Evolution of Combative Anatomy

Evolution of Combative Anatomy

This is a discussion on Evolution of Combative Anatomy within the Defensive Carry & Tactical Training forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; It has been just over a year since I coined the term Combative Anatomy, the study of incapacitating your attacker during a violent attack. Since ...

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Thread: Evolution of Combative Anatomy

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    Senior Member Array mercop's Avatar
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    Evolution of Combative Anatomy

    It has been just over a year since I coined the term Combative Anatomy, the study of incapacitating your attacker during a violent attack. Since that time I have done more research on the subject and have some new thoughts.

    First, letís define incapacitation. For our purposes it means that the attacker is physically unable to continue to attack. Since the majority of initial defenses are likely to be open handed even against weapons, we cannot count on things like pain compliance because of tolerance or desensitization related to drugs or alcohol. Defenses need to focus on the mechanism of attacks and not the method i.e., destroying the elbow of the arm that holds the knife instead of trying to disarm the knife.

    Regardless of whether you are defending yourself with your hands, stick, gun, or firearms there are only two ways you can cause trauma to your attacker, and they are cutting and crushing. You either penetrate the skin or you donít. The hierarchy of incapacitation is as follows-

    Central nervous system
    Skeletal system
    Muscular system
    Circulatory System

    It is interesting to note that although trauma to the circulatory system is most likely to prove fatal it may actually be the slowest in terms on the immediacy in which it causes physical incapacitation that stops your attacker. With the exception of choking, targeting of the circulatory system is also impossible with the personal or impact weapons.

    Instead of having a specific game plan or secret move, I feel it is more effective to target areas of the body that are most vulnerable to open hand attacks that are likely to be exposed during an altercation. These targets have been narrowed down to-

    Head- responsible for decision-making
    Elbow- the lynch pin of all open hand attack and using weapons
    Knee- responsible for locomotion, base and balance

    The way to combat the failure of specific targeting is redundancy. Since an attack with the open hand or a contact distance weapon would expose all three primary targets, all should be attacked if possible. For example, if someone were to attack you with a tire iron and you were able to move to the outside you would- smash the weapon side elbow with your elbow or palm, smash your knee into the side of theirs and then yank them back causing their head to strike a wall or vehicle. This of course is an example in open hand force vs deadly force. A slap to the side of the head is also an effective optional technique. Disruption of the central nervous system should be considered the primary target even if it is not attacked first.

    This doctrine allows for a measured open hand response that because of its effectiveness may prevent the need to escalate to a mechanical or deadly force option. As a side note, practicing these techniques even in a controlled environment is likely to result in hyper extended knees and elbow. Headgear should also be worn. Communication with your training partner is the key.

    Now a few words on Combative Anatomy as it relates to the use of an edged weapon for self-defense. Again it seems that our goal needs to be defined as stopping our attacker as fast as possible, not killing them eventually. The debate over stab vs cut continues. Since attacking the central nervous system with an edged weapon is improbable we will discuss the most effective way to attack the circulatory system. Most of those knowledgeable and trained in edged weapons prefer to stab and believe they will be able to do so even when attacked. Since I believe that the vast majority of people reading this are likely to never use an edged weapon offensively, I can only theorize that if they do have to use one it will be in response to being attacked.

    My research has shown that when people are on the defense and moving to the rear they are more likely to slash. The people that I have observed have ranged from novices to those who would define themselves as seasoned knifers. Either way they responded the same way. This is telling since it has been my experience that many folks who carry a knife for self defense have little to no training and consider their knife a last ditch weapon. What I teach has to be as effective for those who attend a weekend seminar as it is for those who pursue edged weapons as a martial art. For this reason I donít feel comfortable teaching stabbing as a primary counter attack.

    For those of you who donít hunt, try watching a few hunting shows. You can see hunters shooting white tail dear with shotguns, rifles, and bows. I donít think that anyone would argue that a knife would cause more damage than any of these other weapons. Their shots usually target the circulatory system. Most of the time the animal recoils in shock before bolting off to die a distance away. How much damage could a human do in that time? This overwhelming trauma to the thoracic cavity results in an adrenaline dump and blood pumping into the legs allowing the animal to run. They are for a few seconds able to run faster on their extremities than they ever have before. Why donít they target the head and the central nervous system or the skeletal system? One is for the trophy and one is sportsmanship. It is more important to kill them eventually than to stop them immediately. The exact opposite of what we need to do when defending ourselves against human predators.

    These theories on Combative Anatomy continue to reinforce my belief that Inverted Edge Tactics offer the best defensive edged weapon skills.

    First of all the use of the inverted edge prevents people from swinging wildly outside the silhouette of their attacker which increases economy of motion, while at the same time targets by default the inherent weaknesses of the body.

    The most important feature of IET is that it takes advantage of the fact that arteries and nerves run together along the contours of the muscle like a wiring harness. As with the open hand this combats the likeliness of failure with redundancy. The more systems attacked the better the chance of physiological failure.

    Careful consideration needs to be made in reference to how humans respond during stress, the positions we are likely to find ourselves in, and the most effective way to blend those things to formulate repeatable tactics to stop attacks as fast as possible.
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    Sponsor Array DCJS Instructor's Avatar
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    George,

    Good article however I was trained in similar method by Dr. Williams M.D. You can check it out here: Home
    Last edited by QKShooter; November 26th, 2008 at 10:15 PM. Reason: Delete Quote. No need to quote the entire OP for a one line comment.

