Instincts to Live By

Watching TV with TIVO. What has that done to our lives? photo c/o

by Kellene Bishop

Instincts. Believe it or not, we have the power to control and condition them to protect us.

Two years ago I asked my hubby for TIVO for my birthday.  He’s very protective of his time and thus is not a big proponent of watching television. So he wasn’t too thrilled with getting it for me. But after all, birthday gifts are about what the person wants, not what you want to give, right? (Boys, you should be nodding your heads in agreement right now. )  Yup. I’m busy and don’t “have time for TV either” but it does have its place in my life. For example, I use the Netflix service and though I was relinquished to bed rest this weekend, I still got some research done by watching several documentary movies right on my TV which educated me on many aspects of  the preparedness theme.  Television is nice when you’re not feeling well—unless all you have access to is Gilligan’s Island reruns and I’m usually on bed rest about 3 days a month. So I indulge.  Additionally, when I teach a class until 9:00 p.m., I just want to come home and turn my brain off and relax. The right kind of television entertainment helps with that. That all being said, I simply don’t have the time or inclination to give my time to advertisers.  If I’m going to take time to watch something, I want it over and done with as soon as possible. I’m a “get to the point” kind of person in many respects—so skipping the commercials is very attractive to me. Besides, I also find that the commercials are all too often morally objectionable as well. So when a commercial comes up, I instinctively go for my remote control and fast forward past them. As a result, I can now watch an “hour long show” in about 27 minutes. Even better, when I don’t quite get/hear/understand what I was listening to, I can rewind it and listen to it again. I’m also a big fan of slapstick comedy. So sometimes I can belly laugh again and again through the rewind process.  After two years, this habit is absolutely instinctive to me now. However, there is a downside to this.

When I’m at someone else’s home and they have the TV on, the sound of a commercial is so foreign to me, that I look for the remote to fast forward through them.  Even worse, when I’m listening to a person speak and didn’t quite hear what they were saying, I find myself wishing I could just TIVO the conversation and hear it again.  When I’m driving in the car and listening to talk radio, I keep finding myself wanting to hit the fast forward or rewind button, to no avail.  The ultimate is when I’m at the movie theater. When the commercials are blasted at the beginning, I instinctively grip my arm rest as if it was the TIVO remote.  I once absent mindedly went to the bathroom during a movie thinking that I could just rewind it when I got back. Yup. TIVO has definitely learned to control me and my life.

As crazy as all of this may sound, it’s actually demonstrative of what can happen naturally with a lot of physical practice. The instincts can be put into place in spite of a chaotic experience.  What makes the TIVO action so memorable and instinctive is that it’s a physical action triggered by a mental one.  The same kind of instincts that I have with the remote control can easily be duplicated with firearm self-defense training.

Consistent firearm practice will create muscle memory and you can fire your weapon instinctively

When you practice physically to defend yourself with a firearm, be sure to go through the entire motion of doing so. One of the dumbest things I think that folks do is stand at a shooting range and shoot one shot right after another. From a fun standpoint that’s great. But if they are trying to improve their self-defense skills, shooting one shot after another is self-defeating.  In terms of a real life self-defense scenario, no one ever sets their firearm up and just starts shooting an immobile target.  I’m thinking that a criminal is not going to wait while you put yourself in the same position that you practice at the range—you know…ammo laid to the side, shooting a stable target at whatever distance you’re comfortable with, etc.  “Excuse me Mr. Bad Guy. Can you give me a moment while I put you in my sights. Oh, and come forward just about 12 inches more. I shoot much better that way.” In a realistic scenario, you should practice drawing your firearm properly, shoot at your target, evaluating the environment (stay engaged), shoot again as necessary, and then safely reholster your firearm.  Don’t worry about the speed of this. Instead be focused on the proper physical actions. The speed will come later. This kind of practice is the only kind that will help you in a genuine self-defense scenario.  It’s important that you not create bad physical habits that will impair you from protecting yourself. So be sure that every step of your practice is conducted properly. Again—the speed will come.  I assure you that if you only practice shooting at the range instead of the rest of the self-defense motions that are necessary, regardless what a great shot you are at the range, you will inevitably miss your target due to the physical movement, the heightened emotions, and a foreign scenario. Missing your target isn’t just about you protecting yourself. It’s also about confidently knowing you won’t hurt anyone else. Practicing with deliberate physical movements through the entire defensive scenario will put more of those unknown factors in your favor.

