De-escalation is a term we use fairly loosely in self defence training, perhaps too loosely.
As there’s simply more to the whole process than meets the eye. Meaning we may not have the option to go to de-escalation at the first instance of trouble and there are other aspects of tactical behavior that should come first.
When we look at the pre fight stages of self defence, we first try not to get into a situation (don’t be there) by being situationally aware and if we feel that we’re headed into an area or situation that may not be good we change course.
In other words we make a clear tactical decision to avoid a situation, group of people, individual or dark ally etc. So as not to put ourselves in harms way.
Sometimes through no fault of our own, or by choice (perhaps in the role of preventing harm to others) we find ourselves in a situation that has either the potential to get violent or is already there.
So, is De-escalation a tactical component of self defence?
To answer the question Yes, and it is also possible to de-escalate a situation even after it has become violent!
In the case of defending ourselves, the best solution would be to de-escalate prior to any punches being thrown which is not always possible, but certainly the best solution.
Communication is key here!
So what are the options?
In the case of a situation that has already turned to violence, obviously we have the option of using force to subdue the aggressor or, we could try to deflect the usual pushing type behavior prior to the attack or defend the initial flurry of attacks and then try to control him/her/them and then de-escalate, or even when the punches are flying we can try to verbally de-escalate the situation!
How do we De-escalate?
Well, it’s a combination of;
And even a little bit of ego massage directed at the aggressor if necessary.
Prior to punches being thrown, appear confident but not arrogant, have your hands up and out in front of you in a manner that doesn’t appear threatening, in other words parallel to each other not in a fighting stance, this gives a submissive appearance.
Have your eyes looking toward their chest and your peripheral vision switched on, again this appears submissive but is actually very defensive in nature. It allows you to detect any strikes very early on and prevents you from being psyched out or intimidated by their aggressive stare or facial expressions.
Do not cower!
As this will almost certainly feed their feeling of dominance and may well be a que for the aggressor to escalate! (think typical bully here).
Verbal communication:- Before during and after the encounter!
Show empathy towards the aggressor even if you feel that they’re an ass hole!
That will tell them you can identify with the problem from their point of view, hence building some kind of bond or understanding (it doesn’t have to be long term).
Try to reassure the aggressor that you don’t want any trouble and if need be, even apologize for what ever the perceived injustice might be.
Be very careful with the use of threats of police or the damage you may be able to do to them. As in the case of the police it can go both ways and either de-escalate or rapidly escalate the problem, it really depends on the aggressor’s mindset. That’s not to say that that they aren’t appropriate actions under the right circumstances.
Threatening them with violence is never a good option, as it can also rapidly escalate the situation and can also be used against you later in a court of law if there are witnesses present.
Don’t be a smart ass, don’t try to belittle them, again this will escalate the situation.
What if you’re trying to stop a situation between other people?
It’s pretty simple really, firstly be sure of who the aggressor / aggressors are before sticking your nose into a potentially very volatile situation (you don’t need to choose sides here). And be very aware of both parties behavior as you may get an unexpected surprise whilst you’re in the middle of the pack so to speak.
Apart from maybe having to get between the parties and create separation just follow the same process.
Good Body Language and Verbal Skills are the answer!
Having said that it can be that if your social skills or personal development are lacking a bit you may believe that you are de-escalating the situation when you’re actually prolonging the situation unnecessarily or escalating it. So you need to really pay attention to the responses of the people involved and try to understand if you’re making it better or worse, yourself included!
Also you need to be aware of your own triggers, those are the things that will tick you off and fire you up. If you don’t have yourself under control how can you expect to keep others under control? Triggers! That’s for another blog!
Blog post by Dave Sargent, Senior Instructor at Krav maga Canberra
Another Christmas has passed and another New Year is almost upon us.
Whilst for most of us this is a time of family gathering and joy, we should be aware of those who are less fortunate for whatever the reason.
For some this can be a particularly difficult time of the year and if we can offer a helping hand or a kind word or an ear to listen with, it can mean a lot to those less fortunate than ourselves.
