Saturday, October 21, 2017

Inktober Day #21 - Lee Morrison's/Urban Combatives' Body Language Cues

10 days left until the end of October! That means the end of Inktober also! Thank you for joining me in my Sojourn of Septillion Steps for this project of combining drawings for Inktober and researching martial arts/self-defense. Early in my Inktober drawings I had no focus/theme. Then I was going to attend a Terry Trahan knifefighting seminar and I had an "Ah ha!" moment. Since then, I've been drawing pictures related to knifefighting.

Continuing my research/studies of "tells"/"PINs" (Pre-INcident indicators) today with a picture of some common body language cues taught by Lee Morrison of Urban Combatives.

If you missed my other posts on Pre-Assault Cues with regard to knifefighting, please check out:

Alrighty, here we go!

From "The Complete Book of Urban Combatives" (2015)
By Lee Morrison
Chapter 14:  Counterweapons Training
Pages 142-144

  • Always assume aggressor is armed and scan his hands. Can you see both hands and all fingers?
  • Approached by aggressor with distracting dialogue
  • Adrenal reactions tells:
    • erratic eye movement,
    • pale face,
    • wide-open eyes,
    • or trembling hand

Lee Morrison mentioned "distracting dialogue" above. One of the best writeups I've seen is from Geoff Thompson. He teaches it as"The Four D's" in Chapter 1 of his "Dead or Alive" book:

The Four 'D's

There are four techniques often used by attackers, especially muggers and rapists, in preparing victims for attack. Although these are nearly always overlooked by self-defence writers, the four 'D's – dialogue, deception, distraction and destruction – are the most important element of self-protection to be aware of.


Dialogue designed to disarm and distract the targeted victim is the professional attacker's most common priming technique. An attacker will approach a potential victim in a non-threatening way and begin a conversation. Often, he will ask a question about directions, ask if you have the time, a light, or any spare change. His objective is to make you think about his question, so that you do not notice the weapon he is drawing or his accomplice coming round behind you. It only takes a second of distraction for you to get into deep trouble. Understanding this will make you more aware and keep you alert, which is the most important part of target hardening.


An attacker uses deception to make himself appear harmless. Dialogue and appearance are the most common methods used to deceive victims, to make them let down their guard. Do not expect dangerous people to stand out in a crowd.

Attacks may start with politeness, even with an ingratiating approach. Deception is the attacker's greatest asset. Every attack I have ever documented that was not a blind-side attack (the ones that happen when you do not use awareness) came through deception, the attacker using this as a window of opportunity.


Distraction is a part of deception and usually comes through dialogue. The attacker may ask his victim a question and then initiate attack while the victim is thinking about the answer. This distraction also switches off any instinctive, spontaneous physical response the victim may have. A man with twenty years of physical training in a fighting art can be stripped of his ability by this simple ploy. I have witnessed many trained fighters, who are monsters in the controlled arena, get beaten by a guy with only an ounce of their physical ability. How? They were distracted before the attack. Rob, a hardened street fighter and nightclub doorman, always told potential opponents that he didn't want to fight before he attacked them. Their first thought when recovering consciousness would be: 'I'm sure he said he didn't want to fight!'

If the distraction is submissive, 'I don't want any trouble, can we talk about it?' it will also take your assailant down from a state of fight or flight to one of low awareness, because your submissiveness tells him that the danger is over and he can relax into self-congratulation.

Brain engagement, via disarming/distracting dialogue, gives the victim a blind second. This is when the assailant strikes. The distraction is also used by the experienced attacker to take down any protective fences that may have been constructed by the victim (the 'fence' is dealt with in detail in a later chapter).


This is the final product of expert priming. Few people survive the first physical blow and most are out of the game before they even realise that they are in it. Even trained martial artists often get suckered by the four 'D's because these do not appear on their training curriculum. They do not understand the enemy they are facing. The attacker uses the techniques of deception and distraction to prime a victim that is only trained in 'physical response'.

Learn to recognize these Pre-Assault Cues! Now you know, and knowing is half the battle!!

Stay safe my Friends!

My drawings for Inktober 2017 - drawing at least 1 pic each day in October:



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Stickgrappler's Sojourn of Septillion Steps