Observation Techniques

Discussion in 'General Self Defense' started by bushidomartialarts, May 24, 2010.

  1. bushidomartialarts

    bushidomartialarts Senior Master

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2006
    Messages:
    2,668
    Likes Received:
    42
    Trophy Points:
    108
    Location:
    Hillsboro, Oregon
    In my school I often talk about how if you end up in a situation where you have to use your martial arts, you've already screwed up. Situational awareness, good sense and verbal judo should keep you out of most scrapes.

    I've often heard about how police are "trained observers". What kind of training do LEOs receive? What tricks or techniques could we add to our martial arts training to give us better situational awareness?

    I've done martial arts a long time. I know several hundred ways to take down an attacker. I'd trade 'em all in for a dozen ways to walk out before that attacker becomes a threat.
     
  2. sgtmac_46

    sgtmac_46 Senior Master

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2004
    Messages:
    4,751
    Likes Received:
    187
    Trophy Points:
    173
    I'd suggest not trading them all. Here's the reality, with some good verbal and observation skills you can avoid many problems...........but when that one problem comes along you can't talk your way out of, you need those other skills in spades.

    That having been said, understanding signs of aggressive arousal in other people, as well as predator prey interaction are good things to discuss. Without repeating them in depth, they discussed in depth in other threads.

    Specifically research 'Defensive Aggression' and 'Predatory Aggression' and how to recognize the signs of each. Defensive aggression can often be avoided through good awareness and good verbal skills.

    Predatory aggression can sometimes be avoided by situational awareness, but good verbal skills are far less effective. Predators are not thwarted by talking them to death.

    Predatory aggression is a far less common type of aggression, however.
     
  3. knuckleheader

    knuckleheader Green Belt

    Joined:
    May 19, 2010
    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    N. E. Pa.
    I think this is a presumptuous statement. Sometimes a circumstance arrises thru no fault of an individual(your student).
    Basically, you teach students to constantly be aware of their surroundings. Being distracted may not be unavoidable, hence trouble out of nowhere. Only thru learning to stay calm an nonconfrontational, try to difuse a situation. Perhaps an escape route may occurr unexpectedly, take it. Nothing can be set in stone, developing awareness and confidence
    take practice. It's up to an individual to acquire these as well as the physical techniques.
     
  4. bushidomartialarts

    bushidomartialarts Senior Master

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2006
    Messages:
    2,668
    Likes Received:
    42
    Trophy Points:
    108
    Location:
    Hillsboro, Oregon
    Fair point, but I think you'll agree that most trouble we come across we could have seen coming a couple miles away. From choosing to drink at that bar in that neighborhood to ignoring your gut instinct when looking at that dark parking lot from inside the mall.

    Most people die from paying insufficient attention.

    I'm really interested to find out more about what training is available.
     
  5. sgtmac_46

    sgtmac_46 Senior Master

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2004
    Messages:
    4,751
    Likes Received:
    187
    Trophy Points:
    173
    Most trouble is avoidable with the proper level of awareness. It's really no different than driving a car. Most accidents can be avoided by active awareness. Somedays you just get unlucky, though.
     
  6. HKphooey

    HKphooey Senior Master

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2006
    Messages:
    2,613
    Likes Received:
    17
    Trophy Points:
    98
    Location:
    File Cabinet
    What is common sense (or obvious) to one individual may not be to another. I have conducted self-defense seminars where I have told individuals how to carry shopping bags, purses, to walk to a car, view their car before getting in, etc... Many times I will hear, "I never thought about that". Just like the physical training, we must also teach the mental part. Telling a student to stay out of a known violent neighborhood is an easy one. Telling a student, that is walking in a somewhat safe city after dark, to walk to the outside of a corner or make wide turns around objects like cars or dumpsters, is not as obvious. Many of my friends will comment on how I always seem "on edge" when we are walking at night. It is more of a heightened awareness of my surroundings. I always approach corners top the far outside so that I would have more time to react and less change of a rear attack. Observation of weapons is a another story. Knowing gun and knife types can make a world of difference. The length/type of a blade, revolver verse/semi-automatic, non lethal/lethal - all can play into what reactionary decision is made. I would definitely think differently if the attacker has a swiss army camping knife with a 2 inch single-sided blade, than say a CRKT M21-14SFG with a serrated 3.8 inch blade. The CRKT has more lethal potential, tells me the person may be trained (or worse, a wanna-be), and gives me some insight to the persons intentions.

    Body language can also offer up a lot of information. I have attended Wicklander-Zulawski & Associates training on interviewing skills. They teach you how to read people’s actions. It is amazing how much I use this on a daily basis (and I am not even in Law Enforcement).
     
