Today’s lesson boys and girls involves ALWAYS ASSUMING YOUR ENEMY IS ARMED! As we see in the above vid, these two “loss prevention clerks” did not, and it almost cost them both DEARLY. The only saving grace in this incident was that the alleged shoplifter with the knife was UNTRAINED and UNMOTIVATED. As CO’s we can NEVER count on our enemies being either of these.
I think the crux of this lesson is not only always ASSUMING people are armed, but being aware of how DISTANCE plays a crucial role in winning the fight on the street.
Three things to remember:
Firstly, striving to maintain AWARENESS and keep PRACTICAL distances to allow a combative response or attack. I have never liked the term “reactionary gap” only because it gives the impression that the CO will always be in a “reactionary state” at the time of the incident; this will not always be the case. Also, the notion that we must always maintain UNREALISTIC distances ( 21 feet or more to counter a knife attack, aka as the “Tueller Drill”) between people in general public is impractical. For this theory to be viable to the everyday civilian, every person I come across in public would have to first, be packing a knife and second, have the skill and motivation to use it. This is both highly improbable (as the vid shows) and highly impractical. As a comparable substitute, we have all heard of the term “personal space”; where keeping at least an arm’s length or more (3-5 feet) away from somebody is considered socially polite. I think this ideal when combined with the heightened awareness of a persons intentions and body language (watching the hands mostly) is a good place to start.
On the flip side of this coin, we must never be tempted to RUSH INTO a situation prematurely and give our enemy the distance advantage straightaway in an altercation. As mentioned before, we must ALWAYS ASSUME OUR ENEMY IS ARMED. When I say “armed” I am not exclusively talking about an external weapon (stick/knife/gun). I am also referring to COMBATIVE SKILL. With the outrageous popularity of UFC, every “tom, dick and harry” is taking some type of MMA training, and although statistical probability suggest your odds of running into a” MMA expert” is low, even the chance encounter with a novice could turn out bad for the CO, as the old adage “Knowing just enough to be dangerous”, applies! Consider the recent events in the news of CHOKE HOLDS being used in street fights and you will catch my drift. ANY technique which seeks to render you unconscious must be considered LETHAL FORCE, and therefore can be answered with in kind by the CO in most cases. Bearing all this in mind, it would behoove the CO to keep his distance!
Secondly, CREATE distance in a fight. While we are assuming our enemy is armed, at the same time, our enemy may try and see fit to try and close with distance against us. You can only assume at this point it is to do you harm; so your best bet is to create distance with combative striking to allow presentation of your own weapon (stick, knife or gun) depending on the situation.
Thirdly, MAINTAINING distance in a fight. As we have discussed, your enemy if using empty hand or a knife will have to get close to harm you. If using a firearm, maintaining distance will serve you just as well, as a moving, distant target is certainly harder to hit than somebody an arms length away. This is not to say that ECQ shooting skills should not be in your toolbox, as most self-defense shootings occur under 10 feet, just be ready to improvise!
In closing, in this day and age, the CO has to assume that a large portion of society is carrying some type of weapon, be it COMBATIVE SKILLS, a KNIFE or a FIREARM. He must never rush into an altercation until he knows who or what he is dealing with. Gone are the days of “Fair Fights” and “Chivalry between Men”. VIOLENCE, BRUTALITY and DEATH rule the WORLD we live in now, and those who do not adapt to REPLY in like kind will soon end up with a toe tag and their own personal locker at the morgue.
Stay Aware, Stay Armed and Stay Dangerous!