28 September 2012

The Pitfall of overstructured training

As the saying goes, you never stop learning.  This has proved very true for me over the past summer as I have been bouncing while researching my Contact & Control for Bar Staff Course.

Working at a busy club with two bars, and a concert venue has provided me with a unique laboratory for me in the way of human behavior, both the clientele and the staff.  Even more so then my law enforcement background.  In law enforcement you have the opportunity to drive away.  When you are bouncing you are immersed in the environment.   Most importantly it has been in a environment that I otherwise would have no contact with.

The club is in Baltimore, MD, and being in the Peoples Republic of Maryland, the only people carrying guns are the police and the criminals.  Our crowd is relatively liberal and most would probably not exercise their right to carry if they could.  Voted several times my the City Paper as the #1 Rock n Roll club in Baltimore, that is what our crowd is, mostly Punk.  In doing research on Punk history and the current scene, it seems that when it comes to violence and carrying weapons, they gravitate towards impact and edged weapons, not firearms.  Again, taking into consideration Maryland's restrictive firearms laws, it is not surprising that good guys and bad guys alike carry knives.  And the fact fixed blades are illegal means that good guys and bad guys alike gravitate towards folding knives.

The other constant in this line of work is loud noise, both music and crowds.  Ad into this constant low light conditions, and never ceasing movement, it is a chaotic environment where things happen fast.

Traditional martial arts that are based on you do X when he does X are of little to use.  During my career in law enforcement I found this to be true as well.  Another piece of the puzzle in the chaos is range.  Most arts have a range at which they are best suited, usually broken down into either striking or grappling, against one opponent.  Some are weapons based, traditionally sticks or edged weapons, and most recently firearms.

The truth is that range goes in and out like the tide, both during verbal and physical confrontations.  Because of the aforementioned low light conditions, you have to quickly respond to physical movement with very limited information.

Because of this now than ever, I am of the opinion that the key to realistic self-defense no matter the personal application needs to be rooted in principle based responses that make use out of natural human protective responses.  The most basic of these is the bringing of the hands up to protect the face head and neck. The next step is moving forward and to the outside.  This accomplishes three important things besides protecting your face, head, and neck.  First is breaks the natural inclination to stay square to the threat.  Second it puts all of your natural weapons towards your attacker, while is are pointed away from you,  And last, but possibly the most important, it opens up your vision so that you can see subsequent threats.  Standing in front of, and tying up with one person is probably the single worst thing you can do in a crowd.

The above took several minutes to type, but only milliseconds to do.  This flanking response allows you to attack the threats Central Nervous System at its most vulnerable parts, the side and back of the head, while at the same time allowing you to target their elbows and knees, the structural lynch pins of attack (elbow) and locomotion (knees).

Metaphorically, envision their movement as them leaning on a door (you), as you step out of the way.  This puts them in the box and you out of it.  - George

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