Self Defense when you can't harm your attacker

Discussion in 'Self Defence' started by Matt_Bernius, Nov 2, 2005.

  1. Matt_Bernius

    Matt_Bernius a student and a teacher

    Mod extrodinaire Melanie posted this excellent account of personal self defense in another section of the site. Its a great example of a self defense case we don't often talk about, when you need to control someone without hurting them (for any one of a number of reasons).

    Does anyone else have experiences like this? Or suggestions for controlling a situation where you need to phsyically deal with someone without causing damage?

    - Matt
  2. hux

    hux ya, whatever.

    For one thing, a policy change might be in order. Don't be in there alone with the patient. I know that's not the intent of the thread, but it seemed worth mentioning.
  3. Melanie

    Melanie Bend the rules somewhat.. Supporter

    I wasn't "in" anywhere. They have free range of the "secured" facilities - I was walking from one room to another (down a hallway)and he came out of his room in front of me. Thankfully he didn't sneak up at me - he shouted and the went to attack me. Just thought I'd clear that up. :)
  4. Slindsay

    Slindsay All violence is necessary

    Raw physical strength may be a good option here?

    I don't know many arts that have much in the way of disabling an attacker without hurting them, Aikido does a lot around the idea of not injuring them though.

    The reason I would suggest strength as a good option is because it's quite easy to control youre own strength and it would help with simple but very effective techniques like bear hugs. Off course this would be in suplement to MA trainning and not nfeasible to everyone.

    Other than that I would sugest groundfighting but for the problem of takedowns, how would you get someone to the floor without hurting them? Again, to my mind strength will help in this allowing you to more lower than throw someone down. Of course once they are on the floor I think most competent grapplers will be able to tie them in knots, I've had it done to me by smaler people a lot recently :rolleyes: and it's certianly possible once there to pin them without hurting them with great ease (I weight over a 100k and have 65k people pinning me).

    Obviously, things that are off the card are striking and possibly locking depending on whether or not you will go for pain compliance, personally in the case described I wouldn't want to rely on it as it is pain based up to the point you break their arm and if someone is mentally disturbed you may not be able to rely on them responding rationally to it.
  5. Bigfoot

    Bigfoot Smile, laugh, be happy!

    This is actually what I get paid to teach.
  6. hux

    hux ya, whatever.

    aaaah, cool. glad ya threw down on him. ;)
  7. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member

    That sounds like the type of situation where joint-locks could be effective. Control and restrain the attacker without causing injury.

    Of course that is assuming that they would stop fighting against the lock due to the pain it causes. But if you are dealing with a person who is seriously mentally disturbed, then could there be a danger that they would keep trying to resist despite the pain and potentially injure themself?
  8. KickChick

    KickChick Valued Member

    There are certain self defense programs where you can learn soft control self defense techniques which are taught specifically to deal with aggression and conflict management. This type of self defense training is much like the defensive tactics training that police officers use to restrain perps.
  9. leeless

    leeless Handshaker extraordinaire

    In the Uk, there is currently an issue with teachers needing to defend themselves against increasingly violent pupils. I remember reading about various techniques which are legally allowed to be used on children by qualified individuals under certain circumstances. These individuals worked in care homes. Some people propose that they extend legal use of these techniques to teachers.

    If I remember correctly, the techniques included making a fist and pointing your index finger, then pushing the top side of the finger horizontally across the nostrils of the child. Another was to poke two fingers under the sides of the ribs to distract and another was some sort of wrap around hug, but it is illegal to apply for more than a minute.

    Also, as I'm sure your aware, many techniques in Aikido can be applied without causing harm as they are redirecting rather than opposing the force of the attacker.
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2005
  10. Melanie

    Melanie Bend the rules somewhat.. Supporter

    Once again another very good point. Social Services stated we are able to protect ourselves or others (same as Common Law Act - UK) but if we were unable to use C & R to the degree we are trained in we have to call the police and get them to deal. One instance I can think of is this. We had one person with severe learning disabilities barricade themselves in the bathroom and started throwing stuff from the bathroom window. They broke the glass window by chucking the bathroom cabinet out and then started throwing glass, tiles, nail scissors, shampoo etc. Obviously none of us could break down a door and we had no protection when we entered the room. That was interesting...distressing but interesting. The police arrived in their protective gear were told the circumstances and basically opened the door and overwhelmed him. It took 4 hours of him ignoring everything said by any one I hasten to add. He wasn't hurt. When he saw the physical presence of the officers and he couldn't hurt them he calmed down. He went to a specialist unit after that.
  11. Thomas

    Thomas Combat Hapkido/Taekwondo

    Within a school setting, this is a prime concern for me.

