How close is too close?
Part of my self defense system uses verbal
drills to attempt to keep or prevent the potential attacker from
deciding to launch a physical attack. There is no question that
many times this does work. When it does it works like magic.
A friend of mine by the name of Peyton Quinn who
is the founder and owner of RMCAT (Rocky Mountain Combat Applications
Training) center located in Lake George, Colorado has done extensive
research in the area of what we call the "interview."
The interview is the dialog that typically goes
on between a would be attacker and his intended victim. Mr. Quinn
even went so far as to film hardened criminals in his infamous
video "Real Crimes, Real People." This is an interesting video
which is available directly from Mr. Quinn at his website, www.rmcat.com.
Over and over in this video you can hear these reformed
criminals talk about how they size up their victims. More times
than not before attempting a physical assault (robbery, etc.)
they will start some sort of conversation with their intended
victim. Sometimes it is to intimidate but more importantly to
get a reaction.
Does the person show fear or passivity? Do they
go into denial? These are clear signs of an easy victim or what
they like to call "Free Lunch." So what didn't they like to see?
Well for one, someone who didn't show fear. Someone
who looked focused, intent and ready. Notice I didn't say that
you could not be afraid, but not to look afraid.
We teach our students a color coded approach to
this interview. I will write a future article to explain this
in detail but for now here is a brief explanation. Yellow is a
normal state of readiness and observance. Orange is when there
is a feeling that there may be something potentially dangerous.
Red is when there is no question that the person has bad intentions
and that an attack is very possible, if not probable.
In the orange or red stage you do not want to let
the person get too close to you. If possible about two arms length
at minimum. Any closer and they could spring on you or sucker
So again, the question becomes what happens in orange
alert if the person is getting too close? The best answer to that
is to try to demonstrate strong assertive behavior but still be
willing to take a step back as to not allow your would be attacker
the benefit of reach. Here is where good verbal skills are also
important. A good question to ask is "What do you want?" This
requires a reasonable answer and someone who does not have bad
intentions should be willing to answer. If you don't like the
answer or don't get one, then you know that an attack is imminent.
In this case it might be best to pre-empt the attack with your
own if your aggressor comes into your space.
on the Street we teach defenses against a surprise attack
and in Street Self Defense 101 we cover
the verbal and spatial defenses.
Shihan Michael Pace