Strategic Self Defence

Strategic Self Defence

Many people get confused regarding the differences between strategy and tactics; Even people who are well versed in various combat arts and sciences.

This post examines exactly what strategy is and what it is not - from a self defence perspective.

Then we go deep and explore how we can approach self defence from a strategic perspective. This will get you thinking big picture and how the deliberate big picture decisions we make flow down to everything else.

5 Most Important Skills For Protecting Yourself

5 Most Important Skills For Protecting Yourself

A guest post from Jack Roberts from Black Eagle Martial Arts.

In this post Jack explores topics such as looking ahead and staying alert, walking confidently but not aggressively, knowing when to run, using quick and effective techniques and staying out of trouble by understanding your town or local part of your city.

Is Killing Someone Who Broke Into Your Home, Self Defence?

Is Killing Someone Who Broke Into Your Home, Self Defence?

In this post we explore some real home invasion case studies. Some of these cases saw the occupants of the homes respond to the intruders with lethal force. 

Some of them were found not guilty of any charges as they acted in self defence. In some, the occupant was found guilty of an offence and was sent to prison.

This is an important topic to explore. We highlight some of the key differences between the not guilty and guilty verdicts for your consideration.

Let's get into it.

Human Combative Behaviour Manifesto

Human Combative Behaviour Manifesto

Get your hands on the FREE Human Combative Behaviour Manifesto.

It explores the important topic of the two main types of human to human violence.

Alpha Male and Predatory violence.

This topic is possibly the most important material to understand in order to have a sound appreciation of human violence and therefore self defence.

Colour Codes of Awareness

Colour Codes of Awareness

The colour codes of awareness is essential learning.

It is one of those concepts that needs to be understood so you then know what rules you break and when (and if you should).

It is an excellent concept for appreciating how to apply awareness and how you can step up your awareness in higher risk times and ease it up in lower risk times.

ISR Matrix: The Definitive Review and Interview

ISR Matrix: The Definitive Review and Interview

ISR Matrix is an excellent system for learning physical self defence skills. 

It is a contemporary system that considers legal use of force at every step.

This is quite a detailed post that explores the system and also includes an interview with one of the main instructors in the region.

50 Year Trends in Violent Crime in the US - FBI Statistics

50 Year Trends in Violent Crime in the US - FBI Statistics

Analysing big data sets can turn up surprising results.

Looking at data collected over a 50 year period of a range of violent crimes, such as assault and robbery plus more, we can see some interesting correlations between various crime types. This was surprising as it added further weight to the Alpha Male and Predatory violence hypothesis.

This post will no doubt be interesting. Check it out.

The 'Magic Formula" from a LEO

Ive recently added 'the things worth believing in' to the my list of blog friends. It is a great blog that focuses on the primary subject of 'Warriorship'.

Tom has recently discovered the post from Low Tech Combat titled Alpha Male v Predatory Threatsand is of similar beliefs.

Along the same lines, he also mentioned his post titled the Magic Formula. Head over there and check it out. Short and sweet.

Front Door Procedure

What do you do if someone knocks on your door? Do you have a plan in place? Do other members of your family or house mates know what to do? Have you even given it much thought?

Image by geekmojo

I think it is worthwhile having some type of plan or procedure in place. When someone knocks on your door at any time, it should at least invoke some sense of awareness and the persons identity MUST be identified BEFORE opening the door. That doesn't matter whether it is night OR day. An increasing number of home burglaries and robberies happen by day.

Confirming a persons identity can be done in just one or two simple steps.

  1. Look through your peep hole and identify the visitor and/or
  2. Ask through the door 'Who is it?'

This is very easy, simple and quick. Either way, do not open the door unless you have absolutely identified the visitor as legitimate.

If this is a friend, it is very quick. If it is not a friend, take your time to establish the reasons for the visit. If you are not interested in their presence, tell them so. They should leave straight away. If they are pushy, this should raise alarm bells. Do not let them talk you into opening that door if you are uncomfortable doing so.

Utilities or Authorities?

