Real life experiences on the street & in
Calm, Control & Restraint
By Gary Gabelhouse
Thankfully, very few of us have the need actually to use our martial-arts
training in a stressful situation. Recently I had the opportunity to
test what I have learned.
Over the past few years, I have had sixteen tires spiked and lost two
rear windows in my truck. I have literally slept in the bed of my truck,
laying in wait for the vandals. So, as I sat on my front porch at 1:30
AM and watched a tremendous thunderstorm, the car pulling up in front
of my truck immediately caught my attention. A guy got out of the back
seat of the car and started jimmying with my truck’s door—the
rain pouring down on him. He ran back and got in the car—I thought
I had lost the chance to catch the perp. As I watched he got out of the
car again and went back again to jimmy my door. Suddenly, he opened the
door and got inside my truck, avoiding the down-pour.
Wearing only a yukata (light, cotton robe) and barefoot, I acted quickly
and ran across my lawn in stealth mode, placing myself back from the
door, and I observed the guy rifling through my glove box. I confirmed
he was holding no weapon. I opened the door and he shouted in surprise.
I had planned to haul him out by grabbing him by the hair. He was close-cropped,
so I put my thumbs in his eye sockets and grabbed him by the ears and
began to haul him out. Just then his two friends jumped out of the car
and began running toward me—neither one had a weapon, thankfully.
I shoved the first guy back into my truck and faced the duo. I summoned
all my energy, pointed at them and let out a kiai of biblical proportions.
Amazingly, both stopped, turned around and ran back to their car and
sped off, leaving their buddy in my truck with me.
I hauled the guy out of the truck and was very calmly committed to controlling
him, trying to not injure him—after all, it was just a truck. I
had him in a head lock and he stomped down on my left (bare) foot. That
hurt, so as it played out, he did hit my fist with his eye—once.
He then tried to hit me in the groin, but I had anticipated that and
spun him down the bed of the truck, kneed him in the bread basket and
snaked my left arm around his neck. He was disoriented and lunged forward
to escape, but accidentally ran his head into the tail gate. That stunned
him, so I worked for a choke from behind and dragged him up into my driveway.
I began to apply the choke and could hear that unique sound one makes
when about to be choked out. Shame on me, my head was not tucked close
enough to his head as he got off a grazing head butt. I lost the choke.
I off balanced him and he lunged to his and my right (exactly what I
planned), and I swept his legs out from underneath him and landed on
him hard, on the concrete. That took all the starch out of him. Then,
in the pouring rain, I applied ikajo (first Daitoryu technique, one that
controls the arm) on him and began my psychological warfare. Suffice
it to say he was very scared--so scared he actually gave me his name.
I wondered what to do with him--thinking I couldn’t keep him in
ikajo until dawn, and I couldn’t yell and be heard due to the thunder
and down pour. I told the guy we were gonna get up and go call the cops
and he was going to be nice. He finally agreed and we slowly got up off
the drive way.
He took a swing and ran like a jackrabbit. I tried to grab his arm but
due to the rain, it was soaking wet and it slipped out of my hand as
he jetted away. I had grabbed him by the back of his shirt and found
two necklaces and a piece of his shirt in my fist. I gave pursuit, but
could not catch the guy. I went into the house and called 911. The officer
came by and asked if I had gotten a good description of any of the perpetrators.
I told him the color and type of car they drove and then said, “I
also got the one guy’s name.” The officer said it was unlikely
he gave me his real name. I said I thought he had because of how scared
he was. We checked the name with dispatch. They did have him on file,
and the I.D. matched what I thought to be his age, height and weight
as well as hair color. The police were waiting for him as he came home,
soaking wet and sporting a shiner. He sang like a canary--ratting out
both of his friends and admitted to a number of thefts.
The amazing thing to me was that throughout the entire incident, I was
totally calm and used control and restraint--not really hurting the kid.
I was measuring my options and actually thinking about all the could-have
techniques that I did not do. I kept hearing my teacher say know when
to turn it down--then just talk with him . . . I was careful not to get
hurt, and I was careful not to hurt him. I was never angry or even emotionally
involved at any time. Sure, it would have been much easier and quicker
to knock him out after I had blown out his knee. But to me, that was
not a good option.
To me, my control and restraint were most representative of my training.
I really believe my calmness was due to the fact that I was confident
and trusted my teacher and his teachings.
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About the Author:
Gary Gabelhouse is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Fairfield
Research, Inc. , a market research and consulting firm in the entertainment
and media industries. Prior to his acquisition of Fairfield, Gabelhouse
was Executive Vice President and a member of the Fairfield Board of Directors.
Prior to his involvement with Fairfield, Gabelhouse was Senior Vice President
and member of the Board of Directors for SRI Research, SRI/Gallup, Gallup
of Canada, and what is now the Gallup Organization. Gabelhouse trains
Okinawan Goju Ryu Karate-do under John Roseberry, Hanshi and is the Business
Director for his teacher’s Shobu-Kan Martial Arts Center in Lincoln,
Nebraska. He is also a student of Daito-Ryu Aikijujutsu. Gabelhouse's
interests outside of the martial arts and business include mountaineering,
bonsai cultivation, fishing and fly tying, oil painting, landscape gardening,
writing and watching his 21 year old daughter play rugby. Gabelhouse
has been married to his wife Cindy since 1975. He is a frequent contributor