We should also be aware of the risks that the holiday season brings with it.
Lets have a look at a few problem areas and think about what we can do to minimize or even negate the risk.
A higher rate of Domestic Violence. What can we do about it if it’s happening to us or someone we know?
If you are a victim of domestic violence or fear that you may become one, the first thing to do is to try and disengage from the situation.
That may be a lot harder than it sounds, many people find it very difficult to walk away from a partner or loved one when there’s an argument even when they know the next step will be violence and indeed many victims of domestic violence feel that in some way, they are to blame for what happens to themselves.
Well it’s simply not true, if someone works themselves into a rage and violently takes it out on somebody else, the only blame lies with the aggressor.
As early as possible you need to extricate yourself from their environment, generally speaking, the indicators will be there before the violence starts.
Having said that every bodies situation is different and you need to be aware of what signals the aggressor may be sending, the sooner you pick them up the better.
There are many support groups or hot lines out there but you must take the first step and reach out for help even if it’s only to a friend, the hardest part may be to admit to yourself that there is a problem and you need help to solve it.
If you think somebody you know is a victim of domestic violence,
You should be very careful when assessing or judging people, as the victims can be very defensive when questioned on the subject and if you’re wrong there’s all kinds of potential for fallout.
However we all have a duty of care if we think somethings not right especially when children are at risk, so tread lightly but do something.
That may be just offering a safe place to discuss the situation or some kind of refuge, keeping in mind the aggressor may turn on you too!
Intervention at the time of a violent occurrence can be extremely tricky and your best intentions could land you in a lot of hot water.
It’s very common that when somebody tries to intervene during a domestic violence situation that the victim will turn on the rescuer, after all you are either trying to restrain / control or for want of better words, in the victim’s eyes attack, their partner or family member.
Regardless of the violence being metered out to that person you are, quite probably in their eyes, sticking your nose in where it’s not wanted. That brings with it some inherent risks of it’s own, so best to call the Police and let somebody better equipped for the situation deal with it unless you think that the victim is going to be badly hurt.
Then you must act, but be aware that you may have to aggressive people to deal with and also be aware that their may be some legal consequences of your actions!
New Years Eve, the most violent night of the year!
New Years Eve, Mmm, having worked on the door of several night clubs for 6.5 yrs and having worked on New Years Eve 6 times, I’d have to say that whilst the majority of people are out for fun, there are those who either can’t handle their alcohol and or drugs and loose control or are just plain anti social and thrive on the opportunity to take advantage of people who are less capable than themselves.
Add to the situation (in Australia at least) extreme hot weather and you have a potentially very volatile mix of factors that can contribute to a lot of violence!
What’s the answer?
Well, go out and and be situation-ally aware, keep control of your own consumption and if a situation starts to present itself de-escalate and disengage! and simply leave the area / venue if things start getting hostile, it’s not rocket science!
A high rate of Accidental Death on the roads.
So many people on the roads at once and so many in a hurry!
Krav Maga is as much a self defence system as a mentality, you can adopt a defensive mentality to driving just as you can to walking down the street.
That doesn’t mean be scared or afraid to venture out, it just means drive defensively, be situation-ally aware at all times. Be courteous when someone else is in the wrong but not at the expense of your own safety of course, just be aware that people will be tired and make bad choices this time of the year and when it comes to cars or motorbikes it can be deadly!
Every bodies in a hurry, every bodies tired and cranky. What might you expect if you are less than courteous on the roads? Or perhaps just driving normally and someone thinks for some reason you’ve wronged them in some way, so they get aggressive.
What to do?
If you’re stuck in traffic and can’t safely escape, lock the doors, wind the windows and call 000 for assistance assuming the offender is out of his car and it warrants the call, otherwise if it’s just a bit of abuse smile apologize whether it’s your fault or not and get on with your day, what’s the big deal?
Higher rates of Theft and Burglary.
Whether its break and enter to your home or vehicle or opportunistic theft of a hand bag etc, there’s a lot of it going on over the Christmas / New year period.
