Friday, March 2, 2007

SAFE IN THE CITY


In this article we are going to look at some of the possible dangers that may arise on the street and public places and suggest effective ways on how to deal with these situations. One does not have to act paranoid by constantly eyeing on every stranger although it is necessary to stay alert and prepared at all times.

Public Transportation
In the Philippines not many can afford to own cars because it is still considered a luxury. So it is quite common for people to wait and endure long lines in order to get a ride and the irritation that goes along with a fully loaded public transport. This is the situation where pickpockets and robbers thrive.

I had a one time experience when I was riding a jeepney going to Sta. Ana and a fellow passenger (turned out to be the pickpocket) sitting beside me started to put his hand in his pocket as if to get some money to pay for the fare. Suddenly I felt that he was leaning too much on my side so my instinct told me something was not right. I held on to my wallet and found that it was almost half way out out of my pocket. Quickly I grabbed my wallet and looked at the guy and in an instant he jumped out from his seat and went on to ride a motorcycle that was tailing us. Apparently, he had someone with him who was ready to assist his escape after robbing passengers.
Physical techniques may not be needed all the time especially when you're in a situation where everyone is packed like sardines inside a train (like the LRT during rush hour) and you find the next guy breathing down your neck trying to rob you. This is a difficult situation because an escape route may not be accessible and you may end up getting hurt since this guy is usually accompanied by other men. So awareness and staying alert is what one needs to prevent this from happening. It is much wiser to just get off when you sense danger and take another ride.

Rest Rooms
The ladies room could be a potentially dangerous place especially when it's located at the far end of the mall. It is better to be accompanied by another female companion when going inside these places. Males should also be aware because there may be potential attackers in the men's room ready to stick a knife at you when you are doing your thing in the urinals. In short, stay alert.

Movie Theatres
When entering a movie theatre scan the area before taking a seat. Pause for a while with your back against a wall and let your eyes adjust to the dark theatre, then scan the whole area and look for rows where there are other moviegoers. Avoid isolated areas since these are the best spots for would be criminals to hide. It is much safer to be with a friend or companion because this sometimes act as a deterrent against criminals who more often than not choose victims who are alone and situated in a vulnerable area.

Approaching you Car
If you happen to own one, it is best to scan the place where you parked the car for suspicious looking characters. If you sense potential danger look for a roving guard in the area and seek help. But if you are caught off guard and put in a helpless situations, then by all means do whatever is necessary to defend yourself. Your car keys may prove to be handy in such situations as it can be used to poke the eye of the assailant or rake his face. This will buy you some time to run and ask for assistance.

Entering your Home
Remember the incident where the house of a movie actor was infiltrated by armed men who tried to rob hi. Eventually , the situation was reversed when the actor was able to get hold of his gun and went after the robbers, killing one of them. The robbers entered the gates of his home by timing their assault when the maid was about to close the gate.
This is a common tactic among robbers which requires perfect timing. In this situation be aware of your surroundings and check out places along the perimeter where potential attackers may lie waiting. Exercise common sense by not letting strangers into your home. Ask for identification when accepting packages or mail. When in doubt, tell the delivery man to leave the package in front of the door or simply ask them to come back some other day. Remember even a tough guy can't do anything much when a man is pointing a gun at him. So it is best to use one's common sense to avoid such situations.

