Sunday, September 16, 2012

"To Hug or Not to Hug?" - that is the question!

(This post by Tom Taylor)

Politicians have been hugging babies for over a hundred years. At a ropeline in 1996, President Bill Clinton was photographed hugging Monica Lewinsky. It was something Clinton would later regret doing as the photographs and video were played again and again.

During a campaign stop on September 9, 2012, Big Apple Pizza owner Scott Van Nuzer bear-hugged and hoisted President Barack Obama off the ground, sparking a discussion amongst security professionals: “Was this a scripted stunt or an unexpected event? Where was the Secret Service? What happens when someone tries to hug and hoist your client?” The hug didn’t so much raise eyebrows, as did the hoist.

The fact is, public figures hug people all the time and it’s almost always okay. Having protected at-risk public figures for over 35 years, I’ve found the general rule to be: “If the protectee wants to hug someone, I won’t stop him/her. If someone wants to hug the protectee, I will prevent it until the protectee lets me know it’s okay.” Every public figure I’ve protected has hugged someone in my presence and I allowed it, because they initiated the embrace.

Those same public figures have been approached by unknown people in unsolicited encounters and I have prevented those “hug requests/attempts” because it was inappropriate and unwelcome. Hoisting the protectee takes it to another level, putting the protectee in a helpless and uncomfortable situation. It is a basic protective goal to prevent embarrassing situations for the protectee. But what if the hug is a prelude to an assault?An excuse to draw the protectee into a vulnerable position.

In 2008, a man convinced rock singer Marilyn Manson that he wanted to shake Manson’s hand. Manson was clearly uncomfortable and his security team kept the man at bay. When Manson relented and shook the man’s hand, the man then asked him for a hug. Manson reluctantly agreed to hug him. When they embraced, the man ripped Manson’s wig off (an assault), and his security team evacuated him away from the crowd.

The video of this incident can be seen at: It was certainly an embarrassing encounter for Manson, and one his protectors attempted to prevent.

In 1989, Alfred Adcock lunged through a barricade and attempted to hug Princess Diana as she was greeting people. Security agents grabbed Adcock and held him back. He received a caution from police over that incident. He had carried out a number of similar assaults on women, including two international athletes and two female members of staff at Durham prison.

Thousands of people saw Adcock grab Olympic sprinter Florence Griffith-Joyner on the track at Gateshead International Athletics Stadium. Race officials quickly intervened and Adcock was ushered off the track. Later, he admitted to indecently assaulting marathon runner Veronique Marot at the start of a race. Adcock entered that race as a runner and grabbed the French runner by the shoulder and put his hand on her breast. Adcock died in April 2004.

Protectors should develop a good relationship with their protectee and learn their preferences. Do they give autographs or pose for photos with fans? How do they handle direct contact with fans? Here are several points protectors should remember in these situations:

·     If the protectee will be shaking hands with people, always offer them an anti-bacterial solution to clean their hands when they return to the car or arrive in the green room. I’ve never had a client that didn’t appreciate that.

·     Maneuver to create a barrier between the protectee and unwanted approachers and try to keep the protectee moving while in public areas.

·     Use Verbal Judo skills to maintain control of situations. The rule is “Let the person say what he wants, as long as he does what you say.”

·     If you are telling a fan to stay back and holding out your arm as a barrier, but he is ignoring your presence and commands, then HE is elevating the situation to the next level. Know and practice low key tactics to control aggressors, cut through lines of people blocking your path, and breaking handholds on the client. Assume whatever tactic you use will be videotaped and put on the Internet within minutes. If properly handled, that same videotape can illustrate to a jury in civil or criminal court that you and the protectee were being assaulted and you only used minimal force to resolve the situation.

·     Always approach these situations as if there is a “No Hugging or Hoisting” sign hanging around the protectee’s neck. And the protectee is the only one allowed to say otherwise.


Monday, June 4, 2012

Dissecting Knife Attack Defence.....

(This post by Hans van Beuge)

Wayne Roy has recently written about some restraint and control tactics for knife disarms.  Although over the years I have had to protect clients who were threatened or attempted to be assaulted by assailants armed with knives, syringes, screwdrivers and broken bottles, I don’t profess to have any specialized expertise in knife disarms. 

