Monday, February 27, 2012

Embrace the Darkness *(and just disappear)

The tactic of avoidance is a valuable one, even for experienced martial artists.  Why?  Because the longer you engage in a confrontation the greater the odds are that you will get injured.

It's for this reason that in my Personal Protection Workshops I teach basic counter-surveillance skills... so you can shake a tail if you're being followed. 

If I'm teaching at night I like to include some basic Escape & Evasion skills.  The scenario is that you're alone at night - maybe overseas - and you think you're being followed.  What can you do?

My four basic principles of Escape & Evasion are : shape ; shadow ; screen ; and sound :
  • the term 'shape' refers to disguising the recognisable shape of a human being   
  • the term 'shadow' refers to using shadows to conceal your location and movement 
  • the term 'screen' refers to any object that can hide some-or-all of your body 
  • the term 'sound' refers to knowing the right time to shift locations, and potentially make some noise doing so.
Following is a true story that highlights how these four simple principles could have helped a person avoid a potentially violent confrontation :

Several years ago a friend of mine broke off a relationship with a domineering man.  It seemed to be a clean break, but one night he drove to her house and started banging on the front door - calling for her to let him in.

Not surprisingly she was scared, and kept silent.  He then went around the house and started banging on the back door... and as he did so she ran out of the front door and up the street.

But she ran down the middle of the road, which was very well lit by the street-lights.  And when the ex-boyfriend came around to the front of the house again he saw her running away... so he got into his car and drove after her.

Why did she run up the middle of the road?  Well it's a natural fear response.  She chose a clear well-lit path of escape... but it was also a clear well-lit path of pursuit.

Fortunately for her, when he did catch up with her she was able to calm him down, and the situation didn't escalate into violence.

However, she would have been able to avoid that risk if she had known how to apply the basics of escape and evasion.  Within a matter of seconds she could have just disappeared into the many shadows and screens in her neighbour's backyard.

It's Primal Protection.

For insight into Counter-Surveillance Basics, click on the link below:

Friday, February 24, 2012

Can you speak Street Predator?

If you want to be understood by someone it makes sense to speak their language. But it might surprise you to know that a street predator doesn't speak the same language that you do. They use something I call : Predator-Speak.

Let me explain.....  Firstly, it's important to understand that a street predator is not interested in having a conversation.  Regardless of what they say to you, they're simply trying to intimidate you and talk their way in close so they can launch a sudden surprise attack.

That's why they use swearing, abuse and aggressive threats... but more about that in a minute.

To effectively communicate with a predator you have to understand the effects of adrenaline.

An adrenaline surge is a natural survival response that occurs when you suddenly find yourself in a dangerous situation. It makes you faster, stronger, and feel less pain.

But it also has some negative effects.  Your vision becomes tunnel-vision, so you don't see with the broad scope that you do now.  If you cup both hands either side of your eyes you'll see what I mean.  And your hearing becomes tunnel-hearing, so you basically only hear what's happening in front of you.

This all goes back to when our survival relied on our ability to focus on the threat that was right in front of us... a bear or a wolf that we were trying to kill, or that was trying to kill us.

Another physical effect of an adrenalin surge is the inability to perform fine-motor skills... and that includes forming normal sentences.

That's why predators (or anyone experiencing a full adrenalin surge) will usually speak in short words and phrases.  An example in predator-speak would be .....

"What the f#ck are you lookin at? You wanna taste of me you f#cka?"

That's the language of a street predator : abuse ; threats ; intimidation ; and a speech pattern affected by a pre-fight adrenalin surge.

And if you want to be understood by a street predator, you have to be able to speak their language... because it's the only thing they understand or respect.

Now that's not as easy as you might think.  Most people can use a swear word here and there... but it's harder to string together a series of threats and abuse.

As part of my Personal Protection Workshops I will often expose participants to swearing and abusive threats.  Why?  Because it gets them used to the shock tactics used by a street predator (as they close the distance to attack).

But I also recommend that they learn to use predator-speak, because it can work as an effective de-escalation technique... telling the street predator (in their own language) that you're not the easy target they initially thought you were.

It short, it can make them wonder if you just might be too risky to attack... because they don't want to get hurt themselves... they just want to hurt someone else!