Because the opportunities present themselves to the bad guys left, right and center at this time of year due mainly to complacency on the part of the owners! That’s a fact!
What to do about it?
Don’t be complacent! The, it won’t happen to me mentality, is quite simply a recipe for a bad outcome!
Taking a few simple steps around the home before you go away like checking everything is locked up and secured, lights can be set on a timer to come on at night, landline telephones should be disabled, ask the trusted neighbour to check your mail from time to time and maybe take your bins out. Closing all the curtains can be as equally good as bad, as it hides anything of value but is a dead giveaway that nobody is home for some time, so it may be a good thing to leave the odd curtain open with nothing of value in sight.
Regards the car, it’s much the same as the house lock it! And either don’t leave valuables in sight or just don’t leave them in the car full stop.
Regards personal items, don’t put them down in a thoroughfare (walkway), don’t leave them unattended and where possible just don’t have valuable items on your person.
Remember, personal security is a state of mind, a form of behavior that you can choose to adopt!
Blog post by Dave Sargent, Senior Instructor at Krav Maga Canberra
We all know what survival means on a day to day basis, go to work, come home pay the bills blah. blah. blah.
But what do we mean when we talk about survival on the streets?
It’s a jungle out there! Or is it?
The bottom line is, out in the street, it’s pretty much as safe or dangerous as you choose to make it.
What does that mean?
It’s pretty simple really, if you choose to go about life without giving a thought to personal safety on a regular basis (could be daily, weekly or every 5 minutes depending on your environment), you’re potentially setting yourself up for an unpleasant experience at best and outright disaster at worst.
When we’re kids at school we get taught to look left then right then left again before crossing the road (in Australia).
Why is that?
Well cars aren’t meant to run pedestrians over are they, but hey! Some times they do!
So we all learn some kind of street survival skills from an early age, whether we’re aware of it or not!
From a more serious angle, that’s where Krav Maga comes in, we need to develop a mentality that allows us to go through the mundane tasks of day to day life without being ignorant to the risks that other people or our environment may present.
We need to consider situational awareness as part of our daily routine to the point that it just becomes ingrained in your behavior, therefore eliminating many unforeseen risks.
In other words the first rule of Street Tactics for Survival is don’t put yourself in a bad situation to start with.
It’s not always that simple of course, and there are people out there who are truly determined to do harm to others no matter what.
So what are some of the things we shouldn’t be doing?
Wearing hoodies! They effectively create a tunnel vision effect that leaves you vulnerable from attacks from all sides apart from the front and can in some cases also effect your hearing to a degree.
Using some kind of I Pod type device or head phones to listen to music, this blocks out exterior sound also leaving us very vulnerable to attack and even the potential for being run over by a vehicle of some sort.
Combining the hoodie with an I Pod etc, now you have none of your major receptors working for you! You’re effectively deaf and blind!
Or, all of the above including walking with your eyes down to the ground or on your phone, this ties up your awareness and leaves you very vulnerable. Not to mention presents very weak body language.
Wearing expensive clothes or even worse, jewellery when traveling, this will attract all the wrong kinds of attention from the bad guys.
Consuming excessive amounts of alcohol or drugs that will inhibit your ability to make clear sound judgements and make you vulnerable to assault of one kind or another.
Being loud and outrageous in an environment where you don’t know who’s around or for that matter behaving arrogantly in an environment where you are clearly not considered a local.
Underestimating the abilities of your potential opponents when something does start to occur, this could be a potentially fatal mistake!
Walking through a group or crowd of people who are inebriated or clearly behaving in a manner that would suggest that they are all together and behaving with a pack mentality on the street.
Posturing up and being aggressive unnecessarily if confronted by one or more bad guys (we’ll talk about this a bit later, the important word here is unnecessarily).
Parking your car in a spot that isn’t well lit at night and potentially difficult to access without going through an ambush point eg:- dark alley / secluded stair well etc.
So, these don’t sound like tactics from the fighting mans point of view, but they are in fact sound tactics to apply if you want to avoid having to use fighting tactics, which by the way is our aim!
Okay, what should we be doing?