The reasons I prevailed had more to do with the incompetence of the assailants than my proficiency... plus my willingness to deploy the rule of physics that say’s no two objects can occupy the same place in space at the same time, without catastrophic results. (Namely the offender’s head and whatever hard object I could hit it with).

My best advice to those when confronted by an offender armed with an edged weapon is to immediately run away very fast.

However, this option is not available to us when we are protecting a client. Under these circumstances our options are to neutralize the assailants attack or to shield the client and absorb it.

As such, I believe Wayne offers some very simple and effective advice on limb control of an edged-weapon armed offender.  However, I would like to add the following:

Effective knife-attack defense tactics need to be based on knowledge of how deadly the blade can be.  Up close a knife can be deadlier than a firearm.  In fact if a major artery is cut, loss of consciousness can occur in seconds, and death in under a minute.

So know the anatomy that is most vulnerable.....

Be psychologically prepared that you may be cut multiple times in a confrontation with a knife attacker, and be prepared to apply self-triage and first aid when it is over. 

There are countless incidences of people who have beaten a knife wielder only to die of their own wounds shortly after

If you are in an area of Protection work that offers a high incidence of probability of a knife assault, wear a stab/slash resistant vest and gloves. Bearing in mind those highly vulnerable targets like the carotid and brachial arteries are still exposed.

Be aware that it can be extremely hard to grab an attackers hand.  Good knife fighters do not need to ‘telegraph’ strikes to cut powerfully, and will often ’feint’ moves to create openings.

As Mark James of Panther Protection Services pointed out, most knife attacks resemble prison shanking’s rather than the more dueling type choreography that martial artists prepare for.  Think of the prison-yard rush style of attack.  A much more frenzied style of assault that is harder to defend against.

However,don’t let the fear factor psych you out over defending against the knife.  The good news is that statistically, most knife attackers aren’t James Bowie on amphetamines.

They are predominately uncoordinated, unfit, un-trained, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol or all of the above.

If you train the odds will always be in your favour.  Utilize the diminished fighter theory.  Their speed and effectiveness will be severely impaired and it will be easier to disarm them if you have already hit them over the head with a chair, baton, or any other dedicated or improvised striking implement. 

In short, turn them into a human piƱata.  I can personally recommend the effectiveness of a wall-mounted fire extinguisher.

Never underestimate an assailant and be highly respectful of the lethality of edged weapons. Make your training reality-based, not based on supposition.

For more insight into the realities of knife defence, scroll down to the 2-part series below. 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

C.Q.C. Basics : Knife Defence - a Primal Response

(This 2-part series by Wayne Roy - C.Q.C. and I.P. Consultant)

The assailant holding the knife in the photo above is Mark James, the Executive Director of Panther Protection Services in Atlanta, teaching defensive tactics at the Fulton County Police Training Academy.

To me, the photo highlights three very important points about unarmed knife defence.....

Firstly, most knife attacks on the street happen at close range - talking range - about two feet.  Secondly, it's a natural survival response to initially try to evade a blade.  And thirdly, it's just as natural to try and grab the knife hand. 

Why do people try to grab?  It's a primal psychological response... an attempt to control (stabilize) a situation that's suddenly out of control.

However it's just as natural for the person holding the knife to react when their control is suddenly taken away by you grabbing their wrist or arm. 

Keep in mind that your attacker's knife is their power... and when they suddenly loose control of that power they will desperately want it back

The most common counter-measure they'll respond with is to pull back on the knife hand... or they'll grab or push you with their other hand as they lean away (see photo below).  It's a primal response that I recommend be incorporated into everyone's knife defence training!

So now we've covered :
  • why it's natural to try and grab the knife hand
  • and that your attacker is going to violently react to your defensive grab.

Now it's time to consider what you're going to do in the next 1-2 seconds... because that's all you've got before you start experiencing that 'getting punched' feeling that is actually the sensation of being stabbed at close-quarters.

