Monday, April 30, 2007


I am including a actual victim impact statement in my post today for readers who still have a tough time thinking of harming and destroying there attacker. This is a victim impact statement form this past week from a friend of mine. A mother who last a 16 year son due to violence. The reason I am sending this is that if you think in a self defense situation that you just want to control your attacker you are basically going to a gun fight with a knife. Meaning your going to get hurt or killed, realize that you may not want to harm someone really bad but if you dont step up to the plate you could end up dead. Leaving your friends and family heart broken, for the rest of there lives. So next time you feel like "I just want to control him" or "I cant hurt someone really bad" think of this mother for she hurts everyday due too the loss of a loved one.

Victim Impact Statement

I can not even begin to describe the emotional pain I have endured since the loss of my beautiful son Matthew. There are no words to explain the pain that emanates from my soul. My life as I knew it, ended on the morning of July 2nd, 2005, when I had to say goodbye forever to my 16 year old son. I would not even get the chance to kiss his beautiful face, or even look into those eyes, as he was covered with blood soaked towels. The only thing I was given to hold were his hands, and even so, the stench of his blood that had seeped into his skin and fingernails remains with me always. Watching my son take his last breath was the most terrifying moment of my life, I wanted it to be me, not this child who had so much to give back to this world, who had so much love to give.

This is my last memory of him before he passed on. Leaving my son’s body at the hospital, and not even getting any of his belongings only exacerbated the situation for me. Not a single item of clothing, jewelry, wallet, nothing was left for me to hold onto to. Driving home from the hospital that day was the longest drive of my life, I knew that his two younger brothers would be anxiously waiting to see their brother coming home with us, with some stitches and cuts, but no, I was left tell them that their brother had succumbed to the brutal assault to his brain and body. I watched his siblings go from being happy little boys, to angry ones, in a matter of hours. Standing in the shower screaming their brother’s name, asking God why? What had they done to deserve this?

For the first 6 months after Matthew passed away, my mind would actually try and tell me that it was a mistake, that the boy who died was not actually my son. I fought hard to repress these feelings, sitting by the bay window of our home, waiting, watching for Matthew to come home as I usually did before his death. It wasn’t until I realized that the reasons I was feeling this was because I never got to see his face, not even during his funeral, as the damage to his head/face were too severe. I truly felt as though I were losing my mind, I really believed he was going to come through the front door. I have since been able to grasp that he is gone, but I will never be okay with it, never.

Matthew’s younger siblings lives will forever be changed, nothing will ever give them pleasure, as they tend to have guilt, guilt for having a moment of happiness, when their big brother will never have any of it. It has taken me over a year to even allow my children the luxury of having any kind of social lives, I’m afraid that something will happen to them, afraid someone will hurt them, or even worse kill them. I have become a hovering mother, who must be in constant contact with my children. If they are even 5 minutes late coming in from school, I begin to panic, and have anxiety. My mind starts to think of the most horrible things, and I’m ready to call the police over every little thing. This of course has taken a toll on my relationship with the boy’s, as they don’t understand why they are being punished for being late after school, or for wanting to go visit their friends. The impact this has had on Matthew’s two younger brothers has been severe. Braydan was just nine at the time of Matthew’s death, and has had to try and deal with the pain in his own little way. He has shown his grief by becoming defiant, and angry at the adults around him. He has had to be removed from the only school he has ever known, due to his inability to focus on his academics. His teachers have informed me that he had begun signing his work, and the school sign in sheets as Matthew Martins, when asked why he had done this, he stated that he wanted to live his life as Matthew, and didn’t want for anyone to forget his brother. He even went as far as to dress exactly as Matthew would in hopes of preserving his brothers’ memory in his own little way. Braydan has also kept Matthew’s shoes at the end of his bed since this happened, and every once in awhile he will slip them on, trying to be close to his brother, he also sleeps in his brothers shirts, and has asked that I not wash them, as he finds comfort in the clothing smelling like his big brother.

He has had to have weekly visits to a child Psychologist, to try and get through his grief with Play Therapy. Braydan will now be moved again for the third time since this all happened to the Alderwood Program, a school for children who need constant therapeutic and psychiatric care. I can only pray that he will find some inner strength to get through all of this, but as a mother I fear that this pain will indeed last for what should be the most carefree, wonderful years of his life. He also carries a little framed photo of his brother where ever he goes, he keeps this in his pocket as a little reminder that Matthew is with him.

