Episode 116 | May 15, 2018

Personal Safety & Self-Defence with David Nance

A Personal Note from Orion

When I was young, I had an incredible amount of courage, so much that it was borderline stupidity. I traveled the world solo for many years and sometimes accidentally got myself into risky situations. I believe I have guardian angels looking after me and protecting me. Now that I am older, I’m also aware of my personal safety.

These days, it’s important, especially for women, to  trust their intuition and be aware of their surroundings. There are a lot of good people in the world, but you still need to protect yourself from the bad ones.

I want you to take care of yourself and lead a happy and safe life. That is why I invited my friend, David Nance, to be this week’s Stellar Life podcast guest. David has over 20 years of experience as a personal safety expert.


In this Episode

  • [02:32] – David starts things off by sharing a bit about himself and his history in the personal safety industry.
  • [04:49] – What do listeners need to know about self-defense? David answers, then Orion discusses her own experiences with safety issues in Israel.
  • [09:12] – David responds to the experiences that Orion has shared, then the two of them discuss the vulnerability of people who often aren’t present (due to being on their phones, for example).
  • [13:19] – Orion shares a more recent experience that illustrates that scary things can happen even in safe areas.
  • [14:39] – We hear David’s thoughts on the Santa Monica episode that Orion has just mentioned.
  • [17:06] – David shares his thoughts on gun policy and discusses the importance of training and responsibility.
  • [20:35] – What should listeners do to prepare themselves for any type of situation?
  • [22:20] – Orion shares the origin story of Krav Maga. She then talks about a powerful exercise she learned in Krav Maga to help prepare your body to react powerfully in dangerous real-life situations.
  • [26:32] – Has David ever encountered a dangerous situation?
  • [28:30] – David talks about learning how to take a punch, and what it feels like the first time you’re hit square in the jaw.
  • [29:52] – Orion talks about whether she has used (or consider using) pepper spray for self-protection.
  • [31:38] – David discusses how using pepper spray would work in relation to the specific hypothetical scenario that Orion has just provided.
  • [33:22] – We hear about the difference between pepper spray and pepper gel.
  • [34:21] – What are some of David’s top tips for women in regard to safety?
  • [37:58] – David shares some tips and techniques for creating physical distance and keeping yourself safe.
  • [40:39] – When using pepper spray, aim to go from ear-to-ear (meaning side-to-side) across the eyes rather than just trying to dot the eyes.
  • [41:21] – What does pepper spray actually do to the person who gets sprayed? And if you get attacked, what body parts should you go for when fighting back?
  • [42:50] – David talks about how to recognize whether someone is dangerous. He then shares his thoughts on home security systems.
  • [45:34] – What should you do when somebody knocks on your door?
  • [46:45] – David shares his three top tips for living a stellar life: 1. Have a plan. 2. Do what’s necessary. 3. Live well, be healthy, and be happy.
  • [47:15] – Where can people reach David or find and buy his products?

About Today’s Show

‏‏Listen, I’m all about the notion that we are living in a friendly universe, that we are safe. I believed my whole life that I have angels that are guiding me and protecting me because when I was young, let me tell you, I had a lot of courage that was borderline stupidity. I got myself into situations that were dangerous, dangerous. Plus, I travelled the world by myself. I went to many countries on my own for years. It’s easy for a woman that travel on her own to get herself into maybe situations that are not safe. I think it is your personal responsibility to take care of your safety. To help you with that, I invited a good friend of mine, his name is David Nance, and he’s a personal safety expert. He was featured on tons and tons of TV channels like Fox News, Spike TV, The History Channel, and CBS, and more, and more, and more, and more. He’s a true expert when it comes to really protecting yourself and when it comes to self-defense. Hello, David, and welcome to Stellar Life Podcast.

‏‏Hi, Orion. Good to be here, thank you.

‏‏Thank you for being here. Today, we’re going to talk about safety tips and all the big dangers out there, and how can we protect ourselves, and all that good stuff. Before we start, why don’t you share a little bit about yourself? Who you are and what you do?

‏‏I’m a personal safety expert. I’ve been in the industry for over 20 years. I started out by creating the law enforcement training division for Sabre Security Equipment Corporation, that’s actually the largest manufacturer of pepper sprays, and personal safety equipment, and personal safety products for law enforcement, most notably oleoresin capsicum or OC sprays for their personal safety. I created a defensive tactics program for law enforcement agencies that taught use of force, proper use of force, how to document use of force, how to use pepper spray properly, responsibly, and in what situations to use it. That afforded me the ability to work with defensive tactics instructors, firearms training officers globally and my program has since trained about 6000 law enforcement instructors on OC sprays, pepper sprays, proper use of force, etcetera. In addition to that, after that program, I decided it makes a lot of sense to come out with a training program for the general public. Law enforcement officers, they have a partner that oftentimes, unless you’re a state trooper, and you’re wearing body armor, you have a radio to call for backup if you need more, you have other use of force options, you’re trained in defensive tactics, and hand-to-hand combat. They’re dedicating their careers to it. The general public don’t learn about personal safety so much in school. It’s not something we’re required to learn, it’s something they have to figure out on our own, there’s a lot of information out there regarding it, there’s a lot of myths, and a lot of misinformation. I decided to put together a personal safety academy and train instructors nationwide on that, so they could go into their communities, schools, sororities, and help people, and give them that foundation that would help them in a situation if they were ever facing a dangerous threat, how to get out of that situation, how to recognize that situation to prevent yourself from escalating into a serious situation where you’re actually fighting against an attacker. I introduced the Sabre Personal Safety Academy about 10 years ago, and since then, we’ve trained 600 instructors nationwide that offer that program to their communities.

