Riot Self-defense And Social Distancing
Social distancing may be easier when you’re in a Costco or Wal-Mart, with specific directions posted on the doors and floors to wear masks and maintain six feet. But how do you properly “distance” yourself when caught in the middle of a mob who obviously cares more about their cause than your safety? When it comes down to it, we don’t want to be swallowed up by dozens or even hundreds of emotionally charged people, not only to protect ourselves from the spread of any virus, but all it takes is a wrong look by one person to have a dozen people turn against you, and start beating you with impunity. That is why you need to be aware of your surrounding and then be proactive in your tactics. This article will address both the precursors of a riot situation and then what to do even if you find yourself in the middle of one.
At the time I am writing this, it has been a couple months since the George Floyd riots. I live outside of Phoenix and a short drive from Scottsdale, Arizona, which were not necessarily hot spots of riots, but areas which did see protests, small riots and some looting. The reason why I bring this up, is that there was plenty of news and rumors that these gatherings could be happening hours and even days before they happened. Therefore, there was prior knowledge that these were dangerous areas, and should be avoided. It is basic precursor awareness that if an area is dangerous, why put yourself in the middle of it. When recently taking a sabbatical and traveling abroad with my family to even third world countries, checking the US government’s travel alerts in addition to world and local news for civil unrest and upheaval can provide this basic knowledge.
However, sometimes life isn’t so clear, and we forget that common sense isn’t so common, even with ourselves. That is why there are always tools you should carry on yourself wherever you are. Everyone has their own idea of what “everyday carry” (EDC) items should be, but when it comes to social unrest and riot situations having some sort of a weapon (i.e. pocket knife), hidden money ($20-100) for transportation out of that area and “bandana” or scarf to blend in with protesters, protect from chemical agents and bandage up wounds could be lifesaving.
Assuming that you find yourself in the “fog of war”, literally in the middle of a riot situation, there are two main concepts which can help you survive such a situation. The first is “Inside to Outside and Keep Moving”, meaning, the worse place to be in a riot is right in the middle where attacks can come from every angle.
This is basic “mass attack” or multiple attacker defense, but you always want to work to the outside of the attackers, mob or danger, so everyone is in front of you. As an example, if you have the choice of walking down the middle of a street with dozens or hundreds of people around you at every angle, or moving to the sidewalk or where building walls are the only thing behind you, choose the latter.
The point is not to move there and stay there, but keep moving. A moving target is harder to attack, so keep moving away from the danger, and even to an exit like an alley way, where you can fully escape the group with a group mentality.
If you do need to engage, while following the advice above, my favorite self-defense move might be what I call a “stomp kick”. I’ve taught this to elite law enforcement when having a long gun slung and breaching a room, because it is a powerful move which can push people back several feet. Assuming a defensive stance, where your feet are bladed, use the rear leg to kip up your knee as high as you can, and kick out (not up) landing as much of the sole of your foot on the center mass of the opponent. Kick and push them back, returning the foot back to where it started.
Staying safe and even defending yourself in these kinds of scenarios is difficult because there are so many variables and elements to account for. This is why having a layered approach to your strategies and tactics is key to adapt to the situation and find the best solution to the threat whether it be a violent mob, potentially virus packed group or single attacker leading the way to a mêlée of followers who will beat you senseless and take what is yours.