25 Indicators of Self-Defense Snake Oil Salesmanship – Erik Kondo


What does it mean to have the ability to defend yourself? Does it mean you can fight off any and all attackers? Or does it mean you are able to minimize the negative consequences of conflict by knowing “What to do and what not to do, when to do it and when not to do it” along with understanding the consequences of what happens next?

Is a self-defense “expert” merely a mindless fighting machine? Or is he or she someone who is able to assess a variety of situations in multiple environments and act accordingly with the response(s) best suited to the situation?

For those who say “there is no time to think, there is only time to act”, ask yourself “Do skilled downhill skiers, mountain bikers, stunt pilots, rock climbers, white water kayakers, and mountaineers think when involved in their pursuits? Are they constantly assessing the terrain, obstacles, dangers and selecting the best course of action? Or are they simply relying on natural talents and reflexes to get by? How did they develop their ability? Did it come from long hours of training and accumulating experience? Or were they provided with secret techniques that enabled them to reach expert proficiency within a few hours?

The Self-Defense Snake Oil Salesman preys upon your emotions and fears. He tells you want you want to hear so you will buy his product. He knows that unlike the sporting skills I mentioned above, there is no practical manner in which physical self-defense techniques can be evaluated for true effectiveness. The more “deadly” the technique, the less its effectiveness can be evaluated.

The following is an incomplete list of 25 indicators that the secret Techniques you are buying are actually Self-Defense Snake Oil.


  1. The Techniques allows you to easily humiliate and defeat bigger and stronger attackers.
  2. Without knowing the Techniques you are helpless, fearful, and easily victimized.
  3. The Techniques provide you with a simple solution for stopping all violent attackers.
  4. You don’t need to practice the Techniques.
  5. You can learn the Techniques in a few hours total.
  6. You don’t need any previous experience or martial arts training to master the Techniques.
  7. The less you already know, the more effective the Techniques will be.
  8. The instructor has a personal story of victimization. As a result of the victimization, he or she searched far and wide for the Solution to never be victimized again.
  9. The Solution is in the form of the Techniques which are based on either modern science, military style combatives, or some little known (secret) methodology.
  10. The Techniques are actively hidden by “Others” that don’t want you to know about them.
  11. The Techniques are easy to use, easy to remember, and make you undefeatable.
  12. The Techniques allow you to deliver knockouts, break the bones, and kill (if necessary) any attacker regardless of size, strength, or experience.
  13. The Techniques only require gross motor movements which anyone can do regardless of age, strength, or physical ability.
  14. The Techniques are a “One-of-a-Kind” or a Unique System that cannot be found elsewhere.
  15. The Techniques are “proven” in actual situations by ordinary people.
  16. Learning the Techniques is easily done in a simple step-by-step manner.
  17. If you already have previous training in some martial art or combative sport these Techniques will supplement and improve on what you already know.
  18. The Techniques are all natural, instinctive, and will “burn” into your body for long term retention.
  19. The Techniques will allow you to deal with any type of scenario from bully to terrorist regardless of weapons and number of attackers.
  20. The Techniques have already been learned by all types of people from soccer moms to business executives, and are currently used by some military “special” forces.
  21. The Techniques will eliminate any fear you may have of being attacked or victimized in any and all situations.
  22. The Techniques are so simple you can teach them to your loved ones.
  23. Scenarios described are all envisioned as life and death and/or forcible rape situations.
  24. There is no mention of legal consequences from using the Techniques.
  25. You know better, but the presentation is so good that you can’t resist the temptation to buy.

The presence of a few indicators means relatively little, multiple indicators are a sign you are most likely being sold Self-Defense Snake Oil.

Prevention is the most effective and most complex aspect of self-defense. It requires the combination of knowledge and critical thinking ability. It requires understanding human and criminal behavior. The Snake Oil Salesman skips over Prevention to focus only on “fighting”. Fighting is simplified into a few basic movements in which your emotional and physical aggressiveness is the deciding factor. If you fight fearlessly you win, if not you lose.

There is not doubt that emotional and physical aggressiveness is an important element. But if it is the only determining factor, why wouldn’t the attacker “win” every time. Attackers by definition are highly emotionally and physically aggressive. How is it that your Technique based emotional and physical aggressiveness will reliably defeat your attacker’s emotional and physical aggressiveness when both of you are using gross muscle movements and instinctive/natural fighting methods?

The Self-Defense Snake Oil Salesman depends upon your lack of knowledge and understanding of the true circumstances of crime and victimization to prey upon you in a similar manner that predators prey upon your lack of knowledge and understanding to make you their victim.


Commentary by Clint Overland

Steve Earl

“Ladies and gentlemen, attention please
Come in close so everyone can see
I got a tale to tell
A listen don’t cost a dime
And if you believe that we’re gonna get along just fine
Now I’ve been travelin’ all around
I heard trouble’s come to your town
Well I’ve got a little somethin’
Guaranteed to ease your mind
It’s call Snake Oil y’all
It’s been around for a long, long time”

What gets me is that these twizzle sticks actually believe this bullshit. P.T.Barnum said Nobody ever lost a dollar by underestimating the taste of the American public.” as well as “Advertising is to a genuine article what manure is to land, – it largely increases the product.” 

But his best remembered quote is “There is a sucker born every minute!” I have had women tell me, that they can take me in a fight and be dead serious about it. They took Krav Maga or something else for several weeks. I just smile and slip away from them, don’t want their stupid to jump over to me and make me piss myself more than normal. 

I cant even tell you the time some kid has tried something that he learned in class at his local McDojo and be goddamn surprised when he gets his ass handed to him. One little frat rat tried to shoot in and take my legs out. I stepped to the side and he went head first into the corner I was standing in front of splitting his head wide open. Helped him up and he went to jail after the EMT patched him up. REALLY folks I know guys that have never been in a gym or dojo in their entire lives that will and have ripped ears off, gouged out eyes, bitten off noses and fingers. You think that something you learn online watching youtube and trying in your back yard with your buddies is going to save you in a bad situation. 

Hells Bells you got to ask yourself have I really ever been hit hard enough to knock me down. If you haven’t I suggest you go to a good boxing gym and try it. Its an eye opening experience .

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