Self-defense is something rarely spoken about in the gay community. While we soak in countless of hate crimes on the news domestically and abroad, none of us seem to promote how we as individuals can protect ourselves in an attack.
I reached out to Security Boston, an executive protection and tactical training facility with private operations and body guardsmen working for elite clients. The head of operations, Joshua Carr, is a former UK Elite Royal Marines Commando specializing in weaponry and combat, and was even awarded a Commander’s Commendation for courage.
Security Boston also happens to be very LGBT-friendly and were more than happy to answer our questions. If you ever wondered what steps you can do to protect yourself, Mr. Carr supplied us with all the tools we might need. Pay attention.
The Real Gay Guy: How can I be more observant and aware of my surroundings?
Joshua Carr (Security Boston): Being more observant and aware of your surroundings isn’t something that you can read in one page, learn, and you’re all set; however, what you can do is learn some examples and practice with other situations in your day to day life, to help you improve. Training at certain places that teach situational awareness is a good step in the right direction for learning realistic and lightning-fast reaction skills to challenging problems.
TRGG: It is easy to get stuck into a daily routine when doing these actions everyday, right?
JC: Creating patterns is good in many ways, and in others, not so much. Changing your patterns from time to time is a good method of staying sharp in regards to your surroundings.
For Example: An owner owns a car that has completely blacked out windows, therefore, upon approaching the car you can’t see if anything or anyone in is the vehicle. This has it’s Pro & Cons, even more so at night time when it makes it harder to see through the windows. People have been hijacked from their vehicle many times as their attacker has been close by or in the vehicle itself.
A good practice would be to not always enter the vehicle right away, but to simply open the rear door and visually confirm that it is safe. You could also open the passage door, rear passenger door or even the trunk before entering the vehicle. Taking into consideration the small things makes a difference.
TRGG: Is it smart to talk to assailants before acting on violence?
JC: This is based on the situation. During one on one encounters you simply have no options and you might have to defend yourself, where as in other situations you can simply talk you way out of the problem. If the situation deems that the assailant is targeting you, acknowledging your assailant to show him/her that you are aware of their presence can be key.
This method has be found to work in many cases for females that have almost been attacked. If it is more than one person and you can not avoid the oncoming problem, acknowledging could go either way, as it may agitate them more. Secondly, If there are multiple assailants then taking the opposite approach would be best, avoid making eye contact. In the military it’s referred to as playing the “gray man”. never at the front nor and the back, being a ghost.
In all these situations, one of the key elements is recognizing that your current environment isn’t right and not to get tunnel vision on only what is happening in the moment. Take a step back and find an exit point, an exit point of your situation. This is key, whether you act on it right away, or you have to defend yourself first, then act on it. The last thing you want to do, is not know what to do next.
TRGG: What should we do if we’re grabbed from behind?
JC: Reading a technique is good to understand the HOW to do something. However, you need to go to your local training gym and learn not just HOW, but also you need to understand the WHY behind what it is your doing.
For some people you’re better off leaning forward / bending over at an angle to one side, i.e your left or right shoulder. This is done as soon as they have placed a lock on to you. If they are using their hands, then leaning forward and bending the knees slightly as you turn in towards your attacker to confront them.
The first method usually will have them go over and onto the ground. The other allows you to be able to defend yourself face to face. Based on who the person is and how much experience they have when they grab you will impact the outcome; therefore, going to a local training gym for self defense will accelerate your knowledge and will help the outcome to be in your favor.
TRGG: Are there any weak spots we can aim for?
JC: Soft tissue: Neck, bridge of the nose, eyes. groin area. Those areas do not required much power nor a great amount of experience to execute effectively. It simply requires commitment.
TRGG: What’s one move every one should learn?
JC: Learn what and who is in your space. Your own space my be 2 meters someone else might be 20 meter. Learn to Avoid, Learn to walk into a place and the first thing you thing or do is acknowledged an alternative exit point.
TRGG: What do we if we’re being choked?
JC: Everyone worries about getting chocked, but its not the worse thing. The first thing to remember is that it takes few minutes when getting choked to pass out. This leaves you with time, granted not a lot of time, but time to make reactions to undo the situation your in. Remember that if someone is chocking you with their hands, then both of their hands are tied up chocking that person. This mean that those hands aren’t defending them and this leaves them vulnerable everywhere else.
TRGG: What if they have a knife?
JC: If you are trained in this field, simply just stick with your basic training. A good rule is, not to get tunnel vision and to find an exit. You don’t want to be in a knife fight, those trained will engage in this as a last resort; however, from experience, get control of the weapon by arm that is wielding the weapon, removing the ability for mass movement by keeping it close and allowing small strikes. This is key.
TRGG: What if they have a gun?
JC: If you are trained in this field, simply just stick with your basic training. A good rule is, not to get tunnel vision and to find an exit. Another key is closing the distance between you and the assailant. This allows you to be explosive, controlled, and fully committed to the disarm of the weapon. If you are not trained I would strongly recommend you taking and hand full of class as this is whole game changer.