Posted by Den on January 19, 2011 in Self Defense, Survival

Originally I was just going to tell you how to survive a dog attack…

Just as tuna is the chicken of the sea, dogs are the sharks of the land.

Our fuzzy companions can weigh over 200lbs and are packed with a mouth full of teeth and jaws strong enough to crush bone… They’re cute and cuddly, but you don’t want to end up being their next doggy toy.

I WILL talk about surviving a dog attack, but first I think it’s helpful to understand how a dog is trained for protection.  Not only will this give you insight into surviving an attack, but it just might get you to train your own dog… something I highly recommend.

You see, at least with the police I trained dogs with for 3 years when I was a high-schooler, there was a saying that was considered a truism:  A trained attack dog is much safer than an untrained ‘pet’.

This is for two reasons:

First, because a ‘protection’ dog has been taught to recognize agression… they can pick an agressive attacker out of a crowd and single them out for their furry… uh… fury.

Second, unlike untrained dogs, a well trained dog can be called off in the blink of an eye.  As a matter of fact, one of the final tests my own dog had to pass before she ‘graduated’ was protecting me against multiple attackers, and then being called off in mid-air as she launched herself at a fleeing attacker who stood still. (for legal reasons, police dogs are not supposed to attack once the person stops moving).

Stopping an attacking dog in mid air is some SERIOUS jedi dog control.

Meanwhile, an untrained dog who is attacking someone is likely to bite its owner and anyone else who tries to pull it away.

So, remember: if you train your dog as a protection dog, it will be SAFER for you, your family, your neighborhood.

So how does this work?

Well, contrary to popular opinion, you don’t have to make a dog ‘mean’ to make it a great protection dog.

It’s all about tapping into the dog’s natural instincts while it’s a puppy.

Initially you have someone take a burlap sack and walk up ‘sneaky-like’ to you and your pup… While they walk up, you say your “watch” word… This is any word that you will later use to ‘alert’ your dog that there may be a problem.

Your would-be attacker then wiggles the sack, drags it on the ground, and tries to do everything they can to entice the pup to take the sack…

Once your pup takes the burlap sack, you say your next command… which is the “bite” word… and pet them while they ravage the sack.

Your attacker plays tug-of-war with him/her a bit, and then let them “win” the sack as their prize.  At this point, you praise the pup immensely, telling them how great they are, and generally acting as if your puppy has just single-pawedly solved world hunger.

You then give the “release” command, and grip the pups cheecks with your thumb and fore-finger, lightly pinching their cheeks against their teeth.  This triggers an automatic “release” reflex, so you are now anchoring your release command with the action of releasing the ‘prize’.

Finally you praise your pup some more, and then the process is repeated.

Over time, as your pup sees this repeated, they will perk their ears up and look around anxiously for the “attacker” (aka playmate) when you say your “watch” word.  They will learn to hold tight as you repeat the “bite” word, and they will release the attacker when you say your “release” word.

It’s important to remember that your dog is hard-wired to want to please you.  More than almost anything in the world, that is what a dog wants.  But without establishing proper communication, your dog has no idea in hell what you want.

The key is repetition and consistency.

As your pup gets older and progresses, the burlap sack turns into a burlap sleeve, which is still dragged on the ground and played with the dog, who does the same “grab, attack, struggle, release” routine that they did with the sack.

Next, once they are hitting the sleeve consistently, your attacker puts the sleeve on their arm and taunts the pup with the sleeve…  This is where the transition is made from playing with a sack to biting a person’s arm…  All the same commands and techniques are used, but now the sack-turned-sleeve has an arm stuffed in it.

The final phase is to take your dog off it’s leash and rather than have the attacker go after your dog, you put your dog in a down-stay, walk out to talk with the attacker, and they attack YOU.

At this moment, all the ‘play’ attacking comes together with your dogs natural inclination to protect you, and like clockwork your dog will protect you from your attacker.

There are few things more incredible than having your best buddy launch themself into harms way to try and protect your life.  It’s an incredibly bonding experience with your dog, and something that could save your life or the lives of others.

Now that you have the basics of how protection dogs are trained, let’s look at how to survive a dog attack…

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Posted by Den on January 17, 2011 in Adventure, The Bond Education

The Author, Den, on a date with a whole lot of sharks…

Scuba Diving is one of my absolute favorite hobbies.  It’s an amazing experience… a journey into inner-space that much resembles an astronaut’s journey into outerspace:

Astronauts and divers are both weightless, they both carry your own life-support with them, and if they screw anything up, they both can easily die.

Yes, it’s easy to die if you screw up scuba diving… BUT it is also very easy to stay alive if you obey the laws of the scuba gods…

After having my own close-call playing chicken with the scuba gods, and paying the price with 4 visits to the Hyperbaric chamber, I took a year off and read every single book I could possibly read on scuba diving, diving accidents, and the practices of the very best divers.  So I’m going to share with you what I’ve distilled from my personal experience, and my studies.

First, let me set the record straight: millions of people scuba dive each year without incident.  Second, I’d like to point out that scuba diving, while presenting some dangers, is well worth the small risk, and has entirely changed travelling and vacationing for me.

When you travel, you generally go to another city.  Perhaps another state… And if you’re really lucky, you go to another country.

But when you dive, you go to another WORLD.

For about an hour, you are an interloper in an alternate reality… you glide completely weightless through a liquid space filled with life-forms so exotic that when James Cameron tried to come up with beautiful alien life forms for the utopian planet “Pandora” in Avatar, he based much of it on the aquatic life divers see each time they submerge…

My experience in Thailand was perhaps the most striking in my life… after taking a 20 minute boat-ride to what (from the surface) just looked like an empty expanse of water, we plunged into the ocean… Dropping down a mere 30 feet, we entered a colorful world of moving, flowing life… With so much coral and so many brightly colored fish, it looked as if Dr. Seuss had dropped acid and gone to town painting beneath the sea.

