Monday, 24 November 2014

Five NEVERs of Self-Defence

From an email doing the rounds …

There are some things you must never do when confronted with an armed assailant. We mean never, ever, not because these events never end well, but because they usually don’t, and because violating these hard and fast rules takes the agency of your survival out of your own hands. You owe it to Adam and Eve and all the rest of your bloodline to preserve your life.

- #1: NEVER go with the assailant to a second location. Why do you think he wants you to go there? (There are actually several possibilities, but they’re all bad).

- #2: NEVER give up your gun. This standard Hollywood trope, where the hero gives up his gun because the villain is threatening Sweet Polly Purebred or whomever, and then manages to free them both through some brilliant stratagem, *only works in the hands of a trained and certified member of the Writers’ Guild.
Don’t let him have your gun: just “Let him have it.”

- #3: NEVER get in a car with someone threatening you with a gun, or even with someone who might threaten or harm you or who has an incentive to harm you.

Here’s what happens to real people who violate Nevers #1, #2 and #3, from the non-fiction movie The Onion Field (1979)… The Onion Field killings not only led to a great book and good movie (of which the above is a chilling excerpt), but they changed police training forever.
Now cops are told these Nevers. It shouldn’t just be cops who follow these rules: you should, too.

-*#4: NEVER let someone tie you up. He doesn’t mean you well to begin with, and you have just made the decision to outsource your survival to him. Being bound is an intermediate station of the cross on the way to dusty death for many homicide victims.
    Here’s what happens to real people who violated Never #4, a non-fiction scene (with dialogue perhaps fictionalized, although the male victim survived) from the fact-based movie Zodiac (2007). Start 2:18 in to focus on the tying-up business — and to see where it leads. You can slider forward to the start of the four-plus minute clip if you want to see where it leads.
    Always, fight or run. The cop who ran in the onion field survived, by finally doing something right after doing so many things wrong. Run away from the assailant. If you think he can run faster than you, jink and dodge, and use terrain, obstacles, and darkness. IF you think you’re faster, run straight away on the most level, smoothest ground you’ve got.
    What if he shoots at you? Consider this:

  1. 1. He probably won’t shoot. Shooting complicates his life, while yours is pretty simple at this point (Run, Forrest, run!).
  2. If he does shoot, he probably won’t hit. Most criminals can’t hit the broad side of a barn, from inside the barn. Contrary to their portrayal on TV, they’re not IDPA competitors who spend their spare time doing ball and dummy drills.
  3. If he does hit you, it probably won’t kill you. You are not out of the fight (or flight) until you give up. Which brings us to the encapsulation of all rules, the one rule to rule them all:

- #5: NEVER give up. Never give in. Never surrender. Run, fight, attack. In the aftermath of the Onion Field, LAPD Commissioner “Two-gun” Powers told his men to use any weapon they could, and pointed out that a #2 pencil can kill. (Exercise for the reader: how many ways can you kill someone with a sharp pencil? For extra credit: which way disables him fastest?)

From an email doing the rounds, and more via the Sunni and the Conspirators blog. If you know who wrote this originally, please let us know in comments. UPDATE: Possibly from the WeaponsMan blog originally. (Thanks Terry.)


  1. That is some good advice!

    Given the date of posting and amount of detail, it seems to have originated from this blog post:

  2. Having trained at Karate for over 12 years- our rules are similar, 3 of the most important are:

    1. The best way to avoid a punch, is to not be there- in a broader sense, always be aware of your surroundings, identify escape routes, assess the people in your immediate area. Take for example- walking into a Pub- I immediately assess & if I'm uncomfortable with anything as noted above- I walk out.

    2. No matter how good you are at Karate or any martial art- Its difficult to defeat 1 opponent- Impossible to defeat more than 2- notice how the bad men in Martial Arts movies or 'action man type movies' all have turns at attaching the 'hero'- in real life, they attack you all at once!

    3. If you have no choice but to fit- follow Winston Churchill's advice: 'hit first, hit hard, keep hitting'.

    It used to be distressing when young women, after attendi9ng a 3 week 'self defence course' would then join our Karate Club & think they could 'easily beat-up a male attacker'. Our Sensei would have a yellow belt (second lowest grade) fight the young women, and of course she always was easily beaten- it didn't take long for them to realise that the 'self defence course' they attended was a waste of time & gave them a false sense of security.


  3. Well meaning and wise words; however I do not quite understand #2 - why would [I] be holding a gun in the first place? (and where on earth would I get one from?)

    I have been alive for quite a while now and I am yet to meet anyone waving a shooter around! haha! (let along asking me if I want to go back to their place; or tie me up; or do a bit of curb crawling)

  4. Answer:

    Pencil to eye. Pencil stab to groin.



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