Group and Gang Confrontations

One of the most commonly asked questions during my seminars is; "What if there's more than one guy then what do you do?" I thought this would be a good opportunity to detail my strategies for dealing with a gang confrontation. The best way to approach this is to look at the three stages of this type of confrontation, and evaluate effective strategies for each stage or situation.

Stage 1: Avoiding the Situation.
As with all types of conflict it is preferable to avoid any type of confrontation if at all possible. The gang situation is certainly no exception, so let's look at some effective avoidance techniques. Imagine you turn into a street as you're walking home, or to a friends house, and you see a group of 5-10 guys just hanging around about 30 metres away, on your side of the street. You immediately feel apprehensive and think the group looks a bit suspicious. What should you do? In my experience you really only have a few options;

1. Pull your shoulders back, try to look cool and keep walking towards them.
2. Cross the road and walk down the other side or,
3. Turn around and walk back the way you have come, heading away from the situation.

Without doubt option 3 is the best one to take, but surprisingly most would take option 1 and keep walking towards the group. This is the last thing you should do. Any movement towards the group will be read as an excuse to confront you. Don't give them that excuse! Crossing the road is ok but for my money I would be turning and heading in the opposite direction. You may be thinking; "What if they come after me?” I'd say that in my experience it is extremely unlikely that they would. But let's say they did start to come after you, then you've definitely made the right choice because any group that will run after you from this distance certainly would have confronted you if you'd walked towards them, so why give them the advantage? Turn, walk away and if necessary move quickly to a populated area. This will certainly make you a less attractive target.

Stage 2: The Unavoidable Situation.
If you don't have the option of avoiding the situation, for example you walk right into the group as you turn into a street or subway, here's what I would recommend. Understand that you, as an individual, think much quicker than the group. Use this to your advantage. If you got a surprise to see them, they too would have got just as much of a surprise to see you. Take the initiative and move quickly past the group putting as much distance between you and them as you can. Don't stop and freeze, this allows the group to make the first move and gives them the upper hand. The most dangerous place to be is standing amongst them. Act quickly and with focus. Get away – go, go, go, - don't hang around wondering what they are going to do to you. Take off before they have time to decide. If possible walk around them, but either way keep moving, don’t stop! Of course this may not always be possible, so what if the group prevents you from getting away?

Stage 3: The Confrontation.
If all else fails and you find yourself in the middle of a gang confrontation, here are a couple of golden rules that have certainly saved my bacon on a few occasions in the past. Firstly, never try to confront the group, this will never work. Always try to identify the leader and communicate directly with him. A good trick is to approach anyone who looks like the boss and say: "You're obviously the one in charge here right?" If he's not he'll usually look straight at the one who is! So go and talk to him. This is the guy who calls the shots and nothing happens unless he says so. That's why he is the only guy you need to focus on. Secondly, ask him what he wants, he'll tell you. Let's presume they want your wallet. My advice is give it to them! But give it to them as you are leaving, actually pass it to the leader as you make your way out of the confrontation if possible. The trick here is to create a ‘gate’ between the leader and whoever is standing alongside him by positioning yourself in-between the two as you hand over your wallet. Once he has what he wants, RUN, get away as quickly as possible. These guys don't want you, they want your money so give it to them and take off. Obviously none of us like giving our stuff away but in this situation I think it's preferable to the alternative - saying "NO", get beaten up AND losing your money! Your focus should be to de-escalate this situation as much as possible. Handing over material possessions is a small price to pay if you can get away unharmed.

However, if it's not your money they want, then it's YOU they're after and you have two options, submit and allow them to control the situation, or confront and have a go at getting away. My advice, if the situation gets to this stage, is to physically strike out at the leader to create an opportunity to escape. Obviously this is a last resort but always balance up your strategy against the consequences of doing nothing! When it comes down to it your options in a gang confrontation are the same as those in a one on one situation; Run, submit, or confront. If running is no longer an option and submission gives you no chance, then confrontation is the only viable option. To be abducted or physically overpowered by a group is potentially one of the most dangerous situations you could ever find yourself in and in my opinion, anything you can do to get away is advisable. Don't reject this advice by suggesting to yourself there's no point in trying to fight off a group of guys. Remember that groups like this are made up of weak, spineless individuals who are totally unprepared for you to have a go against them. Contrary to popular myth, in my experience of over two years riot policing and gang liaison work, groups such as this are far more likely to back away when confronted than they are to hang around and risk the chance of being caught. Always remember that the only limitations you have are those that you place upon yourself. If you choose to, if you remain focused and motivated, you do have the ability to take control and get out of this potentially life-threatening situation. You will find more detailed information about group and gang confrontations outlined in my book, “How dangerous men think” along with a full range of effective defensive strikes to use in this situation.

