Chris Sutton is a full time owner and operator of a martial arts school, certified A.C.M.A Martial Arts Instructor, MATA Instructor of The Year and a life-time professional martial artist with over 20 years of training and teaching experience. He is also the author of The Psychology of Self-Defense.
Chris’ extensive martial arts training, as well as his law enforcement experience dealing with real criminals, has given him highly unique insights into the reality of self-defense. Chris used this expertise to create the acclaimed C.O.B.R.A.™ reality-based self-defense system, as well as influencing his other martial arts programs, fitness programs & books.
We brought Chris on the show today to talk a little bit about the C.O.B.R.A. program, its application for real estate professionals, and to provide us with some helpful self-defense tips. What we got was so much more!
How This Program Helps the Real Estate Community
Real estate agents, or anyone that works in someone else’s domain, needs to perform what Chris calls a status check. “Look at what you do for a living and then poke holes in everything you do,” says Chris. How and where are you most vulnerable?
In the course of our job, especially in real estate, we have the possibility of being confronted with the threat of physical attack on a daily basis. Unfortunately, the majority of us are typically armed with little to no self-defense awareness. In fact, in a recent survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors, 40% of the respondents reported that they had experienced a situation that made them fear for their personal safety or safety of their personal information while on the job.
“We have insurance for just about everything around us so that if something happens we can replace it, but what about for you? What is the insurance you carry for protecting yourself?” Chris asks. He says we typically don’t invest in learning the tools necessary to protect ourselves because it is not a prerequisite or requirement in life or for our profession.
But the good news is there is help. The very same fundamentals and techniques that the C.O.B.R.A. system teaches in its classes have been engineered into an extremely powerful 90-minute seminar geared towards the unique and precarious situations that real estate agents face in their profession on a daily basis. Chris offers training for real estate professionals in the form of live seminars, at conventions and conferences, and through online instruction. You can find more information about the training Chris offers at selfdefenserealestate.com.
In the Mind of a Criminal
In this write-up, we have summarized just some of the powerful self-defense tips Chris shares with us during his 70-minute podcast interview. To hear Chris’ full podcast interview, you can listen to the entire podcast in iTunes by clicking here or you can listen using the player above.
Chris’ former experience as a law enforcement and corrections officer taught him a great deal about the way criminals think. In his training sessions, he uses this knowledge to teach his students how to become more aware of their surroundings and what things to look for. He says complacency is the number one reason people aren’t adequately prepared for an attack and that its time we put more emphasis in avoiding be complacent.
Chris says that the secret formula that all bad guys possess contains these three elements:
- Method of Attack
Time. In the case of real estate agents, this starts with a call to show a property at the worst possible time for you and yet the most optimal time for a perpetrator. This is usually at night or near the close of business.
Place. You are usually asked to show an empty, oftentimes abandoned property, usually alone. And to make it even easier for a perpetrator, we bring with us a car and possessions like our phone and credit cards.
Method of Attack. This depends on the intentions of the perpetrator. Is the plan for a robbery, assault, rape or maybe worse? One thing you can be sure of is that your attacker has already chosen the method of attack unbeknownst to you.
So are you prepared? Do you have safety protocols in place? Do you always follow them? How many times does the possibility of a sale become more important?
Let’s look at this example: You get a call from a new prospective client at the end of the day, near the close of business, asking you to show a property. Your protocol says you should first meet this person at the office before you begin the home shopping process. However, the office is closed and this person would really like to see the house tonight? Do you go?
Let’s say you decide to forgo the protocols you or your office has set in place. You have your cell phone with you filled with the latest safety apps and you’ve let someone know where you are going. You think to yourself, “yeah this will be fine.”
While this sounds good, Chris shows us how relying on your cell phone or the apps on it as your only means of self-defense is not only a bad idea but can even be dangerous.
Why relying on your cell phone for self-defense is a bad idea:
- You need more time than you think to get to your phone, dial 9-1-1 (that’s if your phone is not pin protected. Add a few more seconds if it is!) and relay pertinent information to a dispatcher. (By the way, in case you weren’t aware, most phones have an emergency feature that let’s you access the keypad to dial 9-1-1 without having to unlock your phone, so make sure you aware of where this is on your phone.)
- Even if you are able to get to your phone (under stress your fine motor skills fall apart) the average response time in the United States is 10 minutes Chris says, and even longer in some areas.
- You will need to be able to defend yourself for several minutes before help arrives.
Wondering what safety protocols you should be practicing ?
In this podcast, Chris provides us with some extremely powerful tools that you can start using today to help avoid being in a position that forces you to have to defend yourself from an attack.
Self-Defense Strategy #1: Have a “Fake” Backup
Tell the prospective buyer that “you and your partner” will be there to show the property, even if you don’t have a partner. This causes the criminal to take a gamble on whether you are telling the truth or not.
