PREVENTING A PHYSICAL ASSAULT IN YOUR WORKPLACE

Originally intended for school staff – teachers, administration, and security – here are some time honored tips toward preventing a physical assault in your workplace or in your general surroundings.  In my books (my fourth is almost out), a repetitive theme for personal and professional safety is Situation Intelligence.  Translation:  if you maintain a state of awareness of your surroundings as they mutate and change, you maximize your opportunity to go home in one piece at the end of the day!

How about Perpetrator Body Language?  Just as victims (let’s talk about this area in a pursuant post) may transmit body language, the assaultive and/or criminal bad guy often sends us body language that can signal an impending attack.  Noticing these signs (I call it the “pre-fight-dance”) can stop an otherwise imminent attack.  Let’s look at some of these Red Flags that can allow you to hear a punch coming before the bad guy knows he’s going to throw it.

PALMING.  In the context of this post, palming in an act of  concealment of a weapon (or contraband).  A benign example of this is a student or employee smoking in a restricted area when security walks through.  The employee may cup his or her hand to conceal the cigarette.  Palming, however, becomes a real threat when the student/employee conceals a weapon until he or she can close in on the intended victim.  Remember, an edged weapon is ineffective unless the perpetrator can get inside your PSZ (Personal Safety Zone).

BLADING is a “stance of concern” because it is a body positioning tactic indicative of the concealment of a weapon.  Blading is a position whereby the subject’s chest and torso are turned to one side.  Maybe a better descriptive term would be a Boxer’s Stance, a worrisome positioning aspect where you can see the rearward shoulder dropped a bit and the attendant arm and hand hanging near or behind the rearward leg (the hand curled into a fist).

More Pre-Assault Dance Moves.  Before he or she attacks, you will notice a few other red flags.  Such as:

  • Sprinter’s Lean – the subject will lean forward just before the attack.
  • Changes in Color – Facial coloring will change along with the subject’s state of readiness to attack.  Goes from normal to red, from red to pale and from pale to white.  If you see pale or white (uncontrollable rage), trust me, dudes or duddettes, get the heck out of Dodge!  The blood is leaving the face as his or her emotions escalate.  Also, look for tension in the facial structure.
  • EYES, EYES, EYES!  Be aware of  what is happening with the eyes.  First, he will look at his or her “target.”  Where he wants to punch, slap, grab, kick or stab.  Then he will calm down and look away.  Trust me on this, friends, he or she WILL look away.  Another thing, if he or she is screaming, threatening, cursing at you, he or she will go near-silent here.  DO NOT think of this as a sign that he or she has decided NOT to attack!  Consider this as “the calm before the storm.  This is because your attacker has just decided what he is going to do to you and is gearing up for it emotionally.
  • THE TARGET STARE, THE HIATUS, THE SECOND TARGET STARE AND THEN BOOM!  That’s the sequence.  He will break off the aggressive use of words, look away (hiatus), and then will turn back and issue one last quick target stare, which is your last chance to move, defuse, or penetrate!  Seconds later he WILL punch, kick, slap, stab.
  • THE THOUSAND YARD STARE.  Your tormentor has lost the ability to effectively control his emotions.  The result is this long-off look, a blank look that lasts a few seconds.  This offers you an opportunity to use words to de-escalate the subject or take other precautions.
  • HE WILL SHOVE YOU WITH ONE OR BOTH HANDS/HE WILL “STAB” YOU IN THE CHEST WITH A POINTED FINGER.  Especially if you tell the subject to stay back, don’t come any closer, these acts can be considered assaults.  Even more, if a student, fellow-worker, supervisor, or other citizen does either of the above, he has entered your PSZ without your consent and is for dead-bang certain about to assault you.  All he is doing is testing the waters.  If you do not respond correctly, you are basically saying, “Yo, dude, the water’s fine.  Come on in!”
  • Wondering what to do in these & other scenarios?  Look for a future post.  I got your back.

Limited time and space here prevents me from going any further.  Just remember that the key to safety, survival, and/or preventing an assault in the first place is staying aware.  Situational Intelligence.

Verbal Signs of an attack and how to manage these kind of threats in the next post.  Until then, please stay safe.