If they are legitimate gas or electrical personnel or police they will be understanding. If they are from your gas or electric company, tell them you are just going to give the company a quick call to confirm. They should not mind this.


Get the number from your last bill. Call them and confirm they have staff on site before allowing entry.

Likewise, for police, ask them what station they are from and call the station using something like a phone directory or from the internet. They will not mind. In fact, they may even be slightly impressed that a citizen is practising safe security procedures, becoming a harder target and helping in the fight against crime.

To emphasise the main point,



They should not mind. They may not be over the moon (they will have to wait), but they should not try to pressure you to NOT call to verify.

Image by Dean Terry

Some Further Thoughts

If you don't have one, should you get a peep hole? A quick answer is yes, however I want to highlight one thing that should be taken into consideration.

Don't fall for what you see through the peep hole. If someone is dressed up like a gas man and looks the part, you are more likely to accept that that is who it is without verifying first. Be careful of this. Still verify first.

That is the main benefit of not having a peep hole. You cannot be influenced by what the person is wearing. Now I am not saying that all utilities personnel and police are actually serial killers in disguise but I am saying be pragmatic about it.

It is not often that these people come to your home. So when they do, take the time to verify their identity first. A peep hole can be a good aid, and are convenient for when friends have arrived as it saves having to ask.


Teach your child or children in what to do if someone knocks on the door. If someone knocks who is not family or friend, they should not open it and simply go and get a parent or adult. A child should not be expected to be able to discern a genuine visitor to a fake.


The main point is to NOT open the door at all, until the identity of the person calling has been identified. Make sure that the children of the home are taught something so they know what to do if someone knocks on the door when they are closest to it.

Social Engineering and other Non-Violent Threats

Image by parl

As people who care about our personal security and safety and that of our friends and families, it is important to note that threats today are not just physical. More and more often, we see and hear about people getting targeted by scams and fraudsters. This involves loss or compromise of some very personal and sensitive private information, often leading to financial loss.

Social Engineering?

Not many people are aware of what Social Engineering and other types of fraud are and I thought I would share some of my findings on the subject with my readers.

To begin, here is a fun video showing how Social Engineering can be used to gain free entry into clubs by impersonating a DJ. Note, he appears to be a DJ. He has funky cloths, expensive looking head phones, a record bag, cover story and confidence.


For more

how to dance videos


Social Engineering involves manipulating another person to behave a certain way or provide information that the Social Engineer wants. This can be done using a wide variety of pretexts. Pretexts are 'situations' that the Social Engineer invents to persuade their 'mark' (target or victim) to provide the information they want.

What do they take Advantage of?

The Social Engineer relies on human interaction that can target a whole range of human conditions such as:

  • Greed,
  • Helpfulness,
  • Ignorance,
  • Flattery,
  • Lust,
  • Intimidation by an 'Authority' (Boss or supervisor),
  • Friendliness,
  • Time pressure,
  • Trust and
  • Conformity.

Social Engineering can be done in a number of ways:

  • Via telephone,
  • In person,
  • Online and
  • Shoulder surfing (looking over someone's shoulder to obtain passwords, PIN's and credit card numbers).

Here is a short video about Social Engineering


For social engineering to work, it generally involves some type of research and setting up to provide some sort of legitimacy. Often, impersonation is the vehicle Social Engineers use to obtain information.

Social Engineers often impersonate:

  • Co-workers,
  • Police,
  • Bank staff,
  • Tax Authorities,
  • Utility workers,
  • Insurance Investigators,
  • Attractive, interested members of the opposite sex,
  • Supervisors,
  • Clients and
  • IT specialists.

Some Examples

Often, it is just a matter of identifying themselves and asking questions in a manner that authorities would. People often fall for it. To further add to this tactic's effectiveness, the Social Engineer will add an urgency of time. To illustrate this, here are a couple example's from

Security Focus:

“An AT&T Rep will call you in the middle of the night: ‘Have you been calling Egypt for the last six hours?’ ‘No.’ And they’ll say, ‘well, we have a call that’s actually active right now, it’s on your calling card and it’s to Egypt and as a matter of fact, you’ve got about $2,000 worth of charges from somebody using your card. You’re responsible for the $2,000, you have to pay that...’ They’ll say, ‘I’m putting my job on the line by getting rid of this $2,000 charge for you. But you need to read off that AT&T card number and PIN and then I’ll get rid of the charge for you.’ People fall for it.”

