Carjacking the wrong dude

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Recently one of my students was the victim of a carjacking attempt; things didn’t work out the way the carjackers planned, however.

Nektarios is one of Greece’s foremost grapplers and a well-respected member of the combat sports community both in this country and internationally. He has been featured in multiple historical documentaries on Greek martial arts and in the Human Weapon series. I asked him to write a brief account of the attack.

This was his first experience with actual conflict, and he handled it without a scratch. What is interesting is that one can see the effect of our various “brains” on his nervous system during the incident, and how he automatically “clicked” into what we call Level Three in order to deal with the attack.

I have translated the text below, trying to keep components of Nektarios’s style as much as possible (I hate translation with a passion). Any text in parentheses has been added by me for clarity.

My translation:

On Monday 07 November I was involved in an incident that I would like to share.

Specifically at 11 pm and while driving from my school in Piraeus to my house in Polygono, at the intersection of Mauromateon and Kodrigktonos streets, I stopped at a streetlight, with one car in line before me. As I was slowing down to stop I saw two suspicious-looking guys on the sidewalk watching my car, and as I passed in front of them I saw them deploy for action. From the passenger mirror I watched the two of them step off the sidewalk; one came towards me from the passenger side, while the other (let’s call him the second man) came around from the driver’s side. By instinct when I saw them I opened up my messenger bag and took out a collapsible baton I always keep with me.

I noticed that the button of the passenger-side door was down and so the door was locked; at that moment the second man tapped on my window and told me in broken Greek “hey buddy I see a problem with your car, get out, get out, problem” pointing to my rear driver-side tire. I immediately looked at my passenger-side window, where the first man was attempting to open the door. At that moment the second man opened my driver-side door and repeated “get out, buddy, get out, look a problem.”

Keeping the collapsible baton closed in my hand and with characteristic composure I told him “let’s see this problem”. While exiting the car I looked at his hands to see if they were holding anything.. There was something metallic in his right hand… I stepped down firmly on both feet and without any hesitation attacked him with a Hammer Fist, using my right hand holding the closed baton. The guy dropped like a dead chicken without even staggering around… Walking quickly I headed towards the other man who was stepping out between the parked cars and coming towards me. I snapped the baton open and hit him on the side of the knee and immediately tapped him on the side of his face as well… he dropped. Looking around me to see if there was anyone else, I quickly understood that I was alone; a single silver car passed us by without breaking speed.

Getting into my car I looked behind me and saw them slowly getting up .. I drove off.

I had not gone 100 meters when I began to comprehend what had just happened and I started shaking. My heart was beating like crazy and I was suddenly stressed out.

Later on when I had calmed down, sitting back and thinking about the experience, I realized the following had happened:
• I felt the danger approaching early on and this made me arm myself in time.
• At the moment the second man opened my driver-side door, a lot of things flashed through my mind, like my children, whether or not he was holding something in his hands, and that if he stood in front of my car door he would have prevented me from getting out, but he went to the rear of the vehicle, making room for me to get out…
• The instant he opened my car door, it was as if he had turned on a switch and I was programmed to do battle, basically I decided to fuck them up to give them a lesson. I felt like they had violated my home…
• My first attack was not planned and my first impulse was to throw a punch, but in a split second I realized that while holding the baton I could injure my hand and immediately changed to a hammer-fist. Fast and strong! The second attack was spontaneous and I thought it best not to let him close because I could not see if he (the first man) was holding something, so I struck his base and immediately bounced up to the side of the head. I admit that I checked the blow to his head considerably and so that I was certain it did not cause any damage.
• The whole time the battle lasted I knew beforehand that there were two opponents and the truth is that I felt no surprise. I most certainly fell prey about 70% to what we call “tunnel vision”, but when I saw the second man fall, I immediately and instinctively looked around to see if there was anyone else, even just a witness, and there the tunnel vision vanished and I was operating at normal situational awareness. When I drove off the strange side-effects I described above took hold of me.

The most important part of all, I left for the end.

As many people know, I coach grappling, MMA, Thai Boxing etc. Over the past years they have been part of my routine every day; simply because I teach them daily you understand that these arts have become an extension of myself … and yet … all my actions, not only from a technical standpoint, but also from an emotional, mental, etc standpoint, were from traditional combat systems, which primarily I have been primarily taught not only physically but also mentally and theoretically by Kostas Dervenis.

This forces me to say – which I knew anyway – that combat sports and hand-to-hand combat are two entirely different things … there is no relationship!

Teacher, thank you.

Nektarios Lykiardopoulos

Original:

Την Δευτέρα 07 Νοεμβρίου μου συνέβη ένα περιστατικό που θα ήθελα να μοιραστώ.