Hello [[Name]]

Hello again and a big welcome to all those new subscribers who have come onboard as we send out this April issue of "BACKOFF". The response has been great with students signing up in droves from all over NSW, Australia and even overseas. As we really get into the swing of things, just a reminder to you to please take advantage of the opportunity to write in with any questions and situations you think would be of interest to the other readers.

Well, as for you guys, I'm sure the year has started off as a busy one just as it has for me. I had a couple of weeks lecturing around Tamworth and Armidale during February before getting stuck into the schools around Sydney. As I write this column the end of the first term is almost upon us. My book ‘How dangerous men think’ was released in early March and is selling really well throughout Australia and was released in New Zealand last week. Keep an eye out for it at your local bookstore, if you enjoyed the seminar I can guarantee you’ll really enjoy the book.

I hope you all get some good information from "BACKOFF" this month and in particular find the feature article on Group and Gang Confrontations of interest. Dr. Vincent has put together an article on eating disorders, which you’ll find on page four. If you need any more information on that topic please drop us a line. Well guys, that's about it from me at this stage. Thanks again for all your support for "BACKOFF" Don't forget to drop me an email if you have any questions or good bits of info.



'When facing a difficult task, act as though it is impossible to fail. If you're going after Moby Dick, take along the tartar sauce"
H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Tell a Friend
A lot of girls have asked me how they can receive this newsletter if they do not have  e mail.  The answer to that question is easy, you can now also view this issue as well as all past issues through my website.  So if you know anyone who does not have e mail and would love to be able to read "Back Off', just get them to go to

Alternatively you may have known someone who subscribed but did not receive this issue,  the reason for this is that I had an incorrect e mail address or for anyone who signed up during one of my seminars I may not have been able to clearly read the details written down on the sign up form.  I do apologise for this and would encourage anyone in this situation to re-subscribe to "Back Off' through my website at

Disco Dan the Ladies Man.
Here are some more helpful hints for dealing with potential date rape situations from our mate Dan the dickhead:
"Always remember the motivation behind guys going to nightclubs and (to a lesser extent) parties, is often to try and pick up girls. You should bear this in mind when you are deciding whether you can trust them or not."

"One of the big issues facing the high percentage of girls your age who are confronted by date rape situations is that a lot of the guys really don't think they're doing anything wrong. Be careful of what the guy "expects" when you are alone with him his sexual expectations may be far greater than yours."

"Not all blokes are a problem, but just be weary of the "over friendly" or "over generous" types, they often expect something in return later in the evening!"

A Big Hand For..
Hello girls, my name is Wendy Vincent and 1 specialise in women's health. As I mentioned in the In edition of "BACKOFF" " I will cover a variety of issues relevant to young women in today's society. For this edition I have chosen "eating disorders, " Did you know that in Australia today as many as 1 in 10 young women suffer some form of disorder in eating? Many adolescent girls are dissatisfied with their bodies and believe they have to be "thin" in order to be attractive. Some girls think eating disorders are glamorous, that dieting and keeping "thin" will make them happy. This is far from the truth.

Anorexia and Bulimia are the two most recognised and most serious eating disorders. Anorexia is a condition of excessive, deliberately‑induced weight loss resulting from refusal to eat sufficient food, despite extreme hunger. It is usually associated with a disturbance of body image and the person may see themselves as fat despite being severely "thin" and undernourished. They may have an intense fear of becoming "fat" and often exercise obsessively.

In the next issue of "BACKOFF" I will cover the other eating disorder, Bulimia which is just as serious as Anorexia. Remember, if you think you or someone you know may be suffering from an eating disorder, the best people to seek advice from are your parents, a Doctor or your school counselor. Please, drop me a line at “BACKOFF” if you have any questions or problems arising from this article.

Pearly Ones from those who'd know.