If you haven’t been scuba diving, especially in the tropics, I highly recommend it.

Many people know that what you see when you dive is stunningly beautiful.  However, what most people don’t realize is that diving, when done right, is very relaxing.  Proper diving technique is all about conserving your air… And that means you breathe constantly and slowly… and you ‘fin’ (kick with your fins) slowly as well.

Unlike snorkeling, where you’re fighting to get  down and see things, you are weighted in SCUBA, and have a fest that you can put air into to counter the effects of the weights. Thus, at any depth, you can remain perfectly weightless…  able to float through the water with very little exertion.  The slow, even breathing, and mellow relaxed swimming gives scuba a very ‘zen master’ kind of a feel…

Also, as I’ve gotten better at diving, I’ve learned another important truth:

The more you dive, the less you swim… The less you swim, the more you see.

Beginners want to zip from place to place, trying to see everything they can with the time they have.  As a result, they expend a lot of energy, forcing them to use up a lot of air very quickly, and their time is cut short.  Also, with all the ‘zipping’ they tend to miss many of the most interesting fish, coral and other sea life, simply because they didn’t take the time to slow down and see the smaller details, and because all that zipping around scares away the wildlife.  Slowing down and taking your time allows the sea-life to relax around you and you start seeing much more…

When I dive, I am always in awe of the vast amount of life that is hidden beneath the desert-like surface of the ocean…  I feel very alive.

But I am also aware that it is very easy to be not alive if you don’t pay attention to some very important rules.  You see, it is very easy to die diving, as my girlfriend and I found out… And it all goes back to one thing: AIR.

Air can kill you a couple of ways when you’re diving, and it’s very important to understand how and why so you can avoid this unpleasant end to an otherwise lovely trip…

  1. Not Enough Air:This is the obvious one… If you run out of air you die, in very short order.  But this becomes a problem in several very important situations:
    • Your air wasn’t turned on and you plunged into the ocean. Yes… Darwin is alive and well in the sea as well as on land, and every year, there are a few poor souls who forget to turn their air on, and don’t bother to have anyone check them out.  That’s why the first rule of diving is very important: always have a buddy, and always have that buddy check out your air and your equipment BEFORE you go jumping into the ocean.  Prior to jumping in the ocean, you should also put air into your B.C.D. (Buoyancy Control Device), which is essentially an inflatable vest that you use to stay neutrally buoyant under water…  This keeps you from sinking like a rock when you first jump in…  The sinking like a rock, especially when combined with a tank valve turned off, means can’t to breathe OR inflate… Resulting in what I like to call SAS or “Sudden Anchor Syndrome,” not good.
    • You ran out of air. Unlike in everyday life, being absent-minded or seriously ADD is not a good thing in the hydro-world.  Forgetting to check your air and leave enough for your return to the surface can result in more saltwater-on-lung action than most people can take.  It’s very important to check your air often.
    • You couldn’t get to the surface. This is why it is VERY important that, until you’re very skilled, you don’t go into caves, wrecked ships, or other “overhead” environments.  These are places where you can’t return directly up to the surface if there is a problem.  The vast majority of diving deaths take place among wreck divers and cave divers, for this very reason.  If you become entangled or disoriented, have a problem with your equipment or physical disturbance, you have a limited clock to right the situation before your air runs out. An overhead environment adds one more obstacle to your ability to get to the surface. So, until you’re skilled at diving, it’s best to always be able to see a clear path to the surface. ALSO, there’s an added danger to these ‘enclosed’ environments, which is that their sheltered nature causes fine layers of silt to build up over time.  This silt is like dust, and disturbing this fine dust can result in blinding clouds that make it impossible to find your way back out of what seemed like an easy-to-navigate environment.
  2. Too Much Air:Yes you read right.  Air is great, but too much air is NOT so great.  Just ask a popped balloon.  You see, when you dive, the only way you can breathe comfortably at depths of 30, 80 or over 100 feet is because the tanks of air you use are highly pressurized…The “regulator” that you breathe from is designed to give you air at just the right pressure for the depth you’re at.To understand how the pressure that water exerts on you works, let’s use the example of the balloon… A balloon filled with air at the surface of the water, and then taken to 30 feet of depth, is compressed by the pressure of the water above it. At 30 feet (2 atmospheres), there is still the same amount of air in the balloon, but it is compressed to 1/2 the volume it had at the surface.  At 60 feet (3 atmospheres), it looses another half of its volume, making it 1/4 of its original volume… (1/2 of 1/2 = 1/4).  At 90 feet, it is 1/8, and so on. Every 30 feet, the volume is cut in half from the previous 30 feet of depth. Thus, at 30 feet, the pressurized air and scuba regulator feeds you enough air to fill your lungs at 30 feet, which is twice what it would take at the surface.  What that means is that, if you took a full breath of air, and then raised up 30 feet, by the time you got the surface, you’d look like a puffer-fish, and your lungs would have inflated to twice their normal filled size. Well… no, actually that’s wrong. They’d have simply exploded, just like a balloon that got too much air. And that’s what happens if you hold your breath while diving.Unlike a balloon, it takes very little to over-inflate your lungs.  And if you notice the math above, the largest volume changes take place in the shallowest water… So holding your breath as you ascend near the surface is a sure recipe for disaster. In just 3-5 feet, you can cause enough damage to seriously injure or kill yourself…And thus we have the next immutable law of scuba diving: NEVER HOLD YOUR BREATH. Always Breathe. The simple act of very slowly, lightly breathing keeps the passageway between your lungs and your mouth open, so if you start ascending too fast and that air in your lungs starts to expand, it has a pathway out of your body that doesn’t involve exploding your lungs.
  3. The wrong kind of air.  There’s another danger that comes from underwater breathing.  You see the air we breathe at the surface of the Earth is only 21% Oxygen… the remainder is mostly Nitrogen… to the tune of about 79%. Nitrogen is the same stuff as laughing gas at the dentist’s office.  At the surface of the earth, the nitrogen isn’t absorbed by your lungs, as the molecules are too large to pass through the lung membranes, and as a result its not absorbed into your lungs. However, at depth, the nitrogen is able to be absorbed.  As mentioned earlier, the deeper you go, the higher the volume of air that is pumped into your lungs, so that, at deeper depths, higher quantities of nitrogen start to enter your bloodstream. At very deep depths, you can get ‘narced’, or nitrogen narcosis. This is that goofy state you get in from the laughing gas… and it can be deadly simply because you start making really bad decisions, like ignoring your rapidly depleting air, or putting your regulator onto a lobster.The other danger of nitrogen is that, once it’s been dissolved into your blood, it must be released back out of your system slowly.  Think of a bottle of soda… If you slowly open the cap, the C02 releases slowly and almost no bubbles are formed in the soda.  However, if you remove the cap quickly, the whole bottle is in danger of foaming up and leaking out.The same basic principle applies with the nitrogen dissolved into your blood… You want to ascend to the surface slowly to keep bubbles from forming in your blood stream. There is a safe depth where the nitrogen can leave your blood via your lungs, but the levels of nitrogen are low enough in the compressed air that the Oxygen pushes the nitrogen out… And that’s between about 25 and 10 feet of depth.  So it’s a common practice, when you go to the surface, to stop at about 15 feet for 3 minutes to allow your lungs to push the remaining nitrogen out of your blood. If, instead, you rocket to the surface while you have nitrogen dissolved in your blood, the nitrogen forms bubbles in your blood, literally boiling and blocking blood flow to arteries and even your brain.  This is known as being ‘bent’, or having ‘the bends’, and again, it can kill you.

