Saturday, February 14, 2009

One Full Circle

This will be another technique post. Yeah. Darn.

Johann asked a question: 

how would you attack someone from a distance (3m-10m), for example someone busy hurting someone else? No weapons on any side.

Which was the incident that prompted my first blog post.  There was more going on there and obviously I was compelled to write the post because of the blood exposure, not the incident itself.  The other question that weighed at the time was what the consequences would be over the long term and whether saving a life is always a good act.

So, Johann, I'm going to start with a couple of caveats and general stuff. No weapons on any side is not only an assumption, but downright stupid. If you are anywhere in the real world you should be able to access something to use as a weapon even if no one else is doing it. I am more or less expected to take people down without hurting them so sometimes I go hands-on when it might not be wise.
When you are going into a situation it can go bad very, very fast. Be ready for that. Both of the people involved and even the audience might turn on you if they see an 'outsider' trying to break up a fight between 'insiders'. If you tunnel vision on one, you might miss the response of the other. There is a lot that can potentially go wrong.
Have a back up plan. Preferably, have some back-up people who can pull you out if things go wrong. It is a situation that can turn from easy to a 2-on-1 in a heartbeat.
Move fast and decisively. This goes for everything, but if there is any hesitation, any half-assed attempt to do a technique it will fail.
This does NOT mean you try to take heads off!! You use the minimum  level of force that you believe will work. If you think you can do it with a lock, you do a fast, decisive lock- no hesitation. If you decide you must strike, even try to take a head off, you do it. You don't give a half-power blow to gauge the effect. If you think of the level of force you have chosen as a place, you must be all the way there. If you hesitate at the threshold you will fail.

Johann's instructor recommends going in hard with fists and boots. IME striking is relatively unreliable. I'll go farther than that. The effects can be downright weird. I've seen people curl up in fetal positions from strikes that others ignored and just glare when hit in the head with a bar. Been lifted in the air by a solid groin strike that didn't effect me at all for several minutes and been put down by one that barely contacted. Put people down twice with a solid left hook to the floating ribs but been on the receiving end from bigger, stronger people and didn't feel it. Fought through concussions and not noticed broken ribs. My experience is that the closer the threat is to a normal state of consciousness the more likely strikes will work like they are "supposed to" --but since the closer one is to the normal state of consciousness the less likely I'll need to go hands on at all-- you do the math. Strikes seem to work best when you need them least.

Those are the warnings, here is some strategy:
 You are not taking damage so you can take a little time to make a plan or get help or get a tool. It might sound cold to ignore the person who is taking damage, but this isn't about justice, this is about resources. You do this stupid and get hurt not only do you get hurt but you can no longer be a resource to save the victim. One of the reasons to plan and train for these scenarios is to limit that damage time
Do it smart. Remember the four basic truths? Use them. The threat should have no idea you are there until you have already acted. Fast and hard/decisive action.  Part of Johann's question says 3m-10m. Without a weapon, you can't do anything at that range. Part of answering this question is closing the range without being seen. Usually, the threat is tunnel-visioned and it isn't much of a problem.
Choose who to help.  This sounds stupid, but sometimes the guy winning is the good guy. You might not know. This is critical if you are considering deadly force.
Can you fight the mind?  In a full-blown berserk rage, probably not. He may not be able to hear you at all and he may not care. Increasing the level of stimulus (trying to distract the threat) usually increases agitation. That said, there are two strategies that sometimes work:
1) Supplying information, e.g. "The cops are on the way." Or, "You'd better stop, I don't think he's breathing."  The more criminal the act is- and by that I mean deliberate and planned and based on a history of successful violence- the more likely these are to work. It's fundamentally fucked up, but career criminals know when and how to surrender and can keep consequences in mind, like a manslaughter conviction is heavier than an assault conviction, that an enraged citizen or EDP (Emotionally Disturbed Person) couldn't. Remember the line about resources, not justice? This is another part. Stopping someone from being violent isn't about justice, only about stopping them.
2) Shocking them. I'm generally soft spoken, but I do have a window-shaking sensei voice. Good thing is that a couple of time it has had almost magical effects on fighters. Bad part is that it ruins my voice for days every time I use it. So really loud noises. I think a bucket of ice water would do wonders (it works on dogs), but I've never been allowed to use it to break up fights with inmates.
Both of these strategies can sacrifice surprise. It's your call.

Take a second, because that is a huge amount of information and we haven't even got to the technique yet. Take that to heart. Technique is the easiest part. Knowing when and how to apply the technique is the second easiest. Making yourself do it may be the hardest and that's the part I'm not sure can really be taught.