The Hammer

On Staying “Left of Bang.” Learn How To Prevent an Active Killer in Your Workplace or Homeplace!

I am likely guilty of oversimplifying the Left of Bang principles.  If so, I suggest you purchase the book of the same title.  If you are concerned with preventing violence or even a catastrophe, it will open your eyes.  It will blow your mind.  It may be your first step in becoming a Combat Profiler, or being able to recognize when someone is planning on bringing harm to your congregation, your classroom, yourself…

Perhaps a true story will illustrate the importance of abiding by some of the principles of Left of Bang that I have been advocating literally for decades.  This story will, I hope, prove the efficacy of establishing a Yellow State of Mind (see previous post), identifying an anomaly (from a baseline, also talked about in previous posts) and being able to move from Yellow to Orange (identifying a specific threat and matching that with a specific plan of action if that threat materializes in the Red State of Mind!

In other words, being aware, assessing what you are aware of, and once you do, anticipating what might or will happen in the immediate future unless you do something, and, then, here’s the trick:  doing something about it!

Tara Bemeth

Don’t expect specific details.  I know about Tara from my research I did for one of my books.  She was part of a security team for a Baptist church in the Denver, Colorado area.  Tara had a hardline baseline for her church.  Meaning, she knew everyone in the congregation, knew them well.  Called many of them “friend,” some were even relatives.  Tara was nowhere close to being an expert in combat profiling, or just plain, ordinary profiling.  All she was was a security team volunteer.

Oh, yeah, she was determined.  She really, truly cared that no harm would ever come to any of her friends or relatives.  There was that.

This Autumn Sunday upon which I am focused began like any other Sunday.  The pastor waxed eloquent, she noted in her report.  The congregation appeared in high spirits.  Well, most of the congregants were anyways.  There was the Brewster family (I am making up this name; my notes don’t cover this).  Mother and twin daughters.  Something about them was simply “not right (anomalous).”  They constantly looked around and from time to time the mother had to comfort the twins by stroking their hair and hugging them.

The other thing:  Mister Brewster.  He had never missed a service before.  Not as long as tara had been part of the church family.  Tara was beginning to get a  “real bad feeling.”

Mister Brewster never showed up throughout the service, and, just as it was about to end, Tara walked from the prayer session to the lobby where she was able to observe the parking lot.  There she saw the husband pacing back and forth, forth and back around his pickup truck parked sideways – unusual – away from the scores of cars owned by the usual congregants.

When the services were over, as usual, the church doors opened and several families avoided shaking hands with the pastor, which was not that unusual, but the others gathered in the usual “reception line” around the pastor with a few families departing.

Tara noticed Mister Brewster immediately going to the back of his truck and pulling out an object covered with a white towel.

Something really really was out of whack.  Tara stopped the Brewsters from leaving.  She wanted to interview the mother.  Ask about the domestic situation, but there was no time.  She alerted the pastor and the others from the security team.  No one was permitted to leave (lockdown) and the police were called.  Two of the security team, who were armed and trained, took up position.

Probably sensing something was awry, Mr. Brewster got back into his truck and rocketed out of the parking lot.  He was stopped a mile or so away.  The cops didn’t have to search hard to find the loaded shotguns and one 357 Magnum.  When interrogated, Brewster admitted being determined to gun down his wife, his children, and for undetermined reasons, the pastor.

Be Aware, Assess, Anticipate and Act.

Until next time, Stay safe.

The Hammer

DROP, LOCK & ROLL, MY KID ESCAPE PROGRAM

My Kid Escape and/or Date Escape Training System works on some fundamental and simple principles.  Simple, easily-done and reliable under stress.  Why is that important?  Because when a child, teenager, or even an adult victim is attacked, it is almost always a surprise.  In less than two seconds, the victim will experience a myriad of visual, auditory, cognitive and physical dysfunctions because his or her central nervous system will be flooded with stress hormones.  

This will almost always (98%) result in the victim freezing upon first touch, holding his or her breath and going mute!  Making him or her the Ideal Victim, by the by…

Kid Escape, therefore, teaches skills in observation, awareness (of others, the environment and others, and inculcates a trigger-mechanism advocating a series of tactics once the child is aware of danger.  Some of these tactics are designed to get the kid moving (counter-freezing) and verbalizing so that the (potential) molester knows that his intended victim knows what he is up to, and, by verbalizing, so do others nearby become aware.

