Restrain Them?

*This is an excerpt from the book How to Survive an Active Killer

Many popular programs that discuss fighting back consider the act of re- straining the attacker as the main objective. Is restraint an option? Sure. Can it be used successfully? Certainly. Should it be your primary goal? Absolutely not. Your primary goal is the safety and survival of yourself and those you care about. It should not be the safety and survival of the person trying to kill you. There are many issues with this training tactic:

  • Individual response: We just pointed out you need to respond as an individual. If you are face-to-face with an attacker with no back up, how well will you restrain that person? The answer has many variables: your size, their size, your ability level, their ability level, are you injured, are they injured, etc. A smaller individual will have a better chance in inflicting severe damage to the attacker, rather than being able to completely control them.
  • You have to be hands-on to restrain: For you to control another human, you have to get completely hands-on. In fact, you need to wrap them up in some form or fashion. This is legitimately a re- quirement. If the attacker has fallen to the ground while struggling with another person, you would have to go to the ground as well to gain control. You’d be better off knocking them unconscious or limiting their ability to ght by stomping on their head, knees, or hands than simply diving into the ght. It’s much easier to restrain someone that’s unconscious than it is if they are ghting back.
  • What if there’s another attacker?: Let’s say you and your gang swarm the threat and pin him down. You’ve isolated the weapon and he’s given up out of sheer exhaustion. Unfortunately, there is another threat and he isn’t stopped yet. What do you do? If you get up and swarm the other attacker, you run the risk of the first attacker breaking free, which begins a vicious cycle. To restrain someone, you increase the time you spend at the scene. Whether you’re holding them on the floor or decide to hog-tie them, this takes time. Much more time than rendering them unconscious, immobile, or deceased.

If there is an emotional component (age of the threat, is it a family member or a student) it can be difficult to understand this concept. Our desire to restrain comes from our desire to be civil in a very uncivil situation. We understand this isn’t easy from a psychological standpoint, but you could be putting yourself in further danger by choosing to restrain instead of simply ending the threat. Tactically, it’s simple. Emotionally, I still can’t make that decision for you. But, in the words of my friend Ryan Hoover, creator of Active Killer Defense, “The only way I guarantee he is no longer a threat is to make sure if he goes down he never gets back up again.”

Be good, train hard, stay safe


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