Forever Armed is a significant video in two ways. First, it was the first video wholly produced by Stay Safe Media and thus a defining project in our partnership and the “look” that we want to achieve. Secondly, and probably more significantly to the self-defense student, it is, in my opinion, the most comprehensive video ever produced on the subject of self-protection with improvised weapons.

Compared to my previous videos, you’ll notice that Forever Armed has a much more sophisticated, refined production style. Shot in high-definition in a true video studio, it features stunning picture quality and clarity. All technical aspects of the production—from audio, to camerawork, to post-production and graphics—also represent a quantum leap from my earlier productions. Working with professionals is a real blessing.

The content of Forever Armed was based on a course of instruction that I developed after the tragic events of September 11, 2001 and the resulting restrictions on the carry of personal-defense weapons in many “non-permissive” environments—like airplanes. Although the topic of improvised weapons is nothing new to experienced students of self-defense, most of the materials that have been published on the topic fall short. Some, like the classic Black Medicine: Volume 1 provide great examples of items that can serve as excellent improvised weapons, but provide no organized skill set to learn their use. Others focus on the often-recommended but never seriously attempted “MacGyver” tricks like keys between your fingers and slashing with the corner of a sharpened credit card.

My approach to improvised weapons begins with the idea that, under stress, you will be overwhelmed by gross motor skills. That means you will be hitting your attacker as hard as humanly possible. As such, anything you grasp in your hand with which to hit him should do more dame to him than to you. As simple as that may sound, that basic premise explodes many of the myths of improvised weapon use.

In my instruction of improvised weapon tactics, I’ve found that students respond best with a sound balance of technique, concept, and tactics. From a technique standpoint, I distilled all one-handed improvised weapons mechanics into three basic techniques that are well supported by reflex training drills. These drills not only allow students to learn the mechanics of the technique, they also provide a scalable training platform that allows them to get in high levels of repetitions and do so with variable speed and

The concepts of applying these mechanics are based on the attributes of the object (i.e. is it thin and stabby or fat and smashy?) and the grip that the shape of the object requires to wield it effectively. By expressing this aspect of the topic conceptually, students quickly learn to look past items that don’t have the attributes or the maneuverability to work well and focus on the things that they can quickly grab and use to do damage. With very little practice, those things immediately come into hand, fall into the proper grip, and are powered by the mechanics of the basic technique.

The tactics of Forever Armed are a combined expression of technique and weapon attributes, backed up by the all-important concept that real self-defense is all about stopping and disabling your attacker so you can escape. As such, a light, pointy weapon like a pen is wielded with technique that emphasizes speed and is targeted at vital areas like the eyes and throat. It is backed up with low-line kicks to destroy the attacker’s mobility. A heavier, slower, impact weapon would be wielded with a more power-oriented technique and used to break bones and create stunning impact to pave the way for a low-line mobility kill.

Forever Armed also addresses the topics of two-handed improvised weapons, dispels the myths of projectile and flexible weapons and puts them into a useful context, and explores realistic tactics for the use of improvised shields.

When it comes to physical skills, I know that there are many martial artists and fighters out there that are more skilled than I am. However, when it comes to empowering average people with reliable skills that they can use to protect themselves and their families—and doing it in an extremely logical, sensible way—I do very well. I am very proud of Forever Armed because in it I address an increasingly important, often misunderstood aspect of personal protection with an exceptional degree of logic and practicality.

Forever Armed is a must-see for all serious students of self-defense.

Michael D. Janich