Saturday 8 February 2014

The R.E.A.C.T 5 Golden Rules for Women’s Self Defence

5 Golden Rules

The R.E.A.C.T 5 Golden Rules for Women’s Self Defence

1. Your friend is not always a friend

More than 70% of rapes and attacks on women are perpetrated by someone they know, and more than 50% of attacks take place ether in or close to the victim’s own home.

2. There are always warning signs

The vast majority of attacks are preceded by some form of verbal assault. We call this the ‘Interview’. Knowing how to recognise and deal with the warning signs that the ‘Interview’ sends out can help you avert most attacks from ever becoming physical

3. Have a sliver tongue

Talking can sometimes do the trick. Reason, diplomacy, tact and a little psychology even compassion and sympathy can go a long way to subduing a potentially violent situation. The verbal defuse is a powerful tool and a few carefully chosen words can make all the difference.

4. Hit & Run

Get away as quickly as you possibly can. The Hit & Run principle has nothing to do with fighting. It means you must do something that interrupts the attackers thought pattern. Hit him with an assertive and confident yell…NO!!!! Or ask a question that makes him stop and think for a moment, it only takes a split second to breakaway and run. If you have no choice but to physically hit your attacker go for his eyes. 90% of the time a short sharp jab in the eye with a finger nail is all you will need to create enough time to escape.

5. Fight like a man

You have tried to talk your way out, to no avail. You seem to have no means of escape. The situation is getting uglier. What are you going to do now? Street predators have no scruples and do not attack a woman any differently than they would attack a man. If you fear for your life defend yourself with extreme prejudice using any means at your disposal. Become the predator and turn the attacker into your prey.

 Think like a woman, but fight like a man and focus like a predator.

Friday 7 February 2014


Human behavior often falls into set patterns. We are all, generally speaking, predisposed to act out certain role-plays, almost as if we were reading from a script. An understanding that certain kinds of behaviour will almost certainly trigger responses that can be manipulated and therefore used to your own advantage is a very useful tool. Furthermore, when you realise that the vast majority of people will not even understand why they are responding the way they are, can put you in a very powerful position. It is possible to manipulate a situation without the other person realising what is happening to them, until of course, it’s too late. 
An example of this type of manipulation is the predator/prey role-play. Most of us are conditioned from being young children to respond to authority in a certain way. We are usually instilled from a very early age with the belief that authority should be respected and therefore, even if we don’t like it, we are generally predisposed to comply with it. This conditioning is what the predator relies on. The process of manipulation begins with the predator handing you his script and in a very authoritative manner explains that you are about to co-star in his play. The story line is where he attacks you and, because in the script you are described as ‘the helpless victim’, your role is to do everything you are told to do. He continues to explain that the story has a happy ending and by following the script to the letter, he gets what he wants and you get to go home unharmed. Not following the script however will result in severe punishment. Most people will follow the script. Why? Simple. It’s because the predator has typecast them into the role of victim, and they are being manipulated into a situation that has triggered a predetermined response to comply with authority, especially if the consequences of not doing so will result in some sort of punishment being administered. They are conditioned to believe that once the curtain goes up and the play begins they have reached a point of no return and therefore must continue to act out their role. This is not true! If you can change your role in the play the script will change too.
In this type of confrontation one person has already assumed the role of aggressor/predator. Conventionally the other person is now left with two choices:
1. Frightened and compliant victim.
2. Counter-aggressor.
The predator will be expecting and relying on you playing the frightened and compliant victim role. If you go down this road the predator will act accordingly. He will posture, threaten and intimidate. Showing fear will fuel the fire of his aggression and play to his ego. Statistics show that the likelihood is that he will still harm you regardless of all the promises to the contrary. Begging not to be hurt is a sure fire way to get just the opposite.
Playing the victim role is not the way to get off lightly. More often than not all it means is that it takes a little longer before you get hurt, as well as robbed, raped or even both.
The role of the counter-aggressor is also fraught with danger. If you go back to your own childhood, or even look at your own children taking the role of counter-aggressors with you, it would be considered an act of defiance, insolence or insubordination and dealt with accordingly. The rules are plain and ingrained into us all. Subordinates simply do not answer their superiors back. Remember this is the predator’s script, he is the star and his role is a superior one to yours. Now faced with a sudden threat from a counter-aggressor the predator will react in a predetermined manner and his own defensive reflexes will kick in. He will, almost subconsciously, make the decision to attack and probably with extreme violence.
So as you can see neither of these scripts actually has a happy ending. If you are going to change your role and as a consequence the script, you have to do it as far in advance of the curtain going up as you can.

