Dear Gary,

I can’t thank you enough for putting together and conducting such an effective two-day training for my daughters, Tess and Khalan, and me.  When the girls were accepted into the Peace Corps, I was excited for their opportunity to be of service and, at the same time, concerned for their safety. Especially when we discovered that Mexico has the dubious honor of being known as the kidnapping capital of the world and that Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the western hemisphere.  When you add to that the spread of terrorism and the political and economic volatility of less developed/undeveloped countries, you clearly have a recipe for potential danger.  One of my first thoughts was how to resource the girls so that they could live, work and travel throughout Central America safely and competently.  To me, that meant a quick and substantial upgrading of their self-protection skills.

Enter Gary.  After considering several referrals, we chose you because of your professional background and experience.  Even though we expected positive results, we had no idea just how much we would all learn by working with your outstanding team of professionals.  We were impressed with and felt comfortable with you on all levels…professionalism, technical competency, and teaching capability. The three of us all feel that we have added you and the guys as resources for the long term.  Regardless of where we go now in the world, we will walk with more confidence because of you.

Here are a few things we especially appreciated and would like to highlight:

  • the emphasis on situational awareness in private residences, restaurants, other public places, and on the street
  • techniques for spotting and avoiding potentially dangerous situations
  • techniques for evading harassment, assault, or capture
  • escape techniques for use if assaulted or captured – ones that work!
  • real life scenarios conducted on the street and in public settings
  • the truly outstanding quality of your team of expert professionals who worked so patiently and closely with us, encouraging us, and always maintaining a good sense of humor


We look forward to working together with you on some additional activities and training in the near future.  In the meantime, I would be happy to act as a reference for prospective clients.  Thanks so much for becoming an important part of our team!

The Power of Prudence

My wife, daughter and I recently participated in one of Gary Harrington’s self defense Rattler seminars. It was so much more professional and informative than I could have imagined, but, more importantly, I watched it transform my wife’s and daughter’s understanding on situational awareness and what self defense really requires. Using state of the art training facilities, we were all forced to perform in several high stress scenarios that quickly exposed our weaknesses. Gary personally reviewed our mistakes with us and showed us how to adjust our awareness to anticipate threats much more efficiently. Having spent most of my life training in various forms of martial arts, I like to think I’ve learned many techniques and practiced in many scenarios (some unfortunately real!). Gary knew this and immediately knew how to wipe away any false confidence I had, forcing me to relearn how to depend on my brain and observation to keep me away from threats. To say it was eye opening is an understatement. Since the seminar, I have spoken to many friends and colleagues about its effectiveness and that of the Rattler. As a result, I have placed a very large order for Rattlers for all of those friends and colleagues now clamoring for them!

– David Kelley

The Power of Prudence

Imagine sitting at a restaurant in a mall and witnessing a stampede running towards you, forcing you to run with the crowd through the kitchen and hiding in the back hallway from an armed man in the mall. Or realizing you’re being followed by a group of men eerily creeping behind you in a car while you’re walking back to your home or hotel. Or receiving a text from a neighbor saying that someone broke into your home early one morning when you would have normally been there, only to realize upon returning that nothing of monetary value was taken but that your dog was missing and would not be returned unless you paid a ransom. Life is unpredictable and these are all unforeseen situations I found myself in while living abroad for two years. Fortunately, I felt confident, calm and prepared, making very deliberate decisions and assessing my options and immediate surroundings with careful thought, which ultimately allowed me (and my dog) to come out safely in all situations. This is all thanks to my training with Gary and his team.

Working with Gary is very unlike your typical self-defense experience. I always considered myself an observant person, but over the course of several months, his team ingrained in me and my family the importance of prudence, helped us to hone our intuition and practice listening to it, and most importantly, taught us to read people and environments in order to make smart snap decisions. The team went above and beyond your basic training, expanding beyond the mental to preparing for the physical. We spent hours outdoors testing survival instincts and learning new skills, and thoroughly reviewed equipment and essential tools to outfit go-bags. For the more extreme scenarios, we relentlessly practiced how to use and disarm weapons, and repeated drills to memorize and feel comfortable with quick and easy defensive maneuvers used to extricate oneself from potentially hazardous situations including, but not limited to, movements through an aggressive crowd and escaping captive situations.

But the most empowering experience was the finale. In order to test everything learned, my sister and I were both knowingly stalked, forcing us to practice maneuvering the streets and using our surroundings to our advantage, and later at night abducted, thrown into a van, blindfolded, zip-tied, duck-taped, and tied down to the floor of the van. We were driven to a warehouse and left with nothing but our wits and whatever tools we had on our person to free ourselves. It speaks to the talents of Gary and his team that we were able to escape in under 13 minutes.

One hopes that one never needs to use these skills, but knowing that I have them, as well as Gary as a contact and friend, makes me feel much more confident in myself both at home and abroad.

– Tess Boyer

3213 Duke Street

Unit 643

Alexandria, VA 22314


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