Self-Defense Examined in North East

Sensei Posted in Self-Defense

In this interesting article, the discussion revolves around a self-defense case where the defendent killed an intruder in his home. What is so interesting about this article is the discussion of the various definitions and requirements of self-defense in various states. Even more interesting is something said in the article that I’ve been saying for years…”very seldom do police stop a crime from happening”. Meaning if you can’t defend yourself you will become a victim. Unless of course you know how to defend yourself with the Martial arts or some form of legal weapon. This is an excellent read that inspires some real critical thinking!

Avoidence key to self-defense

Sensei Posted in Articles of Interest, News, Self-Defense

In Green Bay,WI,USA, a Keshena man claims self-defense in stabbing of Grignon is charged with the murder of 19-year-old man on the Menominee Indian Reservation.

This is a case with three different stories from witnesses some supporting self-defense other not. This is a good case to look at even though no martial arts are involved in the facts of the case. This case is interesting because it can be looked at from a few different generic perspectives that can be applied to our Martial Arts teachings. First let’s take a look at some of the facts of the case:

The Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Tracy Peters Saturday morning without incident for allegedly stabbing Sean Grignon in Middle Village. Peters told investigators he was acting in self-defense, but another witness disputes that, according to the criminal complaint filed Thursday in federal court in Green Bay. According to the complaint, Menominee County Sheriff’s Deputies and Tribal Police officers arrived at N2010 Hickory St. around 2:23 a.m. Saturday and found Grignon on the front porch of a home. He was not breathing and did not have a pulse. A puncture wound was visible on Grignon’s right chest, and officers attempted life-saving measures until an ambulance arrived. Grignon never regained consciousness and was pronounced dead Saturday morning. At the scene, Peters allegedly told an officer, “I did it. I’m the one who did the stabbing.” When asked where the knife was Peters told the officer someone had grabbed it from him. “I want you to make sure that you collect all the evidence properly because I was just protecting myself,” the complaint quotes Peters as telling the police officer.

A 20-year-old witness who was with Peters and several other people at a neighboring home on Hickory St. where the altercation occurred told investigators that three males walked by the home and two of them began bad-mouthing some of the occupants. The third person in the walking group, identified as Grignon, was described as trying to stop the argument. The witness, Destinee Lyons, said she was handing Grignon a beer when Peters approached her from behind and lunged toward Grignon, hitting him in the chest. She then saw a knife in Peters’ hand. Lyons told investigators that Peters was not involved in the argument and there was “no way Peters was defending himself.” She went on to say that Grignon didn’t do anything to anyone and was trying to break up the dispute.
Peters told investigators a different story, saying he stayed in the home and that Lyons told him to get out and help with the altercation. He said the young men came back three times and that the encountered escalated into a physical altercation. Peters said Lyons pushed him off a porch where he fell to the ground and was hit with clubs on the shoulders and in the throat. He then took off, was chased, and hid behind a trailer home. When asked where he got the knife, Peters told investigators he was confused about what happened, according to the complaint. The compliant states that Peters did have bruising and other surface injuries on his arms.

A third witness, Maniyan Brisk, told investigators that Grignon was yelling at the other two to stop fighting, but was punched and then got involved in the fight. That witness also said that at one point Peters was involved in the fight, according to the complaint. A detention hearing for Peters was scheduled for Monday, and a preliminary hearing was set for Oct. 5. If convicted, Peters faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and/or a $250,000 fine.

So what did everyone involved do wrong, especially the deceased? From the different accounts it is clear that there was an escalating conflict in which all parties seemed to have a part. First it is clear that several people were trying to control the situation which was increasing the intensity of the conflict. Unfortunately we do not know what the argument/fight was about but we will assume it was some personal issue (dating/money/racial).

