Sunday, September 16, 2012

"To Hug or Not to Hug?" - that is the question!

(This post by Tom Taylor)

Politicians have been hugging babies for over a hundred years. At a ropeline in 1996, President Bill Clinton was photographed hugging Monica Lewinsky. It was something Clinton would later regret doing as the photographs and video were played again and again.

During a campaign stop on September 9, 2012, Big Apple Pizza owner Scott Van Nuzer bear-hugged and hoisted President Barack Obama off the ground, sparking a discussion amongst security professionals: “Was this a scripted stunt or an unexpected event? Where was the Secret Service? What happens when someone tries to hug and hoist your client?” The hug didn’t so much raise eyebrows, as did the hoist.

The fact is, public figures hug people all the time and it’s almost always okay. Having protected at-risk public figures for over 35 years, I’ve found the general rule to be: “If the protectee wants to hug someone, I won’t stop him/her. If someone wants to hug the protectee, I will prevent it until the protectee lets me know it’s okay.” Every public figure I’ve protected has hugged someone in my presence and I allowed it, because they initiated the embrace.

Those same public figures have been approached by unknown people in unsolicited encounters and I have prevented those “hug requests/attempts” because it was inappropriate and unwelcome. Hoisting the protectee takes it to another level, putting the protectee in a helpless and uncomfortable situation. It is a basic protective goal to prevent embarrassing situations for the protectee. But what if the hug is a prelude to an assault?An excuse to draw the protectee into a vulnerable position.

In 2008, a man convinced rock singer Marilyn Manson that he wanted to shake Manson’s hand. Manson was clearly uncomfortable and his security team kept the man at bay. When Manson relented and shook the man’s hand, the man then asked him for a hug. Manson reluctantly agreed to hug him. When they embraced, the man ripped Manson’s wig off (an assault), and his security team evacuated him away from the crowd.

The video of this incident can be seen at: It was certainly an embarrassing encounter for Manson, and one his protectors attempted to prevent.

In 1989, Alfred Adcock lunged through a barricade and attempted to hug Princess Diana as she was greeting people. Security agents grabbed Adcock and held him back. He received a caution from police over that incident. He had carried out a number of similar assaults on women, including two international athletes and two female members of staff at Durham prison.

Thousands of people saw Adcock grab Olympic sprinter Florence Griffith-Joyner on the track at Gateshead International Athletics Stadium. Race officials quickly intervened and Adcock was ushered off the track. Later, he admitted to indecently assaulting marathon runner Veronique Marot at the start of a race. Adcock entered that race as a runner and grabbed the French runner by the shoulder and put his hand on her breast. Adcock died in April 2004.

Protectors should develop a good relationship with their protectee and learn their preferences. Do they give autographs or pose for photos with fans? How do they handle direct contact with fans? Here are several points protectors should remember in these situations:

·     If the protectee will be shaking hands with people, always offer them an anti-bacterial solution to clean their hands when they return to the car or arrive in the green room. I’ve never had a client that didn’t appreciate that.

·     Maneuver to create a barrier between the protectee and unwanted approachers and try to keep the protectee moving while in public areas.

·     Use Verbal Judo skills to maintain control of situations. The rule is “Let the person say what he wants, as long as he does what you say.”

·     If you are telling a fan to stay back and holding out your arm as a barrier, but he is ignoring your presence and commands, then HE is elevating the situation to the next level. Know and practice low key tactics to control aggressors, cut through lines of people blocking your path, and breaking handholds on the client. Assume whatever tactic you use will be videotaped and put on the Internet within minutes. If properly handled, that same videotape can illustrate to a jury in civil or criminal court that you and the protectee were being assaulted and you only used minimal force to resolve the situation.

·     Always approach these situations as if there is a “No Hugging or Hoisting” sign hanging around the protectee’s neck. And the protectee is the only one allowed to say otherwise.


Monday, June 4, 2012

Dissecting Knife Attack Defence.....

(This post by Hans van Beuge)

Wayne Roy has recently written about some restraint and control tactics for knife disarms.  Although over the years I have had to protect clients who were threatened or attempted to be assaulted by assailants armed with knives, syringes, screwdrivers and broken bottles, I don’t profess to have any specialized expertise in knife disarms. 

The reasons I prevailed had more to do with the incompetence of the assailants than my proficiency... plus my willingness to deploy the rule of physics that say’s no two objects can occupy the same place in space at the same time, without catastrophic results. (Namely the offender’s head and whatever hard object I could hit it with).

My best advice to those when confronted by an offender armed with an edged weapon is to immediately run away very fast.

However, this option is not available to us when we are protecting a client. Under these circumstances our options are to neutralize the assailants attack or to shield the client and absorb it.

As such, I believe Wayne offers some very simple and effective advice on limb control of an edged-weapon armed offender.  However, I would like to add the following:

Effective knife-attack defense tactics need to be based on knowledge of how deadly the blade can be.  Up close a knife can be deadlier than a firearm.  In fact if a major artery is cut, loss of consciousness can occur in seconds, and death in under a minute.