Self-Defense Strategy #2: Arrive Early
If possible, arrive early to the property. Park near the sidewalk, not in the driveway that way you can survey the area for anything suspicious. Unlock the doors and perform any safety checks prior to your prospect’s arrival. This will prepare you for step #4.
Self-Defense Strategy #3: Smile Please
Have a “fake” policy that requires you to take a picture of your prospective client standing at the back of their car with the license plate in view. Make sure to send this picture to a trusted contact. Do not take your focus off your prospective client while doing this. It is also a good idea to let them know ahead of time you will be doing this. If this is someone with bad intentions, they might not show up. If they are legit, they shouldn’t mind the policy.
Self-Defense Strategy #4: Never Walk In First
You already have the door unlocked and open. Step aside and allow your prospective buyer to go in first. This should be done for any of the rooms in the house. Many people are attacked by doors in buildings and by cars because criminals know you will be preoccupied with the lock. If you walk in first, it’s easy for your would-be assailant to lock the door behind him and proceed with the attack.
Recommend to your potential buyer that he go on in and have a look around without you. After all, if he is going to buy this home, you want him to experience the house like he’s coming home for the very first time. This may feel weird at first but will get easier the more you do it.
So you have implemented all your safety protocols. Now what do you do if you are still faced with an imminent safety threat?
So you arrive at the property and this time you have a self-defense weapon besides your phone. Some common self-defense weapons of choice are pepper spray, a gun, or maybe you just plan to employ the widely taught technique of kicking your assailant in the groin. You might want to re-think these options. In our interview, Chris takes these ideas and breaks down for us why these methods DO NOT work.
Many of us have an idea of what we would do if faced with an attacker. You might be surprised to hear that many of the things you thought you could do to protect yourself will not work. A common myth that Chris debunks is that you will be able to hurt your assailant if you punched him in the face since you have a sharp wedding ring on your ring finger. Unfortunately Chris explains, trying to land a small sharp object in one spot on the face with the required necessary force is extremely hard to do.
Instead, Chris recommends turning your ring inward. This way, when you grab your assailant by the hair with one hand, and run the palm of your hand down their face from their forehead to their jaw with the other, your ring will become a much stronger weapon.
Maybe you carry a gun as your weapon of choice. Chris says this is not always the best option either. He points out that many people never even fire their weapon after receiving their concealed weapons permit or at best every two to three years. “This is not nearly enough. Every time you go it’s almost brand new to you.” “Now couple that with the fact that when faced with an attacker, under intense fear and pressure, it takes anywhere from 15 to upwards of 90 seconds to get into your purse, get your gun out and make it weapon ready for firing. It’s asking a lot,” Chris says.
“Pepper spray is even worse in that it’s even smaller. You have to remove the cover, spin it to the spray-ready position, and spray your attacker without hitting yourself in the process,” Chris explains. He also points out that most criminals have already been exposed to pepper spray and have built up a tolerance making it ineffective.
If you plan on defending yourself by kicking your assailant in the groin, Chris gives us his explanation as to why this simply doesn’t work.
“It causes you to compromise your balance. You are trying to hit an area you can’t see, an area that someone has been protecting their whole life. This does not add up to a good strategy.” So what does work? Chris says the answer lies in this phrase “Shopping for Fruit.” What do we mean? Chris explains how grabbing your assailant in the groin and pulling it away from the body can be extremely painful and 10 times more effective.
Chris clarifies that they do teach the use of some of these techniques in the C.O.B.R.A. class but not in the way that you would think. I suppose you’ll just have to sign up for a class to find out how they are taught.
So what are some good self-defense techniques you can use to defend yourself in the event of an attack?
Chris shows us how everyday household items can be used as extremely powerful self-defense weapons. For example; 409, Clorox Bleach, and Wasp Spray can easily be used as self-defense tools. What makes them so great is that they don’t appear as weapons, are much easier to use, and are much more effective against attackers. They can cause blindness requiring immediate medical attention and can sit out on the counter at any home showing while blending in with their surroundings.
One commonly used item (well maybe not so common anymore) that can be used as a weapon that you may not of thought of is a compact disc. Chris explains how a CD, when broken in half, becomes an extremely sharp instrument. We know we all have a few of these lying around that we probably don’t need anymore. What’s even better is that you can have this out on the seat of your car for easy retrieval.
We titled this show “Self-Defense for Real Estate Agents: The Importance of Awareness Prevention and Preparation,” because Chris Sutton makes it very clear that prevention and preparation are key to self-defense awareness. According to Chris, a lot of people think self-defense is all about the physical aspect. Chris assures us that it’s definitely more than that. “Self Defense is 95% proactivity. It’s a lot about what you house between your ears and it requires strategic planning in your everyday life,” Chris emphasizes.
For More Information
To find out more about real estate self-defense training, go to visit www.selfdefensecollege.com.