Verbal commands to controlHow To Use Verbal Commands To Your Advantage

At our recent Concealed Carry FoF class we saw a lot of examples of some good verbal commands to control. We define a good verbal command as word or phrase that is immediately followed and which immediately improves your situation.

Using Force Starts With Verbal Commands

I can remember my very first fighting course I went to in the Navy. It was an amazing experience because it was so real. The role players performed their scripts brilliantly, you honestly forgot where you were. It left an indelible mark on my psyche. This experience was instrumental in my ability to handle situations I would face further in my career and current profession. Aside from feeling real resistance and having to use force judiciously probably one of the biggest take away was verbal and nonverbal communication. I add nonverbal because in the performance of my duties I needed to anticipate a language barrier would be present. The verbal communications were broken down into three phases; attention, control and command.

Controlling The Most Dangerous Person

During an assault or a raid it was common to run into a lot of people on target. We quickly had to process the available information and make split second decisions based on that information. How were we able to get it right the majority of the time? Because we chunked things down into bite size pieces. First, there are three conditions a person can be on target. They can be a shoot, a no shoot or an unknown. Shoot threats were easy to manage, I say easy in the sense of identification. A no shoot was a little more challenging, but the most dangerous condition was an unknown. This was a person who may have meet a physical description of a threat, but did not visible display a weapon.

How We Improved The Success Of Commands

Because there were a lot of people in a confined space the worst thing we could do was add to the confusion so someone had to take charge. This was usually based around sectors so if there was a person in your sector it was your responsibility to manage. The hard part was making sure they know who to listen to in all the commotion. A lot of times this was made easy because teammates knew who’s responsibility the person was as a result of their location. Once they knew who was giving commands it reduced the confusion and more importantly improved the chances the commands would be followed.

A Strong Command & Compliance

To establish control there were two levels, immediate and follow-up. Immediate was the most important since it was in this compressed time period deadly force was most likely necessary if you could not establish control. The most important action I wanted was an immediate cessation of movement, action or intention. The best example that worked for me and worked pretty much anywhere in the world was the word “stop”. It is short, easy to modulate based on the persons reaction and somewhat multilingual. A secondary reason we are attempting to gain control through verbal commands is to determine whether they will be compliment or if I have to ascend the force continuum to match their level of force. Depending on the situation, you can ask, tell or command a person to stop. Each of these is not only based on the persons actions, but their proximity to you. The more distance or cover you have, the better the situation. You can start at the lower end with cover and distance versus immediately escalating to a command due to their proximity.

Control, Then Command To Improve The Situation

My number one goal is to get them to stop whatever they were doing first. If they were moving for a weapon, stop. If they were moving their hands, stop. If they were moving towards me, stop. Once I have used verbal commands to control then I can move to the disadvantage. A lot of this has to do with context, but when it comes to commands this is where I will order them to perform some task. I may ask them to step back, put their hands up, turn around around, leave this place or get on the ground. The point is I am commanding them into a position of disadvantage. If I really wanted to make the most of this, I would put them in a position they would have to do three things to hurt me. The key is if you did not establish control, you will not be able to command. Their action are being scrutinized very closely for compliance, because if at any point they do not comply it provides me greater justification to escalate my use of force. That use of force can escalate all the way up to deadly force if necessary, but the plan is to control, then command to improve your situation.

The biggest mistake we saw in our FoF class was not really establishing control, then not really thinking before hand how to improve the situation. Do yourself a favor and think about it now.

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