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Thursday, July 7, 2011

"The Experiment," Part II: Setting up the Experiment

Want to feel loved? Post on your Facebook page asking for people to volunteer to stab you. It may or may not make you feel loved, but it gives some interesting results.

Side note: Those results make me want to consider trying to create my own "Violence Prone Play Group."

If you somehow missed the setup to all of this, go back and read part one.

I've been doing some thinking about how this is all going to come together. Due to the request of one volunteer, its happening pretty fast. That's okay. Assaults happen fast too, but unlike assaults, I can always repeat the experiment in other contexts or with other methods. This the first idea that sprang to mind, and I'm running with it. To do this, I am drawing primarily on ideas, methods, and drills I learned from Tony Blauer.

DISCLAIMER: Nothing I am doing in this experiment is representative of Blauer Tactical Systems, the PDR/SPEAR Curriculum, Sityodtong Muay Thai Academy, or anyone else I am affiliated with. This particular experiment is not representative of what happens in courses or classes run by those organizations. This is just me. I guess it's Active Defense Personal Training.

The Problem

  1. Rory contends that controlling the armed limb in a knife assault by someone "using a knife the way the knife was meant to be used" is "a messy and suicidal tactic." 
    • "The way a knife is meant to be used", is a bit vague, but I'm going with the option of trying to set things up so that the bad guy can use the knife however s/he wants.
  2. Controlling the armed limb during a knife assault is a commonly taught and used tactic that seems to have been born out through pressure testing.
c) Rory's suggested methods are
  1. Leave
  2. Fight the mind.
  3. Failing that, shutting down the brainstem is the first priority. 
  4. Get to the dead zone and control behind the elbow is the best control option I've found."
It is interesting to me to note that control does show up in Rory's options eventually, it's just not at the top of his list.
"Leave" covers the same ground, more or less, that is covered by the first two D's of the PDR, Detect and Defuse. For the purposes of this experiment, I'm taking those off the table. They obviously are very effective, but "pressure testing" them wouldn't really get at the issue. (I'm setting up an environment where I know a bunch of people are going to try and stab me. The smart strategy is to not show up, and thereby not get stabbed. That, however, kind of misses the point in this case.)

That leaves "fight the mind", "shut down the brainstem", or "get to the dead zone and control behind the elbow".

Fight the mind is interesting, and I hope will come up in what I have planned. However, it is difficult to specifically drill outside of a scenario, and I don't have reliable access to good role-players.

Shutting down the brainstem is something I can't safely do with training partners. The safest way I know of to hit people hard, at speed, is to use High Gear. It isn't perfect, but I have no better option.

Getting to the dead zone and controlling the elbow can be done in High Gear, so that still works.

The Plan

My idea as it current stands is to use Tony Blauer's "Charlie Manson Drill", with some variation.

And, as luck has it, I found a description of said drill online! Go read it (the whole thread is actually quite informative).

This is the variation I'm considering

1.  Weapon will consist of a hard-rubber training knife. I considered using metal trainers, but even with High Gear, the risk of serious injury at high speeds is too great.

2. Both the good guy and bad guy will be in High Gear. I will be the good guy for most, if not all, of the night. Depending on the number of participants/volunteers and time constraints, others may get a shot.

3. Defender turns back and closes eyes.

4. Manson member is then told a number between 4 and 28. That is how many times they must try to HIT the defender with the knife. The Manson member may use any and all means at their disposal to land those hits, including punching, kicking, grappling, or whatever.

[Tony makes a good and valid point about using stabs vs. slashes, but in respect to Rory's argument, I'm giving the attacker free rein.]

5. The Manson member cannot change the number once the SAFETY COACH issues it.

6. The Manson member is given about 30 seconds to psyche himself/herself up for the 'RAGE ATTACK'.

7. The practice blade is concealed behind the Manson member's back.

Drill Phase One:

The drill starts when the aggressor is ready and action begins in two phases.

The defender ONLY OPENS HIS EYES and faces the attacker when the attacker says: “HEY YOU!”

Physical intervention on the part of the defender can only start once the attacker produces, telegraphs his intention or obviously launches an attack.

The attacker must TRY to get in all the hits.
However, if the attacker receives a blow that s/he judges would have incapacitated or injured him, s/he can call it quits.

Once the attack begins, the defender can fight back with any means at their disposal.
The defender cannot call it quits. We will have a safe phrase for emergencies, and the action will be stopped if actual serious bodily harm is imminent. Otherwise, the defender must keep fighting, no matter how many times he's been hit. (This is a mindset thing. I refuse to practice dying. If I get killed by a knife, the fact that I never practiced dying won't make a damn bit of difference.)

Drill Phase Two:

Same as above, but the drill starts when the SAFETY OFFICER says "Go". Basically, I want the attacker to be able to set up at ambush range. At the go mark, the good guy opens his eyes, and bad guy can, well, do whatever.

I guess the bad guy can set up in ambush range in phase one as well, but this way, it's someone else job to make it go time.

Neil raised a good point on the last post, which is that even with High Gear, there are limitations. That is true, and yes, there are lots of other drills to try. That is the fun, and frustration, of this training. As my dad used to point out, if there was one magic move, everyone would learn it when they were five, and that would be the end of their combative training.

The best workaround I know for this with High Gear, to be a good bad guy. That is, to recognize the difference between a poor hit, and a hit that would have taken you out without the gear on. We have a whole lot of drills for this in the PDR/SPEAR system.

As for joint manipulations, we're all adults, and will all have to try to not be jerks. Most of the people participating in this are combat athletes...I'm trusting them not to break me.

This is the experiment as it is outlined in my head. I may be missing a couple of details here and there.

I'm planning to film this. It looks like the first round will take place tomorrow night. I may try to get in two sessions, depending.

So far, I've got a pretty good line up of bad guys. Mostly combat athletes of varying degrees of skill. Some bigger, some smaller. At least one woman, maybe two. No one with real extensive formal knife training, as far as I know.

My plan is to run through drills as much as I can, and just try different tactics I've learned over the years. We'll see what shakes loose.

Should be fun.


Rory said...

I'm really looking forward to seeing what you pick up here. Then we can compare notes. Wish you had the good sense to live on the correct coast.

Neil Bednar said...

To say that I can't wait to see this video would be a massive understatement. :)

Joshkie said...

I can't believe I haven't come a cross your site before. I'm looking forward to seeing that video myself.


Jake said...

@ Rory: Hey, give me steady employment, and I can live anywhere. Though I might argue that its you who's on the wrong coast.

@ Joshkie: Welcome to the site! Browse around, comment. Vids will be posted in due course.

Joshkie said...

@ Rory & Jake, I say why argue compromise both move to Texas. Austin's got jobs.


Anonymous said...

Extremely well thought out as usual, cannot wait to see vid and pick your brain next month in LV!
On a side note...sorry Jake, they don't call it the best coast for nothing :-)