‏‏What do our listeners need to know about self defense?

‏‏The most important thing is to have a plan, it’s to understand that these things do happen. There’s a reason why we have 18,000 police departments in the United States, a total of 40,000 different agencies that are out there to help protect us. It’s because there are bad people, and there are people that are facing mental challenges that do things that can cause serious emotional damage, and can cause physical harm, or even worse. You need to have a plan—how are you
going to protect yourself? How are you going to deal with a situation where you’re facing a dangerous threat? How can you get out of that situation? What products are available that might best help me if I’m ever in that situation? It’s what I tell, I often get interviewed for back to college when I talk to parents of college students, and I encourage them to have that talk. The first talk that you would have before your student goes off to school is going to be much easier than the talk that you have if something happens to your student, or to your child because they didn’t have a plan. It’s just something that needs to be done, it’s something needs to be thought about, and I think it’s a very important topic. Right now, you have half the population of the United States seriously concerned about their personal safety. There’s so many things that are taking place in the news. In the United States, we’re more concerned about personal safety now than any time since 9/11. It’s a serious issue.

‏‏I am Israeli and personal safety is a constant threat. There are sometimes terror attacks, thank God it’s been quiet lately. I remember my visit in Israel about two years ago, where all of a sudden there was a wave of Palestinians that came into the country, where just in the middle of nowhere, stabbing people. I remember getting on the bus, in Israel you’ve got Israeli Arabs and Jewish Israeli people that will live together, but you can distinguish who is who, who is a good person, and who is that person that would like to attack you. I remember getting on the bus with my mom and it was a group of three guys that were speaking Arabic and we just waited for the next bus because we were, there is this wave of knife stabbing, and we’re not sure what’s going on. We’re just going to keep safe even if the those three guys were probably just really cool students, we didn’t want to take a chance because they come in so many shapes and forms. It can be a woman, it can be a man, it can be young, it can be old, you never know.

‏‏There’s no set profile. You’re exactly right. Were you in the military? Did you have to go
through the military?

‏‏I was in the IDF. I was intelligent, I wasn’t a warrior in the field, but after I finished the IDF, I studied mixed martial arts, and aikido, and a little bit of Krav Maga.

‏‏That’s fantastic, Krav Maga is excellent. When you’re 18 in Israel, you have to go to the military for two years, is that correct?

‏‏For women, and three years for men.

‏‏Three years for men, and two years for women. I think that’s obviously unique. Israel may be one of the only countries that requires that, but I think that that is a fantastic education you receive by doing that.

‏‏It’s out of necessity.

‏‏I mean you’re required as a citizen as you mentioned. Think about all the things that you learned there. The average person throughout the world doesn’t know, is never exposed to – did you learn defensive tactics?

‏‏I learned a little bit. Actually, what I learned on my own was more than I learned in the military. I went through basic training, I learned something, just for myself, because it’s limited time if you’re not doing the army. If you’re not training to be a warrior and just intelligence where it’s more like computer and secret information, and stuff like that, then I don’t need to be that qualified physically to defend myself.

‏‏Okay, there really wasn’t much hand-to-hand defensive tactics, or use of products like pepper spray, or a baton to protect yourself?

‏‏No, a little bit but nothing long lasting. I didn’t go through that certain type of training.

‏‏Well, I think that with all of the extra education that you went out and got for yourself like the Krav Maga and whatnot, and then your background, you have the mindset in a situation to take some precautions and some measures to protect yourself. That situation you described where you took a different bus and you got away from those individuals, oftentimes people don’t think that way, they think the average individual is good and that’s true. Most people are good, but when you’re encountering strangers and you’re by yourself, in order to stay safe, especially when you’re by yourself is to assume the worst, that ends up keeping you safe. You take those countermeasures. One of the things that we teach, it was created by the late Lieutenant Colonel Jeff Cooper, was the color code system. It’s been well adopted in law enforcement and military. Basically, it talks about a level of awareness. Everyone talks about be aware of your surroundings, but what does that mean? It’s very general. It kind of dumps down personal safety. It goes a little bit beyond that. Basically, level white is just complete unaware. People, nowadays, are so addicted to their smartphones.

Most people are good, but when you’re encountering strangers and you’re by yourself, in order to stay safe, especially when you’re by yourself is to assume the worst, that ends up keeping you safe. Click To Tweet

‏‏They’re such an easy target, especially if it’s a young lady and she’s walking down the street and doing a selfie herself or just not seeing everything around her, she’s so exposed.

