequented by mostly French. She indicated that she chose that very resort because it was considered safe.

At some point a group of young men began verbally intimidating the family and then culminated in a physical confrontation and attack in a laundry room. The details of the attack were jumbled by this woman's outright shock of the situation, "This was not supposed to happen here!", she said choked with emotion.

It sounded like the confrontation escalated in a couple of different areas by the group whose leader appeared to be drunk. The woman indicated that at one point she physically placed herself in between her husband and the big mouth because "I felt that he wouldn't hit a woman". We won't go into the tactical pitfalls of this move because that's not the point of this post.

The point is -- don't wonder IF your next confrontation is going to occur. Wonder WHEN it's going to occur.

This family picked a French resort, visited by French locals precisely because it is considered to be safe. Yet, they were attacked by a group of French men. The denial that was occuring was palpable, "I specifically chose this resort so this wouldn't happen!" She said she was further upset because none of the other guests would help them and the police took an intolerable length of time to respond.

Why was this family attacked? Was it because of increasing anti-Americanism in Europe? Or was it simply because the group of toughs could? Who knows and who cares. YOU are responsible for your own safety and the safety of your family. You can't count on others to help you.

Your attitude (or "mindset") plays a huge part in your ability to react. If you have the mindset that I am willing to fight for my family WHEN we get hassled or attacked you don't have to sit around and fret whether or not you MIGHT be attacked.

Brian Hartman at PFC Training teaches his students during his "Searching for Adversaries" class to go into a building expecting to find a bad guy, not wondering if you might find one hiding therein.

Relson Gracie, in the indomitable Gracie family fashion, tells anyone stupid enough to hassle him, "I don't fight for free." The meaning should be clear. If someone attacks his family, the message is even more concise, "It's a good day to die, man."

I remember Jim Peterson from the old SCARS tapes making a similar point about deciding beforehand what you are willing to fight for.

Make the decision now, not then -- "I love my family. I will fight for my family if someone attacks us." Don't worry about being embarrassed. Don't worry about the legalities. Don't worry if it will happen or not.

Think about it for a moment because this shift in your mindset is incredibly liberating. Now I don't have to worry about being attacked. In my training method we already have a plan (I know WHAT to do) and I have a specific trigger point to set off the plan (I know WHEN to do it). But I don't have to wonder every minute what to do if there is trouble.

There is either going to be trouble or there is not going to be trouble. That's it. Either I'm under attack or I'm not. I don't have to waste precious energy and time worrying about a non-existent situation.

It's not IF you are going to be attacked, but WHEN you are going to be attacked.

Train hard.


Who is going to stand up for you?

Last year, 54-year old Guido Demoor was working his job as a conductor on a train in Antwerp, Belgium. Six youths got on the train and began intimidating the riders on the train. Demoor asked the young men to knock it off. They promptly began to beat Demoor.

None of the other 40 passengers did anything to intervene. In fact, at the next stop 30 of them actually got off the train, leaving Demoor to be beaten to death by the six youths.

Forty people sat there and did nothing as a decent person was kicked and punched to death. I'm sure the passengers were scared, terrified in fact, of the event unfolding before their eyes. Nonetheless, to be so impotent as to offer nothing to help a fellow citizen?

A clue into the local mindset comes from a fellow rail worker quoted in the paper, De Morgen, "You see what happens if you intervene? If Guido had not opened his mouth he would still be alive."

I see two lessons from these kinds of stories:

1. You can not count on help from anyone during your particular physical confrontation. You have to manage it yourself and continue as if you will not receive any help. The police will not be there (bad guys have an annoying habit of perpetrating their crime when the cops are not around) and people walking around you may not have the skill or the will to help you. You have to startle onlookers out of their paralysis by loudly and clearly giving orders -- "YOU, call the police!" "YOU TWO, pull these guys off me!" Start to call for help on your mobile, on your radio, or even just out loud. You need to divide the attention of your attackers, enlist help and put the thought that help could be coming into the attackers' minds.

2. Make the conviction now, that you will stand up to the forces of evil and come to the aid of your neighbors. Now. You can't wait until the crisis occurs because you will be overwhelmed by the situation. Make the commitment. I will stand up for my neighbors. There is strength in numbers. If we saw any positive come out of Sept. 11, 2001, it was the manifistation of good standing up to evil on Flight 93. The actions of those passengers -- a completely disparate bunch of strangers congealed into a single group by need -- probably saved either the U.S. Capitol or the White House and offered us a glimpse of the heroic heights ordinary people could attain. If you do not stand up for your neighbors, who will stand up for you?