By the way, if it’s any consolation, this year I’m asking for a full-fledged square foot garden plot built for me this year for my birthday. Perhaps it will help me sleep too. 🙂

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Copyright Protected 2010, Women of Caliber and Kellene Bishop. All Rights Reserved. No portion of any content on this site may be duplicated, transferred, copied, or published without written permission from the author. However, you are welcome to provide a link to the content on your site or in your written works.

Sitting Duck or Vital Community Member?

By Kellene Bishop

Coward in War illustration c/o

Coward in War illustration c/o

Surely you’ve seen those movies in which a revolution, war, worthy rebellion, or fight for survival is going on and then the story introduces a cowardly sitting duck who actually puts the lives of everyone else at risk. Unfortunately, that’s a very accurate depiction of the makings of every part of our society. The apathetic cowards always compromise the safety of the strong who are willing to do what’s right. The results of such sitting ducks in our life are so repetitive; I wonder why we aren’t more diligent in watching out for the apathetic as much as we are the proactively evil? They are both threats to our safety.

I have attended the same chiropractor regularly for several years. Recently he and his wife have been open and even proactive in the idea of becoming better prepared to defend themselves and their children in the event of an emergency. Given that I teach physical and firearm self-defense, my chiropractor had encouraged me to post my Women of Caliber flyer and business cards on their Business Directory board which is in view of all of the waiting patients. In fact, the set up is such that, other than a magazine, it’s about the only thing to “entertain” patients during their waiting. Last week when I went into my appointment I discovered that someone had taken exception to my flyer and business cards and had removed them. I spoke to the chiropractor about it wondering if he had had second thoughts in such a marketing piece being present. He assured me that none of his staff would have done such and that it had to have been one of his patients.

So why do I tell you this story? Because I see the individual who removed my materials as one of those apathetic cowards. This is the profile of a person who would rather pray for their enemies in order to avoid conflict with them. While I’m definitely a praying kind of woman, I’ve found that I do better asking for a rope and a pair of hiking boots rather than asking for the mountain to be removed. I can’t change the behavior of others. And I firmly believe it’s a shuddering scaredy cat who refuses to believe that there are plenty of “others” who would do them harm if given the right circumstances. So, since I can’t control the actions of others, I choose to practice and be ready for my actions when harm comes to me.

A protective mother and her pup.

A protective mother and her pup.

I find this especially baffling when I speak with mothers, as it’s the mothers of young children who tend to be the most resistant to learning to effectively defend themselves. Women tend to be more peaceful in nature, and less likely to be confrontational—unless you threaten their children. And yet what good is a mother who’s all riled at a home invader when she’s lacking in any actual skills that would effectively protect her children?

I find it ironic that if it weren’t for all of the sitting ducks, there would be no need for vital community members to “save the day.” The sitting ducks present just as much prey for the criminals as food does to wild bears. If there were less sitting ducks in a community, then there would indeed be less crime and less need for firearm defense.

Ironically it’s the people who leave their doors unlocked, their purses on the front seat, their garages wide open, and walk around unaware who are the same people that tend to take offense at messages that Women of Caliber dispense. Yup, the cowards fuel the evil. It’s a good thing there are a few of us vital community members to still come around and save your apathetic fannies.

Copyright 2009 Kellene Bishop. All rights reserved. You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Kellene Bishop.

