Do you have the attitude, skills, and plan to stop terrorists THIS young who threaten you? Most attackers are not this young, but Active Self Protection in dangerous places means being ready to do whatever it takes to keep yourself safe in the moment.
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Original video #1 of these two terrorists before their attack: https://get-asp.com/vsj2
Video #2 of the actual attack and defense: https://get-asp.com/3z1h
What lessons can self-defenders take from these terrorists being stopped?
- Most attacks are perpetrated by men (source: http://get-asp.com/821s for that) but that doesn’t mean that women are always safe or can’t be terrorists. It does mean that statistically women are much less of a threat than men for violence. However, each person is an individual, and each individual must be considered for their unique threat profile rather than lumped into a category. Just because women are less likely to commit violent crime doesn’t mean that they are unlikely in a given instance to commit violent crime.
- Situational awareness is your best friend. It doesn’t mean that you always are paranoid or living in “condition orange,” but it does mean that you know Col. Cooper’s color code of awareness and you live by it. Pay attention to your surroundings, and recognize that when you’re in public places you need to be more aware of your surroundings than when you’re in private. The terrorists were VERY close to the defenders when they decided to attack, but their awareness served them well.
- The concept of a reactionary gap is important to consider as self-defenders. This is normally taught as something like the “21-foot rule,” though that’s a principle and not a rule. As a self-defender if you’re in a situation where an attack is a possibility, leaving yourself some distance to allow for additional time to respond to an attack from ambush is very smart. Even 2 or 3 feet of additional space allows the reactionary gap to successfully defend the ambush and get into the fight. The reactionary gap allowed the man with a gun to keep the terrorists at enough distance to fight them off effectively.
- If you have a firearm out, distance is your friend. A firearm has a functionally infinite range in a deadly force encounter. (yes, I know, that’s not 100% true…for the purposes of a self-defense fight, it is functionally true) If you are at contact distance to someone you have a firearm aimed at, you give them the ability to fight you for your firearm and negate the advantage you have. The first defender here let the terrorists stay very close to him, which thankfully didn’t cost him a stabbing. If you have a gun on someone, stay out of range of their hands if at all possible!
- Against multiple attackers such as these two terrorists, every self-defender must know and train and practice that it’s death to focus on one too much. When every attacker is an equal threat, we practice the “Boarding House Rules” that everyone gets firsts before anyone gets seconds. If possible, stack the attackers one behind the other rather than getting between them, because if you get between them then one will have your back. It’s better if possible to work to the outside of the group and keep one between you and the others.
- Speaking of multiple threats, one of the principles we talk about regularly at ASP is the “Boarding House Rules” which boiled down mean “everyone gets firsts before anyone gets seconds.” Against multiple attackers who are equal threats, putting a shot on target into each attacker is probably wisest to immediately get the threat to start changing. Once every attacker has been addressed, reassess the existing threat to see who needs more attention and engage. Of course, against unequal threats this isn’t the case, so training is key.
Attitude. Skills. Plan.