Self-defense turns to non-deadly techniques for suit-happy society |

Self-defense turns to non-deadly techniques for suit-happy society

In a society where ridiculous lawsuits – such as the infamous McDonald’s coffee incident – can turn the average Joe into a millionaire, self-defense instructors are seeking ways for victims to remain safe while protecting their assets.”There’s a big misconception that if you’re a victim, you can do whatever you want,” said Patrick Carmichael, owner of Art of Defense in Glenwood.Carmichael is a certified tactical master instructor. Less than a month ago, Carmichael returned from a non-deadly force training seminar where he learned a type of self-defense called compliance, direction and takedown.Rather than teaching a victim to fight back, the method teaches students how to stun an attacker long enough to escape. If done correctly, the defense allows for the victim to escape without permanently harming the attacker.But who cares if the perpetrator is permanently injured?Any attacker can file a civil lawsuit for assault against his or her victim, said Terry Wilson, Glenwood Springs chief of police.That means that a victim of a crime could lose everything he or she has by using self-defense techniques that induce serious physical damage on the attacker.Corrections officers, Garfield County residents and bouncers recently worked with Carmichael to learn CDT techniques.The idea behind the course is to secure and maintain, not seek and destroy.The students squeezed, pushed, turned and pulled but never hit.Students tested techniques on one another. Every time one student did a motion correctly, the guinea pig student would screw up his or her face and lift off the mat.”OK, now make your partner smile nice and big,” Carmichael said.Each student pressed their thumbs on each side of their partner’s face. The “smiling” partner started to lean into the wall as the partner’s thumbs pushed in the students’ cheeks.The smiling move Carmichael demonstrated is called the facial gap.Whether the attacker is big, tall, fat or skinny, the facial gap has the same effect on everyone, Carmichael said.It temporarily paralyzes the attacker long enough for the victim to escape. Putting a 20-foot gap between attacker and victim is enough space for the victim to escape, Carmichael said.”This type of self-defense is noncombative so you don’t have to be in top physical condition,” Carmichael said.Unlike other self-defense techniques that teach new motions to students, CDT uses natural motions, such as turning a key, opening a door or opening a can, to teach students how to escape quickly.”What happens to people when they get in a situation where they have to defend themselves?” Carmichael asked. “They freeze. Ever since you were two you knew how to open a door. All of a sudden you’re not frozen any more and you can move.”For example, a girl who is grabbed by her ponytail, can step on the attackers foot, pinch and twist the tender skin under the attacker’s underarm, and run away.Twisting – the key motion -and pushing – opening the door – are easier to remember than other practiced self-defense techniques, Carmichael said.Eric Shafley, a bouncer at the Springs bar, frequently uses force to remove people from the bar.”As a bouncer I am hired to make sure everyone has a good time,” said Shafley. “That includes the person I have to remove.”After Friday’s class, Shafley had a chance to use CDT.A large man weighing about 300 pounds and standing 6 feet 5 inches tall, started beating on a much smaller man, Shafley said.Using a technique he learned earlier in the evening, Shafley lifted the man’s arm, making the man limp, and escorted him to the door.”I could feel I had the right position because he complied with where I was moving him,” Shafley said. “I highly recommend this to other bouncers.”Contact Ivy Vogel: 945-8515, ext.

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