Fold In The Cheese David!

Fold In The Cheese David!

Over the last five years, I’ve had numerous conversations with experts in the physical self-defense and violence prevention space. What I’ve found so fascinating is 80% of our conversations centered around the roles situational awareness and intuition play in helping women improve their safety and security. When I asked these experts for recommendations on trainings I could take or conferences I could attend to learn these valuable skills, they didn’t know of anything offered for the everyday person, especially women.

Yes, there are trainings available for threat assessment professionals in specific career fields. There are a few books on situational awareness, but most of them are written from a male’s perspective or use a lot of tacti-cool jargon (though me and a few other badass women I know are changing that and getting published!). Yes, there are lots of self-defense classes marketed to women, but they tend to focus on the physical aspect.

How can a skill, that is supposed to prevent you from getting into a physical altercation in the first place, have such limited resources available for women to learn from?  It doesn’t make sense!

Society should not be telling women they can’t do something because it MIGHT be unsafe. Bad things happen to people while they’re going about their day NOT doing anything risky. To live a life in fear because no one helped you learn the skills to keep yourself safe is wrong. It’s time to make a change.

Years ago, I received an email newsletter with “The top 50 things women could do to start being safer immediately”. Some of the advice in the newsletter included “don’t mix alcohol and strangers”, “don’t go through a drive-thru late at night”, and “don’t let a stranger walk behind you”.

Uhm…do you see what’s wrong with these so-called “tips”? The advice is not helpful! They could’ve saved space by just saying, “don’t have a life”.

Telling me to NOT do something is not helping me learn how to be safe. (I talked about this on IG here). My inquiry has always been, teach me how to be safe in any situation and defend myself when necessary.

Women have amazing intuition skills that we use every day in different capacities. As mothers, friends, co-workers, and partners-we are the best at noticing when something is off with someone. We immediately know something is different than the day before by the slight difference in how someone says, “good morning”.

Those same instincts can be used to tell you someone is trying to manipulate you. They can tell you someone is not behaving in a way you would normally expect to see in the coffee shop. They tell you the creepy vibe you get from that one person is real, even if everyone else seems to brush it off as “just being friendly”.

I created The Diamond Arrow Group to help all women realize they already have the skills to keep themselves and their loved ones safer. They simply need to look at those skills from a personal safety perspective. I act as the translator between the information and trainings geared towards experts in threat assessment and the everyday woman who wants to feel confident in her personal safety skills.

I know without a doubt, you can live life on your own terms. I’m here to show you how.

Be Bold, Be Curious, Be Kind

Be Bold, Be Curious, Be Kind

Here’s Kelly’s keynote from the Sharp Women Launch event, celebrating all women on International Women’s Day.

Wow. I look around this room and see so many faces that mean the world to me. Thank you for being here tonight to celebrate with me and everyone else in this room.

I started the Diamond Arrow Group five years ago this month. The reason why I named it Diamond Arrow was because years before that, I had read a quote about an arrow. It went something along the lines of, an arrow can only be shot forward by being pulled back, so when you feel like life is pulling you backwards, just focus and keep aiming because it’s about to launch you into something great. That was a great perspective shift for me on dealing with life’s challenges. When it came time to pick a name for my company, I wanted it to include an arrow. When I researched the meaning of different arrow phrases, I discovered an arrow through a diamond symbolizes courage or confidence moving forward. A solitary arrow can symbolize protection from harm. It was the perfect fit for my desire to help all women build their self-confidence to live life on their terms.

Now-that’s a big mountain to climb. Because each human is unique, with their dreams and desires, their motivations and the things they love, there are many paths to get to the top of the mountain. It really doesn’t matter which path you choose for you. There’s not a right or wrong path because what works for you, may not work for the person sitting next to you. I wanted to find a simple mantra that anyone could apply to their daily habits that not only applied to their personal safety, but all aspects of their life. That mantra was, be bold, be curious, be kind.

Be Bold: think back to when you were a little girl, maybe 2 or 3 years old. Picture her in your head- before the world told her who she could or couldn’t be- Ms. Sassafrass. Remember her spunk and courage to try new things. She didn’t look at a staircase and think, I can’t climb that-it’s too high. She didn’t stop to think about how she was going to reach each new step, she just started with the first one. Find her. Speak the words you would use to encourage her to figure out how to get to the top. Look around the room, you all made the bold decision to be here tonight. I’m willing to be most of you had no idea what to expect from tonight. To be honest, I didn’t really know either. I knew I wanted to have a party to celebrate publishing a book, but that was about it. As things started to fall into place, my vision became more clear. Rebekah working on setting up her Midwest book tour that coincided with my plans and both of us feeling strongly about having a charity component. Lori from Anna Marie’s Alliance being someone I worked with on a March of Dimes fundraiser so it was easy to call her directly with the Launch event idea. Calling Park Event Center and the woman who picked up asking if I was the same Kelly that worked at the CVB years ago, what are the odds? Really cool pieces of the puzzle seemed to fall into place naturally.