And another one:

The facilitator of a live Computer Security Institute demonstration, neatly illustrated the vulnerability of help desks when he “dialled up a phone company, got transferred around, and reached the help desk. ‘Who’s the supervisor on duty tonight?’ ‘Oh, it’s Betty.’ ‘Let me talk to Betty.’ [He’s transferred.] ‘Hi Betty, having a bad day?’ ‘No, why?...Your systems are down.’ She said, ‘my systems aren’t down, we’re running fine.’ He said, ‘you better sign off.’ She signed off. He said, ‘now sign on again.’ She signed on again. He said, ‘we didn’t even show a blip, we show no change.’ He said, ‘sign off again.’ She did. ‘Betty, I’m going to have to sign on as you here to figure out what’s happening with your ID. Let me have your user ID and password.’ So this senior supervisor at the Help Desk tells him her user ID and password.” Brilliant.

Physical Expectations

Social Engineering can also harness expected social responses. If someone holds their hand out to shake yours, people return the shake. Its natural and very rude not to return it. Violent people use this very tactic to grab hold of people when they go to return their offer of a hand shake. As they go to shake that strangers hand they are thinking 'I shouldn't be doing this..." but they still do. It is a conditioned response.

Another one which I mentioned in my post Maintain Your Security is when a social engineer will follow others through the security door into an apartment complex or other facility. The legitimate resident or worker will hold the door open to 'help out' the next person.

The same thing can be seen when the social engineer fumbles around at the door appearing to be searching for his key in his pockets or bag and smiles as a legitimate person appears and enters and he follows them in innocently. He can also claim to have lost his key or doesn't want to let his partner know he is home as he has a surprise for her or any number of other excuses. He relies on peoples helpfulness and ignorance to the threat.

There are other situations you can think of I am sure.

Technical Attacks

On top of these direct physical Social Engineering tactics, there are the virtual ones as well. The most common involve phishing, the Trojan Horse and Baiting.

  • Phishing involves sending an email that appears to come from a legitimate business (commonly a bank or credit card company) requesting 'verification' of information urgently and dire consequences if this information is not provided. It usually contains a link to a website that looks exactly the same as the legitimate site does with the same logos and header and layout looking exactly as the real site does. There will typically be a form requesting everything from the 'marks' home address up to credit card number or PIN number or anything else. People fall for it because it looks so legitimate.
  • A Trojan Horse is generally delivered via email where there will be an attachment that piques the curiosity such as a sexy screen saver, anti virus software, celebrity gossip or some other intriguing item. The 'Love Bug' from a few years ago now is one such example. Once the attachment is opened it installs the malicious code onto a users computer.
  • Baiting involves leaving an attractive or interesting item lying around which inevitably gets picked up. This could be a USB card or CD. It could be left in a cafe, hallway or elevator. Once picked up, it is often inserted onto a computer to satisfy the curiosity of the finder as to what it contains. These will often have interesting labels put onto them as well. Once the device is inserted into a computer, the malicious code is installed. This is particularly so with PC's set to 'auto run' inserted media.

A Comprehensive List

There are many other types of Social Engineering tactics, cons, tricks and schemes.

Wikipedia has a comprehensive list of these tricks well worth checking out. It helps to be aware of them in order to identify them as they are presented to you.

So what can we do?

This video is aimed at employees but is still relevant in protecting our own information such as credit card numbers and passwords.


