Interview with Self-Defense Trainer, Jarrett Arthur

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Well, mid-January has rolled around and I still don’t have my New Year’s Resolution list complete. Not complete as in ‘everything is checked off’ but complete in the sense that I didn’t even finish filling the darn chart out! Ugh, can anyone relate? Or, did you fill your chart out, but now that real life has set in you’re finding it difficult to achieve these goals? I have Jarrett Arthur here for you with tips on how to stay on pace with your resolutions as well as information about her M.A.M.A. self-defense class. Jarrett is a self-defense trainer who teaches men, women, and children how to stay safe.

New Year’s Resolutions

For your New Year’s resolution to succeed why don’t you try something new? Keep your 12 month goal, but break it up into monthly goals. Go a step further and break it up into weekly and even daily goals. The two most important pieces of the puzzle are (1) having challenging yet attainable short-term goals that are clearly defined, and (2) that you consistently re-evaluate your short terms goals and modify as needed.

1 Yearly Goal: Exist in the world in a safer way by the end of 2014.

12 Monthly Goals: Complete one safety related activity every month such as…

  • Take a self-defense class or workshop.
  • Enroll the kids in a self-defense class or workshop.
  • Read a personal safety book (“The Gift of Fear” is a great one).
  • Toxic waste disposal day for old batteries, paint, medications, etc.
  • Put together an emergency preparedness kit for natural disasters.
  • Write down a fire/intruder escape plan for every room in the house.
  • Replace one favorite cleaning product with a non-toxic equivalent.

52 Weekly Goals: Learn something new about safety every week, such as…

  • Read one article about crime, self-defense, or personal safety.
  • Watch a short training video online and practice some moves.
  • Research an important safety conversation topic to have with your kids.
  • Have that important safety conversation with your kids.

365 Daily Goals: Pick an easy behavior that can quickly become a daily habit, such as…

  • Don’t talk on your cell phone as you approach or exit your car or home.
  • Lock vehicle and exterior house doors as soon as you close them.
  • Watch your garage door or gate close completely before you drive away.
  • Don’t hold the door to your apartment complex open for strangers.
  • Encourage your kids to “walk tall” and pay attention to their surrounding.

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What do you recommend you do when you feel you’ve reached a plateau on one of your New Year’s resolutions? How can you inspire yourself to push forward?

Jarrett-The first step to overcoming a resolution plateau is to be nice to yourself. All too often we adopt a really harsh inner voice that is critical, judgmental, and sometimes downright abusive.  I always try the best friend trick. I imagine saying to my best friend the words that I’m saying to myself. If it’s too harsh to tell your bestie, it’s too harsh for you. Negativity kills motivation. Instead, try commending yourself for the accomplishments you’ve made thus far. Then revisit how you’ll feel when you fully accomplish your resolution: empowered, healthy, safer, more in control of your life, less stressed…whatever your end goal is, try to remind yourself how good it will feel when you get there.

What are some signs that you set your resolutions too high? How can you adjust it without discouraging yourself?

Jarrett-There’s black, there’s white, and then there’s life. Nothing is fixed and invariable. Your resolutions shouldn’t be either. Called a fancy name because they fall in the month of January, New Year’s resolutions are simply long terms goals that need to be broken down into well-defined short-term goals that are challenging yet attainable. To be successful at achieving goals you have to get comfortable accessing them routinely and modifying as needed. Without honest assessment and modification it’s unlikely that you’ll fully realize the end goal.

What is M.A.M.A.?

Jarrett-M.A.M.A. stands for Mothers Against Malicious Acts and is a self-defense system designed exclusively for moms as well as all women responsible for the well-being of kids. When you’re a mom one of your most important jobs is to protect your kids. How do you do that when you’re under threat? How do you that when you’re assaulted? What do you do if you have to fight back and your kids are with you, or in their car seat in the back of your vehicle, or in a stroller, or when you’re carrying an infant? M.A.M.A. addresses all of those potentially devastating situations.

What specifically inspired you to come up with the M.A.M.A. program? 

