Monday, June 27, 2016

Hands Ready Position - Calm & Confident Body Language


In one of the ancient Japanese martial art traditions I studied there is a posture with the rather unusual name of Kongo Gassho no Kamae (see photo above). 

It's commonly described as being a standing prayer position... however the feeling of adopting this posture is not one of praying - but of preparation - calming yourself before combat.  The eyes are open, and the spirit and body are in a balanced state, ready to act.

Some time ago I was made aware of a contemporary application of a very similar hand position and feeling of preparedness that is used by bodyguards around the world (see photo below). 


In fact it's a hand position used in several forms by Secret Service Agents (see above and below).


Here's a quote from Hans Van Beuge of the International Close Quarter Protection Operators Association (standing far right in the photo below):

"In protection work we use what's called the 'Hands Ready' position most of the time, and always when working close in with a client when in public.  Having your hands in this position saves precious fractions of a second in : drawing a weapon ; grabbing or striking an offender ; or quickly moving a client out of harms way.  It also assists in keeping your mind in the tactical zone.  Having hands in pockets, or occupied doing other things, is counter productive to the tactical mindset." 


It's tactically advantageous for anyone and everyone to adopt an expression of the 'Hands Ready' position in the initial stages of any close-quarter situation.  Holding your hands central to your body puts you in a 'transition' phase (mentally)... ready to defend against any kind of unexpected assault. 

If nothing happens, then there's no problem.  But if something suddenly does erupt, then your arms can quickly move to intercept any attempted grab, or strike, or kick. 

In fact, defending yourself from 'Hands Ready' a natural reflex response that's made more effective because your arms are already half-way to a block or a deflection.  And just knowing that can actually help you feel more confident.

Choose one of the following three basics as your own personal expression of 'Hands Ready' :
  • Interlocked
  • The Overlay
  • The Steeple :



It's Primal Protection. 

For more insight into the mind-set behind the 'Hands Ready' position, click below :

http://icqpoa.blogspot.com.au/2012/05/history-repeats-itself-hands-ready.html


Saturday, January 9, 2016

The Three Waves of a Confrontation


In any kind of physical confrontation there are three potential waves that can come at you hard... and any one of them can have a devastating effect on your career and your future :

First Wave : is the attack itself, and the possibility of being injured and having to take time off work

Second Wave : is dealing with the Police and the Courts, and the possibility of being arrested and charged with an offence

Third Wave : is the possibility of losing your job (or livelihood) because you ended up being convicted for the way you defended yourself.

That's why it's important to let go of your Ego, and resist reacting to insults and abusive language. Instead, be tactical and non-emotional... react to win the war, not just one battle.

For more insight into handling The Second Wave (Police and the Courts), click on to this link :
http://www.itsprimalprotection.com/2012/04/the-second-wave-dealing-with-police.html


It's Primal Protection.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Timeless Warrior Mythlogy

 
Long before Star Wars we had a mythology that was similar to the Jedi Knight's discovery of their full and natural potential in life. It was the story of the Knight fighting a Dragon... and on every scale of the Dragon's body were the words "Thou Shalt"... which means "You Must." 
 
That command represented everything the Knight was taught about life, and who and what he was supposed to be.
 
So the Knight faces his fears and fights the Dragon... questioning the perception of reality that he was taught by his family, and by society. 
 
In doing so the Knight eventually achieves Self Mastery... a realisation of who they are... their true potential as a human being... and how they can live a meaningful and worthwhile life.
 
The Japanese call this Musha Shugyo - Warrior Quest - and as we all now know from the Star Wars movies, a woman can just as easily become a Warrior Knight too.

 
Here's a video link to Joseph Campbell talking about The Hero's Journey, which includes Star Wars references :  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJwPIiUPfK4 *(4mins)
 
 
It's Primal Protection.
 