The way to avoid this is to:

a) carry a computer that will constantly compute your nitrogen levels and warn you when to return to the surfaceb) ascend to the surface very slowly… more slowly than your bubblesc) stop for a 3 to 5 minute ‘safety stop’ at 15-20 feet depth… This allows your body to ‘offgass’ (a nifty way of saying exhale) the nitrogen out of your blood before returning to the surface.


One final thing that I’ve learned “the hard way”:

As you go deeper below the ocean’s surface, the more the pressure of the water above you presses down on you and compresses you… As a result, the deeper you go, the faster you sink.

Scuba divers overcome this constantly changing ‘weight’ by putting little puffs of air into their BCD vests.  This can become dangerous if you begin to head for the surface without letting this air back out.

Just as air compresses as you go deeper, it expands as you ascend…  If you ascend too rapidly, the air in your vest can inflate rapidly, causing you to ascend even faster, which creates a runaway cycle of faster ascension which creates even faster inflation. This can result in an unplanned rocket-trip to the surface, often resulting in the bends and exploded lungs.

This happened to my girlfriend while we dove in Thailand, and although I had already thought through the scenario and quickly grabbed her and let the air out of her vest, she shot up quickly enough that, despite my stopping her before we got to the surface, we both received a moderate case of “the bends”.

The solution to avoid this is quite simple:  Before ascending, let air out of your BCD.  Don’t wait to get to 15 feet to let the air out.  With enormous fins on your feet, it is easy to ‘fin’ your way to the surface, even if you’re weighed down. But once you start rocketing to the surface, there are no ‘brakes’ you can apply to stop your ascent.  Better to play it safe and ALWAYS let air out of your BCD before you ascend any significant distance.

Scuba is a truly incredible sport, and by understanding the risks dangers, you can keep yourself safe and free to enjoy the vast and largely undiscovered underwater world around us.

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Posted by Den on January 13, 2011 in Stuff Dad Didn't Teach You...

There’s a lot of information out there on dating advice websites and other media sources that tell guys that, to attract women, they must be confident, dominant… the common term now is “Alpha”.

However, there seems to be a misunderstanding of what that really means. Guys who are naturally ‘nice guys’ (and thus don’t really know what it is to truly be an alpha male) make attempts to ‘come across’ as confident and dominant, but more often than not they miss the mark.

The feigned bravado, the dickish self-centered facade that they put forth is not only disingenuous, but (in my opinion) it’s NOT what is really meant by confidence or dominance.

A truly “alpha” male doesn’t have to “prove” who he is to anyone.  He simply IS.

With this in mind, I just wanted to take a second tonight and clarify these things.  Here’s how I think of it:

Confidence is a LACK of INSECURITY.  This translates into a natural cool, calm demeanor.  This is different from arrogance, which is generally the sign of someone who is overcompensating for their insecurity by treating others with disregard or abuse. There is a sense of being calm and collected, composed and in control of ones self… That imperturbable nature that doesn’t bend and twist to the whims and fancies of others.  It is a sense of self, of purpose, and it is generated from the inside out.

Dominance is quite different from domineering, yet it’s a distinction that many miss. Dominance means you’re the leader who is in control of situations and people, not by trying to seize control, but by simply walking your path with strength, wisdom, and a clear sense of intention and purpose. It is this place of ‘being’ that causes others to naturally follow… You can’t become a leader by trying to pull people with you… That only makes you at best a needy controlling person, and at worst a tyrant.

Remember, domineering means you’re insecure and trying to control another because of that insecurity.  Dominance on the other hand doesn’t seek to control… It controls by simply being in a powerful and congruent state.

