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Legal defense.

Security professionals frequently look for nonlethal defense options that can help their security officers get the job done without excessive force. One technique being employed by a Texas-based trainer adopts principles used in the martial arts.

Unlike some other programs, "Survival: A Street Defense Program," a safety and self-defense program taught by Ed Burgos, stresses safety while attempting to control legal liability. Burgos, proficient in boxing, karate, kung fu, and various other martial arts, describes his program as "a combination of different forms of fighting arts... with everything that's fancy [taken] out."

Burgos's students, particularly police officers and security officers, learn to limit potential liability in two ways. First, students practice calming exercises, where they learn to control their responses to situations and gain confidence in their abilities. To do this, Burgos simulates various threatening situations (many taken from actual incident reports), first acting them out very slowly, then progressively speeding them up so that the students are eventually reacting in real time. Through this method, he explains, students learn to control their responses.

Second, the course itself stresses that students use only that degree of force sufficient to disable without causing serious damage. Students learn to use natural movements that take advantage of leverage, gravity, and pressure points to subdue a threatening person. "We give alternatives to using [sheer] force," says Burgos. "You don't have to resort to a weapon or other deadly force; you can use your finger on a pressure point."

According to Fred Bell, a former security guard with Great Northwest who is currently with the Kendall County (Texas) Sheriff's Department, the training teaches "how far you can twist certain body parts" to cause pain and subdue an assailant without causing lasting damage. Bell says Burgos "constantly discussed" potential liability throughout the course, especially when talking about the use of weapons. Burgos teaches guards "to use a weapon as a last [resort]," Bell says.

Bell, who describes himself as 5'11", 150 pounds, has applied the techniques to disarm a youth who pointed a pellet gun at his head and to subdue a man who was beating up a woman at a nightclub.

Burgos has taught the program in San Antonio for eight years; before that, he offered the program in New York. Besides security guards, Burgos trains police officers, battered women, and students with physical disabilities, including some with cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis.
COPYRIGHT 1995 American Society for Industrial Security
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Copyright 1995 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Gips, Michael
Publication:Security Management
Date:Mar 1, 1995
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