If You Happen To Be Caught Up In A Terrorist Attack

As most people will know, there have been several terrorist attacks here in the UK over recent months, two of them involving vehicles running people over and following up with knife attacks. Now the chances of actually being caught up in such an incident, I would say are very unlikely. However, you never know!

On Facebook, several people have shared some well thought out advice from London based martial artist, Gavin Mulholland, for anybody who is unfortunate enough to be involved in such an incident. I thought it was very good advice and worth sharing here too, so here are Gavin’s words re-produced below:-

“So in light of the recent troubles I thought I would put up a few thoughts that have come up at training lately. No answers I’m afraid, just thoughts.

Gary Mulholland

• There are people out there who mean us harm
• They are planning attacks as we speak
• The police will prevent many of them from ever happening but, with the best intentions, intel and training in the world, there is no way that they can prevent them all
• That means that more incidents are a certainty
• Your chance of getting directly caught up in one of these incidents is very low – but there is a chance so it is worth thinking about.

• Vigilance is key and the usual suspicious bags/people need to be reported to someone in authority immediately
• Don’t be embarrassed to speak up and don’t assume someone else will do it. They won’t. You need to do it.

• If something happens in a shopping centre (mall) the shops will drop their shutters
• Get into a shop before this happens as you don’t want to be locked out of everywhere and in open space with the bad guys
• They are also likely have a back exit

• Driving into random people appears to be the newest threat – easy to do and hard/impossible to stop. These people are willing to die for their beliefs and are looking to take as many people with them as possible. That means they are looking for numbers so the more time you spend in crowds, the higher your risk. Even being slightly ahead or slightly behind a main body of a crowd will reduce your likelihood of being a target
• Terrorism is effectively a media war so media coverage is key. Known landmarks such as iconic buildings or bridges make for better media coverage and so make for better targets. So for example, if you have to cross one of the bridges, stay alert and do it swiftly so as to minimise the time you have to spend on the bridge
• Walk facing the traffic. You won’t necessarily be able to avoid a car that mounts the pavement but you do have a better chance if you can see it coming than if you can’t

• Guns are still pretty rare in this country so knives are featuring heavily in the UK
• Some knife defence training is a good idea (from a proper source) but in reality isn’t going to be what saves you
• Again, crowds appear to be the target so raise your awareness of those around you and your surroundings
• The attacks are random and swift so those nearest the door, or just outside, will be hit first
• This will cause a huge commotion. For the time being assume that a commotion is an attack, not just people mucking about. If you’re wrong, good!
• As soon as you suspect something is happening, act!
• Leaving is usually a good idea if it is possible but it isn’t always possible
• Know your way out of an area without using public transport (it gets shut down quick when there is an incident)
• Start by knowing where the exits are in the pubs and restaurants you use and have a quick think about what weapons you could employ if someone did burst in
• Sit facing the door if possible
• Hiding under the table or in plain sight is a very bad idea. Don’t do it.
• Arm yourself immediately
• Pubs are always dangerous places (ask any bouncers) because people are always armed – they just don’t know it!
• Glasses and bottles are effective weapons – either thrown, or used as clubs
• Pool cues, table umbrellas, trays, ash-trays – anything that can be used to throw or keep people at bay
• Chairs are a great defence against knives but, as with all these things, it needs training
• Get together as a group if at all possible (one can throw a drink in the attackers face (boiling hot if possible) the other clubs him when he flinches etc.
• Throw up a barricade if you have time. They want quick targets not a sustained battle (8 mins response time! Fantastic!). Help others if you can

• Security entering venues is pretty tight, but not so tight in the foyers or entrances (not possible)
• Again, numbers is the name of the game so minimise your time spent in these areas
• Leaving just 5 minutes early or arriving 5 minutes late will take you out of the key crowd and so minimise your chances of getting hit

• Finally, with all due respect, understand that our police, while highly dedicated and trained individuals, do not have a huge amount of actual experience in these matters (we’ve been a relatively peaceful country)
• They are armed and will be scared (who wouldn’t be? They are running into a situation that everyone else is running out of!)
• They won’t know who are the good guys and who are the bad guys and they won’t be discussing it so if you have picked up a knife, understand that what they will see when they arrive on scene is now four guys with knives instead of three
• So, if the police tell you to do something DO IT IMMEDIATELY!
• Do not try to talk to them, wonder why they want you to lie down, approach them, thank them, reach into your pockets, pick up your backpack, or make any sudden moves whatsoever. Try and stay calm. DO WHAT THEY SAY, DO IT IMMEDIATELY. Make it obvious that you are complying and in no way a threat.

As I say, these are just a few thoughts and I am very happy to be corrected by those that know better than me.

Raise your awareness, stay vigilant, and carry on as normal”.



Multiply your effectiveness with more impact for less effort and where to hit for best effect.

Bonus: Historical look at Bassai Dai, one of Karate’s most pivotal katas




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