KID/DATE ESCAPE LIFE PRESERVING TACTICS

  • Observe.
  • Trigger the Tactics.
  • Move, talk, Isolate the potential abductor.
  • Seek out barricades in the environment (garbage cans; benches; tables; backpack(s); rocks & boulders, et al.
  • Seek out good hiding places.
  • Move toward others who are “safe (mothers with children).”
  • Find Improvised Weapons and Shields (broomsticks, garbage can lids, rocks).
  • Now, if the bad guy is able to surprise his victim and comes close enough to grab the child:
  1. Crab Walk away.  Keep facing the bad guy and “walk” backwards using his or her hands.
  2. Shirt-On-Fire.  If standing and able, run away from the bad guy.  Always run in a zig-zag fashion but turn back and look at the bad guy as you run.  Also, use barricades to separate you from the bad guy if he pursues.  “Shirt-On-Fire” is a great Escape & Evasion tactic.  In training sessions, I ask my students to pretend their shirt and pants are on fire.  Drop to the ground and roll as if trying to put out the fire!  Why is this effective?  Well, if you are an adult, especially over 40 (most pedophiles are 40 and above), take this test:  Find a child or teenager and try to grab and hold them.  Now, just as you are about to gran the child, have him or her drop and roll.  Unless you are in great shape and spry, it’s going to take you several minutes to grab and hold that kid.
  3. Delay Rocks!  If you’ve read my past posts, you know that the last thing a child predator wants in the crime scene is a delay.  In almost 100% of cases, in the Shirt On Fire scenario will give up.
  4. Drop-Lock & Roll.  If the bad guy does, however, glom onto the kid, there is still hope with the Kid Escape System.  Until the next post when I will explain how you can teach your child how to escape, Stay Safe!

The Hammer

TRAIN YOUR CHILD(REN)TO STAY SAFE THE WHOLE DAY LONG

TO BE CLEAR. THEY ARE OUT THERE.  Driving and/or walking around.  Sharking out neighborhoods.  Just the other day, in Bethlehem, Pa., a man tried on three or four occasions, to lure several different children into his car.  He is still out there, driving around for all I know.  Sharking (driving slowly back and forth, seeking a victim).

For years I have been urging parents to teach their children the easy skills I am going to advocate in the next few posts.  Girls & women, by the way, can use these skills also to stay safe and/or evade and escape assailants and kidnappers.

Here we go.  My Kid Escape (or, Date Escape) Program.

Stage I.  THE PREVENTION STAGE.

You are going to say what I am going to advocate is common sense.  True.  But common sense, I always say, is the rarest commodity in a crisis.  Chicken Hawks (child molestors) would never abduct or sexually assault one child if only parents and children exercised simple common sense.  I advocate that parents take the role as their children’s safety coach, and coach their kids on some or all of these skills.  Once again, you can scroll back on this blog site and get the scoop on how to ne a Safety Coach (or, email me at harrywigder@rcn.com).

  1. Teach your children the 4 A’s.  This is crucial.  Teach them to be Aware, to Assess their surroundings, to Anticipate (to ask themselves what will I do if that man comes at me) and to take Action (to run, hide or move toward safe people like a mother with children).  There is more specific information and suggestions on the 4 A’s in past posts.
  2. PlAY THE “WHAT IF GAME” WITH YOUR CHILDREN.  Mentally and psychologically “Spinal Tune” your child in to the Escape & Evasion activity by “playing” this game with him, her, them.  Make it a fun game, but ask what would he/she do under certain scenarios.  There are no “wrong” answers.  But you can make cogent suggestions om the ideal escape & evasion tactic.\
  3. TALK, TALK AND LISTEN.  Ask him/her questions in a non-imposing manner about what happened today.  Encourage him or her to talk honestly.  You will be surprised the important things you will learn.  Always encourage them to talk about events.

STAGE II.  KID OR DATE ESCAPE TACTICS.

In the next post, we go into what your child should do when he or she becomes aware of what I call an “Environmental Anomaly.”  A man or woman on the scene that triggers his or her “Spidey Senses.”  Potential danger lurks.

