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The Concentric Layers of Self Defence

All effective personal security is based around establishing Concentric Layers of Defence. If you wanted to commit a violent attack, what would you look for in a victim and/or target (people, equipment & places) and who or what would you avoid in your pursuit of senseless destruction?

Principally speaking, your main objective is to find a victim/target that is a soft target- someone with their head in the clouds who is not switched on; somewhere or something that is an easy target that would enable you to complete your task quickly, efficiently with little to no resistance and significant material gain. With this knowledge in mind, you are now ready to implement the first layer of your personal safety program - Detection. This layer of defence is comprised of alertness, situational awareness, pre-indicator clues, low profile adaptation, anti-surveillance tactics, evasive driving skills, personal routine management, awareness of your immediate environs and threat analysis. If the criminal manages to get through this first layer of defence and encroaches towards you, he receives further dissuasion at the second layer- Delay. This second layer of defence slows down and potentially de-escalates any further threat. This layer is made up by creating a barrier between you and your adversary; establishing effective communication skills; being aware of cultural differences; de-escalation and distraction set ups. At this stage, many criminals and/or terrorists will go somewhere else and seek out a softer target rather than compromise their overall mission.

Okay, let's assume your adversary becomes persistent in achieving his principal objective. In the criminal mind, negotiation is not the antithesis of combat, but rather foreplay. They will try to trick you into believing that they are of genuine character, then, they will wait for you to make the first incorrect move before they attack. Now the third layer kicks in- Defend.  This third layer of defence is where through a deceptive delivery system you would initiate an attack with a close quarter onslaught of tools, targets and tactics. Things don't always go as planned, so it is within this third layer that a comprehensive support system must be honed that would include weapon skills, ground fighting and multiple attackers. Once the third layer is immobilised, so is the fourth- Defeat.  It is here that you would neutralise your opponent in proportion to the degree of the assault working within the perimeters of the Law.

Now, if you are a potential target for an attack, are you starting to see just how invaluable your outer layers of awareness and avoidance actually are? Again, by visualising yourself in the enemy's shoes, are you beginning to recognise the criminal's behavioural patterns of deception? Now that you know what you are looking for, augment this with the criminal's assessment stage of whether or not you are a suitable candidate to attack. This will increase your ability to recognise this pre-incident behaviour and counter it with anti-surveillance tactics before it ever reaches the Defend stage.  With that in mind, your self-defence skills begin at your inner most layers, while situational awareness, avoidance and thinking like the enemy are at your outer most layers. If your overall defence strategy starts at your inner most layers, you will always be fighting from a late-phase vantage point. What we are trying to do here is functionalise your ability to survive sudden violence before it happens (early-phase), while it happens (mid-phase) and after it happens (late-phase). With this said, survivors like to work backwards; reverse-engineering and problem solving the most likely scenarios that they may face in the reality arena of urban, suburban and rural veracity. Please remember- it does not matter whether you are a soldier, policeman, close protection operator or a civilian- all of this life-saving information applies to YOU!


Joe Hubbard’s professional background is represented by a collective body of experience that spans over more than two decades of operational security know-how, close protection operations and close quarter combatives training. He is a highly sought out personal protection specialist who has authored five instructional DVDs and has written articles in international martial arts magazines such as Martial Arts Illustrated, Combat, Black Belt UK and Budo International. As a respected self-defence instructor, Joe has proven experience teaching many elite operatives that include former Special Forces operators, U.S. Marines, UK law enforcement, private corporations and responsible private citizens. As a licensed close protection operative, he has been trained in force protection tactics, counter-terrorism, tactical first aid, counter-surveillance, IED awareness and personal protection. Joe also holds many accredited instructor certifications and multiple black belts in martial arts systems comprised of unarmed combatives, ground fighting, knife/counter knife, stick fighting and fire arms.





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