This waiter did a great job in practicing Active Self Protection! The customer who attacked him, not so much.
UPDATE: local news says the waiter was yelling at the guy for not paying for a beer, and the guy felt disrespected: https://get-asp.com/5poi
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Original video of the customer getting his comeuppance is available in our Instructor Development Portal.
What does this waiter teach us about defending ourselves against an attack?
- 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. 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!
- If you know there might be danger around, you cannot stand there flat-footed with your hands at your side. That’s a great way to die. Instead, if you think danger might be coming but not imminent, get your hands up protecting your head, neck, and chest. I do this by tucking one hand under the other elbow, and the free hand on my chin as if I were in deep contemplation. Others do it using the “interview position” with both hands as if they’re holding a pad and pen. Getting your hands up shaves split seconds off of your reaction time, but that might make the difference between life and death if you can prepare.
- In any territorial or predatorial violence, the attacker gets to set the time and circumstances of the attack. They will almost always launch that attack from ambush, or as we like to call it in Umas, from “obscurity.” Surviving that ambush is one of the most important keys to successfully defending yourself.
- 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, be it an armed robber or a carjacker or a customer who decides to attack you.
- 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.
Attitude. Skills. Plan.
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