While at work the other day, I had a conversation with one of my coworkers about room clearing. We are both prior military. He was an Army Ranger and I a Marine. In room clearing, there are three principles, and they are speed, surprise, and violence of action. Violence of action is also called controlled aggressive action; for those of you that are politically correct. Our conversation shifted from room clearing tactics to criminal attacks and the examination of how these principles are the same for both.
As I’ve said before, assailants will use whatever tactic(s) they believe will make them the most successful. Although most attackers haven’t been trained in room clearing and probably don’t know what the principles are called, but they understand that the principles work. Let’s briefly examine the principles.
Surprise – Surprise is the key to any assault. Catching a victim by surprise will give the assailant the initial advantage, throw the victim off guard and reduce the victim’s reaction time (see O.O.D.A Loop).
Speed – Speed is the momentum that carries the assault and exploits the first few surprise seconds. In any assault, the speed becomes security for the attacker.
Violence of Action – Violence of action is sudden and explosive force. It can instill fear and confusion on the victim.
Take a look at the video below to see these how well these principles work.
Can you see why these principles are so useful for attacks? So you might be asking, how do we counter this? The first step is to recognize the Pre-Attack indicators. Observation is the key to detection, and situational awareness is the key to observation. It’s not enough to merely see. We must observe and analyze what’s going on around us.
In the video, man #1 comes up and shakes hands with the victim and put his arm around him. The first Pre-Attack indicator I observed was how quickly man #2 came into the victim’s bubble while man #1 had his arm around the victim. The position that man #2 comes in at is not a position of someone coming to communicate with his buddies. Instead, man #2 moves slightly behind the victim and assesses him. Man #2 moves around to a normal position of communication as man #1 lets go of the victim’s neck. Both man #1 and man #2 are hiding their outside hands. This is clearly a two man operation with a ‘Kansas City Shuffle.’
The next Pre-Attack indicator comes as the victim hands man #2 a cigarette. Man #2 looks to man #1 and nods his head, validating the victim. Here is the ‘Kansas City Shuffle’ where man #1 distracts the victim by talking to him as man #2 moves to a better position to attack. As soon as the victim is knocked out, man #1 leaves the view nonchalantly. The vibe of the two men is pretty relaxed. I wouldn’t be surprised if this wasn’t the first time they have done an attack like this.
1) Man #2 comes out of nowhere very quickly to a odd position.
2) Man #2 assesses the victim.
3) Man #2 validates the victim to man #1.
4) Both men are hiding their outside hands (man #2 has an obvious bandage on his left hand possibly from an similar attack, one can only speculate).
5) Attack is executed with speed, surprise and violence of action. The victim was completely caught by surprise mid-conversation. The speed of the entire movement wasn’t overwhelming, but it exploited the surprise of the victim. In this case, the violence of action was in the form of a very well executed uppercut.
6) Nonchalant attitude and good team work indicates that they are experienced.
Realistically, it is very difficult to catch all of the Pre-Attack indicators. However, as soon as I catch one Pre-Attack indicator (hopefully the very first one), I will start to take in more information and look for a way to escape or if no route is available, prepare to defend myself.
To better understand attacks follow the links to my posts on the Phases of an Attack or follow the links for more information on situational awareness and O.O.D.A. Loop. Also, check out nononsenseselfdefense.com for a variety of valuable information and the forums at getoffthex.com (to view the forums you will need to create an account).