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one year ago
Rory Miller Scenario Course with KMG (UK) by Luke De Lacey - Total Krav Maga.
Total Krav Maga's Luke De Lacey meets Rory Miller, a highly experienced, fighter, trainer, physiologist and author of numerous books relating to violence including ‘Meditations on Violence’ and ‘Conflict Communications’. In short Rory knows a lot about training to recognise, deal with and understand violent situations.
Last week, Rory was in the UK to work with Krav Maga Global (KMG) instructors and deliver a course over 3 days and to give some lectures to KMG students.
The course was designed to prepare KMG instructors to introduce scenarios/ simulations in training for their students to help them deal with real life situations. For example, walking through a park with a partner and getting yelled at by a couple of thugs, or being at an ATM, when two people are acting suspiciously near you.
The most important thing I learnt is how vital it is to remain aware before anything ‘kicks off’ and that if you sense trouble, be smart, leave and move to a safe place.
Being confrontational can sometimes escalate the situation. If the best option is to run away or hand your wallet over to muggers, then do it. That means in the case of the scenario of the couple walking in the park who are verbally abused by thugs, it is better to keep walking away and not to engage the thugs. Of course if we are confronted by an individual who has the means, the tools and the intention to attack you, then you have to weigh up the situation, if there is time. If you are being attacked, then of course you defend yourself and respond (counter attack) with justifiable force to prevent the attack continuing. You cannot unleash a torrent of violence because a drunk person pushed you. You can very easily become the aggressor in the eyes of the law and you could be prosecuted and remanded in custody.
If you can get out of a situation by remaining calm and without resorting to violence, then try to always choose that option. Violence is chaos and chaos is unpredictable.
The course with Rory Miller was food for thought, but I certainly didn't think a real scenario would develop when I was having breakfast at the hotel I was staying in. While I sat down for breakfast before checking out and going to Rory’s Conflict Communication lecture, I was reflecting on the scenario course from the previous day, when a situation developed at the reception desk near to the dining room. An erratically behaving man had come in to the hotel, barefoot, bleeding from the mouth and shouting extremely aggressively towards the female reception staff. I felt I had to do something, so I strolled over, and pretended to wait at the reception desk so I could be closer to the situation (subtly). This man had wild eyes and I suspect he had taken some kind of drugs.
I waited by the reception desk observing the situation. He hadn't become physical (hands on) with the reception girl but she was becoming more afraid as he snarled at her, blood spitting from his cut lip. At one point the man pushed open a staff door and started screaming at three other women, and I thought that now was probably the time to act.
I was not in a position to choose fighting as a solution. Someone screaming and shouting does not give a free pass to attack them. Instead, I calmly asked the guy if he was okay. He snapped his head back at me and with his arms gesturing wildly he asked “Are you the ******* manager. I replied “No”, and he then told me “**** off then”. Again, remaining calm and speaking a little slower, I asked the guy to leave the women alone as they were getting frightened. He stepped towards me and aggressively swore at me. I raised my hands, palms facing him, in a semi-passive stance.
The aggressive man pushed my hand away, but I just replaced it, so he started threatening me saying he was going to ‘cut me up and stamp on my face’. He hadn’t produced a weapon although he was still screaming at me. Some indicators that someone is very likely to attack is when they stop screaming, their face pales and they may suddenly have an eerie calmness. He hadn’t got to that stage. I again, asked him to calm down, speaking more slowly and trying to be relatively passive. There was a moment when he gestured ‘slashing my throat’, that a part of me wanted to hit him. Someone screaming abuse at you is not just irritating; it can flick your emotional switches, such as anger.
I managed to keep the aggressor at a safe distance, by moving and using my hands as a barrier. Ideally we should not let anyone get within striking distance of us. The hotel situation didn’t turn violent luckily and the Police arrived to arrest him. Having given a statement to the Police, one of the officers actually asked if I was in the police, as the CCTV footage showed great control over the situation. Meaning what we are trained to do in Krav Maga is in sync with what the authorities deem reasonable, legal and correct .
There are a few things I’d like to share from this experience.
1. If you do get involved when a stranger is threatening another stranger, do so very calm and do not give the body language of someone who will be aggressive back to them. Hands raised to keep distance and improve reaction times but avoid any aggressive fighting type stance.
2. Remember when someone is coming towards you, try and step sideways and not backwards. We don’t know what is behind us… Perhaps another attacker, an obstacle or a dangerous place (stairs, kerb on the road etc).
3. When someone is on drugs or highly adrenalised, it can be very difficult to communicate with them, presenting a difficult and potentially dangerous situation. Trying to restrain someone when they are resisting and working on a higher pain threshold is not always a good choice unless there is enough manpower to control the person effectively.
From a Krav Maga ‘self-defence’ point of view, violence is almost always the last resort. As a 3rd party in a situation like the one above, what we want to try and avoid if a violent situation starts to escalate, is for ourselves to become aggressive and confront the threat. It is far safer and more likely to have an effective outcome if we were to tactically sneak up on a threat and control/restrain or in some cases attack them from behind. Uncontrolled aggressive or violent people often do not play by any rules or have any honour, and in such situations if we are to survive we may need to be tactically more advanced.
On a slightly more positive note, on returning to the hotel to check out, I was greeted by the four female hotel staff and they presented me with a free bottle of wine to say thank you for stepping in. I was very touched and it rounded off a great few days.
Luke De Lacey
G3 Instructor at Total Krav Maga (KMG).