So why not give it a try... silently in your own mind.  It might be a bit difficult at first, but if it can stop a violent attack, then it's certainly worth practicing.

I'll help you start... imagine yourself adopting a primal threat indicator : standing side-on, chin down, making pointing (stabbing) gestures with your forefinger, and in a deep menacing voice saying : "Stay back... f#ckin stay back... you ass-h*le!"

It's harsh language I know... but it's much safer than trying to fend off a sudden vicious assault.

It's Primal Protection.

For insight into the Attack Ritual of a Street Predator, click on the link below :

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

How to handle Threats and Intimidation

Some time ago, a respected martial arts instructor I know in Sydney (Dean Whittle) witnessed an incident that involved all the classic pre-fight indicators and intimidation tactics you can expect in a street confrontation.

As he watched, he understood the psychology of what was going on, and following  is his description of events.  It's a story that everyone can benefit from :

I don't know what sparked the confrontation, but it involved a pillion passenger on a motorcycle, and a group of construction workers.  I heard the motorcycle come to a screeching stop, and by the time I turned around I saw the pillion passenger screaming obsenities at the construction worker who was on traffic duty.

The rider was trying to calm his passenger, but he was having none of it.  He took his helmet off and started to bounce-walk towards the construction worker.  He continued his abuse, took off his hoodie, and started waving his arms around.

(Note :  shedding clothes, shouting aggressively, and making big gestures with the arms are all   pre-fight indicators that are meant to intimidate an opponent.)

In response the construction worker just stood his ground... seemingly unphased. But more likely he just wasn't sure what to do.  But very quickly a few of his mates came to stand by his side.

Now faced by a group of men, the guy went in to a primal stalking display... pacing from side to side like a caged animal... making pointing (stabbing) gestures with his hands... all the while continuing his aggressive tirade of threats.

But the intimidation didn't work... the group of construction workers just stood there looking at him... showing no anger, and no fear.

So then, because the guy couldn't get the response he was looking for (fear), he gradually started to move away... still maintaining his threats... and occassionally taking a sudden step back towards the group, in an attempt to try and scare them.

But that didn't work either. The construction workers still didn't show any signs of fear.  In fact they didn't show any emotion at all.

When he eventually reached the bike again, he put his hoodie and helmet back on, gave one final spray of abuse, and they took off down the street.

The whole scene was a classic display of primal aggression and intimidation:
  1. loud abusive language
  2. big gestures and an exaggerated bouncy-walk
  3. the shedding of clothes in preperation to fight
  4. a stalking display, with pointing and threats
  5. then an aggressive retreat to try and save face.
In response to this display, the workers unwittingly applied a classic de-escalation technique.  They confidently held their ground and expressed no anger or fear... which resulted in the confrontation not escalating into physical violence.

So why is a lack of emotion so threatening?  Well the answer is found in our primal hard-wiring :
  • firstly, outbursts of extreme anger indicate that a person is out of control, and on a primal level that is a weakness *(blind with rage)
  • secondly, a lack of emotion is an indication that a person is potentialy fearless, and therefore potentially deadly.
So regardless of whether you're capable of physically defending yourself or not, if you want to create a psychological advantage in a confrontation :
  • adopt a confident non-posture *(not a fighting stance) 
  • keep your gestures inside your body's frame
  • and show no emotion *(no anger, no fear).
The photo of Clint Eastwood below is a perfect example.....

It's Primal Protection.

For more insight into the psychological tactic of avoiding physical contact,
scroll down to the previous posting.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Primal Threat Indicators *(reading the level of intent)

If you've ever watched the television series 'Lie To Me', you would have seen some interesting insights into reading body-language and micro facial expressions.  These are both valuable tools that can help in conflict avoidance.

This post is about a primal expression of body-language that comes down to one simple principle.  Let's call it the inside/outside threat indicator... and it works like this :
  • threatening gestures that are displayed inside the body's frame express a serious intent, and a confidence to carry out the threat (see photo above) 
  • threatening gestures that are displayed outside the body's frame express a lack of confidence in the person's ability to carry out the threat.