Here is a list by a US government website which is aimed at businesses and staff but still has useful information:

  • Be suspicious of unsolicited phone calls, visits, or email messages from individuals asking about employees or other internal information. If an individual claims to be from a legitimate organisation, try to verify his or her identity directly with the company
  • Do not reveal personal or financial information in email, and do not respond to email solicitations for this information. This includes following links sent in email.
  • Dont send sensitive information over the internet before checking a web sites security
  • Pay particular attention to the URL of a website. Malicious web sites may look identical to a legitimate site, but the URL may use a variation in spelling (citibank vs citybank) or a different domain name (eg .com vs .net)
  • If you are unsure whether an email request is legitimate, try to identify it by contacting the company directly. Do not use the contact information provided on a web site connected to the request; instead, check previous statement for contact information. Information about known phishing attacks is also available from online groups such as the Anti-Phishing Working Group.
  • Install and maintain anti-virus software, firewalls and email filters to reduce some of this traffic.

In order to prevent these types of threats, it helps to be able to recognise them. Even reading this post will go a long way in both recognising and stopping these types of virtual attacks.

There are some tell tales of Social Engineering attempts such as:

  • Their refusal to give contact information
  • Rushing
  • Name-dropping
  • Intimidation
  • Small mistakes (misspellings, misnomers and odd questions) and
  • Requesting forbidden information

If something doesn't seem right, trust your instincts. To understand the threat that is Social Engineering, spend a moment to think like one. Don't become another victim.

Free Close Quarter Combat Magazines

The Close Quarter Combat (CQC) Magazine is an old series of magazines put together by Hock Hochheim. They contained articles on hand, stick, knife, gun, military, police, citizens, crime, war news and training.

For those interested in the full spectrum of Low Tech Combat, the CQC Magazines are definitely worth a read. Best of all, they can be read for FREE HERE!

At the above link you can read all 21 issues of the CQC Magazine as well as 5 editions of the newer, Hochheim Group Report and 11 issues of the new, CQC Dispatches! Thats 37 references in total, all for free!

It is a great resource with LOTS of interesting reading for those interested.


Overseas Travel Dangers - Know Them, Heres How

Many people travel to all types of different countries with various levels of policing, safety and security with little consideration to the threats. There are some truly fantastic resources out there at the tips of your fingers and this post will highlight these and how you can do some basic research of the security risks and threats for whatever country you are going to or maybe plan on visiting.

Indeed, it is best to factor security considerations into y our travel plans at an early stage so if you determine that a country has a level of threat you weren't previously aware of, you can change destinations relatively easily and hassle free.

What can I tap into?

There are four primary resources for doing this research and it will not take long to do, as these organisations have done all the work for you. All you need to do is tap into it. These four resources are the CIA, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the International Crisis Group (ICG).

CIA - Although not widely known for it, the CIA produces and maintains an excellent resource for the general public, titled 'The World Fact Book'. This is a free online resource where you can find all sorts of information about almost any country you could think of going to.

It contains information to make your travel much easier and smoother such as data on geography, people, government, economy, communications, military and transnational issues. All of these factors may impact on your ease of travel when overseas and in particular, may effect your safety and security.

British Foreign and Commonwealth Office - Information on the FCO site has useful travel advice on matters such as safety and security like crime and terrorism, natural disasters, local laws and customs, political situation and health system and issues among other areas. It is targeted for UK citizens but is still a relevant resource for all travellers.

Smart Traveller - Smart traveller is a resource provided by Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. It is designed to provide travel advice for Australian citizens but is again, relevant for all travellers. Smart Traveller provides advice on safety and security matters such as crime, political tension and terrorism, local laws, entry and exit requirements and health issues.

International Crisis Group - The International Crisis Group is mostly concerned with producing reports on places of actual unrest and violence so it is unlikely that there will be anything of value on a modern stable country such as Italy for example.

However, for those planning on travelling to a third world or developing country, it is worthwhile checking out what the ICG has to say about it. This will likely involve sifting through reports or alerts but is definitely worthwhile if you plan on going to a country covered by these people.

Give me the Links


This link will take you to the main page of the World Fact Book, where you choose your country of interest and away you go.


This link will take you to the main page where again, you simply search by country.

Smart Traveller

This link will take you to the Smart Traveller home page where you search by country as well.

