Sunday, March 24, 2013

The 4 / 5 split: Control Tactics / Police Combatives

Recently I put on an edged weapons defense class, and then Control Tactics / Police Combatives and Firearms training for some recently hired Police Officers.

Some core concepts were touched in all of these classes which got me thinking.  And generally when I get thinking I write about it here.

Wrote a blog about it, wanna read it?, here it go…

The 4 / 5 split

Before we get into the “meat” (pun fully intended) of this concept, I want to touch on predatory mindset again.

The word predator has a very negative connotation to many, but predatory skills are just tools.  Like any tools they can be used to good or ill.

Its is very difficult to switch from customer service “officer friendly” mode to lethal force close quarters combat mode in time to do anything useful.

It is much easier to start with the assumption force is necessary and it’s use imminent, then down shift into officer friendly if / when it isn't

Not only assuming that force will be necessary but actively stacking the deck to be able to use force efficiently. 

This naturally elevates your level of awareness, and sends off subconscious “not to be fucked with vibes”. 

However, those same vibes can also spook the shit out of some people. They might not know why but they may feel the need to fight.  Turning a maybe person into a no person.

So, this is where a professional uses other predator strategies - charm tactics.

The predator will use social skills to get the victim into a vulnerable position
A predator who is skilled at using charm tactics will set it up so that every step into his trap is one that the victim not only chose but that she believes that she initiated

"Good Guys" can use these same skill sets

Stacking the deck to be able to use force efficiently while saying the things “officer friendly” needs to say. 

Using what “officer friendly” has to say (Split attention tasks) to get into an advantageous position.

Sending the don’t fuck with me vibe without scaring them into fight or flight, and being pleasantly surprised when you don’t have to kill or maim anyone.

I like to think of this process as hunting.  However, even though you are using predator strategies, when you are hunting you are only justified to use lower levels of force (1-4).  This is more akin to live trapping for a zoo or scientific research.  You don’t want to kill the prey you are hunting.  You want to take control of it (unharmed ideally) and bring it to where it can be contained.

I don't like the term "defensive tactics".  I feel if you are on defense you are already loosing.  I prefer Control Tactics.  I am on offense, not to hurt the subject, but to take control of him / her and bring the subject to where he/she can be contained.(unharmed ideally)

To help clarify here is a sample use of force continuum again.
1.       Presence
Presentation (do you look like a slob or do you have your shit together?)
Physical Fitness

2.       Verbal commands
Communication Skills
3.       Contact Controls
Touching or Seizing the offender
Escort Compliance
Standing Controls
Pain Compliance
Joint Locks
4.       Compliance Techniques
“Soft Hands”
Take Downs

These are the skill sets used to control a subject.  This is the amount of force you are justified using:
(a) In effecting a lawful arrest; or
(b) In the execution of legal process; or
(c) In enforcing an order of the court; or
(d) In executing any other duty imposed upon the public officer by law

When you are hunting (live trapping), these are the tactics you are setting up.  Whatever physical skills you use, they have to work against someone actively fighting against you.  If you have them controlled (immobilized) before they have time to resist it makes the task much easier.

Humans are social creatures and have subconscious rules for social violence.  

We are also hunters and capable of killing prey.  

We are fairly unique in that we can use the tools and tactics that we developed to hunt prey to kill other humans.

It’s one thing to hunt prey; it’s another thing entirely to hunt another predator (big game hunting).
Use a level 4 technique in a level 5 situation and you will get damaged
This is why there is a hard split between level 4 and level 5

Level 5 and up is what I call Police Combatives.  Examples from a use of force continuum include:

5.       Disabling Techniques
“Hard Hands”
Impact Techniques
Striking / Kicking
6.       Potentially Lethal Force
3 – 5 – 7
Lateral vascular neck restraints
Cervical subluxation
Weapons Techniques

These are the skill sets used to render a subject incapable of injuring you any further.
This is for when the subject is not fighting against being controlled but actively trying to damage you.

Trying to control someone that is attempting to damage you will get you injured (maybe fatally so).

So you will need solid “disabling techniques”

As I stated earlier, its is very difficult to switch from customer service “officer friendly” mode to lethal force close quarters combat mode in time to do anything useful.  

If you were hunting “big game” (another predator) you shouldn't be surprised that they attacked.  However, if you got “jumped” you need to turn things around quickly before you take too much damage to do anything. 

Counter ambush.
Not blocking, not evading, but turning the tide.  The Japanese sometimes call this Sen No Sen or attacking the attack.  

You are not defending but actively counter attacking.  That critical ¼ second before the effects of adrenalin start to kick in.  Not defensive tactics, not even control tactics anymore, but combative measures to end the threat's capability to harm you. No matter what the style, you need to find something that works for you.  Something that protects you and allows you to deliver force (damage) into the attacker at the same time.  All while improving your position so the attacker can no longer damage you.  Once you find this you have to drill this into a conditioned response (speed of nerve).