Look at the photo below (from Lie To Me).  The aggressor in this case is holding his firearm inside his body's frame, his body is turned side-on to minimise body targets, and his mouth is straight and emotionless. This primal threat indicator sends the message that he is very serious in his intent.

It would be a very different message if he was extending his firearm outside his body's frame (gangsta style), and shouting verbal threats.  That would indicate an attempt to intimidate, rather than shoot.  He would still be potentially dangerous, but basically he would be trying to frighten people into not opposing him!

Such a primal display of aggression is common in all primates.  To understand what I mean, imagine a monkey jumping around, waving a stick, and screaming loudly. The monkey doesn't really want to fight (in case it gets injured or killed), so it tries to avoid a physical confrontation by using bigthreatening gestures and lots of noise.

Here's a story that highlights how the tactic of using a primal threat indicator can be used to actually de-escalate a confrontation.....

A friend of mine was involved in a road rage incident. He was an experienced martial artist and streetfighter, so he was no stranger to threats of violence.

When the other driver got out of his car he raised an iron bar outside of his body's frame, and moved towards my friend with an aggressive scowl on his face.
However my friend simply took a short step forward, pointed at him and confidently announced "If you don't put that down I'll take it off you and shove it up your a#se." 
In response the other driver lowered his weapon and said "I'm going to call the police on you!"
So why did the attacker back down so easilly?  Because he was all bluff and bluster.... and he knew he was. He was like a monkey waving a stick and trying to intimidate... but not really confident in his ability to carry out his threat.
My friend on the other hand, turned his body side-on, leaned forward, pointed a finger from inside his body's frame (a stabbing intent), and spoke in a cold and confident manner. 
It was a primal threat indicator that sent a clear message that he was ready to physically engage his opponent... regardless of the fact that he was armed.


Here's another story that highlights a similar de-escalation....
A martial arts instructor I know was walking home from gym one night, carrying a gym bag in one hand, and an umbrella in the other.  He was walking down a street that's popular with prostitutes and druggies, when a young man approached him with his head down... not looking where he was going.
As they got close, the martial artist side-stepped the young man, but gently used his umbrella to simultaneously guide him away and avoid physical contact.
The young man stopped and turned around with a tirade of verbal abuse.  He then extended his arms out to the sides (a primal display of aggressive intimidation), and started shouting threats.
In response the martial artist simply took a short step forward, lowered his chin, pointed his umbrella at the young man's face and confidently shouted "Hey!" 
In response the young man started apologising... then turned and walked away.
Why did he back-down so quickly?  Well let's look at the primal threat indicators:
  • firstly, the martial arts instructor took a short step forward which turned his body side-on and showed his opponent that he was prepared to engage *(this is also a tactic in Japanese sword combat)
  • secondly, he raised his umbrella inside his body's frame and pointed it at his opponent's face *(another sword combat tactic)
  • thirdly, he used a loud and confident shout, which was a clear indication that he wasn't intimidated by the young man's bluff and bluster.

It's Primal Protection.
 For more insight into using primal threat indicators as a de-escalation tactic, click on this link :

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Defensive Driving Tactic *(dominate the lane)

Professional body-guards will always try to dominate the lane when driving.  That means that they drive closer than normal to the white line in the middle of the road. 

Why do they do that?  For several reasons really :
  • firstly it ensures good vision of the road ahead
  • secondly, it stops other drivers wanting to squeeze past
  • thirdly, it gives you the space to take evasive action if someone tries to run you off the road.
 It's a simple defensive driving tactic... and easy to do with just a little practice.

Let's take a moment to examine how most people drive.  Did you know that drivers generally position their vehicle away from the white line in order to create distance from on-coming traffic.

That's understandable, but from a defensive driving point of view, leaving so much space between you and the white line allows car-jackers or kidnappers to come up along the outside and suddenly cut across in front of you.  And that will usually leave you no other option than to drive off onto the shoulder of the road.

Criminals can then quickly position their car across in front of you, which forces you to stop.  And sometimes a second car will pull in behind you... blocking your ability to reverse back away.

However, if you safely dominate the lane it makes it difficult to force you off the road, because you have the necessary room to take evasive action.

Note : The only time that body-guards will drive in the middle of a lane is when they're in the center lane of a multi-lane highway.  From this position they can take evasive action in either direction - to the right or the left.

