Find out what five experts — Kelly McCann, Michael Janich, John Riddle, Tom Gresham and Mike Gillette — have to say about improving your awareness and safety on the street.

No matter how connected the Internet makes us think our planet is, human beings are still very much a tribal species. In part, that’s why we can watch a news report about a suicide bomber in the Middle East and think, “Yes, that’s terrible, but it’s happening on the other side of the world to people I don’t know.” When a terrorist attack happens close to home, however, everyone pays attention. At that point, some people take action. The ones who haven’t been preparing often start, and the ones who regard themselves as always ready often turn up the intensity of their training. As a martial artist, you no doubt fit into that second category, and it is to assist you that Black Belt presents this article. Before we begin, it’s worth noting that not every terrorist attack involves an improvised explosive device or an AK-47. As the events that unfolded on September 26, 2014, and October 24, 2014, prove, “lone wolf” terrorists are now using weapons that martial arts training enables us to defend against. On the first date, one woman was beheaded and another repeatedly stabbed by a man in Oklahoma. Afterward, Rep. Frank Wolf (Virginia) urged the Department of Justice to investigate the incident as an act of terrorism. On the second date, a man whom Reuters described as “self-radicalized” used a hatchet to critically wound two New York City police officers. And lest you think only Americans face these threats, think back to March 1, 2014. On that day, eight terrorists armed with knives murdered 29 people and injured more than 140 at a train station in Kunming, China.

Want a free guide titled “How to Win a Street Fight: Four Self-Defense Moves From Combatives Expert Kelly McCann”? Just click here!

Whether these acts were perpetrated by bona fide terrorists, by lone-wolf recruits or by mentally ill copycats doesn’t matter from the perspective of the martial artist. All present a threat and must be dealt with. To help you figure out the most productive way to proceed, Black Belt polled five subject-matter experts. They hail from different backgrounds, but they convey information that’s vital for all who train for self-defense. QUESTION 1: Should the average person be worried about lone-wolf terrorist attacks?

Photo courtesy of Mike Gillette

Mike Gillette (former counterterrorism consultant for the Department of Homeland Security and Transportation Security Administration, tactical trainer, executive bodyguard): Worried? No. Mentally prepared? Yes. The way we mentally frame various circumstances plays a big part in how effectively we’ll respond should a response become necessary. To put it in simple terms, the language we use when discussing or even thinking about dangerous situations can be positive or negative. If you default to always using negative terminology, your mind will store those negative attitudes accordingly. And those negative attitudes create a defeatist mentality [that] assumes the worst and is more prone to giving up when confronted with danger. The key is to understand that while certain things such as terrorists are “scary,” you don’t have to be perpetually scared of them. Learn how they operate and what it takes to protect yourself, and then go on about your life.

Photo courtesy of John Riddle

John Riddle (law-enforcement officer for 28 years, SWAT defensive-tactics trainer, jeet kune do full instructor): Americans need to educate themselves on what’s going on in the world today. The better educated they are, the less they need to worry and the more prepared they will be.

Photo courtesy of Tom Gresham

Tom Gresham (firearms trainer, former editor of several firearms magazines, host of the Gun Talk syndicated radio show): People should not be “worried” about anything. Worrying does no good. They should, however, be aware of possible threats, and they should take appropriate steps. What’s appropriate will differ for various people. Mostly, however, it means being aware of your surroundings and thinking ahead of time of your options to get away with your family should there be an attack. QUESTION 2: Do you think the Internet is becoming the prime tool for terrorist organizations to recruit lone wolves in any part of the world?

Michael Janich photo by Rick Hustead

Michael Janich (former employee of the National Security Agency and Defense Intelligence Agency, Filipino martial arts expert, edged-weapon instructor): The Internet has revolutionized communications and marketing. If you have a message, you can share it with millions of people worldwide at virtually no cost.