‏‏There’s YouTube videos of people in malls walking into fountains. They are walking into cars, it’s just unbelievable. That’s how we operate in our society. We’re never present, we’re always present on social media and letting other people know where we’re at, we don’t even really realize and appreciate where we’re at ourselves . That’s condition white and that makes you what’s called an “easy target” and that is what someone who wants to commit a crime is looking for. They’re looking for the ability to commit the crime and to get away quickly, so they can escape to their own safety and get away with committing the crime. We want you in condition yellow and what that is, that’s a relaxed alertness. It’s a 360-degree awareness of your surroundings, being engaged in what’s happening around you, appreciating where you’re at, especially if you’re alone, I like to teach 12-foot, 4-meter distance between you and other people. That means they’re going to have to take two steps at least and a third to reach out to lunge to get to you. If you’re in that relaxed 360-degree condition yellow situation, you are able to identify a potential threat when they’re moving towards you in a manner that’s not normal. That’s when you turn to level orange, which means you’ve identified a threat and then level red is where you’re actually taking action, running off, or fighting back, or yelling, or doing something to escape them. What you don’t want to do is go from white to black, white’s when you’re totally unaware and black’s when you’re attacked, and you’re injured, and you’re in a really bad situation. Oftentimes, in our classes, our instructors will encourage people to have something that reminds them to stay in that condition yellow, like that Lance Armstrong bracelet. For years, people were using that as a reminder for that matter. Carrying a pepper spray, or a personal alarm, or something that just says, “Hey, let’s be engaged, we’re by ourselves, we’re walking to our car in a mall in the evening,” or, “I’m going to go for a run by myself, early in the morning or late at night.” Just taking precautions, even just walking from your car in front of your house to your front door, oftentimes attacks occur there. What’s going on behind that tree over there? The bushes, people hide in those areas and just being ready to protect yourself if something were to occur.

‏‏I live in Santa Monica, which is a beautiful and wealthy neighborhood and just a few months ago, we had the shooting right by my street. It was two homeless people shooting each other. You never know, it doesn’t matter where you are, these things can happen. It’s not about being paranoid and just living your life in fear, but we are spiritual beings having a human experience and a lot of my episodes are about spirituality, and connection, and seeing the good in things. Actually, I’m not watching the news because the news are poisoned, and it brings all the bad in the world, and on the other hand we are having a physical experience. One of our spiritual obligation is to be aware, it is to take care of ourselves, not only emotionally and physically as far as wellness, but also for our physical safety.

‏‏At Sabre, the company I do the training for and I’m involved with, they talk about that. We want people to live a safe, happy, and healthy life, and it all ties in together with exactly what you’re saying, I agree with that statement. Regarding shooting, that’s obviously in the news and that’s something that our society has come to deal with not only in schools, but also workplace violence, airports, and whatnot. There’s a lot to talk about there. I think the first thing if you don’t mind me going in this direction, regarding the Santa Monica episode you just mentioned, again, that’s a very nice, beautiful area. In Santa Monica, you’re thinking about the ocean, you’re thinking about the pier.

‏‏Our rent is very high. We pay a lot to live here.

‏‏You’re probably not thinking about your personal safety a lot when you’re in that area, but like you mentioned, there was a shooting very recently. The first thing I tell people when it comes to shootings is know what a gunshot sounds like. I think so many people, when they hear it, they assume that it’s not a gunshot, they think it’s a car backfiring, if it’s in an office building or a school they think, that’s a computer monitor perhaps exploding, or somebody dropped something. You almost have to visualize being in that situation. I’m really big on visualization because when you visualize yourself in a high stress situation, having done it before and what you would do mentally, then it’s not the first time when it actually becomes a reality. You’ve thought through this, you have a plan, back to what I mentioned in the very beginning of this conversation, you’ve seen yourself execute that plan and escape to safety. The biggest thing I tell people when they hear a sound that could be a gunshot is to absolutely assume that it is, and then put as much distance between yourself and that sound as you possibly can, as quickly as you can. Know your exits when you’re inside a building. If you can, sit with your back to a wall so you can see the entire room if you’re in a restaurant. I’m in an office building with one exit to get out of this office. I’ve talked to my staff before about going into one office, and going through a window, and going down to the fourth floor which would be about a 2-storey drop as a potential exit if we needed to. I also know that right outside my door, there are two different fire escapes you can take. You have to know those things because workplace violence – we hear a ton of situations nowadays about the school shootings, and they’re awful and horrible. The workplace shootings are actually happening more frequently. This is something that that can happen in any neighborhood unfortunately, whether it’s a school, whether it’s a business, whether it’s a church, and even some of these religious type places are having issues as well. Airports, another area that comes to mind.

The biggest thing I tell people when they hear a sound that could be a gunshot is to absolutely assume that it is, and then put as much distance between yourself and that sound as you possibly can, as quickly as you can.

‏‏What’s your opinion about gun policy?

