Tele-Support Talks

Safety and Self-Defense for People Living with Vision Loss

Tele-Support Talks Library

Originally presented on June 20, 2022

by Sensei Devin Fernandez

Increased rates of violence across the Unites States and in our own neighborhoods has raised safety concerns for everyone, especially those with vision loss. During this presentation, Sensei Devin Fernandez will share self-defense tips and strategies that can help those with vision loss stay safe at home or in their community.



Hello, everyone. Good evening. And thank you for joining us. I want to thank Maggie and Carly and the Lighthouse Guild for bringing this important discussion to the table. We all know, like Maggie just said, things are getting crazy. It sounds like they’re getting crazy, but in reality, we’re hearing about things that are happening and although we hear about a lot of them, they’re few. So, generally we are always safe, we’re constantly being safe. Statistically, you’ll never have an issue, ever, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have to be prepared. We have to watch out for ourselves. We have to do the right thing, and what to do, if something does happen.

So I actually have four points. And first, let me say that I’m sensei Devin Fernandez. I train and teach Ninpo Ninjutsu, which is the art of the ninja. I am a ninja. I am, in fact, a blind ninja. All my students are also blind ninjas. We always use that as a selling point, that we’re blind ninjas. For those of you out there who are seeing impaired, you’re all ninjas as well. The reason I say that is because you have to count on your senses, your other senses- your hearing, your feel, your smell, and these are all quality senses that we don’t we don’t develop any stronger, we just become aware of them. People say, “oh, your sense of smell got better.” No, it didn’t, I just became more aware of my sense of smell. My hearing got better. No, it didn’t. I’m just more aware of what’s going on around me. I’m listening more. 

What I’d like to say is initially, the first rule of self-defense is intuition. We all have this gift, it’s a skill, it’s inherent in all of us. The cavemen used to have this. They were hunted at one point and they used to get the feeling of your hair going up on the back of your neck when they felt danger. That has not changed- we just don’t pay attention to that, and we need to. We’ve all had that feeling that something’s not right. You know, I don’t feel right. There’s something going on, there’s something wrong. And maybe you ignored it and you find out later on, “oh, geez, I forgot to feed the cat.” It can be something very slight. But if you don’t ignore it, then you look around, and say “Oh, geez, there it is. I forgot to feed the cat.” And good thing I did, right?

We have those instincts like if you’re at a stoplight, and the light turns green. Instead of taking off right away, something tells you to stop, wait a second, and boom, a car flies through the intersection. That is your intuition telling you to pay attention. When we’re walking across the street, the same exact thing, everybody’s starting to walk, but you take that second and boom a car flies through the intersection. Intuition plays a huge role. One way to develop that intuition, and it comes from the third eye, which is located in the center of your forehead, right between your eyebrows. That’s why we call our program Third Eye Insight, because that’s where you get your insight from, that’s where you get messages from, that’s where you get feelings from, that’s where you get clairvoyance from.

If you focus and you meditate, and you pay attention to this, you’ll start to get messages. I don’t mean these voices in your head telling you to do stupid stuff. That’s not what I’m talking about. It’s the messages like, “oh, jeez, I was just thinking about calling blah, blah, blah. And then you call that person and that person on the other end says, “I was just thinking about you, I was going to call you.” It’s the kind of messages that are almost telepathic.

In order to develop the sixth chakra in our body and there are seven main chakras or are energy points, or center points. So, if you focus on this chakra, and you focus it and envision a sphere spinning, slowly spinning, slowly spinning, slowly spinning, and then it’s the color of the night sky- dark blue. As you pay attention to this ball, and as you breathe in, you breathe energy into this ball, this sphere, it starts to glow, and starts to grow. Okay? And that’s how you start to develop your insight.

Now, answers may not come to you when you meditate. They may come to you down the road, when you least expect it. But you’ve got to pay attention to these kinds of messages that you do get, because they are important.

I’ve been in the security business since 1984. I can tell you stories of people who walked into their homes and just felt something was wrong, only to find out as they entered further into the house, they had just been robbed. So, they had the feeling, they knew something was wrong, and, of course, they left the house and immediately called the cops. But these are things that we are all equipped with and we need to develop it. It’s a huge gift that we all have. 

The next point is awareness. We have to be aware of where we are, where we’re going at all times. Right? I’ll give you a couple of examples. When walking into a building, I need to know where the exits are. I’m walking through the front door- I do expect to leave through that front door, but what if something happens? What if all of a sudden, that front door is blocked and I can’t get out the doors loaded with people who are rushing to get out the door? Where are the exit doors, where are the stairwells? Where are the back exits? How do I get out of this location?