Let us first look at the deceased, Grignon. If he was in fact trying to breakup the situation he did a poor job by letting himself be drawn into the conflict. Had he maintained his objectivity and distance he may have survived. Why? One of the first tenents of the Martial Arts is control, control of yourself. By maintaining control of yourself you can often bring calm to a situation and thereby control from the confidence you exude. The second mistake made was his attempt to ‘get between’ the opposing sides. This made him a target to both friend and foe since he was serving as a barrier to their objective. In this position he could not control his circle of vulnerability. So what should he have done? This is difficult without first hand information, however let’s try. The first obvious solution is that Grigno should have never gotten involved at all. The dispute didn’t involve him. Since human nature tends to push us to get involved (lack of self-control) since he did he should have maintained control of himself thereby remaining objective and in control. This is a fair assessment, he was stabbed so we can assume he wasn’t maintaining awareness of his surroundings. So we can assume that Grignon would have increased his chances of survival if he had either stayed out of it, or put himself forward as a objective, calming, control force. But we must remember that this isn’t not always realistic, some individuals want a conflict and can not be ‘talked’ out of it. It is for this reason that we must always maintain a defensive physical posture regardless of the words being spoken. I have seen more then once what appeared to be a peaceful resolution turn out to be a ruse intended to get the other’s gaurd down. On the street you never let your gaurd down. Unfortunately a mistake that Grignon will never be able to learn from.

Now it is time to look at the more difficult case of Peters actions. Here we have someone claiming self-defense yet there is an important component that seems to be missing, the lack of an escape route. When we face a situation as a Martial Artist it is often more difficult not to fight then it is to fight. We must remember that we train so we will not have to fight, yet if faced with that eventuality we will prevail. The Martial Way is one of peace through strength, confidence and self-control. The most intimidating person is the silent one who looks you in the eye without fear. So Peter was upset, he was from most accounts physically assaulted. If this was a mob he was being confronted with then perhaps his actions were warranted if it went for the fact that he got away from them first (hid behind a trailer). Giving the benefit of the doubt perhaps he armed himself for protection and went back to confront the group, is this self-defense? We must always bear in mind there are situations we create and those we do not. In this case Peters does not seem to have created the initial situation however he did create the final situation.

As in most situations there is plenty of blame to go around. Unfortunately in this situation someone paid for their part with their life. It is an interesting question to pose, if this situation would have turned out different had any of those involved been Martial Artists? I leave you with that thought.

Karate in Action – Saves 14 Year Old Girl!!

Sensei Posted in For Kids, News, Self-Defense

In Milwaukee, OR (USA) – A 14-year-old girl used her karate training to fight off an attacker. This Milwaukee High School freshman was walking to school about 8:30 a.m. Tuesday on Lake Road near 33rd when a man jumped out from behind a bush and grabbed her arm. Instead of panicking and becoming another statistic the young girl says her years of karate helped her escape his grip. “If someone grabs you by the hand, we learned how to twist out of it. If someone grabs you by the arm, you learn how to get out of it,” the victim told local station KOIN News 6.

The girl twisted her ankle running away but made it to the school, where teachers called police. The suspect is described as a Caucasian man around 30 years old, 5’9″ with a medium build and a shaved head and clean-shaven face. He was wearing a black leather jacket, black pants with a tear in the left knee, a black glove on his left hand, a dark colored scarf or handkerchief on his right hand and a dark colored backpack. Anyone with information is asked to call the Milwaukee Police Department at (503) 786-7500.

This is a great example of why more kids should be enrolled in martial arts or self-defense training. The girl handled herself well by immediately reacting and breaking the grab. She was lucky since from the article she did experience some normal panic as she twisted her ankle. If the location had been more remote she may not have been as lucky. Everyone here at is very happy and proud of this young girl, and even happier that she is safe and sound.

A Strange Tale of Self Defense

Sensei Posted in News, Self-Defense

This story is bizarre. The man is claiming he killed his wife in self-defense because she was often possessed by evil spirits. Thankfully the court did not buy his story. The facts of the case easily debunk his claim of self-defense and prove his guilt. Just an observation here though, do these people ever consider divorce? I can assure you that if my wife were possessed by evil spirits, I would first seek an exorcist and if that failed I’d find a good divorce lawyer! I am reminded of a comedian talking about bad relationships and comparing them to sour milk…maybe it will be good tomorrow?! Here’s the public service announcement, life is to short to suffer in an abusive relationship that could spiral out of control, get out, stay safe, and have a chance at happiness.