It's always a good idea to disrupt your opponent if you can - with one or two quick power strikes.  But if you don't, then you've got a struggle on your hands, and your only other option is to apply a takedown or a restraint of some kind.

In my next post in this series I'll offer some insight into the universal principles of restraint and control.  But in the meantime I'll like to leave you with a quote from Mark James :

"Remember most knife attacks are ambushes.  So don't think martial arts - think prison shanking. That's what you will most likely be defending against."

My thanks to Panther Protection Services for the photo :

C.Q.C. Basics : Principles of Restraint & Control

(This 2-part series by Wayne Roy - C.Q.C. and I.P. Consultant)

Universal Principles :  Regardless of whether you're disarming someone who is threatening you with a firearm or a knife, or you're applying a non-violent restraint to someone who's drunk or being difficult, chances are you're applying one (or a combination of) the three universal principles of limb control :
  • twist - any action that applies a spiral twisting pressure to a joint 
  • lock - any action that forces a joint against its natural direction  
  • fold - any action that applies folding pressure or leverage.

I initially developed these principles as a Defensive Tactics Training Module because they can be used to explain the power dynamic of any restraint or disarm. 

Following is a photo of the 'twist' principle, followed by a photo of the 'lock' principle, then the 'fold' principle.  And although these principles are shown being applied to a wrist, they could just as easily be applied to a finger, an elbow, a shoulder, a knee, or an ankle.

Below is an example of applying an outward spiral pressure to a wrist (twist).

Below is an example of forcing a hand back against the wrist-joint (lock).

Below is an example of applying folding pressure to a wrist (fold).

Now I'll use those principles to describe a few limb controls. The first is a 'twist-and-fold'.  With my left hand I've twisted the wrist outwards from the shoulder, and with my right hand I've folded it over and pushed down.  The combined power dynamic will force the opponent straight down to the ground.

This technique below is a 'lock' on the elbow-joint and a 'fold' on the wrist joint.  It turns the arm into a straight lever (a handle) that can be used to force someone down to the ground, or move them to a different location.

This technique below is a 'lock' on the elbow-joint and a 'lock' on the wrist joint, which also turns the arm into a lever.  All you need to do at this point is lift the hand up and push forward and down into the shoulder, and the opponent will be forced to bend over into a weakened state of balance.  From there you can kick, knee, or change to another restraint.

So as you can see, those 3 principles not only allow you to understand the power dynamic of a restraint or disarm... they make it easier to explain the technique when you're training with (or teaching) a colleague. 

Just remember 'twist, lock, fold'... universal principles you can apply to any joint... to a finger, an elbow, a shoulder, a knee, or an ankle. 

My thanks to Mark James of Panther Protection Services for the top image :

And also to Stephen Needham Photography for shooting the techniques :


Thursday, May 31, 2012

C.Q.C. Basics : Primal S.O.B. Tactics

(This post by Wayne Roy - C.Q.C. and I.P. Consultant)

No it's not 'Son Of a Bitch' Tactics... but some people are going to think that about you when you use these close quater combat tactics. 

S.O.B. actually stands for : Sight ; Oxygen ; and Blood.  The acronym refers to the tactic of disrupting an opponent's attack by applying pressure to one or more of their body's vital functions :
  • their sight 
  • the flow of oxygen to their brain 
  • and the flow of blood to their brain.

You can be fighting in any position (standing, sitting, or on the ground) - it doesn't matter - the moment you attack these vital functions it will trigger a psychological response in your opponent.  They will stop hitting you, and their hands will immediately go to your hands. 

It's a natural hard-wired response!  And because you know this is going to happen, you're ready to quickly release your pressure and launch a counter-offensive that will create an opportunity for you to escape :
  • elbow strikes
  • hand strikes
  • knee strikes
  • or kicks.

It really is that simple.  And I'm not referring to blinding them, or ripping their throat out. You don't actually need much force to trigger a 'survival' response that will stop them from trying to hit you.  For just a few seconds press as hard as you can against either :
  • their eyes (sight)
  • or their larynx (oxygen flow)
  • or one or both carotid arteries (blood flow).

It's a bit like pressing hard on a button.  You press against your attacker's eyes, or you press on the flow of oxygen or blood to their brain.  And to survive they have to stop attacking you and deal with the attack on their vital functions.

