GHayesby Gila Hayes

As you can no doubt tell by the lead interview in this edition of our online Network journal, I thoroughly enjoyed reconnecting with an instructor who played a role in my development as an instructor many years ago. Guy Rossi and I covered a lot of topics in writing the interview exploring justifications and force options against physical attacks. Alas, in trimming it down into a cohesive educational interview, some of Guy’s comments ended up on the cutting room floor.

One is important enough to mention in this column. You’ll remember Guy’s instruction about the importance of distance in selecting the correct defensive tactic to effectively fend off the threat. Emphasizing that the gun is not always the right defense choice, he exclaimed with some exasperation, “We are so driven by the tool!”

He’s right, of course! Certainly, having the right equipment can make a world of difference, but there is so much more to survival than just having a gun.

Managing proximity to the threat, behaving unpredictably to turn the surprise back on the assailant, using some of the tools taught by Dr. David Hopkins in First Defense, the book we reviewed this month, communicating clearly and patiently with budding threats as Guy Rossi discussed, are just a few of the non-gun solutions that are so essential to staying safe and staying out of court whenever possible.

The time demands for training and practice require attention to these competing needs, so that we dedicate enough time to the varied aspects of self defense to assure proficiency in both the mental aspect of self defense, as well as the physical skills. Firearms skills are perishable and there is no argument that nothing is as effective as a gun in skilled hands under a limited number of circumstances. I thought that knife defense expert Michael Janich hit the balance the best I’d seen in a long time in a newsletter he sent out just before Christmas.

Michael Janich, co-host of The Best Defense television program and owner, innovator and trainer behind Martial Blade Concepts, is an educational resource about whom more armed citizens need to become aware. Network members may remember Janich as the subject matter expert on the educational knife defense interview we published in the March 2013 edition of this online journal (

With quite a number of Network members carrying knives as back ups to their pistols or as their primary defense in places where they are not allowed to carry firearms, Janich’s instruction about improvised weapons and about knife defense is extremely valuable, and we recommend members avail themselves of his many educational DVDs and books all available at As a past buyer, I was fortunate enough to land on Janich’s newsletter email list, and right before the holidays, received a very informative newsletter entitled The Plan, that amongst a half dozen informative articles included 10 Things You Can Do to Survive an Active Shooter Incident.

  • Headlining that instruction was –
  • Accept that it can happen to you
  • Understand the problem
  • Develop a response plan
  • Actively increase your awareness
  • Identify specific threats and take them seriously
  • Become a shooter
  • Go armed
  • Develop unarmed and improvised-weapon skills
  • Actively study the details of active shooter and terrorist incidents and keep track of the trends
  • Talk about your readiness preparations with loved ones.

With the growing focus on terrorism–both domestic and imported–it is all too easy to let the terrorists accomplish their goal of destroying our freedoms and the tremendous and varied opportunities we enjoy as citizens of the United States of America. Take advantage of Janich’s instruction to make it your own personal mission to stay safe and unharmed by terrorists and active shooters.

Click here to return to January 2016 Journal to read more.