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ichibyoshi
20th March 2009, 11:11
That probably got your attention. :D However all those looking forward to some smackdown pr0n may as well leave now.

This is a thread I have been pondering for a while and also where best to post it. I am posting it here, not on home turf as it were, to gauge the reaction of people more experienced than myself in personal defence, LE and CQC (which is just about everybody on the planet), as well as simply to share a personal experience that I found a bit challenging.

The gist of it is this: out late one night (3 am) after my partner's milestone birthday party. In a big group of people, both sexes, some drunk, walking a little aimlessly to find a taxi. In a part of town that is not the most notorious for violence, but that is home to a lot of bars.

A young male is screaming obscenities and threats up ahead. He looks like he's got a beef with a particular individual. But then he breaks off and starts roving about. Soon realise he is off his dial, more likely drugs than alcohol (later conclude probably meth-amphtamine induced psychosis). He starts heading our way. He's about 2-3cm shorter than me but probably a bit heavier. He's still screaming how he's going to rip everyone apart. He king hits one member of our group who is walking 10m ahead of me. My friend is knocked down but not out and is OK. The "perp" approaches another friend who is directly in front of me, goes to swing and checks himself--"oh, you're a chick". He sees me, takes a swing, and connects with a right hook to my left cheek bone. It smarts but I'm OK. The perp continues on to another group down the road outside a bar that is still open. I go home, ice it, next day it's 80% better.

The aftermath left me with a lot of what-ifs. I couldn't even bring myself to tell any of my MA friends because I felt like I had somehow let the side down. I also kept an eye on the increase in 'unsolicited' (i.e. just popping into my head at odd moments) violent ideation I experienced in the weeks following.

Since then I think I have worked out what went on and I'm OK with it.

But I'm curious to know what others here think of the "copping it sweet" strategy. Is it a strategy? Have others had similar experience? I'm fortunate in that I haven't had much direct exposure to this kind of real, unavoidable violence.

And yes I know I'm missing at least one ingredient of Thomas Gerace's magic formula (http://www.e-budo.com/forum/showthread.php?t=41874) for avoiding violent situations. In my defence Your Honour, I was not drunk, only tipsy (I was busy on the wheels of steel all night). And I RARELY go out after midnight...

b

Hissho
20th March 2009, 13:48
Ben

No time to post now, but I think this will be a fruitful discussion, and I applaud your courage in coming forward with it.

Help me out, what does "copping it sweet" mean?

More later...

Hissho
20th March 2009, 14:19
Okay, scratch that, I found some time for at least a cursory treatment:






The gist of it is this: out late one night (3 am) after my partner's milestone birthday party. In a big group of people, both sexes, some drunk, walking a little aimlessly to find a taxi. In a part of town that is not the most notorious for violence, but that is home to a lot of bars.

At issue here is HOW drunk, and how drunk were you. I imbibe adult beverages in public myself, but never to the point where I am unable to be aware of my surroundings, or respond appropriately when a threat is present.







A young male is screaming obscenities and threats up ahead. He looks like he's got a beef with a particular individual. But then he breaks off and starts roving about. Soon realise he is off his dial, more likely drugs than alcohol (later conclude probably meth-amphtamine induced psychosis). He starts heading our way. He's about 2-3cm shorter than me but probably a bit heavier. He's still screaming how he's going to rip everyone apart.

These are far more than warning flags. From what you have described, no one took any proactive action in light of these facts. Several available 1) turn around and walk away - admittedly unlikley and not thought of in the group dynamic you mentioned, but that is where the "heads up" martial artist who is paying attention to what is going on around him may have to take a leadership role amongst his group of friends and say, "let's get away from here until this guy is gone."

Or, cross the street and continue on your way avoiding contact.

Or, simply stop as a group - keep an eye on him, and if he heads toward you, act.






He king hits one member of our group who is walking 10m ahead of me. My friend is knocked down but not out and is OK. The "perp" approaches another friend who is directly in front of me, goes to swing and checks himself--"oh, you're a chick". He sees me, takes a swing, and connects with a right hook to my left cheek bone. It smarts but I'm OK. The perp continues on to another group down the road outside a bar that is still open. I go home, ice it, next day it's 80% better.

Am I correct in that it appears that NO defensive action was taken by anyone here?

If so you have - a direct physical assault on one member of your party,almost a second, and then a third. Action should have started the minute the assault on the first was imminent.

An issue here is that many people, including martial artists, are reticent to engage people physically because of hesitation, unfamiliarity with what their legal standing is, and frankly, fear. Add even a little alcohol to the mix and this gets more complicated.





The aftermath left me with a lot of what-ifs. I couldn't even bring myself to tell any of my MA friends because I felt like I had somehow let the side down. I also kept an eye on the increase in 'unsolicited' (i.e. just popping into my head at odd moments) violent ideation I experienced in the weeks following.

Since then I think I have worked out what went on and I'm OK with it.

Again, I applaud your courage coming forward so publicly. Now let's re-program your response: I for one would not be "OK with it." Things could have been much worse. Unless, by "OK with it" means that it will be a learning experience and you will not be as easy a victim next time.

More later - I think we can talk about some of the advantages that kendo training provides you when such a situation may pop up again.

JS3
20th March 2009, 21:46
Ben,
I'm curious, what is a "king hit".

Also how much time do you figure passed between you noticing the individual,
his first assault and his assault on you.

ichibyoshi
21st March 2009, 01:53
OK, I see some Aussie to American translation is required.

King hit: a punch that comes without warning or provocation

Copping it sweet: what Ali did against Foreman for most of the Rumble in the Jungle.

Re time elapsed: probably about 10 secs.

Some more personal info: 5 dan kendo, kyu grade aikido, some koryu experience (sogo bujutsu with grappling component, not just sword).

I list those only to say that I was not totally unprepared for the encounter, although by the same token I didn't nor do I expect that this MA experience would give me invincibility.

b

ichibyoshi
21st March 2009, 02:46
Kit: definitely not OK with the being on the receiving end of mindless violence. And sure, it could have been worse. If his punch had been aimed at my chin and not my cheekbone, I probably would have been knocked cold, and would have fallen back to hit my head on something hard. Death or worse might have followed.