It may seem like 'dirty tactics' to some people, but to me it's just a simple and effective psychological advantage.  

My thanks to Mark 'Six' James of Panther Protection Services for the photos :

The Missing "F" Word.....

(This post by Hans van Beuge)

Fight or Flight. We have all heard that mantra before.  It’s a quick and catchy alliteration used to describe the autonomic nervous systems response to sudden danger.

Dr. Walter Canon, an American Professor of Physiology, coined the phrase back in 1929 to describe what happens when mammals are faced with sudden threats.

The only problem with Dr. Canon’s theory was that he left out another “F- word” in the autonomic response to fright. FREEZE.

Anyone who has experienced/studied/observed violence intuitively knows that we must include Flight, Freeze or Fight as being an additional reaction or part of the continuum, when sudden danger presents.

In a 2004 Issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry, 5 eminent Psychiatrists petitioned their peers to change the Fight or Flight mantra to “Freeze, Flight, Fight and Fright” believing this better characterizes the ordered sequence of responses that mammals exhibit as a threat approaches or escalates.

A Close Quarter Protection training doctrine can probably function with just the first three ‘F’s being Freeze, Flight or Fight.  The fourth ‘F’ of fright being more relevant to the psychiatric profession dealing with posttraumatic stress syndromes.

Any training regime for Protectors that doesn’t address the potential for these autonomic responses to kick in is inadequate. They can cause a massive under-reaction, over-reaction or non–reaction in the moment of crisis.

During the Kennedy assassination in 1963, only one of the PSD Agents reacted to the gunshots.  The driver of the Presidential limo actually froze, and braked at the sounds of the shots causing the shooter to get a near stationary target for the last fatal head shot.

Survival Psychologists say that up to 80% of people freeze or under-react when presented with violence.  They just become stunned and bewildered.

The term used is “Incredulity Response”.  It’s why very few people become involved in helping out victims in incidences of street violence.

The US Secret Service, through proper training and conditioning, addressed these issues, and by the time of President Reagans near assassination in 1980 the PSD responded appropriately with incendiary speed. 

A case of “Flight” over-riding an appropriate response could be seen in the recent evacuation of the Australian Prime Minister, from a venue, where a handful of protesters had assembled outside.

Her protection team over-reacted and fled the building, nearly injuring the PM in the process and causing major embarrassment.

It is clearly plain to see the level of panic and stress visible on the officer’s faces though no threat is present.

It is evident that any training doctrine must include addressing the element of “freezing” when facing a critical incident.

Solutions could include : Hyper-realism training that conditions effective sudden "fight" responses from ambush and surprise ; training in orderly evacuations ; fear inoculation training ; and developing an understanding of Fear Management concepts.      


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Image Projection v's Image Rejection

(This post by Hans van Beuge)

The recently disgraced and dismissed Secret Service Agents, who were part of the advance security for President Obama’s trip to Columbia, illustrate that even those at the apex of our profession are vulnerable to bad judgments and inappropriate behavior. 

Cohorting off duty with Columbian prostitutes was obviously a very poor choice but what surprised me more, was that the major offender had left a lengthy cyber trail of his unprofessional and inappropriate behavior.

This included posting photos of himself working with his Protectee as well as making sexist comments about the Protectee and other women on social networking sites.  

Projecting and maintaining a professional on-line reputation and image is essential to obtaining and maintaining working relationships within the Protection Industry.

Today, almost everything you do online is easy to track, especially when your're using social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, ASmallWorld, Viadeo, Xing, etc.

The good, the bad and the ugly ... anything that you have posted or has been posted about you on the Web will come up in an online search or with a little google-fu.

It now only takes a potential employer a few seconds to get a comprehensive and candid view of your professional and private life.

It's estimated that social media sites are checked by up to 63% of recruiters and 78% use search engines to find out more about potential employees.

What does your cyber image say about you? What sort of image would a potential client get from looking at your photos and comments posted online?

Do they project professionalism or do they convey an image of a narcissistic, attention seeking, self-serving fantasizer?  Once something has been posted online the reality is that it will probably stay there forevevever.