The Bourne Self-Defense

bourne-self-defense-ultimatum-posterBy Kellene Bishop

I have to admit it. I love the Jason Bourne movies. There’s one scene in one of Bourne movies in which Jason Bourne rolls up a magazine and uses it to beat the crud out of someone. There’s another in which he uses a simple pen to cause pain and agony. Implausible you say? It only happens in the movies? Nope. The magazine/newspaper and pen are viable weapons of self-defense even if you’re not a highly trained operative.

My 50 Caliber Round Pen. Photo by Women of Caliber

My 50 Caliber Round Pen. Photo by Women of Caliber

Bourne Self-Defense Method #1: The Pen. Ideally you want a to have a pen on hand that is sturdy and that won’t hurt your own hand in the event you need to use it as a weapon of self-defense. I lucked out with my standard pen. I was at a sporting goods show and lo and behold, someone was selling pens made out of 50 caliber rounds. It was heavy, sturdy, and I could comfortably hold it in a self-defense grip. A proper self-defense grip is one in which you can grip the pen with your palm spreading over the pen and your thumb placed at the dull end of the pen. This gives you appropriate thrusting and jabbing leverage. This is also the proper way to hold a knife if you need to use that as a weapon of self-defense. (See below) You do not want to hold a pen (or a knife, fork, or other like weapon the same way you would hold it if you were handing it to someone. You want a firm grip on it with the ability to stab and jab with it if necessary. One might laugh to see me shop for pens nowadays.  I don’t put them in my hand in a writing position.  I initially put them in a “Bourne self-defense” position first.  How it writes is secondary to me. (I have to admit that I hope after reading this that you’ll never select a pen the same way again. :))

The proper Bourne self-defense pen stance. Photo c/o Women of Caliber

The proper Bourne self-defense pen stance. Photo c/o Women of Caliber

Bourne Self-Defense Method #2: Magazine/newspaper. The key to being able to use a magazine or a newspaper as an effective self-defense weapon is to roll it exactly as you see Jason Bourne do in the movie. Roll it nice and tight. Doing so enables it to become a good tool for jabbing. You’ll want to jab at the jugular, eye, vital vein in the arm or thigh. No, you won’t get very far using a magazine or newspaper as a “bat” to pummel someone with. By rolling it tightly you’re enabling it to withstand the pressure that you will impose using it as a jabbing and stabbing tool against soft and vulnerable tissues.

Bourne Self-Defense with a Magazine

Bourne Self-Defense with a Magazine

Grant it, both of these self-defense tactics presume that you’re not carrying a firearm on you. Obviously, a firearm will provide you with the most effective self-defense of distance and speed. But a firearm may not always be available, such as when you’re in a “gun free zone.” I’m not really sure why Jason Bourne didn’t have a gun on him at the time he needed to use a magazine. But it made for a great part in the movie.

I recommend that you practice turning the pen into a self-defense position periodically. I also recommend that you practice rolling up a magazine quickly. And may you never view a writing utensil or fashion magazine the same way again.

Copyright 2009 Kellene Bishop. All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Kellene Bishop.

Back-up Self-Defense Plans

Perhaps you’ve watched that good old Western movie in which the hero announces that the way he survived a shootout was having a back-up gun for his back-up gun.  When it comes to self-defense, we should all have back-up self-defense plans.

Obviously I’m a strong advocate of women using a firearm for self—defense, but a firearm isn’t always available…such as in an airport, school, or some churches.  Heck, even Blockbusters has a “no gun” policy (which is why I do business with Hollywood Video and Netflix instead).  In spite of these ridiculous gun free zones, you should not have to feel vulnerable.  The use of a firearm for defense, while ideal, is only one of three areas of self-defense.  The first area is obviously firearms.  This includes handguns, shotguns, and rifles, in that order.

Photo c/o Photo c/o

The next area of self defense is the use of practical weapons such as weapons that extend, project or pose the opportunity to be used as a weapon, in that order.

