Thursday, August 29, 2013

Distractions In Class

I taught another basic gun class this last Saturday. It was small but it was a great group. Everyone there was eager to learn, excited and fired up about self defense.

One of my students I have known for a couple of years and have watched her explosive entry into the world of self defense. I've loved the random emails asking about all manner of equipment and self defense concepts. She's a fast learner and eager.

She went from working in a library to prepping to become a reserve police officer. She's started taking regular hand-to-hand combat classes and other training seminars for all manner of defensive situations. She'd already taken one carry class but felt it was a bit lacking and enrolled in mine.

She was, by far, the most interactive student. She asked thought-provoking questions, gave examples of self defense concepts I spoke of and generally engaged herself throughout the entirety of the class. I was thrilled to have her there!

When the discussion turned to the OODA (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act) loop she was on fire. As I talked about interrupting someone else's OODA loop she raised her hand.

She said, "May I show you something regarding OODA loop interruption?"

I wasn't sure what she was up to but always up for a practical application I welcomed her to demonstrate.

She stood at one side of the classroom with an empty water bottle in her hand and said, "Okay, let's say you are the bad guy and we are walking towards one another."

We started walking towards each other and out of the blue she throws the water bottle as hard as she can into the corner of the room. I watched her carefully expecting some kind of a strike or furtive movement.

"No, no, no," she said. "You're supposed to watch the water bottle! It's a distraction technique!"

The whole room burst out laughing including the both of us.

"I'm sorry," I said, "but the threat isn't the water bottle it's you! I'm not taking my eyes off of you."

"This time watch the water bottle," she said as she retrieved it from the floor.

"I'll try," I promised.

Even knowing what I was supposed to do, when she threw the water bottle I kept my eyes glued to her.

Once again the room burst out laughing.

She threw up her hands and laughed, "You're too hard to distract."

"I'm sorry," I said. "I think I'm a little too conditioned. If I got distracted like that in my martial arts class my instructor would smack me in the head so I'm very trained to watch people vs objects. But, you're on to something. May I?"

I held my hand out for the water bottle and she gave it to me.

I said, "Now you're the bad guy coming toward me."

We started walking at each other from across the room and when she was just outside of my striking distance I tossed the water bottle straight at her face, striking her softly on the bridge of the nose and forehead. She threw her hands up, twisted sideways and stopped as she blinked a few times. By the time she recovered and looked at me I was several steps back, my hand over my gun, waiting for her.

"Or you could do that!" she said as she smiled.

Everyone was laughing again but the point was pretty clear.

"If you're going to use a distraction technique," I said, "make it count. People can be condition not to watch objects being thrown around them but it's hard to ignore something coming straight at your face. A water bottle, a cup of coffee, gravel, whatever you have, throw it right at their face. It will be more distracting." 

I'm not sure where she learned the distraction technique she tried to demonstrate. It may very well work if the attacker was in "task fixation mode" such as wanting your wallet or purse and you tossed that item to the side to gain distance, but as a general distraction technique throwing objects away may or may not be as effective as just smashing them in the face with said object.

I told my krav instructor about the incident and he smiled, "Yeah, I would smack you if that distracted you."

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