Most of us are comfortable when we are following a set pattern. We are in our comfort zone; we know what to do and what’s expected from us. If someone or something breaks our pattern and we suddenly find ourselves in unfamiliar territory, we become confused and uncomfortable, as a result we are less natural and what we do and say requires more thought.
Breaking the aggressors set pattern, or in others words changing his script to your script is the key that will help you change your role from prey to predator. The aggressor is locked into a pattern of behavior that has been predetermined by his script. If you break the script he has to formulate a new response, which means he is forced to stop and think about what to say and do next. This whole process slows the situation down because thinking out a new response is obviously going to take longer than following a set pattern.
This is all well and good, but how do you change his script without becoming the frightened and compliant victim or the counter-aggressor?
1. Don’t react at all. Stay calm and just walk by as if he wasn’t even there. This isn’t in his script, it makes no sense, you’re supposed to follow his lead and act out your role in the play. The aggressor will be confused, but only for a second or too. Hopefully, in the time it takes him to amend his script, you will be out of the danger zone and ready to run as fast as your legs will carry you.
2. Act out the cool but ready-for-action role. Simply stand your ground without making any aggressive actions, verbally or physically. Say nothing, just stand and stare with a calm, expressionless face. Training will help you to remain calm under stress, but even with no training you have given him a big problem. This type of response, or in reality lack of it can be very intimidating. It manipulates the situation by giving out a powerful massage saying I don’t consider you as anything that I should be getting concerned about.
3. Respond verbally with something totally irrelevant to the situation, non-aggressively with friendly dialogue. Often the best thing is to say something that requires him to think of an answer. Ask a question. “That’s a fantastic jacket, where did you get it?”
“What’s the time mate I’m in a real hurry?” “I’m looking for Benson Drive do you know where it is?” Anything that stops you getting drawn into his script.
Once the pattern is broken a new one must take its place, and this time with you taking the leading role. However, never lose sight of the fact that this person standing in front of you is probably still predisposed to violence. Therefore it is imperative that you use whatever time you have to open a window of opportunity and extract yourself from the situation as quickly as possible. Your action could be as simple as just running away. Or even, but only as a last resort and only if you’re sure you have no alternative, launching you’re own pre-emptive attack. Almost all street predators are cowards, on the look out for helpless victims. Often they are incapable of tackling someone one face to face. Unless that person is playing out the victim role of course. They’re quite happy with the surprise attack from behind, but when faced with a calm and resolute person they are often fazed and unable to continue in the light of the opposition. Ask yourself this simple question: “If a common street robber thought that by attacking you he would probably be injured, restrained and forcibly escorted to a police station, would he still attack you?” Answer, NO! Although that somewhat idealistic scenario is never likely to played out in full, it does illustrate the mind set you should be in and it is the image you should be portraying. Be careful not to give these people any reason to resort to violence and remember, the frightened victim or the counter-aggressor is just the trigger they need. Also, don’t fall into the trap of being pushed into making the first move, giving them the excuse to retaliate. You must not provide the trigger, but you must be ready to act as soon as the opportunity presents itself. Make your move when you’re ready not when they’re ready. Remember, the predator does not want to fight you, he wants to control and intimidate you into following his script. Don’t allow yourself to get locked into belligerent exchange, in other words don’t let your ego take control as this will inevitably lead to violence. Give the predator the chance to walk away without losing face. Many street robbers when faced with quiet resolve have to make a decision about what to do next, and assuming they’re not too stupid they will recognise the opportunity to move away from you and on to an easier target.
Do learn to recognise the signals that tell you if someone means to do you harm.
Do try to stay calm and composed.
Do use friendly dialogue if you decide to speak. A little diplomacy and tact will go a long way to averting violence.
Do try and take control of the situation as quickly as
you can.
Do be ready to run when the opportunity presents itself.
Do be ready to fight if you are convinced there is no alternative.
Don’t be the frightened and compliant victim.
Don’t be the counter-aggressor.
Don’t let your ego take control.
Don’t give any reason for them to resort to violence.
Don’t make any aggressive moves.
Don’t make your move until the time is right.
Don’t hesitate to launch a pre-emptive attack if you believe yourself to be in imminent danger.