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Posted by Den on January 13, 2011 in Mating & Dating, Stuff Dad Didn't Teach You...

There are few things worse than when a girl you really like catches you checking out another woman.  There’s that icy cold stare she gives that makes you feel simultaneously frustrated and guilty.  She pushes you away and when you go to hold her hand, she doesn’t hold back.

The really sucky thing is that you really like her…  what she doesn’t seem to get is that your feelings for her, and your need to look at that other girl are totally unrelated.

Where did it all go wrong?  One minute, you’re out with her and everything’s going great…  You’re walking along, hand in hand, all dreamy-eyed, with little squirrels and butterflies playing around you.  But there’s an ominous thundercloud in the distance.

A little motion catches your attention from the corner of your eye…  183 thousand years of evolution has made you a cunning protector-predator, triggering a natural compulsion to turn your head and get a better look…

And you find yourself glancing at a very hot woman.

Now you’re staring

A fraction of a second longer than you probably should have, and you realize… “Oh crap… I’m looking too long… I’ve got to look away!”

You forcefully wrench your head back to a ‘straight ahead’ position… and realize too late that you whipped your head back just a bit too fast… and now your date knows something is up.

The same 183 thousand years of evolution have made her a curious creature, and she now wants to see what the hell was so fascinating to make you act so weird… So she looks… You brace for it…  Her eyes trace the path you were just looking… She sees the hottie, and the icy smile she gives you is about as cold as the shower you’ll be soloing later.

You’re Busted.

Don’t worry buddy… you’re not alone. It happens to all of us.  We goofy guys get busted all the time… and the weird thing is, we never catch women looking.  It doesn’t make sense, right?  Open up any issue of Cosmo, Vogue, Elle… there are mostly naked guys all over those mags…

So what’s going on? Are we really such dogs? Are women really the sweet, innocent angels they seem to be, who only check guys out when they’ve been single for 3 years and find themselves alone with a man on a desert island?

Sure seems like it.  But scientific evidence and real-world observations point to a different conclusion.

Studies show that women check out men at least as much as men check out women.  It’s a fact.  So why don’t you catch her looking?  And why are you getting busted all the time?  Are you really such an unobservant dumb-ass?

Well, in a word… yes.

But to your defense, you really can’t help being both obvious and oblivious when it comes to the whole ‘check-out’ scene.

The fact is, guys aren’t idiots… we’re just… well… check-out-challenged.

You see, it’s a well established fact that women have wider and more developed peripheral vision than men.  Again, a very ‘evolved’ creature, the women would protect children from predators while the men were out hunting.  Just like a horse or other non-predatory animal has eyes on the side of it’s head so it can see everything around it, a woman can see more of what’s around her.

Don’t worry… we weren’t totally short-changed… Men evolved as the predators… and to help them in this task, men developed better depth perception and visual acuity (for our spear-hurling needs.)  These are interesting ‘fun-with-science’ facts, but how does this relate to you?

Well, imagine you’re walking along hand in hand with your girl…  A woman off to your right catches your eye… with your pathetic male peripheral vision, you have to turn your head to get a better look at the woman… in other words, you have to basically turn your head and look right at her.

Now your girl has very good peripheral vision… so she is very likely to notice your head-turn out of the corner of HER eye.

But it’s not just physiology…  evolution fucked us in other ways too…  We’re social creatures, and MEN tend to LEAD.  That’s cool… and many dating experts recommend leading to show your confidence and status.  But there’s a hidden downside to taking that lead literally.

Let’s break down the ‘guy leading’ situation…  Take your left hand and put it out to your side at head height in the “I pledge allegiance” position (no, not on your heart… the OTHER hand).  Notice that it’s just out of your range of vision.  Now move your hand forward just 6 inches (I know, I know… for many of you jokers 6 inches is a lot).  Notice that you now have a very good peripheral view of your hand.  Put it back in that neutral position, and now move it BACK 6 INCHES… and notice that it is totally out of view.

If you’re an average guy, you have about a 2 ½ foot stride… So that 6 inch difference is only 1/5 of a stride

What am I driving at? 

Well, when you’re a fifth of a step ahead of your girl, your head is now right in her visual field, and hers is NOT in yours…

These two factors add up to one very solid equation:  when you turn your head to look, YOU ARE BUSTED! 

Now let’s reverse the situation…  Say you’re walking along and your girl sees a hot guy off to her side.  (I know… I know, with your big 6 inch lead she’d NEVER look at anyone but you…)  Remember, her peripheral vision is much better than yours, so for her to take a look, she barely has to turn her head at all… (Plus, women are more skillful at looking out of the corner of their eyes… men tend to turn their head and DIRECTLY look).

So, not only is her head movement smaller and less noticeable, your lame peripheral vision means you’re even less likely to notice her head turn.  Add your impressive 6 inch lead, and the rest takes care of itself.  You’re never going to catch her.

So… what’s a guy to do?

Well… here are a few suggestions:

Option 1:  The Honest Approach

You can find a woman who doesn’t mind if you look… and then you don’t have to care either… The flip side of this is that you can’t bust her if SHE is looking…  If you can deal with that, then this option may be for you.

I have a buddy who is really great with the ladies, and I noticed he’d blatantly check out girls and even point them out to his girlfriend.  He’d rate their asses, comment on their faces, hair, breasts…  It was actually pretty funny.  I asked him about it, and he told me this thing he says to women when he starts dating them.  He just waits till she busts him for OBVIOUSLY looking at a hottie, and then he tells her:

“Here’s the deal:  I’m a people watcher… I enjoy observing people… And, being human, I like attractive people… And being a guy, I like attractive women.  So you’re going to see me checking out attractive women.  It’s going to happen.  It doesn’t mean anything other than a) I’m straight and b) I find it fascinating that people who all look so very different can also all be attractive in their own ways… I like analyzing what that ‘attractiveness factor’ is in people…  And that appreciation is part of why I am sitting here with you and not with them.”