‏‏That’s a loaded question. There’s a lot to talk about there. In order to do what I think a lot of people want to do, what I’ve been told is you have to change the Second Amendment, and that is not an easy thing to do. Why hasn’t anyone been able to make significant changes over the years? My opinion doesn’t really matter, what I do think matters is that, if you own a firearm, you need to absolutely take training in my mind. You need to know how to use it, when to use it, you need to be responsible with it, you need to keep it secure and locked up, you need to be responsible for that. That’s a level of accountability that is very significant. If you choose to protect yourself with a firearm, own a firearm, you better be accountable for it because obviously if you’re not, there are severe consequences that do occur. Obviously, I believe in background checks. I think all that stuff is very important. You should have a way to protect yourself, I absolutely do. If you’re going to choose a firearm, you better go through an extensive amount of training, and you better be able to justify. If you ever use that product to protect yourself with, you’re going to have to justify that use, and basically convince the police or perhaps a jury that it was a life or death situation. That’s a high level of accountability. It’s just a very serious product if you choose to go that route.

‏‏In Israel, people carry firearms, you see 18 year olds with their Uzis. I shot an Uzi, and when they’re in the army, when they go home, they’ll wear civilian clothes and hold their Uzi, their gun, with them. The mass shooting that I hear of are actually not from the citizens that are trained in firearms, just from our enemies, people that come from Palestine and just want to kill for the sake of killing, just because we’re Jewish and they don’t like us. It’s deliberate, it’s not like some guy got really depressed and started shooting people, or some guy wanted to take revenge in the society, it’s just more politically driven than that. Do you think it’s because of the training? Because people had the military training?

‏‏I think training is really critical if you’re choosing to protect yourself with a firearm. That’s a fair statement you just made, people are using the products responsibly. In that situation, there’s people that aren’t. The challenge that you have is, how do you stop the people that are not…

Training is really critical if you’re choosing to protect yourself with a firearm. That’s a fair statement you just made, people are using the products responsibly. Click To Tweet

‏‏I know, it’s so difficult.

‏‏Because if you were if you were to ban the bad guys, they have them, so how do you stop that? That’s the real question.

‏‏I agree with you. The process of getting a firearm should take at least a year, and they should go through tons of forms, and psychic evaluation, and whatever to make sure that they can handle it, because when people get into the army, they go through psychic evaluation. It’s about evaluating the character of the person before giving them a firearm, only if it’s necessary. What should our listeners do in order to prepare themselves for any type of situation? Do you recommend taking Krav Maga? What do you recommend people do?

‏‏Krav Maga is fantastic. I’ve heard nothing but good things about it. A lot of my instructors are Krav Maga instructors. A lot of fights end up on the ground. A big focus is just basically the practicality of Krav Maga and it makes a lot of sense when you’re doing hand-to-hand combat. If you wish to protect yourself with your hands, that’s absolutely one of the best options that are out there. Any individual listening to this podcast should consider, how do I want to protect myself? Do I want to do it at a distance? Do I not want to carry anything at all and I just want to use body language and my voice? That works sometimes, it won’t work all the time, but it can go a long way to keeping you safe. There are a lot of things I can talk about that will make you a hard target which can deter a potential attacker, but at the end of the day, you can do everything right and then you could have a goal oriented attacker, or someone that’s mentally ill that decided that you’re their target and that attack is going to happen. In that situation, you’ve got to be prepared. Whether it’s calling for others to come and help you with a personal alarm that can be heard up to 1000 feet in all directions or 300 meters, perhaps a whistle. Again, will people actually come to your rescue when they hear a whistle or they think it’s a local sporting event or something else. There’s the bystander effect which people witness a potentially dangerous situation, they think someone else is going to take action, someone else is going to call 911.

‏‏Why do you people do that? I always jump to help people, it’s just my character.

‏‏You’re the exception, most people don’t do that. Most people are not that assertive, but that’s wonderful.

‏‏When I did Krav Maga, what I really loved about it, by the way, do you know Krav Maga, what’s the origin of it?

‏‏Yes, it’s an Israeli defense fighting system.

‏‏The story that I heard was that during the Holocaust, there were the partisans, the people that ran to the woods and hide from the Nazis and they did not go into concentration camps, but they were able to hide in the woods and endure the harsh winters. They were not trained for battle, we’re talking about old people, we’re talking about young kids, the whole gamut, all ages, all types of people. They had to find something that they can teach them that will help them protect themselves instantly. What happened was, they combined skills from different martial arts. For example, when I studied aikido, you have to go up the levels, and it’s not you’re taking a few classes and you can defend yourself. It’s a martial art, there is an art to it. There is a ceremonial aspect to it. Wherein Krav Maga, it is, how can we get somebody who have never trained before and give them the fastest, dirtiest techniques for them to protect themselves, whether it is poking the eyes, or going for the groin, so they can shock their opponent and then run away. Krav Maga is not offensive, it’s defensive. It’s in case you are in a bad situation, you hurt your opponent as much as you can so you can run to safety. It’s not about getting a world title to attack your attacker. It’s all about, shock your opponent and get the hell out of there as fast as you can.