Dress appropriately for all occasions!
Eg:- correct footwear for women (stoleto’s look great but you can’t run in them!) Where possible wear long pants for both men and women or shorts. Why? For both men and women if you do get into trouble they offer some protection against abrasions from the ground etc,and for women, from a rapists point of view they’re hard work and are also more practical to make an escape in.
Wear clingy clothing that doesn’t inhibit your movement but also isn’t easy to grab onto eg:- stretch jeans or tops, the list goes on.
When traveling do some research on the areas you intend to visit and understand the local scams and crime problems as well as hot spots and avoid them, dress down so as not to garner the wrong kind of attention and keep valuables hidden or better still don’t carry them.
Check your phone only when safe eg:- in your car with the doors locked or seated on the bus whilst still being aware of your surrounds etc.
Walk with your head up and stand straight up to look confident and more importantly aware of your surrounds, this is often all you need to avoid a nasty encounter with a bad guy as they’re looking for the soft target! Don’t present yourself as one!
If you’re going out drinking etc, have a plan about getting there and home and stick together in groups wherever possible and don’t let your friends wander off alone, especially women! Make sure your plan to get home addresses the route if you’re walking and make sure it doesn’t take you through isolated areas or ambush points, and IF YOU’RE ON YOUR OWN SPEND THE MONEY AND CATCH A CAB!
If somebody does become aggressive towards you, try to show empathy and verbally deescalate the situation and always assume that they may be armed in some way and have friends around that you may not be able to see. In other words don’t under estimate the seriousness of the situation but remain calm and confident and disengage as soon as possible.
Avoid passing through large groups by simply crossing the road if need be, if you can’t do that, then move past on the peripheries and always be humble and polite in your approach yet not weak in appearance, remember stand up straight, hold yourself in a proud confident manner but not with arrogance! Once you are passed them, if you’re near shop windows or glass of any kind, a quick glance over your shoulder at the window and you’ll be able to see up to 3 or 4 meters behind you with out turning and attracting attention from the group. If you hear someone approaching rapidly from behind turn and face them, it may be all it takes to stop a bad outcome from occurring.
Remember we mentioned posturing? Well, if you do encounter someone or a group that want to cause you some kind of a problem then stand tall and confident be prepared to fight, and show that in your body language. A strong focused expression without sneering goes a long way to say I’m prepared are you? Don’t start puffing out the chest and threatening as this is just seen as a bluff and will very quickly escalate the situation. Confidence is the key here!
Scan the area and look for your potential exits and choke points and move tactically to position yourself to create obstacles or make it difficult for more than one attacker to attack you at once, look for common objects that you may use for a shield or weapon and be prepared mentally to explode with maximum aggression if needed, but the whole time be strong but submissive, show empathy and deescalate verbally so you will have the element of surprise on your side if you do need to act!
If you’re traveling by car, then park it nose out ready to go and park it somewhere where there’s lots of people about, and have your keys ready well before you get there.
It’s just common sense stuff really, but unless you make a habit of thinking this way on a regular basis it won’t become ingrained in your behavior and there in lies the problem!
At Krav Maga Canberra our aim is not only to give you the physical skills to defend yourself but to give you the correct mental approach and tools you need to survive in the streets.
Blog post by Dave Sargent, Senior Instructor at Krav Maga Canberra
What happens when you’re confronted by someone or a group intent on violently attacking you?
Or a commitment to one’s self?
Perhaps a combination of all 3.
For the untrained or somebody who has trained but never experienced a real violent confrontation, Fear may well be the strongest emotion here.
For somebody who has trained regularly and or just experienced violence previously often it will be a combination of Fear and Anger.
However what we really need to see, is a small amount of fear (unavoidable to a degree and useful initially), a small amount of anger (too much is dangerous) and a very strong commitment to ones self! (most important).
What do we mean by that?
Well you need to be committed to going home in one piece or as close to one piece as possible, for it’s not just your self worth, it’s also the worth others have for you , such as family members depending on you etc.
It’s the commitment to survive the situation by what ever means are necessary, keeping the legalities in mind!
