An Online Newsletter For The
C&S Self Defense Association
Confidence. Fitness. Success.
Yondan Kerry Bushue, 4th Degree Black Belt
Personal Protection Agency
For close-quarter fighting situations,
immediate control of the attacker is extremely important. Failure to do so will increase the defender's chances of injury or, worse, loss of life.
One of the best infighting defenses involves hair-pulling techniques. Since most people have a fair amount of hair, (there are of course some exceptions), these techniques increase the defender's chances of a successful conclusion to a dangerous situation. Hair techniques are easily combined with devastating follow-up strikes which will end a fight in short order.
Advantages of Hair Techniques
Once an attacker is restrained by the hair, an immediate lever is created. With the addition of follow-up techniques such as clawing the eyes or striking the Adam's apple, an individual's ability to adapt and react successfully to a dangerous situation greatly increases.
Hair holds are well suited to infighting, or when one is cornered. Immediate and effective control of the attacker is provided in such a way that many of his vital areas can be exposed for counter-attack. Depending on the leverage applied, various angles of attack are available. Carrying the hair techniques through to its conclusion will generally result in throws or takedowns, which allow for a hasty escape or an effective follow-up maneuver.
For tight control of an opponent, the "combing" action of hair restraint is a fast, effective technique. In this technique, the fingers are run or combed through the opponent's hair and are then contracted into a fist, with the hair strands drawn tightly between the fingers. As a fist is made, the hair strands are drawn up tightly about a greater surface area than if the hair was merely grabbed. A tight fist will increase the pain imparted to the attacker and provide for good control.
Wrist action to the side, forward, back, or in combinations of these directions, will allow the victim to steer the attacker to a final destination (wall, garbage dumpster, etc.), or counterattack. A good hair restraint technique also reduces the defenders chances of being hit. If the attacker attempts to twist to the left while being held from behind, simply rotate your hand to the right. A hard hand rotation is painful and can provide permanent damage to the spine, especially if the rotation is quickly reversed.
Jerking or pulling the hair in a circular fashion is useful in coaxing the attacker into a more favorable position to quickly finish the fight. Approachable from virtually any position, the hair may be grabbed from the front, side or back. A side leverage, for example, will allow the ears and neck to be exposed to immediate strikes. Twisting the hand or rotating the arm will expose the eyes for gouging, or the throat for strikes. Leverage techniques initiated to the back of the head allow for throws or drops onto a knee. This opens up follow up techniques to the eyes, nose or throat.
Exercise care when practicing these techniques. The workout partner must be able to react properly to avoid injury. Practice slowly at first to get the feel of the leverage involved.
Although hair-pulling techniques are not going to be used in every situation, hair techniques will add to an individual's overall self-defense arsenal.
Yondan Kerry Bushue is the Head Instructor for the Personal Protection Agency in Tyler, TX. He began his martial arts training in 1980 with Master David Landers of Effingham, Il. He moved to Orange, Texas (Southeast Texas) in 1987, and then to Tyler, Texas (East Texas) in 1992. Yondan Bushu can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Restraints and Takedowns for DART Students
Master David R. Landers
Storm Dragon Dojo, Effingham, IL
Though the topic of
restraints and takedowns is an advanced area of study in the martial arts, we felt that certain key techniques should be incorporated into our DART progam. These techniques are really more conceptual in nature in that they give the DART student a broad view of what the area of restraints and takedowns is and how to apply some basic principles into their self defense education.
For this reason, we felt it appropriate to present this material to the association as a whole for those whos DART education may be many years in the past. It will be a good review of these concepts and a reminder to those studing the more advanced techniques that these concepts form the foundation of what they are studying.
Before we explore the subject of restraints and takedowns, we should spend some time in defining what our reasons for engaging in these types of controls might be. We might also be well served by reviewing the realities of the difficulty and the dangers inherent in this kind of action. Restraining someone often triggers an innate fear response in many people and can escalate an already volatile situation. Takedowns, similarly, involve a fear response, in this case the fear of falling. With this in mind we also understand that there are times in which restraints and even takedowns are a measured and necessary response.