Now you might not have to face the threat of car-jackers or kidnappers, but knowing how to dominate a lane can be an effective way of avoiding a road-rage incident.

It will give you room to take evasive action against any attempt to force you off the road (or onto an exit)... where you would be vulnerable to a physical confrontation. 

It's Primal Protection.

For insight into how to do a cleaning run in your car,
scroll down to the previous posting.

How to do a Cleaning Run in your Car

In counter-surveillance terms a Cleaning Run is a process that cleans away any Tail that you may have picked up.  It's generally done on foot to avoid a physical confrontation with criminals, but if you ever feel you're being followed, it's a process that you can also do in your car. 

Some time ago I watched an episode of 'The Wire' (a police action drama - see photo above), and was surprised to see that the story-line included an example of doing a Cleaning Run in a car. It's quite simple, and went like this :

Three cops were trying to tail a drug lord, but to make sure he wasn't being followed, he did a cleaning run through deserted suburban streets.  First he stopped and parked his car, just to have a look around at who might have stopped as well.  Then he did a quick U-turn and drove slowly, watching in the mirror to see if anyone else turned around.  Then he turned up a laneway and just waited.  When the cops drove past, he smiled and waved.  The police then withdrew, because they knew that the drug lord wasn't going to lead them anywhere important while he knew he had a tail.

It was a short scene, but it was interesting to see an example of how a cleaning run can be performed in a car.... even if it was the bad guy who won the day.

 So if you think you're being followed, you could apply any of these techniques :
  • do a U-turn and casually check to see if anyone does the same
  • slow down to a crawl, and see if anyone else slows down as well
  • park on a street somewhere, use your mirrors to look around, then pull-out slowly as you safely check to see if anyone follows... and if they do, note the colour and make of the vehicle, or even try to get a partial plate number to report to the police.
In summary that becomes 3 easy to remember techniques :
  • do a U-turn, and casually check
  • slow down and casually check
  • park, pull-out, and casually check.
And when you feel it's safe to do so, try to get a look at the vehicle, and the driver.  Then go and report the incident to Police. Tell them the techniques you used to expose the person who has been following you, together with any other details you can remember.

It's Primal Protection.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

How to Apply a Cleaning Run in a Shopping Centre

Regardless of whether you're a man or a woman, if you think you're being followed, one way to avoid a physical confrontation is to use a cleaning run.  It's a counter-surveillance term that describes the process of cleaning your path of escape. A more common phrase is 'Shaking a Tail.'
These days that 'tail' may well be a teenage gang who have decided to follow you... waiting for the opportunity to rob or violently attack you.

Some time ago I presented a series of Personal Protection Workshops that involved a range of avoidance tactics... one of which was learning how to do a cleaning run in various situations

After going through the basic techniques we drove to a local shopping centre and broke up into small groups... some of whom had to be predators, and some had to be potential victims. The experience of being both predator and prey is a real confidence builder.

You could actually practice one or two of the basic techniques any time you visit a shopping centre.  Or if you're a parent, you could turn the experience into a game and teach your children how to check to see if someone is following them, and how to escape (disappear).

I would also add encouraging your children to seek help from shop assistants or security personnel who they feel comfortable about approaching

Finally, each time you visit a shopping centre with your family it's always a good idea to nominate a safe place to meet (re-group) if you or any of your children are ever seperated.

The basic skill of a cleaning run is casual observation, and it works like this :

If you think you're being followed, you can apply a series of discreet observation techniques to get a good look at who they are, and how many... then quickly lose them, and escape the location

Some of the casual observation techniques include :
  • as you go up-or-down an escalator, casually turn to look around
  • use the reflection in a window to casually look around *(use a 45 degree angle)
  • walk into a shop, browse through the stock, and casually look out the door or window.
What you're looking for are people who continuously pop up in the same places that you do.  In this kind of situation '3' is the magic number.  If you notice something once, it could mean nothing.  If you notice it twice, it could just be a coincidence.  But if you notice it 3 times, then it's time to take evasive action and disappear.

If you do spot someone a few times, don't stare directly at them.  Instead, look at them out of the corner of your eye, or through your sunglasses. This will hide which direction you're actually looking.

