Im going to examine what the full spectrum of low tech combat is in today's world. This is as much for my own benefit as much as anything else. Just to put it down on paper so to speak.
Firstly, I think of low tech combat as the full spectrum of violence one is likely to encounter on the street today. That is primarily why I've called this blog, low tech combat. Violence on streets and in homes consists of unarmed, armed (impact or edged weapons), one on one and one against many.
Lots to Learn
The FULL spectrum would have to include activities leading up to the actual encounter as well. This is aspects such as awareness, knowledge of the victim selection process and signs and indicators of agitated persons or persons about to commit a violent action.
The full spectrum of low tech combat must also include events immediately after an encounter such as gathering witnesses, knowing what to say to police and being able to render first aid. Another aspect would be the day to day and 'industry' knowledge and lifestyle that comes with being a modern citizen warrior.
Further 'Soft' Skills
This could involve such things as studying the psychological and physical effects of being involved in violence, past warrior societies and the nature of human combat. Another area that should be included in the full spectrum of low tech combat is a knowledge of home security, mobile security and personal security measures. These areas can be included in the awareness or pre conflict stage.
Developing knowledge in the full spectrum of low tech combat is a long term process. However the basics can be learnt relatively quickly with modern training methods such as stress conditioning using scenarios and studying and applying awareness into your everyday life.
Combat is Linear
The different areas of low tech combat are linear in fashion. The process of an attack happening is linear. An attacker will not suddenly morph into your room at night, stab you then go about 'casing' your place out. He will 'case' your place out before breaking into it.
There is a process involved in any attack and there are certain identifiable stages. It is these stages which will be presented below, in the order of occurrence which will be the vehicle used to present the full spectrum of low tech combat.
Pre Attack Stage
The first stage is the Pre Attack Stage. This is the most important stage. What happens here will effect what happens in the actual attack stage, if it even gets that far. This stage shapes the next stage. An attacker can be 'defeated' during this stage with no need for physical confrontation. This can happen for many reasons.
I will begin with awareness. Awareness can relate to many aspects of the pre attack stage. Awareness can relate to being out on foot, it can relate to an awareness of home security principles and can relate to some basic security principles when driving in a car.
High Risk Environments
Encompassing all of these areas is an awareness of high risk environments. Knowing where and when certain types of attacks are likely to occur.
Typical environments include car parks, the fringes of busy areas where they transition into quieter areas and getting money out from an ATM at night. For more information about higher risk environments, click here .
Alertness can Deter
An awareness of these environments will heighten your alertness to appropriate levels at the appropriate times and places. Simply being alert can be enough to deter most attackers as an attacker wants to find a low risk target where the risk of injury or of being caught is low.
Being aware of your surroundings is an important trait to develop. A high level of awareness will give early warning of possible threats. This early warning will do two things.
Firstly, it will prevent you from being caught by surprise. This is a MAJOR factor. Surprise will turn the best cage fighter into a frozen startled mess. Surprise will do that to almost anyone. It is very difficult to recover from surprise with a half competent attack. Time in the encounter and pressure testing in training are the major factors and a continued attack will make it very difficult.
Secondly, noticing a possible threat early will give you time to plan. Appropriate actions can be analysed and options can be considered. Once appropriate actions have been considered, early action can be undertaken. It may be best to leave the area, go into a shop, go into the kids room and lock the door, call the police, wind your window up on the locked car door or any number of things. You will not have that luxury of early action if you have not detected the threat early.
Colour Codes of Awareness
If you are not sure how to apply awareness when actually out and about engaging in this thing called life, a good place to begin, is with the Cooper colour code system of awareness. This can be found here .
The Alpha Male and the Predator
There are basically two types of attackers. One is the Alpha Male and one is a Predator. Anyone who has watched any wildlife documentaries will instinctly know what I mean by this.
- The Alpha Male wants to beat down anyone it sees as a threat. This is typically seen in fights out the front of pubs. Young aggressive males.
- Predatory attacks are ambush attacks. This is the type of attack used by someone after a wallet or money, all the way up to kidnapping, rape and murder.
Basically all types of attack are one of either these two. It is important to know the differences as different strategies are required to deal with them. More can be read about this key aspect of Low Tech Combat by visiting my post Alpha Male v Predatory Threats.
Know what to Look for
Knowing the attackers tactics and key indicators is another important area of the pre attack stage. An attacker will generally try to position himself in an advantageous position or already be waiting there and it is important to know this so as to know what to look for.
There are also behavioural signs which can indicate that a person may be about to attack or is looking for a victim. There is a lot of information out there regarding this. Some can be found here or here .
Once someone has selected you and decided to have a go, and you are unable to leave the area, the next step of an actual attack is when he approaches you. This is where the de-escalation strategies come into it, such as non aggressive posture, and verbally talking and diffusing the situation. There are a numerous strategies for this stage of conflict which may be found here .
If this part of the process does not get resolved or deteriorates further, we move onto the next stage...
The Attack Stage
The second stage of an attack is the Attack Stage. This is the stage in which most people spend all their time training in. This is where the actual attack is under way. It is physical.
From the beginning of an encounter, perhaps the best approach or techniques and tactics to use, are those that come from Reality Based Self Defence (RBSD) systems. RBSD deals primarily with the pre attack and the first immediate actions to do once the encounter has gone physical.
This enables a seamless transition from pre attack into attack and this is where RBSD systems excel. RBSD use various scenarios which can be scenarios inside a pub on a friday night, home invasion, robbery or anything. Scenarios can range from the most likely to most dangerous.
Its all about Initiative and who has it!
