Real Life Combat: Greek Riots

Photos from the recent Greek riots allow us to study what happens when people really try to inflict injury on each other.

Observe that the protesters’ poles to carry their flags serve as impromptu (or maybe semi-impromptu weapons). Also observe that none of the pole/stick weapons is anywhere near as short as the standard 28 inch FMA stick. Although the cops’ stick is approximately that length, it is a heavy club with a handle.

Here a policeman uses his shield to counter a thrust, hitting the rioter in the head/face.

Good weapon choice, only it’s in the hands of a hooligan.

Good form. Note how the cop's legs are bent, and he is centered.

The 2-handed overhead “samurai” windup of rioter on the right leaves him open.

A chair is an example of a real weapon. How many people train with a chair?

This kick is crap. Leg is locked, torso is forward, and hips are back.

Note the windup. /He'd get more power if he kept the weapon "cocked."

Pole as spear. The rioter is turned sideways, which is good for the cops.

The cop should squat and bring the edge of the shield onto the rioter’s leg, or pivot, deflect, and slam shield into his face.

Why is he using only one hand?


8 Responses to “Real Life Combat: Greek Riots”

  1. Some of the riot police are off balance and some are not. I don’t fault any of the police because in the heat of battle technique can go out the window due to stress as well as reaction time.

    As for the guy with the can using only one hand, he just looks untrained. I would use 1 or 2 hands depending on what I wanted to accomplish. He would have been better going for the unprotected thigh or hook the feet as the other guy lifts it off the ground, rather than the well protected upper body.

    The people with the helmets prepared to fight the riot police while the cane guy doesn’t seem to be that dedicated to the fight.

    Riot batons can be regular 26″ police batons because they are use along with sheilds, or some departments use 36″ as a dedicated riot baton sometimes without a sheild; in either case both are thicker and heavier than the typical 28″ rattan stick.

  2. James,

    Combat is fluid and it’s easy to get off balance. Maybe this shows how easy it is for training –especially training in complicated techniques– to go right out the window under stress.

    I wonder how much training is involved, and how much is guys allowing emotion to cause them to loosen up with wild strikes and kicks.

  3. You bring up interesting points all the way around. It mirrors my own experience in real world encounters. By and large complex technique goes out the window (doubtful that any of these guys are highly trained escrimadors anyways) because of the full on adrenal stress response. You are left with gross motor movements, and of course emotion does play a part…you’re scared and angry and its all happening at seemingly light speed. It really reframes the way we should be training: A few well polished moves practiced until they are automatic, a stable yet mobile base and a good structural posture that provides the best cover possible. High impact, high intensity, and keep it simple. Take a look at the Dog Brothers fights, these guys are all pretty skilled stick fighters yet there are three or four commonly used techniques throughout the majority of fights. Basically they all do the same things: hit and move. The best ones use a bit of deception (e.g. feints, etc.) but mostly it is big “caveman” shots. I honestly have no idea where all of the fancy twirling and stick tapping came from because men sure as heck don’t fight that way with sticks, regardless of how well trained they are.

  4. Tommy,

    Well said. This is gold:

    “It really reframes the way we should be training: A few well polished moves practiced until they are automatic, a stable yet mobile base and a good structural posture that provides the best cover possible. High impact, high intensity, and keep it simple.”

  5. Has anybody watched the stick and shield techniques of the Medieval re-enactors in the Society for Creative Anachronism? Now that is big stick combat with shield work. Yes, its very rule bound, but, its the closest thing I’ve seen to real combat with a shield.

    I’ve heard anecdotes that some cops in the early 70’s in Texas were trained by the SCA because one of their rookie cops was able to beat an riot shield instructor. Don’t know if its true, though.

  6. Cargosquid,

    Sounds interesting. I’ve never studied anything having to do with a shield, because I’ve never thought it was practical. But now that you mention it, if I were a policeman who trained for the riot squad, then carrying a shield and knowing how to use it would be extremely practical.

    It goes to show that what is realistic training will depend upon the person.

  7. I’m not sure where you live, but Google SCA and you can find a local chapter. While their form of combat may not be what you are looking for, there are many forms of big stick combat that the fighters specialize in, form 2 handed sword to double sword, sword and shield, etc. Its all rattan. And they dent 16 gauge steel when they hit. Well sometimes….Good luck.

  8. The use of the word “hooligan” in describing a freedom fighter is offensive.

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