Monthly Archives: May 2015

Live By A Lot of Water?

Essential information on what to do should you be in a vehicle that is in water unexpectedly.  This is from Tess Pennington’s, “Ready Nutrition” site, here.


According to studies, over 10,000 water immersion auto accidents occur each year and over 300 people on average, perish before getting out. How many of you know what to do? Do you wait until the car has filled up with water so the car is pressurized and you can escape more easily? This is a common answer, but could get you killed. Many die because they have received the wrong information on how to escape a sinking vehicle. Breathing from a bubble of trapped air, kicking out a window or waiting until the car touched bottom all yields a less than 10 per cent survival rate.

Here’s the Facts:

Stay Calm: When an emergency arises and no plan is in place, things get tricky pretty fast. Stress or anxiety, especially after an unexpected event, leads to a short term imbalance of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and norepinephrine, and inevitably leads to physical and emotional reactions to stress such as disorientation, increased breathing, panic and heart palpitations. Knowing how to curb these natural reactions can reduce the emotional and physical reactions.

Have a Plan: In a one minute period, a car will completely fill with water. Having a plan in place is the best way to improve your chances of survival and those with you. If the water if filling the car, quickly talk to your occupants and let them know what needs to happen. It is paramount that you keep as calm as possible because you have very little time to act. Survival Systems USA, has found that it takes about 20 seconds to escape through the door of a submerged car. A calm, relaxed person can hold their breath for 30 to 45 seconds underwater. So, if your pulse is pounding, you don’t have much room for error.

Make Your Escape: In many cases, a vehicle will actually float on top of the water for 30-120 seconds before sinking. Use this time to first undo your own seat belt and then, undo older children first so that they can help you with others or at least help themselves to safety. Once seat belts have been undone or cut, open the driver-side window and escape, first pushing children out ahead of you.

Do not wait until the car has completely filled with water. As well, do not open the door and try to escape. While you might be able to get out, the car will quickly fill with water and sink more rapidly, possibly trapping your passengers. Breaking a window is your best bet in making a quick exit. Because the windows are made of strong, tempered glass, it is important to have an accessible tool, like car safety hammer or the Tactical Auto Rescue tool, to easily cut through seat belt materials and break the window. If you have no tools or heavy objects to break the window with, use your feet.

Don’t waste precious seconds calling for help. Wait until you are safely out of the water before attempting to call 911.

In the following video, Dr. Gordon Giesbrecht, who specializes in cold water immersion has tested controlled sinking scenarios in vehicles using different strategies. “Bottom line, you have to remember four words, “Giesbrecht said. “Seatbelts. Windows. Children. Out.”

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals. 

Visit her web site at for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published May 29th, 2015

Essential Skills: Cornerstones of an Effective NPT

harsh training


Of all the necessary ingredients required to form, build, train, and maintain and effective NPT, the four below can be considered, ‘cornerstones.’   Without them, your NPT will not be able to perform its primary task: Keep the family and home safe during a grid down situation.   To be sure, participation by all members 95% of the time is a given. If the NPT members aren’t self-motivated to show up for training sessions, it’s not going to work, and you might need new NPT members, they might need a new leader, or maybe it’s time to ‘pop smoke’ and move to a new AO and start over. That said, let’s take a look!

Group Cohesion – is the single most important sustaining and motivating force for a fighter. Cohesion is partly built from harsh, demanding, realistic as possible physical training, which has the foundation of solid academic classroom training so the mind and body stay relatively equal in their development. Your NPT will not become cohesive until it has shared experiences. The more demanding the experience (meaning, the more the members have to depend on each other to successfully negotiate the experience), the more cohesion is built. The key ingredient is the sharing by NPT members. Success, failure, and in between must all be experienced.  Yes, you’ll see the elements of Group Dynamics show up to liven up the ride, but that’s all part of the human process.  The honeymoon when the group gets together (Forming), the arguments and bickering as people determine where they fit (Storming) , the calming of relationships as they accept their status in the group (Norming), and the arrival by the group at the level of ‘best possible’ performance for the group (Performing).  Harsh as possible physical training (environment, task difficulty, physically demanding) will accelerate the group through the Group Dynamics steps and help build the cohesion desired, if the group’s leadership does its job.