This kind of honest and matter-of-fact approach usually goes over really well.  And as he told me, he doesn’t really want to date a girl who is too insecure to deal with his wandering eyes, so for him it’s a test to see if he’s going to get along with this girl.  Blunt honesty can be refreshing, and you just might find out that she likes checking out people with you too…

Since then, I’ve had many fun afternoons hanging out with girlfriends comparing ratings of different women…  and sometimes even men (hey, you can know if a guy is attractive without being attracted… and being able to acknowledge that makes you incredibly self-confident in the eyes of your woman).  Plus, if you tend to be on the insecure side, it can’t hurt to know what guys she finds attractive…  Call it an ‘advanced warning’ in case she adopts someone you know is her type as a ‘friend’.

Option 2: The Sly Approach

Take a tip from women and learn how to look.  Learn the art of subtlety.  If you want to ‘look under their radar’ it’s going to take some work.  Here are some quick tips:

a)    Expand Your Range
You can actually work to develop your peripheral vision.  Martial artists do this all the time…  Practice consciously trying to make out details of things to your left and right without turning your head…  It’s a handy skill to have.  Yes, even you can improve upon those 183 thousand years of evolution.

b)    Tilt Your Head
You’ll find that tilting your head down will increase your peripheral vision (Warning Note: this may also look like bad posture, so use carefully).

c)    Sly Eye Corner Guy
Look out of the corner of your eyes.  You can learn to use your eyes and not your head when you are looking.  If you pay attention to her, she probably does this a lot more than you realize.

d)    Let Her Lead
If you position her slightly AHEAD of you, she’s not going to catch you… but you’ve got a good view of her, or someone else…

Option 3: The Reversal Approach

Learn how to use these types of situations to your advantage.  Getting busted looking at other women isn’t always a bad thing.  As a matter of fact, in the hands of a guy who knows what he’s doing, it can seriously boost your game and speed up attraction…  But you have to know how to handle the situation right… There’s some great information out there on how to be the kind of guy that can turn a situation like this into an advantage…  check it out and study up!

Most importantly, stop worrying about getting busted.  We’re all human, we all are fascinated by attractive people, and the best way to show you’re cool and together is to not let it be a big deal, either when you’re busted, or if you start busting her.  It’s natural to look, and even to be a bit jealous.  Now get out there and have fun.

(you can put your left hand down now).

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Posted by Den on January 13, 2011 in Stuff Dad Didn't Teach You...

So, you want to know the jedi-trick? The bullet-proof secret? The thing that will work 100% of the time?

Here it is…

Be an attractive, famous billionaire.

OK, so that title is a total lie. This post is actually about your FEELINGS.  But I knew if I put that as the title, you’d never read this… And it’s a VERY interesting post.  So here’s the newsflash:

You have feelings…  (And you feel them deeper than a woman does.)

“But I’m a man” you say…  “And men like me don’t have feelings.” You say…  “We are made of rocks and steel and some left-over fishing line and maybe one of those unbreakable combs…  We can’t be hurt.”


Well… no.  Not really.

It actually turns out that’s a bunch of b.s. that movies and society try to push on us guys… showing men walking away from exploding buildings without looking back… charging into bloody battle without hesitating, and generally behaving in a very non-human “Terminator” sort of way.

The truth about what it is to be a man on the inside is quite different.

Here’s something your grand-daddy probably didn’t tell you: A large percentage of men in World War I and II pissed themselves and literally crapped their pants when they first saw battle. And most soldiers in trench warfare never used their bayonettes… they would literally hit enemies with the butt of their rifle rather than shishkabob another human being.  Most of us just aren’t wired for it. (this all changed with modern training techniques that we only recently figured out post Viet Nam).

Here’s something you won’t see on miami vice: many police and federal agents involved in shootings need extensive counseling after shooting and killing a ‘bad guy’, even when it was clearly and morally the only thing to do.  They go home and cry.  They can’t sleep at night.

Many martial artists and ‘tough guys’ shake for hours after a fight or even a near fight…

Being human is different than we were raised to believe… Don’t believe the movies and don’t hold yourself to a bullshit standard that doesn’t take into account that you are not manufactured by the InGen corporation.

Now go blow something up and walk away without looking back.  There.  Doesn’t that feel better?

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Posted by Den on January 13, 2011 in Mating & Dating

Dumped - Who Really Gets Hurt In A Breakup

So here’s something counter-intuitive… Something that Hallmark and mom and the Lifetime channel didn’t get right:

In a breakup, despite what movies or books or our mothers may tell us, it is not generally the woman who suffers the most…

In his book “The Stronger Sex”, Dr. Richard Driscoll cites the research:

“Research concludes that men are more deeply hurt by separations than women. Men tend to cling longer to dying relationships, and they fantasize longer about their former partners after it is over. On average, men take about twice as long to recover from failed relationships as do women… Women express more distress, while men tend to feel more distress but not show it as much…”

So, while women may complain and cry and carry on, inside it’s actually the guy who is really hurting.

Men may try to act cool and distant, but they bond more strongly in relationships… It is likely BECAUSE men are hurt so deeply when things don’t work out that they are more cautious about getting into the relationship…  Meanwhile, women aren’t hurt nearly as bad by breakups… which makes them more willing to talk about them and enter into them… (I mean, why not if it isn’t such a big deal to get out of it?)