Staring directly at them might feel like the right thing to do... to highlight the fact that you know that they're following you... but that might cause them to simply drop back and hide amongst the crowds of shoppers, or to change their approach completely.  It's better to have them stay as visible to you as possible. So always try to be discreet.
Also, it will help you get a good look at them, which will help if you report the incident to the Police or Security personnel in the shopping centre.

Keep in mind that losing a 'tail' can be as simple as going into a department store and looking through racks of clothes that are near an exit. 
Then the moment you step out of sight (behind a post or a clothes rack), you drop down low and quickly make your way toward the nearest exit. 

Once you're away from whoever was following you, your cleaning run has done its job - a potentially dangerous confrontation has been avoided - and you can safely head home.

It's Primal Protection.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

A Cleaning Run Overseas *(business or holiday)

Most martial artists think that when trouble starts they'll just be able to handle it.  They'll just throw a punch or two, or kick their attacker in the groin, and it will all be over.  But the truth is that the moment trouble starts it's often too late to do much about it... especially if it's a snatch-and-run robbery, or an intimidating close-quarter assault by a gang.

Here's a story that highlights how most people (even experienced martial artists) can be unaware of what's going on around them when they travel overseas :

Some years ago a friend of mine was on holidays in Singapore. He is a very experienced martial artist who had worked as a bouncer at strip clubs and illegal casinos in his past ... so he was no stranger to violence.

When he returned home from his trip he looked through his photographs, and was surprised to see that the same two Asian men (with no cameras or bags), had appeared in the background of three consecutive photograhs that were taken at three different tourist sites.

Although he had no idea at the time, he was obvioisly being followed by a couple of local criminals to see if he was vulnerable to being robbed. 

He wasn't concerned that the two guys might have tried to rob him, because he was confident that he could have handled that, even if they were armed.  But he was surprised that he didn't notice that he was being followed.

Like every other western tourist in Singapore, his casual and relaxed attitide didn't include the possibility that he might in fact be a target for petty criminals who were looking for an easy mark.

Although no one likes to consider the possibility that they might be attacked or robbed while they're travelling overseas, the fact is that it can happen... especially if you wander around completely unaware.

So here's an example of how a cleaning run could be done if you were overseas on holidays, or maybe on a business trip :

Imagine you were taking a walk around the local tourist sights.  After a few minutes you might casually check your reflection in a shop window... just to see what's going on around you.  And let's say you notice two men standing in the background and looking your way.  One of them stands out because he's wearing a distinctive red cap.

Now on it's own, seeing two men looking in your direction is nothing to be concerned about... so you just continue your sightseeing.

After five minutes or so you decide to stop for a drink at one of the local outdoor cafes.  Choosing a chair that allows you to look out at the people walking by, you sit back, relax, and casually look around.  And as you do, you notice the same two men standing nearby.

That could just be a coincidence though... so you finish your drink and leave to continue your sightseeing.

At the next street corner you stop at the traffic lights, and as you wait you look at the reflection in  the shop window across the street.  Again you see that red cap... the two men are standing behind you amongst the people waiting for the lights to change. 

Now it's time to seriously consider the possibility that you are being followed.

(In counter-surveillance the number '3' is the magic number.  If you notice something once, it could mean nothing.  If you notice it twice, it could just be a coincidence.  But if you notice it 3 times, then it's time to take evasive action and disappear.)

So you cross the road and walk into a shop and buy a bottle of water. You open it, take a sip, and as you look at some postcards you casually look out through the shop window. You see the same two men walk past the shop and stop, and from your vantage point you're able to get a good look at them without actually staring directly at them.

(Staring directly at them might alert them to the fact that you've noticed them following you...  and that might cause them to drop back and hide amongst the crowds passing by.  But getting a good look at them can help with reporting any incident to the Police.)

So once know what they look like, you leave the shop.  And as you do you casually look down at your watch and start to walk a little faster... as if you suddenly realised that you're late for an appointment.

This forces the two men following you to walk faster in order to keep up with you.

As you approach the next corner you reach into your pocket and take out your mobile phone... and as you turn the corner you stop and put the phone to your ear as if you're talking to someone. 