Mitchell who was just days away from his 13th Birthday will forever be reminded of his brothers’ death, at a time when he should be celebrating. Mitchell has not been well since this happened, and now suffers with terrible anxiety, and depression. Since his brother’s death, he has begun sleeping with his bedroom lights on, and has left school due to bouts of anxiety and not wanting to leave the house. We continue to try and find Mitchell resources to help, but his reluctance to discuss his problems with others has made it difficult. Mitchell now sleeps in Matthew’s room so that he can feel closer to him, all of Matthew’s pictures and posters just where he had left them. Many nights I hear Mitchell crying himself to sleep, and all I can do is hold him, and comfort him. He cries out in pain for his brother to come back, but I can never bring his brother back, or change the events of that horrible night.


When Matthew was killed, I was in the first Trimester of my pregnancy, I fought so hard to try and keep strong, but the shock and stress of it all would eventually challenge the life of my unborn child also. At 27 weeks I was under complete bed rest due to premature labor, and bleeding. I was sent into an even greater depression, afraid I was going to have to endure the loss of another child. This pregnancy and my family were the only thing keeping me together through all of this, and I knew that if I lost this baby, it would for certain be my demise. The thought of Matthew not being able to hold or meet his new baby sister caused me so much grief and angst. It was as though I was constantly being tortured every second of the day and night. The boy’s had begun suppressing their sadness as they saw how this affected me on a daily bases. They would hide and cry, or lash out at others in anger; they no longer trusted the adults around them to protect them from their fears.

My career as a Medical Professional working in Acute/Palliative Care was over, I could no longer perform my duties to assist those who needed my constant focus, and total confidence. The constant anxiety of being in the hospital room began to show in my work ethics, and in this field there is no room for error, when someone’s life is at stake. I felt as though I was reliving the final hours of Matthew’s life every time I entered a patients room. I would see him lying there, taking his last breath. I also tried to return to the Clinic I had been at for a few years before and after Matthew’s death, just to try and keep busy. I found that I know longer felt for the patients the way I had once, I could no longer tolerate the transients, drug addicts that would come in to seek medical attention. I would be angry with them, as I felt that perhaps their lifestyle choices were similar to those who had assaulted my son. I also found myself becoming very upset when young men or women would come in after having been assaulted, I could no longer separate what was happening in my life, with that of work. I have since not returned, and must try now to find other employment, and to think that once I thrived, and loved everything about my job, but now I must resort to trying to find something else.

I unfortunately will never trust again, I have a hatred for others that I never had before. I’m so very angry still, and this I have no doubt will take years to overcome. There are those who have asked me if I could ever find it in my heart to forgive the ones who did this, and I truly don’t think I ever will. I pray that my sons face, and the sound of his screams haunt them for the rest of their living days, as I am haunted by these thoughts every moment of the day. I am plagued with night terrors, I can hear Matthew yelling for help, but I can’t find him, I’m in a panic, running, always running towards the sound of his voice, but I can’t find him. I jolt from these night terrors, and cry uncontrollably, as the thought that my son is calling out for me to help him, and as a mother not being there to protect him when he needs me most, is a pain so great, I can physically feel it.

The financial strain that this has had on my family has been tremendous. I was ill prepared for the cost of Matthew’s funeral. I had no idea how we were going to come up with just under 30,000.00 in less than two weeks. A trust fund was set up, and had it not been for the kindness of strangers, and family, my husband and I would not have been able to bury our son in a manner agreeable to our religious beliefs. It has taken my husband and I until now to finally pay back the financial institutes, and our family members. The strain of this and my not returning to work has created unmentionable financial stress on my husband. He must now support me, and the three children on one income.

The toll this has taken on us can never be repaired. I think of all that Matthew would have grown to be, and all that he will never experience in life. Matthew was to graduate from High School the following year, but instead his chair was left empty, his name never to be called, to walk across the stage feeling triumphant. These things we will never have. Matthew will never know what it feels like to fall in love, to marry the girl of his dreams. He will never watch his own children come into this world. Matthew’s life has been robbed of so many things that can never be replaced. Our lives will forever be altered, a life with so many dreams, and aspirations that will never come to fruition.

Not only has our family suffered this terrible loss, but we have had to endure in graphic details all that Matthew suffered that terrible night. The toll that the past few weeks of this trial has taken on our family is horrendous. Not only did we lose Matthew, but we also lost our Father during the trial. My father died not even knowing the outcome of this trial. We must live the rest of our days, with the constant pain of what we have heard, and seen during this time. I can only pray that we will finally have some closure to this matter, and that my beautiful son will Rest in Peace.

