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.

Friday, January 16, 2015

When 'Losing It' can work to your Advantage

Verbal de-escalation techniques are ways of speaking that are used to try and reduce the level of violence in a confrontation. And they come in both passive and aggressive forms.

One form of aggressive de-escalation is called 'The Caged Cat'... and it’s something that can be used against a group of attackers.

How does it work? Well it's a primal thing. We (humans) have an innate fear of the unknown, in all its forms. And a crazy person is something unknown… because we can't predict what they're going to do… so we tend to fear them.

So if you're suddenly faced with the likelihood of being attacked by several people, I recommend you try The Caged Cat technique.  All you need to do is :
  • pace from side-to-side... turning on every third step
  • repeatedly and aggressively point (stab the air) with your forefinger
  • threaten, swear and insult your aggressors... because that’s the only language that street predator's understand, or respect.

The trick is to getting the group to think that maybe, just maybe, you’re completely out of your mind like a crazed cat in a cage... and that they might get seriously hurt if they tangle with you.

It takes a bit of practice (at home, in the mirror) but it's surprisingly effective. For more information click on to this post :
It's Primal Protection.