Until next time. keep your kids safe.

The Hammer

Super Secret Police Sh*t (SSPS)`e That Can Save Your Life

The title of my 2nd book.  SSPS are more than self-defense tips.  If you are committed to a safe life for you, your family, SSPS is a Habit of Life.  Maybe that is an oversimplification and maybe it is too vague, but in the next few posts, I thought we could chat about some of these secrets that a score of military, police, corrections, security and others have passed on to me over the last 30 or so years.  Things as a PPCT Instructor Trainer (IT), I have passed on to about a thousand officers and lay citizens at risk.

Let’s start with a brief safety and survival training axiom for your child(ren).  Specifically, “Raising Kids Who Can Protect Themselves.”  Now, this is serious.  Deadly serious, as a matter of fact.  Recently two precious girls were found slain by one devil sonofabitch along a hiking trail not far from home.  Their beautiful lifeless bodies a dual testament to the dangers lurking hidden within yards – sometimes feet – from our doorsteps.

I have no clue how they were raised or if their parents had incorporated some semblance of “survival awareness” in their upbringing.  But you can scroll through my posts on this blog site & read my articles on (parents) becoming their child’s safety coach.  Which I believe to be essential to inculcating a survival psyche in times when you cannot be with him/her/them.

A key survival strategy can be found in my Kid Escape Program.  In this program we teach children how to escape an d evade the typical child predator.

Stay tuned.  In the next two posts we swill chat about the exact skills you can teach your children in your safety coaching sessions at home how to:

  • Not be targeted by a child predator.
  • How to recognize a potential predator.
  • How to escape a predator if ever approached.
  • And, if “tagged” by a predator, how to easily escape his grasp.
  • Worse case scenarios:  How To escape from a car if abducted.
  • Last Ditch:  How to fight an adult bad guy, even if you are a child!

Until then, stay safe.

The Hammer

THE KILL SWITCH -Knock the Bad Guy Out!

I ended my last post with a suggestion to use the bad guy’s expectations (fantasy script) against him.  Allow me to amplify.

He grabs you by the wrists (the most common “attack”).  He expects you to attempt to pull away.  Strength against strength.  He knows if you do that, he has a distinct advantage.  Blow his mind away by first pulling away (what he expects) and then waiting for him to “win the fight (in his mind)” by pulling you hard toward him.  When he pulls you, he expects you to stumble defeated and lifelessly toward him, but, now, you are going to be a confident and ready warrior and you are going to propel into his center-line targets like a beast. Many of his center-line targets are what I call Kill Switches.

  • Drive the palm of your free hand hard into his groin.  Repeatedly.
  • Drive the palm of your hand into his chin and drive his head up and back as if trying to knock it off his shoulders.
  • Growl like the animal you’ve become and bite his nose off.

Or, maybe the bastard is able to grab you and pull you in close.  He expects you to melt in fear.  He expects that he has won.  Use this against him by, at first, relaxing your body and make that he has won, maybe even pretend to return his caress.  Place the back of your head on his shoulder and move the hand closest to his head around to his opposite cheek.  Now, quickly, drive your thumb into his eyes and use the side of your head to prevent him from moving his head away.  Once he relinquishes his grip on you, begin to assail him with strikes, bites, head butts, etc.

There are hundreds of surprise techniques I have in my Hammer Survival Blueprint. But I am sure you get the idea.

Stay safe.  Be Confident.  Be an Animal.

Hammer

SAY, “SURPRISE, NOW YOU’RE THE VICTIM!”

I’m not going to sugar coat it, Dudes and Dudettes, any time you are attacked the bad guy has the advantage.  Something like a 97.6% chance of doing to you whatever it is that he set out to do.  Rob you, rape you, torture you, kill you.  Walk away from your body, indifferent to the blood seeping from damn near every orifice, pleas for mercy unheeded.  Well, excuse my English, but fuck that, we are going to turn the tables on that miscreant starting now.

Put briefly, these miscreants are almost always stronger, faster, meaner, more determined than you.  They are also cowards who are not looking for a (fair) fight, so they hedge their bets by choosing where and when they attack so that there are no witnesses (to come to your aide), very little room for you to escape and evade an attack, and, more importantly, at least 97% of the time, they first distract you to shatter the connection between your mind and your body, and, then, bang, they surprise you with a spontaneous attack!

