The Fence

So, back to the script. If, for whatever reason, you find yourself in front of a potential attacker who is constantly touching the fence and giving you signs that an attack is imminent and you can't bring yourself to attack preemptively, then you need to create a gap between you and him and take the fence to a conscious level. That means that he will realise that you are taking control. If he is trying to bridge the gap and take down the fence, but you are not prepared to attack then you MUST take the fence to a conscious level or you are facing grave danger. The fence will be crushed and you attacked as a consequence.

It is important with the conscious fence to create a gap about 5 feet would be good -between you and the assailant. You can do this by stepping back (or pushing him back if you can't step back for some reason) away from the attacker, whilst simultaneously using your lead hand to shove the attacker so that he also goes back. You can also create a gap by using a slap and step back, a two handed shove or a Thai leg kick. Any approach will do, as long as after the contact you create a gap between you and he.

The intention of the shove (or whatever device you use) is to trigger adrenaline in your opponent, thus hopefully triggering his 'flight response', making him feel the urge to want to run away. By triggering the adrenaline you automatically trigger the 95% Rule. So, if the situation has reached an impasse and you think it is going to become physical, but you do not want to attack him for whatever reason, then shove him hard in the chest, knocking him backwards and out of immediate attacking range. This minimal physical contact will cause an adrenal release in the opponent. Back the shove up with a very aggressive verbal fence, 'Stay there, don't fucking move!' Use expletives to add intent and aggression. I feel that this is important because it is the 'speak' of the street. If you were to say 'Damn well stay there you cad!' it would be devoid of weight and the attacker would probably laugh you off the planet. Speak in his language or he won't understand you.

The reasons for the gap are manifold, not least because it takes the opponent out of his striking range. What it also does is take the opponent from a state of reaction to a state of response -from 'fight' response to 'flight' response. Let me explain: if you shove the opponent, but not out of range, he may automatically react to the shove with a counter-shove, or an attack, of his own. He'll do this without even thinking because it is an automatic reaction. Whilst in fight or flight mode we are in what is known as 'mid-brain', and in midbrain we are hardly discernible from animals. Our prime objective in mid-brain is survival, and if that means running away that is what our instinct will get us to do. In effect, by staying within strike range you are forcing the opponent into a 'fight' response, and he will react like a cornered animal. His instincts (which will have been in his genes through many, many generations) will inform him that he is cornered and that he should 'fight his way out'. (This is not a good thing for obvious reasons.) If however you shove him out of attack range you will trigger his 'flight' response and give him the instinct to run or freeze because he is no longer a cornered animal, so there is no longer a reason to fight. He won't even know this on a conscious level, but thousands of years of instinct will inform him that he is no longer cornered and he should run for his very life. Even if he does not run away, the fact that he feels like running away will create confusion and self-doubt triggering more adrenaline and a downward spiral to capitulation.

Once you have created a gap (and the confusion) the opponent is forced out of attack mode and into escape mode. The only way that he is going to be able to override this very strong emotion is to consciously disregard all natural instincts and move forward. Not an easy task, especially if the adversary is not an experienced one. This very often effects what I like to call the 'sticky feet syndrome'. The attacker may very well want to move forward because peer pressure demands that he fight and not run away, but his feet appear stuck to the floor, his body lurches forward as though trying to move, but his feet stay stuck firmly to the ground. This is because natural instinct is telling him to run for it.

After creating the gap make yourself a hard target by 'ballooning', or 'stalking'. This is done by pacing left to right without taking your eyes off the opponent, at the same time you shout out verbal commands like, 'stay there, don't move!' and point to the opponent, this acts as a secondary back up fence to the verbal.

Interestingly the ballooning also triggers innate instincts within the opponent that go right back to the dawn of mammalian man, when we were not at the top of the food chain and were prey to bigger animals. Your antagonist will literally feel as though he is being 'stalked' before attack. The thought that he is being hunted like a wild beast will serve to increase his woe. If you watch the cheetah when it hunts the antelope, he balloons (or stalks) just before the attack -in fact most animals do, we are no exception. It can be used by us as an attacking tool to trick the opponent into a flight response, or against us -often inadvertently -to effect the same 'freeze' or 'flight' tendencies.

Back your ballooning up with a physical fence, pointing, and a verbal fence in the form of strong commands like, 'Keep away from me, stay where you are!' If you make this loud and aggressive and splay your arms erratically this would be classed as 'posturing'. Posturing is the art of fighting without fighting. This is what animals do in nature, generally with animals of their own species. Rather than fight and kill each other and thus threaten the survival of their own species, they posture by making themselves as big and as aggressive as possible, thus triggering the flight response in their opponent, defeating them without injury. Watch the cat when he faces the dog, his back rises, his eyes glare, he hisses aggressively. He looks ferocious. The cat makes himself as big and aggressive as possible to try and frighten the dog away.

