My new Personal Safety website:

My new Personal Safety website: post image

For the last 6 weeks I’ve been working hard on building a new website and am very pleased to say it’s now ready for public consumption. As you may know, whilst I might be a mild mannered office worker by day, I have a super hero alter-ego as a self defence coach. Well maybe not “super-hero”, I mean who doesn’t like to wear superhero pants?!? but hopefully you get my drift. (Pssst that’s not a picture of me, just in case you were confused.)

I actually don’t like the term “self defence” which conjures up all the wrong images I think. Certainly before I had my eyes opened to the alternative, self defence to me was all about taking years to learn martial arts, wearing Gi’s and belts, hitting pads, bowing, counting in Japanese / Korean / Chinese, learning lots of techniques and repeating them thousands of times till they are inch perfect. Sorry, but that’s just not my bag, as Jim Carey rather facetiously demonstrates:

You can learn to defend yourself in a matter of hours not years

Fortunately that’s not what Personal Defence Readiness (PDR) is all about and it was a massive eye opener to me to realise that you can learn to defend yourself in a matter of hours not years. The key to this approach is to realise that personal protection is influenced far more by mindset and attitude, than it is by physical techniques or skills.

The PDR system not only peels back the layers of Bad Guy behaviour to reveal what they want and what the don’t want (knowing this gives you a distinct advantage) but also allows you to open the door to your own emotional and psychological state, to free yourself of fear and to take the right action at the right time.

Towards this end, Karl and Rachel Steadman (from CrossFit3D), Chris Worrall (CrossFit Tameside) and I have all got together to launch PDR Manchester, which is a collaborative website for all present and future PDR Coaches in Manchester to work together to promote each other and PDR generally in the wider community. Together we can and will help to make the people of Manchester safer, with more confidence and I’m proud to be a part of that.

Our first collaborative course is open for bookings

The website has lots of information about PDR, the SPEAR System and it’s creator Tony Blauer. It also has a real-time list of all the courses we’re putting on with an online booking facility. Our first collaborative PDR course is currently open for bookings and is split over the 4 Thursday evenings in November at CrossFit Tameside. Go take a look.

In the mean time, I wonder what the best phrase is to replace the tainted “self defence”. Initial thoughts are:

  • Personal Defence (obvious from the PDR connection)
  • Personal Safety
  • Personal Protection
  • Self Protection
  • Conflict Management
  • Violence Resolution

If you have an opinion on this, please comment below.

{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Jake 20 October 2011, 4:46 pm


    I’ve tried using Violence Prevention for a couple of my seminars. Not sure it works any better.

    I agree though; the self-defense label sucks. Conjures up all of the wrong imagery. Unfortunately, even if you call it something else, I’ve found you often get people saying “so…it’s self-defense, then?”

    If I come up with a great solution, I’ll let you know.

  • Karen 20 October 2011, 9:44 pm

    Personal Safety comes closest to what PDR is about from my brief exposure. Conflict Management sounds too like a managerial course and Self Protection has the ring of body armour or even a prophylactic 😉

    Just my thoughts though.

  • Tobi 20 October 2011, 10:05 pm

    I’m looking at the same problem here in Germany.

    Some ideas for you: defensive tactics (too military), self-protection, combative concepts (MCC sounds quite nice), ballistic solutions, personal armor strategies, body ballistics (blends in CF affiliation), survival enhancement services…

    just juggle around a bit with these ideas. and one real good expert tip: always ask the Mrs. Really, most times females have the right idea what does and what doesn’t sound too aggressive, military stylish etc.

    Good luck. Keep me posted how it goes.

  • Colin McNulty 21 October 2011, 8:16 am

    Thanks for the comments.

    This post clearly upset at least one person however (I’m happy to entertain dissenting views on this blog, but I delete outright abusive comments). So I want to be crystal clear about my slightly tongue in cheek post above and my views on the martial arts.

    I have a huge amount of respect for the martial arts and martial artists in general. What they do is very impressive, not only in the final output in terms of style and spectacle, but also in the dedication that they show in their lives to achieve what they do. I have many friends who are very accomplished martial artists and my life is enriched by knowing them.

    However that’s not where my personal interest lies. For me, life is too short to spend the countless hours required to grade through the belts etc. I’m sure you’d tell me that I’m missing the point and it’s the journey that’s important and you’re probably right. Sorry, not my bag, as I said.

    I confess that my views on this have been utterly tainted by Tony Blauer’s (a 30+ year martial artist of considerable repute) when I say that I think that the martial arts misrepresent themselves somewhat when they get into the self defence game. Because you learn a codified fighting system that was developed a few hundred years ago in feudal Japan, that does not make it relevant to protecting people from a mugging on city streets today.

  • James Shang 21 October 2011, 9:24 am

    I find that people still search for self Defence but they like it when I describe it as personal safety training.
    I run a martial arts club which offers TKD BJJ Kali and PDR as a standard syllabus so whilst we do wear gis and bow, count in Korean etc however we are hardly traditional. I think the belts, gradings and uniforms works great with kids.
    Most adults just want self Defence so I have a pure self Defence class no ranks no uniforms which has PDR at it’s core..

  • Colin McNulty 21 October 2011, 2:11 pm

    That’s very true James. I believe it’s built into our human nature to strive to achieve goals (something to do with the Serotonin (possibly) that’s released when we achieve them).

    Without that goal setting -> goal achieving -> chemical reward chain, most people would spend all day in bed. We *need* to achieve (particularly men), to strive and over come and to get the satisfaction of a job well done, especially in front of our peers. How else do you explain train spotters! 😉

    Martial Arts Belts are the perfect embodiment of that: clearly defined goals; regularly attainment; rise in social status… and of course, very good for the school owner’s bank balance. I was reading an article recently that said an adult martial arts student was worth $2,000 per year to a school! (That might not be USD.)

    I digress; getting back to the point. I think my issue with “self defence” is that it implies physical engagement of combatants i.e. the physical fight has already started. Whereas true personal safety training (nice phrase) as you know, starts way before that.

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