Detroit Urban Survival Training: Our viral, funny self-defense videos aren't fake

Chanel Stitt, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Business News

The company provides 24-hour protection in such Detroit neighborhoods as Palmer Woods, Harbor Town, Sherwood Forest, Detroit Golf Club and Victoria Park, along with 26 buildings in Palmer Park and over 100 homes and businesses that have individual contracts. Individuals can also request roadside assistance or protection for $10 a month or $10 a call.

Becoming viral overnight

D.U.S.T. ensures its tactics are for everyday people. But the positive feedback it 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 landing them in heaven. The attention gained the business even more followers.

“Our message is getting out to people that would normally not get it because we're using humor, as well,” Brown said. “Instead of us (avoiding) the humor, we’ve accepted it, we embrace it and we advocate it. So we like using humor to get people interested in survival. It’s such a serious subject that there’s an aversion to it naturally. So now those people that would normally not even be interested are actually interested.”

The Detroit Pistons invited Brown to a basketball game, where he taught the team’s mascot Hooper how to defend himself for a video. Hooper successfully learned the tactics by the end of the video. The self-defense tactics could also be seen during the Los Angeles Rams National Football League game when Odell Beckham Jr. demonstrated disarming a threat using a football after a touchdown.

And Brown's tactics were on display during that skit on "Saturday Night Live" that poked fun at a number of social media moments.


Detroit rapper Royce Da 5’9” also visited the company, where Brown showed him the tactics to disarm someone with a gun. Other celebrities and influencers who took an interest include YouTubers Master Ken, Rory and Mal and Kai Cenat.

People like Rory Fox, 20, and Shingirai Muparuri, 21, have traveled to get training by Brown. Fox, who is from Lansing, saw Royce Da 5’9” do the training, and he and Muparuri, also of Lansing, decided to attend the class Monday. Fox was originally skeptical about the tactics, but says now he is a believer.

“It’s very easy to subdue someone,” Fox said. “There’s a lot of pain centers all over the body. There’s places you wouldn’t even think about.” And Muparuri added, “You should work on preventing violence before anything happens.”

Anyone can take the training for $100 a month for open classes or $10 an hour per class, which take place Mondays and Fridays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. There also are options for private lessons, workshops and corporate training.


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