Wednesday 15 January 2014

How Much Do You Want To Breathe?

If you were drowning the only thing you would desire is to breathe.

Every molecule in your body would scream out from the depths of your soul to be allowed to breathe fresh air once more.

You would fight like a Tiger to overcome any obstacle that was getting in the way of your resolve to reach the surface and gulp in that cool life giving atmosphere, deep into your breathless lungs.

If you are faced with one of life’s predators, the only way you will successfully defend yourself is if you want to as much as you would want to breathe if you were drowning.

That’s when you know you are able to stand tall in the face of adversity.

That’s when you know you have truly given yourself permission to take control of a bad situation.

That’s when you know you are capable of turning a predator into prey.

WANT to defend yourself as much as you would want to breathe if you were drowning and you WILL defend yourself.

Friday 10 January 2014

The R.E.A.C.T Personal Safety & Security Library

There is a famous quotation made by the 14th Dalai Lama – “know the rules well, so you can break them efficiently”, and it is undeniable that many people believe that Rules are made to be broken, but is that prudent?

Although we may not all agree with, or even like, all the laws, rules, instructions, commands, directives, advice and information that surrounds our daily lives, actually most Rules are there to help keep us, our family, friends and work colleagues safe and secure.
There are risks in all walks of life, in fact everything we do has an element of risk to it, but we tend to manage those risks sub-consciously and don’t always associate our thoughts with following rules. However, when people blatantly disregard the Rules, that is when they can become a news story and even a tragic statistic.
The Rules you’ll read in our ‘R.E.A.C.T Personal Safety & Security Library’ books are based on years of understanding the risks associated with violent crime and if followed will help to keep your business, colleagues and customers safe, should the worst happen. And that is why we decided to title our books  ‘RULES for dealing with...’.
The Rules are there to help and guide. Try not to break them but feel free to bend them to suit your needs. It is common knowledge that a vast number of retailers sustain enormous losses every year as a direct result of theft in one form or another, and problems for Risk Managers continue to increase.  
Retail crime comes in many guises, from plain shoplifting to palming, skimming, distraction, deception, to the full blown horror of a life threatening armed robbery, whether in a static location or a vehicle. Add to this the minefield of Age Related Sales and there is little wonder that the cost of retail crime has risen to in excess of £1.5 billion a year, in the UK alone.
Furthermore, retail crime does not only impact on its direct victims but also on the wider community. It damages the reputation of the shops as well as the local area. To add insult to injury, it is also becoming more and more common for retail workers to suffer both verbal and physical assault at the hands of aggressive thieves, not to mention disgruntled and unhappy customers.
It is the men and women that man the front line of the retail sector that are expected to deal with these situations, as and when they occur. And, although some retailers continue to invest significantly, in order to protect their staff, businesses and customers, against crime and anti-social behaviour, the fact is that there are still many workers who haven’t been provided with enough training or information.
There is absolutely no doubt that staff should be trained to deal with retail crime and all forms of aggressive and violent behaviour. Furthermore, retail staff should have confidence in the knowledge that if they do report a crime or anti-social behaviour that action will be taken against those responsible for it, which sadly is not always the case.