What would a potential client think if they did a search for your name whilst conducting due diligence and found that you had posted photo's of yourself with previous clients?  Or had divulged information about previous clients or had pretented to work with clients that you blatantly never had?

I frequently advise Agents that they should strive to become the sort of Agent they would hire them-selves if they were after the services of a Protection Specialist.

The same is true of your online image.  Make it project the type of Agent a Client would want to employ or interact with.

If you wish to become a Professional Protector than keep your online presence professional.

Keep in mind the famous quote, "Small minds discuss people (and I'll add, THEMSELVES), Average minds discuss events and Great minds discuss ideas".

Avoid posting banal, personal or opinionated comments. Make sure your photos enhance your image, not diminish it.

This is important not only from a PERSEC perspective but also from a marketing stategy.  Having a degree of mystery about you can be more effective than exposing every detail of your personal life.

Tony Scotti once said on facebook that he was not interested in hearing what you had for breakfast!  Amen to that!

"A man may cut his own throat with his tongue", I've frequently seen instances of that on social media sites. 

It should very much be a case of 'Less is more'.

Balancing the need to promote your services, the business aspect, with the high degree of confidentiality and discretion needed in this job will always be a contentious issue.

Although some of the most successful Protection Agents I know fly completely under the radar, I'd advise those attempting to enter the industry to be digitally existant. Employers do like to check you out and having a cyber social presence will assist you in networking with fellow professionals world-wide.

Do a google search for those in the profession that are held in the highest regard and are the most sucessful.  Emulate how they project their online image and behavior.

Without fail they all project the image of understated, dignified professionals.

It is also completely inadvisable to put a picture of yourself in a hot tub, on your website, unless you are a pornographer or plumbing supply wholesaler!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

C.Q.C. Basics : Tactical Distance

(This post by Wayne Roy - C.Q.C. and I.P. Consultant)

Regardless of whether you're fighting unarmed, with a weapon, or unarmed against a weapon... the safest platform to defend and attack from is called 'tactical distance'.

What is tactical distance?  It's the distance that's just beyond the range of your partner's fastest attacks... which are the probes.

A probe is fast because it's your opponent's closest weapon.  On the street it might be a sudden push with one hand.  In boxing it would be a left jab or a hook.  In kickboxing it could be a quick skip-kick with the lead foot.

The basic purpose of a probe is to disrupt your opponent's balance (physically or mentally), and quickly follow-up with a power strike from the rear hand or rear leg. 

In boxing this might be a straight right-cross or a hook (see photo below).  And in kickboxing it could be a thrust-kick with the rear leg. 

Punches or kicks from the side furthest away are more powerful simply because they travel further... and therefore develop greater momentum.  But because they travel further, they can more easily be seen by your opponent... which is why they are usually preceded by a fast probe.

But let's get back to tactical distance.....

Standing just beyond the range of your opponent's probes makes those strikes relatively easy to evade or deflect.  And once deflected, you are in a position to quickly burst forward with your counter attack. 

If your opponent decides to move forward with a power strike (because probes don't reach) then they have to step forward to reach you... which means their attack can more easily be seen and dealt with. 

But here's the important point... tactical distance is just beyond the range of your opponent's probes... not safely out of range. 

If you were safely out of range (standing further away), it would certainly be difficult for your opponent to strike you.  But it would also be difficult for you to counter attack, because your opponent would see your strike coming.

So standing just out of range gives you the ability to evade or deflect, then quickly burst forward with your counter attack. 

It's all a matter of distance and timing... a tactic that many great boxers have mastered... and great martial artists like the legendary Bruce Lee.

Tactical distance - it's the safest platform to defend and attack from!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

C.Q.C. Basics : The Strategy of Attack

(This post by Wayne Roy - C.Q.C. and I.P. Consultant)
If fighting 'defensively' was the only strategy you applied in combat, then you would be giving control of the confrontation over to your opponent.  Why?  Because they would get to decide when the action started, and what form it would take.

From a Japanese perspective, a more complete strategy is to fight using a fluid mixture of evasion, defence and attack.  And it's that last tactic that I would like to address.