‏‏It’s just extremely practical, Orion, like you mentioned. You don’t want to stand toe-to-toe with someone that could be bigger, faster, stronger, more skilled than you, and generally speaking, you leave your place, you’re not looking to get into a fight, that person is. Therefore they’re starting a fight, they’re going to throw the first punch, they know where they’re going to strike, how they’re going to strike you, and you don’t know it until that punch or whatever it is are coming at you with his throne, and their actions are going to be faster than your reaction, and all it takes is one punch, and you’re unconscious, or worse. In those situations, have that practical way to debilitate them, and not try to box them, block punches. What you see on TV is one thing, and reality that plays out on the street can be quite another.

‏‏The reason why I think people need to take longer training other than just going through a month, two months, three months training is because, the more you train the more you develop that sense of awareness. I remember when I did aikido, I would open doors because my energy was channeled so well, the door went flying and I was like, “Whoa, where did this force came from?” Or something was flying near me, and still to today, my body will move before I even think or see it. It’s instinctual now. One of the things that we did in Krav Maga, one of the exercises was to stand with our eyes closed and then somebody, half of the people in the room stand with their eyes closed, and the other half comes and push them and they need to in the moments to get out, because we have fight, flight, or freeze. To get out of that, “Oh, my god somebody attacks me and I’m going to freeze.” You train, it’s a skill. You train yourself to react in the moment. When somebody pushes you and you train yourself to do this certain movement again, and again, until it’s in your subconscious mind and it’s a muscle memory, so if something like that happened in real life, your body will react even before you think. Before you start getting into fear, your body will react to protect yourself.

‏‏Taking action, that’s highly valuable.

‏‏Did you ever encounter a dangerous situation like that?

‏‏I find myself in situations where I’m in control. I try to not put myself in situations where I’m not in control, and that’s being by myself in areas where I’m isolated. If I am, I’m looking for exits, I’m looking for what’s between me and my destination, and I’m making conscious decisions along the way, “Hey, does that not look right? You know what? Maybe I’m going to go on an alternative route.” I have used pepper spray before to protect myself. I was at a major event in the St. Louis area leaving a 4th of July going back to my car, and there’s a drunk individual that actually started to attack one of my friends. I knew that that event is typically dangerous. There’s often a lot of gang fights and whatnot, I happen to have a small canister of pepper spray with me, I used it to protect my friend. I’ve been in situations that have escalated to a fight before, and my idea, if you get into a fight in public, it’s the last thing you should do, your goal is to get out of that situation and protect yourself, and protect those that you’re with. Having been in this business for quite some time, understanding how these things can go awry, and the dangers that can occur, I’ve been at a military party before where I’ve seen a six foot, five inches muscle-bound guy get taken out by a guy who is five feet and five inches in under five seconds, and that massive man was laying on the ground, this little guy went back to sip his beer. I’m like, “Wow.” That’s why you never get in a fight with a stranger. Who would have thought that the small little guy would have been able to have done that.

‏‏When I did aikido, I can be lightweight, but I can use a certain technique to put down a
300-pound guy.

‏‏That’s the point, you know what you’re doing. You’ve taken the time to master that craft.

‏‏Not master, I’m not a master yet.

‏‏At the end of the day, there’s still somebody out there that you could encounter that could be more skilled than you. That’s the challenge if you choose that as the only option to defend yourself. The other thing you can’t teach is how to take a punch. I boxed for a couple years in college.

At the end of the day, there’s still somebody out there that you could encounter that could be more skilled than you. That’s the challenge if you choose that as the only option to defend yourself.

‏‏I cannot take a punch, I’ll cry.

‏‏Nor should you ever take a punch for that matter. Nonetheless, boxing was great when I was hitting a speed bag and a punching bag. Hitting the bag, working the bag, great exercise, jump rope. All that stuff is fantastic, then you go into a ring and you put a mouthpiece in your mouth, they put on headgear, they gave me this big padded gloves, and then another human being starts hitting you in the face. Again, you’ve got a mouth piece in, you’ve got headgear, you’ve got big padded gloves, you’ve been training for months, and it’s really hard to defend yourself against that, you know it’s coming. The first time you get hit square in the jaw, it’s the last place in the world you want to be, all you want to do is get out of that ring. I’m like, “This is the dumbest sport in the world, I cannot believe I signed up for this.” Teaching someone how to take a punch is not fun. It’s not something that most people are going to respond very well to, especially when you’re not expecting it. I’m big on protecting yourself at a distance. We look at things like body language, using your voice, but ultimately having some way to protect yourself. What are your thoughts on pepper spray and pepper gel? Have you considered that for personal safety in the past?

‏‏The only pepper I used was in cooking. The only pepper I ever sprayed was when I cook. For me, when I go out, I don’t like carrying stuff. I’ll put this tiny purse on me, it seems like if I have to carry the pepper spray, what happens if it falls on my skin and it makes me feel irritated, or leak in my purse?

‏‏First, you would want to make sure you get a good product, and there I would tell you to get Sabre because it’s the number one spray, not only used globally, but it’s also used by all the police departments in Israel and your military. It is by far the best. A good product is not going to leak. You want to buy a product that actually has a safety mechanism that would prevent that from happening, and then a reputable brand. A brand that’s used by law enforcement. Those guys are carrying it on them every day and they’re obviously not going to choose a product that was leak and jeopardize their safety. That is a legitimate concern, but by purchasing a reputable brand, you eliminate that from occurring. You do have to carry it, no doubt. If you’re going to choose not to protect yourself with your hands, then you’re going to protect yourself with a personal safety product whatever that may be, you’re going to have to figure out a way to carry it.