And for those of us who are visually impaired, you draw a map in your head. And sometimes you need somebody to help you to draw that map to let you know what the layout is. In an emergency, the layout is definitely going to change, because people are rushing, people are banging into each other, chairs are flying and tables are moving- you know, this layout is not the same as it was. But if you have a good idea of where you are and where you’re going, that could be a lifesaver.

So being aware of not just the exits, but the people around you. What kind of conversations are going on around you? Are they fun and laughing and having a great time? Or, are they starting to get a little nasty? It’s starting to get a little heated over there, and I need to pay attention to these things, because that heated conversation may turn into a violent confrontation. So, at that point, what do I want to do? If that happens, I need to know where I’m going? How am I getting out of here? I don’t want to be part of this.

I remember when I was younger, we always wanted to watch a good fight. Nowadays, and when I was younger, it was a fistfight, and it was over. Nowadays, two guys get into a fight. Next thing, you know, one guy’s got a knife, the next guy’s got a gun, and boom, somebody’s dead, or somebody’s bleeding on the ground. Things have changed now and I don’t want to get stuck getting hit by a bullet that wasn’t meant for me. It was a stray bullet and just I because I was stupid and nosy and I wanted to see what was going on- and boom, I put myself in danger.

We definitely have to be aware of, for instance, in the restaurants, where the exits are, where the bathrooms are. If something happened, how are you going to get out? If something happened, and you were at a party, where are you going to meet them if you get separated? Really super important. What to do if you’re in a hotel. We were in a hotel a few years back, and the fire alarm went off in the middle of night. So I grabbed my stuff and I knew we had to leave this building. I think it was a 10-story hotel building, and I walk out into the hallway and people are saying, “what do we do? What are we doing? Do we think we should leave here”? That’s the fire alarm- it’s time to move.  There’s no question now- we gotta go.

For some of you, who are a bit older, back in the 80s, I guess it was, there was a fire in Puerto Rico in a hotel. A lot of people died because they ran out to the doors, and the doors were locked, and chained, and they couldn’t get through, and they panicked, and they crashed into each other, stampeding each other. Some people had to rush to the roof of the building to get out. So you just never know. Even in a hotel, you feel like you’re safe. This is all great, everything’s perfect. The stairway may be full of smoke, where’s the other stairway? I have got to be able to find my way out of here. I want to make sure that not just myself, or whomever is with me is safe, and if not, where are we going to meet? Where are we going to find each other? This way, you’re not going crazy outside when everybody’s out of the building and looking for each other. So, be aware of that.

Be aware when you’re on the subway stations. If you’re on a double edge track, you want to make sure you’re in the middle of that walkway. You hear about people getting pushed off the train tracks, and at a decent distance from the edge. And yet the person pushes them with such force that they just go flying and fall over. If you’re on a single edge track, you find a wall, put you back to the wall. This way, when the train approaches, once it’s already in the station then you start moving forward. You don’t have to look down the track to see when the train is coming. The train is coming eventually, you don’t want to be somebody’s doll and get pushed onto the tracks.

We all know there’s a diamond plate on the floor to let you know that you’re within a certain distance, I think it’s 18 inches from the edge of the track. But you don’t even want to be that close. Why be that close? You don’t need to be that close. I know that train is going to come, and when it comes, get on it. I know people want to rush on because they want to get a seat, but it’s more important to get on the train safely than to be pushed onto the tracks.

So, being aware of the buildings, where you are, where the exits are, where the stairwells are, how do I get out of here, if I needed help, who can I call? Where can I go? All those things are important. Tell your family members what you’re doing and where you’re going. Even though you may feel like they’re invading your privacy, it may be the tip that gives them a chance to find you when you’re lost or you’re in trouble.

The other thing is to be prepared. When I say being prepared, we have to think ahead of time, what would happen “if”? What would happen if this happened to me? If somebody grabbed me, what would I do? What if there was a fire in the building- Where would I go? How would I get out of here? You’ve got to put those thoughts in your head, although it’s hard to put them in your head, concerning these things that you need to be thinking about these days. But it could be those thoughts and that thinking that really saves your life. In school, they do the fire drills. And why did they do that? So people have an idea of what to do when something happens. Having an idea of what to do stops a lot of the panic. Okay, so I know I have to get out of this building, let’s get out. And you’re thinking, let’s get out of the building. So having a focus, having an idea, being prepared about what to do in the event of an emergency.

Unfortunately, we just recently had a shooting at the Buffalo supermarket. How many people know where the exits are in a supermarket, right? Probably nobody. Nobody uses any exit but the door you come in, and the door you go out of. But there are several exits in the building. In the back of the building you have the loading dock, you have exit doors, you have what they call man doors, which is just a regular single door that opens to the outside.

