Let’s Resolve This
Every violent conflict has a beginning, middle and end. In the Functional Edge System these phases of the conflict fall within the strategies of the three categories of Attitudes; Non-Engagement, Engagement and Resolution.
When we successfully Engage our attacker we must do so with the intent to bring the conflict to a resolution that is favorable to us, given the circumstances, scenario, and our professional, legal, and moral positions in the same.
To bring a Resolution is to deal with something successfully. Although success will be, as stated above, subjective to the person and scenario, there are some fundamental desirable results that apply to everyone.
We want to suffer the least amount of personal damage and injury, we want the resolution to be as permanent as feasible, and we want it to take the minimum amount of time to reach the goal.
A Great Escape
To most normal, law abiding citizens the most practical resolution when confronted by a predatory attack will be to escape; to get away from a threatening evil.
There are two major tasks to accomplish when we choose to Escape. The first task is to disrupt our attacker’s ability to stand, move or breathe significantly enough so as to greatly decrease the chances of them thwarting our escape. The fallacy of the “stun and run” method is that they train people to throw a few strikes and then leave without taking into consideration the bad guy’s level of motivation and resiliency.
In the Functional Edge System we continue in our Engagement Attitude until it is clearly visible that the predator cannot chase us. We then create tactical distance first, with our eyes on the attacker ready to Re- Engage if necessary, then we turn and increase that distance as quickly and safely as possible.
This Evacuation and Evasion phase is just as important. When we choose to leave the scene of the attack, we do so in the direction of SAFETY. Safety = People, places, and things that will assist us in successfully resolving the attack. Some examples are running towards a public place where assistance and allies may be found. A process predator will very rarely risk continuing an assault in a very public place in front of witnesses; but a group of bully-ish thugs may revel in a public display. You must be aware of what you are running from as well as where you are running to.
Keep in mind that the scenario may require that you make your Escape in phases. In an incident like a mass shooting assault, you want to find cover and concealment, wait and evaluate your position in relation to the shooter(s), and then leave the area when it’s safe.
The most important thing to remember is that Escape does not mean a blind run. We must understand the circumstances we are facing and make our Escape as strategically sound as any other tool in our arsenal.
Sometimes our professional obligations require that, when we are attacked, we must remain there and keep the bad guy from leaving as well. Although most of the time this option is reserved for Law Enforcement, there are few circumstances in which an average citizen may choose or have to exert control over another person rather than fleeing.
To Control is to exercise restraining or directing influence over another. We can either keep the person from moving or make them move only when and where we want to. We can only exert this level of Control after successfully Engaging our opponent and creating enough attrition so that he cannot effectively resist our control.
In the Functional Edge System we specifically want to control our subject’s ability to move and his capacity to harm us. On the ground we will use the six Position / Transitions effectively using our body weight to restrict our opponent’s torso and / or limb movement. While standing, we use the modified Street Clinch to move our opponent where we want him and limit his use of arms and legs for striking.
The decision on whether to control a subject or not is mostly influenced by our profession. In Law Enforcement the optimal Resolution is almost always the one in which the officer controls the bad guy to take him into custody. However, a night club doorman or security staff member may need to use control to deal with the demands of his job. It is easy to see that professionals need to understand the control resolution; but there are also circumstances in which an average civilian might resort to control. Imagine encountering an unarmed, thirteen year old, ninety pound, mentally disturbed girl in the middle of an outburst. While trying to reason with her she attacks. You may be morally obligated to control her instead of simply using strikes to knock her unconscious.
We must make sure that we take the time to think about which circumstances will make us choose a Control Resolution as opposed to an Escape one. We must deeply examine our values and beliefs about how much and how far we are willing to go especially when it comes to the last Resolution Attitude-Harm.
First Do No Harm, Unless You Have To
Choosing to Harm somebody, to cause damage and injury, and cause severe dysfunction and even another human’s death, is not an easy task. Although we must always let the totality of circumstances influence our choices, it is essential that we are not trying to make that evaluation too late. The time we spend figuring out how much we are willing to do to another human and under what circumstances is just as important as the time we spend practicing exactly how we are going to do it.
Because learning how to cause harm is a matter for the training room, we will focus on the how much damage would be considered Harm as opposed to just Engagement. One mistake some trainers make is the assumption that the use of any one particular personal weapon or hitting a certain target automatically means Harm. Human beings can be surprisingly resilient and assuming that because you hit someone with an elbow in the face that you have caused damage, let alone harm them, can be dangerous.
The best way to determine harm is in the results. Generally, harming constitutes damage that nearly permanently or permanently affects the attacker’s movement, breathing, and structure. Another easy mistake to make is focusing on what “looks” damaged as opposed to significant damage.
A broken nose and a facial cut can look extremely bloody and gory but will hardly stop a determined attacker; torn knee ligaments are barely perceptible from the outside but the damage is enough to nearly immobilize a person.
Other injuries that may be considered Harm are; broken or dislocated knees, elbows, hips or shoulders; broken trachea, broken spine / neck; severe testicular damage; severe eye damage; multiple broken ribs; multiple broken fingers: internal organ damage and severe concussion.
The key is to look for the results. Is my attacker now gasping for breat while clutching his throat? Is he limping severely or can barely stand? Again the results of true Harm a readily observable and its use cannot be taken lightly.
Regardless of your profession and the scenario you find yourself in one of the three Resolutions Attitudes of the Functional Edge System will provide the strategy needed for a safe conclusion to a conflict that has gone physical.
Copyright Tony Torres 2011