Group Dynamics

Leadership – has the most effect on the will to fight for any small group or team. Squad and platoon leaders provide the command climate that enables cohesion at the NPT level. The influence of the NPT leader can be so great that one who exhibits negative leadership or values can cause the entire small unit to adopt negative behavior as a norm, and once that spiral downward has begun, it’s very difficult to reverse it. Therefore, accept that effective leaders are not ‘born.’ Effective leaders are trained. Not everyone is a good leader, either, even when undergoing ‘top shelf’ leadership training. Sure, there are natural traits that come into play when training a leader, but the bottom line is that leading people is an equal mixture of art and science, especially when the only authority the leader possesses is ‘moral authority,’ which is that granted by the group members.


effective leader

Cohesion is the glue; effective leadership is the catalyst that causes the glue to harden, so to speak, the will of the team/group to fight. During this process, the small group or team leader (up to about 50 people) becomes an integral part of the group; his sharing of their privations and danger level underscores and reinforces his authority. The small group leader also walks a fine line in knowing and being part of the group without becoming too familiar, because the old axiom, ‘familiarity breeds contempt’ is as true as the sun rising in the East and setting in the West. The bottom line for the leader on being an integral part of the group is that without that group membership perceived by the members, the leader will be much less effective and will most likely fail.

Physical Training – prepares the group members and leader (or leaders, if it’s a larger group with subordinate leaders) for the rigors of a grid down situation. Because of the nature of a NPT’s available time, a good portion of the physical conditioning is going to be done on personal time. This is where peer pressure works to the NPT’s advantage to keep its members accountable for the performance of PT to the limit of their abilities. However, the PT portion must be recognized as laying the foundation for performing the extremely demanding tasks within the realm of tactical skill building. Without a fairly robust fitness level, the team itself will never achieve the level of performance it might have envisioned when forming. Cohesion development within the team may help individual team members achieve personal physical goals such as quitting smoking, cutting back on alcohol, developing better eating habits, and losing unnecessary weight.

hard exercise

Intellectual Development – is comprised of the solid academic foundation of the skills the NPT will work to master as well as its effort to develop the Warrior Ethos. As in the physical realm, time is extremely limited for the NPT’s training, due to life’s requirements of us all. That means that we must become insatiable readers of related subjects so that when we do get the time to train, none of it is wasted by having to be exposed to foundational information or material. An example: The NPT is going to do a land navigation course. Half the members don’t read the pre-requisite work on the importance of magnetic declination or contour lines. The NPT trainer must now hold the group’s performance up until the entire NPT has the understanding necessary to perform the course.


All four of these cornerstones you’ll build your NPT ‘house’ on are dependent upon the first: Cohesion. Focus on it at all times. Everything the NPT does should work toward building it. Cohesion is that important.  Make sure it’s documented in your guiding documentation: “Develop and Maintain Group Cohesion.”

You’ll be glad you did.


Doing Something Productive – It’s ALL the Rage!

effective training

So funds and schedules are tight, so tight, in fact, that you can’t break out the time to get your NPT together for some training, let alone attend a school on NPT Tactics, Land Navigation, Security Patrolling, etc.

You can do one thing productive every day, though, if you choose.

You can do PT.  Yeah, it’s a pain in the ass, but it’s worth it.  Weights, body weight exercises, ruck walks of varying lengths and pack weights, road work on the street, elliptical, or tread mill, or whatever.  Something.  6 days a week.  Light, heavy, middle of the continuum; whatever fits.  Where it pays off is when, without warning, SHTF and you can perform whatever task is necessary without running out of steam.

push up

You can study many of the references we’ve mentioned here, including, “A Failure of Civility,” by Garand and Lawson; “Small Unit Leadership,” by Dandridge M. Malone (who, in our opinion, has some of the best examples of effective leadership behavior matching to what is happening in your team since Hersey & Blanchard’s, “Situational Leadership Theory”); “The Battle for Hunger Hill,” by Daniel P. Bolger or “Training for War,” By Tom Kratman.  There’s literally scores of other good references out there; find those that you are weak in or need a refresher on and read one chapter a day.  It works.



You can get yourself a NPT AO map and do some study and planning.  30 minutes of focused study goes a long way each time you do it.  If you’re really into it, build a sand table!