Συγκεκριμένα κατά τις 11 το βράδυ και ενώ ερχόμουνα από τηνσχολή μου στον Πειραιά προς το σπίτι μου στο Πολύγωνο, στη συμβολή των οδών Μαυροματέων και Κοδριγκτόνος σταμάτησα στο φανάρι, έχοντας μπροστά μου ένα αυτοκίνητο. Την ώρα που μείωνα την ταχύτητα για να σταματήσω είδα στο πεζοδρόμιο δύο ύποπτους τύπους να κοιτάνε το αυτοκίνητο και μόλις πέρασα από μπροστά τους τους είδα να ενεργοποιούνται. Από τον καθρέφτη του συνοδηγού καθώς έβλεπα κατεβαίνουν στο πεζοδρόμιο και ο ένας έρχεται από την μεριά των παρκαρισμένων και προς την πόρτα του συνοδηγού, ενώ ο άλλος ερχόταν από την μεριά μου. Από προαίσθημα με το που τους είδα άρχισα να ανοίγω το τσαντάκι μου και να κρατάω ένα πτυσσόμενο γκλομπ που έχω πάντα μαζί μου.

Βλέπω την ασφάλεια του συνοδηγού ότι είναι κλειστή, εκείνη την ώρα ο άλλος μου χτυπάει το παράθυρο μου και μου λέει με σπαστά Ελληνικά «φίλε κατέβα να δεις έχει πρόβλημα το αυτοκίνητο σου, κατέβα κατέβα πρόβλημα» δείχνοντας μου το πίσω λάστιχο. Αμέσως κοιτάζω το άλλο παράθυρο του συνοδηγού, όπου ο άλλος τύπος προσπαθεί να ανοίξει την πόρτα. Εκείνη την στιγμή μου ανοίγει την δικιά μου πόρτα ο τύπος που μου μίλησε και μου ξαναλέει «να φίλε κατέβα να δεις κατέβα να δεις πρόβλημα..»

Κρατώντας το πτυσσόμενο στο χέρι και με χαρακτηριστική ψυχραιμία του λέω – για να δω που είναι το πρόβλημα – ενώ την ίδια στιγμή βγαίνω από το αμάξι κοιτώντας τα χέρι του για να δω εάν κρατάει τίποτα. Διαπιστώνω ότι κρατάει κάτι μεταλλικό στο δεξί του χέρι. Επί τοπου πατάω στα δύο πόδια και σηκώνομαι χωρίς κανέναν δισταγμό επιτίθεμαι πάνω του και του δίνω ένα Hammer Fist με το χέρι που κρατούσα το γκλομπ. Ο τύπος πέφτει αμέσως κάτω σαν κοτόπουλο, χωρίς καν να παραπατήσει λίγο. Περπατώντας γρήγορα πηγαίνω προς τον άλλον ο οποίος βγαίνει ανάμεσα από τα παρκαρισμένα και έρχεται προς το μέρος μου. Το πτυσσόμενο έχει ήδη ανοίξει και του δίνω ένα κτύπημα στα πόδια στο πλάι από τα γόνατα και αμέσως άλλο ένα στο πλάι του προσώπου του… πέφτει κι αυτός. Κοιτάζοντας γύρω μου να δω εάν υπάρχει κάποιος άλλος, καταλαβαίνω πως δεν υπάρχει ψυχή, ένα αυτοκίνητο μόνο περνάει χρώματος ασημί αλλά ούτε που κόβει ταχύτητα.

Μπαίνοντας μέσα στο αυτοκίνητο ρίχνω μια ματιά πίσω μου και τους βλέπω με αργές κινήσεις να σηκώνονται.. βάζω μπροστά και φεύγω.

Με το που προχώρησα 100 μέτρα με το αυτοκίνητο τότε συνειδητοποιώ τι ακριβώς έκανα και αρχίζω να τρέμω… τότε με έπιασε ταχυπαλμία και ένταση!!