This set of six books addresses many of the concerns of the retail sector and I would welcome comments on the concept of the R.E.A.C.T Personal Safety & Security Library.

Book 1. Rules for Dealing with an Armed Robbery
This book takes the reader step-by-step through 10 simple-to-follow stages of what they should do if an armed robbery is in progress and what the best and most appropriate actions are after the robbery.
The primary goal of this book is to keep people safe. It explains how situations can deteriorate rapidly, but by being observant whilst staying calm and compliant can be amongst your most powerful survival tools.

Book 2. Rules for Dealing with Verbal & Physical Confrontation
All too often retail staff have to deal with the problems of verbal abuse and physical assault at the hands of disgruntled and aggressive customers. This book provides retail staff with the best options on how to deal with these types of situations.
Dealing with verbal abuse follows a simple formula that we call Verbal Interaction Control (VIC).
Dealing with physical abuse is handled by the R.E.A.C.T formula.

Book 3. Rules for Dealing with Age Related Sales
Legislation states that many goods may not be sold to children and minors. Both the individual seller and the company they work for are liable for prosecution if they do. The penalties for getting it wrong either by accident or design are harsh and expensive.
It’s a minefield but ignorance of the law is no excuse and no defence in the magistrate’s court. The aim of this book is to guide you step-by-step through that minefield.

Book 4. Rules for Dealing with an Armed Robbery (Vehicle Edition)
Book 1 explained our ‘RULES’ for those encountering an armed robbery in a static location, i.e. stores, supermarkets, building societies, banks etc.
Although many aspects of book 4 are very similar to Book 1 the guidelines in this book have been written specifically for drivers and couriers that may find their vehicle, or themselves under armed attack or the threat of vehicle hijack or the robbery of its contents.

Book 5. Rules for Dealing with an Armed Robbery (for Risk Managers)
Risk managers have an extremely difficult job at the best of times. The aftermath of an armed robbery or dealing with a member of staff who has experienced a violent confrontation is always a difficult and stressful time.
It is the responsibility of the risk manager to deal with the situation in a sympathetic and appropriate manner. This book has been created to assist in that process.

Book 6. Rules for Dealing with Retail Crime
Profit protection is crucial to retailers. It is estimated that the cost of Retail Crime is continuously rising and is said to be in excess of £1.5 billion per year in the UK alone.

This book looks at the many different aspects of retail crime and the ways that it can be committed. It also gives clear and precise guidelines and information on how  loss prevention managers and staff can combat retail crime and help to reduce it.

Surviving an armed attack

Some of you will have read my book ‘Avoiding and Surviving a Knife Attack with R.E.A.C.T. Where I take a realistic look at the options a normal untrained citizen has when faced with the horrific reality of an attack with an edged weapon.
In this R.E.A.C.T Survival File I am looking at the fundamentals of surviving any form of armed attack, gun, knife, stick, hammer, it matters not.
When dealing with weapons, awareness is always the most effective form of defence followed immediately by evasion and obviously running away as soon as you can as fast as you can.
Read my ‘10 Commandments’ in issue 19 of PCW Review!
The large percentage of violent encounters where a weapon is deployed tend to begin with a victim who is unaware of the fact that the aggressor is even armed until of course it’s to late and they are injured or killed.
It makes no difference whatsoever how fast you are, how strong you are, how tough you think you might be, how many prizes you have won in the ring or black belts you hold. If you do not detect the presence of a weapon before it is used against you there is a 99.9% probability that you will come seriously unstuck and that could be fatal. Defensive tactics against weapons and especially knives are probably one of the most controversial self-defence subjects. To successfully defend your self against any weapon requires an extremely high level of skill. No matter how well trained you think you are it’s not going to be slick and choreographed like it is the training hall or the movies. Having said that, I maintain that everyone has the ability to defend themselves, regardless of gender, age, strength or level of physical fitness. You don’t need to be built like Mr. Universe, and you definitely don’t need a black belt. Defending yourself isn’t a matter of whether or not you can do a 1000 push ups, or smash concrete blocks with your bare hands. True, being fit and healthy gives you an edge - you are able to think, move and run faster. Nevertheless, not being capable of running a marathon doesn’t render you incapable of successfully  fending off an attack. Self-defence is all about principles and an understanding of what is happening to you. Self-defence is about giving your self permission to take control of a situation and the acceptance of a simple fact. You are going to have to do more than the person that’s attacking you. 
When dealing with weapons, awareness is the first and best defence followed immediately by avoidance. Panic is your biggest enemy so don’t focus on the weapon, doing so will reduce your ability to detect the offender’s body movements, and also fixation on the weapon will increase your stress level. 

