View Full Version : Proactive Management of Aggressive Behavior

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Chris Parkerson
05-23-2008, 12:09 PM
In the world of executive, dignitary and celebrity protection, proactive skills are what makes you good at your job. Avoiding incidents is always better than having to become reactive.

It is my opinion that these skills should be studied in martial arts training as well. After all, we all wish to control aggression before it becomes physical. By control, I mean knowing when and how to use:

• Early warning systems
• Escape and evasion plans
• Verbal de-escalation techniques

Much study has been done to assess potential aggression such as reading and interpreting:

• Body language
• Facial expressions
• Language, etc.

Anything that assists in closing the time span between the Moment of Recognition and the Moment of Commitment is a great strategic tool to have in personal Budo practicde.

One cutting edge resource is:

BYRNES-NICHTER WORKSHOP on Aggression Detection and Pre-Emptive Intervention that is being sponsored by Executive Security Internationalhttp://www.esi-lifeforce.com/training-programs/protective-intelligence-investigation/pre-emptive-interve.html

The three day Workshop on Aggression Detection & Pre-Emptive Intervention focuses on perfecting observational and preemptive techniques to interrupt assaults on public figures. The Workshop Series is based on Dr. John Byrnes' identification of Primal and Cognitive Aggression management system, and David A. Nichter's Legal Defensibility of Preemptive Intervention.

A second great resource is a new book by Gavin De Becker, Jeff
Marquart and Tom Taylor, "JUST 2 SECONDS".
It has a compendium of assaults on public figures worldwide, and
the authors are sold on the importance of identifying the precursors to assault and closing the distance between protector and predator.

IMO, Gavin de Becker and Jeff Marquart get it in way that few
others in the business do as the majority of their clients are in the constant limelight and are especially prone to stalkers, disgruntled people and others who might want to become infamous by becoming violent against a celebrity.

Chris Parkerson
05-27-2008, 11:24 PM
I believe that studying how bodyguards react to an AOP “assault on principle” is a great study in violence and how the average citizen might prepare for sudden violent acts such as a carjacking, ATM or street robbery, or a workplace violence issue.

In Gavin Debecker and Jeff Marquart’s new book, Just Two seconds they researched over 100 of these type of attacks. All occured within 5 seconds. Most occurred within 25 feet.

This book is definitely going to set a new standard in evaluating these types of assaults. It will be for sale by next month. Jeff Marquart, was kind enough to give me an advance copy and I will be providing a few ideas from it over the next few weeks on this thread.

The book evaluates attacks from “The moment of commitment” (the second that the actor decides to attack) to the “moment of recognition” that second in that the defender decides that something is amiss and decides to take action to defend against it.

1. As discussed in the Gun Grab Thread, the “moment of commitment” can be discerned before any attack occurs if you are observant (being “on”) all the time rather than “passing time” or “spending time” or “wasting time” directly preceding the event. Time “passed”, “spent” or “wasted” is gone tiny increment by tiny increment. If your mind is elsewhere, you are not “in the moment” and will be behind the curve as you take the time to land, assess, conclude and respond.

2.Stopping gunfire is rarely accomplished during an aggressive assault. Normally, it is the gunman who decides to stop shooting, often because he has run out of rounds.

3.The bad guy might choose the place and general time, but circumstances determine the exact second of the attack. The moment he commits, time is working against him as well as against you.

4.Everything you do will have consequences. If the moment of Recognition can be moved up even a fraction of a second, odds of a successful defense can be greatly increased.

A review of the Hinckley attack upon President Reagan


The Event:

Hinckley fires six shots in rapid succession. On shot #1, no one in the area has yet determined what is happening.
On shot #2, Agent Jerry Parr (Tan trench-style raincoat walking on President Reagan’s left) is the first agent to react. Next, two agents (light blue suit) double weights himself by getting into a crouched stance and ducks. By shot #4, Agent Dennis McCarthy (Dark Blue suit with handcuffs hanging out of his rear pocket) lunges at Hinckley. Shot #5 goes high and to the left because of the pressure placed upon him by McCarthy. The round hits the car, flattens out and then enters President Reagan’s chest. It was the potentially fatal shot. The sixth shot is not recovered as it flies upward when McCarthy tackles Hinckley.

