Subject Control
You Play By the Rules
The Subject Doesn't

Subject Control relates to a specific area of use of force and is part of any sound overall defensive tactics training regimen. Unfortunately, this is the area where most often the professional must play by the "rules", while the subject of course, being of criminal intent, doesn't have any rules and can do whatsoever they please.

Fortunately, most street thugs have only four to five techniques in their entire arsenal. That's the good news. The bad news from a self defense point of view, is that there is nothing more to be feared than the fighter who is extremely skilled at four or five things. Indeed it is often the fighter with the widest spectrum of choices, such as traditionally trained black belts, who get in the most trouble in a street altercation.

The person who is extremely skilled at a few techniques can generally get to them from any angle, and from many types of attacks or defenses. The best fighters are the well rounded fighters who understand this principle and whilst having a broad spectrum of choices, have their handful of favorites on an almost default setting.

Self Defense vs. Subject Control

What are the definitions then to give us a common language when we refer to different areas of use of force? For now, suffice it to say, that self defense is primarily a trained and/or instinctual response to assaultive behaviours for self preservation and escape.

Subject control moves into the realm of the professionals use of force where in it is necessary to control or contain an aggressive subject for eviction, medical detention, or arrest purposes. It is not a matter of beating a subject into submission, but of subduing them and controlling them in an efficient and humane manner with regard to the safety of all parties; the professional, the subject, and the public.

Control is achieved when the subject's aggression ceases or is nullified. Thus, in effect, it starts with a professionals' presence, verbal de-escalation skills, and comes down to physical restraint means only as a last resort.

A person highly skilled only in the physical restraints aspects may well find themselves in legal difficulties if they cannot in fact articulate clearly that they moved through each of the steps in any instance where such a progression is possible. This of course is not referring directly to those instances where the subject simply explodes without warning or the professional comes upon a situation requiring immediate physical intervention.

In order to understand Subject Control then, there are a number of areas that must be studied academically and the relevant skills then practiced physically until proficiency is achieved.

The basic background list of study areas should include:

Communications, Articulable Cause and Reasonable Grounds
Adrenaline Stress Response & The Ten Commandments
Pressure Point Applications
Subject Control Niches
Sudden Custody Death
Neck Restraints, Chokes and Strangles
Leg Locks, Controls, and Take downs

To re-cap definitions from this page and others;

- Use of force is any time there is an application of force by virtue of authority, presence or physically upon another person or creature.

- Self defense is the instinctual or trained response to an attack to ensure self preservation and/or escape.

- Subject control is the application of those skills which will contain or physically control a subject for lawful purpose.

- Defensive tactics is a training regimen developed to apply use of force principles in areas ranging from escape techniques, through subject control, and on into lethal use of force scenarios.