BTW I was by no means drunk, but would have certainly been a little reaction-impaired.

b

Hissho
21st March 2009, 06:29
Ben

Okay, so baseline I am thinking that we have this:

a) You have high level experience in a competitive, aggressive, combat sport which though perhaps not directly applicable to self defense in this context (just as BJJ or Judo would not have been....), it does give you some very clear attributes in terms of aggressive physical action, timing, understanding of maai, and "combat athleticism.'

b) Some experience in unarmed hand to hand training at close quarters.

and a level of functioning that was not completely "performance ready," but below intoxicated stumbling drunk.


My thoughts would be this: you were probably physically and even strategically prepared to handle this, but you probably have not been mentally prepared through your training.

Based on what was written - fill in your own nuances through your personal experience:

The "king hit" (Americans call it a sucker punch) may not have been with any provocation, but there was certainly warning, based on what you perceived occurring just prior. The encounter started at that point. The fight was essentially over once he went physical. In terms of a sucker punch, based on his pre-attack indicators, you'd really be a sucker to let that guy get that close and fall for that one. Chalk that up to lesson learned. Greater maai is your friend.

Mitigation should have begun prior through the strategies I talked about above - be away from this guy. Take charge of yourself and your friends and avoid the situation entirely. Explain it to them later.

Post king hit, it is time for action. He has committed an assault, and you are well within your rights to physically defend yourself when he enters your personal space with any hint of aggressive demeanor or posture. You just witnessed a man strike one friend, without provocation, and almost strike another. Once he had hit the first guy, at least in the U.S. you would be perfectly justified in blindsiding him, putting him on the ground, and holding him for the police to get there and arrest him.

And/or yell at him, give him verbal commands to "stay back!"

Frankly, ANY intrusion into your personal space after that point needs to be met with decisive, and pre-emptive, physical action. I don't mean repeatedly punch him in the throat or gouge his eyes out, but certainly a kick to the leg or bread basket, a palm jack to the chest or face followed by a take down, what have you. He is an imminent threat! You can clearly articulate that based on all the behaviour you, and several other persons and victims, have just witnessed. You covered some of the potential dire consequences in your own post - though I do not believe deadly force would in any way be justified at that point.

So - and you don't need to share this with us, just food for thought - where would you think your training has not been up to snuff?

Realistic (or any) assessment of real world threat behaviors and strategies to deal with them? Self defense classes, familiarity with self defense laws and common assault patterns (reading newspapers will give you a great deal of information here), and practice that centers on likely attack scenarios (sucker punches, for example) with both non-physical and physical solutions would address this.

Trusting your "sense" of a situation (intuition)? Interestingly enough I just recommended two books to a fellow countrywoman of yours who has got the self defense bug - in this order Gavin DeBecker's "The Gift of Fear" and Malcolm Gladwell's "Blink." The first is a must read on the subject, the second will give you more to chew on but is not directly on topic. They should also give you ideas re: training to respond to something like this in the future.

Overall, this was a lesson that came relatively cheaply. Turn the energy of that "violent ideation" toward a postive end: visualize the event replaying in your mind's eye but with you taking decisive action. When you have done that many times, start changing up the scenario you play in your head with different kinds of potential and imminent encounters, with you also taking decisive and appropriate action. It's great training, and will prepare you for "next time."

Hope that helps.

ichibyoshi
21st March 2009, 08:53
Thanks for your considered response Kit. It was the kind of thing I was hoping for. I've been following your posts (recently the HRV stuff), and enjoy and appreciate the level of expertise they contain.

Certainly you're right that of all the various areas of preparation, it was the mental aspect that was lacking. I just wasn't ready for a night out with my spouse to turn feral so fast.

Having said that, here's my take on it, which is a little different.

I recognise that my training is not self-defence oriented. Hence I don't really call my training to account. Actually, seen from another persepective, my training did prepare me.

Based on my assessment of the perp in his approach, his level of arousal, his focus, it was clear that he was revved to a degree that I could not match, certainly not in the the time I had available. He was clearly running on adrenaline++. But also it was clear that his focus was erratic. He had no 'plan' and was zeroing in on whoever was nearest. This made him less of a threat than someone who had a clear, calculated, malicious intent towards a single target. So his intentions were telegraphed to an incredible degree (indeed that was the main symptom of his psychosis), but the classic 'beserker' approach can be hard to predict and defend against nevertheless.

My JSA experience has given me fairly well-honed skills in assessing attack trajectories. Hence I would like to think, although it could well be post-factum rationalisation, that knowing the punch (read: wild swing) would land on my cheek not my chin, I made the decision to absorb rather than dodge.

Why not engage him?

Well, I think in not engaging him I didn't give him a fight, so he moved on. He hit someone, that gratified him, so his business with me was ended. I didn't protect anyone from him in the normal sense, but then I'm not a LEO or security professional. My prime directive is to make sure my kids don't grow up without their dad. I did however take away any reason for him to turn on our group, or force anyone in the group to come to my rescue. Absorbing a blow with your head is a risky proposition and not a strategy to be recommended (actually I do it all the time in kendo with the help of some armour!) but in this case it worked for me. Perhaps I was just lucky. I do know that I have a pretty thick head...

If he had had a knife or a gun, or if he was not just doing hit-and-runs but had taken a friend hostage or focused more than a single blow on them, I would not have been so blase.

Comfort can be derived from knowing that my cheek would have recovered much faster than his fist. That, and the fact that one day he's going to piss off someone much meaner and better armed than he.

Anyway it's a difficult thing to discuss out of context, with all the variables that we know are in play and that make each of these encounters unique. But thanks again Kit for your input, it has been really useful stuff to think about, and I will definitely check out those books you recommended.

b

bu-kusa
21st March 2009, 09:43
If he had had a knife or a gun, or if he was not just doing hit-and-runs but had taken a friend hostage or focused more than a single blow on them, I would not have been so blase.

Comfort can be derived from knowing that my cheek would have recovered much faster than his fist. That, and the fact that one day he's going to piss off someone much meaner and better armed than he.



