At First Contact

April 16, 2018

At First Contact

By Ken Smith, AMS-N.W.


When, “Violent Crime” (1) actually happens, you may be quite surprised, confused, injured, concussed and possibly in shock. It can happen ANYWHERE, be ANYONE including those close to you and happen at ANYTIME.


When Violent Crime does happen, it is essential that you recover quickly and get to a position and mindset of orientation in order protect for yourself and gain some control against the opponent. This is always true whether you remain standing or if you’ve been knocked to the ground.

This article will not address “All the Things that Will Happen” because there are just too many scenarios. However, on one point, I do hear and read as a common thread with the questioning line as, “How do I stop what’s going to happen, when it does?” It’s a very tough but essential question for all of us. So, let’s look at one line of defensive thinking, posturing and rationalizing on this idea.


First, when standing, walking or sitting and then struck, stabbed or worse, you have to recover. You must establish a base and get your feet under you to the best of your ability. Your arms and hands need to be up, in front of you or over your head and preferably facing the direction of the attack. This is for your protection. You should also be actively seeking an “Attachment” (2) to the opponents attacking arm and/or to control a weapon, when you can do so, in an effort stop any additional attacks on their part.


Empty hand skills and overall self-defense should start with movement. Move your feet and get yourself out of the “Line of Attack (3)” and keep moving. Whether it’s a punch, kick, club, knife etc… We need to move offline (Get Out of the Way!!) to evade and survive the attack and secondary attacks.


Next, on this line of thought, it can be essential and necessary to make contact with, Attachment and pass the opponents arm and weapon across their (and our) body to obtain a trap (Control) of the attacking/weapon arm and hand. This pressing and pushing trap could be called Pak Sao for those familiar with certain arts.


A great drill for learning how to control and pass an opponent’s arm is also called Pekiti-Tersia Passing. (4) An action very similar to the inside to outside karate middle block, followed by a circling down block and to secure and trap with the same or opposite arm.

With the Attacking Arm, of the opponent, controlled (Trapped) and easily done by the use of one arm or hand, in scenarios where a weapon may be required, it is here as well as the pass across the body, where we have some control over the opponent and have the dominant position to access our weapon when reasonable and necessary. This is also a safer place from which weapon Disarms (5) can occur, either from within the flow of movement or from and at the point of control of the opponent’s weapon arm.


Concurrently, when, taken to the ground, movement again is important. We want to do many things and maybe all at once. First, get your head together and then try to face your opponent. Don’t turn your back. Always face the attacker and have an opportunity fight back.


When a weapon is involved and it’s become a Hands on Event, try to control the weapons ability to hurt you or others. If a disarm hasn’t happened or has failed, controlling the opponents arm while monitoring the knifes edge or keeping the business end of a gun away from You is primarily essential.


The points noted here previously may differ in many peoples opinion. This is a basic fundamental primer in what can conceptually save your life in a Violent Encounter. It has only just touched on the idea behind the OODA Loop (6). Observe, Orientate, Decision, Action are the (4) concepts rolled into this matrix.

Getting hit or threatened, you’ve observed. Once observed, you will orientate. Make your decision on how to fight back. Take that action immediately. This is happening instantly for you if you’re ready and capable.


In closing, Violent Crime is no picnic. It’s frightening at the least and can be destructive on a variety of levels, both physical and emotional.
You should think about it. Prepare for it by making decisions now, that will affect your ability to fight back later.
Make the personal commitment to yourself, your loved ones and those around you to defend yourself and them to your complete ability.


  1. Violent Crime- A violent crime or crime of violence in which an offender or perpetrator uses or threatens to use force upon a victim. This entails both in which the act is the objective, such as murder or rape, as well as crimes in which violence is the means to an end. Wikipedia,

  2.  Attachment- A physical, hands on approach to opponent energy sensitivity, opponent movement        and control.


  3.  Line of Attack- From a position, the direction in which an attack begins through its finish


  4.  Pekiti Tersia,


  5.  Disarm- To take weapons away from someone, or give up weapons, Cambridge Dictionary





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