Follow Through 
After your counter ambush action you have to do what it takes to stop the attacker.  What ever it is that you do, it has to stop / shut down someone trying to hurt you.

Whatever it takes
You are no longer trying to control the attacker but to disable him so he can no longer attack you.  A very clear and very important distinction.

This is where the level 5 and higher techniques come into play. 

When level 5 is justified use high end levels of force.  You can’t allow your self to fall into “fighter” thinking– can I take him?  You must think {react} like a hunter – what is the best way to take him?

{Actually when you are in a position where level 5 techniques are justified / necessary you will be highly adrenalized and won’t be doing much thinking at all.  At this point you will be reacting.  Your thinking is done in training.  So make sure you receive quality training before you find yourself in this situation.  You don’t rise to the occasion you drop to your level of training…in an adrenalized body.} 

No matter how big and bad they are, they are just 7 pints of blood in a skin sack, their spinal column is only protected by thin rings of fragile bone, and most things in the environment are stronger than their skull including the planet.

You can not rely on pain to get the job done.  You must disable the attackers ability to do you harm!

A case in point from recent training, a female Officer asked me about using pressure points to control someone on the ground.  So glutton for punishment that I am I volunteered for her to experiment on.  She worked the pressure points she was taught, and she did them well it hurt.  But it in no way stopped me from continuing to do what ever I wanted to do.  Drunk, drugged, demented, or like I was just plain determined any of those D4 can fight through pain.

If it wouldn't work on a predator in nature don’t rely on it to work on a human predator (big game).  Would you  try to pressure point a mountain lion?

I have a distinct problem with self defense in general but especially women’s self defense that focuses on delivering pain.  You see the instructor (usually a man teaching women) having the women deliver ineffectual strikes to pads, or to a guy dressed up in a red man/spartan/spear gear/whatever suit.  

Or scratching his eyes and biting his ears in the “shredder” fashion.   All the while shouting encouragement and talking about empowerment.

I prefer this Shredder  

Putting all the blood born pathogen stuff aside, and looking at it solely from a tactical stand point this shows a distinct lack of field experience to me.  

Don’t get me wrong do what ever it takes to get out of a bad situation but don't rely on pain alone.  Understand, hurting them at best will only slow them down, and is likely to just piss them off.  

Pain may stop an attack in the dojo.  Especially if having the student feel good about themselves and sign up for more lessons is a priority for the instructor.   Pain might even stop an attack on the street if it is used to direct or "steer" the assailant into a disabling technique.  However, pain alone does not stop the drunk, drugged, demented, or just plain determined.  Who the fuck do you think is going to attack women?  Disabling them also hurts them, but it also dis-fucking-ables them!  Meaning they are no longer capable of hurting you!

If it wouldn't work on a predator in nature don’t rely on it to work on a human predator (big game).  Would you try to bite a mountain lion’s ear, or scratch his eyes?

Another way to think about it

Zombies are popular in media.  Zombies are predators.  No one fights a zombie.  You don’t punch a zombie in the gut.  You don’t deliver 17 Krav knees to its zombie nuts.  You render a zombie incapable of hurting you. 

How is that done?
  • Breaking long bones
  • Brain trauma
    • Impact
    • Lack of blood
    • Lack of oxygen
    • Severed spinal column

If the subject is trying to hurt you, you must render him / her incapable of doing so. 
If you are incapable of stopping a zombie, how will you stop a human predator?

It is as simple and more efficient than any scratch bite or kick.  Remember no matter how big and bad they are, they are just 7 pints of blood in a skin sack, their spinal column is only protected by thin rings of fragile bone, and most things in the environment are stronger than their skull including the planet.

Knowing when to stop
This is not cart blanch to start maiming folks.  Use a level 5 in a level 4 situation and you will get sued.
Force has to be scaled as conditions change.
What does that mean?  Totality of the circumstances.

Factors and circumstances.  Except for gender these work both ways, meaning when they are in your favor force can be decreased, when they are not force must be increased.

Inability to disengage 
• Proximity to weapon
• Injury or exhaustion
• Hazardous environment
• Special knowledge (
• Surprise
• Ground level

Operator / Subject Factors
• Skill
• Size
• Strength
• Numbers
• Mental state
• Gender
• Sometimes age
• Physical or mental disability

As control is gained force is lowered.  When they can no longer hurt you the use of force stops. 
For cops this means they are in cuffs or for civilians when you can disengage and get to safety.

Amateurs and assholes continue to cause damage after the opponent is no longer a threat because they cannot control their emotions.

Professionals do not strike a downed opponent because they “might” get back up.  
Professionals make sure the opponent can no longer hurt them, then get cuffs on them or get to safety.

Don't be an asshole be professional.  Don't try to hurt someone who is attacking you.  Disable their ability to attack you

Train hard, Train smart, Be safe

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