Just going to play devils advocate for a minute, the fact he hit your cheek and not your chin could of been blind good luck, as is the fact he wasnt armed, and didnt escalate the situation. It may (or may not) be that your just not used to people swinging at you, and having to actually override your social instinct and hit someone, its not in many peoples (including myself) natural experience. If you assume that to be true for the sake of disscussion, what should you do about it?

ichibyoshi
21st March 2009, 11:32
Bu-kusa: That's the $64.00 question I suppose isn't it? What should one do about this kind of thing? Build a panic room? Badger my local MP for more police on the street? Pray for this guy's redemption? There's a wide range of options.

My personal response is not to let the incident re-define who I am, but just use it as a learning experience. Not to go out and enrol in a CQC program, but perhaps attend a little more closely when learning unarmed technique in the future, in my (not so) regular practice. The incident gives that information more context for me now.

Was I lucky? Absolutely. How much one can read from the circumstances is always clouded by the fact that we never quite know why things turned out as they did and not differently. However I'm pretty sure that when I saw the trajectory of his swing I relaxed. Certainly when it connected there was only the physical impact. There was very little emotional or dare I say 'psychic' impact. IOW I didn't "see red", nor did I later on experience any delayed emotional shock. This is, I conclude, the result of actually having so much time to see the quality of both the attack and the attacker coming.

The main negative I felt since is this questioning as to whether I should have done things differently or not. And a few extra violent 'fantasies' (not especially connected to this event). But I reckon most normal blokes have those from time to time. :D

Thanks again for the pointed question. It forced me to re-think about a few things.

b

Hissho
21st March 2009, 14:51
Hmmm,

Ben I think you might still be a little too close to this thing. Without being too pointed, and I hope you take this in the spirit intended, I think you are still rationalizing.

Once again, no time now, but there are some telling points in your last large response that can be addressed in light of this.

Simply put, you would probably not have known if he had a knife or gun. So you would likely have pursued the same course. You state yourself that you were concerned about a potential fall and cracking your skull open. Consciously electing to absorb a blow to the head from a plainly telegraphed threat in light of that does not make sense.

Having been there myself (we all do it), I would offer that your brain is attempting to re-cast your lack of action - or poor choice of action - in a light that you are more comfortable contemplating. FWIW.


We can take that to PM if you'd like.

Brian Owens
22nd March 2009, 07:31
...King hit: a punch that comes without warning or provocation...

But, in this case, there was plenty of warning: "He starts heading our way. ...He's still screaming how he's going to rip everyone apart."

Amir
22nd March 2009, 14:01
Having said that, here's my take on it, which is a little different.

I recognise that my training is not self-defence oriented. Hence I don't really call my training to account. Actually, seen from another persepective, my training did prepare me.

Based on my assessment of the perp in his approach, his level of arousal, his focus, it was clear that he was revved to a degree that I could not match, certainly not in the the time I had available. He was clearly running on adrenaline++. But also it was clear that his focus was erratic. He had no 'plan' and was zeroing in on whoever was nearest. This made him less of a threat than someone who had a clear, calculated, malicious intent towards a single target. So his intentions were telegraphed to an incredible degree (indeed that was the main symptom of his psychosis), but the classic 'beserker' approach can be hard to predict and defend against nevertheless.

My JSA experience has given me fairly well-honed skills in assessing attack trajectories. Hence I would like to think, although it could well be post-factum rationalisation, that knowing the punch (read: wild swing) would land on my cheek not my chin, I made the decision to absorb rather than dodge.

Why not engage him?

Well, I think in not engaging him I didn't give him a fight, so he moved on. He hit someone, that gratified him, so his business with me was ended. I didn't protect anyone from him in the normal sense, but then I'm not a LEO or security professional. My prime directive is to make sure my kids don't grow up without their dad. I did however take away any reason for him to turn on our group, or force anyone in the group to come to my rescue. Absorbing a blow with your head is a risky proposition and not a strategy to be recommended (actually I do it all the time in kendo with the help of some armour!) but in this case it worked for me. Perhaps I was just lucky. I do know that I have a pretty thick head...

If he had had a knife or a gun, or if he was not just doing hit-and-runs but had taken a friend hostage or focused more than a single blow on them, I would not have been so blase.





Sorry to burst in, and from a different sub-forum normally, but the main question I have for you is:
"Was this really what happend?"
The above take could be an exact description, though in such a case, I am missing one part - the conscious decision. But it could also be an excuse you are giving yourself, instead of acknowledging to self – "I failed, but was lucky, should act better next time".

In any case, I think your description and Kits are very different in the mind set. You should both try to take a look from the side: Kit is pro-action, preferably pre-emptive one, while you are pro-inaction: "I hope I can take it".
I also wonder how much of that is culturally dependent, I can not imagine a group of my friends acting the way you describe, the moment one is attacked, all would have intervened. Seems this is not the common behavior in your area.

Amir

K. Cantwell
22nd March 2009, 20:51
I also wonder how much of that is culturally dependent, I can not imagine a group of my friends acting the way you describe, the moment one is attacked, all would have intervened. Seems this is not the common behavior in your area.

I would think it isn't so much culture, but rather the training in your neck of the woods that makes the difference. From previous posts, I understand you did your IDF stint. Your friends probably did theirs, also. Kit is also a LE professional, so he also sees conflict and violence through professional training.

I don't know Mr. Sheppard's background in this area, but it would hard to put the training you guys have been through on hold in a situation like this and see it through the eyes of the "untrained." You couldn't imagine acting like this because you have been specifically trained not to. Comes down more to training than culture. (Whether or not the training is part and parcel of the culture is a different matter.)

Kevin Cantwell

Hissho
23rd March 2009, 03:15
Kevin

Thanks for underscoring a critical issue, and making the point: martial arts training is not self defense/combatives training.

I hope through discussions like these we can explore how our martial arts training does apply, and where the gaps in martial training might be addressed through situational awareness and relevant threat management and other exercises.

Bod
23rd March 2009, 12:07
Sorry to burst in, and from a different sub-forum normally, but the main question I have for you is:
"Was this really what happend?"
The above take could be an exact description, though in such a case, I am missing one part - the conscious decision. But it could also be an excuse you are giving yourself, instead of acknowledging to self – "I failed, but was lucky, should act better next time".
It may indeed have been a subconcious decision to take a blow on the head, if Ben had been doing just that in practice while wearing armour, and imagining he was being hit with a sword.