But if you had to, and you do hear shooting, you do hear commotion, you do you do hear excitement, something that’s not sounding kosher. Get out of there, don’t stick around, don’t wait. Go into the back room, so what if they kick you out later. I just want to make sure that I’m safe and I’m going to go home today. And that kind of thing. And for the most part, the attacker who’s shooting is shooting from the exit door he came into, and then he makes his rounds.

Okay, so if you’re away from that area, chances are better that you may not be involved in it at all or be a target. That’s super important. We know that in bars, several years ago here in New York as well. They were doing some pyrotechnics on the stage and next thing you know the roof lit up on fire. Almost everybody in the bar died. All these young kids, all these young people. People didn’t know what to do. Look into it and think, “oh my god, this is great, what a show.” But meanwhile the roof is burning. Getting out, finding your way out. Again, people got trampled getting out the front door. Be prepared, be alert, be aware of what, and how you’re going to protect yourself.

This is all self-defense, right? So we’re protecting ourselves, we’re defending ourselves, we’re not putting ourselves in a situation that doesn’t feel good. We’re aware of where we are, where we’re going, what the building looks like, who the people are I’m going to be around, if I’m going to a concert, what type of music am I listening to? What type of crowd does that draw? All these questions should come into your head, and a defense to what if? You don’t have to dwell on it, you don’t have to be obsessed about it, you just have to plan. Be prepared, “okay, this is what I’m gonna do, boom, boom, boom”. Act and move on.

Your first responsibility is to yourself. However, if you have family members that need help, you’ve got to be there to help them. In an active shooter situation if somebody’s shooting, and the person next to you is shot or wounded. Guess what? You’re the first responder, you need to know what to do to help this person. Okay? So, and one of the main points is you apply pressure to the wound, right? You don’t just wrap the wound, you stuff the wound. You could take off your shirt, your handkerchief, your scarf, whatever it is, your socks. Rip your shirt and tear it and stuff it in the wound. Stop the bleeding, that’s the most important. If you’re there by yourself and you’re bleeding it’s the same thing, you got to stop the bleeding. Put pressure on the wound, make sure that the wound doesn’t continually bleed out. Stuff it, pack it, as best you can, and wait for help. Right? And if you help somebody- the same deal. You pack the wound, you stop the bleeding, and you wait for help. Okay?

Being prepared, and able to do these things, are kind of two different things. A lot of people we’re going to see for the first time you see blood gushing out of somebody is probably not a good sight. I’ve never seen it myself. But I’m sure it’s not a good sight. You may get faint, you may get sick, you may get nauseous. These are things that are gonna happen. And you also have to realize that, at the same time, your adrenaline is pumping. You’re nervous, and your body is reacting to all this stimulus around it. And your adrenaline is up there.

So, you may be running on all eight cylinders. You’re firing all eight cylinders, and everything is great. You helped somebody. You locked yourself in a room, you protected yourself. And then you get in what they call an adrenaline crash, your body starts to crash, which means that the adrenaline starts to seep out of the body. And then you get shakes, you get nauseous, you get dizzy, you get faint, you pass out, a lot of things happen. These are all kinds of normal things.

If we’re talking about an active shooter situation, you have to realize that the cops are on their way. The police are on their way. So, basically, what you’re doing is you’re biding time, right? You want to waste as much time, protect yourself as long as you can, until the cops get there, until the EMS gets there. Or the EMTs. It’s about preparing yourself for that, locking yourself in a room, if you can. Barricading the doors, if you can. Some of these tips are on the website that I’m going to ask Carly and Maggie to share with you, and are from Homeland Security. We had the privilege of working with them on a video for what to do in an Active Shooter Trauma situation workshop.

A lot of information on that video is what they shared with us- how to pack the wound, how to protect yourself, lock yourself in the room, how to barricade the room, how to barricade and wrap extension cords around the hinges so that the hinges don’t open. Tie the doors down and close shut, block the windows so they can’t see you. Have people go into the corners of the room if possible. Whatever it is that you can do to protect yourself, and to know what your next step would be if the active shooter came into that room and he was banging on that door, what’s your next step? What are you going to do? Where are you going to go? If you had to break a window and go out the window, so be it as long as you’re not going to kill yourself falling out the window, jumping out the window. Most of our schools around here anyway, on the second floor, the most that is going to happen is you break a leg, but you’re out of the building and you’re safe.

