Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Idiots, Assholes and Pros

This is aimed mostly at professionals.
There are three general kinds of people that will require force.  The three types don't fight for the same reason or use the same tactics, and your skills may not work the same.

Honestly, most of the time, if you are in enforcement or corrections or especially bouncing, you are going to run into idiots.  The drunk college kid who squares off and lets you know he's coming a mile away.  The entitled whiner who thinks he's too special to go to jail just for driving drunk.  The martial artist who's never been in a real fight but doesn't believe there's a difference.

It may just be the old man in me coming out, but it seems like idiots are on the rise.  Fewer people have been exposed to violence; more people have never had their behavior controlled.  That combination creates people who are both hot-house flowers incapable of taking care of themselves, but certain that anything they want is a right and anyone who disagrees is an oppressor.  It seems I see more and more of this pathetically weak but shrill and bullying dynamic. For whatever my opinion is worth.

Idiots are easy.  You see them coming and almost anything done decisively works.  The drunk steroid freak squares off and let's you know he has a blackbelt in...

And you smile and toe kick him in the shin with your boot before he finishes the sentence and then drop him. Or beat past his arms and twist his spine.  Or, probably the classic:

Again, almost anything done decisively works.

Assholes are the second most common.  They like to fight and they have varying levels of, for want of a better word, professionalism.  The experienced know when they are outnumbered and tend to surrender.  The experienced assholes know when they are losing and give up.  Generally, even the experienced assholes don't like going hands on on a cop or other professional-- unless they sense any weakness.

They have varying levels of 'professionalism' in how far they are willing to go and incredibly varied skill levels.  An asshole who gets the drop on you is still dangerous even if he barely knows how to hit. To a large degree, fighting assholes is somewhat like fighting martial athletes.  A wide range of skill and commitment but generally, they like to fight and it will be a fight.  The fatal mistake is treating an asshole like an idiot.  When it comes time to bat his guard aside, the guard won't be weak and it will likely trigger a counter-attack.  An idiot's lack of confidence and/or lack of understanding of how the world really works are the reasons it is so easy to bat aside even their trained fists.  You won't get this with assholes.

And saying they like to fight isn't quite right either.  They don't like the give and take of fighting, only the give.  They enjoy causing pain and beating people down but tend not to be so big on receiving pain. So most won't engage if you act like a wary professional.  They won't see the safe opening.

The pros are a different kettle of fish.  For the most part, you won't get a lot of these.  Highest concentration is in prison, jails, or on elite teams.  Rarity makes them somewhat low risk.  Their own professionalism also makes them low risk.  It is very, very rare for this category to fight for ego.  If you have the drop on them and maintain control they will, generally, not resist.  If your handcuffing technique has a hole built into it or your approach is sloppy, they will use the Golden Rule of Combat: "Your most powerful weapon applied to your opponent's most valuable point at his time of maximum imbalance."  They will hit you hard, decisively, where and how it will do the most damage, and they will strike when you are least ready.

Assume most pros are skilled.  It's not always true and it's not a necessary factor, but growing into a pro mindset usually takes time and that kind of time doing those kinds of things develops skills.  That said, it doesn't take a lot of skilled technique when you follow the Golden Rule.  No one has to be trained to hit a man in the head with a brick from behind.

And the skill may be something unusual.  In the debrief on Minnesota I mentioned that there were some high-percentage techniques that simply didn't work on Kasey, Dillon or me.  Our grappling backgrounds made us instinctively structure in ways that idiots don't think to and assholes are too arrogant for, even if they had trained the skills.

Taxonomy alert: Taxonomies are naming classifications.  This is a separate taxonomy from the social/asocial that I usually use.  An asocial threat can fight as either an asshole or a pro (as an idiot, too, but Darwin usually takes care of that combination early).  The asocial/social/maslow/triune is a better introduction for most everybody, but people who use force professionally might get something from this classification.


Priest said...

Hey Rory,

You mentioned in this and the other, linked, blog entry about "instinctively structuring" and most high percentage techniques not working on you. Could you expand on this a bit? I'm particularly interested in where you find the line between "instinctive structuring" and "being a good uke" to be.

When I first started training and pressure testing things I found myself increasingly gaming scenarios because of being a young guy and having an ego that was not well pruned. As I went on I focused on being a good uke and learning more than winning the drills and found myself getting more out of the training as a result. Now I think things have come full circle in that I instinctively spoof techniques when I don't mean to, but I find that tendency difficult to keep in check. Your thoughts would be appreciated.

Wayne said...

"It may just be the old man in me coming out, but it seems like idiots are on the rise."

I would agree with that statement. Not sure if it is cultural changes or what, but it seems society has changed in some fashion.

Jim said...

I think you've nailed why the idiots are on the rise: They don't get taught better early on, to pare it down to bare bones.

And I agree: idiots are easy to deal with. They're gonna bluster, and you'll have to go hands on almost without fail, but they'll succumb to the first real hit or pain. Especially when you don't follow the script.

Assholes won't be a problem, unless you let them. Had a guy a few weeks back... He's got some mental issues, he's being stupid, and he's been drinking. (Yeah, great combo platter...) Start trying to talk him into simply going home, but he's having none of it, and I could see him spoil for the fight. I put my flashlight back in my pocket, and I look at him, and simply warn him "You really don't want to go down that road..." in a very calm voice. He's already backing away, and that's when I move in and hook him. Didn't give him a chance to be stupid, and he was recognizing the cost wasn't going to be low...

Thankfully, the vast majority of the pros I've dealt with have been on the right side of the badge.

Kyokushin Karate said...

"The pros are a different kettle of fish."

I am an ordinary civilian, but even I can see the gold inside this entire paragraph.

Rory said...

Priest- That might make a good blog post. First and most obvious example is that one of the techniques was an unbalancing and neck crank as a response to a right cross. Since, like most experienced people, I tend to automatically cover my throat with my left hand when I throw a right, the neck crank ran into a splint. Less obvious, but more prevalent, almost all grapplers will block a compression with a bone. Untrained people tend to fight with muscle. I know that's probably clear as mud...
Wayne-- it might just mean that you're getting old, too. ;)
Jim. Yes. Criminal pros tend not to last. It's very effective in the moment but draws attention. Hence the high percentage in prison. Most of them I have known have been good guys. I'm grateful for that.
SK-- You made me blush.

Josh Kruschke said...

These are mindsets.

Let's not confuse the 'profession' with 'professional'.

Just a thought.

Unknown said...

Welp, for me, another big takeaway from this is to preview the comments on youtube before watching any videos you link. The sounds of a dying man are horrifying to listen to. But I should be less delicate if I'm going to continue reading your books and blog, which so far are very helpful...

:: reads on ::