Driscoll continues:

The common opinion that women are more emotionally dependent than men shows how nature tricks us. A woman wants a higher level of emotional involvement and is more readily upset when she does not receive it, thereby appearing more dependent. Yet she is more independent, in the important sense that it is easier for her to leave a relationship and to go on with her life. A typical man is more emotionally dependent in the important sense that he is less able to leave or to withstand the loss if the woman leaves.”

This is really important for you to understand as a man…  It is you who get hurt in the breakup… and it is much harder for a man to leave a woman than the other way around (this is AFTER you’ve bonded with a woman).  This explains the startling statistic that over 2/3 of divorces in the U.S. are initiated by women… And among college educated couples, 90% of divorces are initiated by women.

“The logic of genetic selection accounts for these perplexing traits. The woman who appears dependent obligates her mate to stay and provide for her, thus giving her children an advantage. She makes a man feel responsible for her because she could not make it without him-or so it seems. Yet when it is in her practical interest to leave, her relative independence makes it easier for her to do so than it would be for him.”

For men, genetic selection works the other way around. The man who appears strong and stable gives a woman confidence that he can support her, thereby increasing his chances of mating with her and producing offspring. Yet the sense of obligation that bonds him to his wife and children leaves him with less real independence than she has.”

So just remember, during a breakup, while a woman may cry, whine, pout and sob, it’s probably you who is really hurting on the inside.

And no, I won’t give you a hug.

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Posted by Den on January 12, 2011 in Self Defense, Survival

While there are an infinite number of ways you could propel your fist into an opponent, and thousands that have made their way into the repertoir of martial arts around the world, there are three primary ‘foundational’ punches that get used more than anything else…

And considering mankind has had millions of years to bash each other’s heads in, it makes sense that

a) pretty much every method imaginable has been tested many times and
b) the most effective techniques have risen to the top (and the least effective techniques have died with their practitioners).

Boxing is an excellent sport to look at for punching because that is litterally all that it is comprised of.  What works has been integrated, and what doesn’t work has fallen to the wayside.

In boxing, there are 4 primary punches: Jab, Cross, Uppercut and Hook.  However, these 4 punches really fall into two categories:

The jab and the cross are both straight line punches.  The jab is a straight line punch thrown by the lead hand and the cross is a straight line punch thrown by the rear hand.

The hook and the uppercut are distinguished in that they are arced punches.  The hook travels in a horizontal arc, (like swinging a baseball bat) and the uppercut can be thought of as a hook turned on it’s side… it is thrown in an upward arc, like when you’re curling a dumbell.

The straight line punches derive their power from the person punching pushing off their rear leg forward into the target as they throw the punch.  Thus the power of the punch comes not only from the small arm muscles but also from the large leg muscles and the weight of your entire body shifting forward into the target.  The jab, being a smaller, faster punch involves less weight transference, and is more of a ‘light, rapid fire’ attack used to figure out someone’s timing and look for openings and test for their reactions.  The cross is a bigger punch that involves a larger weight transference… It is thus more powerful, but also easier to perceive and evade.

The arced punches also get their power from the legs…  The hook derives some of its power from the rotation of the upper torso, but also gets much of its power when you step sideways INTO the punch… again transferring your entire body weight into the target.

The uppercut also gets its power from this transference of body weight, but in this case, as the punch is moving UPward, your body weight also must move upward… So as you throw an uppercut, you are literally pushing up from the ground.  Mike Tyson often left the ground entirely when throwing big uppercuts, literally jumping up into the opponents jaw with his powerful leg muscles.

Crosses, Hooks and Uppercuts are generally most effective when thrown in combination…  While not impossible, it’s usually not best to initiate with these punches, as they’re easy to see, perceive and evade or counter…  So in general (all else being equal) it’s best for you to initiate an attack with the jab, see what opening your opponent gives you and then capitalize on that opening with one of the other “power punches” when they are less able to perceive them.

It is generally true that it is the punch that you don’t see that knocks you out… which is why the uppercut is the knock-out punch of choice.  It is very hard to perceive when thrown in close, as it is hidden by your chin and nose, travelling up your mid-line (or sagital plane).  For this reason, the uppercut is the ‘lights out’ punch, especially when it is followed with a ‘finishing’ hook.

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Posted by Den on January 11, 2011 in Self Defense, Survival


Of all the thousands of techniques and principles of self-defense, nothing could be more basic, more fundamental, more… PRIMAL… Thank throwing your fists.

The “punch” is the first thing a person learns (maybe second after the “slap”) and is hard-wired into us from millions of years of programming.  Considering how innate it is, and how often it’s used in self defense, it always blows me away how few people know how to properly make a punching fist that will both deliver serious power, and not get them INJURED.

This largely stems from the fact that many martial arts don’t make a lot of contact… so people punching the air, or tippity-tapping each other won’t realize that they are practicing something potentially damaging to themselves… until it’s too late.

There are martial arts and sports (like boxing) where they DO make very hard contact over and over…  But even boxers can have poor form as a result of the ‘crutch’ of having their hands wrapped up like rocks when they train. I have a friend who is a boxer who recently fractured his wrist in a street-fight for this exact reason.

Making a fist that can withstand high impact, without gloves or boxing wraps, is important if you ever actually get into a fight and punch someone…

You wouldn’t believe the number of people who break their wrists or fingers because they threw a GREAT punch that ended up damaging their hands more than the opponent that they punched.

So if you want to have ‘fists of fury’ you’re going to first have to learn how to have proper fists…

There are three keys to a proper punching fist:

curl fingers in tightly, rolling in from the finger tips to form the basis of a proper "fighting fist"First, the fingers curl in tightly.  Don’t fold your fingers flat against your palm, but begin by rolling your fingers in starting at the tips, joint by joint, rolling into a tight fist.  When done correctly, the meat of your thumb follows the line of your first three fingers

at their first knuckle.

