10 April 2007
Just Yell Fire - Better Yell for Proper Instruction!

My pal Angel pointed me in the direction of these guys recently and asked me my thoughts.

Overall I can really see the good intentions behind this vid, and they have gathered some of what I would consider the main elements. However there is a heavy dose of bullshit in this as well.

Apart from the presentation style, which seemed pitched at a much lower age group and fairly condescending, the info in the first 10 minutes was solid. The police chief touched on the basics. In my opinion that should have been expanded to fill the whole vid with the principles being applied to the scenarios.

As is common in self-protection vids there was only lip-service paid to the awareness/avoidance/contact management element. For example there was only 1 passing reference to any kind of reactionary gap and one example of a (very poor) fence which was not made explicit. This is the kind of technique which could have been really well taught in a vid like this, much better than 'scoop kicks'...

The other techniques were, on the face of it, decent - eye gouges, tears, slaps, bites and knees. However they are done in a very unrealistic manner - no aggression or force. There is also a lot of shit grab defence stuff - that 'combing the hair' and 'hands up' stuff is bollocks. The defences are diagnostic, overly complex and do not allow for a lack of traction from being picked up or rammed backwards. I also don't think that pain is as effective a stopper as they make out. A tough, goal oriented attacker will fight through having his face torn to shreds. This vid gives the impression that the central casting thug will be stopped by a single eyejab - that's patently not true.

Whilst I really like the scenario ideas, they are very, very limited. No indication of the importance of awareness or contact management, and risible technique applications. Again they are diagnostic in nature and depend on a co-operative 'opponent' This is followed into the short illustrations of training - they give nothing of the actual type of training required for effective self protection.

Some of the statistics seem somewhat dubious. For example I would like to see sources for their claims on the number of date rapes or sexual predators in the US. Also, I think some of the time dedicated to the 'I have a right to' stuff would been better spent on reinforcing the need for safe behaviour. That is probably the most valuable message from this material and it is really only touched on.

In short, this vid is like a '70s self defence manual given infomercial treatment. It has some of the correct ingredients but so much is missing as to make all but that first 10 minutes worthless. The smug assumption that this will save lives is misplaced, and could be dangerous if people think they know how to fight off an attacker after one viewing of this. Kudos to those involved in doing the work and giving it away for free, but I am really not impressed with the content.

One final point is the advice to yell 'fire' that gives the video it's name. Not bad advice and I like the way it is mentioned that this should be a mental trigger (Although no detail on how to accomplish this is given). However they fail to mention how hard it can be to speak, let alone shout when in an adrenalized state. Since no understanding is given of the need to predicate training (as in more than just watching a vid!) on the failure of technique it is highly likely that the system as presented will fall apart at the first failure point and this is likely to be when the shout of fire fails.

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