‏‏Let’s say there is a dangerous situation, somebody is attacking me, when will I have the time to get the pepper spray from my purse? I’m going dancing, and wearing my high heels and mini skirt, and I’m like, “I just had one drink and have a pepper spray in my bag.” How does that work?

‏‏When you’re on a dance floor, there’s probably going to be a lot of other people on the dance floor with you, if you’re attacked in that situation, you’re not going to use a pepper spray, one of your friends is going to come to your help, or a bouncer, or the general public.

‏‏No, I’m saying, I’m leaving the party. I’m walking to the parking lot on an empty street.

‏‏That pepper spray is in your hand if you’re by yourself. It’s not in a purse, it’s not in the club, it’s not in your car, it’s not in the glove box, it’s in your hand.

‏‏So, you have to be that conscious.

‏‏Check your coat, check your bag or your purse. It can be inside there, but once you walk outside that club, if you’re by yourself, for sure it should be in your hands. You’re ready to go, if someone approaches you and they do so in a threatening manner, if you feel your safety is in jeopardy, you’re justified to use the product, and it sprays up to 12 feet.

‏‏What does it do to people when you spray them with pepper spray?

‏‏The advantage is that it doesn’t rely on pain to incapacitate like some of the traditional products like the tear gas, the CN tear gas, commonly called mace. Pepper spray will protect you up to 12 feet away. It causes the eyes to close involuntarily. Even if you’re under the influence of drugs, alcohol, emotionally disturbed, and you can’t feel pain, the pepper spray will cause the attacker’s eyes to close. Therefore, it takes away their vision and gives you a chance to escape them. As long as you move from the place where you were, if they’re going to continue their forward movement, they’re going to go to where you’re at, so you sidestep and escape to safety.

‏‏Do you sell those pepper sprays?

‏‏I do. I sell a number of different personal safety products always to protect your home, to stun guns, to pepper sprays, pepper gels, which is something that’s very exciting. It’s kind of the most latest technology and personal alarms.

‏‏What is a pepper gel?

‏‏That is the latest in this technology. You mentioned about getting it on yourself if the can were to leak. Pepper gel doesn’t atomize like hairspray. When you spray a hair spray or an underarm deodorant, there’s tiny microscopic droplets that could blow in the wind and perhaps come back at you. Pepper gel is like shaving cream perhaps or shaving gel, it sprays further, giving you more distance between yourself and the attacker, up to 20% further, prevents wind blow back, and it basically only affects when it comes into direct contact with. It’s not going to affect you if you’re walking with your children or other people, it will only affect what it directly contacts.

‏‏Let’s talk about safety tips for women. For women especially, because women are usually the obvious target. What are some of your top, this is something you should always think about tips to do for women?

‏‏I would say first, it’s okay to be rude. So, I think that people are by nature nice, and we want to help other people out and attackers are looking to take advantage of you. They’re using street smart manipulative type of behavior.

‏‏What type of behavior?

‏‏For example, if you’re walking by yourself and you’re using my 12-foot rule, they’re going to try to close that gap.

‏‏What is your 12-foot rule?

‏‏If you’re by yourself when you’re alone, that’s the minimum distance I want between you and a potential stranger. I’d like more, I’d like 100-feet, I like you to be on the opposite side of the street for that matter.

‏‏I do that, if I see somebody walking behind me, I’ll cross the street.

‏‏Absolutely. At 12-feet, four meters, they have to take at least two steps and then lunge at you to make contact with you, that gives you the ability to react, and move, and escape to safety. I’d like more, but that allows you to grab your pepper spray or whatever personal safety product you’ve chosen. It just gives you an opportunity to react. Moving back to that, they often use what are called distraction techniques. They’ll come up to you and they’ll ask you what time it is, they’ll ask you for directions, they’ll ask you something and by nature, we want to help people. We’re wired internally to be good to people and be generous, we want to help other people. If you’re by yourself and the situation doesn’t feel right, it’s okay to say, “No, I’m in a hurry. I’m sorry, I can’t help you. I don’t know.” If they continue, use a deeper voice, louder and say, “Please leave me alone.” Or just use your voice to discourage them. You don’t want them to close that gap when you’re in that situation by yourself. Watch out for those distraction techniques. It’s okay to be rude. I think those are two very good pieces of advice I can share.

‏‏What about parking lots?