Roll your thumb OVER your fingers, locking them into place and keeping your thumb free from harm's waySecond, and most obviously, your thumb goes OVER your fingers… Never close your fingers over your thumb, or you will dislocate it when you make impact.  After rolling your fingers in at step one, you then bend and close your thumb over your first two fingers, making sure your thumb does NOT protrude beyond the second knuckle of your fingers.  If it does, when you hit you will break your thumb

keep your wrist straight... if you bend your wrists when punching, you will break your wrists!Third, and most often overlooked even by ‘skilled’ fighters, DO NOT BEND YOUR WRIST.  There is an old saying “there is no wrist in boxing”.  This is true in all martial arts.  If you bend your wrist and make hard impact, you will fracture your wrist.  Period.  You wouldn’t do push-ups with bent wrists…  Don’t punch with bent wrists.  Doing pushups on your knuckles is, however, a great way to find this proper wrist position.  you can also just make a fist and lean heavily into a wall with your fist to find this same wrist articulation.

You now have the three fundamentals to making a proper fist for striking.  Now don’t go whacking the bajeezus out of a brick wall or anything… Next we’ll talk about how to properly apply your new found hammers to a target…  (Continue…)

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Posted by Den on June 13, 2010 in Mating & Dating, Stuff Dad Didn't Teach You...

So I wrote this back when I was single a few years ago… but the story is timeless and priceless…  Enjoy and learn from my past mistakes!

(Get some pop-corn ready… this is a good story).

I’ve got more free time than I had hoped tonight…

You see, I just made a stupid mistake that cost me a girl I was dating.  And the lame thing is, it was a mistake that you may already have made, with disaster on its way…

But it’s not too late to save you from my fate!  Read on…

I had just come back into town, and “Jenny” (the fake name of one of the girls I’m casually dating) offered to give up her Friday night to pick me up from the airport and drive me back to my place.

Now, a free ride and a ‘free ride’ beat a taxi any day, so I gladly accepted her offer.  She picked me up right on time, and everything was looking good.  We happily made out in the car ride home, with me promising to pay for her services with a little ‘rocket ship ride’ when we got back to my place.

We got home, and started making out… We were at that place in a relationship where things were progressing unexpectedly well… As they often say, “distance makes the heart grow fond”, and in her case, it had apparently made the heart grow a bit frisky as well… We peeled off a layer or two, and all systems were properly functioning… it was Green Light,  All systems GO!  Houston, we have lift…

Oh, nothing is ever quite THAT easy…  She excused herself to the bathroom, needing a minute to ‘freshen up’ before we blasted off for our orbit around Pleasure Planet.

I waited in the bedroom, stretching out for the long mission ahead, excitedly anticipating her return.  I heard her on her way and intercepted her at the bedroom door in my boxers (as is the custom on our planet), ready for some deep space probing…

But she returned with a very different look on her face…

It wasn’t the warm sunny glow she left the room with, or that hot and horny look that I was hoping to see…

No, this look clearly had all warmth sucked out of it by some sort of happy-warmth-sucking-device, and in its place was a cold, expressionless void that seemed to drain the very life out of the room…  This was not a good look.

She held out her hand and led me down the hall toward the bathroom.

Suddenly, I was no longer Buck Rogers on a wild space sex fantasy, but rather a child being led to the principle’s office for a spanking, with no idea what I had done wrong (and a hard-on, which made me feel even more stupid).

She led me into the pitch black bathroom, and for a zillionth of a second, I thought maybe this’d turn into a ‘fuck me on the bathroom counter’ fantasy…  and in a sense, I really was about to get fucked…

She picked something off the counter and placed it in my hand…  I knew this couldn’t be good…  and I have just enough intuition to not want to turn on the lights, but she took care of it for me.  And there, in my hand were two earrings.

I looked at her… and SHE was also wearing earrings.  So these, my slow man-brain computed… must… not… be her… earrings.


They were the earrings of another girl who I was also casually dating at the time.

Another girl who offered to take care of my cat while I was out of town.  Another girl who had the presence of mind to mark her territory in case some OTHER girl came wandering my way…

My co-pilot for the night left so fast, she practically teleported, leaving behind only a silhouetted cloud of dust and a pang of regret in my stomach for what could have been a hell of a fun night… And perhaps many more.

Now to my defense, at this time in my life, I told the girls I was dating that wasn’t exclusive, and didn’t have expectations that they would be with me. The rest was generally left unspoken…  I didn’t see the point of rubbing in that I was seeing other people, which in my mind would just hurt a girl’s feelings.  But the earrings were too much openly flaunted reality for our little fantasy to continue.

Maybe you’re dating more than one girl right now… Maybe you’re not.  But even if you’re just casually hanging out with more than one girl, this is a situation you need to be prepared for in advance.  You never know when, just like for me, a girl who you’re seeing casually could suddenly become someone you want to take seriously… And if another girl has planted the “seeds” of sabotage without your knowing, you could be screwed (in a metaphorical sense only)…

The reality is that this kind of situation is so easily avoidable.  I know that women mark their territory… I’ve known it for a long time.  And yet I got nailed by such an obvious mistake.


Because there are SO many ways that women mark their territory, more than you probably ever realized… And if you forget about just one, you are very likely to get busted.

See, it’s a commonly known fact that women are much more DETAIL oriented than men.  They notice a little thing out of place much faster than we do.  So the likelihood that she’ll notice one of these clues is very high (and they all know the clues to look for, because they all leave them).

