Understanding and Applying Self-Defense Strategies

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great course , great professor , true expert Dr. Tammy Yard-McCracken is a great professor and I am so glad that I took this class to learn self-defense. She teaches how to avoid violence and determine who is dangerous and who might have good intentions . She teaches how to minimize the damage you and your loved ones take when violence cannot be avoided and how to get both you and your loved ones to be able to get home safely. In her hierarchy, she equates murderous with lethal. That's an error on her part. While a tiny percentage of our soldiers might commit murder, almost always when they use lethal force, they are not committing murder. While a percentage of police officers do commit murder, some of them do use lethal force without committing murder. Lethal is not a synonym for murderous. She must know that they are not synonyms. So she must be saying something that she knows is false for her own reasons. I suspect that she believes that this lie makes it more likely that her students will adopt a paradigm that she feels that they must adopt in order to be successful in self-defense. I can't begin to list everything that I have already learned from her course. I will have to continue to return to it over and over again because it is almost like drinking from a fire hydrant: so much great information and it is hard to take all of it in at once. Each time I go back, I pick up more. The more I practice it, the better I will get at it. She is a great professor. I have had the good fortune to earn 3 degrees and a graduate degree in math/science and doctoral work. I have had more than my share of amazing professors and I would put her up there with some of the very best I have been lucky enough to learn from. This is a great course taught be an amazing professor . I strongly recommend it.
Date published: 2021-04-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Some gem of wisdom contained here Most martial artists don't have Ph.D in psychology and combining that with proficiency in martial arts training has given the presenter unique insights that are very worthwhile. Distinguishing asocial and social violence is a unique perspective I had not come across before. I also liked how the presenter covered the fundamentals of body mechanics, not just specific 'moves'. Lesson 18 made my jaw drop as the instructor goes about pointing out the vulnerable spots of the body and shows you how to do maximum damage, no holds barred. Another awesome gem: "If you don't want to be stabbed, live life with integrity." What?! To find out what that means, you'll have to watch the lecture.
Date published: 2021-01-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent instructor I just love the instructor in this course. She gives clear and helpful tips for overall physical readiness and practice as well as psychological insight regarding the matter of conflict and violence in a funny and coherent way.
Date published: 2020-12-12
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Not very happy with this course. I've been involved in self-defense martial arts for over 40 years Shotokan karate, Tai Chi Chuan, Bagua and Xingyi Chuan. I thought that this course would complement my studys. I was not really impressed.
Date published: 2020-09-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent presentation! I was impressed by the amount of thought that went into the course and the presentation. As a prior member of the military, prior federal law enforcement and a former full contact kickboxer I found the course beneficial and have recommended it for my much younger family members. Violent encounters are going to happen. Any course that can prepare an individual for the physical and/or legal realities should be endorsed. This course will not turn anyone into a martial arts master but that was not the intent. However, the course does force a potential victim to think about the unpleasant realities that exist. Any preparation is better than no preparation.
Date published: 2020-09-10
Rated 1 out of 5 by from This DVD on self defense is disappointing and not worthwhile
Date published: 2020-08-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thoughtfull and thorough. Discussed more than the physical applications but also the legal/emotional/moral aspects. Covers the threat/prey dynamics, the mindset of the predators, the ways to minimize response times, and so much more. Fits well with my training/experiences in both the military and as a peace officer. I have offered both the content and the course to co-workers and received positive responses.
Date published: 2020-07-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great presentation. I am only part way through this but it is really informative and interesting. I made a very good choice in buying this course.
Date published: 2020-05-22
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Understanding and Applying Self-Defense Strategies
Course Trailer
Waking Up Your Natural Human Animal
1: Waking Up Your Natural Human Animal

At its core, self-defense means learning to understand violence and carry out decisions necessary to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. The great news is that you already have the ability to do this. In this first lesson, tap into your own body’s resources and access your inner animal.

34 min
Other Bodies as “Meat Puzzles”
2: Other Bodies as “Meat Puzzles”

Self-defense requires an understanding of our physical selves. Our bodies are essentially “meat puzzles”—blood, flesh, and bone assembled for optimal living, but with a variety of weaknesses. Practice drills of timing, balance, and more to learn how your body works, and how to identify weaknesses in others.

32 min
Natural Targets on the Human Body
3: Natural Targets on the Human Body

Continue your study of the meat puzzle by reflecting on targets. Consider how bones line up to create strength, how to spot weak structures in opponents, and ways to maintain balance in yourself. Develop “targeting” as a skill through shadow boxing, combinations, and blindfold drills.