That’s when my self-doubt started chirping in my head. Who the heck do you think you are? What company is going to partner on your book launch event? Who the heck is going to pay you to come to your party? You better have an open bar.

That’s when I had to take my own advice. Kelly Sayre! You have built numerous events from scratch before! You’ve worked with teams of volunteers to accomplish a common goal! Stop listening to that negative voice in your head and be bold! The motivation for deciding to write a book wasn’t all pretty like a motivational poster, it was that little Ms. Sassafrass who was tired of the pandemic and threatened the Universe with an ultimatum. If you take away one more opportunity, I’m going to write a damn book! It’s amazing what channeling frustrations at things outside our control can do for motivation to achieve our goals.

Bet on yourself. Be bold. Because you made the bold decision to be here tonight, we were able to support Anna Marie’s Alliance. Use your voice to bring attention to the things that matter. Support other women being bold and working towards their goals. We can make anything happen when we work together.

Be Curious: The foundational skill of situational awareness is curiosity. That’s it. Being curious about your environment and the people in it. Juliana reminded me that it’s a proven fact women are better at reading non-verbal communication. Women are better at reading someone’s mood by tiny facial expressions. If you don’t believe me, watch a mom interact with her small child who doesn’t know how to talk yet. Watch a woman see her friend walk into the room and know instantly if something is up.

Our natural caretaking skills are the only reason why human beings are still on this planet. No offense to men, but there is a reason there are so many “when dad was left in charge of the baby” memes. Our curiosity is so natural that we don’t realize it’s our superpower. We intuitively feel the energy shift in a room. We don’t know how we know, but we just know when a loved one is struggling with something. That same feminine intuition skill can be applied to keep ourselves safe. When your instincts tell you something if off, whether that’s in the environment or with a person, trust it. As Gavin De Becker states, your intuition is always in response to something, and it always has your best interest in mind. You may never know what exactly was off that made your intuition alarm sound, but trust it. Your safety matters. You matter.

Be Kind: The world needs more kindness. I know that, you know that. Kindness and boundary enforcement are not mutually exclusive. You have a good, kind heart. Protect it like it’s the most precious thing it is. It’s a gift that has no limit. Sprinkle that stuff everywhere! One act of kindness has a multiplying effect and can make a world of difference to the person receiving it. It has value. Understand it’s worth, your worth. You are a gift to your family, your friends, your co-workers, the world.

And with any precious gift, protect it. You don’t have to give that gift to anyone who doesn’t deserve it. I want you to take your Sharp Women pledge, put it in a picture frame, grab a chalk marker or dry erase marker and write your name in the blank and sign the bottom. Hang it up somewhere you can see it every day. You are a Sharp Woman. You are precious. You matter. You never need to apologize for making your personal safety your priority. The world needs you and all the wonderful gifts you have to give. Remember-the world and the continuation of the human race depends on it. No pressure.

I want to thank all of you for giving me the gift of your time tonight. I’m honestly overwhelmed by the good vibes I’m feeling up on this stage. I don’t have enough words in my vocabulary to truly express what I’m feeling right now. As I look out into this room, I see the faces of people who have known me for decades, and faces that I’ve just met tonight.

Thank you for sharing the gift of yourself with me tonight. I appreciate you, and know that I’m cheering for each and every one of you to be the Sharp Woman you were born to be. Be bold, be curious, be kind-and always remember to live life on your terms.

Grab your copy of Kelly’s book, Sharp Women: Embrace Your Intuition, Build Your Situational Awareness, and Live Life on Your Terms here.

 

The Number One Question I Get

The Number One Question I Get

A key component of situational awareness is being curious about your environment and the people in it. One of the family rules we have in our house is, validate assumptions and question what you don’t understand. A hashtag I often use in social media posts is #neverstoplearning. Basically, I love to ask questions and enjoy every opportunities to build my knowledge of the world around me.

What happens when the tables are turned and someone gets curious with me? They say, “I only have about 5 minutes before I have to get going-can you quickly tell me what The Diamond Arrow Group is all about?”

I take a deep breath (to stop me from wanting to talk as fast as possible), and say…

I save lives by helping women embrace their intuition, build their situational awareness and live life unafraid through one-on-one coaching, events, trainings, keynote speaking engagements.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence MN fact sheet from 2020:

-33.9% of Minnesota women and 25.1% of Minnesota men experience intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner rape and/or intimate partner stalking in their lifetimes.