International Crisis Group

This link will take you to the Crisis Watch area where you can view the 12 page monthly bulletin highlighting all of the current events. Areas covered include developments in current or potential conflict zones, assessments of the overall situations and whether they have improved or deteriorated and it alerts readers to particular risks of new or significantly escalated conflict. There is much information throughout the entire site.

Use the Vast Resources of the Intelligence Agencies!

Remember, three of these above links harness the full resources and capabilities of their respective countries Intelligence agencies for advice and guidance when producing these travel advices so a lot of work, knowledge, money and thought has gone into them.

All of these links have valuable information not mentioned here as well as valuable links to even more information. Checking these places out before departing on travel whether it be for enjoyment or business is definitely worthwhile and recommended.

Don't lose this page

If you would like to find these resources again, you can bookmark this page now so you can come back to it again in the future and find them all in the one place. If you think the information contained here is valuable, let your friends and business acquaintances know of it or use the social network button below to digg or stumble it or whatever you want.

I hope you found something of value here. Leave your comments below.

Maintain Your Security!

The following news story (which can be read in full below) highlights the need to maintain your basic security practises. A man followed a resident through the apartment blocks security entrance and into the lift. Once inside the lift he pulled out a knife...

The main point I want to highlight here is that the only way the attacker got inside is because he was let in! Now I live in an apartment and have seen this same thing happen. It is quite common. People think they are being helpful by holding open the security doors for people.


Even if they look nice and friendly, do not let people inside the building. If you have to, just explain that for security reasons, you would like them to use their key or security device to get in. If they are a resident they will understand and probably be satisfied that other residents are not letting strangers inside the building. Whatever, just don't give people free access inside. Be rude if you need to!

Security is one of the main benefits to living in an apartment complex. Do not jeopardise this and let unknown people gain access. Even if they do not attack you, they may attack someone else and it will be your fault. It is a simple little thing but it is quite important.

Do not let people follow you into your apartment building!!!

The full news story can be read at the following link,

See the news story here.

It is a very sad story that offers a reminder to all of us.

When is a Martial Artist complete?

I guess it comes down to how long one has been training. Once you begin, the first priority should be to learn how to defend yourself against an unskilled attacker as that is the most likely threat.This can take some time depending on natural skill and talent and any relevant experience. It took me some time when I began on this journey as I had no idea whatsoever.

Most Likely Threat First

This involves both the physical aspect such as punching, pushing, evading, throwing etc as well as having a basic knowledge of the two types of threat being the Alpha Male and the Predator so strategies for dealing with each can be applied through avoidance and de-escalation.

Once proficiency has been gained here, what is next? Once we can defend ourselves, isn't that it?

More Advanced Combative Skill

  • Fight skills are more advanced that simply defending and countering an attack. This involves being able to go up against a skilled fighter in a one on one fight. This is much harder than defeating some scum bag on the street. This is the next step up the ladder. During this phase of training, principles such as 'Aliveness' will be core with things such as alive drilling and sparring.
  • Stress testing of all learnt skills is done through advanced sessions which on the surface look like the above but much more pressure is applied both mentally and physically. Its one thing to spar in a relaxed learning environment but another thing altogether to spar when under hard pressure against one fresh opponent then another fresh opponent and so on. It involves stepping outside your comfort zone or being pushed out of it. This is just one example of stress testing.
  • Scenario training is a form of more advanced stress testing. In a way it is more specific. It aims to more closely replicate the environment and situation that a likely encounter will happen in. It involves role players and starts at the pre-attack stage of an encounter. Much training neglects this fundamental aspect of combat. What happens during the pre-attack determines what happens in the attack stage, much like the real thing.