Rapid Journal Vol. 9 No.1 ISSN 0118-4113

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Pointers on Street Combat

There are many reasons for learning joint manipulation techniques and strangle holds. They can be used as an effective self-defense method in some situation. They can be applied as restraints or arrest techniques when necessary. They can be useful in controlling or injuring a person to a certain degree and most of all they can serve as a bargaining position through which you could talk some sense to the other guy to stop whatever foolish thing he is attempting to do.
In my own personal opinion, these techniques are actually incidental in nature which means they can only be applied when the opportunity presents itself. Never engage on a street fight looking for a lock or a strangle hold. What I mean is that they should not be used as your primary tool for self-defense. Hitting with a barrage of elbows, knees, eye jabs and kicks will serve you better when it comes to a street fight especially when dealing with multiple attackers. It would even be better to grab a hold on to something which could be used as a weapon or as an effective equalizer should the assailants be armed with knives or other tools to be used as weapon.
Most real fights last less than ten seconds. There is seldom an exchange of technique between combatants or what we refer to as fakes, feinting, trappings and other maneuvers that are only used as drills or those that are executed in study sparring and tournaments. As in almost all fights, the guy who lands the first telling blow is usually the one who wins.
Against someone who is potentially dangerous and who constantly engage himself to troubles or does criminal acts as his way of living, it would be very risky to depend on locks and holds as your first line of defense. This is especially true if you are just a beginner in the martial arts because even to those who have achieved a high skill in the application of these techniques in the dojo finds it very difficult to apply these skills against a very aggressive opponent who happens to be punching, kicking, elbowing or even biting, simultaneously. It becomes even more difficult if you were up against two or more attackers. It would be like trying to catch three soccer balls in order to protect your goal. Forget what you see in the movies or even in the Ultimate Fighting championship for this matter because were talking about the real thing where everything is unrehearsed, goes without rules, no referees, no audience, no tap outs and no time limits. This is the world where guns, knives, broken bottles, tires and even trash cans can be used.
Please don’t get me wrong. I am not implying that application of these techniques, if applied securely and in full force could be your opponents worst nightmare because were talking about broken bones and NDE (Near Death Experience) choke hold. What I am trying to point out is that you should not rely on the locks and holds too much or use them as a primary tool in a street fight. The use of these technique as complete defense is limited to situations in which the adversary is drunk, moving at snail’s pace, or the attacker is not vicious and of course, you would prefer to use these techniques if your ‘best’ friend suddenly flips out and tries to kick your head. It is much wiser to incorporate these locks and holds together with striking methods in order to become more effective in self defense situations. The best equation would be to hit-hit-hit then lock, if necessary, and not lock-lock-lock, then hit.
Always remember that in most instances in street attacks, the prudent behavior is to escape as quickly as possible. If strikes such as head butts, knees and elbows are to be used, there is often no need to apply restraining techniques or strangle holds.

RAPID JOURNAL vol.7 no.4 ISSN 0118-4113 Page 37

Monday, February 26, 2007

Rules of Engagement

What if…
You just took a short cut through the alley behind the parking lot because you’re very much in a hurry to get home and it is already getting late at night. As you walk alone in this dark alley, you notice a group of men standing besides a post drinking and smoking about 50 feet away from you. Suddenly you have this strange feeling inside your gut as if there’s a big knot, and then your heart starts pounding fast. What will you do?

What if…
You were walking along the street and suddenly someone grabbed you from behind with a knife pointed right through your neck and you realize he is not alone and then he starts asking for your wallet. What will you do?

What if…
You were suddenly confronted by a stranger who starts shouting at you and pushing you in order to provoke a fight. What will you do?

What if…
You found yourself trapped in a corner with a knife-wielding assailant who had just cut the throat of another guy. What will you do?