I recommend that you take advantage of your opponent's reaction to you posturing and make your get away as soon as possible. We have already spoken about the adrenal syndrome, how it can effect the human body and how the reasoning process mistakes adrenaline for fear, thus triggering the 'flight' response. By giving an opponent an adrenal release, we trigger the natural instinct to either freeze or run. Both of these would have been very natural defences against prehistoric beasts that were too fearsome to stand and fight or whose eyesight was poor and would not be able to see a frozen enemy, only attacking when they sensed movement. In this society 'freezing' or 'running' is not always an option and may only get you battered by an antagonist that will use a frozen adversary as a punch bag. Society is not kind either to the fellow that runs away from his antagonists. So the contemporary enemy and peer pressure force the adrenal syndrome into antiquity.

A person that understands this syndrome can use it to great advantage if you use it as an attacking tool, especially against an enemy that doesn't understand it. As I said we are manipulating man's natural instinct to want to run as opposed to fight. By triggering adrenaline in an opponent I am also triggering his flight response. When he feels like running away, because society looks poorly on a 'runner', it will cause the opponent massive self-doubt and, hopefully cause him to capitulate. Everything in life has its opposite and the danger with any positive adrenaline switch is that it can backfire on you. If the recipient overrides the urge to capitulate the release may make him stronger and faster -a dangerous adversary indeed. I only use a positive adrenaline switch if I see a chink in the opponent's armour. This perception has come from many years of dealing with violence and violent people. If you can't read an opponent then I wouldn't recommend employing this tactic, better to stick with submissiveness and use it as a negative adrenaline switch.

I remember hearing a great story about one of the old Japanese Sensie, Master Abbe, a world renowned martial arts teacher. He was walking down a quiet suburban street on his way home after his usual, evening teaching session. He noticed three youths hovering, several yards away on the opposite side of the street. When they approached him he was ready. 'Give us your money, or you'll get hurt,' said the leader of the three. Master Abbe looked at each one in turn, then casually took his wallet out of his jacket pocket, throwing it on the floor between himself and his antagonists. He pointed to the wallet and said, 'I'm prepared to die for that wallet. What about you?' The three would-be attackers looked at the wallet on the floor, then at Abbe, then at each other. Without further ado they all ran away, obviously not prepared to die for the wallet. Master Abbe picked up his wallet and calmly walked home.

I have used this type of approach dozens of time successfully myself. However, there is a danger with posturing: if it doesn't work and the assailant overrides his natural instinct to run/ freeze then you could be in trouble. You have certainly lost the element of surprise that's for sure. If you throw a challenge it may be met and accepted. If it is you had better be able to back it up or be able to back pedal in a hurry. I never throw a challenge unless I am totally committed to following that challenge through should it be accepted. It is fair to say that if you don't believe in what you are saying then your potential assailant won't believe you either. If he thinks that you are blagging him, he won't be psyched out. Personally I train in match fighting as a part of the back up, support system so that I am ready to take that challenge should it be accepted. Many people do not and are completely flummoxed when their antagonist says, 'Yeah, okay, I'll have some of that!' This causes an adrenal rush in you and the whole process is reversed. So, if this approach is employed be committed to follow it through -just in case.

A friend of mine tried the veteran approach. He told his antagonist in a very calm manner that if he wasn't happy that they would have to 'Sort it out on the common', not really expecting him to meet the challenge. All right,' came the reply, 'let's do it now!' My mate dropped his bottle quicker than a greasy palmed milkman. The bottom line was, he had no idea of how to do a 'square go' (a match fight)

I often teach people, as a pre-cursory action trigger to pre-emptiveness, to ask their assailants a question to engage their brain. The question can be relative to what is happening or abstract, 'Is your mum's name Elsie?' or 'How's your mother/ family/brother, these days?' Many of my students have found this effective. An excellent by-product of this is, the potential attacker doesn't realise that it is an engaging ploy and often thinks his chosen victim has recognised him, and really does know his mother/brother/sister. Again they often beat a hasty retreat before attack. This kind of ploy is only useful in the very early stages of the attacker's ritual and only if the locale is right. If you have been abducted or are completely detached from the herd it could be dangerous. Many attackers kill their victims if they think that they have been recognised. In all these cases your intention is to frighten the adversary, via your portrayal, into bottling it. The common, street term for this process is 'Psyching Out' .

Climbing inside the opponent and switching on/off his fight or flight reaction to beat him with guile, as opposed to force, is advanced play and needs a great understanding to employ with conviction. Practice is of the essence if you want it to work and not backfire on you. I go into greater detail on the subject in my autobiographical books about my ten years as a nightclub doorman Watch My Back - A Bouncers Story, Bouncer and On The Door -Further Bouncer Adventures.

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