Again, the cops are on their way. Cops know what’s going on. If the cops see you, they’re gonna run to you and they’re gonna want to, you know, protect you. If, in an active shooter situation, you come out of the room and you start running towards the cop, remember, he doesn’t know who you are. You could be an attacker. You gotta run hands up, fingers out, “help me, help me help me.” Let them know that you’re not the attacker. Even then, you gotta listen to everything they say. They may throw you on the floor and handcuff you, they don’t know yet. They are still emptying the building, they are still checking out what’s going on. They haven’t cleared the building yet.

Afterwards, after they take you out, then you can tell your story. But you need to listen to the cops, you need to listen to the responding officers. Again, remember, their adrenaline is pumping just as much as yours is. They had their finger on the trigger. They don’t know who’s who you don’t want to be a victim of a shooting by a cop because he thought you were an attacker. All right, so a lot of these things you really need to pay attention to. I know that when it’s happening, it’s easy to say now, but when it’s happening, people are like deer and they freeze in the headlights. They don’t know what to do. “What do I do, what do I do”, and that’s why being prepared, putting it in your head, and maybe even rehearsing it. So, you have the steps down, you know, physically have the steps down. So, your brain has the motor skills, and muscle memory to do what it has to do to survive. 

Now let’s say you blocked the doors, you did everything you could do and the attacker’s outside the door. And he’s kicking the door in and you can see he’s gonna get in soon. If you’re by yourself, you have got to find something. You’ve got to think, “what am I going to do”? You can’t run- there’s no right place to run. So, you’re gonna have to fight. Now what am I going to use to fight? Anything that’s there is a weapon. So, everything is a weapon.

If there’s a fire extinguisher, there’s your weapon, boom. A person gets in, you spray him in the face with the fire extinguisher, hit him on the head with the fire extinguisher, you’ve got to incapacitate the attacker the best you can. The other thing is in this classroom situation or in an office situation, you know, there’s a lot of things on the desk. It could be anything. It could be the stapler, it could be, you know, pens are great weapons. Pens, pencils, if you’re carrying a knife at work that is not too good. But if you have a letter opener, there’s your weapon. And you know, stuff like that. So,

whatever is available, even a magazine. You roll up a magazine and you hit somebody in the face with a rolled-up magazine- it’s a form of a weapon. You hit them in the throat, it’s a form of weapon. Hit them in the eyes and any of the vital organs, the vital spots. So using whatever is available in your area, you got to do. 

Alright, so now let’s say you’re not alone, and you’re with somebody else. Now this person’s coming through and banging through the door. You tell somebody, “Okay, I’m gonna go for the guy’s gun. You guys go for the legs. You guys go for the head.” You all attack at the same time. Okay, you don’t let this guy get in the room and start shooting away. All right, you all attack at the same time. Or, if you have objects that as the guy comes through the door, people throw things at him to distract them and boom, another guy goes for the gun, goes for the weapon. Little scenarios that you put in your head may be what you need to save your life.

Again, if there’s more than two people, you’d make a plan, this is what we’re going to do, boom, you do this, I do this, once I do this, we’re all going to jump on, and we’re going to hold them down to the ground. And if you get the guy down to the ground, you yell out, “we got him, we need help, we need help, we need help.” Let people know that you have one of the assailants down, or the assailant down, and you need help controlling them.

Then the same thing, you want to see that person’s hands as well. So, if you have the attacker on the floor, don’t let him reach down into his belt for another gun, maybe a hand gun or grenade or a knife, you want to keep his hands out, straight out in front of him. The rule of law is that if somebody is attacking you, or anybody else, and they’re doing bodily harm, there’s no limitations to what you can do. It sounds kind of scary, but that means that if you have to kill this person, you have got to do what you gotta do, you have got to kill the person. Okay?

In most street situations, you can only apply as much force as what’s given to you. So, in other words, if it’s a fist fight, it’s a fist fight. You can’t take a knife to a fist fight. You can’t take a gun to a knife fight, right, so it’s not not equally balanced. So the law says, even though it’s a deadly weapon, you have to match with what is being brought to you. So, if you have to take this person down, you have to hit him in the head with the fire extinguisher, you know, so be it. There’s a really good pressure point, located just below the earlobe, behind the ear lobe. If you take your thumb and push it into your ear, you’ll feel it. It’s almost where the jaw connects to the skull, that’s a pressure point. If you hold a person’s head to the floor, put your thumb in that pressure point and you hold that thumb down, it incapacitates the nervous system. It kind of short circuits the nervous system. And the thinking is that your body doesn’t go anywhere without the head. Okay, so if you control the head, you control the body. Again, you don’t want to put your knee on somebody’s head or neck, you know, we’ve seen the terrible outcome that caused. But, if you have your knee on the center of their back, pressing down on the center of their back, your thumb is at their ear, underneath their ear, and you’re putting all your weight down on top of their body and you’re almost holding your body weight against their head. That will help to control the person. 