Further Skills and Areas

Once proficiency has been gained in direct low tech combat skills, supplementary skills should be learnt:

  • Advanced first aid is a priority. If you can cause damage, you should be able to treat damage. I guess it is the TMA past coming out here but it is very Yin Yang. It is also a good balancing skill to have. Advanced first aid includes treating burns, fractures, bleeding as well as resuscitation methods. You never know, it may just save someone's life one day.
  • Home security and home security awareness. Do you have the numbers of utilities and the local police station up on the wall near the phone or on your mobile? Do you have a peep hole through your front door? What will you do if someone claims to be from the electricity department and wants to talk to about some matter relating to the electrical supply and wants to come inside? Where is your home most vulnerable to forced entry? Do you know where that is and what have you done to strengthen it?
  • Awareness and the 'soft skills'. Do you know what the threats are when you are out and about? What would be the physical indicators that may give early warning of such attacks? Do you know the colour codes of awareness, as these are a good place to start?
  • Security when overseas. What is the threat in the country you are going to? Who are the main groups and what are their goals? How can you limit your attractiveness to these groups and fly under their radar? Simple things like not wearing your expensive watch and other accessories, not flashing a lot of cash around at shops and toning down the clothing are all universal tactics to limit the attention of a countries underbelly.
  • Your Health should be looked after. Why go to all the trouble to learn how to defend ourself for years and years, in order to live a long and drama free life, when we let our health deteriorate and die at the age of 45 from a heart attack? Pointless. So how healthy are you?

The above examples are not exhaustive. There is a lot to learn for a martial artist. Learning how to defend ourselves is really only the beginning. Once direct combatives skills have been attained, for sure, we continue the training, but other so called 'softer' skills come into development and action as some have been mentioned.

Security Principles?

So when is a martial artist complete? Are we ever really there? Probably not. I think at some point these soft skills actually blur into the arena of Security Risk Management. Except it is being applied to our own activities and our own facilities (our home).

On top of the above the domain of weapons use has been omitted. As has been seen in previous articles regarding the most likely attack on street, weapon use and in particular the knife, blunt impact weapon and in the U.S. the handgun, need to be trained for as they are a very relevant threat.

Another area left out here has been multiple attackers. And keep in mind that you are more likely to face three attackers than two!

There is a lot to learn...



Protect Your Privacy with a Shredder

As practitioners and students of various areas of Low Tech Combat, we aim to protect ourselves, our family and our friends. As well as physically protecting ourselves, today, we also need to protect our personal information.

Credit card fraud and the use of stolen identities is rapidly on the rise. One often overlooked area which is a major vulnerability lies in the very personal and private paperwork we throw into the bin and give little consideration to once it is out of our sight.

Sensitive Information

We throw out old vehicle registration papers, utility bills, old loan applications and documents, receipts from major stores which often have detailed personal information on them and invoices from items paid for by credit card through mail order or online.

Many times these listed items contain very useful information to somebody wanting to use credit fraudulently or the 'identity' contained in these papers. Often, the actual full credit card details, including the actual number are on some of these! Besides credit card details, other personal information such as names, dates of birth and addresses can aid dodgy characters in building a complete other identity which becomes their 'persona' for that person when engaging in fraudulent or other illegal activities.

Source of ID

After all, don't bills and bank account statements form part of the ID required to start bank accounts and for identification purposes when we have no license for the relevant road and traffic authorities?

One of the very best things we can do is to ensure none of this information leaves the household in a readable state. An efficient way of doing this is by purchasing a paper shredder. They are very cheap. I recently bought one for $58. It was a long time overdue. With a paper shredder, all sensitive paperwork goes through the shredder on its way to the bin. It is a much simpler and cleaner method than burning it.

Shred it!

Fraud will continue to rise. Don't let yourself become a statistic. Don't rely on THEM not to target YOU. You will then be at the mercy of another persons actions. Take responsibility for it. Be proactive. It is so simple to stop.

Many people, previously myself included, are unaware just how sensitive some of the paperwork is that we throw out. Have a look at some of the paperwork a normal household generates and how this could be used by somebody for illegal purposes.

Protect you privacy. You can have a look at a Sexy Black Paper Shredder from Amazon here now. Shred all sensitive documentation on the way to the rubbish bin. It is a small, simple step to ensuring the integrity or our personal information.

The Full Spectrum

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.

Combat Sports

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.

  1. No matter how it ended, look around. Are you actually safe now? Is a friend of the attacker coming up? Safety first.
  2. 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.

Pre Attack

-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.)

Post Attack

-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.

Happy training