Tactical training part 2

There is a time and a place for pre-emptive strikes.  If you have tried everything, been diplomatic, tried walking away but you know a fight is about to start, sometimes striking first is the best form of self defence.  Again if you absolutely know a fight is about to start, why put yourself in further danger by giving your attacker the chance to throw the first shot, he may get lucky and hit you.  Against multiple attackers a pre emptive strike makes even more sense, taking out the leader before the gang have ramped up and kicked off, may actually cause them to lose heart and flee.  A word of warning here, pre emptive strikes may help you survive your first fight, but could seriously damage your defence in the second fight, years later in court.  A witness that was too far away to hear “the interview” or argument, but “witnessed” everything, may in court swear that you indeed throw the first punch, thus starting the fight, making you in court years later they accused rather than the defendant.

In relation to witnesses, practising open handed strikes is vital.  A slap delivered by a well trained martial artists may carry the same knock out power as a punch, but when described in court to a jury who have never been in a fight, its sounds much better when the witness says, “ Yes, Your Honour, the defendant slapped the man attacking him”.  As opposed to, “he punched him”.

Maintain your awareness once the fight has started, or especially when you think the fight is over.  Don’t go from a red level to green, simply because you dealt with one obvious attacker.  Every dickhead has a friend, who as you start to walk away completely unaware that they are running out of the bar to help their friend who is being attacked/fighting.

If you are faced with multiple attackers, identify and take out the leader first.  Keep moving and use your footwork to herd them together and into bad positions/obstacles.  Herding them together may mean they get in each other’s way, but also you will only be dealing with attacks coming from one direction, and not from all around or possible be blindsided.

Remember the 30 feet rule – under 30 feet the knife is more lethal than a gun, unless the gun is already drawn.  Under 30 feet a knife wielding attacker can cover the distance and kill his victim before they can draw, aim and fire their gun.  Knives are serious threats in modern day Ireland, if you are involved in a confrontation assume a knife is involved even if you can’t see it.


Rape Prevention And Safety Tips Through a Rapist’s Eyes

This is important information for all males and females of ALL ages to know. It is worth noting that the following point refer to an ambush attack primarily, whilst most victims of rape in fact knew their attacker.  This survey was carried out in America, any legal sanctions are under American law.

A group of rapists and date rapists in prison were interviewed on what they look for in a potential victim and here are some interesting facts:

1) The first thing men look for in a potential victim is hairstyle. They are most likely to go after a woman with a ponytail, bun, braid or other hairstyle that can easily be grabbed. They are also likely to go after a woman with long hair. Women with short hair are not common targets.

2) The second thing men look for is clothing. They will look for women whose clothing is easy to remove quickly. Many of them carry scissors around specifically to cut clothing.

3) They also look for women on their cell phone, searching through their purse, or doing other activities while walking because they are off-guard and can be easily overpowered.

4) Men are most likely to attack & rape in the early morning, between 5:00 a.m. And 8:30 a.m.

5) The number one place women are abducted from/attacked is grocery store parking lots. Number two: Are office parking lots/garages. Number three: Are public restrooms.

6) The thing about these men is that they are looking to grab a woman and quickly move her to another location where they don’t have to worry about getting caught.

7) Only 2% said they carried weapons because rape carries a 3-5 year sentence but rape with a weapon is 15-20 years.

8) If you put up any kind of a fight at all, they get discouraged because it only takes a minute or two for them to realize that going after you isn’t worth it because it will be time-consuming.

9) These men said they would not pick on women who have umbrellas, or other similar objects that can be used from a distance, in their hands.
Keys are not a deterrent because you have to get really close to the attacker to use them as a weapon. So, the idea is to convince these guys you’re not worth it.

10) Several defense mechanisms he taught us are: If someone is following behind you on a street or in a garage or with you in an elevator or stairwell, look them in the face and ask them a question, like what time is it, or make general small talk: ‘I can’t believe it is so cold out here,’ ‘we’re in for a bad winter.’ Now you’ve seen their face and could identify them in a lineup; you lose appeal as a target.

