Whatever happened to the idea that it's not your
responsibility to keep me safe but it's time for me to
grow up, be a man and take care of it myself?
When I became a parent it became apparent to me that
now it was my responsibility to keep my daughter safe.
For several years I continued along that way. Nobody
is going to touch my daughter. Anybody that would even
think about trying to harm her would "hear" about it.
And if they did try something, they may live to regret
it… or maybe not. Even then I still expected the
police to do their part to make sure that the bad
people were not around me. It helped to give others
the responsibility to take care of me like that
because I never felt like I really could defend myself
against “that kind of a person”. Even so, shouldn't I
have cared enough to do something about that? It
wasn't until many years later that my daughter began
taking a karate class. After about a month I decided
to join her.
Now almost 20 years later I not only have continued to
mature and progress up the ranks to a respectable
level, I have also realized that it is my
responsibility to take care of myself. One day friend
of mine held a training seminar that was rather
unique. He held it in a biker bar... I learned a lot
that day I learned that doing karate in a big empty
room with a bunch of friends does not necessarily
prepare you for what could happen on the street or in
a bar or _____ well I guess you can fill in the blank.
After that day I began teaching karate and I've been
teaching it in such a way that my students will be
better prepared than I was. They will be better
equipped than I was, to handle an attack, whether that
be on the street or at the mall or the parking garage
or even their bedroom.
One of the biggest hindrances I have come across in
trying to get this message out is that almost
everybody has the mindset that "It'll ever happen to
me. It'll never happen here."
The truth of matter is, “never always happens”. Not
everybody is nice that's why I want you to be
prepared. I guess you could say that I now have an
interest in most important five seconds of a person's
life…the time it takes to get to safety when they're
In 2012 I decided to take my career in a different
direction. Until that time I used to describe myself
as a computer programmer by day, a karate instructor
by night, every other weekend I teach handgun safety
and concealed weapons permits and every other weekend
I run through the woods shooting people.
I probably should clarify that. I'm part of a group
that uses paintball to raise money for local
charities. Charities having to do with widows, orphans
and the families of law enforcement officers slain in
the line of duty.
Since 2012 I am no longer doing the computer
programming part but rather I'm speaking, teaching,
training, podcasting and holding seminars about self-
protection. When I say self-protection many people
think self-defense. Self-protection is different.
Self-defense is “oh my God I'm being attacked now what
do I do?” Self-protection is “let's not get there in
the first place but if you do get there I've got
material that can get you the time you need to get to
My material can be remembered by the mnemonic that I
want you to get mad. But in this case I spell it
I put defense last because if you follow the 5
preceding steps you may never need it. If you ever
find that you do need it though you had better not be
I am now a third degree black belt in karate and
certified by the National Rifle Association as a
Firearms instructor. I am qualified to teach across
the entire spectrum of physical self-defense. Despite
the fact that my training could qualify me as a pretty
tough guy, there are folks out there who are tougher…
and some of them are bad guys, good at their job,
which is harming ordinary citizens like us. That is
why we need to “Get M.A.A.D.D.D. !!”
· Mindset: realizing that not everybody is nice; things do go wrong; I'm going to do whatever it takes
to get home to dinner even if that means you don't.
· Awareness: knowing what's going on around you;
knowing what's going on in the minds of others, to
whatever extent that is possible.
· Avoidance: combining Mindset and Awareness; Evaluating situations to see what you can do to stay
safe and if necessary doing that very thing.
· Deterrence: making the other person who might do
you harm decide not to; Deterrence is making the other
guy Avoid us.
· De-Escalation: making nothing out of something;
taking a situation that is about to come to blows and
making it less intense so that you can find a way to
· Defense: physical stuff that can enable you to get
to safety (no less, no more).
It is my desire that you never need physical self-
defense which is why the other components exist. If
all of that fails to keep you safe then you will need
some kind of physical techniques to get you out of
that bad spot. I have chosen material that has no fine
motor skills and even in a panic situation you can do
In all of the above I have described several times
when you do not need a firearm for personal safety.
Along with those times when you do not need a firearm
for self-defense, there are many times when you either
can't have it with you or using it is the completely
wrong thing to do. For those occasions you need to
have other options.
An example of such a time, in the state of Florida, is
that civilians are not permitted to carry firearms in
an establishment whose main source of income is from
the consumption of alcohol. That made the night club
in Orlando a "Target Rich Environment."
In a situation like that, is there anything that could
be done to reduce the number of people who would die
or be injured? It is controversial for me to say this and I'm sure a lot of people will give me flack for
saying this but, I believe that even in a situation
like Orlando, there are things that could be done that
could dramatically reduce the number of people who are
killed or injured, if you have the right mindset and
you think ahead of time of what you may do in such a
First have the mindset that you are not going to be a
victim. If that mindset leads you to the decision to
leave, consider being the guide showing others the way
of escape, as you go.
I am going to share some information with you that
most people do not realize. This information may allow
some of you to come to the decision that it is
possible to do something more aggressive that may stop the shooting before it gets worse and more people die.
Most active shooters have used semi-automatic weapons.
Those are weapons that can only fire one shot at a
time. The ammunition for these weapons is stored in a
magazine. You can think of a magazine as a stick of
deodorant; as you use up what is on top, more comes
into place, until the container is empty. When the
magazine is empty, it needs to be replaced, until that
magazine is replaced, all the shooter has in his hand
is a big metal thing. That leads to the next question.
The next question is: how long does it take to replace
that magazine and get the firearm ready to fire again?
For an average person, it takes 5-8 seconds to remove
the empty magazine, insert another magazine, chamber
and make ready to fire the next round. During those
5-8 seconds, all the shooter has is a large metal
thing. If someone can throw a chair or liquor bottle
at the shooter, that may get you another second or two
where the shooter cannot shoot (because he is avoiding
whatever is being thrown at him.) That brings your
free time to 6-10 seconds.
To put those 6-10 seconds into perspective, consider
Sergeant Dennis Tueller, of the Salt Lake City, Utah
Police Department, conducted an experiment to quantify
what is the "danger zone" where an attacker presented
a clear threat. He determined that the average police
officer needed 1.5 seconds to draw his firearm and
fire 2 rounds on a stationary target. He also found
that the average assailant could cover 21 feet in 1.5
This means that even if you are about 30 – 40 feet
away from the shooter, there is an excellent chance
that you will be able to reach the attacker before he
can reload. If you coordinate with one or more people
nearby, then you may save your life and the lives of
many others. All without the use of a firearm.
Here I am, a NRA firearms instructor explaining how to
deal with an active shooter situation, without the use
of a firearm... That's weird.
* Self Defense and Self Protection Expert
* 3rd Degree Blackbelt in Karate
* Toastmasters' Advanced Communicator (Silver)
* Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Crusader
* Owner/Host of the Self-Protection Essentials Podcast and The Realtor Safety Podcast
* You may contact Richard Liebespach via his website