The two men come rushing around the corner and sudenly stop.  You can see by the look on their faces that they're visibly shocked to see you just standing there, looking at them, with a phone to your ear. 

They realise they've been exposed, and now they're in a very public place with lots of potential witnesses. Their element of surpise has disappeared, and their plan to pounce at a vulnerable moment is ruined.  So they quickly turn away and head off down the street.

Your cleaning run has done its job - a confrontation has been avoided - and you can safely head back to your hotel. 

Finally, keep in mind that you don't have to try and remember all of these tactics.
But if can practice just a few of them in the relative safety of your own city, 
you'll feel much more confident when you actually travel overseas.

It's Primal Protection.

A Cleaning Run across Town *(how the Spooks do it)

Some time ago I presented Personal Protection Workshops that involved a range of avoidance skills... one of which was learning how to do a cleaning run

In counter-surveillance terms a cleaning run is a process that cleans away any tail that you may have picked up.  And these days, that tail may well be a petty criminal or a teenage gang who have decided to follow you... waiting for a vulnerable moment to rob or attack you.

The benefit of using a cleaning run is that it exposes exactly who is following you, and how many there are. And that gives you the opportunity to clean-off your tail and suddenly disappear... thereby avoiding any physical confrontation.

To give you an idea of what can be involved, following is a description of a classic cleaning run from the BBC spy drama 'Spooks'. 

The story-line involved two MI-5 agents sitting in a car, watching a suspect who was referred to as 'the target'.

The target came out of his house and started walking down the street.  One of the agents got out of the car and followed him.

Suddenly the target stopped, bent down to fix his shoe-lace, and casually looked around.  It's an old spy trick that's used to see if anyone else stops and waits.

The agent had to walk past him, because stopping would have drawn attention to himself... and that would have exposed him as being 'a tail.'

The target then stood up and started walking back the other way... discreetly checking to see if anyone else turned to follow him.

At that point the agent had to withdraw because he had been seen once by the target, and couldn't afford to be seen again.  So the second agent picked up where his partner left off.... following the target along the street, but staying at a distance.

The target then went down into a subway station... and the agent followed... walking in amongst the crowd.

The agent made his way along the platform until he found where the the target had stopped... but walked straight past him and stood further up the platform.

The target then asked a stranger for directions, and pointing at his small book of street maps.  But this was just a ploy to scan the area.  As the target spoke he casually glanced around, looking to see if anyone was looking his way.

The target then thanked the stranger, leaned against a wall, and looked down at his book of maps.  And from time to time he would casually look around.

A train soon pulled into the subway station, and people stared to get on.  But the target didn't move... he just stayed leaning against the wall, as if he didn't want that particular train.

The agent had a hunch that the target might get on the train at the last minute, so he took the chance and stepped into the carriage.  Then just as the siren sounded to signal that the doors were about to close, the target suddenly got on the train.

As a side-note, my Ninjutsu teacher in Japan used to always get on and off a train at the very last minute.  It was a tactic he practiced to make it hard for anyone to follow him.  It certainly made if difficult for me to travel anywhere with him, because he'd suddenly make a move for the door without giving me any warning at all.

But let's get back to the story-line from Spooks.  The agent took a seat on the train and watched the target without looking directly at him. Instead, he used the reflections in the windows, and also watched him out of the corner of his eye.

All the time, the target just leaned against the wall and looked down at his book.  And every now and then he would look up and casually scan the carriage to see if anyone was watching him.

The train then started to slow down as it pulled into a station.  The target kept looking down as if he didn't intend to get off, but the agent noticed that he slowly closed his book.

Recognising that as being a prepration to move, the agent got off as soon as the doors opened... and at the last minute the target got off as well.

As the crowd made their way up the underground escaltors, the agent had no idea how far behind the target was, but he couldn't afford to turn around and look back.  He knew that he had already been noticed as a fellow passenger at least twice : once standing on the platform ; and again in the carriiage. So he couldn't risk being noticed a third time.

In counter-surveillance the number '3' is the magic number.  If you notice something once, it could mean nothing.  If you notice it twice, it could just be a coincidence.  But if you notice it 3 times, then it's time to take evasive action and disappear.