11) If someone is coming toward you, hold out your hands in front of you and yell STOP or STAY BACK! Most of the rapists this man talked to said they’d leave a woman alone if she yelled or showed that she would not be afraid to fight back. Again, they are looking for an EASY target.

12) If you carry pepper spray (this instructor was a huge advocate of it and carries it with him wherever he goes), yell I HAVE PEPPER SPRAY and holding it out will be a deterrent.

13) If someone grabs you, you can’t beat them with strength but you can by outsmarting them. If you are grabbed around the waist from behind, pinch the attacker either under the arm (between the elbow and armpit) OR in the upper inner thigh VERY VERY HARD. One woman in a class this guy taught told him she used the underarm pinch on a guy who was trying to date rape her and was so upset she broke through the skin and tore out muscle strands — the guy needed stitches. Try pinching yourself in those places as hard as you can stand it – it hurts .

14) After the initial hit, always GO for the GROIN. I know from a particularly unfortunate experience that if you slap a guy’s parts it is extremely painful. You might think that you’ll anger the guy and make him want to hurt you more, but the thing these rapists told our instructor is that they want a woman who will not cause a lot of trouble. Start causing trouble and he’s out of there.

15) When the guy puts his hands up to you, grab his first two fingers and bend them back as far as possible with as much pressure pushing down on them as possible. The instructor did it to me without using much pressure, and I ended up on my knees and both knuckles cracked audibly.

16) Of course the things we always hear still apply. Always be aware of your surroundings, take someone with you if you can and If you see any odd behaviour, don’t dismiss it, go with your instincts!!!

You may feel a little silly at the time, but you’d feel much worse if the guy really was trouble.
Self defence tips

  1. The elbow is the strongest point on your body. If you are close enough to use it, do!

    2. Learned this from a tourist guide in New Orleans. If a robber asks for your wallet and/or purse, DO NOT HAND IT TO HIM. Toss it away from you….chances are that he is more interested in your wallet and/or purse than you, and he will go for the wallet/purse. RUN LIKE MAD IN THE OTHER DIRECTION!

    3. If you are ever thrown into the trunk of a car, kick out the back tail lights and stick your arm out the hole and start waving like crazy. The driver won’t see you, but everybody else will. This has saved lives.

  2. Women have a tendency to get into their cars after shopping, eating, working, etc., and just sit (doing their checkbook, or making a list, etc.) DON’T DO THIS! The predator will be watching you, and this is the perfect opportunity for him to get in on the passenger side, put a gun to your head, and tell you where to go. AS SOON AS YOU GET INTO YOUR CAR, LOCK THE DOORS AND LEAVE.

    A. If someone is in the car with a gun to your head DO NOT DRIVE OFF, repeat: DO NOT DRIVE OFF! Instead gun the engine and speed into anything, wrecking the car. Your Air Bag will save you. If the person is in the back seat they will get the worst of it. As soon as the car crashes bail out and run. It is better than having them find your body in a remote location.

    5. A few notes about getting into your car in a parking lot or parking garage:

    A.) Be aware: look around you, look into your car, at the passenger side floor, and in the back seat.

    B.) If you are parked next to a big van, enter your car from the passenger door. Most serial killers attack their victims by pulling them into their vans while the women are attempting to get into their cars.

    C.) Look at the car parked on the driver’s side of your vehicle, and the passenger side. If a male is sitting alone in the seat nearest your car, you may want to walk back into the mall, or work, and get a guard/policeman to walk you back out.

