If you watch this video of a knife attack on the El train in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia, it should infuriate you. As of Wednesday night, he's still on the loose.
The citizen that was stabbed multiple times, unfortunately didn't have the mindset, awareness, skills, or tools to protect herself at any time before or during the entire event – and the predator knew it. She's lucky to be alive.
Not a single person on the planet should have to walk the streets of their community without the mindset, skills or tools to protect his or herself in whatever way possible. In fact, placing yourself in her shoes, your thought should be, "How dare you attack me!" – followed by an overwhelming force that would make him regret ever being in the elevator alone with you.
Having a basic understanding of the three D's – Detect, Deter, Defend – during a self-defense class is a good starting point when analyzing this type of threat, but it's not enough. Which, by the way, the "defend" part isn't about simply "defending" and allowing the attack come to you. Nor is effective training simply about "concepts of motion".
At Radius Factor we employ three overlapping perspectives that drive a fundamental platform for protection:
Mindset, Skill Sets, Tactics, Tools, and Environmental Training. If this video makes you squeamish or cringe with fear, then you need the training (and conditioning) that refocuses what was once fear into something powerful. This initially requires the realization and the value of becoming highly skilled, then continues to evolve from training particular tactics and tools.
If you're not vigilant and not assessing your environment efficiently (or don't embody the strategy, tactics and techniques to do so), a safety breakdown will eventually occur and may happen at the worst possible time (see above video).
Taking and Holding The Initiative (e.g. "sente" training). Develop a proactive mindset, not a defensive or reactive one. (I'll speak solely to this in another upcoming article.) Initiating doesn't strictly mean attacking first, as some might initially think. In the game of Go, "sente" (which was our name before evolving into Radius Factor), essentially means "making the moves that control the flow of the situation and environment". This also includes the development, planning, preparation, and tactics that precede the actual engagement.
Whether avoiding the possibility of threat the moment you've decided to head off to work; cognizant of the safety distance between you and the seedy edge of town; find yourself within feet away from a possible engagement OR the actual contact or fight itself – Always be initiating. (Which may result in never actually being in the bad part of town in the first place.) Never be complacent. That doesn't mean being plagued with paranoia, either. There are strategic skills and practices (both mental and physical) that can be acquired and honed that become second nature without driving yourself insane with irrelevant stimuli.
Conviction & Overwhelming Force – If a continuum has progressed to the point in which it has lead to a physical, life-threatening stage (possibly because of a number of errors made) – you must execute your own attack using a particular set of skills with overwhelming speed and force. Do NOT wait. Do NOT act with a "defensive" mindset or even let in a defeatist mentality – ever. It's time for the total conviction of an offense (using an equalizer) that protects you at the same time – not a defense. (Learn more at our PTK-SMF courses.)
Think about this scenario: Trapped in a small enclosed space with a large, strong predator holding a knife (or has several weapons) and has the will to kill. (It's far from the office breakroom pleasantries while sipping your favorite bespoke coffee shop latte.) Don't ever let it get this far. If it does, you better have the mindset and skill set to eliminate the threat without being critically injured or killed in the process. If you watch the video closely, there were cues (and opportunities) before and during the initial confrontation (not to mention that it's probably best not to travel the El in the first place).
With respect to countering a knife attack, having the perceptual and physical skills to effectively counter the attack in real-time is vital. If you can't follow the weapon – let alone IDENTIFY it – how will you protect yourself? You need a comprehensive and realistic training method. Not a "concept"... Not something from a drill with a compliant partner... Not a Bourne Identity movie reference... A training method that develops a realistic execution of validated dynamic tactics and techniques.
We have a saying at Radius Factor: "The openness of a field, within the space of an elevator, learn to maneuver or fight in any environment."
In terms of protecting yourself (or fighting), you must develop the skills, progressively, to fight in any environment. No matter the size of space, type of terrain, or context. And you must have effective training methods that will transfer the skills, in addition to the proper way to validate them.
Come to a class or course at Radius Factor and learn how to develop the mindset, skills, and combat conditioning needed to protect yourself from situations like this infuriating attack by a despicable predator. You WILL learn to identify threats, quickly avert a situation, or take the initiative that not only enables you to survive but dominate an assailant. You WILL be empowered and you WILL be properly trained.
I make it my personal and professional objective – along with our strategic network – to make sure that you learn all of the skills necessary to realistically protect yourself. Train with us, validate your skill, and truly become empowered.