Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Less Than Lethal: Defensive Baton

Disclaimer: I am not an instructor of a defensive baton. I took one course years ago in the military with a bunch of Air Force Security Forces guys. The instructor was very good. It was obvious he knew what he was doing and how to teach it. The following is from my notes and study material. (See blog Stop The Threat, 5/7/2014 and Less than Lethal, 2/15/2014) Learn to use a baton from a competent instructor. The following is for informational purposes only to familiarize you with a baton.

Stances and Grips
Stances include body position and distance from subject before, during and after using a baton. Positioning and distance also include patterns of movement around a subject.
Of course ideally you should be in a stance directly in front of your attacker. The preferred stance would be similar to shooting a gun. Feet about shoulder length apart, left foot slightly in front of right. If you ever have to use your weapon there’s a good chance you won’t be in this stance.
Grips include the proper way to hold the baton before, during and after it’s use. I’ve found that a dominate hand “modified one handed golf” grip is what works well. Hold the baton pointing in a forward direction following the direction of your thumb. The thumb should run along the baton, not around it. Lock the position of the baton with your little and ring fingers. Keep a loose hold with the rest of your hand. The baton should move slightly forward and backwards in your grip.
Target Areas
Here is a general rule to remember about baton strikes: aim for the extremities or the lower abdomen, depending on the technique you are using. You can expect to cause injury and may break bones, so care and control must be exercised to avoid serious injury. Small bones in the hand are particularly vulnerable to breaking. Remember, you only want to stop the threat. A strike to the hand is effective when the attacker has a weapon (other than a firearm) and intends to use it against you. Blows to the heavily muscled areas in the arms and legs are effective and may result in pain, numbness, and cramping, but do not usually cause serious damage. Main target areas are the extremities and the lower abdomen.
Arms (inner and outer biceps, elbows, wrists)
Lower abdomen (below the navel, avoid the groin)
Legs (thighs, shins, calves)
There are vital areas of the body that, when struck, may result in serious or fatal injury.
Vital areas of the body to avoid:
Blows to the head may cause blindness, deafness, unconsciousness, brain damage, or death. Head wounds may bleed profusely. Blows to the head are easily deflected and may result in loss of the baton to the attacker. If a blow lands in a certain spot, it may numb the attacker’s senses and make him more difficult to control. Also, this is the easiest area of the body for the aggressor to defend by ducking or dodging.
Blows to the back of the neck could fracture vertebrae and damage the spinal cord, causing paralysis or death. The side of the neck is where the jugular vein and carotid artery are located and if ruptured, could cause death. The trachea and larynx are located in the throat; if fractured or crushed they could rupture or collapse, causing serious injury or death.

The spine contains the central nervous system; blows may cause paralysis or death.
Blows to the tailbone may cause paralysis or death.
This area contains many vital organs including the heart, sternum, “xyphoid process” (which is an extension of the sternum), ribs, and solar plexus. Sharp blows to the chest could cause great bodily injury or death. Broken ribs could puncture vital organs.
The kidney and liver contain poisons that, if released from rupture, could cause death.
Clavicle/Collar Bone
Severe blows to these areas could cause paralysis or death.

Defensive Techniques
Drawing Techniques
When you are faced with a dangerous situation that requires drawing and possibly using your baton, the drawing method you choose may have an effect on the attacker and may determine whether the situation will escalate or de-escalate. You should attempt to let the suspect know that, although you have removed your baton to protect yourself, there is still room for talking. Drawing the baton in a threatening manner could end up with you facing criminal charges. Use the baton for defensive purposes only. Practice drawing over and over again until you no longer need to look at the baton in order to draw or secure the baton back in its holder.
There are two important things to remember when confronted with an adversary:
Eye Contact
You should become so familiar with the position of your baton that you do not need to look at it to remove it from or replace it. Your eyes should never leave your adversary.
Show of Competence
Becoming proficient in drawing the baton will show confidence that will be evident to the attacker. This may place them at a psychological disadvantage and may de-escalate the situation immediately. This is not intimidation. It is taking the advantage.

I’d like to emphasize the following concepts:

Proper balance and self control
Proper carrying, gripping and holding
Control of the baton from drawing to returning it to its holder

Position of the baton to effectively block and defend
Placement of the baton to non-vital areas of the body when striking

Blocking Techniques
The purpose of blocking is to stop an object from hitting you. The four areas of the body to protect are the head, the left and rights sides of the body, the chest and below the waist.
The baton should be angled and in a position to stop the object from hitting you and positioned where it can deflect the force of the blow where possible. Remember the vital areas of the body. While you are practicing, do not forget that you are aiming for the lower abdomen and extremities. Only use the amount of force reasonable for defense. Your goal is to stop the threat or get away from the threat.

Although there are a variety of batons on the market, they mostly come in the same type of design. Most are just over 2 feet when deployed, and have a small grip handle. By holding the baton parallel to your arm and twisting your wrist to swivel the baton, you’ll be in a good position to defend yourself against an attacker. One common way to temporarily disable an attacker is to use the baton to strike the attacker in the stomach with a stabbing motion, in order to knock the wind out of them, giving you enough time to get away and get help. Also the baton is commonly used to strike an assailant in the joints in order to incapacitate them for longer periods without using lethal force.
Law enforcement officers and others who have used batons have noted the following benefits to using a baton:
More inexpensive to acquire and maintain in comparison to tasers or stun guns
Flicking the baton makes a clicking noise similar to a gun, which often scares an assailant by the sound alone.
A simple flick of the wrist can seriously incapacitate an attacker
Batons can be a very inexpensive and effective means of defending oneself and fighting off an attacker. It is important to be able to get the proper training in order to use a baton effectively in order to stop an attacker without resulting to lethal force.

The baton is a good alternative to lethal force if used correctly. Unlike a gun, pepper sprays or some tasers, you must be close to your attacker to implement the weapon. This is a disadvantage.
Again, get trained and use the baton correctly. Also, know the laws where you live about carrying this weapon and carry responsibly and legally.

Semper Paratus