FAST Defense: 10 Safety Tips for Children

  1. Don’t look like an easy victim. Present assertive, self-confident body language and eye contact, not passive, not aggressive behavior.
  2. Know your numbers. Memorize important phone numbers, address, and practice how to make phone calls from a payphone.
  3. Have a Password, and family strategies for being home alone and answering the phone, and the door.
  4. Never go anywhere with a strange adult or child. Also, never go anywhere with anyone you do know without your parent’s permission.  The above password can help when a child is being collected etc.
  5. Have a strategy for getting lost. Empower your children to practice designating “safe places” like a store clerk or security station whenever you go shopping or to other places.
  6. Know your neighborhood and other common routes. Designate safe places to go to in an emergency, (a neighbor’s house, store, etc…).
  7. Never accept anything from a stranger. Always trust your guts whenever anything feels funny to you, and be on alert!
  8. Fire Proof Your Children. Work out an escape plan and basic fire strategies.
  9. Unwanted Touch. No one has the right to touch a child in a way that feels uncomfortable. Empower children to say “No” to an adult or another child in this situation.
  10. 10.Teamwork Rocks! There is safety in numbers. Watch out for your friends and each other. Report anything strange that happens, to your parents, a teacher, or principal. NO Secrets!

Fight Psychology

In a fight or self defense situation attitude is everything, technique or skill sets are beneficial and will reduce your risk of attack and injury, but the right attitude will determine whether you survive or not and how you deal with it emotionally afterwards.

Let me stress this now.  Unless you are psychotic you will not walk away from a violent altercation unscathed, you may be uninjured physically but there is a psychological damage anytime a person faces violence.  Violence is a horrible traumatic event that can stay with you long after your physical injuries have healed.   Think Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Once again use your tactical training, street awareness and common sense to avoid trouble whenever possible.  But if you are forced to face violence and defend yourself or others, your attitude is of vital importance.  Think Rocky Balboa or John McClane in the Die Hard movies.  That never-give-up attitude, no matter what.  Once you’re in a fight you must keep fighting until you’re safe or the last breath has left your body.  Attitude is everything, it’s why you hear of grandmothers fighting off would be muggers with their purse, and martial arts trainees being attacked.  Some of this attitude comes out of years of life experience but can also be developed in the dojo (training hall).  There is an old karate saying, “The more blood, sweat and tears shed in the dojo, the less you shed on the street”.

Determine today to make the decision (and train it in the dojo) to do whatever it takes to protect yourself.  You may be hurt, you may even be bleeding, but you must keep on fighting until the fight is over.  You will know it’s over when you are safe or have escaped the situation.  A part of the right attitude to keep fighting no matter what means if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.  If a kick doesn’t work, try punching, if punching doesn’t work try elbows or knees, or biting, clawing or poking.  Keep fighting until your safe, your attacker is not a threat or backs off to find an easier victim.

Don’t believe your attacker, just because they say they won’t hurt you, doesn’t make it a fact. Stay alert and aware of all possible threats.  A few years ago a group of nurses sharing a house together, woke up to find an armed intruder in their home.  The burglar brought them all together in one bedroom, assuring them he would not hurt them that he only wanted money and jewellery  to feed his drug habit. One at a time he took each nurse to their room leaving the other scared and alone.  One of the nurses urged her friends to overpower the intruder when he returned to the room.  To scared to work together they argued if they did what he wanted he would leave them alone.  Hoping the intruder had not counted his victims before locking the door, she hid under the bed as each of her friends was led from the room.  She only climbed out the next morning when an alarm clock was not turned off, to find her friends and colleagues, stabbed to death.  She lived because she refused to believe her attacker.

Another reason not to believe any attacker is if you appear too passive the crime may escalate.  Quite often minor crimes become combination crimes, a mugger facing no resistance on demanding a purse decides to rape or assault a victim.

Preparation for an encounter is a necessity.  A self defense course is a good start, regular martial arts training is even better. This preparation is similar to wearing a seat belt when you get in a car.  When you strap yourself in, you are not saying “today I expect to have a car accident”.  But you are prepared in case somebody else driving has a bad day.  You must develop the same heightened awareness and casualness about self defence.  Being aware of your surroundings, potential threats and your own actions can all lead to better threat management.  All this plus regular training can insure you don’t become a victim.

In becoming prepared to fight you must ask yourself, “What are you afraid of?”  And give yourself an honest answer.  Are you afraid walking down the street?  Are you afraid to ride public transport?  Are you afraid when you see a particular type of person?  Facing your fears and planning strategies to counter or avoid these situations will diminish your fears and empower you if you are forced into a situation.