"Whether a person thinks they can, or whether a person thinks they can't they're always right.”
Henry Ford, Ford Motor Company.

"The only difference between where you are and, where you want to go, is the state of mind you're in.” Unknown.

“Believe, and your belief will create reality"
Napoleon Hill.

Facts Vs Fibs....
FIB: Women are more likely to be attacked by a stranger than someone they know.
FACT: Independent research indicates approximately 80% of all women attacked knew their attacker.
FIB: If a woman is aggressive in an unarmed attack situation, it will only make the situation worse.
FACT: All major studies on rape psychology agree that if you can't run then assertive/aggressive verbal and physical resistance is the most effective way of dealing with this type of situation. Not one recognised study conducted anywhere in the world since 1970 has found submission to be an effective strategy against this type of confrontation.

Keep it Under your Cap, But Did you Know…..
A recent survey of women who had been victims of violent crime found 47% of successful resistors had previously attended a self-protection course. In the same survey 50% of women who did not offer any resistance stated they would have used physical self-defence if they had known any. Research shows that the single most effective strategy to use against an attacker is simply to RUN! Run towards a populated area and make a lot of noise. No single strategy has a better success rate than this.

Q&A From you the Crew

The following are samples of some of the most commonly asked questions I am asked. In the next issue of "BACKOFF! ", I intend to be publishing a sample of actual questions written in by you, the readers. Please e-mail me any questions by clicking on the following link:


Q. What about obscene phone calls, how should I react to them?
A. Hang up. Hang up. Hang up. Don't give the caller any response or satisfaction, just hang up. If the calling persists, you can notify Telstra, (see the front of the White Pages), or if necessary contact the Police.
Q. If I'm on a bus or a train and some guy sits or stands next to me and starts to touch or rub up against me, should I just ignore it?
A. No. If you feel uncomfortable and his actions are obviously intentional "ignoring" him will only encourage the behaviour to continue. If you can, move away to a more suitable location. If that's not possible my advice is to make a bit of a scene and inform everybody on the bus/train what this creep is doing! Be assertive, don't be the submissive target he selected you to be.
Q. Is there any time limit to reporting sexual offences to the Police?
A. No. A sexual offence can be reported at any time after the offence has been committed. Obviously the earlier it is reported the better, but there is no "maximum" time limit for reporting.
Q. Where would you recommend a girl or woman go if she requires professional advice and/or medical attention following a sexual assault?
A. My advice would be to contact any of the Sexual Assault Units located in most major metropolitan hospitals throughout Australia. These units are staffed 24 hours a day by, counsellors and Doctors trained in this area.

Dear Brent, I attended your course when I was in year 10, towards the end of that year, about six months later, 1 was on a railway station on my own at about 8.00pm on a Saturday evening waiting to catch a train into the city to meet up with some friends. Without any warning I was grabbed from behind by a guy and before I knew it, he had me pinned up against the wall of a building on the platform. At first I just froze and didn’t know what to do. But I quickly realised that if I didn't want to get hurt or raped I had to try and get away The only thing 1 could think of were those strikes we all did in your course, and so I just started to do them. I’m not sure exactly which ones but I remember just whacking him in the face as hard as I could and as his head went back I brought my thigh up into his groin just like we did in the course. The guy doubled over then turned and ran off. Those strikes really work. I’ve never done anything like that in my life, I've never had to, but now I wouldn't hesitate to do it again! M.S. Sydney.

Just the one story this month, which means we need more of you to write in. So come on guys, this is your page, send in any questions or letters to our email address.


Just a Thought
Throughout my seminars I speak of the importance of thinking positively and creating powerful belief systems in our lives. I honestly believe that our ability to protect ourselves comes down to the way we think. Situations are not important, what's important is how you think about situations. Here's a quick verse I first read some years ago that says all this better than I can;

If you think you are beaten, you are,
If you think you dare not, you don't,
If you like to win, but think you can't,
It is almost certain you won't.
If you think you'll lose, you're lost,
For out in the world we find,
Success begins with a person’s will-
It's all in the State of Mind.

If you think you're outclassed, you are,
You've got to think high to rise,
You've got to be sure of yourself before you can ever win a prize.

Life's battles don't always go,
To the stronger or faster one,
But sooner or later the one who wins is the one who THINKS HE CAN!

In the meantime don't forget to check out my new website at

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