Over the past several months, Commander Dale Brown, the founder of Detroit Urban Survival Training or D.U.S.T., has become a viral sensation for videos he has posted showing self-defense tips and techniques that have engendered mockery and criticism. The videos became so popular that UFC fighter Joaquin Buckley went to Brown’s academy to try it out and even ended up having Brown corner him for his fight against Abdul Razak Alhassan at UFC Vegas 48, saying that Brown “knows what he’s talking about”. But UFC Hall of Famer Bas Rutten isn’t buying it.
“The not real guy? With the black hair and ‘stache, that guy? Very funny... Guys like that get people killed, because they give them a false sense of security,” Rutten said when asked about Brown on The MMA Hour. “That’s why I don’t teach self defense in my classes.
“I always give this example: imagine I teach somebody a knife defense. Knives are really dangerous to defend, almost worse than a gun. A gun, you’re close by, you grab the barrel and then you know what to do, how to go with it, all that stuff. It’s actually easier to defend than a knife that can cut on both sides, a switchblade, because they can stab, they can come from above, they can come from all angles. So imagine I just teach a knife defense and then a friend of a person I taught it to is getting in trouble. Someone pulls a knife and he goes, ‘Hey, step back, I got it. They just taught me this in class.’ And then he gets stabbed to death. That’s a problem.
“It’s the same with a gun defense. When the guy is sitting behind and I’m grabbing the gun, it’s the dumbest thing. If there is no space behind you, you can never go for the gun because the only thing that have to do is pull it out and now they’re gonna shoot you in your head. If somebody stands in front of me and there’s like a table in between, I’m not gonna grab the gun, because if I grab the gun, the only thing he needs to do is pull back, and there’s a table. Now if there’s no table, I can go with him, so as soon as he pulls I simply go with him. I keep the grip and I make sure that the barrel doesn’t aim at me or somebody I love. But if he pulls out, I simply go with him. I’m not gonna hold still so he can pull out. I just go with him. All these little things you have to know.”
Rutten went on to elaborate that self-defense is not just about training functional techniques, it’s about drilling them repeatedly with a knowledgeable coach and then being able to do them under pressure.
“It’s like fighting,” Rutten said. “It looks real easy and in the dojo, you’re really good and everything works, but that’s without stress. How many fighters do we have that are dojo fighters. Every fighter you hear talks about this, they work circles around world champions and then under pressure they can’t perform. They can’t bring out what they can do without any pressure. And that’s just fighting, now imagine a weapon presents itself. Even I’m gonna go like, ‘S***.’ There’s gonna be a lot of nerves and you better make everything perfect.
“With self defense, one of these things is, if there’s a situation where you are 100 percent gonna go, and I’m talking about somebody in a mask and he shoots somebody and then he’s asking you for your money, ‘I’ll give you my money, I’m not gonna do anything.’ If the guy’s not wearing a mask and he just shot somebody, now I’m the person that can point him out in court. The chances he’s gonna shoot me are freakin’ astronomically high, so now I’m gonna have to do something. ‘Yeah, but you’re gonna get shot.’ Well, not doing anything, you’re gonna get shot for sure. But by just trying to do something, and especially if you know what to do, you’re gonna increase your chances immensely. Immediately. So it’s good to do, but you’re gonna have to do it four days a week and you’re gonna have to really grind it in and have a good teacher who knows exactly what he’s teaching and that’s the problem when you look around at the knife defenses. Sometimes it’s amazing how stupid people are but you know, people are people. They just believe whatever coaching they get, and that’s unfortunate. That’s very dangerous.”
Rutten is no stranger to the self-defense game, having released his “Lethal Street Fighting” self defense video in 2003, vestiges of which can still be found on the internet today. But while Rutten even admits that some of the techniques Brown teaches are viable, the one-time UFC heavyweight champion insists that overall what Brown is doing is dangerous, and that the criticism he has received is deserved.
“Listen, there’s some things that he does, but he has no follow ups,” Rutten said. “All the things that I said with the gun defense, holding his hand in the same position, these are all wrong things to teach. So he has to really watch out. And you’ve seen those parodies. You’ve seen these guys try to do what he does and then it goes wrong and suddenly they’re in heaven, and that’s really how it is. That’s really how it is.”