You can study for and achieve a HAM license.  Comm is everything when cell towers and the internet is down.

off grid ham

You can do dry fire.  5 to 10 minutes a day.

pistol dry fire

You can do an awful lot.  Much, much more than is mentioned here.

Doing one thing each day, or almost every day, adds up pretty quickly.  Then, as each week, and then month goes by, you’ve gotten yourself, your family, and your NPT much more close to the objective of security in bad times than you might have thought possible.

Stay positive; stay focused; stay productive.

My Choice For A Rifle System And Caliber

JC Dodge provides his insight on what works for him….you’ve considered getting someone on your NPT to carry a 7.62 NATO, right?

Mason Dixon Tactical

20 May, 2015

Been pretty busy of late. I’ll try to keep it a little more current.


“What rifle do you use?” is one of the most frequently asked questions I get via email or on FB. One of the reasons is probably due to the pics people see from different classes I’ve taught ( I regularly carry my M1A SOCOM, an AKMS, or an M4). Then comes the inevitable, “If you could only pick one, what would it be?” My answer is usually prefaced with “It depends on what your scenario/situation is, and it depends on YOU.” My choice for a Survival/Combat rifle is the M14/M1A system, and the .308WIN/7.62Nato chambering (yes, it was also available in 7MM08 and .243WIN).

Why this rifle type, and why that caliber you ask. It’s simple. The M14 is still in the US military inventory, and is still issued to troops for certain…

View original post 1,014 more words

Introduction to Unarmed Knife Defense


– By the illusive R&D guy.  (And yes, I realize who that is in the featured image. I’m in a fairly good mood and wanted to make myself chuckle today).

Why write about unarmed knife defense? Aren’t there so many more important things to cover in regard to NPT / Community preps? Yes there are.

In SHTF do I see myself needing unarmed knife defense skills as much as I may need them today? Not as much as I do today.

However, we are not currently in SHTF, (it may come, it may not). DTG’s job as a company is to help individuals, families and communities defend themselves against criminals in both SHTF AND normal society though.

So with that said, there are places that we just cannot go with our personal protection firearm. As well, edged weapons do not always become apparent in an attack until after victim is being stabbed. Despite what’s taught in most CPL courses, there is a very real possibility that you are going to have to stop the bad guy from continuing to use you as a pin-cushion before you can access your firearm.

This topic is kind of fun to write about.  Unarmed knife defense usually sets off a crap storm of flame wars on the internet, arguing about what method is best for mitigating a knife wielding threat. You will see video demonstrations on a monkey-kung-fu disarm that will surely get someone killed if they try it, all the way down to the explanation that “one should just bend over because attempting to resist an in process knife attack is pointless”.    WHY DO PEOPLE ARGUE SO HARD ON THIS TOPIC?  (This is me laughing . . . ).  Here are my top three reasons I think people go “full-retard” on this topic, (if you have other reasons, feel free to post them).

  1. The first reason (pride argument) is a hard one.  If I spent 25 hard-working years in Kool-Dong-Su and all of a sudden on a forum spattered with guys from the latest fad combatives program, they start downgrading my techniques, . . . well . . . that may hurt my pride and the years of hard work I spent learning to strip a knife against a training partner.
  1. The second reason people argue so hard on this topic is market-share.  Think about it.  If I am a practitioner of Kool-Dong-Su – I feed my family with that money, when my students start gravitating toward Gracie or Krav, I’m going to try and win them back.  I’m going to go all “flame war” on forums to vent and argue until I can’t type anymore.  Also if I use knife defense as a primary tool to drive up sales, when someone starts talking legitimate trash about my sales tool, that hurts my market-share.  Never-mind that I may have to get to the root problem as to why I’m losing my student base, (but business marketing is not the point of this post).
  1. The third reason (validation argument), is for guys who really aren’t completely secure in their abilities.  The insecurity (at least in my opinion) is that knife defense is not like fist fighting (obviously) in that, you can’t eat a shot to the stomach and shrug it off.  You eat a shot the stomach with a knife, and now there’s a wonderful red liquid running all over the place.  You eat a shot to the eye with a punch?  Black eye.  Eat a shot with a knife to the eye?  Best case you are permanently blind, worst cast you die.  There’s a rightful fear of edged weapons and the defense of.  That fear causes many to question their ability (which is a natural and good thing to a point).  But some take that insecurity and manifest it in argument.  If I can win the debate on which knife defense is best, it validates my position.  If my position is validated, then I can feel as though I’m not wasting my time practicing X technique in unarmed knife defense.   Then I can build confidence.  The real question though, “is my confidence truly grounded in sound practices”?