Asp Baton photo c/o

Asp Baton photo c/o

Objects that extend give you distance between you and your attacker. They also allow you to use the extension to carry more force behind the necessary strike. These objects may be a kubatan, an Asp, or even a baseball bat.  A pocket knife is technically an extension weapon, but not ideal as it requires the closest of encounters.

Objects that project are weapons such as pepper spray, mace, or a taser.  These items still allow you some distance, but don’t necessarily have the ideal stopping power as a weapon on extension.

Objects of occasion take a little bit of forethought and education.  Keys for example.  If you hold your keys when you walk out to your car, one in between each finger, you’ve got the makings of a good weapon should you have a close encounter.  Recently a woman leaving a McDonald’s late at night spotted an armed, masked male crouching by her car and used her panic button on her car as a weapon, successfully frightening the would-be assailant away.  The heel of a high-heeled shoe (used to strike an assailant—not to throw it at one), a tightly wrapped magazine or newspaper (has the leverage and penetration power of most kubatons if wrapped tightly enough), a belt (to

Photo care of

Photo care of

strangle, leverage an arm), a purse strap (to strangle or leverage an arm), a pen (to penetrate an eye or the neck or the chest), and even a credit card (used in a slicing motion against an assailants face)—all of these are weapons of occasion.  I’ve specifically prepared my mind to view such “weapons” in a dual-use sense.  Meaning that when I purchase a pen, I specifically make sure it’s strong enough to handle an event in which I may have to use it as a weapon, not just for writing “I Heart My Husband”.  (My 50 caliber casing that’s been made into a pen serves nicely for this purpose. *wink* )  When I purchase a purse, I want to make sure that the straps are long and sturdy enough for me to use it as a defensive weapon as well.

The last group of defensive weapons is essentially the lack of a weapon—your body.  Unarmed survival such as the use of strikes, leveraging or grappling may be the only thing you’re left with if you’ve been caught completely unprepared and unarmed.  Knowing where your first strike should be, knowing how to leverage your body to break an arm or to throw an assailant off of you, or knowing how to keep a calm head so that you can escape a ground grappling scenario is critical. And since it may be your last hope, it’s important that you give some time and attention to learning a few simple and memorable strategies. The key here is simple and memorable.   Not a “crouching tiger which turns into a dinosaur which turns into a bee” kind of move.

While I carry more than one firearm on me “just in case,” I also utilize all THREE components of self-defense for backup.  I’m not about to let a gun free zone or any other unarmed state catch me off guard.  You too should spend some time learning what you can do with alternative weapons of opportunity and those that God has given you.

Copyright 2009 Kellene Bishop. All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Kellene Bishop.  

Is a Concealed Carry Permit a Human Hunting License?

By Kellene Bishop

I often am accused of sanctioning violence by those who would not protect themselves. So those of you who still read my articles—even though you KNOW I’m all about self-defense with a firearm—you may be a bit surprised today to hear what I have to say.

Photo c/o

Photo c/o

When I first saw the headline on this article, “Concealed weapons permit holder stops would-be robbers”, (see I thought, “Oh good. A concealed carry permit holder finally gets some praise.” Then I read the article. It had me nearly swearing at my computer screen afterwards. Instead of being happy for this article about a concealed carry permit holder, I was yelling, “You idiot! It’s folks like you who make us look bad.”

So, let’s provide you with a little bit of Concealed Carry Permit Use 101 here. A concealed carry permit is not a Human Hunting Permit. Sorry, but chasing down humans and firing shots at them is NOT an authorized seasonal sport. This scenario portrays a foolish, irresponsible, and downright dangerous one.

For starters, it is very dangerous for this idiot to be shooting in the air and shooting into the ground. Basic physics tells us what goes up must come down. A round shot into the air comes down and you have NO idea where it lands. Causing a hail storm of rounds is not safe and just plain stupid. (Which is why you see it in the movies quite frequently.) Shooting rounds into the ground is ALSO unsafe. They could ricochet, hit you or someone else—or at least something else. Again, another dumb move you see in the movies.