The beginning of an attack or encounter will give the person with the best initial response the initiative. Who has the initiative has the advantage. At this stage, who has the element of surprise pre attack, or initiative at the beginning of the physical attack, will have a massive advantage.
RBSD specialise in these areas of low tech combat. They generally practise in an open system of no rules at all and win at all costs methodology (including using improvised weapons) which is what is needed if it gets to this stage.
When Fight Skills come into it
But what happens if your counter attack or pre emptive attack doesn't work? Keep going of course. But if this happens and the attack can't be stopped quickly, any advantage had by an aggressive start and initiative will be eroding rapidly.
Once an encounter lasts longer than several seconds, fight skill comes into the equation. From here, someone who was caught by surprise can begin to regather themselves and sort themselves out and bring there game into play. This is where the combat sports and related systems come into their own.
The combat sports are by their very nature competitive systems such as Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Boxing, Judo and some Filipino weapon systems. These systems routinely practise and compete against another resisting human being. This is a major factor in the success of a medium to long term encounter.
Practitioners of these systems have an understanding of how humans react to certain moves or pressure as they do it all the time.
Matt Thornton is a major proponent of this concept. He calls it "Aliveness". A great piece on Aliveness can be found here .
It is training in an environment where both practitioners are mobile, they can resist offensive moves, use strength, use the opponents strength against him, bait him, feint him and generally engage with each other in an "alive" manner. It is the opposite of static.
Train against a 100% resisting opponent safely
These training systems allow for almost full on, 100% effort against each other in a safe, controlled environment. This is an absolutely vital aspect of low tech combat. This is why there is such a great advantage to practitioners of these systems the longer an encounter goes on.
It is your practise of these combat sport systems which will be the major contributing factor in your success of an encounter at this longer length. It is your real fighting skill that will determine the outcome at this stage of what is now a fight. It is no longer an attack. You are engaged in a fight. There is nothing else to fall back on except outside intervention or your attacker quits his attack.
RBSD v Combat Sports
Of note, generally most people espouse either RBSD or the combat sports. It is generally one or the other.
The RBSD community say that it uses realistic scenarios where there are no rules, weapons are encouraged, along with multiple attackers where they are under adrenal stress. This is how it's gonna be.
The MMA community say that you need to train against a resisting opponent who is actively trying his hardest to fight back using everything they have.
They Compliment Each Other
By what I have already stated above, I believe both systems are equally important and have something to offer each other. The RBSD crew can implement more 'force on force' or free sparring type activities and the MMA crew can implement multiple attackers, scenarios and weapons. They can complement each other well. This is happening already around the world. People are combining systems in a very effective way.
Post Attack Stage
The third stage is the Post Attack Stage. The first actions to do after an encounter is the Immediate Action.
- No matter how it ended, look around. Are you actually safe now? Is a friend of the attacker coming up? Safety first.
- Is the other guy hurt? If so, you should render first aid. This is done for two main reasons. One, it is the right thing to do, regardless of who started it. Two, imagine if there is CCTV cameras around and the footage ends up in court.
If you did all you could to avoid the encounter, did what you had to do and then rendered first aid... It will look good in court. There is one other option in any violent encounter. You may want to leave the scene in a hurry. Just get up and run off. This could be for any number of reasons that don't need to be discussed here. It is a very real option.
Post Encounter Administration
After the primary security considerations have been taken into account, it is time to move into the post encounter administration.
Look around and ask for witnesses, neighbours or help to call an ambulance or assist in some other task like move the injured attacker off the roadway or stack fallen chairs or whatever. Ask these people for their details.
Police and Security
It is at this stage where security or police may already be involved or even earlier. An interview and/or statement will likely be required. Know how to do this. You don't want to needlessly incriminate yourself. Think of legal terminology.
Instead of throwing someone to the floor, they attacked you and you sidestepped and they then lost balance and fell over...This post attack admin may not be required. It may be a brief, remote encounter where you just get about on your merry way.
Remember, if statements are required, get legal advice as soon as possible. Give serious thought to obtaining legal advice before putting anything to paper. It is a very good idea. This is not a sign of guilt, it is a sign of an understanding of today's legal system.
Below is a summary of the full spectrum of low tech combat in its linear order as I see it.
-Environmental Awareness (Home security measures, knowledge of high risk areas etc)
-Awareness (Scanning, knowledge of key pre attack indicators, attackers tactics etc)
-Avoidance and Evasion ('Bust them', leave area, enter shop, cross road, lock door etc.)
-De escalation (Verbal dissuasion, non aggressive body language etc.)
-Initial physical encounter (Pre emptive strike and follow up, aggressive counter attack etc.)
-Fighting stage (intial attack not successful or effective, now fighting etc.)
-Encounter is finished (Success, separated or mutual stopping etc.)
-Immediate action (Check for further threats, administer first aid if req, leave area? ask for witnesses etc.)
-Administration (Get details of witnesses, leave area etc.)
-Get legal advice before giving statements
There is a lot to learn. Most people involved in the protection of themselves spend the VAST MAJORITY of their time only practising the actual physical attack stage. And of this, the practise of the physical aspects is limited to one area such as striking or groundfighting. Even the practise of one stage of low tech combat such as the Attack Stage must be well rounded. If you have a whole in your armour, Murphy will find it.
The Beginning Influences the End
The pre attack stage can have a major influence on everything that happens after it. This is the major area most people can rapidly improve on if they spent the time.
The full spectrum of low tech combat covers a lot of areas. Actually all of them. I personally try to balance out the pre attack and attack stages in my training and the various aspects inside each stage in order to be well rounded. After all, we are only as good as our weakest link.