  7. HKphooey

    HKphooey Senior Master

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2006
    Messages:
    2,613
    Likes Received:
    17
    Trophy Points:
    98
    Location:
    File Cabinet
    On another note... The idea of observation can also be use in tournament fighting. I used to teach my students to watch people that were around their age and rank and get an idea of the competition. Before the fights, mosts fighters are warming up tossing kicks in the air. You can get a good idea of a person's range and kicking height. I used to also tell them to take notice of their uniforms. Plain white no patches can mean inexperienced fighter or a traditional fighter. A person with custom uniform will usually be an experienced fighter or very flashy. Then comes the patches or school name. This gives you an idea of their base style and will give you insight into fighting technique. If the person steps into the ring and the judge needs to tell them where to stand, it may be their first time fighting in a tournament.

    Then we really get into it when we start to talk about the oppenent's body language and stances.

    Observation can be your best weapon.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Bikewr

    Bikewr Orange Belt

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2009
    Messages:
    67
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Even from my early days in police work (I started in '68) I felt it was a better idea to avoid a big tussle than to get into one. For one thing...Even if you win it hurts; usually for days afterwards!
    It's easy to get into scrapes if you want to; you can always stir up somebody to the point they take a swing, then the fight is on.
    Sadly, some guys like doing this....

    I always tried to talk these folks down. I don't have any special abilities or training, however; there was no "verbal judo" back then. First, you have to maintain an air of physical confidence. Posture, alertness, calm, controlling voice, low tones.... They teach these things to school teachers now as part of "classroom control" techniques.
    You have to present an air of "I don't want to fight you, but if you try something I will take you out."
    You should maintain yourself (fitness) and your uniform in a way that reflects that you are capable and well-trained. Interviews with individuals who have assaulted police show that these people say things like "I thought I could take him". A sloppy uniform and a sloppy body make you more vulnerable.
    Situational awareness isn't everything, of course. Sometimes you just have to jump into the mess, and sometimes the situation turns into a mess all around you.
     
  9. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

    • LifeTime Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2006
    Messages:
    21,815
    Likes Received:
    2,070
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Northern VA
    There's no special power or secret training about observation that a police officer receives. Sure, the academy includes some training about cues and things to look for, but the truth is that there are very few secrets about it. What we do get is a lot of practice observing, and reporting and documenting what we observed.

    Situational awareness is a matter of paying attention and of letting that become a habit. "What-when" thinking is one example. The classic example is a story from someone's FTO... On the rookies first night, they passed a particular Stop & Rob several times through the course of their patrols and responding to calls. Towards the end of the shift, the FTO directs the rookie to stop across the street, and asks him "how many times has that place been robbed?" The rookie starts thinking, runs a premise history, and comes up with a number. The FTO tells him he's wrong, asks again, how many times has it been robbed that night. The rook thinks hard, trying to figure out how he missed those calls, 'cause he knows they hadn't responded to any and it was in his beat. After he stews for a minute, the FTO says "Five; every time we passed it, I planned how to respond if it was being robbed then."
     
  10. sgtmac_46

    sgtmac_46 Senior Master

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2004
    Messages:
    4,751
    Likes Received:
    187
    Trophy Points:
    173
    You're quite correct on body language.

    As to the blade type, however, it's possible that could be useful information, but the reality of knife attacks is that if someone attacks you with a blade, you're lucky to realize they have a blade, much less be able to distinguish type.

    What is better is to train high percentage responses to the types of movements folks attacking with a blade make, because that's what you're going to respond to. The action is going to be so fast that you're never going to be able to see much about the knife, or have time to process that information.

    I recommend Dog Brother Martial Arts collaboration with Gabe Suarez, 'Die Less Often' 1, 2, and 3.\

    In addition, much of the material is about awareness, in addition to responding to the primal realities of a knife attack. It's well worth your time to invest in. Even if you only get #1, there's a plethora of material there.

    I consider it the best work on the topic i've ever been exposed to.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0fPL4f3Eqc&feature=related
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THW-c6E5nvs&feature=related






    http://www.dogbrothers.com/
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 24, 2014
  11. sgtmac_46

    sgtmac_46 Senior Master

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2004
    Messages:
    4,751
    Likes Received:
    187
    Trophy Points:
    173
    That's the key, you have to maintain a balance. The surest way to avoid physical confrontation is being prepared to engage in it at any given moment. 'To secure peace prepare for war' as the motto goes.

    An officer who is prepared to take anyone on at a moments notice, yet keeps his ego in check and avoids engaging unnecessarily, is what is required. It's a tight rope to walk.
     
  12. HKphooey

    HKphooey Senior Master

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2006
    Messages:
    2,613
    Likes Received:
    17
    Trophy Points:
    98
    Location:
    File Cabinet
    Totally agre on the Dog Bros. Material. Grood stuff.

    As for the knife I was refering to the individual that confronts you and pulls out a knife and threatens you. Not the person who jumps out of a tree and stabs you. Agreed. Not enough time to distinguish.123
     

Share This Page