All striking weapons have what is commonly referred to as the “head” or the part of the weapon that causes the injury. It is imperative that you quickly ascertain which part of the weapon your assailant intends to use as the head. Fast footwork, should enable you to move inside the swing of a long weapon and avoid the head. Moving in and attacking the assailant at the source after they have missed is often a much more effective strategy than moving away from the head of a weapon. If you can, you should try and avoid ducking as an evasive action. Even though it is very common to see action movie stars ducking and diving out of the way of a club or sword attack. This type of manoeuvre rarely works in a real life situation. Apart from the fact that ducking places you in a position where it’s more difficult to counter-attack or run away, it is slower than other evasive movements and the position the act of ducking leaves you in is extremely vulnerable and wide open to additional attacks are easy for your attacker. Even though shorter weapons give an assailant a faster rate of attack, they still leave openings to move in on. Defending against jabs and pokes from a club or stick are sometimes more difficult to evade, but you should be able to knock the weapon out of the way and then move in past its head. You must maintain a continuous forward motion grab the weapon and try and control it, attack with strikes and kicks. Do whatever it takes to disarm the assailant and escape.

The sad fact is that most knife attacks will more than likely succeed in cutting their victims. There is a commonly held view that a person armed with a knife is less dangerous than a person armed with a firearm. The truth is that within their practical ranges both weapons are equally capable of fatal life stopping wounds.
In the event of any physical attack, but especially when a knife is brought in to play, to assume a static defensive posture is to be cut and defeated.
If you square off, adopt some sort of fighting stance and wait for the attack, you will lose! The second you start posturing you have immediately made your attacker even more dangerous than they already were. You have now mentally prepared them and, more importantly, you have created a situation where you have to beat their action with your reaction and outside the training hall that’s just not going to happen.
You could sustain an injury by intent or by accident, and you bleed just as much from either. A penetration of only a few millimetres into the throat can be fatal, and a blade of less than two inches long can penetrate vital organs, including the heart. The sudden realisation of even a small cut can have massive psychological and debilitating effect on some people. Shock, trauma, paralysis, hysterics, nausea and vomiting...and you don’t know how you will react until it actually happens to you, and remember the chances are that you will be cut whatever you do!
So what can I do?
Answer: KEEP MOVING!!! But, never lose sight of the weapon, and do not underestimate small blades, they can be more deadly than the large ones, reason being, you can see a large knife thus making it easier to avoid, but you could be cut a dozen times with a small knife before you realised a person was even armed. Keep moving and if you can’t get away the best direction to move is forward. It’s impossible to fight and move backward at the same time, moving forward will always be faster. I’m not suggesting retreat shouldn’t be an option, but if you’re only able to move back a couple of feet or so, all you succeed in doing is giving the attacker another opportunity to try and cut or stab you.
In a real situation it is imperative that you are not static you must keep moving!
I believe there are two safe places to be if you are faced with a knife attack.
1. A hundred miles away
2. Right on top of the attacker, so close in fact you almost
become the same person.
If you suspect for a millisecond a knife attack and you can’t run away, move in and deliver an endless bombardment of blows. You must strike hard, fast and preferably first. Give yourself permission to ‘hit-first-and-ask-questions-later’. The pre-emptive strike is perfectly acceptable in law. After all, every war for the last two thousand years has been fought using the basic strategy of ‘attack them before they attack you’.