It’s the commitment to keep going no matter what!
Giving in isn’t an option here!
To Engage or Disengage?
Let’s look at the options, if we engage what are the odds of winning versus survival, or losing? And what does losing mean?
Well survival and or losing could mean a lengthy stay in hospital, it could mean living with a permanent disability or worse, you’re family may become carers for you.
If we engage after some kind of attack such as a punch or push etc, will we have given the attacker/s the upper hand, or will we be coming from a position of surprise?
That’s a difficult question and will depend entirely on the attackers attitude, Eg:- too much confidence, very aggressive attitude or too much fear.
Each option will cause a different response from the attacker/s, so we need to assess their mental state to a degree and respond appropriately.
Does engagement mean an all out assault with everything available or a moderate response to create distance and dissuade the attacker/s from pursuing the situation further.
The variables are enormous and every situation will dictate a different response from ourselves, the most important thing is, if we are to engage :- do we wait and respond as discussed earlier or do we Preemptively Strike?
Keeping in mind the legalities of the situation and having exhausted every other civilized approach such as verbal deescalation, Preemption may well be the best option.
Having tried the verbal deescalation approach prior to preempting will certainly lower the level of aggression and alertness of the attacker/s giving you a much greater chance of success.
Stun and Run! at this point would be a great strategy if possible!
If there is no option of escape then you must fight on with everything you have!
Keeping in mind that you should recognize when the job is done and it’s time to move on, in other words exercise control and restraint as required.
What if our response is to simply not engage and cut and run?
Well that would of course be the ideal solution, But! it’s not always possible, for a myriad of reasons Eg:- you’re with a loved one who won’t be able to keep up if you run, the attacker/s are too close and if you turn to run you give your back to him / them and they’ll be all over you, confined spaces, you’re encircled or you’re incapable of running due to injury or you’re in some way encumbered.
So what do we do?
Well, we go through the process again, Verbal deescalation (we should be assessing the mentality of our attacker/s at this point), looking for common objects we can use as obstacles or weapons, tactical positioning, mental preparation for the inevitable and make the appropriate decision:- Engage or Disengage!
Advantages of disengaging:-
No need for physical interaction.
Limited or no injury.
No legal risk.
Disadvantages of disengaging:-
There are very few.
You have loved ones and leaving them would be disasterous.
Potentially in close quarters you won’t have time to escape without the attacker/s being all over you.
Advantages of Engaging:-
You may take the attacker/s by surprise, giving you the upper hand and opportunity to overwhelm and disengage.
You may create an opportunity for your loved ones to escape unharmed.
In a group situation you may be able to defuse a much bigger situation by taking Preemptive action and nipping it in the bud.
Disadvantages of Engaging:-
Huge risk of personal injury.
Legal risk! That is ending up as the criminal when starting as the victim. The bad guys know how to use the legal system against us!
Waiting for the attacker/s to throw the first punch may leave you at a huge disadvantage or maybe even catch you by surprise when distracted.
Blog post by Dave Sargent, Senior Instructor at Krav Maga Canberra.
Here we are again! A spate of very unpleasant events brings me back to the blog o sphere yet again.
It’s always very sad to hear of women losing their lives in very dismal circumstances, or for that matter surviving incidents and having to carry that with them for the rest of their lives.
There’s been several incidents in a matter of weeks ranging from 3 attempted abductions in Canberra, the rape and murder of Eurydice Dixon in Melbourne followed by the rape of another women in the same suburb a week later, also the abduction in broad daylight and rape of an 11 yr old girl in Newcastle in the same period.
We could spend our time asking ourselves what’s the world coming too and shaking our heads in dismay or our fists in anger, but what will that achieve?
Of course we see the knee jerk reaction of the media, the politicians and the rights groups. At this stage I’ll apologize for having an opinion, because I’m almost certainly going to upset some people here.
The only people I see being rational about the whole situation is the Police, only too be derided by some as blaming the victim. That’s incorrect!