-53% of women experiencing homelessness in Minnesota in 2018 had stayed in a relationship, because they did not have any alternative housing available.

According to the Violence Free MN website:

-In 2020, 40% of DV homicide victims were Black, while compromising less than 7% of MN population.

-Native women face higher rates of victimization and accounted for 10% of 2020 homicide victims while making up only 1% of MN population.

-In 2018, the Violence Policy Center found that Black women were murdered by male intimate partners at rates nearly 3 times that of White Women.

-Economic abuse is one of the most used tactics to maintain power and control over victims and occurs in 99% of cases of relationship abuse.

Economic abuse is present in 99% cases of relationship abuse. That statistic blew my mind.

At the National level:

-1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men in the United States have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner.

-On a typical day, local domestic violence hotlines receive approximately 19,159 calls, approximately 13 calls every minute.

-In 2018, domestic violence accounted for 20% of all violent crime.

-72% of all murder-suicides involve an intimate partner; 96% of the victims of these crimes are female.

-1 in 15 children are exposed to intimate partner violence each year, and 90% of these children are eyewitnesses to this violence.

Economic Impact:

-Victims of intimate partner violence lose a total of 8 million days of paid work each year, the equivalent of 32,000 full-time jobs.

– Intimate partner violence is estimated to cost the US economy between $5.8 billion and $12.6 billion annually.

-Between 21-60% of victims of intimate partner violence lose their jobs due to reasons stemming from the abuse.

– In 2012, 351 women died at work. The leading cause of their death was homicide-28% were murdered. While far more men die on the job overall at 4277, only 9% are murdered.

The physical/mental impact of domestic violence:

-Physical, mental, and sexual and reproductive health effects have been linked with intimate partner violence including adolescent pregnancy, unintended pregnancy in general, miscarriage, stillbirth, intrauterine hemorrhage, nutritional deficiency, abdominal pain and other gastrointestinal problems, neurological disorders, chronic pain, disability, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as well as noncommunicable diseases such as hypertension, cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Victims of domestic violence are also at higher risk for developing addictions to alcohol, tobacco, or drugs.

I do a quick non-verbal read of the person who asked me the question (usually this read involves observing their jaw dropped in shock after hearing the statistics), before continuing.

The statistics on violence committed against women have remained stagnant for decades. The way things have always been done are not working. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result. It’s time to make a change and The Diamond Arrow Group is here to be one of those leading the charge. From urban to rural areas, high to low personal wealth, this impacts all women.

The beliefs that influence us the most as adults came from the impacts of events in our childhood. The teachings and trainings I provide need to get to women so they can start making changes in their daily lives to improve not only their own personal safety, but the safety of their loved ones.

If you can’t truly love someone until you love yourself, if you can’t truly know someone until you know yourself, then how can you truly protect someone, until you know how to protect yourself?

Since moving back to the community 15 years ago, I’ve had the opportunity to build great relationships and a positive reputation. I was once described as aggressive and assertive, with a good attitude. 😉 Many people can speak to seeing my work ethic and diplomacy first hand.

I mention all of this because there are big things in the works for the Sharp Women Launch event on March 8th. Make sure you save the date on your calendar!

5 Self-Defense Tools: What to Consider Before Buying

5 Self-Defense Tools: What to Consider Before Buying

Which self-defense tool is right for you?

It depends.

One thing I know for sure, it’s not always what someone else says you should carry.

If you look at the online reviews of most self-defense tools, they are written by men who purchased the tool for themselves or for a female in their life they care about. That female could be their wife, sister, mother, daughter, or co-worker. I believe these men had the BEST intention when they purchased the tool as a gift. They cared about that person in their life, and they wanted to give them a gift that would keep them safe from harm.

I appreciate men wanting to do everything they can to help the women increase their personal safety by purchasing a tool as a gift. The intentions are pure, but the gesture comes off as condescending and feels like mansplaining. This is not me hating on the good guys out there, it’s giving the female perspective.

It would be like my husband buying me a new vacuum because I want a cleaner floor, without asking for my input. If I’m the one using the vacuum, let me pick it out. (and really guys-NEVER buy a vacuum as a present-K?)

Now that we’ve covered that subject, what features do you need to consider in a tool that will be best for you?

It depends.

I’m going to break down different points to consider on the tools I carry in the Diamond Arrow Group online store.

(Side note: I’ve been sent other tools to test & evaluate that are not on my site yet. If you’re interested in becoming a DAG product tester, make sure you’re on our VIP email list!)

