I felt the following article was worth posting in our sig. Gays/Lesbians/Bi/Transgendered/Friends do get our fair share of harrassment and "gay bashing". It is important that we always be prepared. We MUST look after ourselves and our brothers and sisters. --Adele Warner Random Violence Survival Skills was originally posted on Douglas and Yates by Ted Truscott. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Random Violence Survival Skills How to survive a violent encounter: -------------------------------------------------------------------------- The thought of violence is scary and makes us sick. To think that it is our children that are at risk makes it so much worse. Even talking about violence for the purpose of making our children safer is a difficult task--the images that come to our minds are gruesome and the concepts make us sick but if our child is one of the statistically few that is set upon by a drunken gang, some discussion and a bit of practice can be the difference between life and death or minor and major physical trauma. This is about the needless death of young adults, mostly young men, from violence. Few people die from the random violence of an angry stranger. As we have seen reported in the papers, the violence that kills is group violence or violence with a weapon. While tragedies can happen, most people do not die from simple punches to the head or kicks to the body. People die when they fall down and are kicked or stomped on the head or from weapon damage to inner organs. Victoria is a great place to live. It is relatively peaceful, beautiful and safe. Few deaths by weapons occur. When a weapon is not used, a few survival skills can make a lot of difference in that once-in-a-lifetime event of being attacked by a gang of cowards. Survival is not the same as fighting. In fact, when faced by a violent group, trying to fight the whole group is extremely foolish. No ordinary person can fight a group and win, no matter what happens in the movies, but there are skills that can be practiced that can help you survive such an encounter. These skills incude awareness skills, people skills and physical skills for evasion and lastly, for fighting. Awareness Skills: Loud music, rebel yells, 3 or 4 guys and or girls sitting on a car drinking beer. These should all be danger signals, red lights to stop you in your tracks and tell you to go somewhere else. Listen to yourself when a situation feels uncomfortable, it is your mind trying to keep you alive. Don't argue, minimize or rationalize yourself into potential danger. Deal with reality and don't deny the danger. This situation is not of the criminal ambush type which is very hard to avoid (but not impossible) without some well practiced awareness skills. If you see it or hear it, avoid it! People walk into a "rowdy party" group rather than avoid the situation for various reasons, but young male adults who do recognize the danger often keep going and deny the reality or feel capable of handling it because to "give-in" to feelings of anxiety is to feel weak and not in control, feelings that may be worse than getting beat up. Macho feelings interfere with good sense. Young ladies are set upon by "girl gangs" often because they just don't believe that other girls can be dangerous. Be aware--like the defensive driving skill of looking ahead instead of at the bumper in front of you, look ahead for social traps as well. Don't deny reality and walk into foreseeable trouble. People Skills: When faced by a challenging group, do you: 1) call them names, 2) tell them to back off or die, 3) start to cry, or 4) stay calm, friendly and try to de-escalate? There is no guarantee that you can de-escalate but if you get aggressive, it is almost guaranteed to get them riled up. Once you have wandered into the potentially violent situation, there are some things to try to offset an attack. This is presupposing of course that the group hasn't made a criminal commitment to attack you already. You can be agreeable-"Hey, great party!" as you slide on past. If the group is large, look to the back and without catching anyone's eye in particular try -"Hey, guy, how ya doin'?" to give the impression that someone in the group knows you: you want to be personal to them to lessen their aggressiveness. Don't give lip or obvious looks of scorn. Be respectful, be smooth, keep moving. Keep moving. This can be hard when someone is using their social "set-him-up" skills to engage you so you stop so you can be surrounded. If requests are made of your resources, "Got a match? Got the time?" or your attention, with, "Hey, who you lookin' at?" just keep up a broken record of "Gotta go, man, gotta go" over and over as you keep moving. It is safer to have people chasing you than to be surrounded by them. Physical Skills for Evasion: Be flexible in your route choice. Be ready to retreat if you have to. Be ready to run at any time, look for open avenues of escape while you try to slide past and de-escalate. Keep moving and stay on the outer edge of the group. Don't get surrounded! Don't let anyone get close enough to grab you. Keep your distance even if it means giving up your ground and going into the street. Keep