In part one of this article we dealt primarily with how criminals worked so as to possibly understand their tactics. Once we understand them, the next step is to employ tactics to counter them. Statistics show otherwise that we’re able to full trust into these unknowns who approach us on the street. So first, what can we do with our hands while verbalizing and second how do we properly verbalize. So as to not instigate a situation further, we need to present our hands in a friendly and non-violent posture yet can still protect us if need be. Geoff Thompson is a well known author and former doorman in the UK who created the term called a “high fence.” This is a fairly comprehensible term as to what we should be doing with our hands while verbalizing with unknown people in our day to day life. Our hands should be palm out with our arms high and compressed to our body. This not only puts us at an advantage to seem non-threatening, but also allows us to have our hands in an inconspicuous position to strike if necessary. It also puts ours arms near our head so as to be able to protect it from blows.
What can we do though to protect our head? Parry strikes? Move? The easiest way for the majority of folks who don’t have 20+ years to dedicate to a martial arts form, is to look at a technique that is non-diagnostic. This means that regardless of where the strike is coming from you will utilize this specific technique. Ironically enough it's termed as what Craig Douglas calls, the “default position.” What you’re looking for in this, is a level change of your body for a more stable base, and protection of your head/face from over rotation or a connection of a blow to your jaw/temple. How we can accomplish this is, regardless if it’s a jab, cross, uppercut, haymaker, etc you go to the default. This negates any extraneous processing of information that doesn’t necessarily need to be done in that moment. We can level change by dropping our hips slightly as well as spreading our feet apart similar to the catch position on an Olympic style clean movement. With our arms we should look to protect our temple, jaw and face. This can be done by bringing our non-dominant hand vertically back as to cup the back of our head and that same side elbow pointing outward. With our dominant hand we should bring our arm horizontally across our head with placing the crook of our arm near the crown of our skull. If done correctly we technically shouldn’t be able to see as our head should be angled downward. In the end, you’re basically creating a birdcage around your head.
The goal during any violent criminal assault is to stay upright and to stay conscious. The default position helps us complete both of these in a very robust and efficient manner. We may not come out of the initial blow completely unscathed, but we will hopefully be unfazed enough so as to be able to continue the fight. In the final installment of this series we will go over how to verbalize to these unknown individuals, what kind of movement we should use, and what basic pre-assault cues criminals usually use before enacting violence on others.
Photo Credit: Craig Douglas, Shivworks