Friday, October 9, 2015

Avoidance Tactics : The 3 F's of Elevator Safety

If you’re waiting for an elevator, the doors open and you don’t feel at ease about who you see inside, just take a step back and say that you’re waiting for a friend. FRIEND

If you’re in an elevator and someone gets in who makes you feel uneasy, then simply get out on that floor. FAREWELL

If someone follows you into an elevator and you don’t feel at ease about them, before the doors close say out loud, as if you’re talking to yourself “Oh, I almost forgot”, and immediately get out of the elevator. FORGOT


FRIEND - when you're uneasy about who is already inside the elevator

FAREWELL - when you're uneasy about who gets in when you're inside

FORGOT - when you're uneasy about who follows you inside.

And it's not just for women!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Show No Emotion - it's a Psychological Advantage

 
The photo above is of American Olympic boxer Marlen Esparza, and what makes it perfect for this post is the look on her face.  She's expressing the attitude of a fighter... non-emotional... fearless.

Compare that with the photo below.  Not only is the businessman expressing extreme emotion (anger), he has raised his fist outside of his body-frame. 
 
Why is that important?  Well together those features indicate that he's out of control (emotionally)... that he wants to appear bigger than he actually is... and that deep down, he isn't completely confident in his ability to carry out his threat. 
 
In short his aggressive display is a desperate attempt to trigger fear and submission in his victim.

 
Below another example of the same thing. This time the gesture is a pointed (stabbing) finger... but once again it's raised outside of his body-frame... which is an indication that the man wants to appear bigger and more threatening than he actually is... and that he isn't completely confident in his ability to actually carry out his threat.
 

This kind of display is something that's common in all primates - and that includes human beings. 
 
To understand what I mean, imagine a chimpanzee jumping around, waving its arms and screaming loudly. The chimp doesn't really want to fight (in case it gets injured or killed), so it tries to avoid a confrontation by using big threatening gestures and lots of noise.
 
 
However, in this example the man's face is non-emotional, and his pointing (stabbing) gesture is inside his body-frame. These are indications that he is deadly serious. 
 
This is called a primal threat indicator... and it's something that registers at an unconscious level with people.
 
So why is a lack of emotion and keeping your arms inside your body-frame so threatening? Well there are three very important reasons :
  • extreme outbursts of anger indicate that the person is out of control... and on a primal level that's considered to be a weakness
  • human beings naturally fear 'the unknown'... so if an adversary shows no emotion, then we don't know what to expect from them
  • a lack of emotion can also be an indication that our adversary is fearless, and therefore a real threat to our survival.

So if you want to create a primal psychological advantage in any kind of confrontation : 
  • show no emotion
  • keep your arm inside your body-frame 
  • and gesture with either a stabbing finger or a bladed hand. 
 
It's a tactic that has the Presidential seal of approval!
 
 
It's Primal Protection.
 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Avoid Making Contact - it's a Psychological Advantage


If you were a fan of the television series 'Lie to Me' you will have picked up some useful pointers about interpreting body language, and about micro facial expressions

But one thing you may not have noticed is that in the majority of interrogations they avoid making physical contact with the person they're questioning.  And that psychological tactic has applications in a wide range of confrontations.


Let me explain the basic principle.  When we meet someone we generally shake their hand.  This contact is an act of human bonding, and it gives each person a feel for the other.

However, if there is no physical contact, then the other person has no way of getting a proper feel for you... and consequently you become something unknown.

That in turn can trigger a sense of uncertainty that's based on a primal fear of the unknown... and consequently the other person can't be sure if you're friend or foe

Not surprisingly, this can make them hesitant about opposing you... and that's a definite advantage. 


Good interrogators use this tactic of not making contact to psychologically empower their position.  It makes them an unknown quantity.  And the person being questioned often can't be sure if the interrogator is friend or foe..... if they're going to be compassionate or adversarial


It's interesting to note that if an interrogator does make contact... especially if it's something aggressive like a push or a slap... then it transforms the interrogator from something unknown into something known... a physical threatAnd in response the person being questioned will often start defending themselves by being defiant or evasive. 