Picture someone who’s fairly new to the idea of combatives. All he or she hears are arguments like this and “my knife defense is realistic, the other guys stuff is Sh1t”, or my favorite “don’t focus on knife defense because you’re likely to die and there are so many more important things to train”. Really? Unarmed knife defense is important to the guy being attacked with one (even if he’s got a gun – he’s still got to access it and first stop the incessant knife thrusting).

Who’s right?  Should I not worry about unarmed knife defense because some say “well you should have had better situational awareness and not let them get that close?”  Should I not worry about unarmed knife defense because “you won’t have a chance anyway, so don’t waste your time training against it”?  Should I go to the school that shows the most techniques for unarmed knife defense?  WHAT SHOULD I DO!?!?!? SOMEONE TELL ME !!!!! (This is my laughing . . . )

So what I see are people that have a genuine concern for handling a sticky self-defense predicament, caught up and confused in what they read on the internet by arguers and “experts” based off of (pride, validation issues and market-share).

There are so many tasks required to keep my family safe, how much time do they really have to learning 25 different knife disarms and successfully master them?  That was the whole point of Finish It Now – Self-Defense System.  We kept it simple, brutal and effective.  We took the best of our real experiences over the years and adapted it for the people who don’t mind training religiously, but who don’t need 10,000 techniques.  The practice is still necessary to get to mastery, but our focus was on the whole self-defense “shooting match” if you will:  Ground Fighting, Unarmed Weapon Defense, Clinch-Grappling Fighting, Pistol/Carbine retention and use.

So if you are new to combatives, the idea of defending against a knife attacker, there are some simple truths that help wade through all the BS in both the traditional martial arts AND the “reality” based systems about defending against edged weapons:

  1. Close in Knife attacks happen far more than an attack out in kicking and punching range.  Google some videos on shankings, and knife attacks.  They are up-close and personal in clinch/grappling range and repeated and rapid thrusting strikes, capitalizing on the element of surprise.  Having an excellent base fighting within the Thai boxing clinch and body clinch will go a long way for some people excelling in unarmed knife defense vs. those who have no clinch skills.
  1. Gross motor skills – are more useable than fine motor skills in a fight – it’s science, it cannot be argued.  To what degree is the subjective part of that statement.  Use common sense, and induce stress into the training because that will help you figure out what you can pull off when you have real pressure, are uncomfortable and your heart is beating through your chest.
  1. Edged Weapons Fights are Ugly and Frantic – Again, google-fu some footage of real attacks involving weapons.  It’s NOT pretty.  With any consistency, I would like someone to show me knife disarm that happens out in punching range with full force.  You can disarm a knife, but it will more than likely be due to the fact that you’ve jammed up a weapon bearing arm, and are repeatedly head butting the living crap out of the attacker until they go unconscious while wrapped up in the clinch.  Again, gross motor skills.
  1. Unaware – The person being attacked with a knife doesn’t always know they are being attacked with a knife.  Therefore, the skills used to defend and turn the tables on a weapon wielding attacker need to be interchangeable with those used to win a good old fashioned fist fight. The less “shifting of gears” the brain has to do, the quicker it will react and ultimately jam up the threat, control the weapon bearing limb and end the threat.
  1. Violence of Action – Having the mindset and action to bring fear and death to the threat is necessary to survive a criminal assault. We’re not talking about an argument outside a bar about women that one should have walked away from. I’m talking about someone trying to kill your family with an edged weapon, rape your women and permanently disfigure any survivors. Whether or not you end the bad guy’s life while you are stopping the threat does not change the requirement to have a combat mindset and demonstrate violence of action until the threat stops being a threat.

Quite a while ago, I was exposed to Jerry Wetzel’s approach to unarmed knife defense (redzone knife defense).  Although I don’t agree with everything presented in his program, he’s one of the most realistic (and respected) trainers out there and has spent the time compiling good instruction based on many years of experience. With any trainer, they adapt things they like, and change or reject things they don’t. We’re no different here at DTG. The point is that the overall approach works, it works at real speed with real training pressure.

