If you’re going to resist a robber (armed robber or unarmed but threatening) you better know your Active Self Protection is up to the task!
Original video of the robber getting it: https://get-asp.com/ine3
News story on the robber getting beat down with more info: https://get-asp.com/xw9q
How do I protect myself from a robber?
- While we certainly recommend that people carry the best defensive tools they possibly can, there will be times when those tools are unavailable. In those instances, though, being aware of any environmental weapons of opportunity you might use to defend yourself is helpful! A glass bottle can become a very nasty slashing tool. A pen can be used as a makeshift kubotan. A wrench can become a workable fighting stick. As against this robber, a mop can become a makeshift staff. Don’t discount environmental weapons if you don’t have access to purpose-built tools.
- Transitional spaces are places where we MUST be more careful of potential attack by a robber or mugger. A transitional space is any location that (1) allows attackers to prey on potential victims with an element of surprise and (2) provides ready escape for the attackers. Convenience stores are transitional spaces by definition, and so when you’re in one (and especially if you work in one!) you need to be more ready for problems to happen.
- In the moment an armed robber attacks you, you must look for your opportunity to protect yourself. It is strongly possible that the moment of the attack is not that moment. You want to wait for the time that the armed robber is not focusing on you to act with decisiveness to protect yourself. The clerk wasn’t the focus of the robber when he decided to counterattack, and that’s a smart move.
- Empty-handed skills are absolutely critical for self-defenders. First of all, more conflicts you will encounter as a self-defender will require empty-handed skills than will require firearms skills, simply because more self-defense encounters are physical than deadly. I can’t tell from the video if this robber had a firearm or other deadly weapon, so I can’t tell if a deadly response was warranted. Second, since a firearm is a tool of last resort, self-defenders need to have non-lethal options that include empty-handed skills to protect themselves from likely incidents. Third, in the moment of the encounter you may not have the time to get to your gun before you can fight your way to it.
- You must know the range of your force multiplier and the range of various force multipliers that might be used against you. Knives are short-range, fast moving force multipliers. Firearms are extremely long-range, fast moving force multipliers. A stick (like a mop handle) is a long range, fast moving force multiplier. The robber actually did a good job closing the distance so that the mop handle couldn’t be used against him effectively, which was smart (though of course we aren’t rooting for him!).
- 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 or as in the case against this robber, a coworker), you want to do everything you can to work as a team. Knowing each other well and 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. Even if you haven’t trained together, communication is key to coordinated counter-ambush!
- 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. This robber took the defenders through all four stages of action and back again.
Attitude. Skills. Plan.