Real Life Combat: Prison Takedown

A friend of mine is a prison guard, and he told me of a fight that went down in the dining area of the

Texas Prison Fight. Note the Inmate Prepared to Use a Food Tray as a Weapon.

prison where he works.

Two inmates squared off and argued heatedly. Fearing a fight would break out, a small-statured guard stepped in between the two inmates, and motioned them apart. One inmate obeyed the command and broke it off. He was cuffed and lead away.

The second inmate, though, was big and muscular. “Do you think you can take me on?”

The guard answered. “Let’s not do this. Stand down.”

The inmate continued to challenge him, and the guard brushed aside the challenges, while calmly repeating the order to break it off.

The inmate rushed the corrections officer. The officer stepped aside and pushed the inmate, causing him to tumble to the floor.

The guard leaped on top of the face-down inmate and got him in a headlock. But the inmate was big and very strong. The inmate rolled over and fired an elbow into the ribs of the guard.

The two men got up and squared off again. Once again the guard deflected his rush and jumped on top of him. He got the inmate in an armlock, but couldn’t quite cinch it. He then wrapped his legs around the convict’s neck. “Give up!” he repeatedly yelled, but the prisoner wouldn’t give up.

Eventually the prisoner blacked out.

He soon came out of it, and other guards were there to restrain him.

“I can’t believe a little guy took me down. I never thought it would happen,” he said in disbelief.

My friend was impressed. “That was amazing how you took that guy out.”

“I think he broke one of my ribs,” the officer answered with a grimace. The two of them had been been grappling on the dining hall’s concrete floor. The inmate’s elbow shot had driven the guard into the concrete floor, which had no give.

The guard was careful to hide the fact that he’d been hurt, because he didn’t want the inmates to know.

Lessons Learned:

1) You Don’t Want to Fight

“They have nothing to lose,” my friend told me. “I have everything to lose.” He avoids fights at all times. It doesn’t matter what your skill level is –you’re still human, and therefore mortal.

2) Be Courteous

This is related to number 1 above. My guard friend sees corrections officers who have been hurt by inmates. “Did you mouth off?” he asks. The answer is always yes. Some guards come in like they’re going to take charge and tell every piece-of-crap convict exactly what to do. Remember, they have nothing to lose. They have nothing but time to train and plot how to take you out. The type of thug you meet on the street may very well be just that type of person. Why antagonize anyone needlessly?

3) Keep Your Distance

Unlike many martial artists who are trained to get in close, police are taught that distance is a life-saver. The criminal on the streets with a knife or the convict in prison with a shiv can cut your throat long before you can draw your gun. There are martial artists who argue that within arm’s length, a knife is better than a gun.


3 Responses to “Real Life Combat: Prison Takedown”

  1. This should be required reading for anyone taking a Corrections Officer course!

    When I first read that the guard sidestepped I instantly thought, “and he tripped him” thinking about using the floor for your impact rather than your hand. Also, I feared for the guard being on the floor with inmates standing over him. I read on about how it really went down.

    An important lesson is that strikes do happen in real life, where as in the dojo some may never include strikes in their ground work.

    Another is that the ground is not padded; my teacher would sometimes do a take-down where both his knees would slam to the mat in a jumping type motion, he explained that is was only good for sport situation and I just as quickly crossed it off my list as I have no space in my brain for a sport only technique.

    Thirdly, it shows a good point that is not mentioned and that is that some guys are strong enough to pick both themselves and you off of the ground (or roll them over) while you are trying to do a ground control.

  2. C. Loewen Says:

    I have been an avid follower of your blog for some weeks now and it is real life examples like this that are pure gold.

    As a newbie, I’m grateful for the rich treasure trove of information here and as I live in an environment which is becoming increasingly hostile this information may just save my life.

    Keep up the good work.

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