With those truths in mind, here’s a suggested Basic Strategy of Effective Unarmed Knife Defense in any combatives / martial arts style: Seriously, if you don’t like DTG Finish It Now program – great – just practice something that gives you rightful confidence in your ability to stop bad guys to the best of your abilities with your bare hands.

First –

  • Avoid the blade in punching and kicking range and create distance if you can. It’s not really going to help you if you’re already in a scrum, or you’re getting bull-rushed with a knife, but I’m not, I sure as heck am not going to wait until that happens.

If you can’t run –

  • Jam – up the attacker and the weapon bearing arm in between swipes and thrusts – with a very violent stop hit, damn near like a lineman protecting the quarterback, but pinning the weapon hand above and below the elbow – (Like any fighting skill, learning timing is a key attribute).
  • Control – the weapon bearing arm. From the jam up, a more secure hold has to be established. This is NOT done by grabbing the knife hand out in punching range . . . that’s a recipe for continuing to get carved up.
  • Beat the Bad Guy Senselessfrom a control position . Blunt force – head butt, knee shots, remember the constant forward momentum? Run them into objects. Work the weapon bearing arm to the ground and stomp the knife hand from the control position. If you can strip the knife by forcing the weapon hand into the bad guy’s own leg – do it. But it gets pretty hard to hold onto an object while my weapon arm is wrapped up and I’m getting head-butted and groin shot into oblivion.

Unlike many unarmed knife defense programs, you can actually put on the minimals (helmet, groin protector and gloves) and go at a realistic pressure and speed with your training partner. Again, if you have something that works for you, great, don’t give this post a passing thought. Hopefully your program has these previously mentioned fighting strategies. But train something effective. You just might have to fight your way to your pistol.

Unarmed Knife Defense is a tool in big picture of individual self-defense. So is the management of unknowns, so is ground fighting, so is fighting in the clinch, so is close in pistol work, etc, etc, etc. Do I focus all of my training in that regard? No, my go to tool is my personal protection firearm which follows my situational awareness and assertive response skills. However, I recognize that my personal protection firearm is not bonded to my hand. There are times when I don’t/can’t carry, but bad guys don’t follow the “rules”.

Again, don’t get caught up in the “my kung-fu is better than your kung-fu”. If you can pull off your self-defense program with REAL pressure from a devoted training partner, you’re farther ahead than most.  Growing up in my family, there was so much combatives talent it wasn’t funny -(talent that will always be better than mine in my opinion).  Seriously, from a professional boxer to USMC golden gloves contender to a full contact fighter, etc, the list goes on and it’s not worth boring you.  Anyway, you think your Thanksgiving and St. Paddy’s Day celebrations get out of hand? Heh.  You haven’t seen sh . . . Nevermind.

thanksgiving fights spiderman kornhaber 615

The point is, ALL of us came up with an appreciation for differing views on combatives.  Don’t get caught up in the arguments.  If it don’t work, just ignore it and move on.  If it does work?  Give it credit, adapt it, and USE it.

And don’t forsake unarmed knife defense because you A: carry a pistol, B: don’t see yourself using it in SHTF (we live in the here and now), or C: let someone convince you that you don’t stand a chance and therefore should roll over and die.

Our complete program will be listed in the Online Classroom in the coming month or so.

DTG uses a similar approach to this for unarmed knife defense:

And In Other Troubling News…


So…you thought you, as a parent, had control over what gets put into the bodies of your children?  Not if this passes….

H.R.2232 – Vaccinate All Children Act of 2015114th Congress (2015-2016)

H/T to “From the Trenches

REQUIREMENT.—For a State or a political subdivision or other public entity of a State to be eligible to receive a grant under this section, the applicant shall demonstrate to the Secretary’s satisfaction that, subject to paragraphs (2) and (3), the State requires each student enrolled in one of the State’s public elementary schools or public secondary schools to be vaccinated in accordance with the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

They don’t mention private or home school yet….but give them time.

forced vaccination


Satire?  Maybe not in the very, very near future.  These guys have AK’s; this is an obvious photo shop…but it does not ‘suspend one’s disbelief’ when one objectively evaluates the direction of the Nation.