The notion of pointing out that we need to have situational awareness and take measures to lower the risk of those sorts of things happening to us, well it just seems to infringe on our rights as individuals, after all it’s 2018 and we should be able to do what we want when we want right. Blah, Blah, Blah!
The truth is this sort of stuff has been going on since the dark ages and jumping up and down about men needing to be better educated about how they should be treating women is simply not the answer.
For sure it is a part of the puzzle but it’s a very simplistic approach to a problem that simply will not go away with education of males.
Why?…. Because the males committing these crimes are generally not well balanced individuals and frequently have anti social tendencies at best and at worst suffer from all kinds of mental issues.
So education is completely wasted on those individuals, that’s not to say there’s no positives for society in educating males to be better people. Just it’s not the answer for those who don’t give a damn about anyone’s rights other than their own.
We have to ask ourselves whether we can do something to better to protect ourselves instead of blaming others in hindsight for their failings, be that the police for not being there at the right time (impossible to achieve), the judiciary for releasing a repeat offender (some issues there) or the criminal for doing what he or she did.
Yes the perpetrator is totally responsible for their own actions and should be punished appropriately (again some issues there). What’s appropriate?
Certainly not protection from the general population once incarcerated, perhaps no parole options etc.
But the bottom line is this, we all have the right to go where we want and do as we wish to a fair degree, but we really need to accept responsibility for ourselves and take measures to protect ourselves as individuals period!
Yes that means taking responsibility for our own decisions and actions!
At Krav Maga Canberra we continually push the mantra of situational awareness!!!!!!!!
Don’t put your self in a dangerous or compromising situation in the first place!!!!!!!!
Yes, at this stage we’re going to hear people saying that we’re blaming the victim. Wrong!
We’re fully aware that many victims are targeted by perpetrators for all kinds of reasons (that’s for another blog). We know that people inadvertently go about their lives without the slightest notion that perhaps they’re being stalked or randomly targeted in the case of the opportunistic attacker.
We fully accept that people have the right to do want they want and go where they want within the bounds of the law, BUT we have to realize that that’s not to say we should take for granted that we’re safe in doing so.
We can’t rely on the law to do something about the situation as they’re already stretched in their duties and primarily act after the event to catch and incarcerate offenders, they don’t know who or when they will offend.
We are essentially on our own in this world!!!!!!
So what can we rely on?
Ourselves, obviously. As I said earlier we need to stop expecting others to make the world safe and we need to stop blaming them or others after the incident and take affirmative action ourselves to prevent this stuff from happening to us!
What does that entail?
Well:- We have to have a good hard look at ourselves (most don’t like doing this) and think about things we do that may make us vulnerable or place us in a compromising position and start to change that behavior or habit.
We should all be doing some kind of self defence training, Krav Maga being the best their is to offer in that field.
We should be making a big effort to take in our environment and observe those around us at all times for peculiar behavior and pay close attention if we feel uncomfortable, gut feelings are usually pretty accurate when it’s just not right.
We should think as adults that if I’d tell my child not to walk home alone late at night, then that’s something we shouldn’t do either!
If we’d tell them not to take a short cut through the park etc, then we shouldn’t either.
We should certainly plan our movements.
When you go out how are you getting home?
Where you park your car (in a well lit location).
How you park your car (reverse in for quick escape).
Am I walking and if so will it be in a well lit environment on the way home?
Are there obvious places we should avoid in our travels due to low light etc?
Are there places where somebody could jump out and essentially ambush you (rob, rape, beat or abduct you from)? If so avoid those routes.
How much have I had to drink and can I make rational decisions now?
Am I able to still defend myself as a result of drinking?
Should I just spend a couple of dollars and catch a cab instead?
These are just common sense things that can save us a lot of pain in the long run.
We’re often our own worst enemies in that we may believe it’ll never happen to us or I’ll be right, but that’s just burying your head in the sand.
We need to embrace the thought that we all have rights and that nobody has the right to touch our bodies in an inappropriate manner, while accepting that there are those out there who don’t care about our rights and will act in anyway they want!
We need to give ourselves the best chance and be observant, be aggressive when needed and most of all use common sense and situational awareness.