  1. J5 Tactical V1 Pro Flashlight

-This small but mighty flashlight fits in your cute clutch purse on a night out, as well as the palm of your hand while walking to and from your vehicle. Plus, it comes in a variety of colors, not just black.

-A powerful 300 lumens will temporarily blind a person, buying you time to get to safety if necessary. If they unintentionally got in your space, their full sight will return soon enough and hopefully they learned a valuable lesson. (when you tell them to get out of your space, they best listen)

-Uses AA batteries (let’s be real, if a tool requires a special battery, it’s not going to get replaced quickly).

-Cleared for travel. My flashlight has traveled in my carry-on bag on airplanes across oceans, gone into major sporting events, and attended concerts with me.

-It’s a flashlight. It helps you see your surroundings at night, can shine into dark shadows, and the car parked next to yours.

-The flashlight is made of air-craft grade aluminum (translation=very sturdy) and the beveled-edge is a great scraping (DNA collection) and blunt-force tool if an attacker gets in your space.

-Using the flashlight at night to illuminate your path is also a prevention action. If an attacker is waiting for a potential victim, they will see the flashlight beam first. Who typically has a flashlight at night? Law enforcement and security personnel. The attacker is not going to stick around to find out who’s at the other end of that light.

-Low price point and a lifetime warranty.

-The only thing I can say in regard to the “not helpful” column is that it’s not going to cause debilitating damage to an attacker. In that situation, you’re going to have to go after their eyeballs.

  1. Mace Spray-Sport

-I specifically carry the Sport version for the hand strap. This tool is what I carry when I’m out walking/running in a more rural or less populated area. Having it strapped to my hand and ready to deploy in seconds, without needing to hold on to it, is a huge advantage.

-Having it strapped to my hand let’s an attacker watching me see that I have a tool that will cause excruciating pain if they pick me as their target.

-The spray is a gel consistency and sprays up to 12 ft. in a single stream pattern. I don’t need to worry about a mist spray that will blow in my own face if the wind is blowing the wrong direction.

-The spray has UV dye. When I spray an attacker, I am “painting” them with an invisible ink that will light up under a UV light. This will help with law enforcement identification.

-The spray is less-lethal but very painful and debilitating for a length of time that gives me a great head start on getting to safety.

-The added bonus in purchasing a Mace Spray from DAG? We include a FREE water trainer with every spray purchase so you can practice shooting the spray and targeting. In fact, I highly recommend purchasing two sprays so you get two water trainers and have a water fight with a friend. Using play to get comfortable with using it makes learning fun and the knowledge will stick with you longer.

-All sprays have an expiration date! Mace specifically prints this date on all their products. You need to replace your spray every few years, even if you’ve never used it.

-Having Mace spray in your purse will not do you any good if you’re attacked. You need to have it in your hand, not at the bottom of your purse. My suggestion: before exiting the building or your vehicle, put the spray in your hand. When you reach your destination and are safe, you can put it back in your purse.

-Playing around with the actual spray and not being respectful of the tool can get an innocent person a face full of “for the love of all things holy make it stop” temporary pain. They will survive, but the pain will last longer than their list of cuss words.

-Not always travel safe. I forgot to move my Mace from my handbag to my checked luggage on a trip and had it confiscated by TSA. The agent was so apologetic because he thought all women should carry Mace, but he couldn’t let me get on the plane with it.

-Depending on your state’s self-defense laws, you need to be able to articulate WHY you used this tool to defend yourself.

  1. Mace Keychain Alarm

-These personal alarms have an ear-piercing sound that activates at the push of a button.

-When walking to your car, having your keys in your hand keeps this alarm handy. I’m not talking about keys between your fingers (that’s a different conversation), I’m talking about being able to quickly get into your vehicle vs. standing next to a locked vehicle while digging for your keys.

-If you wear a lanyard, the keychain alarm can easily clip to it and acts as a visual deterrent to a potential attacker.

-The sound of the alarm is different than a car alarm so people will naturally be more curious as to where the sound is coming from and start looking around.

-This is a tool that can travel with you anywhere.

-This is a tool that you can take on your lunch break walks around your building.

-The alarm has a whistle feature on the bottom.

-This is a tool that will do you absolutely no good if you’re in a rural and less populated area.

-It’s great at waking up sleepy people in the company meeting. (whoops, sorry to accidentally push my obnoxiously loud alarm) Just sayin’.

-If you don’t have this tool in your hand or within easy reach when you need it, it will do you no good.