Research has shown that forceful physical and verbal resistance strategies (e.g., biting, hitting, fighting back, yelling, screaming, forcefully fleeing or using a weapon, martial arts or other physical self-defense techniques) are effective in thwarting assaults on women. Moreover, these strategies do not appear to significantly increase the risk of serious injury.

Conversely, non-forceful strategies (e.g., pleading, crying, reasoning) and not resisting (e.g., freezing) are generally not effective. Some evidence suggests that passive strategies can even increase the risk of injury.

Fighting back also has mental health benefits. According to Judith Herman, M.D., author of “Trauma & Recovery,” “The women who fought to the best of their abilities were not only more likely to be successful in thwarting the rape attempt, but less likely to suffer severe distress symptoms even if their efforts ultimately failed. By contrast, women who submitted without a struggle were more likely to be highly self critical and depressed in the aftermath.”

I’m not suggesting that you should always fight back in a sexual assault. There’s no substitute for good judgment in the moment. Only you can assess all the variables. What’s most important is remembering that you possess the option to fight, and the readiness of heart and presence of mind to back it up. This means becoming physically literate in the strategies of combat.



Street Awareness

The 1st rule of street awareness is to trust your instincts, 90% of people in prison probably fit the stereotype.  A gut feeling or instinct could probable be explained by your senses (RAS) picking up something unconsciously.  Ignoring your instincts to be fair to a stranger or potential attacker is being unfair to yourself.  Better to keep yourself safe then putting yourself in harm’s way so as not to offend a stranger passing by on the street.  Crossing the street and risking offending someone you don’t like the look of, is far better than being attacked or killed by someone you don’t like the look of.  Remember criminals won’t always look the part, pick pockets could be dressed in 3 piece suits, or that child running up and down the train/luas/bus, or the little old lady who is a professional shop lifter.

When outside of the house, your awareness must act like a radar, constantly scanning for danger.  The American army uses a colour coding system, think traffic lights, to assess the threat level.  Green means no danger (sitting at home watching TV), orange means being aware  there is a potential for danger but none has been identified (riding a bus, walking through town, being in a bar), red means imminent danger, you are under threat and in danger.  Good common sense and tactical training, should insure you always stay in the green, and you will take decisive action if you enter a level orange.

The interview

The interview is basically a precursor to a fight.  It’s the set up.  From a self defence view point, you should never engage in “the interview”.  Avoiding the interview is the only sure fire way to avoid a fight.   Some variations of the interview, allow you to avoid a fight, some variations mean no matter what answer you give a fight can happen.  An example of the first kind, could be a potential mugger/attacker, asking you do you know the time?  A simple confident no and a refusal to be stopped, could avoid trouble.  This response also works with someone asking for a light.  The act of looking at your watch or reaching for a cigarette lighter, can be enough of a distraction for an attacker to launch a surprise blitz attack.

Other forms of the interview, means no matter what response you give, a fight is unavoidable.  Failing to engage is the only way to avoid trouble, act like you never heard the question.  An example of this could be, are you looking at my girlfriend?  Answer yes and your attacker can act offended and defensive that you where staring at his girlfriend and start a fight.  Answer no and he can claim you are calling his girlfriend ugly and start a fight.  Remember in a interview your attacker holds all the cards, no matter what your response if he wants a fight he will start one.

Another example this time in a bar, would be someone claiming you spilt their drink.  Deny you spilt the drink and you attacker will claim you are calling him a liar.  Say you did spill his drink and that is an excuse to start a fight.  Even in this situation being diplomatic and offering to buy a new drink can enrage someone looking to start a fight.

Interviews come in many different ways but they are all designed to force you into a confrontation or to distract you from another threat.  As a friend of mine experienced abroad, a young child kicked a football at him as he walked down the street, in the confusion that followed another child stole his wallet and ran away.  That person pressing against you in the queue, to get on the bus or train may in fact be robbing you, leaving you stranded as the doors close, watching your mugger casually walk away.

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