    The best "weapons" of course are awareness, de-escalation, body positioning (whether for intimidation or for calming), separation and team work.

    If the situation is "about" to go physical, there are locks and escorts that can be used, e.g. the basic standing armbar can be "disguised" as a wrist and forearm escort... if they resist, tighten the pressure to mildly annoying or up to a full armbar takedown. Wristlocks, shoulder locks, and such can be set up fairly easily on a person who isn't yet fully resisting. Again, level of force is the prime consideration and locks are used after the resistance has passed or before it has.

    Once it escalates to physical strikes, you can use parries, traps, etc to get them into range for a lock or even a takedown. Personally open handed strikes do more surface concussion and leave less marks.
  12. adouglasmhor

    adouglasmhor Not an Objectivist

    It's called non violent crisis intervention and my GF tried to use it when she and a colleague were working with an 18 stone blind woman with mental health issues and learning dificulties who comes from an abusive background. She took 15 minutes to restrain during which time a male member of staff came into the room looked at what was happening and heard them ask for help and walked out again. My GF and her coleague were black and blue, bruised ribs and arms etc. Techniques don't always work when supposed to. The male member of staff denied he had seen what was happening and being asked to help and nothing oficial was done about it. I would go along with Thomas's ideas.
  13. firecoins

    firecoins Armchair General

    I spent 8 years working in a volunteer ambulance, 1x a week. It is not uncommon to deal with trauma victims trying to hurt you. Violent behavaior is a sign of head trauma. Patients in tramatic incidents often are in shock and confused at what's going on. They lash out at you when you try to help them. We usually overwhelmed them and tie them down for their own protection and our own. Its hard because the back of an ambulance is small and your patients come in all shapes and sizes. Try lifting a limp patient who's being combative.

    Aikido and push hands from tai chi are helpful in this, kind of.
  14. El Tejon

    El Tejon MAP'scrazyuncle

    Qin Na.

    Similar situation to Melanie. In my profession I hold an independent contract to represent those who cannot afford an attorney (court-appointed attorney, it's part-time but pays well and gives me health insurance). Some of the individuals I work for have severe emotional/mental problems (EDP-emotionally disturbed persons).

    Went to see a new case one day at the jail. Went before medication time.

    In the small interview room, he decided to grab me. It took me half a second to realize, "oh, yeah, he's really grabbing me." I locked him (wrist lock using two hands) and then used my foot to kick the door for help. Luckily a corrections officer (jail guard) came quickly.

    Problem with qin na is that it is not learned overnight and takes dedication. However, a right hook to the jaw would have been out of place. :eek:

    KickChick, *ahem* those are ALLEGED perps.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2005
  15. Guizzy

    Guizzy with Arnaud and Eustache

    Pressure points?

    I'd suggest some pressure point pressing. If you can't throw or strike, you can control. I believe Aikido has much on that subject (what nerve to pinch to release the hand, that kind of stuff).

    Of course, I'm not talking about "t3h d34dly" pressure p01n75 s|<1llZ nor about the "mood-altering" ones. I'm talking about nerves manipulation.

    The problem with raw strength is not something one can always assume to have the advantage in; and that some groundwork skills rely on pain and danger (with the arm in a solid lock; I could possibly still stand up, but my arm would break before). This is not necessarly a good idea, because the mentally ill or people on heavy medication could not feel the pain and cause themselves serious injuries by resisting. That's why I advocate forcing involountary release (pinching the neck, pinching the forearms's muscles...).
  16. Vanir

    Vanir lost my sidhe

    I worked private security for a hospital and mental health ward a couple of years ago. That was fun (not).

    As a sidetrack the drug related patrons and their buddies were a pain in the butt because being a hospital the sub-administration didn't think batons and cuffs were prudent for public appearances, so you had a badge few took very seriously and whatever you could pull off yourself.

    Whenever the orderlies got a little out of scope with the psych patients they called us (guards were either solitary or two-up posting in a large place, we got pretty multiskilled quickly). The official in-house tactic was to ask nicely then overwhelm with numbers. Actually to be honest the way half a dozen orderlies and a couple of uniformed guards (under restrictive limitations), stalked and pounced, I'd fight back myself if it were me. Nobody likes loss of humanity especially when it's forced upon you.

    Basically that's how problems in the psych ward were handled. A poorly empathised negotiation, complicated by ridiculous overmedication essentially derived of public apathy to individual personal issues, followed by a mass assault.