So know the anatomy that is most vulnerable.....

Be psychologically prepared that you may be cut multiple times in a confrontation with a knife attacker, and be prepared to apply self-triage and first aid when it is over. 

There are countless incidences of people who have beaten a knife wielder only to die of their own wounds shortly after

If you are in an area of Protection work that offers a high incidence of probability of a knife assault, wear a stab/slash resistant vest and gloves. Bearing in mind those highly vulnerable targets like the carotid and brachial arteries are still exposed.

Be aware that it can be extremely hard to grab an attackers hand.  Good knife fighters do not need to ‘telegraph’ strikes to cut powerfully, and will often ’feint’ moves to create openings.

As Mark James of Panther Protection Services pointed out, most knife attacks resemble prison shanking’s rather than the more dueling type choreography that martial artists prepare for.  Think of the prison-yard rush style of attack.  A much more frenzied style of assault that is harder to defend against.

However,don’t let the fear factor psych you out over defending against the knife.  The good news is that statistically, most knife attackers aren’t James Bowie on amphetamines.

They are predominately uncoordinated, unfit, un-trained, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol or all of the above.

If you train the odds will always be in your favour.  Utilize the diminished fighter theory.  Their speed and effectiveness will be severely impaired and it will be easier to disarm them if you have already hit them over the head with a chair, baton, or any other dedicated or improvised striking implement. 

In short, turn them into a human piƱata.  I can personally recommend the effectiveness of a wall-mounted fire extinguisher.

Never underestimate an assailant and be highly respectful of the lethality of edged weapons. Make your training reality-based, not based on supposition.

For more insight into the realities of knife defence, scroll down to the 2-part series below. 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

C.Q.C. Basics : Knife Defence - a Primal Response

(This 2-part series by Wayne Roy - C.Q.C. and I.P. Consultant)

The assailant holding the knife in the photo above is Mark James, the Executive Director of Panther Protection Services in Atlanta, teaching defensive tactics at the Fulton County Police Training Academy.

To me, the photo highlights three very important points about unarmed knife defence.....

Firstly, most knife attacks on the street happen at close range - talking range - about two feet.  Secondly, it's a natural survival response to initially try to evade a blade.  And thirdly, it's just as natural to try and grab the knife hand. 

Why do people try to grab?  It's a primal psychological response... an attempt to control (stabilize) a situation that's suddenly out of control.

However it's just as natural for the person holding the knife to react when their control is suddenly taken away by you grabbing their wrist or arm. 

Keep in mind that your attacker's knife is their power... and when they suddenly loose control of that power they will desperately want it back

The most common counter-measure they'll respond with is to pull back on the knife hand... or they'll grab or push you with their other hand as they lean away (see photo below).  It's a primal response that I recommend be incorporated into everyone's knife defence training!

So now we've covered :
  • why it's natural to try and grab the knife hand
  • and that your attacker is going to violently react to your defensive grab.

Now it's time to consider what you're going to do in the next 1-2 seconds... because that's all you've got before you start experiencing that 'getting punched' feeling that is actually the sensation of being stabbed at close-quarters.

It's always a good idea to disrupt your opponent if you can - with one or two quick power strikes.  But if you don't, then you've got a struggle on your hands, and your only other option is to apply a takedown or a restraint of some kind.

In my next post in this series I'll offer some insight into the universal principles of restraint and control.  But in the meantime I'll like to leave you with a quote from Mark James :

"Remember most knife attacks are ambushes.  So don't think martial arts - think prison shanking. That's what you will most likely be defending against."

My thanks to Panther Protection Services for the photo :

C.Q.C. Basics : Principles of Restraint & Control

(This 2-part series by Wayne Roy - C.Q.C. and I.P. Consultant)

Universal Principles :  Regardless of whether you're disarming someone who is threatening you with a firearm or a knife, or you're applying a non-violent restraint to someone who's drunk or being difficult, chances are you're applying one (or a combination of) the three universal principles of limb control :
  • twist - any action that applies a spiral twisting pressure to a joint 
  • lock - any action that forces a joint against its natural direction  
  • fold - any action that applies folding pressure or leverage.

I initially developed these principles as a Defensive Tactics Training Module because they can be used to explain the power dynamic of any restraint or disarm. 

Following is a photo of the 'twist' principle, followed by a photo of the 'lock' principle, then the 'fold' principle.  And although these principles are shown being applied to a wrist, they could just as easily be applied to a finger, an elbow, a shoulder, a knee, or an ankle.

Below is an example of applying an outward spiral pressure to a wrist (twist).

Below is an example of forcing a hand back against the wrist-joint (lock).

Below is an example of applying folding pressure to a wrist (fold).

Now I'll use those principles to describe a few limb controls. The first is a 'twist-and-fold'.  With my left hand I've twisted the wrist outwards from the shoulder, and with my right hand I've folded it over and pushed down.  The combined power dynamic will force the opponent straight down to the ground.

This technique below is a 'lock' on the elbow-joint and a 'fold' on the wrist joint.  It turns the arm into a straight lever (a handle) that can be used to force someone down to the ground, or move them to a different location.