So if you suddenly find yourself in some kind of heated exchange... like a road rage incident... the first thing I suggest you do is create a safe distance and adopt a primal threat indicator in an attempt to de-escalate the situation.

A primal threat indicator is simply body language that expresses confidence and a readiness to engage (if necessary).  And this is how you create it :
  • first of all, stand side-on
  • point with your finger, pen, or a bladed-hand
  • but keep your gestures inside your body's frame 
  • drop your chin and speak deeply and confidently 
  • and for as long as possible, avoid making any contact.


It's Primal Protection.
 

Friday, January 30, 2015

The Scout, The Runner & The Boss - Protecting your Family


(The BBC television series Spooks / MI5 included examples of Close Protection Body-Guarding)

This post offers parents a basic body-guarding formation to help protect your family in public.

But to start with, let's look at two common misconceptions about body-guarding :
  1. to be a good bodyguard you only need to know how to fight
  2. martial artists make good bodyguards because they know how to fight.
The problem with these misconceptions is that most of the time a bodyguard doesn't actually need to hit anyone.  In fact their role is to :
  1. spot  a potential problem before or as it approaches
  2. deflect  the problem without escalating the situation
  3. escape  the location quickly and safely.
In short, effective bodyguarding has a lot to do with situational awareness, and very little to do with punching and kicking.

In some Armies, when families are being posted overseas, the parents are provided with training in basic bodyguarding techniques so that they can protect the children when they are out in public... shopping, sightseeing, or just playing in the park. 

Following is a brief insight into a bodyguarding formation called 'The Pyramid'.  It's a concept that can easily be applied by any Mum & Dad Team.

The Pyramid involves three roles (on 3 points) : The Scout, The Runner, The Boss.

The bodyguard on the lead point of the pyramid is the one called The Scout.  Their primary function is to : open doors ; create space by moving people out of the way ; and to be on the lookout for threats and concealed weapons.

The bodyguard on the left is usually The Runner. Their primary function is to be mobile... to move around and intercept potential threats, or to assist The Scout if he/she runs into trouble.

The bodyguard on the right is usually The Boss. They are in charge of directing the group... and they never leave the Principal's side (the client). 

If necessary The Boss will quickly lead the Principal away from the scene, and leave the Scout and Runner to deal with any problem... preferably without getting too physical. 

In general terms, the goal of the team is always to achieve a safe escape... even if it means leaving some team members behind.  Anyone who is left behind knows that all team members are expected to re-group at a predetermined location.

In a Mum & Dad Team, the mum would take the role of The Boss and stay with the children at all times... while dad takes the dual role of being both Scout & Runner... stepping forward to clear the way (open doors), and to intercept any potential problems.

If any kind of incident occurs, mum will immediately take the children away and leave dad to handle the situation... preferably through verbal de-escalation. 

The goal is to avoid a physical confrontation (if at all possible), and everyone knows to re-group at a predetermined location :
  • at an exit
  • in the car-park
  • or at some familiar landmark.
This re-grouping location should agreed upon in advance.  It could be : at the car ; or at an exit ; or at a coffee shop.  Just a casual agreement between parents is all that's needed as you walk in. 

But don't hide what you're doing from your children... they need to know what you're doing... and the role they're expected to play

If they're young, make it into a game that the family plays if anyone bothers mummy or daddy.

Finally, keep in mind that providing basic protection for your family does not necessarily require you to know how to defend yourself.  Simply work as a protection team, and strive to :
  1. spot  a potential problem before or as it approaches
  2. deflect  the problem without escalating the situation
  3. escape  the location quickly and safely.


My thanks to Karl Colthup (ex-Australian Army)
and to Hans van Beuge of Savior Services,
International Close Quarters Protection Operators Association.