David Kerr of Fitsport Kinetics has been involved in martial arts since he was a young boy and has worked professional security and self-defense for most of his adult life. And the last thing he wants to do is start a fight.
Long before the pandemic, Kerr, author of the book “Idiots to Monsters: The Essential Guide to Surviving Common Threats and Violent Encounters,” was teaching people how to protect themselves if attacked, but more importantly as a way of avoiding conflicts before they happen, or escaping them when they do.
The training is especially important for teenagers, who increasingly find themselves in dangerous situations either on campus or on the way to and from school, which inspired Kerr and his business partner, Luke Strokis, to add their Student Life Self-Defense program to their wide range of fitness courses.
“I tell this to people,” said Kerr in an interview Tuesday. “If someone wants your cell phone, give it to them. If someone wants your wallet and they have a weapon, or they’re there to inflict harm, give it to them.
“You’ll be surprised,” he said, “that people will resist, and that can get them seriously harmed.”
Thus much of his Student Life Self-Defense program is focused on students learning about their environment, and just being aware.
“I see young people with their faces in cell phones all the time, and that is so dangerous,” he said. “You need to be constantly aware of things around you.”
Kerr, a fifth-level black belt martial artist, doesn’t mince words however, when it comes to the importance of actually knowing a self-defense technique that will get you quickly out of a threatening situation.
“Get in, get out,” he explained. “We call it a proactive mindset, which means ‘I see danger. I’ve learned from my lessons. I spot danger. I’m gonna evade,’ but if it’s one of those situations where you can’t evade, and this person is getting closer and closer, you’re gonna have fear. You will. So you have to learn how to harness that.”
Which is why Kerr teaches hands-on strategies that he calls “100% effective. They cannot, you do not, miss.”
“But,” he continues, “the point is, you have to execute that technique. These techniques are not made to beat people, but to inflict pain upon the head, the ears, the jaw, the neck, different areas of the body, and then run.”
Don’t hesitate to engage, says Kerr. As a motto on the wall of his gym states, “Fight first and fight fast.”
But only if you absolutely have to, he emphasizes.
As Kerr explained, “Things can heat up and turn violent in a split second, especially when drugs or alcohol are in the mix. It’s crucial that teens understand that the best fight is the one that never happened. That’s why self-control is a big part of the mindset we train our students to understand and embrace.”
Fitsports Kinetic is at 801 South Raymond Avenue, Pasadena, CA. (626) 714-7130. www.fitsportskinetic.com.