You can not only survive this, but actually prevail – actually knock this thug out – by adopting The Hammer Survival Blueprint.

  • Never Be Surprised! Be aware of your surroundings; trust your gut instincts/they are always right/The Gift of Fear/be aware of people around you.
  • Anticipate! Once you observe someone or some thing that may endanger you, devise a plan of action.  ”If he does A, I will do B, etc.”
  • Breathe! Rocket oxygenated blood to your fighting brain!
  • Protect Your Space! If the miscreant cannot enter your Personal safety Zone (6′), he cannot harm you.  Do not cement yourself to the ground.  Move.  Maintain your PSZ!
  • Speak! Almost all victims say nothing as they are being stalked, confronted, and finally, attacked.  Look at the evil sumbitch (I know what you are doing, man) and tell him to stay back.  Believe it or not, verbalizing will liberate something from deep inside.  Verbalizing will minimize paralysis.
  • Use the Element of Surprise To Launch Your Attack! The Bad Guy has a fantasy script.  In that script you are quiet, you are immobile, you are frozen in fear (paralysis), you will not fight.  And, here is the thing:  The longer his fantasy script is allowed to go on, the more confident he becomes and the more dangerous (homicidal).
  • So, Fracture His Fantasy Script Immediately By moving, yelling and using surprise.  Use his Expectation Against Him.

In my next post, how to use the bad guy’s expectations against him?

Until Then, Stay safe and Be Volatile

Hammer

BE YOUR OWN BODYGUARD IN TODAY’S INSANE, VIOLENT WORLD

ISIS, NORTH KOREA, PAKISTAN (141 children massacred), Ferguson, New York City. All in the news in the last week.  Incomprehensible violence threatening to get more violent.  The world is on fire. More violent than ever before, I think.  But those sorrowful episodes are matters for our police, CIA, SWAT, and other entities to deal with.  My question, though, for this post, is: How can you, the average woman (or man, boy or girl) protect yourself against increasing violence in your neighborhood?

SUPER SECRET POLICE SHIT THAT CAN SAVE YOUR LIFE

  • Self-Defense is 98% “Soft-Skills,” and only 2% physical (fighting).
  • Soft-Skills include making yourself a Tough-Target. You can do this by adopting a safety-philosophy of Fake It To Make It. Whether you feel it or not, adopt a Confident and Ready Demeanor. Manifest it in how you walk, how you keep your head up, how you Mad-Dog (look at potential assailants like, WTF do you want, Dude?) others.  PST (Positive Self-Talks) can convince you to breathe tactically and even “explode upon first touch” by a bad guy.
  • Soft-Skills also include having a Plan of Action.  Be one of the 2% who not only survives an attack but prevails.  The first time you think about what to do and how to react can not be when a assailant grabs or strikes one of your body parts!
  • USE THE ELEMENT OF SURPRISE!  It works almost every time. An attacker depends upon a few universal beliefs.  If and when these Beliefs Fail, there is a good chance he will either break off the attack, or, almost as important, lose confidence (which weakens him).  To survive, we need to turn his belief system against him through the element of surprise:

Next Post:  ”Using Surprise To Defeat the Bad Guy!”

Until then, stay safe and think “Confident.”

Hammer

PROTECTING COEDS ON CAMPUS, PART II

I said it in my last post, and, believe me, I exaggerate not.  If you are a girl or woman on a (high school, or) college campus, you are a target for a gamut of uninvited contact and even assaults by male students as well as non-students who live and play on the outskirts of your campus.  The statistics are harrowing (I’ve quoted them before), and, worse, the statistics for sexual assault, rape, stalking, and devastating threats doesn’t tell half the story because less than 2/3 of assaults go unreported!

PERSONAL SAFETY ON CAMPUS

A pity you must think like this, but, the implications are, if you are on campus, more likely than not you will experience some sort of attack.  What to do to physically take charge of your own safety?

