As society continues to crumble and random violence begins to be the norm, the CO must up his game in being prepared to meet that threat head-on. The most recent brand of this random type of street violence is the “Knockout” Game”. A “Game” which to date has killed 7 people.
I do not intend to waste your time in useless rhetoric opining on all the socio-economic/racial theories out there of WHY these stupid kids are doing this stuff. Frankly, I could care less in a criminals reasoning for why he does what he does; All I care about is me and my family’s safety, period.
Hopefully the following review will help you bring you and your family home safely too!
Just simply being aware of what is going on around you is simple, pure logic, and in most cases, helps the CO avoid any hassles. ACTION on our part will always trump us having to REACT to our attacker. When we can put a hitch in our attackers OODA loop, (making them REACT versus the CO having to REACT) we stand a better chance of coming up on top. But the Knockout Game presents somewhat of a quandary in that dept. These idiots primary MO is come up to you on your blind side and deliver a knockout sucker punch. So how do you stay aware in a situation like that? Do you grow a pair of eyes in the back of your head? Do you walk around backwards?? Do you develop your “Inner-Ninja”?? I say that not to just get a cheap laugh out of you, but to raise an important “sidebar” point ” you need to be aware of. There are those in the self-defense training community that like to take very simple subjects (like Awareness) and make them overly complicated. Their reason for doing this is very simple: Money. The more in-depth they MAKE YOU THINK a subject is, the more classes, books and DVD’s you are going to buy. The problem with this besides it being terribly unethical is that most of the time they are teaching you a LOAD OF CRAP that is not realistic, not street-proven and has no true value as far as self-defense goes.
Let me be blunt and make this easy for you: You cannot maintain 360 degree awareness 100% of the time. No matter how much you keep your “head on a swivel”, no matter what kind of “reactionary gap” you SAY you give people, no matter how well your senses have been tuned and no matter how much “martial arts” training you have. We live in a society where we are in close proximity to people, it is that simple. I have seen people who say “When in public, I don’t let anybody get within 21 feet of me”, yet let them go to the grocery store and within 45 seconds I can prove them a liar. Being in “Condition Yellow” all the time is a state of mind guys, it is not a some LAW written in stone. Letting people get close to me does not put me in danger UNLESS I am unaware of what is going on with the particular situation. For example: What is their behavior like? What is in their hands? Where are their hands? How many of them are they?All of these factors will let you know if you need to put more distance between you and them.
To answer the primary question about how to stay aware of what is behind you and to avoid getting sucker punched, the best case scenario answer is to keep your head on a 360 degree swivel , which we know we cannot do 100% of the time, and try to address the threat before it has the chance to strike (Action trumps Reaction). Of course, that is BEST CASE scenario and in all probability will not happen that way. Your most logical course of action is to train yourself to REACT in such a way to avoid getting knocked out and at the same time neutralize the threat.
There are numerous “positions” or “guards” combatives trainers have out there to teach people how to avoid getting knocked-out on the street; there is an extensive illustrated list of them on Lee Morrsion’s excellent resource site Urban Combatives. In my experience and training, I have found the best “guard” in a situation where you are being attacked from the rear (6 o’ clock) by an unknown number of assailants is a variation of the “Crazy Monkey”. I call it a “variation” because I combine it with my standard “Default” Guard position (Southnarc’s version); however, in drilling with the SN Default in full-on sparring, I found that when attacked from the rear, blind, by more than 1 assailant, the default left some holes, namely blocking angular punches and flowing with the dynamic movement of a street fight. The “Crazy Monkey” addresses those issues, while the variation I use helps to get a solid presentation of a weapon (knife or gun) into the fight. Understand that your intentions must not be to just keep from getting knocked out, but also to neutralize the threat attacking you!
The decision whether or not to introduce lethal force into this type of scenario is up to you; there are those who seem to think that this kind of “prank” does not warrant that extreme kind of reaction since these are just “kids” and “pranks”. I wholeheartedly disagree with that opinion for 2 main reasons:
- Seven People have been killed thus-far in these so-called “Kids Game”. Read that story HERE.
- The attackers are typically in a group from three to ten teenage males.
Training to introduce lethal force into any situation MUST always be precipitated by the CO understanding the Law in their respective states in regards to Self-Defense. In this particular scenario, TX Penal Code Sec 9.32 applies.
(B) To prevent the other’s imminent commission of aggravated kidnapping, murder, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, robbery or aggravated robbery.
Combine all of this with the lethal history of these types of attacks, the Disparity of Force (more than 1 attacker typically) and the CO typically feeling in “FEAR FOR THEIR LIVES” and the justification for applying LETHAL Force is very high.
3. The Fight
So getting back to the subject at hand. You have been attacked, you have covered up to the best of your ability with a default guard and are still on your feet. You are a tad dazed, confused and probably a little pissed off. What happens in the next 3-4 seconds is crucial and not something I can put in a bullet point presentation for you!!
In the time that your mind is processing all the pertinent data, such as: Where did the blow come from? How many attackers are there? Am I wounded? You will need to create distance between you and the attackers. The reason for this is simple: Firstly, it will be harder to strike you, Secondly, if you plan on introducing a weapon into this fight, you will need some distance between you to do that. The closer the attacker is to you, the more likely he can foul your draw and/or grab the weapon. If that happens then you might find yourself in the worst case scenario: Fighting with the attacker over your OWN weapon! In CQ fights, retention of your weapon takes priority, because once the attacker knows you have a weapon, now he goes into self-preservation mode too! So we need to be prepared to “Create that Distance” by however we can: punches, kicks, elbows, knees, head-butts, eye-gouges, nut kicks, etc.
To address the issue of multiple attackers, it has been my experience both from the field and multiple CCTV & Dash-Cam videos of attacks, that once the first attacker is put down, the rest will scatter like frightened deer. Of course, vigilance demands that you cannot count on that, so the CO must prepare for the worst case scenario, which would be engaging multiple targets in succession. It is also a possibility that once the “knockout” is unsuccessful, the attackers will lose heart and flee. Again, you can never count on that, so always prepare for the worst.
In conclusion, the CO needs to ensure that padded Force-on-Force scenarios are part of his routine. Make sure and cover all the possibilities:
- Multiple Attackers
- Going to ground
- Fouled draws
- Weapon grabs
- Fighting from the “clinch”
- Drawing weapons from various positions
Spend a lot of time working on your Default Guard..remember this is what is going to keep you on your feet so you can fight. Think of the guard as your automatic “flinch response”; whenever attacked you go to your guard. This will take alot of practice, so drill that way as often as possible! Find what guard works best for you and then tailor and dovetail that into your weapon presentation.
Work on various positions to draw your weapons from, and don’t just fixate on one position either, for instance; drawing a folding knife from your pocket, drawing a small pistol from a pocket holster, drawing a fixed blade from horizontal 12 o’clock or 6 o’clock concealed, drawing a handgun from AIWB or strong-side concealed. All of these positions are going to demand you fine tune your mechanics so they flow seamlessly. Remember, “Slow is smooth and smooth is Fast” in weapon presentation, so as you drill, eliminate any Un-needed movements or “hitches”.
Lastly, Fights are never STATIC; people tend to move to avoid getting hit and/or hurt. Be prepared to have quick feet, shoot on the move and drive through your opponent like a sledgehammer!
Hope for the Best, Train for the worst and Stay Dangerous!