Would you have taken the route that this guard took? Would your other skills have come to the front, or would you shoot him as well? These kinds of encounters are why we post after action reports on Active Self Protection!
Original video of the guard being forced to shoot with walkthrough by the DA: https://get-asp.com/ioiu
News story of the shoot with a PDF from the DA on findings on both patient and guard: https://get-asp.com/ox7e
What does this video teach us about defending ourselves against an attack?
- If your awareness is solid, you should get plenty of pre-attack cues from a robber or other attack like this patient. If you’re know what you’re looking for it becomes a lot easier to see who is out of place! Watch for furtive glances which are an indicator that they are looking for potential witnesses to their actions or escape routes after the attack. Check hands as well to see if they have anything in them or are hiding unnaturally in pockets, or clenching as this patient was. If you see a pattern that makes you uncomfortable, move from condition yellow to condition orange and take action to investigate or move to safety.
- The eyes may be the windows to the soul, but the hands are the windows to the intent of a person. If you’re in a potential conflict, ALWAYS pay attention to what the aggressor is doing with their hands. The guard knew an attack was coming because of the hands! They might have a force multiplier in their hand, or they might be hiding their hand so that you can’t see what is in it or using their hand to conceal something. If their hands are empty, there is a difference between someone with fists and someone whose hands are open and relaxed. As a self-defender your situational awareness must include seeing the hands of any potential threat in your vicinity, so watch the hands!
- To defend against this kind of attack, you need emotional fitness. Emotional fitness is defined as the ability to internally represent a situation or predicament to yourself in such a way as to make you strong and able to successfully defend yourself against it. Repeated practice and thousands of reps of sparring and self-defense absolutely build your emotional fitness to be able to handle whatever comes your way. The guard in this attack needed emotional fitness to stay calm and in the fight until he could get to his force multipliers, not to gas himself out and wear down. It’s not easy, but when you’ve done it on the mat repeatedly it becomes second nature.
- If you have a partner with you when you’re attacked (be it a LEO partner if you work on a team, or your spouse or martial artist buddy), you want to do everything you can to work as a team. The guard and the other man didn’t seem to work together very much, and knowing how to communicate and work as a team is the key to winning if you have a partner! Communicating clearly will help you protect yourself from danger. This takes training and practice and commitment, but two partners working together present a formidable challenge to any attacker.
- Fights are physically demanding, and this guard certainly felt the physical toll of the fight. Sure, a pure gunfight might last 10 seconds and not place a huge burden on you physically, but the vast majority of encounters we see here at ASP involve physical self-defense as well. Getting into a honest-to-goodness fight with someone is incredibly physically demanding, so being physically fit is an important part of maximizing your chances to protect yourself. Fit people are harder to beat and harder to kill!
- Even in a gunfight, empty-handed skills are important because many gunfights close to “extreme close quarters” or “bad breath distances.” Knowing how to protect your firearm from being taken, and how to win the fight that you’re actually in rather than the fight you want to be in, is crucial. If you’ve never fought from the clinch with your gun in the fight, on the ground and on your feet, your training has a huge gap in it. This guard really needed empty-handed skills and close quarters fighting skills.
- You must be able to fight and defend yourself from all different stages of action. One of my martial arts mentors, Skip Hancock, likes to say that we must be able to fight wherever the fight happens to be! So whether we are at contact stage (just able to come in physical contact with our attacker), penetration stage (where attacks can contact and penetrate significantly), or manipulation stage (a clinch or similar where joint and body manipulations are possible), we must be able to use effective technique to protect ourselves. The guard had a hard time with defending his firearm and employing his TASER.
- You must know how to fight to keep your firearm from being taken from you. If you carry a gun or keep one nearby, you must do what it takes to keep unauthorized people from accessing it and using it against you. If it is on your person, you must be trained and proficient in keeping the gun from being taken from its holster. (yes, that means a quality belt, a quality holster, and if openly carried, at least level 2 retention; the only one I recommend is the Safariland ALS: http://amzn.to/1SjOirW ) If it is not on your person, it must not be accessible to unauthorized people. There can be no workarounds for this rule! Your force on force and empty-handed skills training must include training on firearms retention.
Attitude. Skills. Plan.
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