  • Become what I call a Hard Target. Learn to walk in such a way and in such a manner that those who would target you as “easy meat” will change their attitude and leave you alone.  Learn to walk with confidence, swinging your arms contra-laterally and looking around for possible attackers as you walk.  A Victim-Walk is emblemized by a woman looking down at her feet and shuffling unaware from place to place.
  • Okay, second, prepare yourself.  Always arm your brain with a Plan of Action.  In other words, Be Aware, Assess everything around you and ANTICIPATE (what will I do if this or that happens).
  • Third, You Must Be Willing to do what you have to do to escape and evade the potential aggressor.
  • Protect Your Space!  Do not permit anybody inside your PSZ (Personal safety Zone/within 5 feet).
  • Breathe Don’t Freeze (89% of women freeze and hold their breath when first touched).
  • Be Target Focused.  Hit secondary targets (feet/ankles/shins/knees, hips, chest, ears, etc) in order to open up PRIMARY TARGETS (eyes, throat, groin, etc).  Hit them and hit them again until the threat goes away!

It is hard for me to go into self-defense techniques in a one-dimensional venue, so, please consider taking yourself a self-defense course.

Or, you can contact me at harrywigder@rcn.com for more information about self-defense.

Stay Safe,

Hammer

COEDS AWAY AT COLLEGE – How To Protect Yourself

Here’s a fact.  Colleges are under fire.  Under deep scrutiny concerning their lack of interest in protecting their female student body from the almost epidemic sexual attacks from young men, on and off campus.  Witness the University of Virginia media accusations that, despite years of complaints by coeds – horror stories about gang rapes, groping, stalking and other criminal activities – the administration took no meaningful actions against even the most pernicious of assaults.

My point:  If you are a young woman attending a college, it is in your best interest to take positive steps toward protecting yourself against any and all types of sexual aggression.

SELF-DEFENSE IN THE COLLEGE SETTING.  The First of a Two-Part Post.

First of all, if you are going to commit yourself to your personal safety on and off campus, you have to also Commit Yourself To a New and Specific (Warrior) Mentality. Why?   Because I firmly believe that successful self-defense is more about being willing to do whatever you have to than being able!

THE MENTALITY OF SELF-DEFENSE

  • Understand that you are in a combat zone. In my mind, the critical first step in self-defense is to believe that the environment in which you must live is a “combat zone.”  Girls and women are viewed as targets by both male students and predators off-campus.  My research and interviews with students, teachers, etc., shows that well over 80% of women have experienced at least one variety of sexual aggression (stalking, uninvited groping, date-attacks, alcohol-related sexual aggression, etc) in their (highschool and) college careers.  Also, in my considerable experience in and with law enforcement there are hundreds of stories of men assaulting coeds who were enroute from class to dorm.  Several abductions and murders—
  • Adopt the Four-A System. I know this is old and trite wisdom, but, believe me, it is a life-saver.  Always BE AWARE, meaning aware of those around you, subtle changes in body language.  ASSESS what you see.  What do these things mean to your safety?  Trust your gut-instincts.  They are never wrong!  ANTICIPATE. Meaning you should always have a plan of action.  If this guy does this, I will do that.  ACTION. Meaning, always be prepared to take quick action when what you anticipated comes to reality.  Oh, yes, when I talk about Taking Action, I consider always reporting any kind of sexual or criminal assault as critical to campus safety.
  • PROFILE. You know, not everybody on or off campus is trying to stalk and assault you.  As a matter of fact, most are not interested in attacking you.  But, you see, campus sexual assault is a totally different entity. Young men and even young women are fascinated and interested in exploring sex.  Many coeds are away from home for maybe the first time and are exploring exciting adventures. Naivety and curiosity is a pretty nasty combination.  There will be keg parties.  Invitations that are hard to turn down to a freshman coed interested in being popular in a new setting.  Add this to an alarmingly liberal atmosphere set by college leaders, well, hell, it is almost like “Boys Will Be Boys.”  I am not advocating locking yourself in your room, leaving only to attend class.  What I am advocating is to use common sense when responding to an invitation to a “party,” entering a room, and getting the feeling that You Are The Keg Party! Having the courage to turn around and leave may be your linchpin to self-protection!

In My Next Post.  Professional Self-Defense & Personal Safety Techniques Designed To Stop “Boys Wanting To Just Be Boys.”

Until then, Stay Safe.

Hammer