Running with a Gun photo c/o

Running with a Gun photo c/o

Additionally, shooting at a firing range is NOT the same as shooting on the run, or even a slow walk. Very, very few individuals actually practice shooting this way. (Although I highly recommend such practice.) I’m willing to bet some major donuts that this guy did not practice shooting on the run. I’m quite certain that his shots were more about misses than warnings. And frankly, it’s a good thing. While I’m not an attorney, I would venture to bet that if this concealed carry permit holder had lethally hit one of the criminals, he would have been charged with manslaughter at the very least since he was proactively chasing them.

Let me be perfectly clear. As a person who is defending their life you are entitled to pull your handgun. However, you are NOT permitted to chase someone down with it. Now, having said that, could he have chased down the criminals who attempted to steal his stuff? Absolutely. And then IF they put up a physical resistance and threatened his safety, then, and only then, would he have been justified in unveiling his firearm.

Once again, having a concealed carry permit is not a hunting license.

Copyright 2009 Kellene Bishop. All rights reserved. You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Kellene Bishop.

Children and Guns—Part 1

This is part of a four-part blog series addressing Children and Guns.  Part I – want to ensure your kid never commits a crime?  Give him a gun.  Part II addresses myths of gun safety – what you must know in order to truly protect your children.  Part III  addresses when it is safe to educate your child on firearms.  Part IV explores what’s really responsible for the death of our nation’s children.  If you enjoy what you read, please comment and share on your blog or Twitter.  Thank you. 

I have been shooting firearms for about 8 years now.  As a woman who’s convinced this is the best method of self-defense, I regularly communicate with other women on this topic and frequently hear 3 primary reasons why women are fearful of owning a firearm.  The most common reason is the safety of their children.  Rather than seeing a firearm as a method of defending their children, they see it as a willful danger that they bring TO their children.  Rather than simply telling them that such wasn’t the case and they were simply falling for the mainstream media story of the day, I decided to do some very, very specific research on what really happens in this nation when it comes to children being around guns.  Frankly, my research astounded even me.  So much so that while I intended to write one article about it, I realized that there was far too much information to cover in just one.  So I’m breaking it up into a 4 part series as follows:

Part I—Want to Ensure Your Kid Never Commits a Gun Crime?  GIVE Him a Gun.

Part II—The Myth of Gun Safety.  What you must know in order to truly protect your children.

Part III—When is it Safe to Educate Your Children on Guns?

Part IV—What’s Really Responsible for the Deaths of Our Nation’s Children?

Part I—Ensure your child never commits a gun crime by actually giving him a gun?  Sounds crazy, but it’s true.  Of course you would NEVER hear the media spout off such a statement, but in a GOVERNMENT study conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile and Delinquency Prevention revealed the following bit of valuable information. 

Fact: Children who get guns from their parents don’t commit gun
(0 percent) while children who get guns illegally are quite
likely to do so
(21 percent).

Fact: Children who get guns from parents are less likely to commit
any kind of street crime (14 percent) than children who have no gun
in the house (24 percent) – and are dramatically less likely to do so
than children who acquire an illegal gun (74 percent.)

Fact: Children who get guns from parents are less likely to use
banned drugs (13 percent) than children who get illegal guns
(41 percent.)

Fact: Boys who own legal firearms have much lower rates of
delinquency and drug use (than boys who own illegal guns) and are
even slightly less delinquent than non-owners of guns.

This study covered a period of 3 years (1993-1995).

When you take the mystery out of a gun, you take the
mischief out of the child. 

Presenting a firearm in an appropriate manner, as a tool of critical
self-defense, along with the appropriate safety rules, means that
you don’t have to worry so much about your life being turned upside
down by your child living a life of a gang-banger criminal.  Why?  
Legal gun owners tend to take their right of owning a gun very
seriously.  As such, they do not want to do anything that will
compromise that right.  They are typically a very law-abiding people. 
Bringing your child into that culture will enable them to associate
with other like-minded, law-abiding people that you can count on
being an example to them even when you’re not around.  
Now, let’s talk about the other aspect of gun ownership… a sound
knowledge of appropriate safety rules.  Whether your child has a
gun or not, this should be taught to them ad nauseam until they
truly get it.  Every single “accidental shooting” that has EVER
occurred has done so as a result of a violation of one of these gun
safety rules. 