What is Self-Defense?
You don’t have to become a Bruce Lee or Steven Seagal in order to learn self-defense. Neither do you have to possess the strength of a bear or be a heavily-muscled guy like Arnold Swarzenegger. Although it is good to be in great shape and possess the skills and strength of martial artist, what you really need is a logical, practical and effective way of protecting yourself without getting involved in time consuming discipline or learning from a master who instructs you to “dance” for so many years and say that only then will you be allowed to learn the fighting techniques of his style (talk about patience!).
Although there are martial arts such as pencak silat, jujitsu and judo that are highly effective for self defense, it would be practical for most men and women who lead very busy lives. Most ordinary people do not have enough time to go two or three times a week in a dojo and practice for two to three hours and have a life long commitment in order to learn how to defend themselves properly. Not even signing up for a ten-day street fighting course will offer much help in achieving this goal.
The best method should be based on the use of common sense and the use of a “natural weapon” that everyone possesses whatever size, shape or age one might be. A “natural weapon” is the normal human instinct of self-preservation or what others refer to as ‘killer instinct’ – used with control. Much like the instinct of a rat that fights ferociously against a big cat when it is trapped in a corner. But, of course, more often than not, you may never have to fight aggressively or resort to the use of physical skills when you can use avoidance, evade and escape methods or other common sense means.
Common Sense Rules of Self-Defense
1. Listen to your gut. Very often, when something is wrong you get to have a strange feeling about it. You may feel as if there are butterflies in your stomach or a big knot tied around your waist. This is an important warning signal that tells you to leave the place, to take an alternative route, to avoid a stranger, or simply to look for a crowded place to escape from danger. Many times our instinct or gut feels knows that there is danger lurking even before our mind does.
2. If you are confronted especially by an armed assailants or a group of gang members. Do what comes naturally – shout for help and run like mad.
3. Don’t look like a sorry victim. A person like this sends out messages to potential assailants indicating that they would not defend themselves or are too scared to do anything when confronted. Don’t walk around projecting an image of a person with low self-esteem or no self-confidence. You would be setting yourself up as an easy target. Instead you should project an image of confidence with head held up as you walk the streets. This feeling of confidence which eventually manifest in the way you talk and move discourages would-be attackers making them think twice before they make a move.
4. Use good communication skills. The way you speak is an important part of self-defense strategy. In a heated argument, a lot of fights are avoided if one only talked calmly. If the other person keeps shouting at you in return be confident but speak in soft and calm manner, it may help in making the other person realize what an idiot he is trying to intimidate or provoke you when he gets the impression that you are not going to succumb to his threat.
5. If all your rhetoric fails you, the final option is to fight back. You have to be prepared to use physical techniques to enable you to escape in such situations. Whenever evade and escape is not possible, resort to using engage and escape for this matter. What to use in engage and escape tactics will be discussed in the next issue.

Rules of Engagement
by:Bong Abenir
RAPID JOURNAL vol.8 no.2 ISSN 0118-4113 Page 26-27

preparation for street combat

It is not unusual to hear about a martial artist who has won trophies and medals from tournaments but ending up badly beaten in a street confrontation with someone who only had little or no martial arts training at all. Why? The reason for this is that most tournament fighters train only for combat competitions which emphasize technique to score points, rather than techniques for self-defense. There is no denying that the more sparring experience one has the greater his confidence and preparation is to face an adversary. However, a tournament fight is still a game and not the real thing and losing in a real encounter may mean losing ones life.
Most tournament fights emphasize offensive attacks in order to score points. These fights tend to neglect defensive tactics; instead one often sees competitors just throwing their tools at one another without paying much attention to protecting the body from getting hit just as long as one scores more points than the other.
Another fact is that in tournament fighting attacks to vital areas such as the groin and eyes are considered illegal. I am not proposing a change in rules to allow such attacks. But my point is training for tournaments which disallow such attacks can be detrimental to one’s training for self-defense where in actual combat these prohibited areas of attack are often used by assailants. So it would be wise to spend some time learning to properly protect these vulnerable areas. It could also mean learning to raise your guard all the time instead of habitually dropping them, as most tournament fighters often do in order to encourage the opponent to initiate an attack and eventually fall into a set up where one applies a good counter. A competitive martial artist with such predisposition may actually be setting himself up as an easy target instead. One must not neglect to practice these self protective techniques in order to do them instinctively in case one encounters such situations in the street.
Now it does not mean that just because a martial artist has built the habit of protecting these vital areas one would automatically be invulnerable to attacks from an experienced street fighter. One should also adopt a street fighter’s mentality as well. In order to gain advantage, one should train properly in attacking these same vital areas of the opponent. The only way to do this is by constant drilling and sparring all out with the use of protective equipment. This way one gets to train effectively and safely.
Although many would frown and comment negatively with regard to the employment of such tactics, it is my strong conviction to continue teaching and using these methods to allow my students a better chance of surviving out there. One is better off getting ahead in self-defense situations rather than ending up as a sorry victim or worse dead in such encounters.
Remember fighting is ugly. No one wants to get into a fight, but when one is forced or pushed into it, it had better be done well. Now ask yourself this question, “when someone wants to harm you or your love ones, what will you do?”
Train hard my friend!

preparation for street combat
by:bong abenir
RAPID JOURNAL Vol. 8 No. 1 page 40-41 ISSN 0118-4113