I was just made aware of this video out of Sydney, Australia of an axe attack by a woman who enters this convenience store dressed in a pair of shorts, running shoes, and sleeveless shirt casually carrying an axe in one hand. I really find the videos posted and analyzed by Active Self Protection to be useful so I thought I would share their video of the attack with their comments while adding some additional thoughts that I have. This is not to say the great folks at Active Self Protection agree with anything I am saying, but thought might be valuable to hear their advice as well as mine. It is easy to play armchair quarterback and think one knows what they would do, but when one is in the situation, completely different for so many reasons. That being said, it is useful to analyze this video with the information we do have and offer some possible suggestions or options knowing nothing is guaranteed to work, but looking for opportunities to heighten one's chances of survival. Okay, check out the video and I will offer some thoughts after.
Let's analyze from a number of positions. If you were outside where you are safe and see this woman going into the store with an axe, I would suggest not going in unless you are in the position of being a police officer, security or feeling you have the proper training to deal with it. But you could call the police which will not stop the likely attack, but still contributes to the end result if something was to happen.
Whether you see this woman from inside or outside the store your inner alarm bells should be going off that something is not right or does not fit properly in your mind. Ever watch Sesame Street? Remember the segment on the show where they would sing, "One of these things doesn't belong here, can you guess which doesn't belong?" Well my friend Richard Dimitri makes a point of teaching people through being aware of their environment to acknowledge if something does not seem to fit right in a scenario. This story is a perfect example of that. Why would a woman dressed like this be walking in to a convenience store with an axe regardless of the time of day? As I am at home thinking nice and calmly, I can't think of any reasonable answer why this would be happening. Now people think it would be even more obvious at the moment it is happening if you are there, but the brain might enter a state of disbelief at what they are seeing causing a momentary or much longer delay in processing what they are seeing. Often people will come up with reasons like it must be a prop, or it can't be real in an order to justify what they are seeing. Off this story, but still related is the fact that over the past 23 years, I, along with other SAFE International instructors have walked into schools 1000s of times carrying a big bag that carries our focus mitts, gear and striking shields often not looking like the traditional teaching staff. I would estimate that less than 5% of teachers ever question who we are or why we are there even though I can see they are looking at us wanting to ask with their intuition raised. We could be smuggling virtually anything into these schools which has happened at many schools ending in violence. And the odd time a teacher does ask who we are, they believe what we say and often apologize for asking without asking to see what is in the bag. I respond that they should be asking since the safety of the students should be their primarly goal and not apologize. I think the risk of appearing rude or foolish for asking is why they do not ask, but quite frankly they should not give a shit what anyone thinks if they are suspicious and doing their job.
Back to the video. Many people tell me that they prefer to keep to themselves and make a point of avoiding eye contact with others in an effort to avoid trouble, but if that is at the expense of losing awareness, it can be very dangerous. As the woman walks in the store she comes very close to the woman at the cash who does not notice her at all. Dependent on time of day, where I am, am I by myself or with family, I keep my peripheral vision working which would have been very useful to this first woman.
You can see the man in the video looking around to see if anyone noticed what he noticed, so his intuition is telling him something. He even gets into a conversation with the attacker allowing her to get extremely close which drastically lowers your chances of reacting to any potential threat. Unfortunately we can't hear the conversation as that would be valuable in giving one information on what they might do whether that is keep talking, exit immediately, or decide to be pre-emptive if one felt they should make that choice. With all the distractions going on, the man allows his focus to move to the cash after the first woman is finished paying, and that split second allows the attacker to swing her axe at him. If he had kept his focus on her with some distance to react it would have been more difficult for her to hit him with the axe due to the large telegraph coming as seen here. And the attacker did have the knife in her back pocket as well to access which I do not believe he had seen at all.
After she hits the man she then goes after the woman who for a split second seems to look back, but not fully enough to give her time to react as she is occupied with her purse and seemingly putting her wallet away.
Then the woman exits. If you are interested in how they caught the woman, the full story can be seen by going to
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