    My duties did involve, primarily patient restraint, however and this is precisely what the topic posting described. The psych patients one might even get away with damaging, there's an acceptance they do frequently injure themselves and put themselves into situations where they cannot but become injured no matter what anyone reasonably does.
    But regular patients press criminal charges and civil action, no matter how drunken, drugged and violent they were the night before, when you had to restrain them.
    What I found here was my favorite tertiary restraint, that is after you've got them reasonably confined and you're just waiting for the orderly to bring the bedstraps, is wrist/elbow locks which I found not uncommonly were held by skeletal mechanics alone. It was pretty common to have to apply pressure well beyond the pain threshold, literally until bones were hard up against each other. You have to modify your technique a bit, and if caught unprepared you'll be pretty ineffective with them 'till you get used to it.
    Basic "nerve strikes" and "pressure points" were completely useless (I'm a small build, it was always a first instinct), all you do is damage a gland or bruise a vein nobody's aware of until it's causing them health problems a few hours later. Hyped up on adrenalin, or a junky, or drunk or even just plain genuinely and potentially dangerously annoyed, they just ignore strikes that would unwillingly drop an experienced martial artist in a dojo or a schoolyard bully like a sack of bricks. Just something I noticed.

    All obvious, classical strikes of any kind, ie. fist, foot, arm, knee, elbow, fingers, hand, even too flagrant a slapping motion or otherwise any whacking whatsoever was a serious no-no. I mean generally it is in the more professional security industry anyway.
    In fact if you can't talk your way out of a conflict, you're going to be held entirely responsible for anything which happens by any neanderthals admin have employed (usually a few), unless you were summoned by orderlies or nursing staff in the first place. I lost my job when a 100kg junky drug dealer wouldn't listen to reason concerning where he's not allowed to go, but I'd put in for a transfer anyway. Funny part, if I'd let him go waltzing in the reviving area to assault the ER surgeons on duty as he'd intended (because his girlfriend was OD'ing and nobody was bothering to pet him and say there-there), I dare say I'd have felt somewhat worse.

    Mostly for these type of conflicts, ie. restraining with minimalised injury (standing in sunlight causes injury, for all you quakers out there), what you want is a good deal of genuine experience, common sense by the truckload, plus think on your feet and wing it.
    I often found patients got more injured and situations far more escalated when I didn't assert my own actions to immediately supercede anyone else in the room that were making me frown with how badly they were handling it.

    I also got along better with anyone we had to restrain than the orderlies or nursing staff. We'd hang out and smoke outside later, the patients and me. After a few months, when a psych patient was playing up for a bit, they'd send them over to hang out with me for an hour, smoking cigarettes and talking about how much life's changed since the Cretacious period (I found a good proportion of psych patients either well educated or well researched).

    Legally you may arrest (ie. restrain) an individual under the provisions of the Crimes Act, that is using reasonable and proportionate force. Best not to baton a paraplegic if he won't go down the wheelchair ramp orderly.
    I understand in the US you may arrest under regional (ie. state) provisions, using constitutionally protected justifiable force. Awkwardly, it would work best in the health industry where the patient was armed, then you could probably do something like armlock him. It's hard to justify taking the rights from a sick person, but it is easily proportionate and may be quite reasonable. I'm suggesting it is culturally, therefore legally, and certainly surprisingly vital to carefully examine the precise wording of physical conflict protocols in your area. It leads directly to the psychology of the law enforcers who'll be arresting you later.

    On the flip side it is rarely proportionate to prevent incurring unreasonable harm as a healthy citizen, but easily justifiable where self defence is concerned, hence most practitioners of self defence in a Westminster system (most, not all), are at least initially charged with criminal assault and battery, regardless if they got jumped outside the opera by a mugger.
  17. Legless_Marine

    Legless_Marine Banned Banned

    This really does sound like an ideal situation to employ joint locks. In Hapkido, one learns joint locks as well as escapes, and there is a great deal of emphasis on graduated response.

    Strikes seem like a completely bad idea, as they'd just escalate the situation.

    Hapkido may be somewhat overkill for what you need, but shop around the various arts that focus on joint locks, and find one that suits you. You may be even able to find a school teachin self-defense courses that would be willing to teach you a curriculum modified to your needs.
  18. Matt_Bernius

    Matt_Bernius a student and a teacher

    Very useful and interesting responses all. As everyone suggests, joint locking and grappling are important skills for these sorts of situations. What other ideas and experiences do people have?

    - Matt
  19. Slindsay

    Slindsay All violence is necessary

    What about using the dirty Brazillian trick of pulling guard to take 'em down thus risking little injury to them (Slightly more risk to yourself but just be carefull about it and you'll be fine) Once you have them there sweep them over and you've got mount, switch of into a nice tight scarf hold and keep them there till they calm down.

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