Hopefully it is just an excuse. The most likely reason was that you didn't have a plan Ben. And without a plan you are mentally lost. When you are lost you cannot take preemptive action. Also if you don't have the confidence that your skills are good enough to wing it when the plan fails (which it will) then you may hesitate anyway.

Personally speaking, going from rabbit in the headlights to taking the proactive response was a very very long journey.

Maro
23rd March 2009, 21:25
I would think it isn't so much culture, but rather the training in your neck of the woods that makes the difference. From previous posts, I understand you did your IDF stint. Your friends probably did theirs, also. Kit is also a LE professional, so he also sees conflict and violence through professional training.

I don't know Mr. Sheppard's background in this area, but it would hard to put the training you guys have been through on hold in a situation like this and see it through the eyes of the "untrained." You couldn't imagine acting like this because you have been specifically trained not to. Comes down more to training than culture. (Whether or not the training is part and parcel of the culture is a different matter.)

Kevin Cantwell

You don't have to have LEO/Military training to be aware of threats. Having done Bar work for years at UNI, situational awareness with regards to drunks and violence tends to come very quickly.

You don't need to live on edge constantly in a city but keeping your eyes open and being aware of your surroundings is the key.

K. Cantwell
23rd March 2009, 22:09
You don't have to have LEO/Military training to be aware of threats. Having done Bar work for years at UNI, situational awareness with regards to drunks and violence tends to come very quickly.

You are certainly right about that. My comment was about the idea that Amir "..couldn't imagine" acting the way Mr. Sheppard did. I think that comes from training.

Mr. Sheppard said he was aware of the threat; he just wasn't sure how to react to it. That is where, I think, specific training in dealing with threats would kick in.

For example, I'm sure you guys had a plan in the bar on how to handle a drunk: don't go alone, approach from opposite sides, take note of friends and cover them, etc. It is what you do after the threat as been identified, I think, that is a result of training or experience. I don't think that is something that just "happens" correctly. ("Correctly" would vary depending on the circumstances.)

Kevin Cantwell

Amir
24th March 2009, 08:18
I would think it isn't so much culture, but rather the training in your neck of the woods that makes the difference. From previous posts, I understand you did your IDF stint. Your friends probably did theirs, also. Kit is also a LE professional, so he also sees conflict and violence through professional training.

I don't know Mr. Sheppard's background in this area, but it would hard to put the training you guys have been through on hold in a situation like this and see it through the eyes of the "untrained." You couldn't imagine acting like this because you have been specifically trained not to. Comes down more to training than culture. (Whether or not the training is part and parcel of the culture is a different matter.)

Kevin Cantwell


I doubt it is a matter of training, I was not in fighting unit, nor were most of my friends. I do not recall having even a single lesson of Krav-Maga in the army, only some very nasic Fire-Arms training. Plus, we would have behaved the same way even as teen-agers, and it is not only us, it is the common behavior here (unfortunatly, among teen-agers it often creates violent clushes of groups from some stupid comment escalating).


For me, reading Ben post, there is some basic concept of everyday "no threats, no danger". Something people here (and in many other parts of the world) do not share. Thus, when there was an obvious threat, (hey, I would have gone to "yellow alert" just seeing such a guy), none in his group thopught is was worth reacting to. Ben own mental realization of the situation was - "I got hit, but I can take it, I'll call it asave from escalation" rather then "I was lucky to stay alive, but I must not count on it again".

It is a matter of something basic about life. I guess LE and Army professionals would live further this way then simpletons like me who simply live in other parts of the world.


Amir

Hissho
25th March 2009, 01:08
Amir

I think you bring up an excellent point - at base level cultural conditioning is going to be a factor. Not just in different countries, but in the different subcultures that people are raised.

Some people grow up in violent and/or abusive households in what are generally very safe countries overall. Further, you have the children of subcultures within societies that are more dysfunctional and violent; those of (drug dealers, gang members, outlaw bikers, what have you) that are inculcated with images and ways of relating to (and reading) people that are a far cry from those of middle or upper middle income folks - the latter being the majority of students in formal martial arts training in the West.

Josh Reyer
25th March 2009, 02:32
Rather than a cultural or training issue, I suspect the real culprit is psychological. I'm from a middle-class, non-LEO/military trained background, as are most of my friends. And, like Amir, if you asked me what me and my friends would do if an obviously intoxicated man sucker punched one of our group, I imagine we'd all say that we'd take the man down. Certainly the answer would not be to wait and see what would happen, let him almost punch a female friend, and then maybe take another punch so the guy would move on. I'm sure that had you asked Mr. Sheppard before this incident what he and his friends would do in such a situation, he too would have responded like Amir.

If you had asked me a few years ago, "What would you do if you saw a 2 or 3 year old boy falling down an up escalator?" my answer would have been, without a doubt, "Help him, save him." Surely that would be anybody's. My answer would have by no means been, "I will stand up and watch slowly fall down each step until somebody stopped the escalator." And yet, when I found myself in that situation, that is exactly what I did.

Why? Because at the exact moment that I stood to do something, a woman at the table behind me stood up. And we canceled each other out; she stopped to see what I would do, and I stopped to see what she would do. This was not a conscious decision. It was simply that in an unusual, stressful situation, the brain reverted to very simple decision making processes: wait, gather information, look at what others are doing. It's the bystander effect (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bystander_effect).

So, while Amir and I may assume before the event that our friends would come to our rescue, in fact we can't really know. The deindividuation that occurs from being a big group might leave us and our friends standing by dumbfounded as the intoxicated man wreaks havoc. Such tendencies are surely only going to be enhanced by a depressant like alcohol. In a psychological sense, Mr. Sheppard's and his friends' inaction was entirely normal. Most people would probably react the same way.

