Lessons From Las Vegas:
Security Guard Attacked By A Gang
in an isolated and potentially dangerous place inattention and loss of
awareness can become your greatest danger. You lose you ability to avoid
situations, or act to minimize danger. In this situation the security
guard who was attacked increased his vulnerability by opening his back
and focusing on dialing the cell phone in his hand. For those prone to
ambush-like attacks this can become a virtual invitation to attack.
By Christopher Caile
April 19, 2006: A gang attack late last night proved that you can lose
more than your money and innocence in Los Vegas – your physical
safety, maybe even your life is at risk. (2)
Today the national news covered the story about a security guard sitting
in a golf cart at the back of MGM Grand who suffered a ravage and senseless
attack by a group of youths. He was lucky, very lucky to escape without
serious injury – if you call bruises plus a broken jaw and collar
bone not serious.
The melee was caught on a security camera and was played later on CNN
and other major news agencies.
When I looked at the images, a couple of important self-defense lessons
seemed to jump out. His first actions contributed to the attack, although
his final actions just may have saved his life.
Here is how the action came down.
First the bad.
The security guard was sitting alone in an isolated area late at night
near an entrance to a parking garage behind the MGM Grand – not
smart. If he had been accompanied by a co-worker the probability of the
attack would have diminished. Even better, he should not have been there
One youth, it was reported, took something from the cart as he walked
past it. In response the guard got out, took out a cell phone, turned
his back away from the cart (exposing it), looked down and started dialing
– stupid. At a moment calling for increased vigilance, the guard
narrowed his focus to dial, thus eliminating any awareness of what was
going on around him. The result was that one youth was able to circle
around the front of the cart behind the guards back and then hit the guard
in head with a looping outside punch that the guard never saw coming.
The attacker then followed up with relentlessly flurry of left/right punches
that pummeled the guard (who bent back over the cart trying to defend
If the guard had seen the youth, the youth most likely would have not
attacked and the whole ruckus might have been avoided. Potential attackers
are empowered by the ability to surprise. They have confidence in a sudden
overpowering ambush. Most, however, are much more reluctant to attack
someone who is aware, who might defeat their attack and hit back.
In short – the guard virtually invited a sudden attack. This probably
triggered the group attack that followed.
The guard was not initially severely injured and was able to try to run
away – good. If there had only been a few attackers, he might have
succeeded in escaping. He might have reached safety. As an alternative
he could have used an old Roman strategy against multiple attackers --
to run, then after some distance, suddenly to turn and attack the person
right behind – who is often the strongest. Then attack the next
and next –each counter attack against a single opponent. The idea
is to string attackers out so you fight just one at a time.
But here there was a swarm – there was no chance to fight back
effectively. The guard reacted by falling to the ground and curling up
in a fetal position with his hands in front of his head – not an
ideal position but the best possible against an overwhelming group attack.
In this position vital organs and the head are protected while the attacker’s
weapons are limited – usually to kicking. In this case one youth
was seen using his belt (maybe a chain) to whip down, but this had no
Falling to the ground does two things. First, it is less fun for the
attackers. It also signals their triumph, and this often is reward enough.
They go on. This action also signals some form of instinctual compliance
– possibly calling up inherited biological reaction. This is often
seen with animals in a fight, when one submits to the other’s dominance
by going to the ground and exposing its vital area. With dominance achieved,
the fight ends.
The lessons from this episode are many.
1-Be aware at all times and be prepared to defend
2-Don’t needlessly expose yourself to danger.
3-When in an isolated urban area, friends and accomplices
are a good thing.
4-If in a potentially vulnerable situation, move to
avoid any conflict – walk the other way, find safety in a store,
inside a business or run. Don’t be macho and feel invulnerable.
Don’t be so unaware as not to act. Don’t wait for an attack
to catch you first.
5-Even if you can’t physically get yourself
out of danger, your very awareness and preparation for possible attack
will signal to potential attackers that you are not vulnerable and possibly
not an easy target. This alone will forestall many attacks.
6-If the attack is overwhelming and you can’t
escape, go to the ground. Assume a fetal position (balled up –ideally
with your back protected against a wall or large object) with your arms
protecting your neck and head. Yell for help.
About the Author:
Christopher Caile is the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of FightingArts.com.
He has been a student of the martial arts for over 47 years. He first
started in judo. Then he added karate as a student of Phil Koeppel in
1959. Caile introduced karate to Finland in 1960 and then hitch-hiked
eastward. In Japan (1961) he studied under Mas Oyama and later in the
US became a Kyokushinkai Branch Chief. In 1976 he followed Kaicho Tadashi
Nakamura when he formed Seido karate and is now a 6th degree black belt
in that organization's honbu dojo. Other experience includes aikido, diato-ryu
aikijujutsu, kenjutsu, kobudo, Shinto Muso-ryu jodo, kobudo, boxing and
several Chinese fighting arts including Praying mantis, Pak Mei (White
Eyebrow) and shuai chiao. He is also a student of Zen. A long-term student
of one branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Qigong, he is a personal
disciple of the qi gong master and teacher of acupuncture Dr. Zaiwen Shen
(M.D., Ph.D.) and is Vice-President of the DS International Chi Medicine
Association. He holds an M.A. in International Relations from American
University in Washington D.C. and has traveled extensively through South
and Southeast Asia. He frequently returns to Japan and Okinawa to continue
his studies in the martial arts, their history and tradition. In his professional
life he has been a businessman, newspaper journalist, inventor and entrepreneur.