A woman will leave calling cards behind for other women to find.  What do I mean by a “calling card”?  Well, I can’t think of a time that I’ve had a girl over, and she didn’t leave some little piece of jewelry, belt buckle, sweater, shoe, Viking helmet… something hidden somewhere… 

But there are more than just objects she may leave behind…  She may do a bunch of others stuff, like wear extra perfume when visiting your place, so your room, sheets, pillows, sofa all smell of HER.  I keep Lysol handy… the girls probably just think I’m really clean.

Some things may be as subtle as brushing her hair with your brush, which leaves her hair for another to find within the bristles.  Other things may be as overt as clawing your back, biting and even giving a hickie during one of your wild romps.

What every single guy needs is a checklist for unmarking our territory and removing all the ‘marks’ that a woman may leave.  I’ve given you a great start here… feel free to add to it.  If you have anything really great, send it in and we’ll add it to the list.

Look for any of these things and be sure to do a quick once-over of your place, yourself and your things for any of this stuff before inviting another woman over.

The Guy’s Checklist For Un-Marking Your Territory

Category 1: “Forgotten Me Not’s”

Take a quick visual pass through your place as you walk her out, and hand her anything obvious she ‘forgot’.  This saves you the trouble of remembering it later, and if she goes psycho on you at some point, there never has to be that uncomfortable “I need to come by and get my scrunchie” conversation later.

Things to look for include:

1)       Earrings (DOH!)

2)       Jewelry/Watches

3)       Belts

4)       Underwear

5)       Any other sort of clothing

6)       Hair Pins, Scrunchies, etc.

7)       Condom wrappers/lube (including condom wrappers that you left in your trash- also it’s important to note that many women count the condoms in the box in your dresser drawer and then count again when they return.  I have a friend who keeps his condoms in a digital safe after having a bad experience…

8)       Any other accessories.

Category 2: “Planted Poision”

So, you walked her to the door, and as she left, you said “oh, don’t forget these!” and handed her the three rings, necklace, belt, sock, g-string, and pet ferret that she ‘accidentally’ left behind.

Now that she’s gone, your job isn’t done.  It’s time to look for anything she may have planted that is NOT so obvious.  These are some of the things that really get guys nailed, so pay attention… it could save your ass…

These things include:

1)       Scent of a woman… did she perfume your clothes/sheets/ pillows/sofa/cat?  If so, wash what you can wash, Lysol what you can, and put a lot of  YOUR deodorant on anything that still has HER lingering scent.

2)       Shedding Reminders…  Look for her hair, especially if one of your girls is blonde, the other brunette, etc.  Common places will be on your bed, pillows, bathroom counter top, your brush/comb, sink, toilet, and the clothes you were wearing.  I always look for this… you should too.

3)       Easter Eggs…  She may actually hide things for other women to find.

I’ve been fortunate enough not come across this in my own experience (or I blocked it out), but buddies have reported from experience that she may do things like hide tampons under the sink, put the empty condom wrappers in your dresser or bathroom drawers, and hide little ‘it was great seeing you tonight’ notes for “you” to find later, and other such things.  If you suspect her of anything from being a little ‘extra’ jealous to full-blown crazy, take a pass through any of these less obvious types of hiding places.  A guy I know once hooked up with a famous female musician while temporarily broken up with his girlfriend… The rock star stuffed her panties into his pillow case, which weren’t discovered until he got back together with his girlfriend, who decided to do his laundry!

Category 3:  Marked Man…
You may have found all sorts of clues, but don’t forget one thing buddy…  YOU are the biggest clue of all.  Here are some things that she may do to “mark” you as ‘off limits’ to other women that you meet or are already dating.

1)       Hickies…  In my estimation, hickies are always a no-no unless you’re living in a trailer in Ohio, wear overalls and a straw hat, and think Velcro is the devil’s work. Look, it’s in the name, guys… ONLY Hickies should give Hickies.  (I think we need a bumpersticker to that effect).  Don’t do it to her and never let her do it to you.

2)       Biting, scratching (punching, kicking, choking and bruising too, for you freaky freaks).  The less-hick sibling of the hickie, anything that marks your body is going to be a dead giveaway… I know it may be a big turn-on to have her biting your neck and digging her claws into your back as you do the horizontal mambo… But unless you heal like Wolverine from the X-men, you could need days or weeks to heal, or you’re going to have to curb that tendency…

3)       Smells Like Stupid…  If you didn’t figure this out already, any perfume she’s wearing will now be YOUR perfume.  And any bodily fluid she shares with you will also have her ‘special perfume’.  Not only is it a dead giveaway to have the scent of another woman on you, but it’s pretty gross to not shower between seeing women.  Change your clothes, shower, wipe off any lipstick, glitter (another marking device) and brush your damn teeth!  Didn’t your mother teach you anything?

4)       TatWho?  For you jacktards who can’t tie your own shoes, if you let her talk you into tattooing her name on you, you deserve to be treated like the piece of mindless branded meat that you are.  Two words for you: laser removal.  Two more words: Vasectomy Procedure. (Seriously, please don’t replicate… We’ve got enough kids in special ed as it is).

Most importantly, be cool.  Don’t use this info to cheat on your girl.  There’s a difference between dating several people who know you’re dating around, and being a loser who doesn’t have the balls to be honest with women he’s seeing.  You wouldn’t want it to happen to you.

Also, realize that she’s only leaving these clues around because she likes you and quite possibly she wants to be your only girl.  She’s fighting for you in the subtle way that women do, and if you stop and think about it, that’s pretty cool.  If you find these clues, take it as a compliment.  It’s not a bad thing.

Hell, she might be so cool, next time you’re at HER place you might want to consider leaving a pair of tighty-whities and a few extra-small condoms in the cabinet under her bathroom sink… And piss on the bumper of her car.  After all, men can mark their territory too!

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