I think "non-practical" arts such as kendo and koryu weapon arts can give their practitioners the physical and mental training to overcome these psychological tendencies, be aware and in control of one's mind and body, with the ability to act, be that avoiding the attack in the first place, or responding to it immediately after it happens. Kendo in particular places huge emphasis on awareness and reading of the opponent, and moving quickly to respond when an opponent attacks or leaves an opening to attack. The problem, IMO, is that for most people this awareness has a binary setting. Completely on after bowing in for keiko or shiai, and completely off otherwise. The trick is to carry that physical and mental readiness in all of one's waking hours. Not because of some paranoid belief that one could be attacked anywhere, at any time, but because any thing could happen at any time. Today it's some drunk/high guy taking a swing, tomorrow it could be a baby falling down the escalator.

ichibyoshi
25th March 2009, 05:38
Lots of interesting posts! I must say the more I try and recount the incident, the less I seem to remember!

There is one thing I am curious about, and this is just an idea I'm throwing out there: does someone who has significant CQC training such that they can have good situational awareness at all times, reorganise their 'social wiring' such that that person's ability to live a 'peaceful' existence is forever compromised? If so, what is it they have lost exactly?

This is the nub of the situation for me.

One other kendo thing that might have been at play. In kendo, an opponent's attack is only considered truly successful if it disturbs their opponent's composure. I received this guy's punch like I would receive any poor attack. Crazed as he was, he didn't try a second. The fact that I absorbed it and kept walking just may have put him off.

b

Brian Owens
25th March 2009, 07:27
...does someone who has significant CQC training such that they can have good situational awareness at all times, reorganise their 'social wiring' such that that person's ability to live a 'peaceful' existence is forever compromised? If so, what is it they have lost exactly?

I'd like to weigh in on this one, if I may.

When I was in my early 20s I became a cop in the Air Force, and I've also been a store detective, a corporate security agent, and a body guard. I've been in a more than a few tense situations, a few scuffles, and one life or death fight that resulted in me, my partner, and the perp going to the emergency room. The good news was that in all those cases, my training lead me to know what was about to happen so that I wasn't caught completely off guard. If I had been, things could have been much worse.

Have my training and experiences forever compromised my ability to live a 'peaceful' existence? On the contrary, I think. I feel that I am now able to relax and enjoy my surroundings, knowing that if something bad is going to go down, I'll know it, and so when I don't feel "Condition Yellow" coming on, I can be at peace.

If I've lost anything, I guess it would be ecological naïvete: I am now aware that those around me are potential predators. I don't think that that is a "loss" to be mourned.

I certainly felt a greater loss when I saw "my town," Seattle, erupt into riots during the WTO protests of 1999, and then a short two years later watched airliners being used as guided missiles to attack New York City and Washington. Those resulted in a profound feeling of sadness that has still not left me, a loss of innocence as it were, and a feeling of being unable to control my own destiny. I also fear that worse is just around the corner.

Compared to that, the few bruises, cuts, and scrapes I've received over the years are nothing to lose sleep over.

Hissho
25th March 2009, 13:36
There is one thing I am curious about, and this is just an idea I'm throwing out there: does someone who has significant CQC training such that they can have good situational awareness at all times, reorganise their 'social wiring' such that that person's ability to live a 'peaceful' existence is forever compromised? If so, what is it they have lost exactly?

Or, better yet, what have they gained?

Certainly some of the sadness and awareness that Brian just posted above - but also more personal safety and more security for yourself and the loved ones around you.

Somewhere above you mentioned something about always wanting to be there to go home to your kids. Taking punches to the face from crazed lunatics in the street does absolutely nothing toward that goal.

Attempting to rationalize a tortured reason for why you performed well, when you clearly did not, works at cross purposes to it.

You may not be so lucky next time, Ben.



One other kendo thing that might have been at play. In kendo, an opponent's attack is only considered truly successful if it disturbs their opponent's composure. I received this guy's punch like I would receive any poor attack. Crazed as he was, he didn't try a second. The fact that I absorbed it and kept walking just may have put him off.

b

This wasn't kendo. What I think everyone here is telling you is that you need to wake up before something like this happens again.

Consider this a hard, but very cheap, lesson. Many have used events like this as a catalyst for positive change, as a springboard to expand knowledge and understanding of a whole other realm of the martial arts, and as the inspiration for making ourselves and our families safer.

You simply do not have to go around in Condition Orange all the time, hyper vigilant and seeing threats any and everywhere. That is not what situational awareness and self defense is. You absolutely can develop a "soft focus" Condition Yellow that focusses when certain "signatures" present themselves. Does it always work? Are you always on? No human being can be. But you can lead a normal, happy life that is very aware of what the potential threats are, and is very active in avoiding or mitigating them, without being a jumpy, paranoid, trigger happy freak.

Josh Reyer
25th March 2009, 14:51
There is one thing I am curious about, and this is just an idea I'm throwing out there: does someone who has significant CQC training such that they can have good situational awareness at all times, reorganise their 'social wiring' such that that person's ability to live a 'peaceful' existence is forever compromised? If so, what is it they have lost exactly?

This is the nub of the situation for me.

With respect, I believe you are looking at this entirely the wrong way. No one's suggesting that one requires a paranoid hypervigilance. Rather, simply a comprehensive awareness and readiness.

I believe that one meaning of "kenzen ichinyo" - "the sword and Zen are the same" - is that Zen believes in a comprehensive engagement with the world, and understanding that you are the world and the world is you. All too often, we seek out ways to shut the world out. We walk with our iPods playing in our ears, we engross ourselves in books, we daydream. We spend great swaths of our time on this planet not just paying attention to what's around us, but actively trying to block it from entering our periphery. And while the means were different, no doubt so did people back in medieval times.

But rather than that, how much better would it be to take it all in? That's the essence of the awareness being talked about here. Comprehensive engagement with the world around you, fully experiencing it in all it's beauty, ugliness, and wonder. For the samurai, particularly of the Sengoku period, and also of the Bakumatsu period, comprehensive awareness of one's surroundings and readiness to act was paramount, but paranoid and jumpy is no way to go through life. Thus, to them, the "in-the-moment" mindfulness of Zen was quite attractive.

Don't look for threats. Simply take in and take note of your environment. It is you and you are it, after all.

DDATFUS
25th March 2009, 16:54
does someone who has significant CQC training such that they can have good situational awareness at all times, reorganise their 'social wiring' such that that person's ability to live a 'peaceful' existence is forever compromised? If so, what is it they have lost exactly?