Now, I’m actually switching a little bit to what happens if you’re attacked one on one.  That is a scary situation, especially again if you’re visually impaired. You have no idea what the intention of this person is. Where’s it gonna go? What’s he gonna do? I can tell you that no matter how much money you have on you, how much value you have in your pockets, nothing is more valuable than your life. So if you’re gonna get robbed, don’t fight for your sneakers, give them up. You can buy another pair, you get another pair, somehow it will work its way out. If you have $1 in your pocket, give it up, you got $100, give it up. It’s better than going to the hospital and finding out that you’ve got yourself a nice cut, or nice wound that you didn’t need for 10 bucks, and cause all kinds of issues.

So, with that being said, think about how you pick your fights, and what’s important to you, at the end of the day. Do you want to go home or do you want to be a macho man? I’m gonna fight you, you disrespected me – who gives a crap? As long as at the end of the day you go home, you’re safe, you’re happy with your family- that’s the bottom line.

So, again, I want to go back to, if you’re being attacked, one on one. You need to do everything you can. You need to scream, you need to scratch, you need to kick, you need to punch, you need to bite. You need to do everything you can, and make as much noise as you can make, as much a fuss as you can. The attacker wants an easy victim, and for the most part, they don’t want somebody who’s going to be fighting them. They may tell you, “Hey, if you do this, I’m going to kill you.” Well, guess what, they may kill you anyway. It’s hard to say that, but it’s the truth. You may find yourself having one opportunity to fight, and that may be when you’re being grabbed, when you’re being attacked or when you’re being assaulted.

For those people, if you grab their ears for the earrings, you can rip the ears and earrings off.  If you grabbed behind the ear, and for a lot of you who went to Catholic school, this was a great torture that the nuns used to use- they’d grab your ears and twist your ears and pick you off the floor and you have to get taken down to the office or what have you. I only know that a couple of times. But if you grab somebody’s ear, and you get a good piece of the ear in your hand, and you pull, you can rip the ear off the head. It doesn’t take a lot to rip it, you just got to hold on and not let go and pull and pull. And I can tell you it’s extremely painful. Anything that happens with the ears is extremely painful.

If you have to, you cup your hand, make a cup of your hand or all five fingers tied together, as if you are collecting water in the palm of your hand and you smack the person in the eardrum. You box the eardrum, you pop the eardrum, again, extremely painful to break the eardrum. If you do both hands together and you clap both hands together, boom, you pop both eardrums. Okay, if you have to punch at somebody who’s grabbing you, you always have the option to poke your fingers in their eyes. I want to level the playing field. Now I can’t see, well guess what? You can’t either. Boom, and we poke him in the eyes. I teach my students that, once I get a hold of you, I can’t let you go. The reason is, if I defend myself and I let you go, I gotta worry about you coming back to attack me a second time. So, I gotta take care of you the first time.

And that can be anything- a punch in the throat, a stab to the eyes. Use the palm of your hand, to punch them in the nose, under the bridge of the nose. Break the nose, pull on the ears, punch them in the throat, take away their wind. Knee them in his stomach or in the groin. Kick them in the knees, hit him in the shins, step on the top of their feet, slam down on top of their feet or on top of the toes and break their toes, break their foot. So, there’s a lot of different ways that we can attack the body to defend ourselves enough to get away.

As I said, depending on the attack, and I don’t know the intention of this person, I have to kind of either hold him there, or break something so I can get away. At that point, I’m hoping that somebody would have already come to my aid and, you know, helped me out. I will tell you that you’d have to learn certain techniques in order to be able to break a bone where you want it broken, and how to do that. I would suggest if you’re interested in the martial arts and self-defense, you find a good school that’ll teach you that. And a good school would not only teach you these techniques, but teach you about the tradition, the history of the art. They’ll teach you about discipline, and what makes a good martial artist. And it’s not just about kicking and punching and fighting and grappling.

You see these guys in MMA. They’re fantastic. They’re warriors, they’re incredible. Chances are you don’t run into a guy like that. You run into an average Joe who’s hungry for money, he wants drugs. You actually have a chance. I also recommend that if you’re in a confrontation with somebody that you don’t go to the ground with them, because you don’t know if they’re friends are with them, or the friends are coming to their aid. Meanwhile, you’re on the ground grappling with this guy and their friends come and kick you in the face or kick you in the ribs and now you have two people on you. So, if you can knock the person over, get them down, get away again, you know, yell, scream, do whatever you can to get attention.