Jarrett-I ran a renowned children’s Krav Maga training center for a number of years. While chatting with the moms I would always hear stories about how the family was out doing this or that and encountered a suspicious looking person or someone who generally looked and seemed “off.” The moms would always joke that they’d have to hide behind their Krav Maga trained kids if anything ever happened. Of course they were joking, but no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t get many moms to take the coed, high intensity, bootcamp-style group self-defense classes that were also offered at the facility. I realized the need for a program that catered specifically to the wants and needs of mothers. Moms who had the desire to add some serious butt-kicking skills to their already existing “mama bear” instincts. And so, M.A.M.A. was born.

Do you have any success stories from your students where they employed your techniques with life-changing results?

Jarrett-I always teach my students that prevention and avoidance are the best strategies, whether you’re a mom or not. Feel free to fantasize about using your newfound butt-kicking skills to rid the world of a monster unlucky enough to think you an easy victim, but real world violence doesn’t work that way. Even surviving an attack will alter your life dramatically and permanently, so prevention is key. One of my most recent stories is of a mom who took one of my M.A.M.A. workshops on a Saturday, and on that Sunday was aggressively approached by a man at a gas station while she was filling up. Her infant daughter was in her car seat inside. This mom used the verbal and body language boundary setting skills she learned in class to get the man to stop and keep his distance, which gave her enough time to quickly get into her car, lock the doors, and drive off.

What actions should women avoid doing to lessen the risk of a physical attack?

Jarrett-Awareness is one of the best tools a woman can utilize to lessen the risk of a physical attack. It seems so obvious, but it’s so easy to get complacent. I’m even guilty of it from time to time. I catch myself answering a text as I walk to my car and have to remind myself that answering immediately isn’t worth the added risk of having my eyes and my focus downward on my phone instead of on the world around me. In those moments of distraction we are most vulnerable. So put those devices away ladies!

If we don’t live in LA, how can we participate in one of Jarrett’s classes? 

Jarrett-Even if you don’t live in LA you can and should seek training. My youtube channel has a lot of free technique videos, and I’m going to be adding a lot of new ones this year. My first M.A.M.A. dvd: Don’t Mess With M.A.M.A. is available on my website. I also recommend that you look up reputable (read: accredited) Krav Maga training centers near your home and give those classes a try. Don’t force the fit though, if you don’t feel comfortable yet challenged you may need to try other training centers.

How many times would you recommend a woman to take a self-defense class?

Jarrett-As many times as possible! The goal is to commit defensive moves to muscle memory, since it will be hard to recall and perform techniques under threat if they aren’t ingrained in your body. That being said, don’t let a busy schedule keep you from taking some classes. ANY amount of the proper training is better than NO training at all. If you can’t train consistently (meaning weekly) I recommend taking an intensive workshop once a year, and participating in a “refresher” class every 3-4 months.

Is this something that can be taken every so often so that knowledge is maintained?

Jarrett-The “right” kind of training is the key here. Not all self-defense classes are created equal. Traditional martial arts (Karate, Taekwondo, Kung Fu) are wonderful but they are art forms, which means they take years to master and require serious repetition and practice. A reality-based self-defense system (Krav Maga) is committed to simple, straightforward moves that are instinctive to your innate natural responses. A system such as Krav Maga prepares you quickly for a real life threat or assault, and once a solid foundation is established, doesn’t need to be practiced all the time in order for the techniques to be maintained.

How many calories are burned during class?

Jarrett-It all depends. It depends on the format of the class, the goals of the students (technique versus serious workout), and the instructor; but it’s safe to say that these classes will destroy your group cardio classes, elliptical routine, your walk, run, or hike, and even your weightlifting circuit in a head-to-head calorie burning contest. You will use your entire body during every second of the class to perform explosive movements that will cause you to pant, sweat, and sculpt a lean, mean body fit enough to fight back.

I hope you were as impressed with Jarrett as I was. Not only were her words enough to encourage me to jump back onto my New Year’s resolutions, but I’ll certainly be adding ‘take self-defense class’ to that list. Thanks Jarrett!



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