All of this gets modified by position.  The example from 2005 the threat had the other guy bent over backwards on a table, was leaning over him with a forearm choke across his neck and gripping the victim's shirt with his other hand. Mount, straddle ground and pound, clinch will all affect things.
Coming up on the threat's right from behind, left hand goes to control the base of his spine (pelvic girdle) right hand held very flat comes up across his mouth and under his nose.
---The spine control assumes he is not laying flat, you only need it if he can move freely from his legs.
--- Keep in a position that if he spins suddenly to either side to throw an elbow the elbow will run into something or you can control the rotation at the shoulder before it reaches you.
---Right at the base of the nose there is a place where it is still bone and not cartilage.  It makes a nice grip, is extremely sensitive to pain and can apply extraordinary leverage through the spine to the whole body.
Pull up and back with your right hand and probably push forward with your left.
---Use the bone at the base of your index finger to maximize pain on the nose point.
---The action is based on the spine. You don't lift his face but extend and arch is spine. That's why it works on monstrously strong people.
---Note on above- in a lot of technique, instead of looking for the circle, look for the spiral. If that makes no sense to you it will in a few years of practice.
---Pushing forward on the lower spine gives a two-way action (one of the basic, basic principles to making things work) and puts him in a position where he can't generate power in any direction other than falling down.
---Depending on position,but especially if the threat is now on his feet or knees, you can 'load' the spine a bit by a slight shift up and to your left with the right hand.
---Be very, very careful with this. Catch me in person to find out why.

Finish.  You probably have him in a spine immobilization, which looks like he is doing a back bend with his hands not touching the floor. I've held people in that position and had chats. It may work and it allows you a chance to keep an eye on the other guy.
You can drop him straight down from there, which may just kick off another ground fight with your back to the other one.
If you have loaded his spine, you can now pivot hard to your right and project him to land face down. That's what I did with the guy in the example. I was able to do it and keep the other in my peripheral vision.

I can imagine ways that things could heat up again and leave you in a bad position. My experience is that if it is fast and decisive enough, no one wants to be in the sequel- and this technique looks like magic. We investigate all Uses of Force and this one got some extra hard looks because all of the witnesses said, "Miller showed up and the guy was on the ground." It had happened too fast for the witnesses, including the experienced officers, to tell what happened or how. That's good, but it makes the reports look fishy. 


Scott said...

Not to harp on technique because obviously that is the least important part of the post but...Is there a chance the threat can use his hand to push some of your fingers in his mouth and bite them off? Are you assuming that he hasn't given himself permission to do that?

Fun fact: That point under the nose is used in acupuncture to stop people from going into shock (like when they are losing blood fast) and to bring them around after a stroke.

shugyosha said...

Rory "Guydowner", magician extraordinaire.

Keep safe.

shugyosha said...


if I see the technique properly, he

a) shouldn't have the time. At all. Even if he didn't feel the "distraction" over his nose [*].
b) would have one, at most two fingers, at hand, since the others would be over / above the nose
c) remember your other hand

[*]: I've had this one done on me several ways. Some are rather flower-power. But well done...? Damn, does it disrupt! and hurt, but that's almost accidental

Anonymous said...

Ok stupid question why not use the commando strangle (now called the rear naked choke) put your knee in his back and lever him backwards? If the "victim" attacks you you can use the "attacker" shield. as a

Rory said...

Because, Ratman, in my agency, that technique and all the variations of it (hadaka jime, LVNR, sleeper, etc.) were considered lethal force. I love the technique and I think the research back me when I say it is possibly the safest and most effective way to put down a threat... but people in pressed suits decided otherwise.

Scott- it's just like feeding a horse. Keep your hand flat. The position also screws with the threat's core so badly that he can hardly get any strength in his arms.

shugyosha said...

rory, by "hand flat" you mean all fingers together?

I had seen three ways, I believe, of putting the hand. This one, fingers stretched so that some end at the eyes, fingers in twos [Vulcan salute] with the nose in the middle, fingers trying to join as they push down. And maybe a fourth one, palm stretching from chin to nose, fingers stretched --I think this is the one Marc calls "the alien", but I'm not 100% sure--, if you put it in the same bag.

Steve Perry said...

Problem with posting specifics is that they can always be deconstructed. I used to love talking to non-martial artists: Oh, you know that karate-shit, right? What would you do if I did *this?*

So I'd show a response, and more often than not, get "Yeah, but then what if I did this?"

Whatever you offer, there's a counter, and that game can go on all night. Best response I found was, "You know, I dunno exactly what I'd do. Do it and let's see ..."

That usually shut it down most of the time.

Anonymous said...


many thanks for the long and precise response. I am grateful that you pointed out the foolishness of the assumptions and took the time to explain the situation from many angles.
Thanks for the advice,