In Japanese sword combat there are three basic attack tactics :
  • Sen Sen no Sen - attack the opponent as they approach
  • Sen no Sen - attack the opponent as they move to attack
  • Go no Sen - attack the opponent just after they attack.

In Japanese, the term 'Sen' means taking the initiative. The term 'Go' means after.  Therefore a more precise translation of these tactics would be as follows :
  • Sen Sen no Sen -  take the initiative before the opponent attacks you 
  • Sen no Sen - take the initiative as the opponent attacks you 
  • Go no Sen - take the initiative after the opponent attacks you.

For westerners, the terms Approach, Interception and Completion are much easier to remember, and more effectively explain the 'moments in time' that the Japanese tactics refer to :
  • Approach - take the initiative and attack first 
  • Interception - attack as they step forward to strike you 
  • Completion - evade, and attack immediately after their attack.

The Running Attack :  The running attack is something you've seen in many samurai movies, but probably not fully understood.

Firstly, it is important to run in short balanced steps that enable you to suddenly change direction, or cut in any direction. 

The concept of running towards your opponent is to psychologically take control of the confrontation... and in response your opponent must react in one of three ways :
  • freeze in fright, and be cut down
  • attack out of panic, and be cut down as you suddenly evade and counter
  • attack out of aggression, and be cut down as you suddenly evade and counter. 

In all of these situations, you are controlling the confrontation by forcing the issue.  It's a matter of being in the midst of chaos, but retaining a balanced state of mind and body.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

C.Q.C. Basics : Tactical Posturing

(by Wayne Roy - C.Q.C. Consultant)
The important point to understand about adopting a posture in a confrontation is this : 
  • any recognisable fighting stance is usually perceived as being an aggressive act
  • so if you adopt a fighting stance, then your opponent will too (in self defence)
  • and once two individuals shape-up in a fighting stance, they usually start fighting.

In short, adopting a recognisable stance can escalate the level of violence, unnecessarily !!!

Next point - it can be said that in combat there are 3 basic types of postures :
  • defensive - those with a defensive barrier, and the weight on the back foot 
  • offensive - those oriented to attacking, with the weight on the front foot
  • receiving - those with an intentional opening, and the weight on either foot.

In Executive Protection the most appropriate posture to use is called a non-posture... which is simply a naturalised expression of the 3 basic types listed above.

In other words, a defensive non-posture would still involve extending your hands forward to create a barrier, but it will look natural and non-threatening

The Japanese call this tactic 'Kamae Nashi' - which means 'posture of no posture'.  They describe it as being an attitude (a body position) that disguises your real tactical intent.

To give you some examples of what this means, following are three classical Japanese postures, followed by non-posture expressions. 

The photo below is of a classical defensive posture called Ichimonji.  The lead hand is extended forward to create a barrier, and the rear fist is concealed back near the elbow.

The photo below is a non-posture expression of Ichimonji, and has the same basic defensive-barrier characteristic. The hands are still extended forward, but they are presented in a more subtle and natural way.

The photo below is of a classical receiving posture called Hoko, which means Bear. The arms are raised (like a standing bear) to lure-and-intercept an attack to the face or body.

The photo below is a non-posture expression of Hoko, and it has the same open characteristic.  The hands are positioned at shoulder-height to give the impression that you're 'open to reason'... but what you're actually doing is psychologically inviting any attack to come through the middle, so that you can intercept it.

The photo below is of a classical defensive posture called Doko, however it has an obvious counter-strike characteristic in the form of a raised thumb-thrust fist.

The photo below is a non-posture expression of Doko, however the rear hand is now pointing out to the side to psychologically engage any opponent standing on your flank. 

This allows you to verbally engage one opponent while discouraging a surprise attack from your blind side.  You won't really need to even look at the opponent on your flank... just a pointed finger will let them know that you're aware that he's there.

Keep in mind that with the prevalence of CCTV cameras these days, it's important not to come across as being an aggressive highly-trained fighter. 

The non-postures above (or your own expression of the concept) will create a low-key professional image, and still provide you with the tactical features necessary to protect yourself and your client.