And if you’re a younger person, a young child, you know, yell out, “you’re not my mom, you’re not my dad, help me, somebody help me.” And for the most part, they suggest that you go to a woman. A woman is more likely to help you than a guy. In fact, a kid is more able or willing to go to a woman, than he would a guy. Those are options out there to young kids, if they feel themselves getting grabbed or hassled, or what have you, they can always reach out and get and get some help.

There’s a lot of different things you could do. We also use what we call pinch points. So, if you grab somebody underneath their armpit where the floating ribs are, you grab the skin, and you twist and pinch. If you do it, let somebody do it to you, or you do it to somebody, it hurts like crazy. So, it’s a good way to get somebody’s attention, it’s a good way to push somebody away from you.

The other points are the neck- you grab right by the carotid artery and you pinch, pull and twist is another good pressure point. Let’s see – there’s pressure points in the thighs, there’s pressure points, like I said, by the ears, behind the ears. The pressure point is in the temple, if you put your one hand on one side of the person’s head, and take your pointer finger and the knuckle on the pointer finger, and push it into the temple on the other side of the head, okay? Extremely painful. If somebody grabs you from behind, and they’re reaching their arms around you, and your arms are free, so they’re reaching underneath you, you take that same pointer finger, bend it, and screw it into between the knuckles on the back of their hand. Excruciatingly painful and that helps release the grip.

Again, if somebody grabs you from the back, you go into a horse stance. So, if you can imagine being on a horse, a horse is wide so your legs are far apart from foot to foot, and your knees are kind of bent. So that’s how you are, without the horse. You slide one foot to the left or the right, you go down into a deep hoarse stance. Now your center of gravity is lower, it’s harder for somebody to pick you up. And if you tell yourself that you weigh as much as a ton, it makes it even harder for that person. You guys can do this with partners, have that person wrap your arm around them and say, okay, the person being grabbed is going to tell themselves I’m light as a feather. And that person will wrap their arms around you and pick you up like your light as a feather. Then you do it the other way. The person being grabbed tells themselves, I’m heavy as a ton. You’ll see that person can’t pick you up. There is a big difference in attitude and what you think.

If I go down into a horse stance, and I’m going down, the person is coming down with me, and I go back with my head, I’m gonna hit him in the nose with the back of my head. Okay, again, a game changer. 

You know, we train in the martial arts with thousands and thousands of techniques, only because if one doesn’t work, we moved to another. If that doesn’t work, we move to another. So again, somebody grabs me, I go down, I try to head butt him in the back, I miss. Now I can stomp their feet, boom, I stomp their feet, or I slide my hips forward and I back punch him and then punch them in the groin. Okay, another game changer. Usually by that time the person has let go. If they still have not let go I grab onto their arm, turn my body to the left and go down on my right knee as they come flying over my right shoulder. Okay, they’re following your body, and all they’re doing is, you’re doing the directing.

So, you’re putting them exactly where you want them to go. If the person grabs you, from the front, the same thing, there’s my head butt, boom, there’s my knee, my knee to the groin. And, again, you don’t always need to knee to the groin. I mean, if you tell a guy, you’re going to knee to the groin, he’s going to flinch even before you pick your foot up. So, it’s the deterrent to begin with. If you kick just underneath the belt, into the stomach, you kick in and down. If you take the tip of your toes, the point of your shoe, whether it’s a sneaker, a dress shoe, or boot or whatever, you kick, right where the leg and the torso meet the incremental fold, right there, you disconnect the femur from the hip, you disconnect the bone. Nice job. You kick into the kneecap, sideways, you kick into the kneecap, as the person puts their foot on their weight on that foot, you kick that knee, okay? Because now all his weight is on that foot, he can’t move it there, you kick it boom, you snap the knee, okay. Again, a ton of different things that you can do.

And you know, some of these are just my opinion, experience and just training, and not really having to apply to any real extent. If you join a martial arts school, be competitive, because that’s where you get, not the courage, but you get the nervousness out. You get that feeling of, “I can do this.” Win or lose, it doesn’t matter. As long as you participate, you go into it, that’s stepping out of your comfort zone. Every time you step out of your comfort zone, you get stronger.  Every time you get stronger you build more confidence. Every time you get more confidence, you build more strength in who you are, and what you are, and what you can do.

So, then you start releasing the potential that is in you. So, you want to build all that. You want to bring all that out. You want to have that smile on your face, and smile in your heart. But you also want to be able to walk with that confidence that I am protected. I am loved. I’m perfect. If there’s any questions, I’d be happy to take questions at this point. I’ll be quiet.