This is a subject that I've discussed with my instructor a few times. Take a look at Japanese history and you'll see a few people who seemed to be stuck at a permanent, edgy state of high alert that affected ability to function in society. You see something similar from some of the veterans returning home from overseas who have trouble readjusting to civilian life. Having depended on a heightened sensitivity to danger for so long, some have difficulties going into a normal state of mind.

However, the majority of great swordsmen from Japanese history achieved a remarkable balance: they were able to maintain a constant awareness to danger while remaining in a peaceful and relaxed state of mind, then instantly shift into "combat mode" whenever an actual threat emerged. Again, I think you see something very similar in military and law-enforcement types who have been well-trained and successfully adapted to their lifestyle.

To me, achieving this mental balance is the entire point of all the stuff that we do. All the stuff we are told about a swordsman's mind, all the "ken and zen" or "aiki in daily life" stuff, it all boils down to this ability to simultaneously be aware and peaceful. One of the most common terms for it is "fudoshin," which is always held up as one of the pinnacles of the Japanese sword arts. If you don't have or aren't at least moving towards the awareness, the alertness, the ability to respond to threats that defines fudoshin, then you are wasting every night that you spend in the dojo and might as well be doing any sport rather than one with the trappings of a martial art. If you have the alertness without the peace, then you are practically a menace to society yourself, reaching for the trigger every time you hear a car backfire.

I strongly suggest taking a look at Dr. David Hall's article on the psychological aspects of combative behavior in the first volume of Koryu Bujutsu. He retells a famous Japanese story (http://www.allposters.com/gallery.asp?startat=/getposter.asp&APNum=1943438&CID=4231958cd17e4591b3873f3a34982980&search=&f=P&FindID=0&P=&PP=&sortby=&cname=&SearchID=) about a skilled swordsman named Fujiwara no Yasumasa who encounters a desperate bandit while walking home across a desolate and windswept moor. Sensing that someone was about to attack him from behind, the swordsman draws his flute instead of his sword and calmly plays as he walks home. Though aware of the danger and completely ready to respond at any moment to an attack, he is also completely relaxed and at peace with no violent intent of his own. His fearless attitude psychologically dominates his opponent, who is unable to attack. This is held up as the ultimate form of fudoshin.

Hissho
25th March 2009, 22:56
David Hall's work has been among the influences most beneficial to me in my practice - and on the street.

I would bring up another point - awareness in and of itself is proactively protective, as alluded to above.

Predators - whether calculating and seeking simply to "get paid," or in an intoxicated and hot rage, tend to seek out easy pickin's. They don't want a stand up fight, they want a victim.

Maintaining alert awareness will typically forestall many attacks. Predators read their targets very well, and someone who seems aware of their surroundings, whose head is up, who seems "switched on" will often be passed over for the many human sheep who are not so aware. Modern conveniences such as cell phones and iPods noted above only help these people.

In my experience, I have also seen that the intangible aspect of a controlled, yet obviously engaged demeanor has on suspects potential violence. Certainly not all, but many of those who still have the capacity to evaluate engaging in an encounter with someone. Some officers simply have a presence that translates to their rarely being involved in physical altercations. Those with a proven track record of taking care of business when a fight is in the offing tend to actually get in less fights.

To get martial artsy - something in the ki that these types project, even when not being directly confrontational (or even specifically because they are not doing so) tells a lot to predatory suspects, who I argue read ki better than almost anyone. Talk to officers at any agency and they will tell you there are officers who "spin people up" and their are officers whom people really want no part of fighting in the first place. And then there are officers whose arrival on scene calms even other officers down.

They have done studies of cop killers, interviews as to why they chose to vicimize certain officers, and the results have relevance here.


Most victim-officers had:

"approximately 10 years of experience on the job and had made a conscious effort to improve the public’s perception of law enforcement."

"described by others as being laid back and easy going, “letting down their guard” too readily."


I would argue that social conditioning reveals very similar patterns in crime victims, wanting to believe the best of people, or at least not expecting the worst.



"apt to not follow procedures or departmental policy for traffic stops and arrests, did not wait for back up to arrive before engaging, were confident in their ability to “read” people and control situations, yet they failed to see the assault coming."

Dismissive of procedures, for the non-LEO can be read as dismissive of warning signs and lack of proactive action in light of those signs.

The last is big for martial artists, who I think are often given the false impression that we are able to read people from dojo practice.


"victim-officers were not as observant as they might have been regarding concealed weapons. Ironically, a number of the officers worked off-duty as security guards at nightclubs. Although they were described as doing a very good job at identifying those club-goers who were carrying weapons, when the officers were back on the job, it was as if they “turned off” that skill and were uniformly startled when a suspect pulled out a gun."

I kept this quote intact because it is fascinating. Perhaps an unconscious feeling that the badge made them invulnerable?? Do martial artists develop an unconscious belief that they "can handle this?"



"According to the research, those offenders who ultimately assaulted or killed an officer often showed one or more signs of being armed that the victim-officer missed. These indicators included “unnatural” bulges at the waist, small of the back, or crotch; clothing that was inappropriate for the weather; moving without bending at the waist; and/or a stiff or “odd” gait. Another frequent indication was unconscious touching of the area where the gun was hidden, as if checking to be sure it had not slipped. Also, some of the offenders bladed their body, or turned sideways to the officer. Officers often assume this offensive posture to protect the core of their body. When a suspect blades, officers might presume the suspect is anticipating gunfire and immediately conduct a weapons search. "

Blading is a pre-attack indicator in unarmed assaults as well, as are a number of other cues.


"victim-officers who survived assaults were known to be exceptionally determined persons who, in general, do not “give up” easily. Many continued to engage the offender even after being seriously injured. Surviving officers believed their injuries were less severe and/or they were saved because they were wearing soft body armor at the time."

This is HUGE.

"The majority of victim-officers had solid work histories with good performance evaluations. Supervisors and colleagues described them as hard workers. Most were physically fit, not fatigued at the time of the incident, and their attention and concentration were not impaired by preceding personal or professional events. Overall, the victim-officers had stable family lives. Virtually all were well liked, friendly by nature, and most were involved in community activities"

In other words, like most martial artists.