‏‏I have what’s called the 10 seconds to safety that I teach people in parking lots. First, you take two seconds, at least, to scan the parking lot and find the safest place to park. I recommend you park as close to the front of the entrance as you possibly can, well-lit area. I do a lot of work with retailers, convenience stores for example, how to keep their employees safe. One of the number one reasons people shop at Walgreens is because they have well-lit parking lots. Park in a well-lit area closest to the front of that building as you possibly can. Don’t park next to a van, don’t park next to a vehicle where there might be people in it just sitting in the parking lot. Once you do find the safe parking spot, before you shut the car off, take two seconds to scan the area, and then grab your things, quickly get out of the car, and then once you stand up, now you’re at a different vantage point, you’re five to six feet in the air, you have a greater vision between you and the front of the building, take another two seconds to scan what’s between you and the building. If something emerges that seems unsafe, get back in the car and drive off, if not, walk towards the front of the building. When you go into the building take another two seconds to look in the front window. There could be a robbery that’s occurring at that retail location, if there’s not and everything seems safe, open the door, go inside. Take another two seconds, if everything’s okay, then walk in and continue shopping, or do whatever you need to do inside that building. That’s called 10 seconds to safety, it’s just various points from the time you park until you’re inside that building. You’re going back to that condition yellow and scanning what’s happening around you. You can use that obviously in reverse when you’re leaving.

‏‏What are some techniques we can use to create physical distance?

‏‏To create physical distance, obviously, what you want to do in those situations is just move in an opposite direction. One thing I do teach in my class is, if someone were to close the gap and go to attack you, it’s kind of hard to articulate over the phone, but it’s called elbows up, it’s the universal physical protection technique. Essentially, there’s a great picture at a baseball game where a bat is broken in half, and one half of the bat is flying towards the crowd, and at a baseball game for nine innings, three hours and whatnot, you’re not totally engaged in the game the entire time. Actually in later innings, maybe you’ve had a few drinks, and you’re bored and whatnot, your team is not winning. Every single person in this section of the crowd is throwing their hands up in front of their face to protect their head. That’s where an attacker could do the most damage, blunt force trauma to your head, that’s what we don’t want. Your body can take punches, but your head cannot, or your neck. If I were to throw a baseball at you, and you were semi paying attention, you saw it coming at you, you’re instinctually going to throw your hands up in front of your face to protect your head. What I do is I just tweaked that movement slightly to where I put my elbows out in front of my face and I close them as close to one another as I can. Essentially, your elbows are pointed straight ahead in front of your eyes, and they’re almost touching one another, and your fists are back clenched protecting your ears on the side of your head. Again, your instincts are going to take you halfway there, you just need to tweak it and bring your elbows together, clench your fist and put them by the side of your head. If someone is throwing punches at you, the side of your head, the front of your head are protected, and if you tuck your chin, now your neck is protected as well. They may punch the hardest part of your body and break their hand, and that’s certainly going to give you an opportunity to escape, or if they go to grab you, your elbows are going to probably crush their collar bone and that’s going to allow them to bounce off of you, and they’re going to be in a lot of pain and that also gives you an opportunity to escape. Unless you’re going to spend months of hardcore training, it’s really hard to say in this situation the best move, the best punch is this. Every situation is different, but that is one technique that can be used to protect yourself, and with that defense, give you the opportunity to escape, or get to your pepper spray, or your personal safety product to get some distance to spray and then escape.

‏‏Is there any technique to use in a pepper spray or it’s just taking it and spray it on the eyes?

‏‏You definitely want to aim for the eyes. I recommend ear-to-ear across the eyes. Go side to side, because if you miss, you can very easily go back in the opposite direction, and saturate them from right or left. One of the nice things about the Sabre Red brand of pepper spray, Sabre pepper sprays is that it has a natural pigment in the spray, so you can actually see where you make contact with the individual. If you go a little bit high, it will drip down into their eyes, but you may just want to go back the opposite direction and re-aim and saturate that ocular area. It’s side-to-side, ear-to-ear.

‏‏What’s the damage to the individual? What does it do to them?

‏‏Their natural tears eventually after about half an hour will flush out the pepper, but unless they have immediate access to some sort of cool running water, which they’re not going to be able to find, they’re not planning on getting sprayed, so how are they going to find a garden hose or access to an ample amount of water, they’re going to be in a bad situation for about 30 to 45 minutes. They’ll be fine, there’s no long term effects.

‏‏When, God forbid, you get attacked, what type of body parts do you go for?

‏‏Whichever one you have access to. It goes back to what you said about the Krav Maga. It depends on the situation. I can tell you that a kick to the shins can put a massive man in a world of hurt, there’s not a lot of protection on your shins, and if you kick somebody there –it’s probably a lot easier to kick somebody in the shins than it is in the groin, because you don’t have to kick as high. It’s just really a quick movement, you can do a world of damage there. Punching somebody in the side of the neck is a very easy way to knock them out and render them unconscious. Again, every situation is different. I prefer that you learn how to become a hard target or if you do need to defend yourself, I’d prefer that you do it from 10-12 feet away with pepper spray or pepper gel.

‏‏How do you recognize if somebody is dangerous?

‏‏It’s best to just not be in that situation where it’s been confirmed, I think that you want to assume it when you’re by yourself. Your gut, your stomach, your insides, internally…

‏‏Spidey sense.

‏‏You feel something like that, “That person just is looking at me in a way that doesn’t feel right. That person’s behavior seems off,” in those situations, you’re generally right. You want to extract yourself from that situation as quickly as possible. Rather than waiting for confirmation, it’s like what you did with the bus when we started the conversation. You chose another option because it just didn’t feel right, it didn’t seem right. Assume the worst and take measures to get to a safe place.

