How close is too close?
Part of my self defense system uses verbal drills to attempt
to keep or prevent the potential attacker from deciding to launch
a physical attack. There is no question that many times this does
work. When it does it works like magic.
A friend of mine by the name of Peyton Quinn who is the founder
and owner of RMCAT (Rocky Mountain Combat Applications Training)
center located in Lake George, Colorado has done extensive research
in the area of what we call the "interview."
The interview is the dialog that typically goes on between a would
be attacker and his intended victim. Mr. Quinn even went so far
as to film hardened criminals in his infamous video "Real Crimes,
Real People." This is an interesting video which is available directly
from Mr. Quinn at his website, www.rmcat.com.
Over and over in this video you can hear these reformed criminals
talk about how they size up their victims. More times than not before
attempting a physical assault (robbery, etc.) they will start some
sort of conversation with their intended victim. Sometimes it is
to intimidate but more importantly to get a reaction.
Does the person show fear or passivity? Do they go into denial?
These are clear signs of an easy victim or what they like to call
"Free Lunch." So what didn't they like to see?
Well for one, someone who didn't show fear. Someone who looked
focused, intent and ready. Notice I didn't say that you could not
be afraid, but not to look afraid.
We teach our students a color coded approach to this interview.
I will write a future article to explain this in detail but for
now here is a brief explanation. Yellow is a normal state of readiness
and observance. Orange is when there is a feeling that there may
be something potentially dangerous. Red is when there is no question
that the person has bad intentions and that an attack is very possible,
if not probable.
In the orange or red stage you do not want to let the person get
too close to you. If possible about two arms length at minimum.
Any closer and they could spring on you or sucker punch you.
So again, the question becomes what happens in orange alert if
the person is getting too close? The best answer to that is to try
to demonstrate strong assertive behavior but still be willing to
take a step back as to not allow your would be attacker the benefit
of reach. Here is where good verbal skills are also important. A
good question to ask is "What do you want?" This requires a reasonable
answer and someone who does not have bad intentions should be willing
to answer. If you don't like the answer or don't get one, then you
know that an attack is imminent. In this case it might be best to
pre-empt the attack with your own if your aggressor comes into your
on the Street we teach defenses against a surprise attack and
Self Defense 101 we cover the verbal and spatial defenses. Shihan