I don’t have any questions, you can put them right in the chat or you can unmute yourself. If you’re dialing in, you could press star six. Or you can select on the lower left hand of the screen. The mute button.


This is Karen. And you’re right, what you just said, thank you for that really great information. I appreciate what you just said about confidence. I remember, I’m 56 now, but I remember I was in college, and in my very early 20s, maybe 21 or something. and I took a self defense class, not only I took it, it was like, I don’t know, three or four classes or whatever. But I’ll never forget it. And even to this day, just having that class, it was a short period of time. But I still have confidence because I had it. I wish I had more. I remember some of the techniques and I just wish that every woman, and man, but particularly women, could do it. You know what I mean? And it’s been like 40 years, 35 years, and I feel confident because in any situation when I remember.

I used to watch Oprah and I don’t know if you remember but she used to have this detective on- JJ, Knickerbocker or something. He has a funny last name. And he was a detective and gave similar tips like you did. I remember one of the tips he said was, don’t get in the car. Just don’t get in the car, because that may be your last time. I never forgot that. Thank God I’ve never been in that situation. But, you know, like, don’t get in the car. And even learning how to swim. You know? I mean, I’m not a good swimmer. I can’t swim for the Olympics, but I never really mastered technique, but just initially, not being afraid to take the classes. I did not know how to swim at all. The classes that I did have -I’m not a swimmer, but I feel confident that if somebody pushed me into water, or if I fell into some water, I’m confident that I will try. I don’t know if I’ll make it, but I feel confident that I have a chance of surviving.  


Right. And what I actually failed to mention- it is a good point you brought up. Do not let yourself be taken out of your area. Don’t let yourself be pulled into the alley. Don’t let yourself be pulled into the car, into the elevator, into the stairwell. You scratch, you scream. And, again, worst case scenario, you want to get some skin under your fingernails. If you’re scratching at their eyes, and pulling on their face, and tearing at their skin, the worst case scenario is if they find you, dead, or, unconscious, now they have some DNA. We have proof of who this person was. And with today’s technology, I don’t care who you are- they’re finding cold cases from 30 years ago. So, I would never feel comfortable committing a crime and thinking I got away with it because 10, 15, 20 years from now, they’d be knocking on my door. Hey, we got this new technology, and now we know it was you. No matter what you do, you really got to do the right thing. The fact that you remember some of the things that you learned in that class is really valuable.


It gave me confidence. I don’t remember all of it. But I knew enough to remember that just because I’m a female, doesn’t mean I have to be taken down. Doesn’t mean that I can’t survive. I hear some women say women and men get I’m like, no, you can’t think like that. You know, you just can’t think because you’re a 100 pound woman, which I’m not, you’re a small petite woman, and you know, somebody may come up to you and they’re 290 pounds. You can’t just think, “oh my god, he’s got me, I’m dead.” You can’t think like that. So I have the confidence, not that I will necessarily win, but I am gonna try. Yeah, I know that just because I’m a woman, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a wrap. I’m done.


Yeah, yeah. And like you said, it really doesn’t matter how big that person is. Knees break, no matter how big you are. And I tell myself, I’m 65, so I can’t do high kicks anymore. But I’ll kick your legs out. I don’t have to kick you high because now I get down lower. So no, not a kick in the chest, kick in the face when you’re down lower. But yeah, you do what you can, you do what you have to. I forgot to say this as well. My dad had instilled this all the time when we were growing up, that you know, violence is ignorance, okay. When somebody is committing violence is it’s because of their ignorance. They don’t know any better.

That’s their only way of getting money, getting their drugs, or whatever it is. 90% of the time it is money. They’re looking for money for whatever, it could be any reason. Keep away from those situations and to listen and to pay attention to what’s going on around you, even if you’re in a park and having fun with friends. If you hear something.


Hello, yeah. Hello, Sensei. Devin. Hi Ann. How are you doing?


We’re right in the middle of conversation.


Oh, I’m sorry. I just, I’m just gonna make one comment to Sensei Devin, criminals are dumb.


You’re right. And that’s why they’re criminals.


And one more thing. I don’t know why these people try to rob places when you have cameras all over the place.


That’s very true. Actually, Ann is one of my students. She moved to Florida a few years ago. And she’s kept in contact since which is great- her and her family.

Again, back to having the confidence to just get out there and do what you want to do, be able to know that, I’m not going to be the best fighter, I’m not going to conquer the world. But if I have a situation, I feel like I can get out of this. I can help myself and use every tool in your toolbox, and again, everything’s a weapon. What you find on the street, you fold your cane in half, and that becomes a nice strong weapon. Use that to stab or to poke.