Link to article on the subject (quoted above) with more detail is here:

http://www.theforensicexaminer.com/archive/spring08/3/

The "Ten Deadly Errors" are also appropos here, and with little imagination can be applied to non-LE self protection. They appear in different order elsewhere:

http://www.njlawman.com/Ten%20Deadly%20Sins.htm

drmarc
26th March 2009, 13:31
Kit clearly illustrates A LOT of important points. Good research into Aggressor/assailant psychological factors have delineated a significant number of signs that the assailant looks for in selecting a potential target (watch the animal channel to see this process take place with other species).

Another major factor can be lumped into situational awareness. Based on the description of the events, the lack of appropriate responses to danger signals present resulted in an accident waiting to happen. Kit clearly pointed out that complacency in certain situations can simply lethal. Lack of appropriate awareness and lack of appropriate responses for self-protection are rarely if ever talked about in martial arts.

The clear lack of appropriate training and the rampant abuse of the "effectiveness" of self-defense courses led a friend of mine (ex. leo and current fleo) and I to put together a course, particularly for women. We are just putting the finishing touches on the course before we go out and market it. The course is entitled "Self-Protection" The course explores proper preparation for time spent in certain environments, psychology and physiology of attacker and victim, situational awareness skills, self-protection and self-defense tools, and layered options of responding to warning signs to maintain a level of protection to layered options of self-defense.

Marc Abrams

Bod
26th March 2009, 15:57
Most were physically fit
I saw a TV program aboiut a UK policewoman who survived a stabbing despite massive blood loss that would have killed most people.

They put it down to her playing squash. When physically fit the body needs less oxygen and can cope with blood loss better.

Hissho
26th March 2009, 17:52
A physically fit body is overall more efficient and a better "tool" to work with, particularly in light of being injured. It better processes an adrenalin dump as well.

Good stuff, Marc!

drmarc
26th March 2009, 18:16
A physically fit body is overall more efficient and a better "tool" to work with, particularly in light of being injured. It better processes an adrenalin dump as well.

Good stuff, Marc!

Kit:

The sad truth is that a majority of Americans are out of shape and overweight. In the town that I use to work in, there was a female leo who weighted well in excess of 300lbs and was no more than 5'5" ! The physically fit body is typically one aspect that a well-trained martial artist brings to the table. Just imagine the outcome of the scenario described had one person had and effectively utilized a tac light. Simple tools significantly accentuate the core instrument-> the body!

The adrenalin dump is a critical aspect that very few people bother to explore. The SIGNIFICANT physiological consequences of being out of shape, overweight and subject to a major adrenalin dump are at a minimum, disabling. Specific training in helping to minimize and overcome the adrenalin dump is important work that few, myself included, do on a regular basis. The deterioration of fine motor control with increasing amounts of adrenalin being dumped into the body renders a lot of the fanciful movements of acrobatic martial arts moves simply useless. Useful "self-defense" moves tend to adhere to KISS.

My wife frequently jokes that I am paranoid because I am always alert to my surroundings, engage in certain preventive behaviors based upon the environment and typically always carry at least one self-protection instrument and one self defense instrument when out in most places. I tell my wife that I am actually not paranoid, or nervous, just simply prepared. It is much easier to relax and enjoy one's self when one is properly prepared.

Marc Abrams

Hissho
27th March 2009, 12:55
Absolutely, Marc.

Great point re: the tactical flashlight! I would assume they are legally carried in Australia, except for the modified "tactical impact device" ones with teeth on the bezels and stuff - IMO pretty worthless anyway.

But for the situation described, a blast of shocking white light in the face may been a deterrent. Moving off line while doing so would give some distance. And if needed, a nice pop to the face with the bezel could distract nicely.

All still require taking some initiative, but a good way to go in an environment that does not allow carry of conventional weapons.

drmarc
27th March 2009, 14:29
Absolutely, Marc.

Great point re: the tactical flashlight! I would assume they are legally carried in Australia, except for the modified "tactical impact device" ones with teeth on the bezels and stuff - IMO pretty worthless anyway.

But for the situation described, a blast of shocking white light in the face may been a deterrent. Moving off line while doing so would give some distance. And if needed, a nice pop to the face with the bezel could distract nicely.

All still require taking some initiative, but a good way to go in an environment that does not allow carry of conventional weapons.

Kit:

In Total Agreement!!!!!

The light is simply a deterrent. If a person has no other options but to use the light as a self-defense tool than I guess the bezels make some good "tattoo" marks as a "take-home gift." Using a light properly is a point well taken. I see the light at approach distances as simply a warning. If closer, I see the light as a tool to close the distance in order to gain entry. Many people mistakenly put the light in line with their bodies giving a person a good directional as to where to aim.

Proper preparation leads to proper application. If a person is not prepared, then they may have "applications" that they are simply incapable of applying appropriately. The age-old debate of prevention vs. treatment continues....

Regards,

Marc Abrams

Bill Sampson
27th March 2009, 14:52
Moving off line while doing so would give some distance.

A combination of light and movement would certainly disrupt his OODA loop and allow one to escape (always good to escape) or create a safe distance or initiate a self-defence technique.

Be safe

Brian Owens
27th March 2009, 19:09
I wonder if there was also the matter of the Budo with which Ben was most experienced being a factor.

I'm not a Kendoka, so maybe I'm wrong, but from what little exposure I have had to Kendo it seems that (excluding Iaido and Kendo-no-kata) not much emphasis is placed on blocking and parrying, but rather on getting the first strike/point.

In this case, Ben didn't want to hit the guy, so his training -- being more offensive than defensive -- left him unprepared. The ability to guage timing and distance instilled by Kendo was negated by a lack of tools for using that ability defensively, and so the result was to freeze up.

Thoughts?

gendzwil
27th March 2009, 19:33
Ben is godan, if he wants to in the kendo environment he is can block and parry all day long. The specific techniques we learn in kendo are not the issue here anyways, I can think of very limited situations where they would be of use. It's more mental and physical conditioning that can apply.

Some time ago an idiot cut me off while I was on my bike and I idiotically slapped his hood at the next light as I was POd. So the dude chased me down with his truck and me on my bike, even going so far as to follow me down a narrow alley. Finally he cut me off and I had to confront the guy. I honestly don't know what I would have done if we had come to blows - clearly the guy was a loon. I just apologised and talked my way out of it but the adrenaline dump gave me chest pains later on that day. Lesson learned - provoking people, no matter how well deserved, is not smart.