Try to strike with open hands. Deliver heavy palm strikes and edge of the hand strikes, use eye rakes and elbows. Beware! Punches with closed fists break fingers, and don’t fool yourself that one punch will do the job, it probably won’t. You must always think in terms of multiple strikes (no less than three) and a continuous attack.  However, it is essential that you try to make your first strike the most effective. You must have 200 percent commitment; you must explode into action and be totally focused. The first strike must, at the very least, line your assailant up for the second strike, which by the nature of the situation and the stress you are under, will probably not be as accurate or as powerful as the first. The placement of your second strike will be determined by where your opponent ends up after the first. This, of course, means you might miss altogether. In fact, your third strike could be the one that causes the most damage. If not, start again. It is crucial that you follow through and continue your attack. Do whatever it takes.
If you fear for your life, there are no rules, survival is all that matters. Keeping as close as you can, turn to the outside of the attacker. Better still, try and get behind him. Push away the danger and jam the knife hand as close to the attacker’s body as you can. If possible, grab and grip the wrist as hard as you can (do not fixate on gripping). If you do manage to take hold, DON’T attempt to execute some fancy wristlock, and DO NOT attempt to disarm anyone with a knife. You probably won’t be fast or accurate enough to pull it off.
One positive thing in your favour is that in the vast majority of cases the person with the weapon is totally fixated on what they are going to try and do with it. This means their mind is locked, and that gives you a slight advantage, but only if you can remain calm, relaxed and composed.
Focus on keeping the knife away from you. Keep moving in. Keep turning to the rear. Think of the knife man as the centre of a wheel that you are moving around. Attack the head with your free hand - slaps, eye rakes and gouges, and remember, where the head goes the body will follow.
If you can grip the face, throat, eyes, or forehead, jerk the attacker’s head backwards and down. If you succeed in getting behind him, pull him to the ground by his head. Keep moving, keep jamming and controlling that knife arm. Stick like glue, control the knife, inflict pain, get behind the attacker and take them down. Attack the attacker and don’t stop until you are able to escape.

Avoid being attacked by a handgun in the first place. Like the club and the knife, you really only have two options when facing a firearm: retreating or desperately attempting to disarm the gunman. Still, you can significantly improve his chances of surviving an encounter with a gunman by following a few tips.
Get low and run. The worst situation for any victim is to be under fire. If you are being shot at a distance and it is clear that you are the deliberate target, the best option is to crouch low and run. Depending on the distance, there is a good chance that the gunman will miss you.
Run even if you are shot. Even if the gunman hits you with a bullet, there is a good chance that you will be able to keep running and escape. There have been many reports of gunshot victims who were oblivious to the fact that they were shot until the adrenaline ran out. Find a phone and get medical attention immediately.
Attempt to disarm only if you are certain that you will be shot. If the gunman is at close range and you feel certain that you are going to be shot, you can attempt to knock the handgun out of the way and attempt to gain control of the weapon. This is an extremely dangerous situation and the handgun will very likely discharge, so try to direct the handgun in a direction where it will not shoot anything.
React immediately after knocking the handgun away from your attacker. Once the handgun is no longer pointed at you, attack the enemy aggressively. While controlling the handgun with one hand, elbow the enemy in the face, stomp on his instep, deliver a palm heel into the back of the enemy’s hand in the same way that you would a knife. Anything you can do to get the enemy to drop the handgun.
Make an effort to calm your would-be assailant by keeping your hands in the air and using the power of persuasion in order to make you look less threatening while also putting you in the ideal position to quickly defend against a sudden attack.