Posted by: crimefall | 2005/12/09

Re: Surviving crime in SA

HAving experienced different crime situations, the worst being multiple armed assailants, I have come to the conclusion that in such situations it s best to follow their demands, however, there are certain points at which one has to take countr measures (e.g. if the assailants are intent on taking yours or your familys life).

What is the best martial art system to learn that will allow one to exploit a situation to the best degree, again I have to make it clear that this is at a point where all other options have been exhausted.

" If I am going to die then I want to take one with me"

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageSelf defence expert

Hi Crimefall,

Thank you for your mail. Multiple armed attackers is a very bad situation one can find yourself in. Re the best Martial Art system. I don't think there is one system/style that has all the answers. It is up to the individual to prepare oneself as comprehensively as possible, and to expose yourself to us much research and 'street smart' training as possible. Important to understand that it is not the amount techniques or belts around your waist that counts. What really counts is correct training methods, mental and pshycological conditioning/awareness and basic powerful techniques/strategies. I suggest you look for a Martial Art which is non competitive, non ritual, no hierarchy, focusses on Street Self Defence, which has realistic training with weapons, multiple opponents and stresses the importance of trainng against a resisting partner i.e. somebody who is fighting back to ensure you train under pressure.

Please email me should you require further assistance. Stay Safe !

Kindest Regards

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Our users say:
Posted by: Roan | 2006/01/09

Morning Crimefall,

Taken from the Fourways Review newspaper - a letter...
The secret in surviving violent attacks in South Africa is in a multilayered strategy. Why? Firstly, one cannot focus on only a single aspect and expect your protection to work. For example, a lot of people purchase or carry firearms or join a martial arts with the goal of aiding in ‘self defense’. Now, with all due respect, the focus with this is only on the physical application of the firearm that is also the most basic and simplest skill. Physical application is also the last ditch, an extreme response. If a violent attack goes physical it generally means that one have not applied the other skill sets and tactics correctly. You have allowed the situation to develop to an extreme, and unfortunately, physical force or the use of a firearm is also the most unreliable of responses. As you are now in an extreme, if it fails, you are in deep trouble. It is literally jumping out of a plane with only one parachute that has a 50/50 chance of not working. A multi-layer approach is back up. To be more specific it is having options that prevent you from ending up in that situation, including, not going parachute jumping in the first place, but if you do, knowing how to pack your chute so it will open. By having these layers, you also have control and influence anywhere along the process. It is also knowing that the further down that path you go, the more extreme the dangers and the more likely you are to lose control of the situation.

Your first option should always be strategies, tools and tactics to avoid an attack, and if it is unavoidable, to de-escalate it [i.e. reduce the intensity/threat of the attack and use it to set the attacker up]; and ensure that you escape unharmed. Only then the focus shift to either escaping/or using physical force, i.e. a firearm to preserve your precious life or fighting. I believe a great number of people in South Africa in general still don’t fundamentally understand the concept and extreme importance of pre-attack tactics enabling one to not end up in a violent situation in the first place, and if they do, how to get out of it with communication, passive psychological tactics, congruous speech and other tactics to reduce the intensity/threat to yourself and your loved ones.

As I so often state, avoidance is the key to surviving violence in South Africa, not a 3-punch combination, a firearm, a knife or the police. Benjamin Franklin was right when he said: ‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’. That becomes doubly important when we are talking about your chances of defending yourself or your loved one against an experienced, violent criminal armed with knife or firearm, more so in a multiple attacker situation such as a gang-rape or hi-jacking. ‘Why’ I hear you ask…

In essence there are serious results of a real violent attack:

1. One side always loses, in a real violent attack losing might result in being crippled, maimed or killed.

2. Police involvement/legal repercussions.

3. Vendetta/revenge/comeback attacks.

4. A combination or all of the above.

To the victim, it just seems like the violence "came out of nowhere." In fact, there was plenty of warning, plenty of opportunity to recognize danger signals and dangerous circumstances, but the victim ignored them, didn't see them or didn't recognize their significance. This is where what you "think" you know about crime and violence will blind you to these danger signals.

With this in mind you must remember one critical rule:

Crime is a process. It has both a goal and easily identifiable stages. Once you know about these stages, developing crime and violence are as obvious as a flare on a dark night. The analogy I use to explain this process is: Imagine you are driving to a friend's house. At first you have a wide choice of options to take to the general area. The closer you come to your destination, the more you *have* to turn here and go straight there. If you don't, you won't arrive at your destination.

In the same vein, if a criminal intends to commit a crime, his actions will become more predictable and more recognizable to someone who is aware of the process. There are things he *has* to do. If they are present, you are in danger. If these elements are *not* present, then there is no possibility of committing a violent attack such as a rape. Therefore, you are not in danger.

The "trick" for avoiding violence is recognizing what it is - and the path that leads there.

By knowing the elements that are commonly used in this extreme - and what their normal proportions are - you will be able to see when they are being blown out of proportion. It takes time to get to an extreme, when you see these elements being distorted - even by yourself - you will know you are on the pathway to violence.

Now, if you are unable to avoid the attack/are ambushed, it is critical to know what other response options are available to you, especially wrt the type of attack, number of attackers, your emotional and physical state etc.

I am aware that a Personal Protection school openend or is opening soon in Sandton, and got this from a letter they wrote in the Fourways Review newspaper. They apparently do weekend workshops nationwide and include all elements of successful personal protection, including a pre-attack phase, attack phase and post attack phase [handling police, first aid, come-back attacks], as well as adrenalised type of training where you are placed in scenarios/situations and experience adrenaline first hand. I think they are currently operating at Planet Fitness Fourways - contact the club manager who might be able to put you into contact with the people.

Reply to Roan

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