DVD & Book


Created and hosted by 3rd degree Black Belt holders Mary Brandl and Anita Bendickson, Scenarios In Self-Defense, is an exceptional guide to self-defense, aimed particularly at women (but containing useful suggestions for either sex in potentially dangerous situations). The first two volumes – Your Early Options and When An Acquaintance Becomes An Assailant - are jam-packed with life saving self-defense tips which don’t even involve physical contact. The first tape offers advice that is both practical and effective: set a boundary early in an ambiguous situation (with distance, strong body language, assertive verbal language, etc.), be willing to get attention (yell "someone call the police," not the much more vague "help"), know what your specific course of action is going to be in a given situation, and so on. The second tape uses many of the same principles but applies them to "acquaintance" situations such as date rape, and sexual harassment on the job. In the final tape, Practical Physical Resistance, Brandl and Bendickson offer advice on the use of physical force, pointing out vital target areas on the body, and demonstrating the most effective moves to make in a threatening situation. The Scenarios In Self-Defense series is well-produced, enjoyable to watch, and full of useable information presented in a logical format. Yet even when physical force is used as an option, the instructors remind viewers that it is not used for winning, but rather for escaping.…this series is about safety. Highly recommended. Editor’s Choice.****




An exceptionally well-scripted and directed series, Scenarios in Self-Defense takes the right approach and emphasizes early intervention. The three-volume set starts with Your Early Options, where we learn the basic themes that underlie all the advice given thereafter: trust your feelings, set a boundary early, be willing to get attention, and visualize. Instructors Mary Brandl and Anita Bendickson explain in detail with examples and demonstrations what each of these ideas mean. Volume 2 takes this preventative attitude further in When An Acquaintance Becomes An Assailant, which reemphasizes the lessons of Volume 1 and applies them in a dating situation or harassment in the workplace. But if you must resort to physical means, Practical Physical Resistance teaches you the moves. Totally professional, reality-based, straight-forward, and confident, all three tapes direct their comments toward women, but the information could apply to men or children as well. A fine choice for public or school libraries




Two black-belt karate experts cover self-defense tips and strategies in these two titles sampled from a three-part series. Your Early Options tells how to initially handle uneasy, potentially harmful encounters with strangers. Women are encourage to distance themselves, use assertive body language, issue verbal commands, and make a scene, if necessary. The sincere onscreen hosts not only dispense simple advice punctuated with accounts of actual incidents but also introduce brief, enlightening scenarios. When An Acquaintance Becomes An Assailant presents similar guidelines for dealing with co-workers, social acquaintances, and others who act inappropriately through physical and verbal sexual harassment. Both well structured videos offer excellent, workable suggestions. The third Practical Physical Resistance, introduces last resort physical moves. Ages 16-adult.




VIDEO REVIEW: REALISTIC DEFENSES reviewed by Gloria Dialectic

At last! A well-organized, practical self-defense course. Scenarios in Self-Defense by Mary Brandl and Anita Bendickson offers a sensible training system that’s certain to meet the needs of most women looking for ways to reduce the risk of personal assault. I have long been dissatisfied with the fortress mentality conveyed by lists of self-defense rules: lock your doors, lock your car doors, walk only in well-lighted areas, avoid apartment laundry rooms and so on. We have all been drilled in these rules to the point of paranoia however, because the majority of rapists are acquaintances of the victim, these prevention tips prove inadequate in many cases. Also, they tend to isolate women, curtailing their freedom, and to imply guilt if women fail to practice them.

On the other hand, physical self-defense can intimidate those who have neither the time, physical ability, nor the inclination to practice sufficiently. I have attended many a physical self-defense class, seen self-defense moves demonstrated, and tried them with my classmates, only to leave feeling hopeless about my ability to remember and respond under stress. Also, in my role as educator of women’s groups, I find I am given only limited time by my audiences; consequently, what I offer must be concentrated, easily mastered, practical and memorable.

Scenarios in Self-Defense matches these needed qualities. The set consists of three videotapes, each 35 minutes long: Your Early Options, When an Acquaintance Becomes an Assailant, and Practical Physical Resistance. Rounding out the set is a handbook which contains information from the videos, including diagrams of the physical self-defense moves (very important), plus pages to fill in one’s own defensive responses to common situations that may lead to attack. The handbook serves as both a handy reminder and personal workbook for building confidence.

Because of its format, Scenarios in Self-Defense offers flexibility to meet training needs. Each of the first two videos can be shown separately. Each will give viewers valuable and instantly applicable techniques. The authors see physical resistance as a last resort option; therefore, they suggest that the third video Practical Physical Resistance, should be presented only after either program one or two has been viewed. From a brief, one-time presentation to a three-session course expanded with practice sessions, Scenarios in Self-Defense provides the core content for personal safety education I have not found elsewhere.

In addition to flexible format, Scenarios in Self-Defense excels in presenting "middle-ground self-defense," between prevention and physical self-defense. Starting from the premise that most assaults begins with a seemingly harmless approach, Brandl and Bendickson teach ways to interrupt the attacker’s plan by setting an unmistakable boundary early, with distance strong body language, and assertive verbal responses. If the attacker crosses the boundary, he has divulged his intent. The potential victim is encouraged to get attention by yelling and making a scene. If these strategies have not thwarted the attacker, …then physical resistance may be needed.

Repeating each instruction, showing printed instructions on the screen and summarizing are educational techniques that make the lessons of Scenarios easy to remember. Even the physical self-defense moves can be made less intimidating by regarding them as answers to the questions: "What body parts do you have free to use as weapons?" "What targets are available?" and "How threatened do you feel?"

I’m enthusiastic about Scenarios in Self-Defense!  … it has the flexibility and the concrete workable content I’ve been looking for in a program. I applaud its feminist perspective of empowerment rather than frightened dependence on locks or weapons as the means of self-defnese. Also, I like its insistence on non-blame if an attack happens. All in all, it’s a great package.