A Stupid Self-Defense Tool

Sensei Posted in Fun Stuff, News, Self-Defense

There is a joke that implies life would be a lot easier if stupid people had to wear signs to identify them. While some may take offense to this type of thing the following story reported here and here reminded me of the logic behind such an idea! (this is meant in jest). However the story is true, a Phoenix man was arrested for carrying Resin in case he was attacked. While the effects of being exposed to Resin it is hard to see how it could be used as a self-defense weapon safely. Again this is an observation not an endorsement, quiet to the contrary. Perhaps this man could have enrolled in a local self-defense or martial arts class, at least then he would know how to defend himself in jail (as I doubt they will let him keep the Resin!).

Self-Defense isn’t just physical

Sensei Posted in Self-Defense,Tags: ,

Every so often we see a story like this guy meets woman; guy gets woman to give him money; guy get woman to give him more money…, and; woman finally gets smart (maybe). This case has an unusual twist with the woman begging for mercy on behalf of the guy!

This brings me to the point I want to make: Self-Defense goes well beyond physical proxcimity, it is a state of mind. If these two women were self-defense minded they could never have been exploited in this way. This guy launched an emotional and mental attack on these women and they never saw it coming. Be aware not only of your physical surrounding but of what trust relations you establish.

Always reassess your situation and your relationships. Put checks in place to protect yourself. If a guy or girl asks for money say NO and see how they react. If you feel so compeled, instead of giving them the money make the investiment/purchase/payment for them! Above all use your brain and trust your instincts, they are usually right but as this story demonstrates sometimes the one we need protection from is ourselves!

Officer accused of murder, molestation

Sensei Posted in Law Enforcement, Self-Defense,Tags: , ,

Once again the children suffer. It is unfortunate that parents are not more aware of the dangers to their children. My Father always use to say ‘you don’t know what goes on in other people’s homes after they close the doors’. He was right. Inline with his beliefs my Father never let us sleep over someone else’s house. Matter of fact it wasn’t until we were teenagers that we could go to someone else’s home without one of my parents present! Many of you reading this can close you gaping jaws now! My parents were not ogres, they were caring individuals who felt their job as parents was to protect us (not shelter us) from the world, they preserved our innocence.

So what does this have to do with anything. Well there is another story of a child, in this case an 11 year old girl, being molested by a ‘pillar of the community’. In this case the molester was a cop. The mother admits that she was suspicious of the mans interest in her daughter because he showed NO interest in her (the mother). The should of been a BIG ALERT but instead the mother ignored her maternal instincts and allowed the man access to her daughter. I know it sounds like I am vilifying the mother here, and to some extent I am. She is guilty of putting her daughter in harms way. I am sure there are a million excuses for her actions but that doesn’t change the fact that her daughter has at the young age of 11 lost her innocents and will probably have difficulty having a normal relationship with or at least trusting men.

Interestingly the girl only told her mother about the abuse after her school showed a video on inappropriate touching. The school had to educate this girl!! Again, what was the mother doing? I am not suggesting that parents should have graphic discussions with their children about appropriate or inappropriate behavior between a man and a woman. I am suggesting that parents should talk to the children in an appropriate manner given the age of the child. This discussion should grow as your child grows. In those rare occasions when you have no choice to surrender your children to others make sure they are people you know well. And even then once your children are home with you ask them (surreptitiously) about the details of their time away from you. Watch for behavioral changes. Take your blinders off and see what is really going on, not just what you want to see through your trusting rose-colored glasses.

How is this related to Karate?! Well this story began in a Karate Class where the girl was taking classes. But please don’t take my word for it, read the article yourself.

Please remember people often have ulterior motives for their actions. Any adult (especially a man) that wants to spend extensive ‘private’ time with young children should be severely examined. As an adult we need to be aware of the appearance of our behavior regardless of how honorable our intentions. Remember the cop in the story went on to kill his wife before fleeing. That could have just as easily been the 11 year old girl.