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About MBSD

Heather's Story of Survival

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Myrtle Beach Self-Defense is the result of a life-or-death situation. About a decade ago, MBSD founder Heather Bryant fought back, fought free, and fought to survive when held at gunpoint.

Heather credits her survival of the armed robbery to self-defense classes she took years prior in high school. Her instincts kicked in; though shocked, frightened, and in deep trouble, she remembered a few important lessons and her muscles remembered how to defend! She kicked, punched, and fought her way out – ultimately surviving because lessons she’d learned long before came back and helped her when she needed it most. 

Years later, Heather is still fighting, but this time it’s your life she’s fighting for. Ready to share

her story, she’s now on a mission to bring affordable self-defense to anyone who wants to learn.

Click the links below to read articles about Heather's story via:


Would you know what to do if you were attacked?

Many of us don't even

want to think about it...

but the reality is that we can find ourselves in a scary, dangerous situation in the blink of an eye! Being prepared and knowing how to defend yourself can mean the difference between life or death.

More often than not, when presented with a dangerous situation, instincts kick in. Muscle memory takes over and we act without thinking rationally. If you have never been trained to defend yourself or have never thought about how you would respond, the time to learn is not during assault.   

If your life is being threatened, you will need to make a decision under chaotic, ugly circumstances. You will be adrenalized and may have tunnel vision and  primitive fine motor skills. I hope you never experience the trauma of an attack. I also hope you would consider training in all areas discussed above. Although you may never need to implement your training, it's much better to be prepared than to think it could never happen to you.

Our Mission

I thought it couldn't 

happen to me.

It did and it changed me. It took years to recover and I made it out with just some bruises. The psychological aftermath is real. 

Consider answering these questions:

  • Where would you draw the line? 

  • Would you fight back with force, if necessary?

  • Do you have any ethical limitations?  

  • Do you think you would Fight or Freeze?

These are important because everyone has different personalities and has been conditioned to respond in a unique way, often subconsciously.

An excerpt from

“Betrayed by an Angel”

Harvard Review Nov/Dec 2004 by Debra Ann Davis 

I'm 25 years old. I'm alone in my apartment. I hear a knock. I open the door and see a face I don't know. The man scares me, I don't know why. My first impulse is to shut the door. But I stop myself: You can't do something like that. It's rude.


I don't invite him in, but suddenly he is pushing the door and stepping inside. I don't want him to come in; he hasn't waited to be invited. I push the door to close it, but I don't push very hard; I keep remembering that it's not polite to slam a door in someone's face.

He is inside. He slams the door shut himself and pushes me against the wall. My judgment: He is very rude. I make this conscious decision: Since he is being rude, it is okay for me to be rude back. I reach for the doorknob; I want to open the door and shove him outside and then slam the door in his face, rude or not, I don't care now. But frankly, I don't push him aside with much determination. I've made the mental choice to be rude, but I haven't been able to muster the physical bluntness the act requires.

Or maybe I realize the game is lost already. He is stronger than I am, I assume, as men have always been stronger. I have no real chance of pushing him aside. No real chance of it unless I am very angry. And I'm not very angry. I'm a little bit angry.

But, despite the fact that I didn't shove with much force, he is angry with me. I know why: It's because I've been rude to him. He is insulted. I am a bit ashamed.

We fall into our roles quite easily, two people who have never met each other, two people raised in the same culture, a man and a woman. As it turns out, a rapist and his victim.

I asked my students, college freshmen, these two questions once: What did your parents teach you that you will teach your own kids? What did they teach you that you won't teach your kids?

One young woman said, "My parents always told me to be kind to everyone. I won't teach my children that. It's not always good to be kind to everyone."


She was so young, but she knew this. Why did it take me so long to learn?

Working on this stuff makes me a little crazy. Sitting at my computer typing for hours about being raped and how it made me feel and makes me feel makes me distracted, jittery -- both because I drink too much strong coffee and because writing goes beyond imagining into reliving.


I decided I needed to reread Virginia Woolf. I'd been making notes to myself for a while -- "angel" or just "Woolf" scribbled on scraps of paper on my desk and in the front pocket of my backpack, to go buy the book, the book with the angel in it. (I could feel her hovering as I typed; I know the exact color and texture of her flowing gown.)

Key Points:

Her first impulse was, “I can’t shut the door in his face; it’s rude." This decision was based on her self image and earlier programming - her "conditioned response.” This is common in people who suffer violent attacks and freeze.


It's important to understand this insight and work it out

in advance. 

Understanding of awareness, avoidance, prevention, criminal activity, personal safety and when to act or not to is very complex because every situation is different. There is no fancy martial art technique that would guarantee your safety. There is, however, a way to become aware and knowledgeable - a way to implement personal safety habits into your daily life. These habits don’t take up too much time and can greatly reduce your risk.


Physically training your body to feel what it’s like to yell, “Stop, get back!" to a potential attacker when placed in a dangerous situation teaches your body how to make a decision under pressure. If you have never used hands to strike someone, how can you expect to do it under pressure of an attack? The pressure and startle of an attack can cause one to freeze (like a deer in headlights).

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trained by Myrtle Beach Self-Defense.

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