No one noticed that Hinckley was the only person in the crowd that was frowning. This was the “precursor” that could have identified him as a potential threat.
Agent Pharr’s time lapse between the “moment of Intent” (the first shot) through his “moment of recognition” and his commitment to push President Reagan into the limousine was 3/10 of a second. He was in motion at the time of the attack and thus he was “single weighted”.
Agent McCarthy’s reaction was about 1/10 of a second after Agent Pharr’s
The two agents who crouched were stuck in a static position. One was struck probably by round #3.
No agents were able to draw their weapons before the shooting was over.

My Personal Ideas on Structure in Movement:
It has been my idea all along that reaction time can be increased (even when you begin in a static stance) by applying the Tai Chi concept of “shift to one foot, sink and turn toward the problem”.
This position allows you to begin some form of “momentum” within your body while you are assessing the situation. Standing erect keeps your mind alert and responsive. Being “single weighted” allows you to use the momentum you have produced to take your first step in response.

Personal Ideas on Training this skill in the Dojo:

Teach the skill as a kata. Staying erect, shift to one foot, sink and turn toward the sensei. Sensei should move around to all parts of the dojo so that students learn to perform the technique in all directions.

Next, Sensei adds the stimulus of “sound”. He yells “Threat”. Each time, the technique should be performed upon first hearing the stimulus.

Finally, Sensei states that he will yell “Threat” several times during class. Students must perform the immediately cease what they are doing and perform the shift- sink - turn technique.

Chris Parkerson
05-28-2008, 08:25 AM
Here is a short example of the shift-sink-turn exercise.


These students are Kenpo-based and have not had much time learning how Tai Chi weight shifting works.

We are also practicing slowly while I move and they move around the room, nevertheless, I "sound off" will full volume.

Notice how posture is maintained and no one is "double weighted", i.e. stuck in a position where they cannot move because their weighting is 50%-50%on each foot.

Chris Parkerson
05-28-2008, 11:00 PM
Here is the basic shift-sink-turn kata. It takes time for students to learn how to move differently than they have done for so many years. Indeed, the old military adage holds true, "slow is smooth and smooth is fast.


Once you teach this new way of moving, here are a couple of drills I have used and in fact, they are also in Gavin De Becker's new book I mentioned.

You are the closest agent to the perpetrator. Your task is to respond as soon as your "know" the threat is real. Your job is to attack the attacker. Your partner will be "covering and evacuating" the client. You will not need to hesitate and interpret whether the incident is indeed a serious threat. The moderator will yell "Gun" at some point within 30 seconds of the beginning of the drill,,,,you just do not know when.


In the second drill, you are no longer static. You are walking in formation. You end up closest to the attacker, thus you are the guy who must close with and neutralize the attacker. In this video, we happened to end up working with a maximum range for closing and using empty hands rather than presenting our side arm. The maximum distance on this kind of drill is about 20 feet. At this distance, the attacker will have a good 80% success rate. You will have about a 20% success rate.

Agent Success is determined by: no rounds hit the protectee
Attacker Success is determined by: if 1 or more rounds hit the attacker.
paintball or simunition should be used and no protective gear (except eye protection) should be used. This way, you are also training the agent to take painful hits and continue to perform.

At distances of 7 feet, both attacker and agent have a 50%-50% change of success. At arms reach, the agent has a 95-98% chance of success and the attacker has 2%-5% chance of success.


Normally, we would not use empty hands in a 20 foot scenario. Instead, you would present your sidearm and fire. But in filming the drill, we needed the distance to get present a good feel of the drill through the video lens.

Chris Parkerson
05-28-2008, 11:05 PM
Agent Success is determined by: no rounds hit the protectee
Attacker Success is determined by: if 1 or more rounds hit the attacker.


Agent Success is determined by: no rounds hit the protectee
Attacker Success is determined by: if 1 or more rounds hit the protectee.