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 Forword by Eric Cadena

Idiots to Monsters 
The Essential Guide to Surviving Common Threats & Violent Encounters 

Most of us haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about brutality, much less how or if you would react in a moment when a serious threat to your life stood just a few feet away. Those things happen to other people in other neighborhoods. True, the knife-wielding psychopath-monster breaking into your house or apartment in the middle of the night is statistically rare. Far more common, however, are incidents of violence sparked by common, everyday encounters that escalate out of control, too often ending in tragedy. Alcohol, drugs, stress, anger, ego, and intolerance fuel most bloody confrontations in America, and they are almost always avoidable. This is violence born from stupidity, by those people who let substances or emotions magnify the slightest whiff of disrespect into a declaration of war and then respond with mindless brutality upon another human. Curiously, and in growing numbers, otherwise sane and reasonable people become idiots.

 In between these idiots and the monsters of the world lie the criminals, predators, the desperately addicted, the vindictive, the jealous, and the mentally or emotionally unstable. The full spectrum of potential threats includes both people you know and complete strangers. They live in your neighborhood, eat and drink at your local restaurants and bars, travel on your same commuter train, and go to school with your kids. The idiot or the monster might even be you.

David Kerr’s book, which is based on the philosophy that he developed in his studio, is the only one I know of that educates its readers on the most likely places, people, and encounters where violence may cross their path on any day, sometimes without warning, and teaches the strategy to spot trouble and the techniques for what to do about it. The book answers three critical questions we all should be familiar with: How can I significantly improve my chances of avoiding violence in the first place? If faced with a threating person or persons, how do I respond instantly with the most intelligent, practical, and lawful response?

When fighting to protect myself or loved ones from serious harm is unavoidable, how do I end the fight in a matter of seconds, regardless of size or strength?

For me, Kerr’s system of Inside-Out Self-Protection isn’t just a book about the benefits of awareness, mindfulness, or choosing a self-defense system. David Kerr’s advice, training, love, and friendship literally saved my life, maybe just not in the way you might expect. The great Renaissance man Dennis Prager once said, “The famous are rarely significant and the significant are rarely famous.” And so, I suppose it is fitting that an unknown middle-aged man is writing the foreword to a book written by a significant man that few people have ever heard about outside of Southern California. 

I was fortunate to enroll in David’s studio at a time when my life was filled with deep personal struggles. These were my adolescent years. I was raised by a single mother, suffered from severe depression, and had an elaborate plan for ending it all.  I suffered from uncontrollable bouts of crying that were triggered by the slightest provocation.  I feared pain, was controlled by my feelings, and spent most of my young life living in the world of fantasy because reality was just too brutal.  I had no friends and was bullied constantly. It goes without saying that girls weren’t interested in me, and even if they had been, I lacked the confidence in myself to even initiate a conversation.  Luckily, the studio’s Inside-Out Self-Protection philosophy wasn’t just about slaying dragons; it was also about conquering the demons that I had, that most of us have in some varying degrees, and that required a fearlessness that was unfamiliar to me at the time. The journey began with a lot of practice, sweat, humility, and moments of panic and self-doubt. What emerged was the confident and competent individual that had been locked away inside for so long. 

David provided a vision, as he does in this book, through stories from his life, for the positive outcomes that can occur with proper training and action. At times this book will make you cringe (after all, it deals with the reality of violent scenarios), while at other times this book will make you laugh out loud at the idiotic things we do when we let our egos win out over common sense. To be sure, you will never look at Chinese food the same way! Most importantly, this book will challenge you as David challenged me. The end game was never just a different colored belt or sparring with a student just to see who was tougher. The end game comes from actual successes students experience in everyday life. His students include doctors, lawyers, retail clerks, police officers, insurance salespeople, businessmen and women, and high school and college students, who—over the years—have  hundreds of these stories to share.  After three years of training, I was applying the tools I learned for confronting complex confrontation scenarios in the streets to the many complex confrontations at work and in everyday life. One day, I too had my own story to share, and then I had another, and then another and then another.  

I went on to become a respected high school teacher.  I left that profession to serve my country honorably in Afghanistan as an Officer in the Army, where I taught many young men and women how to fight and survive using hand-to-hand fighting techniques that I had learned from David years earlier. I uprooted myself from Los Angeles and moved to Texas to work for a Fortune 50 company.  I eventually found and married the love of my life, who happens to be a doctor. My closest friends are highly successful, decent people who say they love being around me. I could have never imagined this being my life as a frightened and confused nineteen-year-old. David played a significant role in my life story, and he is a major reason why hundreds of other men and women also have their own stories of survival and victory in their lives. I encourage you to begin your own journey with David, in the hopes that his book will give you the confidence to deal with any and all idiots or monsters, whether inside you or someone else, and who may one day knock at your door.  


Eric Cadena

CPT. U.S. Army (Honorably Discharged)

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