As the agent walked out onto the street he stopped and casually leaned up against the wall of the building, making sure that he was facing away from the exit so that his face couldn't easilly be seen by the target as he came out.

Within a matter of seconds the target emerged and walked straight past him to a public telephone, and made a call. 

That was the end of the cleaning run, and as you might expect, it was a happy ending for MI-5.

Now here's a summary of the techniques that were presented in that story-line :
  • stop to check your pocket or look in your bag (and casually look around)
  • turn and walk in the opposite direction (and look for any shocked faces)
  • ask a stranger (or police) for directions, and look around as you speak
  • look down at a book or ipod, and casually look up now and then
  • get on and off a train (or bus) at the very last minute.   

It's so easy really... and it just takes a little practice to make it a natural habit.
All you have to do is practice one tactic for a few days each.

It's Primal Protection.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Primal Attack Ritual *(there's no voice of reason)

When people try to tell you that you should try to 'reason' your way out of a confrontation with an aggressive predator, perhaps you can explain to them that predators are not Vulcans... they're more like Klingons with a blood-lust (see image below).

Street predators aren't in any way open to the voice of reason. They have only one thought on their mind... a surprise attack.... and this is the ritual they use to get close enough to do that :
  • they generally start with aggressive eye-contact *(target selection)
  • then they quickly close the distance on their intended victim
  • next comes the verbal intimidation : "What the f*ck are you looking at?"
  • and as the victim responds "I don't want any trouble...." BAM they're brutally assaulted. 
Now this is the important point to remember : It doesn't matter what you say in response to a predator's verbal intimidation.  All they hear is "Blah, blah, blah", because they're not really listening.  They're simply trying to close the distance on you by giving you the impression that the fight hasn't started yet.
But the fight actually started with the eye-contact.  That's the moment they selected you as a target... and everything they did after that was simply a tactic to stop you running away before they got to you.
It's a primal thing!  All predators in nature use an approach that's something like this. They find a way close the distance on their potential victim, then suddenly pounce for the kill.

So what can you do if you're casually looking around and catch the aggressive eye of a predator?
Well if you stare back it can be seen as a challenge... a threat... and prompt the predator to immediately close the distance and attack.
If you look down in fear, you will be seen as a potential victim... an easy target... and that can prompt the predator to immediately close the distance and attack. 
The best tactic to apply is to show no emotion and simply shift your gaze a little, while keeping sight of the predator from the corner of your eye.  In this way you can see them coming if they decide to close the distance and test your vulnerability. 
If they do start to walk towards you, keep in mind that the fight has already started, and you can't afford to let them get close enough to launch their surprise attack.  That's generally going to be 'talking range'... about 2 feet.  And it's the same for most stabbings.
So before they get that close you should move to open the distance.  Face them side-on to narrow your body... and point straight at the predator's face. This is a 'primal threat indicator'... a tactic I'll write more about in another posting.

If you're standing in a corner or up against a wall as a predator walks toward you, then move around to your right or your left as they get close. This will take away the possibility of a close-quarter surprise attack, and also let the predator know that you are aware of his/her intention.
At this point they will generally start their verbal intimidation :"What the f*ck are you looking at?" or "Do you wanna a taste of this do ya?"
Remember, it doesn't matter what you say at this point... they're not really listening... they're just trying to work their way close enough to launch a surprise attack.
What ever you do say - for example "Stay Back" or "Calm down" - it should be said in a firm deep tone so that everyone nearby can hear you... because you're not actually talking to the predator, your talking to all the potential witnesses who will be able to say that they heard you try to de-escalte the confrontation. 
(Note : This can be very important at a later date, especially if you're talking to the Police).
At this stage in the confrontation the predator may still decide to attack you... but a close-quarter attack is no longer possible because you've created a safe distance (at least 6 feet), and your stance demonstrates that you're aware and ready to defend yourself. 
So now that you no longer look like an easy target... the predator has to evaluate the real risk that they might also get hurt if they continue with their attack. 
And if they pause at all, begin a gradual retreat... retaining your body-language and commanding tone of voice! 

It's Primal Protection.
For insight into 'The Second Wave - Dealing with the Police', click on the link below :