Sandra Martins - Toner

Monday, April 23, 2007


Being able to improvise is an important factor when it comes to being successful in self defense. You want to be able to think in the process when protecting yourself that if one tactic doesn't work move on to another. The key to being able to do this is lies in your self defense training.

So here is a tip, close your eyes and have your training partner quietly walk around you and attack you from any angle without you knowing when and how he is going to attack. Have him change the way he attacks you everytime, either by attacking from the rear, up high or low, by pushing you or by throwing a drink into your face.

From there you can open your eyes and start defending yourself. If one tactic doesn't work move on into the next. Try to scan the target areas of where you can attack. By improvising you give yourself more options and opportunities to take out your attacker.

Monday, April 16, 2007


If you have a weak chin you know how easy it is to get knocked out by a blow. We have seen it countless times with fighters in boxing and mixed martial arts, getting an upper cut to the chin and being knocked straight out. The problem is not actually the chin but with having a weak neck. You see when you are hit on the chin by a blow the head tilts backs cutting blood flow and oxygen to the brain immediiately causing you to get knocked out.

So how do you toughen up your chin or most importantly your neck muscles? By performing resistance exercises for your neck an example exercise would be to go on your hands and knees, face down on the ground, have a partner place his hands on the back of your head and resist you as you try to bring your head up. Perform 4 sets of 15-20 reps to help build more strength in your neck muscles. This will help prevent your head from being jarred back quickly making it harder for you to get knocked out.

P.S. Remember self defense is not about exchanging blows though, but about getting the job done as fast as you can.

P.P.S. Make it a habit of tucking in your chin slightly when in your ready stance this will help prevent you from getting knocked out by a sucker punch. Also if someone attempts to choke you out this is a good defensive move making it harder for the person to get his arms around your neck and giving you more ability to bite your attackers arm.

Monday, April 09, 2007


When students ask me when it is a good time to attack your opponent I always tell them to always attack first and to not wait for anything to come from his way. This allows you to not have to worry about blocking and defending yourself against a fury of punches, kicks or whatever is coming your way and gets you out of defensive mode onto offensive mode. But there is an exception to the rule and that's when you have to borrow some time to get the upper hand.

Lets say you are a woman and are face down on your knees and your attacker is behind you pulling his pants down. This may seem to be a bad spot to be in but tell yourself that you are in control of the situation and use your power of sweet talk to catch him of guard by telling him you will do anything he says. As he brings his pants down to his knees giving you a good leverage point to drop him down to the ground cause his pants are helping you trip him up.

Now simply grap his ankles or pant legs and pull them towards you at the same time bring your torso up and lean on his legs with all your weight. This will cause him to fall back onto the ground, go with the momentum and get up immediately and stomp down on his kneecap to crush it. By simply waiting for his pants to get down to his knees makes your attack much easy to execute successfully.

Monday, April 02, 2007


First I would like to say thanks for all those replies. I received a mixed amount of responses which I was going to post but decided not to since it would make this post alittle lengthy. Half of you readers thought of some good answers and hitting the balls seemed to be a popular answer, which I will tell is not that great of a target since most men are conditioned to protect that area and also clothing plays a big factor when it comes to successful execution when it comes to attacking the balls.

The other half seemed to think being nice was going to get them browny points cause they didnt want to piss off the guy even more. Basic idea on that take is to just it and shut up, bad idea. If you haven't seen the video of a passive woman being attacked by a man in a parkade (sorry dont have the link)she did nothing to defend herself and got the living crap beat out of her. Seemed to get worse with the less she did. You should check out the video it will open your eyes to how important fighting back is.

Now for the answer to what the barmaid could of done to protect herself. Well when she was down on the ground on her knees she could of attacked the attackers knees by having one hand grab his ankle and pull his leg or legs towards herself and the other hand push the same leg away from herself. This tactic I have performed countless times and is very effective. This will cause your attacker to drop onto the ground. Get up immediately and begin stomping on his kneecap to crush it so he cant get up and go after you.

It only takes 12 pounds of pressure to crush the knee and remember the bigger the guy the easier it is to drop someone by the knees cause all his weight is distributed onto them (that's why you hear of alot of heavy people complain of knee pain) If you think stomping the kneecap is to harsh then maybe you didnt see the right video, cause that was a hard core attack on a small woman. Remember you should not be thinking of legal issues or your attackers well being when defending yoursaelf cause you will attack half assed. It like going to a gun fight with a knife, you're going to get killed cause you brought the wrong weapon.


Bookmark and Share

Blog Archive

About Me

Norm Bettencourt is the Creator/President of Tactical Self Defense which specializes in personal protection tactics against modern day threats of violence. For more information visit