This technique below is a 'lock' on the elbow-joint and a 'lock' on the wrist joint, which also turns the arm into a lever.  All you need to do at this point is lift the hand up and push forward and down into the shoulder, and the opponent will be forced to bend over into a weakened state of balance.  From there you can kick, knee, or change to another restraint.

So as you can see, those 3 principles not only allow you to understand the power dynamic of a restraint or disarm... they make it easier to explain the technique when you're training with (or teaching) a colleague. 

Just remember 'twist, lock, fold'... universal principles you can apply to any joint... to a finger, an elbow, a shoulder, a knee, or an ankle. 

My thanks to Mark James of Panther Protection Services for the top image :

And also to Stephen Needham Photography for shooting the techniques :


Thursday, May 31, 2012

C.Q.C. Basics : Primal S.O.B. Tactics

(This post by Wayne Roy - C.Q.C. and I.P. Consultant)

No it's not 'Son Of a Bitch' Tactics... but some people are going to think that about you when you use these close quater combat tactics. 

S.O.B. actually stands for : Sight ; Oxygen ; and Blood.  The acronym refers to the tactic of disrupting an opponent's attack by applying pressure to one or more of their body's vital functions :
  • their sight 
  • the flow of oxygen to their brain 
  • and the flow of blood to their brain.

You can be fighting in any position (standing, sitting, or on the ground) - it doesn't matter - the moment you attack these vital functions it will trigger a psychological response in your opponent.  They will stop hitting you, and their hands will immediately go to your hands. 

It's a natural hard-wired response!  And because you know this is going to happen, you're ready to quickly release your pressure and launch a counter-offensive that will create an opportunity for you to escape :
  • elbow strikes
  • hand strikes
  • knee strikes
  • or kicks.

It really is that simple.  And I'm not referring to blinding them, or ripping their throat out. You don't actually need much force to trigger a 'survival' response that will stop them from trying to hit you.  For just a few seconds press as hard as you can against either :
  • their eyes (sight)
  • or their larynx (oxygen flow)
  • or one or both carotid arteries (blood flow).

It's a bit like pressing hard on a button.  You press against your attacker's eyes, or you press on the flow of oxygen or blood to their brain.  And to survive they have to stop attacking you and deal with the attack on their vital functions.

It may seem like 'dirty tactics' to some people, but to me it's just a simple and effective psychological advantage.  

My thanks to Mark 'Six' James of Panther Protection Services for the photos :

The Missing "F" Word.....

(This post by Hans van Beuge)

Fight or Flight. We have all heard that mantra before.  It’s a quick and catchy alliteration used to describe the autonomic nervous systems response to sudden danger.

Dr. Walter Canon, an American Professor of Physiology, coined the phrase back in 1929 to describe what happens when mammals are faced with sudden threats.

The only problem with Dr. Canon’s theory was that he left out another “F- word” in the autonomic response to fright. FREEZE.

Anyone who has experienced/studied/observed violence intuitively knows that we must include Flight, Freeze or Fight as being an additional reaction or part of the continuum, when sudden danger presents.

In a 2004 Issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry, 5 eminent Psychiatrists petitioned their peers to change the Fight or Flight mantra to “Freeze, Flight, Fight and Fright” believing this better characterizes the ordered sequence of responses that mammals exhibit as a threat approaches or escalates.

A Close Quarter Protection training doctrine can probably function with just the first three ‘F’s being Freeze, Flight or Fight.  The fourth ‘F’ of fright being more relevant to the psychiatric profession dealing with posttraumatic stress syndromes.

Any training regime for Protectors that doesn’t address the potential for these autonomic responses to kick in is inadequate. They can cause a massive under-reaction, over-reaction or non–reaction in the moment of crisis.

During the Kennedy assassination in 1963, only one of the PSD Agents reacted to the gunshots.  The driver of the Presidential limo actually froze, and braked at the sounds of the shots causing the shooter to get a near stationary target for the last fatal head shot.

Survival Psychologists say that up to 80% of people freeze or under-react when presented with violence.  They just become stunned and bewildered.

The term used is “Incredulity Response”.  It’s why very few people become involved in helping out victims in incidences of street violence.

The US Secret Service, through proper training and conditioning, addressed these issues, and by the time of President Reagans near assassination in 1980 the PSD responded appropriately with incendiary speed. 

A case of “Flight” over-riding an appropriate response could be seen in the recent evacuation of the Australian Prime Minister, from a venue, where a handful of protesters had assembled outside.

Her protection team over-reacted and fled the building, nearly injuring the PM in the process and causing major embarrassment.

It is clearly plain to see the level of panic and stress visible on the officer’s faces though no threat is present.

It is evident that any training doctrine must include addressing the element of “freezing” when facing a critical incident.

Solutions could include : Hyper-realism training that conditions effective sudden "fight" responses from ambush and surprise ; training in orderly evacuations ; fear inoculation training ; and developing an understanding of Fear Management concepts.