Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Fight Science

So, the National Geographic Channel has a program on called Fight Science. Flipping around the channels, I happened to come across it, so I watched an episode on self-defense, "Fighting Back."

The template for the show sets it in a big warehouse. Got a few science and engineer and medical types, some experts in self-defense, gel-flesh dummies, impact sensors, like that. The narrative was to show a simulated attack upon one of the experts by another. Slow it down, then demo the technique shown again, using an anatomical dummy rigged with sensor gear connected to a computer.

The experts -- a cop, MA teacher, ER doc and women's self-defense teacher, ran through surprise attacks in possible scenarios -- parking garage, elevator, stairs, supermarket parking lots. They showed eye gouges, throat strikes and grabs, hard shots to the lower abdomen -- not to the nuts, but to crack the pelvis.

CGI'ed anatomical models were also used to show effects of the techniques. All very slick and flashy, if a bit over the top.

It won't come as a surprise to most of my readers, I expect, that poking somebody in the eye, hammering their windpipe, crushing their larynx, or cracking a pelvis will pretty much give the attacker pause. Nor that attacking MMA champ Bas Rutten if you are a drunk in a bar is probably not the smartest move you'll ever make.

For the most part, this was pretty standard stuff, and the melodramatic slomo and musical stings and hype got old pretty quick. They had about eight minutes of real material and they stretched it to an hour.

There were two things that a MA might find useful. One was the pelvis strike. Pistol-shooters are sometimes taught to aim for the pelvic girdle, because if you can shatter the bone there, your attacker will go down and stay down.

Of course, dropping your aim a hair to los ping-pongs with hand or gun will accomplish a fairly interesting reaction, too ...

And they did a short bit at the end on pepper spray and tasers that was interesting, showing what a lot of people who have played with such things already know. One of the guys stood there bare-chested for a taser shot. It knocked him on his ass, sure enough, but he managed to sweep one arm down and clear the darts and wires as he fell, so that he hit the ground and came back up in about a second. Point was that if he could do that, somebody else could and maybe risking your hide on a taser might not be as safe as you'd think.


Jason Couch said...

Pretty much my take as well.

I've played around with the shocknife, which is more intimidating from a sight and sound perspective than actually painful. Thought about trying the taser as well, but the opportunity never arose.

I won't say I'm sold on the pelvic girdle, but at least it was food for thought.

Worg said...

If I have to attack Bas Rutten toe-to-toe I think I'd rather be drunk than not. Not to mention that I'd have to be.

"Dang gadda Dang gadda DANG!"

He's the only one of that crop with any class at all.

Steve Perry said...

Look at the guy -- shaved head, scars, ears leaning toward the cauliflower, built like a tank. Nobody you'd pick as the guy whose face into which you'd kick sand if you were sober. And if you were drunk enough not to notice, you'd probably fall down all on your own on the way there ...

As for the pelvic girdle, yeah, it takes a pretty good hit to damage it, but their point was that a strong guy could deliver that amount, and if you can believe the ballistic gel dummy with underlying skeleton, did so, enough to crack the pubis.

Whether a guy with decent muscularity would be able to take that shot is another question. The cop's version started with a hit there, and then a leg-grab and takedown, which gave him more time to get away.

Wouldn't be my first choice, but you go with the target of opportunity, take it or make it.