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Active shooter incidents in the United States continue to rise in frequency, with new FBI statistics showing the highest average of incidents ever in a two-year period.

The FBI’s latest review of active shooter incidents came just three days after the worst mass shooting in American history, when a 29-year-old Florida man, identified by authorities as Omar Mateen, opened fire in an Orlando nightclub frequented by members of the gay community, killing 49 and wounding more than 50.

According to the FBI, 2014 and 2015 each saw 20 active shooter incidents. That’s more than any two-year average in the past 16 years, and nearly six times as many as the period between 2000 and 2001, the starting point for the FBI’s review.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, an “active shooter” situation describes a shooting in progress, “an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area.” Unlike a murder or mass killing, the “active” aspect implies that both law enforcement and civilians have the potential to impact the outcome of the event.

Mass shootings are a largely American phenomenon. From 1966 to 2012, nearly a third of the world's mass shootings took place in the U.S. This is according to a 2016 study that used the FBI definition of 'mass shooting' below. It surveyed 292 incidents and found 90 of them occurred in America. Put another way: While the U.S. has 5% of the world's population, it had 31% of all public mass shootings.

The number of 'mass shootings' changes depending on how you define it. The government has never defined "mass shooting" as a stand-alone category. So, depending on whichever informal definition you go with, the tally can drastically vary. According to the Gun Violence Archive, which compiles data from shooting incidents, a "mass shooting" is any incident where four or more people are wounded or killed. That number can include any gunmen as well. By that definition, we've seen 136 mass shootings in the first 164 days of this year.

In this age of terror, we struggle to figure out how to protect ourselves — especially, of late, from active shooters.

One suggestion, promoted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Homeland Security, and now widely disseminated, is “Run-Hide-Fight.”

The idea is:

  • Run if you can

  • Hide if you can’t run

  • Fight if all else fails.

This three-step program appeals to common sense but is much hard to do than you would expect. The problem is that there are no one-size-fits-all answers for these questions. No one can tell us how we should or will act under these circumstances. The general concept of “Run-Hide-Fight” is a good one. The best thing to do, really, is to empower everyone to do what they feel most comfortable doing, without fear of subsequent repercussions or recriminations,"

Underlying the idea of “Run-Hide-Fight” is the presumption that volitional choices are readily available in situations of danger. But the fact is, when you are in danger, whether it is a bicyclist speeding at you or a shooter locked and loaded, you may well find yourself frozen, unable to act and think clearly.

Freezing is not a choice. It is a built-in impulse controlled by ancient circuits in the brain involving the amygdala and its neural partners, and is automatically set into motion by external threats. By contrast, the kinds of intentional actions implied by “Run-Hide-Fight” require newer circuits in the neocortex.

Contemporary science has refined the old “Run-Hide-Fight” concept — the idea that those are the two hard-wired options when in mortal danger.

We at Modern Martial Arts & Fitness have an updated version called “Flee, Barricade, Fight” focusing more on Fleeing and Fighting than in hiding. We all remember playing hide and go seek as children and we got caught many times so hiding isn’t always the best option. If you are faced with an active shooter who has experience in tracking or hunting you will have very little chance of escaping with your life by simply hiding under your desk or in the closet.

Because of this we are holding a FREE Active Shooter Workshop on Saturday, July 9th, 2016 from 2pm to 4pm. This workshop will consist of:

  • Viewing and discussing the “Surviving an Active Shooter” video

  • Go over information packets and

  • Learn Active Shooter self-defense techniques

  • Discuss possible scenarios

  • Participate in an Active Shooter Scenario using safe training weapons

There is limited space for this workshop so reserve your spot today by contacting us at or by visiting our website at and clicking on the ACTIVE SHOOTER WORKSHOP image.

Until next time be safe.

Instructor Joe Chao

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