Gershon Ben Keren was invited to present a talk at Google, after his book, "Krav Maga: Real World Solutions to Real World Violence" was published. In this talk he outlined many elements and parts of the SEPS framework for predicting and preventing violence. If you are looking to learn more about how to improve your personal safety this is great lecture/presentation to watch.
The SEPS System is a personal-safey/self-protection system; it presents a framework and a set of tools that allow you to predict, prevent, identify and avoid violent situations before they occur. Self-defense systems are those that teach you how to physically defend yourself if you're unable to do this, or if violence is unavoidable. In, "Krav Maga: Real World Solutions To Real World Violence", Gershon Ben Keren, presents physical solutions and techniques to deal with violent assaults. You can get a preview of the book, and purchase it through Amazon by clicking here
In 2013, a young South Boston women was abducted from her home and murdered. SEPS Co-Founder, Gershon Ben Keren was interviewed on NPR abou this, and was asked to prescribe what to do if you were to find yourself in an abduction scenario. To listen to this interview, please click here.
Gershon Ben Keren is regularly interviewed and consulted by the media, on issues of personal safety, security, and self-defense. In this interview he explains how predatory individuals select victims. To watch the interview, please click here.
Whilst the SEPS System provides a framework for understanding and preventing physical violence, there is always the possibility that such assaults cannot be avoided, and we therefore recommend that anyone wanting to have a comprehensive approach for violence look to take some form of women’s self-defense course, so they will have some physical skills and techniques that can be used in the event of an attack. To understand what you should look for in such a course or set of classes we have provided a list of things you should look for below.
If you are unable to attend classes, but are still interested in learning about self-defense, you can always read Gershon Ben Keren’s book ( click here), or watch some of our instructional videos by clicking here.
There are many classes and programs out there that offer courses and programs around women’s self-defense; some good, some bad. Below are some of the characteristics, and components that should be covered and included.
Whilst it possible for a program to cram a lot in, in a 4 or 6 week course, remember that the total training time you will have experienced may be as little as 4 or 6 hours. Whilst an instructor can present a lot of information in that time, and demonstrate a lot of techniques, there isn’t a lot of time for you to develop the skills needed to make the techniques work in a real-life confrontation this means you should look for a course where the techniques are really, really simple to apply. If the techniques seem a little bit complicated or have several stages and phases to them that you need to remember, chances are you’ll have difficulty getting them to work in real life.
Whilst a skilled martial artist with many years under their belt, may be able to pull off wrist and joint locks, and find pressure points quite easily, these are not skills that are acquired in a few hours. Look for a class that teaches a lot of basic striking, with some very straightforward escapes from controls and holds.
People who haven’t experienced violence firsthand will often feel/believe that if they learn a technique, and practice it a few times in class, they will be able to apply it in a real-life scenario. What they fail to take into account is the difference between their emotional state in a classroom/learning environment, and that when they are facing an aggressive, motivated and determined attacker in an actual violent situation.
Any class or program to be realistic and relevant, has to have some component or part where students are trained and tested when in an adrenalized state. When we are confronted by violence, our adrenal system kicks in, flooding our body with adrenaline, causing us to become stronger, faster and more pain resistant/tolerant, there are however downsides, such as tunnel vision, loss of hearing etc. If we are not used to training in this emotional state, we may actually become overwhelmed and panic or freeze i.e. act like a deer in the headlights.
Hard as it may seem, part of realistic self-defense training needs to see students train and operate when scared. A good instructor will create a safe environment, where a student can experience fear in a controlled manner. If students are always emotionally comfortable and never taken out of their emotional comfort zone, it is unlikely that what they are being trained to do will work in the real world.
One of the ways to harness, channel and use adrenaline constructively is through aggression training. Everybody is aware of the fight or flight response i.e. when threatened our bodies prepare for two courses of action: to disengage and run away (flight), or to engage and fight. Strangely enough the chemical and physiological changes we experience are the same e.g. if you wired somebody up and monitored how their body responded when scared and when angry you would find that the results were the same i.e. we are in the same physical state whether scared or angry. The difference is how we consciously interpret our body’s responses – do we become scared when adrenalized or angry. Aggression training helps turn our “flight” response in to a “fight” response, when disengagement isn’t an option.
Any realistic women’s self-defense course should teach students how to act and behave when adrenalized, and teach the development of an aggressive/survival mindset. This should not be confused with assertiveness training where women are taught to stand up for themselves etc.
Assaults happen in situations, which comprise of an assailant with a motive who has some sort of relationship with their victim (friend, family member, acquaintance, stranger etc.), in a location, where there could be other people etc. For self-defense training to be relevant and effective, these situational components need to be described and explained. If an instructor simply demonstrates techniques, without explaining how the situation and environment may affect and alter their effectiveness, then you aren’t learning to apply the techniques in real-life situations.
If a women’s self-defense program teaches what to do on the ground, whilst not explaining what ground fighting looks like in a real-life scenario then it will be difficult to trust the effectiveness of the movements and techniques being taught. From a female self-defense perspective, a taxi/cab driver who takes a lone female passenger to a deserted place, puts the central locking on and climbs over the center console in order to rape her, represents a ground-fighting scenario i.e. she is on her back, with someone on top of her. She is also fighting in a confined space, which is the reality of most fights that go to the ground. If an instructor doesn’t explain the scenarios in which techniques are used, it is unlikely that they are relevant.
There are many great, great reality based women’s self-defense programs around. A good one, should comprise or acknowledge the components listed above. Some may focus on one aspect rather than the others, but the others should at least be acknowledged and referenced.