Traditional Martial Arts or combat oriented training in these areas are not appropriate for some very important reasons. First, the injury to the person restrained or taken down is often a welcome side benefit of the technique. In addition, often the requisite skill and strength necessary to accomplishing the techniques are assumed to be present since the students are soldiers, martial artists, or the police. Also any block of material that relies on pain compliance is problematical for ethical reasons and because people who are in agitated mental states, or who are effected by drugs or alcohol are notoriously immune to pain.
What this block of instruction aims to accomplish is to train nearly anyone, regardless of physical ability, in a relatively short period of instruction, to control individuals with the least risk of serious injury to them, or the person applying the technique.
A word should be added here about joint manipulation, jujitsu and related disciplines. While the student may have been exposed so instruction or demonstration of this line of instruction, they are not appropriate, in our view, for our purposes for the following reasons:
So without pain compliance or brute force to control the subject, what is left? I spent my early years in law enforcement on patrol. I was often called upon to assist nurses, emts, and mental health professionals in controlling subjects that needed care and were so out of control that assistance was summoned. I became known for a little trick that never failed to amuse the staff. I would arrive to find a struggling patient on a gurney with up to a half dozen people trying in vain to bring them under control so that they could be strapped down. The patient would be sitting up spitting or screaming at the staff in defiance. I would calmly walk up to the head of the gurney, or bed, and with one finger on the patient's forehead, I would push their head down to the pillow and the applications of the controlling straps became easy.
- They are very dependant on the level of skill, and the confidence of the person doing the techniques to be effective.
- The amount of hours of instruction and practice to attain that level of skill and confidence are far beyond our scope in this class.
- When joint locks are used by inexperienced practitioners and the intended result is not immediately obtained, the result is that often more pressure is used and injury is often experienced.
- Some people naturally, or by the intervention of emotion, pain, alcohol, drugs, or other factors, are immune to the effects of joint techniques.
- And finally, the pain associated with pain compliance techniques can, in and of itself, be a stimulus for escalation of the situation.
Was I able to send my martial arts chi into the patient's third eye rendering him powerless? No the truth is that simple biomechanics dictate that a person who's head is held down, cannot use the majority of his body to resist. Let us examine why the patient was so hard to control. With his body in a half sit up position, he was able to use his abdominals, his legs, his arms, and his back in unison to resist efforts to control him. What I was able to do was simply isolate his arms and legs so that they could not work together with the rest of the body to confound efforts to control them.
If you want a couple of quick demonstrations of this principle, have someone hold your head down while to try to do a sit up, or do a standing dumbbell curl normally and then with your feet together and your chin pointed straight upward. We do not appreciate how our bodies work as a unit to do work. It is rare that any effort is confined to one limb or area of the body. We do this so well and so instinctively that we often do not realize that it is occurring. It is this basis of body part isolation and mechanical advantage that becomes the center of our restraint and takedown instruction.
Restraining a person who, is determined not to be restrained, is a difficult undertaking in the best of circumstances. Most of us who have had children know how hard they were to restrain even at an early age and a small size. With adults the problem is magnified by strength and size, as well as the frequent complications of alcohol, drugs, and highly emotional states. Before we attempt to restrain someone we should consider:
The problem with most attempts to restrain is that our instincts are often wrong. To control someone we instinctively grab the wrong areas and in the wrong way. Take for example the wrist. It is common to grab someone's wrist to gain control. Remember the fellow on the gurney? Grabbing the wrist leaves the subject his entire body; arms, legs, back, abs, and body weight to resist you. Unless you possess an extreme amount of physical strength, you are in for a fight if you try to control a person's wrist. Just as controlling the man on the gurney relied on isolation; isolation of an arm is done by grasping at, or above the elbow. This effectively isolates the arm through eliminating the power of the pectoral muscle to unify the arm and the chest, and thus the rest of the body.
- Is the restraint an absolute necessity?
- Is the subject's behavior a danger to you, themselves, or others?
- Do you have the legal authority through employment, self-defense, or the defense of others (including the subject)?