Kelly McCann photo by Robert W. Young

Kelly McCann (retired Marine Corps counterterrorist trainer, CNN consultant, weapons expert, combatives instructor): The Internet is being utilized by various terror groups to recruit disaffected youths globally to their causes. Cellphone technology has made information of all sorts much more available and negated the necessity to even own a computer. Add social media and you have incredible access to people who are searching for ways to be involved. QUESTION 3: Are there any parallels between how terrorists recruit lone wolves and how gangs recruit members? McCann: There are direct correlations between how gangs and terrorist organizations recruit people. The single biggest difference is gangs don’t use the Internet, although they may use social media outlets, and there’s usually an in-person interaction that must occur with gang membership. The same is not true with terrorist recruitment.

Kelly McCann, Black Belt's 2008 Self-Defense Instructor of the Year, has a brand-new seminar you can stream to your smartphone, tablet or computer. It's called Kelly McCann’s 5-Volume Combatives Self-Defense Course. Click here to sign up!

Janich: Both sell the concept that membership will allow you to be part of a community and be part of a “greater cause.” This concept can appeal to anyone but particularly to people who are not strong, independent thinkers. Riddle: In the United States, we have young people who enter organized gangs. These people are down and out, have no home life, no job, no one leading them. They feel a connection to others who are like-minded and in the same down-and-out situation. A bond is made — this is their new family. On the other side, there are angry people around the world who dislike our government and what we stand for. These types can be found voicing their anger on the Internet. They are looking for a cause to be involved in, a cause to fight for. Read Part Two of this article here. Click here to read Part Three.
Don't miss a single issue of the world largest magazine of martial arts.

Do you want to maximize your self defense skills? Learn the game of combat chess and most importantly the queen of all moves.

Allow me to intercept those who would object to the title of this article. I'm not claiming that there's a secret move, shortcut or hack that will give you the edge in any fight. Even if there was an ultimate weapon or strategy, you likely would avoid it because you
Keep Reading Show less

Whether your martial art has you rolling on the ground and grappling, striking and sparring, or working with weapons (hopefully the unsharpened variety!), there are five common types of injuries martial artists tend to see. It is nearly impossible to avoid all injuries, but there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of injury that everyone who practices any martial art should be aware of.

Stress Fractures

One of the most common martial arts injuries, stress fractures occur when bones are struck with repetitive force -- think checking kicks in muay thai, or repeatedly hitting a heavy bag with inadequate wrist support. Stress fractures are also very common in runners' feet and legs, so if you've recently upped your cardio to get in better shape for your art, be on the lookout!

Keep Reading Show less

A good pair of gloves is like a dollop of whipped cream on a cake slice—it just makes everything better! Whereas a bad pair of gloves can make your training session feel uncomfortable and awkward, a great pair can make you feel like you could beat Mike Tyson (or at least stay alive in a fight with him for a few seconds). One training session with gloves on either end of the spectrum will quickly make you appreciate the importance of quality equipment.

What to Expect from Creed

In this case, you can definitely expect good quality whipped crea—er, gloves. Made of genuine leather, Creed Heavy Bag Gloves are built to last. After wearing them for many weeks filled with numerous rounds of heavy bag training, the gloves still feel great!

The Creed Heavy Bag Gloves provide a comfortable and protective balance of padding in the appropriate areas. This ensures that they keep their shape well, cover your fist well in the areas that hit the target and ensure the satisfying smack of solid impact rather than the crack of a rolled wrist.

Keep Reading Show less

UFC 250 Poster Featuring Main Card with Amanda Nunes and Felicia Spencer

The UFC 250 main card set for Saturday night will feature five fights in lighter weight divisions that won't disappoint fight fans. The match ups are guaranteed to be fast paced and heavy hitting with three bantamweight matches and the highly anticipated women's featherweight title fight between Amanda Nunes and Felicia Spencer.

Reigning champ Amanda Nunes will be center stage at the UFC Apex arena once again Saturday night to defend her women's featherweight title against her challenger Felicia Spencer.

Keep Reading Show less
Don’t miss a thing Subscribe to Our Newsletter