The Detroit DUST School embraces viral fandom with humor to teach self-defense.
Founder Dale Brown teaches the Preventive Threat Management class at Detroit Urban Survival Training (DUST) school in Ferndale after going viral.
Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Free Press
A Ferndale-based company that mixed self-defense with humor has gone viral on Instagram and YouTube.
The company, called Detroit Urban Survival Training, and the tactics it teaches have reached figures such as “Saturday Night Live” and the National Football League, and have been mentioned by celebrities and social media influencers. Co-owner Dale Brown also spent time teaching Detroit Pistons mascot Hooper how to defend himself.
Brown, 52, of Bloomfield Hills, is the founder of Detroit Urban Survival Training, often referred to as DUST. He co-owns the business, which opened last year, with his wife, Mirela Brown, 37. Together, they have grown the company’s social media presence to over 232,000 followers on Instagram and 1.27 million subscribers on YouTube.
Many of those who watched the videos were convinced that the self-defense tactics would not work. It wasn’t until celebrities and influencers visited the company in person that they realized what DUST teaches can work in dangerous situations.
“I would say nine out of ten people we met were sure it hadn’t worked,” said Dale Brown, who is also COO. “Like it’s magic or something made up or something on the Internet. So when people look at our story and find out we’re really in Detroit, they’re waiting, it must be real. You can’t. running around Detroit without having any real stuff.
The company focuses its preventive threat management system on three elements: psychology, law and skills. The goal is to use “as little force as possible for security,” while learning the laws to avoid getting into trouble, prosecution or prosecution.
“We teach people how to create security safely,” Brown said. “Specifically, we teach people how to be their own bodyguards – how to protect themselves. And that’s psychology, law, and skill in that order. Thus, they can have a legal format to protect themselves, their families and others, and also understand psychologically how to create the least confrontational interaction, so that we can create the most non-violent outcome by design. More specifically, our training system is intended to create peace.
The training includes how to understand someone psychologically by recognizing invasive, aggressive and deceptive behavior. The training also includes how to deflect a knife and a gun away from you and towards the person threatening.
Detroit DUST is the training school. It is part of Detroit’s largest threat management center, which has been providing bodyguard services and protection since 1994. The company protects victims of domestic violence and stalking free of charge and runs a free training course on Friday for victims and families to learn to be their own bodyguards.
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“We are explaining how they can keep them safe and the police can help them too,” Brown said. “But at the end of the day, it’s about giving people the autonomy they need to be safe. It is women and children who have been abused for many years. Training is what makes them able to recover and feel good about themselves in the future. ”
The company offers round the clock protection in areas of Detroit such as Palmer Woods, Harbor Town, Sherwood Forest, Detroit Golf Club and Victoria Park, as well as 26 buildings in Palmer Park and over 100 homes and businesses that have contracts. individual. Individuals can also request roadside assistance or protection for $ 10 per month or $ 10 per call.
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Go viral overnight
DUST makes sure its tactics are for ordinary people. But the positive comments he received also came with trolls and memes, and even resulted in a ban from the video-based social media platform TikTok. A few influencers created videos that showed the company’s tactics leading them to heaven. The attention attracted the company even more followers.
“Our message is getting out to people who wouldn’t normally understand it because we also use humor,” Brown said. “Instead of us (avoiding) humor, we accepted it, we embrace it and we stand up for it. So we like to use humor to get people interested in survival. It is such a serious subject that there is an aversion to it naturally. So now those people who wouldn’t normally even be interested are really interested. “
The Detroit Pistons invited Brown to a basketball game, where he taught team mascot Hooper how to defend himself for a video. Hooper successfully learned the tactic at the end of the video. Self-defense tactics could also be seen in the Los Angeles Rams National Football League game when Odell Beckham Jr. demonstrated he disarmed a threat with a soccer ball after a touchdown.
And Brown’s tactics were on display during this skit on “Saturday Night Live” which poked fun at a number of moments on social media.
Detroit rapper Royce Da 5’9 “also visited the company, where Brown showed him the tactics of disarming someone with a gun. Other celebrities and influencers who have been interested include YouTubers Master Ken , Rory and Mal and Kai Cenat.
People like Rory Fox, 20, and Shingirai Muparuri, 21, have traveled to train with Brown. Fox, who is from Lansing, saw Royce Da 5’9 ”do the training, and he and Muparuri, also from Lansing, decided to attend the class on Monday. Fox was originally skeptical of the tactics, but now says he believes in it.
“It’s very easy to overpower someone,” Fox said. “There are a lot of pain centers all over the body. There are places you wouldn’t even think about. And Muparuri added: “You should be working on violence prevention before anything happens.”
Anyone can take the training for $ 100 per month for open classes or $ 10 per hour per class, which takes place Mondays and Fridays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. There are also options for private lessons, workshops and in-company training.
Start the business in Detroit
Brown has lived in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti in Michigan and in Germany. His mother was a doctor and captain in the military, and his father was a history professor in Ann Arbor. He joined the US military and was a paratrooper and private investigator. He served for three years. He then decides to take a bodyguard training and take martial arts lessons.
Brown started the Detroit Threat Management Center in 1994, but a fatal incident took place in Detroit that changed his view of his business plan. In 1995, a woman was attacked and dragged across the Belle Isle Bridge, and, in what is believed to be an effort to escape, she jumped or was forced off the bridge into the water and died , according to newspaper articles.
“This is what made me change,” Brown said. “From there, my first change was: I didn’t care about the business anymore. I was keen that we had to make sure that never happened again. ”
Brown continued to provide security for the apartments he lived in and was asked to bring security guards to several buildings in Detroit. He found volunteers to help reduce crime in the neighborhoods.
Over 26 years, Brown’s company has trained several people to help in both armed and unarmed situations. And since 1998, the company has had a contract to prevent truck hijacking of cigarettes. He tells everyone to always call the police first, and if someone from the Threat Center is present, they’ll be there to help.
There are plans to expand the business to Detroit next year.
“Our goal is to have these schools in every city, state and country,” Brown said. “And our goal here is to have these little centers, so that you have a place in your neighborhood to go and train yourself to learn psychology, law, and survival skills, as well as police.”
Contact writer Chanel Stitt on Twitter: @ByChanelStitt. Become a subscriber or offer a subscription.