If you leave the cane open and you hit somebody then it just folds, it bends, it bends at the seams. So, by folding it in half, it becomes a stronger tool. I think somebody asked earlier, “would you recommend carrying a weapon”? I said, No, only because if you’re visually impaired, I don’t want that weapon to be taken away from me and use it against me. Okay, because I don’t know what they have in their hand. If I take out my knife, and boom, he kicks me in the hand, or he cuts me with his knife- now he’s got two knives, or whatever. So, that’s kind of a tricky call and I guess it depends on you personally, how you feel about that. But to me, it’s like going onto the ground and fighting somebody when there could be two friends around waiting to help them. So, I wouldn’t want to do that either. Anybody else?


We have about five more minutes, and Marilyn has her hand raised. Marilyn- if you want to unmute yourself and ask your question.


Thank you. Devin, I’m listening to you and it brought back memories of a story when I was mugged. I was mugged with my youngest son. We were coming home from King Colin and these two guys jumped me. Back in those days, there weren’t a lot of houses out here on the island. They wanted my pocket book, which I was fighting not to give them. I think my adrenaline, when you were talking about adrenaline, because I thought my adrenaline rush was crazy, because I had to defend my son. He was like three or four years old. So, there was no way these guys were gonna, you do anything to me.

The adrenaline, I had strength that I never knew I even had. Of course, once I got home, I broke down. I called my husband at work. He came right home, the police came, and I was pretty banged up from them. But they still didn’t get my pocketbook. My son was crying. My son had a lot of problems when he was younger because of it. He was afraid and he goes, “hide mommy teenagers are coming here.” I said, it’ll be okay, they’re not gonna bother us. But it took a lot of courage for me to get back out there with my cane. Today I have a dog, I would never be without a dog. I don’t carry a weapon, but what I do carry is protection spray. I have two of them. When I go walking my dog. Every morning before I go to work, Devin, and I’m by myself, I pay attention to my surroundings. But that thing is in my hand, and I am ready to spray.


And Marilyn, I think I remember you telling me that one time you’re walking, and you heard footsteps behind you. And you felt a little uncomfortable about that.


Yep. And it was a man walking behind me- not that long ago, a few months back. You know, it just made me nervous, and my dog kept turning around, which he never does. I kept saying, “forward forward,” and all these things come into your mind. Like just you talking about your adrenaline and me feeling the strength that I had to protect my son. I don’t know what would have happened if I didn’t pick up the stick. Because when they knocked me down and were kicking me they bruised my ribs. I was surprised that I didn’t have broken ribs. I guess they thought, this woman is blind with a cane and had a little kid, so she’s going to be an easy target. But they realized that I wasn’t that easy to target. I think what got me was the police, when they came, their attitude.

You can’t tell us what they look like, we don’t know who we’re looking for. And I said, No, I can’t tell you that- I can’t see. My son was too young. All he kept saying was teenagers, “hide mommy hide.” You’re bringing a lot of things up now, but you’re right, when you have an adrenaline rush, and especially if you have a child with you, your first instinct is to protect that child- blind or not. Yeah. Thank you for sharing this because this is really a lot of good information.


They didn’t see the Superwoman on your T-shirt.


I don’t know about Superwoman. It was scary getting back out there but I had to do it.


Thank God you weren’t hurt.


Yeah, my son. I don’t know if he still remembers it, because he’s in his 40s now, but for many years, he said, I remember mom, I remember.


Anybody else?


Hey Sensei Devin, it’s Sally, one of your other students. How are you? I would say Sensei Devin, I am a single woman who travels all over the place at this point. And it’s all in great gratitude to his training that he has given me. And he’s the Jiminy Cricket on my shoulder a lot of times, saying “Sally, be aware of what’s going on.” Or making me think, okay, I have my keys in my hands. That’s a smart thing to do right now. So it’s always having your options open. And you’ve really made me aware of that, and I completely appreciate you for that. Thank you.


Well, thank you. Honestly, you brought that out yourself. I just helped you find it. That was all you. Sally also had to protect herself on the train one day, too.


So true, true fact. And it was you that helped me do that.


Yeah, I wasn’t even there.


It was all the knowledge you gave me.


Well, thank you so much, Devin, for being with us tonight and sharing this wonderful information. And thank you to everybody who was so open and shared their stories with us. If there’s any other questions that come up, you can feel free to contact him. We’re going to share Devin’s contact information with you along with a recording and a link to the resource that was also mentioned. You can be on the lookout for that later this week. And then, like I said, if anything else comes up, please feel free to reach out to Devin, or myself, and we’ll get your questions answered for you.


Excellent. Thank you, Maggie. Thank you.

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