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    Senior Member Array mercop's Avatar
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    DCJS, I have not seen that before and it seems that Dr. Williams really concentrated on using the firearm against the body. My combative anatomy is primarily based on the open hand, stick and knife.

    Incidents I have been involved in and research have led me to believe that during a spontaneous attack you will likely not be able to target a specific vital with a gun or a knife. This is only my educated opinion and YMMV. I have booked marked the link you provided and will read all of it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mercop View Post
    DCJS, I have not seen that before and it seems that Dr. Williams really concentrated on using the firearm against the body. My combative anatomy is primarily based on the open hand, stick and knife.

    Incidents I have been involved in and research have led me to believe that during a spontaneous attack you will likely not be able to target a specific vital with a gun or a knife. This is only my educated opinion and YMMV. I have booked marked the link you provided and will read all of it.
    George,

    I would love to host your training at my facility and benefit from your training and add it to what I have learned from Dr. Williams.
    If you are interested drop me a PM!

    Tom Perroni
    Training Director
    Commonwealth Criminal Justice Academy
    training@ccjatraining.com
    info@ccjatraining.com
    (540) 322-3000 ext # 2

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    VIP Member Array Rob72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mercop View Post
    These theories on Combative Anatomy continue to reinforce my belief that Inverted Edge Tactics offer the best defensive edged weapon skills.

    First of all the use of the inverted edge prevents people from swinging wildly outside the silhouette of their attacker which increases economy of motion, while at the same time targets by default the inherent weaknesses of the body.
    P'kal, REI...? Point driven & pulling strokes...?

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    Senior Member Array jeephipwr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mercop View Post
    You can see hunters shooting white tail dear with shotguns, rifles, and bows. I donít think that anyone would argue that a knife would cause more damage than any of these other weapons.
    Edit/Delete Message
    I may be a novice at this, but I dont agree with this statement. Shotguns and rifles can certainly create instant stops and sometimes a bow. While a knife certainly creates damage, I dont want to be comparing any of these on my self.

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    Senior Member Array mercop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeephipwr View Post
    I may be a novice at this, but I dont agree with this statement. Shotguns and rifles can certainly create instant stops and sometimes a bow. While a knife certainly creates damage, I dont want to be comparing any of these on my self.

    You are correct sir, I wrote the article late at night and got my thought confused with my fingers. Edited.

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    Senior Member Array mercop's Avatar
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    For some reason I cannot edit, here is what I meant to say-

    For those of you who don’t hunt, try watching a few hunting shows. You can see hunters shooting white tail dear with shotguns, rifles, and bows. I don’t think that anyone would argue that these weapons cause more trauma than a knife would. Their shots usually target the circulatory system. Most of the time the animal recoils in shock before bolting off to die a distance away. How much damage could a human do in that time? This overwhelming trauma to the thoracic cavity results in an adrenaline dump and blood pumping into the legs allowing the animal to run. They are for a few seconds able to run faster on their extremities than they ever have before. Why don’t they target the head and the central nervous system or the skeletal system? One is for the trophy and one is sportsmanship. It is more important to kill them eventually than to stop them immediately. The exact opposite of what we need to do when defending ourselves against human predators.

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    Member Array C Paul Lincoln's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mercop View Post
    Why donít they target the head and the central nervous system or the skeletal system? One is for the trophy and one is sportsmanship.
    Gotta disagree with you here, Mercop. The main reason hunters choose thoracic shot placement is to assure a humanely quick kill, yes. The reason to avoid a head shot is not to preserve a trophy, but to avoid wounding an animal that runs off and dies somewhere. At typical hunting distances, it is far too likely that a bullet will miss the brain or brainstem and possibly only wound an animal. A bullet through the trachea that misses the carotids will not put an animal down rapidly -- it can literally run miles afterwards. A bullet through the nose or jaw kills the animal in days -- certainly not humane.

    Most of the deer I have shot dropped in thier tracks, or have gone a few feet before dropping. I have only had one deer in 25 years go any distance, and I am still at a loss to explain how that was possible with a broken humerus; likely it already had adrenaline pumping, as it had made me and was moving away quickly when I shot. I shoot a .300 Win. Mag., so the shock to the system is devastating.

    As for head shots, I have taken deer with antler tines that were shot off, and found dead deer with a broken jaw from a bullet. It is unethical to take a head shot at all but the closest distances. The chance that a deer will move its head at the time the trigger is pulled is too great. With a thoracic shot, even if the deer takes a step it will usually be fatal.

    All that said, you make some good points in your first post.

    Charles

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    Senior Member Array mercop's Avatar
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    Charles, thanks for your points. I have done a bit of hunting. Not much in a long time but I will be getting back into it for the kids. I have also not gotten to watch many other people hunt except on TV. Seldom to they get "light switch" type drops. I just want people to understand that these drops are seldom possible with edged weapon or anything that causes a penetrating injury. It is curious however that we see them all the time in the ring with the open hand and are relatively easy to attain with impact weapons.

    So in our lab of all things combative we see that an open hand shot or one with an impact weapon may be faster to stop our attacker than our pistol if we draw and fire it.

    This is not meant to suggest when you know that you need to draw your pistol you hesitate and instead attempt a death touch:) Only that people realize my spontaneous attacks will have to first be dealt with open handed and that the open hand or something carried in it can be very effective with this.

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