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‏‏What do you think about home security system?

‏‏It’s extremely important. That’s where we sleep, that’s where we spend a third of our lives, that’s where we have our most important possessions, that’s where our family is at. Sadly, right now, less than 20% of the U.S. population has some way to protect their home, so I think it’s extremely important. The last thing you want to do is be sleeping and have somebody attack you. You want to keep people out of your home. Definitely, there’s a number of advanced home security systems out there that you can purchase. They’re installed by professionals that you can pay monthly monitoring fees. It can get pretty expensive, but again, it’s your home, it’s your family. If you can afford one of those systems, I say, definitely go and to do it. There’s also a number of systems that you can buy from your local hardware store, in Ace Hardware Store, or Home Depot, or Menards if you’re in the Midwest. They sell this basic DIY, do it yourself home security sets that you can piecemeal products together. You can protect your front and back door for $14.99 with a door window alarm, $15 it’s less than what most people probably paid for lunch today. You can secure your front and back door. You can buy a door safety wedge. I like this product a lot because not only does it trigger an alarm if someone tries to get in, but it actually acts as a barricade. Let’s say Stephan is out around the world preaching his business sense and you’re by yourself, it’s the middle and of the night and you hear a noise, it would be nice to know that underneath your bedroom door, there’s a barricade preventing someone from getting through to you, and that gives you an opportunity to call 911, or to get to your pepper spray, or to escape the house altogether. I think that’s a great product, it’s like $12 to buy that product. There’s a number of these type of products that are available in Ace Hardware, Home Depot, Menards. Sabre also does those type of products as well.

‏‏What to do when somebody knocks on your door?

‏‏Before you open it, you confirm who they are.

‏‏They can say, “UPS,” but what if they’re not?

‏‏I’d say leave the box there. I wouldn’t open the door, especially if you’re by yourself. There’s really no reason to. If you don’t feel comfortable, you can let them know you are calling the police or whatever the case may be, make it appear that you’re not alone. That’s a barrier between you and them, and you want to keep that there.

‏‏I know that the predators can come and tell stories like they’re from the utility company or they just come up with some weird excuse.

‏‏Those things are usually scheduled. Usually you get something in the mail, or a phone call, rarely do those things occur without advance notification. Without that advanced notification, again, don’t fall victim to that. Tell them to reschedule, tell them to call back, tell them you’re not available right now, you’re leaving, sorry you can’t help them. It’s okay to be rude.

‏‏Thank you, David. This was packed with information. Before we finish, what are your three top tips to live in a stellar life, and it doesn’t have to be about personal safety.

‏‏I think regardless of this, regarding personal safety or it’s just regarding everyday life, it’s to have a plan. What makes you happy? What do you want in your life? What are your life goals? Who are the people you enjoy spending your life with? Do what’s necessary, obviously, have a career, have a way to provide for yourself and your family, and then spend as much time with those people that are important to you as you possibly can, and live well, be healthy, and be happy.

‏‏Amen. Where can people reach you and get your product, or if they want to consult with you?

‏‏If you want a product, the best place to go to is sabrered.com. You type in pepper spray, personal alarm, stun gun, and it’s the brand that pops up first via Google. For more information on personal safety tips, things of that nature, you can go to personalsafetyexpert.com. There’s a lot of good training videos there and information on how you can keep yourself and your family safe, and your home safe.

‏‏Thank you so much, David. That was a great.

‏‏All right, great being here. I appreciate being your guest.

‏‏Yes, and stay safe.

‏‏You too.

Your Checklist of Actions to Take

✓ Educate yourself on personal safety by obtaining knowledge on how to deal with or prevent dangerous situations.

✓ Always have a plan. This is the best self-defense method and it will help you discern what to do in times of crisis.

✓ Always have a back-up plan. Have a first aid kit nearby or bring pepper spray with you to feel safe.

✓ Keep emergency hotlines close at all times. Have them saved on your phone or write them down and keep them in your wallet.

✓ Be aware of your surroundings. If you sense any form of danger, it’s best to steer clear and find a safe place.

✓ Visualize yourself in a high stress situation. This will train your brain to deal with danger.

✓ Be aware of emergency exits and safe rooms in schools, workplaces or any public area you frequent.

✓ If you own a firearm, make sure that you are licensed and properly trained to handle it.

✓ Take some self-defense/martial arts lessons but only use your skills when needed.  Choose peace over violence when possible.

✓ Spend time with the people you love. No one knows what tomorrow will bring so it’s best to let your loved ones know how you feel.

Links and Resources:

About David Nance

David Nance is a nationally acclaimed safety expert dedicated to educating law enforcement officers and the public about personal safety. In order to disseminate his message of safety, he developed the SABRE Law Enforcement Training Division and the SABRE Personal Safety Academy featuring the Civilian Safety Awareness Program and the newly launched College Safety Program. David has been featured on The History Channel’s Modern Marvel Series, Don’t Be A Victim on Spike TV, the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) Self Defense Video Series and PoliceOne.com. David has also been a guest speaker at various industry trade shows and is a member of the National Crime Prevention Association.

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