-In a high-intensity situation where you experience an adrenaline spike, you lose fine motor skills. Pushing the small button on the back may be difficult if you haven’t practice doing so. This is where the whistle feature may come in handy AND help you remember to breathe.

-If the alarm is accidentally activated, it’s not going to hurt anyone.

  1. Mace Personal Clip Alarm

-See the above points under the Mace keychain alarm.

-The difference of this alarm that I really like as a woman, is it clips easily to clothing without causing damage. You can clip this to yoga pants, business attire, or whatever you’re wearing for the day. Women’s clothing is notorious for not having pockets. This clip alarm is a great work around.

-It’s activated by simply pulling the alarm off your clothing item. The alarm sounds when the clip end touches the back of the alarm.

-This is a tool that will do you absolutely no good if you’re in a rural and less populated area.

-This tool will not help you at the bottom of your purse. Heck-clip it to the side of your purse if you don’t want it on your clothing!

-If the alarm is accidentally activated, it’s not going to hurt anyone.

  1. NPE Stabby Tools/Firearms

-NPE stands for “non-permissive environments” which is a fancy acronym for “no weapons allowed.”

You may be wondering why I don’t have these tools listed on my website. Great question. Before I sell or promote a tool that can cause damage to another human, I am going to ask you many questions. I don’t believe in carrying a tool that can severely debilitate or cause death in another human, simply because it makes you feel cool. If you have a specific threat that you want to defend yourself against, I’m here to help guide you through the questions you need to take into consideration.

That includes:

-emotional, mental, and physical planning, preparing, and practice

-legal, ethical, and moral considerations

-a discussion around aftermath and the realities you will face

-a referral to an expert on the specific tool you are considering

Deciding to carry a self-defense tool is a personal choice and is dependent on your lifestyle. No one should be telling you which tool to carry, without asking for your input. That’s what makes the Diamond Arrow Group different than the typical self-defense tool retailer.

I’m not here to sell you something, I’m here to empower you to be responsible for your personal safety in a way that works best for you.

“Don’t base your decisions on the advice of those who don’t have to deal with the results.”

-Anonymous

This Part Rarely Gets Talked About

This Part Rarely Gets Talked About

Last night, myself and other 500rising instructors attended a virtual training presentation on “Legal & Ethical Implications – The art of explaining yourself”. The training was pre-work for the in-person training next month to attain Level II certification. As always, the information Tammy McCracken (founder of 500rising) shared left me thinking, why don’t more instructors talk about this in self-defense classes?

A lot of self-defense training focuses on the physical aspect. How to hit or kick, and the best places on the human body to target. Many times, the training includes a tool that a person can carry to defend themselves and the best ways to use it. This area of study is all about being in the fight.

Fairly new to self-defense training (at least in the everyday women’s self-defense discussion) is situational awareness. How to observe your surroundings using all your senses. How that information is fed from your subconscious to your conscious. How to take action to avoid a physical confrontation. Reading other people’s body language and improving your own non-verbal signals to give off the vibe that you are not an easy target. This area of study focuses on before the fight, and what I geek out about.

The area I don’t see many social media posts, blogs, articles, etc. regarding is the aftermath.

*You became aware of a potential threat to your safety and tried to avoid it. Situational Awareness

*You weren’t able to avoid it, so now you are in a physical fight to defend yourself. Self-defense

*The fight is over, and you are alive. Now what? Aftermath

In the first few minutes after you have defended your life and stopped the threat, how will you feel? What will you do? What are the things you need to do?

Your body’s natural response to a threatening situation is an adrenaline rush. It helps your body react more quickly. It makes the heart beat faster and increases blood flow to the brain and muscles. It’s your “fight-or-flight” reaction. It can also decrease your ability to feel pain and give you a burst of strength to do something you wouldn’t be able to do under normal circumstances.

Coming down from that adrenaline rush can make you feel weak, tired, drained, and barely able to speak in complete sentences. You may be injured and needing medical attention, but you are alive and have the opportunity to heal.

Defending yourself in a fight is an act of violence. You did everything you could think of to avoid getting to that point, but it happened anyway. You’re a mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend…you may never have thought of yourself as a woman who has a “mean right hook” or who knows what it feels like to do damage to human flesh. It can have a mental impact that lasts much longer than coming down from the adrenaline rush.

The aftermath of violence has physical, psychological, legal, and ethical impacts. The topic deserves its own focus as part of a well-rounded training program. The 500rising training last night went just over an hour and barely scratched the surface of aftermath. I’m looking forward to the in-person training next month to deepen my knowledge, so I can share it with you. Together, we can go from strength to strength and change the statistics on violence against women.

“Everything has the opportunity to heal, except death.”

-Kelly Sayre

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