38 min
Weaponizing Your Body
4: Weaponizing Your Body

Lunges, strikes, punches, kicks: Your body has numerous weapons at its disposal. Here, you will practice a number of drills to build the movements and ingrain patterns—a.k.a., muscle memory. Put it all together with combination patterns and environmental scenarios. Then, find out the best things to do after you disable your opponent in an attack.

41 min
Generating Power by Playing Smart
5: Generating Power by Playing Smart

One important aspect of self-defense is understanding how your body will behave in an attack. Your “survival stress response,” or SSR, is the body’s natural alarm system—a flood of hormones that will change the way you think and act. Get to know your SSR as you study ways to generate power, from kinetic chains to exploiting gravity.

33 min
Expanding What You Are Willing to See and Do
6: Expanding What You Are Willing to See and Do

In a self-defense encounter, you enter a decision cycle called the “OODA loop”—observe, orient, decide, act. Because every second counts, the quicker you can move from observe and orient to decisions and action, the better off you will be. In this lesson, you will explore ways to expand what you see—because how you see controls what you can do.

32 min
Responding to the Ambush
7: Responding to the Ambush

Round out your study of the body’s survival stress response and the OODA decision cycle. The term “reactionary gap” refers to the distance between the awareness that something is happening and the moment we take action; training and repetition are ways to close this gap. Learn responses to bear hugs and other ambush techniques, and practice your reps to condition yourself.

27 min
How Violence Occurs
8: How Violence Occurs

Here, shift your attention from your own body’s physical reaction and reflect on the nature of violence. Although the experience of violence can be chaotic, the process of violence is somewhat logical. Think about the motivations and goals of predators, and unpack the six primary elements common in the process of violent attacks.

25 min
Predator Behavior and Violence
9: Predator Behavior and Violence

Continue your examination of predator motivations. Some predators, like muggers or carjackers, want resources, whereas others may simply enjoy violence. Delving into the ways they see the world can help you better understand your surroundings and avoid dangerous situations. Consider habitual areas, natural lines of drift, and the role of chance.

28 min
Social Conflict and Violence
10: Social Conflict and Violence

The “asocial violence” of the previous lesson occurred wherever the predator is hunting. In this lesson, Dr. Yard-McCracken explores violence in social settings, from the primal chest-thumping of drunks in a bar, to the thirst for vengeance after a betrayal, to violence as a means to achieve social status. Learn “tactical breathing” to de-escalate yourself.

31 min
Escape and Evasion
11: Escape and Evasion

Because getting home safely is the primary goal of self-defense, escape and evasion are critical tools for personal safety. The four elements of a violent encounter are the target (i.e., you), the threat, the environment, and luck. See how escape and evasion tools apply to each of these elements.

27 min
How and Why Conflict Escalates to Violence
12: How and Why Conflict Escalates to Violence

Why do conflicts escalate to violence? From a psychological standpoint, we all have a hierarchy of needs, with survival and security at the base of the pyramid, and belonging and esteem toward the top. Reflect on the nature of tribal behavior, how humans “other” people outside their group, and the connection between “othering” and violence.

32 min
De-escalating Your Monkey Brain
13: De-escalating Your Monkey Brain

One way of thinking about humans is that we have a lizard brain (focused on survival), a monkey brain (focused on emotion and tribal behavior), and a rational brain. The “monkey brain” is an evolutionary survival mechanism that can get us into trouble by escalating conflicts. Learn to control this part of your brain to prevent violence.

33 min
When and How to De-escalate Threats
14: When and How to De-escalate Threats

In the moments before an attack, you won’t have much time to reflect on the threat. In this lesson, examine ways to read nonverbal communication and practice what law enforcement professionals call “intelligence gathering.” Listen to what someone says, watch how they move, and recognize threats in the making.

26 min
Verbal Boundary Setting and Predator Test
15: Verbal Boundary Setting and Predator Test

Physical training is about winning in a conflict, but the real win is to avoid the conflict altogether. “Boundary setting” is a strategy for bridging the gap, helping you ward off threats before they turn into violence. Gain a few insights into how to set boundaries with potential threats—and how to recognize predators.

28 min
Physical Boundary Setting and Defenses
16: Physical Boundary Setting and Defenses

If verbal boundary setting doesn’t work, physical boundary setting may help you defend yourself without coming to blows. Find out how to get “tactical ready”—a guard-up fighting stance that shows you know what you’re doing, without escalating the conflict. Explore basic parries and positions that will help you play defense.