flexible. If someone's hand comes into your space, avoid it by stepping back and away and be ready to slap it aside if it becomes a grab or a punch. No one can outrun someone by running backwards, so don't try! If you are facing someone and decide to run, step cornerwise back, turning and running at the same time. Start with a skip or a jump to creat distance to be able to make your turn successful. Run to get away. Also run to string the group out so if you must fight, you maybe only need to fight one at a time. Run through narrow spaces which force the group to bottle-neck and slow down and string out. Do you know how to run across a street of busy traffic safely? Some people feel there is less danger in doing this obviously dangerous manoeuvre than to go down under a group bent on violence. It is definitely a last ditch skill to be used only to escape a real "death-is-imminent" situation. Although this is a recognized street survival/escape skill, there are few people who know how to do it properly and who can teach it. A car bumper has no mercy. Physical Skills for Fighting: 1) After Running: Here is where ordinary martial arts fighting skills may be useful IF you don't stop and try to take on the whole group. If you are caught, the bad guy will try to trip you down or hold you until the rest of the group arrives. Your job is to discourage him, get free and keep moving. Most fighting skills (punching and kicking) except the wrestling/grappling skills, will be helpful here. 2) Fighting when Surrounded: How to take a beating and survive. Most victims tend not to accept that they are in a fight until well after the bad guy has decided that he is going to attack. Although this is normal, it is also really dangerous. Most attackers give away their intentions by slowly escalating to a necessary pitch of aggression before attacking. Learn these signals and how to escape the situation. We even have named the person who escalates secretly until his attack is a complete surprise and a complete victory! We call him the sucker puncher. Books have been written about how to deal with this character. In a drunken group, getting decked by a sucker punch puts you in serious trouble. If you don't go down instantly, two things will save your life: don't get hit solidly in the head and don't go to the ground. All your efforts should be directed at these two goals. Here also some martial arts training would be helpful, not to beat them all up but just to survive. Training will toughen the muscles of your torso creating a body armor so you can take some hits to the body while protecting your head and still stay up and alert. Training should teach you how to twist and shift to minimize the effect of the hit or kick and teach you how to stay calm and aware in the middle of the confusion. Your arms should be used to cover your head to soak up the punches. Crouch only a little to lower your center of gravity and crash around into people--keep moving--trying to find the edge of the group so you can run. Don't reach your arm out, it will just get grabbed and become a lever to force you to the ground. A boxer's type of bobbing action, bent from the waist, is not useful here as it encourages people to jump on your back and take you to the ground. 3) If you go to the ground: try to take someone down with you to hide under. Roll to stay under them, not to get on top. While there is no long term benefit here, you want them to work harder to hurt you and to blow off the adrenaline that fuels their aggression. If you go down alone, lie on your back, cover your head with your arms, your stomach with your knees and try to keep your heels curled into your butt. Why lie on your back? If you are on your side, all of your back from your head to the base of your spine is exposed to unseen attacks. Stamping kicks to the ear that is up won't be seen, and are very dangerous. Face up gives you a better chance to see a kick and jerk away, minimizing its force or causing a miss. Keep your fists on your ears and your shoulders shrugged to help to cover the side of the head and the neck. The elbows cover the face and the throat as best as possible. All their attacks must get past your forearms, elbows, shins and knees to hurt your vital organs. If they have to work hard to get you down and to beat you up, their adrenaline rush may soon be over and they may be satisfied with your submissive behavior after a few licks. When you are kicked in the side, try not to uncurl too much. Don't uncurl too soon. There is always the last coward who waits for that moment to prove his inadequacies upon a hapless victim. Reading these thoughts and instructions will not save anyone who is attacked tomorrow. These skills must be practiced if you wish to maximize your self reliance. Practice with your family. Think about taking some extended training in a traditional self defence orientated (not a ring sport) martial art. Short courses for ladies don't cover these or other necessary skills nor do they offer the amount of practice necessary to actually help a person manage to perform the skills they have learned...performance always lags behind learning or we would all play the grand piano!