A good example of this type of arm control is illustrated in Figure 1. Not only is the arm isolated, but also the restraint is perpendicular to the line of the body and squaring off to resist is difficult. An alternative restraint is shown in Figure 2, Figure 3, and Figure 4 illustrating how an arm is grasped both above and below the elbow, reinforced by the controller's chin or forehead, and additional pressure is added by dropping your weight. This technique is even more effective in isolation of the arm from the assistance of the pectoral muscle.
All of the considerations that were discussed in relation to restraints apply to takedowns, with the additional factor of increased possibility of injury to you and to the subject. Dropping to the floor, even in a controlled manner, presents injury potential to all concerned. However, a person on the ground is generally less likely to injure him or herself, and can sometimes be more easily restrained.
Perhaps the easiest takedown is from the back. This is NOT merely pushing or pulling someone over backward. That would invite serious injury and would not aid in control once the subject is down. The first aspect of rear takedowns is to limit the ability of the subject to simply step back and defeat the takedown. This can easily be accomplished by setting one's foot against the heel or heels of the subject to prevent their backward movement. The next step is to place your hand on the top of the head or on the forehead and pull back slightly, approximately 2 inches, and then push the head straight down. At the same time, place your free hand at the small of the subject's back to assist with an easy sit down maneuver. See Figure 5 and Figure 6 to illustrate a rear takedown and resulting restraint.
Takedowns from the side or front involve proceeding from one of the 2 previously illustrated restraint holds, and using one's body weight to bring the subject to the ground. Figure 7 and Figure 8 show a transition to the ground and to a restraint from the side position.
All restraints should, when at all possible, be done by more than one person. This is to help ensure the safety of all present and to reduce the strain on the staff doing the techniques. Combat type injuries are not the only danger in this area of action. Back and other joint and muscle injuries are common and can be minimized by additional assistance. Teamwork is important and clear communication and understanding of fellow worker's intended actions is key. Figure 9 illustrates a person using a side arm restraint as another begins a rear takedown. It is important that the person using the arm restrain knows to drop his weight and follow the subject to the floor or he will remain standing and, in effect, tend to neutralize his partner's efforts.
All of the illustrated floor restraints use mechanical advantage and not pain compliance to gain control. Figure 6 and Figure 8 show use of body weight to add to muscular strength. In Figure 6 it is important to mention that the pressure is applied to the side of the subjects head with your forehead. The arms are around the side of the subject's head, not his neck. Pressure to the neck at this point could lead to unconsciousness through compression of the jugular and carotid.
In both illustrations it is important to discuss the dangers of chest compression. "Sudden in-custody death syndrome" is a current topic of law enforcement training. Several high profile lawsuits and the investigations that followed have worked to identify a danger potential for individuals, especially if A. overweight B. recently engaged in violent physical activity C. with a history of breathing problems, or D. having taken certain drug. Suffocation can occur even when no additional weight is applied. To help reduce the risks of this kind of breathing problems, always monitor breathing and minimize time that a subject is placed face down (a major factor in some of the cases).
Editor: These pictures have been drastically reduced from their original size to save page loadtime. For this reason, they may appear grainy on the page. If you would like a clearer picture, you can save the image to your hard drive and it will open to a 500x688 pixel size. Please contact Master Landers if you would like copies of the original sized pictures that he did.
Master David R. Landers holds a 6th Degree Black belt. He began his studies with Grandmaster Rose in 1969. He served as Deputy Chief of Police of Effingham, Illinois from 1997 to 2000 when he assumed the role of Illinois State Field Coordinator for the Midstates Organized Crime Information Center. He oversees the Landers Dragon leg of C&S. Master Landers can be reached at email@example.com.
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The Leveraged Takedown
Grandmaster Peter Rose
Rose School of Karate, Portsmouth, NH
As I mentioned
in my April 2001 C&S Online article on the Cross Body Arm Bar, "…most physical self defense situations that we are likely to experience will be prefaced with some sort of grab to or contact with one, if not both, of our arms…" I would like to present another in close scenario where a standing grapple leads to a takedown finishing in a Cross Body Arm Bar.
As you can tell, I really like the Cross Body Arm Bar as a finisher. It is one of those rare techniques where, if you find yourself going to the ground, you can quickly establish complete control and exert as much damage on the opponent as the situation calls for. For this reason, I enjoy showing students many different entrances into this finishing technique.
