The 700 Club with Pat Robertson

Dominick Divito

Martial Arts Instructor, Fifth Degree Black Belt in Chinese Kenpo

Has appeared on Oprah

Trains with celebrities such as Wynonna Judd, etc.

Gives workshops to FBI, SWAT and police teams

Featured Book
'Fight Back'
Fight Back
(Center Street/Time Warner Book Group 2005)

Fight Back with Dominick Divito

According to the Washington, D.C. Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 2003, for every 1,000 people age 12 years and older, there occurred: one rape or assault, one assault with injury and two robberies. Fifty-three percent of violent crime occurred during the day between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. in the same year. One aggravated assault occurs every 36.8 seconds. One robbery occurs every 1.3 minutes. One forcible rape every 5.6 minutes. One murder every 5.6 minutes.

Dominick says that mental and physical defense is about being smart, not being irrational or impractical. “There aren’t attackers lurking in every single dark alley,” says Dominick, “but being aware means understanding the possibilities and being prepared should you face them one day.” There are many myths that make people opposed to self-defense. Some people believe that owning a gun is the best possible method of self-defense. While weapons are definitely advantageous, weapons work best if you have time to use them. For example, if you wake up in the middle of the night hearing noises indicative of a possible burglary in your home, you might have enough time to dial 911, retrieve your weapon and muster up enough courage to head in the direction of the burglar. “Realistically speaking, when you are attacked by a criminal, it happens without warning,” says Dominick. “When faced with predicaments that call for immediate self-defense, only two things are readily available: your mind and your body. That’s it.”

While self-defense is the best option to protect yourself when attacked, it doesn’t promise that you will walk away unscathed, or even walk away at all. However, self-defense is the best option if you find yourself in a physically compromising position. Besides going over common sense tips (like paying attention to your surroundings), Dominick stresses that self-defense is not about the sole use of your physical abilities to dominate someone twice your size. “It is your mind that allows you to focus on an attacker’s weaknesses, not his strengths,” says Dominick. Unlike lugging around a gun or knife, your mind is with you always.” In order to use it effectively against an attacker, Dominick says there are four general rules to mentally prepare yourself for an attack:

1. Give yourself permission to fight back: there is an overwhelming inner barricade that prevents many people, mostly women, from accepting their natural right to protect themselves.

2. Believe that you can physically fight back: self-confidence is the bedrock for self-defense.

3. Control fear, don’t let it control you: fear can cripple but when our bodies are physically stimulated by stressful situations, we can use this to our advantage.

4. Turn panic into reaction: during an attack, the moments we have need to be left for reactive defense – not for crying and screaming. Cry, scream and freak out later.

Dominick says there are general target areas on the human body that have the greatest amount of exposure and vulnerability. When you find yourself in a situation that requires you to defend yourself, you need to strike the areas that will weaken an attacker to the greatest degree. Rather than throwing blind punches, you gain the time you need to escape and get help. Your survival is dependent not on the amount of strength you have, but on your knowledge and understanding of where and how to debilitate your attacker during those windows of opportunity. Dominick says there are three parts of the body that are top targets:

1. The eyes: striking the eyes may not be a pretty picture, but they are one of the best targets because they are easy to find, they are almost always exposed and striking them causes great pain. Use both thumbs to wipe your attacker straight across the eye. You can also strike your fingers straight in the eye area or rake your fingernails straight across the eyes. If you have keys, use them to execute the same action.

2. The throat: one of the most sensitive areas on the body. Any form of physical assault to the side or front areas of the throat will be powerful. A directed strike to the larynx (voice box) located above the trachea, the trachea (windpipe) or esophagus (passageway for food) could leave the attacker unable to breathe and leave you time to get away.

3. The pelvis: the pelvic area and groin are not the same area. The pelvic area begins below the belly button and it only takes 18 pounds of pressure to break a bone. If an average 150-pound woman strikes the pelvic bone with full force, it will break.

Dominick will demonstrate several self-defense moves. One is for attacks from behind (page 163). Figure out which way you can turn around. Face the attacker, essentially closing the gap. Put your weight on the opposite foot. Take the other leg and step sideways over his foot. Strike his pelvis with the heel of your hand. Pull back immediately. If you have easy access to his throat or eyes, take those as well.

If you are strangled, Dominick says your arms are the most important extremity you have to strike with. Take both your hands, move them underneath his arms and toward his face. Strike his eyes. After weakening him, clasp both hands in a shuto strike, thumbs in, fingers tight. Place them in the middle of the inside of his elbows and strike down on his flesh. Both of his arms will drop. Then run.

Dominick will also demonstrate a move which is on the DVD. When an attacker approaches from behind, you can use your elbow and arm to disable the attacker’s grip so you can lift your hand up to strike the eye with your key or thumb.

Dominick was raised in a Catholic family. When he was in 6th grade, Dominick gave his life to the Lord. “My life has never been the same,” he says. Dominick met Rodney Jones in 1980 and introduced Dominick to instructor Bill Murphy and the art of Chinese Kenpo. (In 1986, Rodney was killed tragically after he accidentally electrocuted himself on a jobsite. Dominick’s book is dedicated to Rodney. Before Rodney died, they made a vow to each other to never let their passion for Kenpo die.)

Dominick is married to Mary Lee. They have one infant daughter.

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