39 min
Ethical Articulation Skills in Self-Defense
17: Ethical Articulation Skills in Self-Defense

What are the legal and ethical implications of self-defense? This course is not about the legal term “self-defense,” but rather is about understanding how to make decisions to keep yourself safe. Here, Dr. Yard-McCracken offers a few rules of thumb for understanding the ethical parameters of defending yourself.

26 min
Physical Cheats in Self-Defense
18: Physical Cheats in Self-Defense

The rules of fair play are ingrained in all of us from an early age, but self-defense is about getting home safely by any means necessary. You don’t have to (and likely shouldn’t) fight fair to get away from a violent attack. Examine a variety of creative ways to attack the threat’s body, moving from pain to injury to damage.

36 min
Joint Locks in Self-Defense
19: Joint Locks in Self-Defense

Joint locks are an unconventional but potentially effective way to fight. Apply what you know about the body’s physical structure to practice locks on hinging joints (elbows and knees), ball and socket joints (shoulders and hips), and gliding joints (wrists and ankles). See full demonstrations of each lock as you learn them.

32 min
Preparing for Defense on the Ground
20: Preparing for Defense on the Ground

The game of defense is different if you are on the ground. You have less time, and will more quickly run out of energy, strength, and opportunity. As you’ll see in this lesson, ground work is something of a paradox: It’s seriously uncomfortable, but the more comfortable you get with it, you’ll find it’s also a seriously fun way to play with the meat puzzle.

32 min
The Ground Problem from Start to Finish
21: The Ground Problem from Start to Finish

Continue your study of defense from the ground. Success on the ground means surviving to your feet, so follow the process of defense from start to finish. Unpack issues of mobility, flexibility, pass-throughs, controlled falls, and more, and look at techniques from wrestlers and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

37 min
Weapons in Self-Defense
22: Weapons in Self-Defense

Guns and knives are obvious weapons for defense, but they are bound by laws of Every Day Carry (EDC). When it comes to defense, improvised weapons such as pens, keychains, and coin purses can be just as helpful. Survey potential stabbing weapons, blunt-force objects, and other tools at your disposal.

39 min
Protecting Your Very Important People
23: Protecting Your Very Important People

Avoiding a conflict can be as simple as running away, but this becomes challenging if you have a partner or children with you. As someone who has studied self-defense, you become the person capable of taking and maintaining control of the situation. Enhance your skills of observation, prevention—and physical defense.

34 min
Adapt Your Self-Defense to the Environment
24: Adapt Your Self-Defense to the Environment

Now that you’ve reached the end of the course, you are your own bodyguard, armed with a toolkit of ways to de-escalate conflicts and defend yourself if a physical threat presents itself. Watch a few final demonstrations to help you put together everything you’ve learned in different environments, and then consider the arsenal you have developed and what you can continue to learn.

33 min
Bonus: Extended Warm-Up, with Adaptations
25: Bonus: Extended Warm-Up, with Adaptations

Full warm-up session with adaptations and modifications.

21 min
Tammy Yard-McCracken

Training experiences introducing people to their own adrenaline so they learn they can be afraid and still find ways to access their human brain.

ALMA MATER

Eisner Institute for Professional Studies

INSTITUTION

Kore Self-Defense & Krav Maga

About Tammy Yard-McCracken

Dr. Tammy Yard-McCracken is the owner and chief instructor of Kore Self-Defense & Krav Maga, a training center in Northern Virginia. She is a certified expert Krav Maga instructor with Krav Maga Global (KMG), and she holds a Bachelor of Science in Education from Illinois State University, a Master of Science in Professional Counseling (LPC) from the University of Houston-Clear Lake, and a Doctorate in Psychology (PsyD) from the Eisner Institute for Professional Studies. Dr. Yard-McCracken has been established as an expert witness in Virginia and Texas civil and criminal proceedings and has served as a professional consultant to legal counsel on issues of human behavior and violence. She has also served as an adjunct faculty member for Argosy University and Houston Community College, and she has authored numerous articles on conflict management, instructor development, and gender issues in self-defense. In addition to having more than 25 years as a practicing psychotherapist, Dr. Yard-McCracken is a certified conflict communication instructor and is credentialed as a self-defense instructor with Chiron Training. She is a board member for Conflict Research Group International and a core instructor with Violence Dynamics, which teaches seminars on self-defense. She has also provided training and instruction for private companies, international safety and security organizations, and nonprofit groups serving populations at high risk for violence.

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