First rule: Always keep your firearm pointed in a safe direction. 

Second Rule: Always keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot

Third Rule:
Always treat a firearm as if it is loaded

Fourth Rule:
Always protect your firearm from unauthorized use. 

Learn for yourself and teach these rules to the children in your life
to ensure their safety and to foster a respect for firearms.  It is also
important that you teach these rules in this particular order as well. 
One leads to the other.  

Stay tuned for Children and Guns – Part II.  
Copyright 2009 Kellene Bishop. All rights reserved.
You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Kellene Bishop.  

Today’s Woman and Firearms

Are you part of the startling 49% INCREASE of gun sales that occurred in November 2008? (over the previous year of the same month) Chances are, if you’re female, you actually represent the majority of those purchases. That’s right. The majority.

If I were to state that this is an important time in history, many of you may think that I’m referring to the political shift in power. However, I’m actually referring to the undeniable shift in interest of the expert use of firearms.  Over the last 12 months, women have been coming out of the woodwork in record droves and declaring their independence by taking part in firearm safety and use. Women are starting to feel like they can no longer stay in the dark when it comes to firearm safety and usage. After all, the best safety measure anyone can have when it comes to firearms is knowledge.

blown-awayIn Caitlin Kelly’s 2004 book, Blown Away: American Women and Guns, she points out that today’s women realize that they simply aren’t as well protected as they need to be. Their levels of knowledge and self-defense protection simply aren’t keeping up with the rate of violent crimes against women. Thus they are searching for more effective means of providing that necessary protection.  Women today understand that the power of a competent marksman is a great equalizer against violent crime, and they are refusing to become the next victim statistic.

Lest we forget, shooting is also fun.  It’s not unusual to see women joining in dirt bike racing, camping and hiking, fishing, hunting, and other activities that have been predominantly occupied by men.  A feminine touch on a rifle or handgun is just one more expression of women’s exploration for new, fun, and exciting.  And it gives women a great outlet for their inherent hand-eye coordination talents.  Skeet and target shooting make for a great stress reliever worthy of today’s challenges.

And lastly, it’s no secret that women are nurturers by nature.  With the growing number of single mothers in our nation, women are beginning to take sole responsibility for soundly protecting their families as well.  It’s simply not enough in today’s society to remind the children not to talk to strangers.  This has led a dramatic increase in the number of single moms clamoring for firearm training classes.  Unfortunately, these classes are lacking in one critical component. 

With as many women who are seeking training, the number of females who are sufficiently trained and willing to offer such training has a long ways to go to merit the equal amounts of support that women gun owners are now in search of.  More of these capable women need to come out of their proverbial closets and show a sister how to make strides in competently ensuring safety and use without regrets of her firearm.

Experienced females need to help our society shed the warped image of women and firearms as well.  We need to demand more fashionable and female minded options for firearm carrying and sports. We need to counter the notion that a firearm somehow strips a woman of her femininity and show that it does not negate her instinct to nurture and care.  A firearm does not make a woman a brash warrior.  In fact, a firearm in the properly trained hands brings an abundance of confidence and peace. (And yes, I do mean “peace” in more than one way.)

Given all of the images that are flashed on television and in magazines which attempt to make us feel like we’re not doing enough, not skinny enough, or just plain not enough, it seems to me that we could use a lot more women gun owners in this nation.  So if you’ve got the talent for competent firearm usage, share it.  If you have an interest burgeoning for more knowledge in this regard, act on it.  There’s plenty of “sistas” willing to join you.

Bring on the Confidence and the Peace.



Copyright 2009 Kellene Bishop. All rights reserved.
You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Kellene Bishop.