Πιο αργά που ηρέμησα, καθόμουνα και σκεφτόμουνα την εμπειρία αυτή και συνειδητοποίησα τα εξής:
• Ένοιωσα από νωρίς τον κίνδυνο να πλησιάζει και αυτό με έκανε να οπλιστώ εγκαίρως.
• την ώρα που μου άνοιξε την πόρτα ο τύπος, πέρασαν ακαριαία ένα σωρό πράγματα από το μυαλό μου όπως , τα παιδιά μου, το εάν κρατάει κάτι στα χέρια του, καθώς και το ότι δεν έκατσε πίσω από την πόρτα γεγονός που θα με φρέναρε ίσως να κατέβω, αλλά πήγε προς το πίσω λάστιχο του αυτοκινήτου, κάνοντας μου χώρο να βγω.
• Εκείνη την στιγμή που άνοιξε την πόρτα μου, γύρισε ο διακόπτης και αποφάσισα να κάνω μάχη, βασικά αποφάσισα να τους γαμήσω δίνοντας τους ένα μάθημα. Ένοιωσα ότι παραβίαζαν το σπίτι μου…
• Η πρώτη μου επίθεση δεν ήταν καθόλου σχεδιασμένη μέσα στο μυαλό μου, ενώ το χέρι έφυγε να τον κτυπήσει σαν γροθιά σε κλάσματα δευτερολέπτου συνειδητοποίησα ότι κρατώντας το πτυσσόμενο μπορεί να τραυμάτιζα τα δάκτυλά μου και αμέσως το χέρι έφυγε για γροθιά – σφυρί. Γρήγορα και δυνατά! Η 2η επίθεση μου ήταν αυθόρμητη κι αυτή θεώρησα καλύτερο να μην τον αφήσω να πλησιάσει γιατί δεν μπορούσα να δω εάν κρατάει κάτι οπότε του χτύπησα την βάση και αμέσως μετά το κεφάλι στο πλάι. Ομολογώ ότι το κτύπημα στο κεφάλι το έκοψα τελευταία στιγμή αρκετά και έτσι είναι βέβαιο ότι δεν του προξένησα καμιά ζημιά.
• Την όλη ώρα που κράτησε η συμπλοκή ήξερα από πριν ότι είναι 2 οι αντίπαλοι και η αλήθεια είναι ότι δεν ένοιωσα αιφνιδιασμό. Είχα σίγουρα κατά 70% αυτό που λέμε “tunnel vision”, αλλά με το που είδα να πέφτει και ο 2ος αμέσως ενστικτωδώς κοίταξα γύρω μου να δω εάν υπάρχει κάποιος άλλος, έστω απλά ένας μάρτυρας, εκεί το tunnel vision χάθηκε αμέσως λειτουργούσα κανονικά. Μετά όταν απομακρύνθηκα από το αυτοκίνητο με έπιασαν τα περίεργα όπως περιγράφω πιο πάνω…

Το πιο σημαντικό απ όλα το αφήνω για το τέλος

Ως γνωστόν, είμαι προπονητής στο grappling, to mma , Thai Boxing κτλ. Tα τελευταία χρόνια τα έχω καθημερινά μέσα στην ρουτίνα μου μόνο και μόνο που τα διδάσκω κάθε μέρα καταλαβαίνετε πως είναι προέκταση του εαυτού μου… κι όμως…οι όλες μου ενέργειες, όχι μόνο από τεχνικής πλευράς, αλλά κι από συναισθηματικής, νοητικής κτλ ήταν από παραδοσιακά συστήματα μάχης όπου κατά κύριο λόγο έχω διδαχθεί όχι μόνο σωματικά αλλά και νοητικά και θεωρητικά από τον Κώστα Δερβένη.

Αυτό με αναγκάζει να πω – πράγμα που το ήξερα έτσι κι αλλιώς – πως άλλο τα μαχητικά αθλήματα και άλλο η πραγματική μάχη εκεί έξω… δεν υπάρχει καμία σχέση!

Δάσκαλε σ’ ευχαριστώ

Νεκτάριος Λυκιαρδόπουλος

14 Comments

14 Responses

  1. Cameron Watisian  •  December 14, 2011 @9:13 pm

    Wow! That is a scary situation. I dont think i wouldve known what to do. I dont do karate or grappling or anything. All i do is meditate to complete level one of the mo pai. I dont think meditation wouldve helped me then.

  2. cameron watisian  •  December 14, 2011 @9:52 pm

    So is Nektarios scared it might happen again?

  3. Timmy Weber  •  December 14, 2011 @10:12 pm

    Those carjackers should have done their homework. But then again hes lucky they didnt have a weapon. like you said in the tatical errors videos on youtube a weapon changes everything when it comes into play.

  4. Kostas Dervenis  •  December 15, 2011 @1:58 pm

    @Cameron: 1) I suggest you learn some self defense. Meditation alone is for monks. 2) No, he is not scared. He does not think about it. He understands that violence and death can manifest at any second, which is the whole point of the training.

    @Timmy: Read it more carefully. The first was definitely armed – Nektarios just didn’t give him a chance to deploy the weapon. The second one, he didn’t even bother to look, because he knew they were attacking him.