I have no idea how to train for that kind of situation in the dojo - I think you can only get used to that by encountering it for real routinely, maybe in a job as LEO or bouncer or something. It's not like I don't have a fighting skill set, I've got a reasonably solid background in judo as well as my kendo, but that whole real-world adrenaline dump situation is another world.

Brian Owens
27th March 2009, 19:47
...The specific techniques we learn in kendo are not the issue here anyways, I can think of very limited situations where they would be of use. It's more mental and physical conditioning that can apply.

I completely agree, especially about the mental conditioning. As the saying goes, chance favors the prepared mind.

Hissho
28th March 2009, 22:06
I think we are on track there, and my whole point re: martial arts training is rarely self protection training. But, some discussion of how that applies:

Budo, even a modern one with a sport element - if done as budo and not purely a competitive outlet, should offer some training in self control. Self control is the other side of the spectrum from awareness = what "encounters" you don't avoid through awareness, you do so through self control. It is very, very tempting to act out on our frustration with gestures as Neil described - they are also very likely to get us involved in verbal, physical and even lethal threat confrontations (for which we may not be prepared). There are cases that we can reflect upon in which highly trained individuals failed the awareness, the self control, or the awareness AND self control tests and ended up in the hospital, or dead.

Professionally speaking, I learned to develop that by seeing fellow officers get in over their heads, or lose their heads, in personal situations, traffic situations, etc. and seen some professionally and personally embarrassed and even disciplined for off duty action that could have been avoided by simply turning the other cheek or letting unimportant things slide.

We as human beings all have our moments, but hopefully our training lowers them to a minimum.

Skills from kendo that I see as absolutely practical were outlined above - while not directly self defense based, with proper awareness, especially relating to the developing secondary discussion of the use of a flashlight, attributes kendo would give would be a force multiplier when applied outside the dojo or competition environment. Athleticism period is a major benefit.

So, as Brian and others have again underscored, we return to lack of mental preparedness as opposed to lack of skill or even strategic skills.

Adrenal dump absolutely can be prepared for - but most people don't do it in the dojo because they are not doing self protection, but martial arts.

Police and military do it using increasingly complex and dynamic "Force on Force" training as "stress inoculation." Ken Good and Toby Threadgill are among those who may be familiar to readers here that have written on the subject, and there is an entire corpus of work dedicated to such training and research of its effectiveness. One route to begin exploring that would be to simply go back to the beginning of the threads on E-Budo and read the numerous threads that have discussed it. Go to Strategos.com and check out the articles section for some of Ken's work, and Toby's Shinyokai website for his piece, which I think is a good thumbnail introduction of such training for the martial artist.

There is a growing involvement in the non-professional "reality based" self protection sector that has been doing much the same thing for years, sometimes at a higher level (IME) than LE training (which tends to gravitate to the lowest common denominator).

The thing is, it has to be done under very similar dynamic to the real thing (virtually never duplicated in any martial arts training, including the most combative of close combat arts or martial traditions). Some of that is simply because the milieu are so different that the crossover may not be apparent to instructors steeped in traditional arts but not "street realities," and certainly not the reality of the modern world. I don't recall any kuden about how to recognize that the subject approaching you is likely a Sureno gang member, rather than a kid aping the fashion of one, or recognizing tell tale signs of a concealed handgun carry.

This is not at all to say that there may not be directly applied mental training, tactical strategies, and physical techniques in a martial tradition that would apply in the very same situation - in fact I have been convinced just the opposite is true - its just that adapting and applying the one to the other, and understanding what will not adapt, requires practice of its own.

Otherwise, for more pedestrian encounters as Ben described, there is training that can be done. Awareness of danger signs is more academic experience and observation of what you see happening around you, and consciously labelling it as a threat so that you are training yourself to recognize a theat.

Next would be threat management - knowing what to do, what to say, and your legal rights and how far you can go based on the changing nature of the circumstances you are faced with. This is accomplished through interactive role playing that involves verbal interactions, responses, and recognizing situational and physical threat cues. While this role playing can be stilted at times, with practice, and with experience realistic facsimiles of common situations can be trained. Stress will increase as the realism increases, and the complexity of the situations increase. This stress is never the same as "life or death" stress, but performance stress and fear of screwing up and looking bad has its own special benefits that do have some carryover to the real deal - the body processes stress pretty much the same way.

Last, its management of the physical encounter - most training regarding maai comes into play - if you have the presence of mind and ability to make it work for you. Otherwise, for the encounters which you get caught with your pants down (either the distance is too close you were caught unawares), training a flinch based default reaction (a staple of most combatives training programs from Tony Blauer's "SPEAR" to Southnarc's "Default Response"), and an ability to "get off the X" or to immediately regain initiative by turning the physical tables on the attacker is the order of the day. Toby's article noted above mentions a good beginning training method for that which involves having your back to a wall and having a partner wearing boxing gloves tee-ing off on you with increasing pressure - you start by a) not being able to move off the wall and b) only being able to defend the blows.

At issue is how much of your training time you choose to devote to this kind of stuff over your standard martial practice. After all, there are kata to be done, competitions to be won, and we all know that getting that shomen uchi down correctly is a decades long study of itself.

However, most could benefit from some basic familiarity with these kinds of training methods, and simply putting some time in has a tendency to reveal what a particular martial discipline has to offer for self defense encounters, and what elements of the discipline are counter-productive, or at least ill advised.

Bod
30th March 2009, 09:17
I couldn't handle adrenaline dump properly until I'd done a fair bit of Judo and Boxing.

After breaking my toe and scratching my cornea, getting back on the mat and in the ring was very scary. I hadn't experienced real fear in the dojo or gym until those experiences.

I experienced serious adrenaline dumps for a while after those injuries, each time I trained.

Hissho
30th March 2009, 20:29
Appropos that, started a separate thread here:

http://www.e-budo.com/forum/showthread.php?p=475138#post475138

Martyn van Halm
11th September 2009, 12:38
Valuable contributions - good to read.