Today we talk with George A. DeFillipo of Redding. He’s a retired school administrator and a current martial arts instructor. He’s written a book, ‘Protect Yourself From Violence: Tactics, Tools and Preparations.
He grew up in some rough and dangerous places where violence was the norm, such as the Bedford Stuyvesant area of New York City, where he says he had no choice but to learn the best way to survive.
As an adult he earned an education and says he “lived the American dream” – living in nicer middle-class communities where violence was the exception, not the norm.
Q: George, welcome to aNewsCafe.com, and thanks for talking to us today about your book, “Protect Yourself From Violence: Tactics, Tools and Preparations”. It’s a relatively short book, 134 pages, but it contains a lot of information. What led you to write this book?
A: I wrote this book because I see violence spreading across America with many people not being prepared to protect themselves. My book teaches the fundamentals of self-protection that everyone can use so that you don’t have to be a victim of violent crime. I wrote “Protect Yourself From Violence: Tactics, Tools and Preparations” short and concise so that the concepts presented would be easily understood.
Q: OK, so let’s start by talking about weapons. What’s your general philosophy about them?
A: Weapons are material objects. They cannot do anything by themselves. It is what people do with them that determine if they are used for good or bad purposes.
Outlawing weapons does not reduce violent crime. We have had many laws limiting or eliminating weapons that have only resulted in disarming law-abiding citizens. Criminals do not obey the law. I feel that weapons are especially needed for self-defense because law-abiding citizens will be at a disadvantage if they do not have them. You need adequate force to stop or deter criminals using force. In my book I present information regarding the most common weapons available and what you can expect from each of them.
In addition, owners of weapons have a huge responsibility to see that they are handled and stored safely, and are legally utilized regardless of the weapon type. I strongly recommend professional training in this area.
A: A person trained in martial arts can certainly better defend himself/herself than someone without that training. But no one is invincible. If you can eliminate or stop the threat without a weapon that is great, but there are times when that may be impossible such as when there are multiple armed attackers. In such a situation the use of a weapon may be the only means by which you would be able to go home intact.
Q: But being trained, or even carrying a weapon is one part of the equation. What’s the other part?
A: This is a great question. The other part of the equation is situational awareness. With proper awareness you can avoid many situations that normally could end in your becoming a victim. I explain in my book the importance of the color code system of awareness and how using it can benefit you.
Q: Have you ever had a situation where you’ve had to protect yourself from a stranger?
A: Unlike my childhood, I have been fortunate as an adult to not have too many experiences where I needed to protect myself. I will describe two incidents that I did have.
The first incident occurred when I was 19 years old and went to a party that literally had hundreds of people show-up. A fight broke out and someone struck me in the face from the side. I took him to the ground and let him have it. Afterwards I discovered that my nose was broken. This occurred before I learned about situational awareness and avoiding large crowds. If I had known better I would not have been there.
Another incident happened when I was in my thirties and worked in an industrial section of a large city. A car drove up, stopped, three guys jumped out and came towards me. I went into a martial arts fighting stance. They looked at me, turned around, and got back into their vehicle. I am not sure why they didn’t attack me. I would like to believe that they backed off because they thought that they were at risk of getting hurt.
Q: Can you talk about the danger of “being nice”? Women are especially conditioned to be pleasant, nice and helpful. But this can work against us, right?
A: Criminals are very good at tricking or setting-up their victims. You have to be especially careful around strangers. Be very cautious and don’t let strangers get too close to you. My advice is to “be nice” only after you know for sure that it is safe. Otherwise “being nice” can certainly work to your detriment.
Q: You say that guns are the best equalizer. But for people who don’t want to use guns, what’s the second-best weapon, or is there one?
A: Guns are considered the great equalizer and I highly recommend them because of their effectiveness. But for people that do not want to use guns or cannot legally have them then I strongly recommend that they consider utilizing a different weapon/tool that they can use to defend themselves such as a stun gun, Taser or pepper spray. What weapon or other tool that a person carries on them is a personal choice and should be given serious thought before committing to it.
Q: What else would you like us to know?
A: I would like to point out that being safe requires evaluating all areas of your life to see where you can make improvements. My book “Protect Yourself From Violence: Tactics, Tools and Preparations” provides information that can be used as guide to making improvements in your home and vehicle security as well as minimizing risk to yourself when in dangerous situations and places.
I would also like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to inform the public about how my book can make them safer.
“Protect Yourself From Violence: Tactics, Tools and Preparations” can be purchased from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, as well as from my website: protectyourselffromviolence.com
Q: Thank you, George, for taking the time to educate us about how to protect ourselves. I feel a little safer already.
Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as anewscafe.com in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke of the Czech Republic. Prior to 2007 Chamberlain was an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, CA.