The Leveraged Takedown itself is relatively simple if you keep in mind 2 simple points:
- It is designed to be a "reactive" self defense technique.
- It can only be done if the opponent is applying his body weight toward you.
As to the first point, self defense- by definition- is reactive as opposed to proactive. As martial artists, we do not start fights. We end them. Thus, I teach techniques that are effective when you are least ready or not expecting an attack. The foundation that I lay for a student is one of awareness of technique so that whatever the situation that arises, they will respond with little need for analysis and determination of what to do; the techniques will simply "flow" from the situation.
The second point is a natural extension, therefore, of the first. An attacker must approach you in order to attack, otherwise there is no attack and no need for action. This is shown in Figure 1: The Approach.
The Leveraged Takedown "flows" from a specific situation that you find yourself in. That is to say, the engagement has been made and you find yourself with one arm around the attackers chest and the other arm around his neck as shown in Figure 2: Contact.
I must caution you not to "proactively" attempt to put yourself into this position so that you can do a Leveraged Takedown. You must "find" yourself in this position.
This is a critical point, but one that you need not concern yourself with if you train under me. My training is never geared toward expecting you to put a specific technique on. I show the mechanics of what to do and what you will "feel" when the situation is right to do a specific technique. Thus, you will simply find yourself in a position and react accordingly.
Ok, so here you are: an attacker has closed on you and you find yourself in position 2. What now? Simple. You will "feel" the attackers body putting downward pressure against you- not just backward pressure. That is because of the way that he feels your body position against his; he will sense that your standing position is weak. And it is. So now we take advantage of this as shown in Figures 3a and 3b: The Freeze Up Strike, by executing a quick "up block" strike against the opponents brachial plexus.
I emphasize this by using two pictures because it must be done in two movements: a set up and then the strike, even though it is just one technique. Notice that I called this a "quick up block stirke". Confused? You shouldn't be. We don't really teach blocks- everything we do is a strike. What we call Basic 2- Up Block is really an "upward strike" In its use in this situation, it is being applied as a fluid shock against the same brachial plexus point we use in our Basic 10 Breaks. In addition, I do not want to resist his forward pressure. The technique is a reactive technique and is more effective if you go with his force than trying to oppose it. By doing this, I can also keep his momentum moving in a manner that is most advantageous to me.
Notice in Figure 3a that I use the attackers forward (and downward) body movement coupled with the leverage I can use to pull him toward me with my, in this case, left arm. As I do this, I have a natural timing to load up (i.e. "chamber") my right arm into a position to do the upward strike against the attackers neck. Then, in Figure 3b, I make my strike.
Now, ask yourself what happens to the attacker as a result of this strike; what is going to be their natural body reaction to this strike no matter how hard it is applied? Well, if I get a good enough shot at that brachial plexus point then it's all over, but let's assume the worst and say I just land it solidly but don't take him out: what is his body going to do? It's going to "freeze up", isn't it? Isn't he going to tighten up just a little? And this is all you are going to need: all the pieces are in place for executing the Leveraged Takedown. Let's review before going on.
- We have been surprised.
- The opponent is moving forward against us applying a downward pressure.
- We move back with his advancement rather than resisting.
- As we pull him in slightly with the arm around his chest, we fluid shock him in the neck.
- This strike causes him to tighten or freeze up.
- He is now in an off balance position, momentarily frozen up, and stung by the fluid shock.
As shown in Figure 4: The Spin, I use both of my arms as levers: my left arm hooks upward against the attacker's arm pit with upward and sideward pressure while my right arm wraps around his neck with a sideward and downward pressure. By stepping backward and projecting the spin in a downward direction will cause the attacker to be spun around into the position shown in Figure 5: The Drop.
The attacker is now in an ideal position to have a Cross Body Arm Bar applied in either a standing or a drop method.
Grandmaster Peter M. Rose holds an 8th Degree Black Belt. He began his studies with Grandmaster S.A. Brock in 1968. He has operated the Rose School of Karate in Portsmouth, NH since 1972. Grandmaster Rose is a senior software analyst, designer, and technical project manager. Grandmaster Rose can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org , or you can visit his personal web page at http://www.zzrose.com/pmr.html.
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