Monday, December 17, 2007

Disengage Safely from the Fight

"The greatest danger occurs at the moment of victory."
Napoleon Bonaparte

The argument or fight is over. You've either won or gained a position of tactical superiority (a good break in the action when you've got an advantage) and you feel it's time to go to a safe place or call the police.

Be careful here. There are plenty of real-world examples of the good guys getting clocked by the bad guy, who just seconds before was pleading for mercy. You turn to leave and -- BAM! Blindsided.

You have to "remain" in the fight long enough to make a safe withdrawal:

  • Don't relinquish your superior position until you are sure he cannot counterattack;
  • Don't turn your back on the attacker when leaving;
  • Don't let your guard down as you round the block, get into your car or even while driving home;
  • At the first safe opportunity, call the proper authorities to summon police or emergency medical services if needed;
  • Keep your mental guard up the next couple of days in the event that your attacker is planning an act of revenge (sometimes called a "comeback").

Okay, Brad, what exactly do you mean?

Let's say you've been confronted by an unarmed adversary. You've tried to talk your way out of the situation. You've even tried leaving (or you are in a position where you cannot leave). The situation is rapidly deteriorating and it's apparent that he is going to try to grab or hit you.

Get your hands up to cover your face and your centerline and move backwards to gain distance (good) or circle away from his strong hand (better).

If he is, in fact, going to attack you he MUST close the distance between you two. If he doesn't close, then he's simply woofing.

Here's one scenario:

  1. I keep my hands up;
  2. I move off at an angle forcing him to turn and track me for his attack;
  3. When he launches his attack, I do a foot check to his front leg and aggressively move into a clinch;
  4. I get to the side to evade his blows and decide to tactically disengage or, if he's still attacking, take him down. If he has friends or I'm in an unfriendly place, I want to use a takedown that allows me to dump him and remain standing. If it's just him and I'm not liable to get stomped by the crowd, I might decide to take him down and follow him to the ground (many times you don't have a choice and you both end up going down in the tussle);
  5. I work to gain superior position on top (knee ride, side mount, top mount);
  6. I work for his back by persuading him to roll over onto his stomach (by either manipulating one of his arms or some slaps to his face);
  7. I can now be temporarily safe from his blows when I have his back. The level at which you feel you will be seriously hurt or even killed will dictate what you do from here. At the lower levels of force you might elect to disengage without further techniques. At the higher levels of force you might be required to strike the guy to end the attack or apply a neck restraint;

Now -- here is the critical part. You feel like you are temporarily safe or you've "won". You stand up looking down at your vanquished foe. That's when he rolls over and kicks you in the groin, throws dirt in your face, pulls a weapon, gloms onto you and beats/stabs/kicks/shoots you to pieces.

Be careful. When you get up off of his back, keep your weight on him. Keep your weight centered on your chest in the middle of his back, swing both your legs to one side of him and assume a push up (press up for our UK friends) position on him.

Pull one leg up under you (like a sprinters start position) and quickly push off of the attacker. You keep your weight on him to pin him to the ground until you and press off and gain distance from him.

Keep your guard up and retreat.

When there is trouble and you are not professionally required to stay and resolve the issue or protect someone, I would recommend you leave as soon as safely possible. You have an altercation, he gets kicked out. You stay to party (Hey, why should I be the one who has to go?) and he comes back with his friends (human) or his special friends (Smith and Wesson).

Disengage safely and live to party another day.