Surviving the Survival B.S.
The Top 10 Urban Survival Myths Exposed
Below is a list of survival myths that are commonly held to be true, and, if you were to adopt them as informing your personal doctrine, could well get you killed.
- The typical gunman is alone. If you are slinging dope on a corner, this is true, as you will usually be assassinated by a walk-up shooting by one male in a hooded sweatshirt. However, in most other scenarios, such as robberies and muggings, the gunman is usually not alone and has backups in the form of lookouts and “witnesses”.
- The typical gun-armed robber presses the muzzle of the weapon to the head or body of the target. Gun-armed robberies usually occur slightly beyond arm’s reach, with the handgun couched in the hand of a bent arm near a building, while an accomplice stands to the gunman’s left usually toward the street. The idea is to avoid a handgun call to the police and to keep the gunman out of reach. You will most likely be told to set your valuables down if you are imposing, or be searched by hand by an accomplice if you are not. Women are typically threatened with the touch of a weapon as their attacker is confident in overpowering them. Also, some weak men will be terrorized in the same manner, but usually only after they have been determined not to be a threat. Fit men are usually robbed at three feet. Sidewalks and congested lots are typical venues. Although there are cases of the gun being pressed to the head between men, it will usually be seen after an investigation that the gunman was confident in his ability to deal with the target and was using the gun as a terror weapon or, ironically, as a means to facilitate diplomacy.
- Knife armed attackers brandish the blade to threaten the target before attacking with it. If a person with a knife shows it to you, then they are demonstrating fear and hesitation and are unlikely to attack.
- Knife attackers lead with the knife in front of them when holding it in a true grip (with blade sticking out from the thumb side of the hand). A knife held in the true grip is almost always used to stab from a concealed hand position.
- Knife attackers who hold the weapon in a false grip [so that the blade sticks out of the pinky side of the hand] will stab downward from overhead. Those who hold knives and shanks in an ice pick grip, always stab with it, always, and never do so in the downward arc shown in almost half of all martial arts knife defense demonstrations.
- Knife attackers who hold the weapon in a false grip will slash with it like a practitioner of Escrima. Knifes held in an ice pick grip have never been used to slash, except in competition and practice by Escrima fighters. This grip is usually used for back stabbing, chasing and stabbing, and in tight quarters and at odd inward angles.
- Attackers wielding a club or bat will step in with a full swing. When an attacker holds a bat and decides to attack their palms get sweaty and they get nervous about losing the weapon, generally settling for short choppy “pop” strokes, particularly if this is a member of a group hitting you. Sneak attacks are often full swing KO or kill attempts. But bat attacks against prepared individuals tend to be tentative and choppy until the target is disabled. Then they start swinging for the fences. The step that accompanies the club attack in all martial arts demonstrations was inserted too make an unarmed defense possible!
- Aggressive groups are less likely to employ weapon than are aggressive individuals. One in three aggressors carries a weapon. Therefore, groups of three or more aggressors should be expected to have an armed individual amongst them. Most groups of three or more have at least one member that is armed with a knife, gun or blunt object. Mass attacks on individuals and unprovoked armed aggression against strangers are purely predatory behavior and the aggressors support each other. In the 1990s it was uncommon to find a knife among the members of a violent group, but now it is common.
- Aggressive attackers will disperse when one of their number is injured or knocked out with a punch, kick, etc. This is a myth based on the projection of schoolyard social violence onto the adult predation stage. These people have decided that their safety and their freedom are less important than your demise. Don’t think that they are going to go away because you KO or hurt one, unless you are armed. I have documented scores of cases where large dominant men and elite boxers have KO’d groups of attackers who just kept coming. Usually, a group attacking an unarmed individual does not lose cohesion until there is only one member left standing—that’s the guy that almost always tries to run! Dropping one individual with a gun or knife may seem like a good idea, until you consider that there are now untouched witnesses that were just minding their own business when you attacked him with that deadly weapon. Our legal system does not recognize supporting actors in a violent group who do not inflict harm, as members of the violent group! They are regarded as bystanders! The guy that corners you, who films you being beaten, who cheers on the guy stomping you, he is a bystander and potential witness, and has nothing to do with what is happening to you! If faced with multiple attackers you better be able to stab or shoot two or more in the front.
- Aggressive groups should be dealt with by attacking and disabling the most dangerous member. This ignores the military principal of avoiding friction, the boxing principal of avoiding the clinch, and the fencing principal of avoiding the bind. When combating superior force you do not want “operational friction” to slow your pace or hinder your options. If you can knockout any of these guys with one shot, then sure, the most dangerous target first is reasonable. But is he closest? And which one is the most dangerous one? Do you even know these guys? As a rule, the most dangerous guy is usually the toughest guy. I suggest knocking out the weakest first and working your way up the food chain. The men who I have spoken to and interviewed who have successfully defeated groups of men on their own, had only one operating principal, attack the nearest target first, and then attack the next nearest.
In case you missed the, check out the earlier volumes of the Single Dude’s Guide to Survival and the urban survival handbook, “Don’t Get Boned,” by James LaFond.
If you have any questions for James about his survival guides, please e-mail your questions to email@example.com.