    I’ve just been interviewed by a globally ranked newspaper. Much of the interview was cut out, including several important parts. Once the interview is published, I will post the entire Q&A session which will hopefully explain many concepts a bit better.

  5. Yiannis Sampalis  •  December 16, 2011 @6:25 pm

    Amazing experience!

    Nectarios, though, since he sensed that something was out of order before the attack took place, should not have come out of his car. His awareness served him well, but his actions didn’t. The following story, adapted from Dan Millman illustrates my point and the respect for refined awareness common in the martial traditions:

    An old samurai warrior knew his time on earth was nearing an end and wished to bequeath his sword to the brightest of his three sons. He designed a test.

    He asked a friend to hide just inside his barn, above the doorway, and gave him three small bags of rice. He then invited each son inside, one at a time.

    The first son, after feeling the rice bag fall on his head, drew his sword and cut the bag in half before it hit the ground.

    The second son halved the bag even before it hit his head.

    The third son, sensing something amiss, declined to enter the barn – and so earned his father’s sword.

  6. Kostas Dervenis  •  December 16, 2011 @6:56 pm

    @Yiannis: If Nektarios had done that, they would have simply carjacked the next vehicle.

    He acted as a protector, to protect society, not only himself. This is what a warrior does. And, from another perspective, he acted with benevolence towards the perpetrators as well. He did not kill them or injure them permanently, and he could have, easily. He gave them just enough to rethink their ways, because these guys were obviously sneak-thieves, not hardened criminals.

    Which is why they are alive today. Personally, I hope they do rethink their ways. And I am very proud of Nektarios for his decisions during the incident.

  7. Yiannis Sampalis  •  December 17, 2011 @7:04 am

    No doubt Nectarios acted valiantly.

    A much safer and law abiding alternative would have been to call the police from a distance, report the incident, give a description of the criminals and let the law enforcers do their job.

    That would have stopped them carjacking the next vehicle and they would be reluctant to try it again (in that area at least), since they would know that police is alert on their activities.

    I agree with you that Nectarios gave them just enough to rethink their ways. I’m afraid though, that what they will rethink about is their approach to carjacking. If you remember a few months back, two Pakistani sneak-thieves killed a man downtown Athens in broad daylight outside his house, just to get his camera.

    Maybe these guys next time might injure or kill their victim, before he/she has a chance to act like Nectarios did.

  8. Kostas Dervenis  •  December 17, 2011 @9:58 am

    @yiannis. You’re kidding right? This is Greece. What police? These guys were operating in the center of the city with impunity. No cops, no cameras.

    Still, though, my impression is that they were more interested in snatching something from a car and running away, rather than perpetrating violence. That they offered the threat of violence to snatch property is enough to get them killed. Perhaps they will reconsider their course now.

  9. Yiannis Sampalis  •  December 17, 2011 @7:27 pm

    Hehehe :-) ! That’s true! The state of policing in Athens and in Greece in general is something to consider.

    For an average citizen without the skills set of Nectarios, I would suggest to avoid direct confrontation if it can be avoided. If not, they better be prepared to act pro-actively as Nectarios did.

    A course in the Fairbairn method of scientific self defense would be ideal for any citizen of any age or gender. And of course Pammachon would be the ideal choice for those who live in Athens (when the school is open to the public again).

  10. Zorlork  •  January 7, 2012 @8:12 am

    @kostas I always wondered about the relevance of meditation in scenarios like this. It seems like a fundamental practice for developing balance in such a situation. Also, does one not develop telekinesis through meditating, as described in the magus of java book? Seems to me that meditation is not ‘just for monks’. What do you think?

  11. Kostas Dervenis  •  January 7, 2012 @10:19 am

    @Zorlock, meditation is a good way of integrating the reptilian cortex to the neocortex, so that one can maintain control in situations like this, as Nektarios did. Re. telekinesis, please redirect your query to those who can perform such phenomena. I am not one of them.

  12. george el  •  March 16, 2012 @4:13 am

    this situation is something like a part of every day life in athens, i think, he (we) should be aware that is could happen some time. so some thoughts on that:
    we have to be prepared, keeping in mind the legal context in our country. you
    are not allowed to terminate an other person. even in the case of self defence.
    if you cause injures to him, again you will face charges.
    secondly, unless you have a very very special permission to carry a gun, what ever self protection you hold ,knife, spray, sticks ect, they are illegal, so you will face charges by the police. so bettter use a piece of iron maybe!
    (thirdly, i cannot define clearly which part of his attack and at what percent was conscious or spontaneous )
    fourth, it would interesting to know his thoughts after some time, did it worth his involvement? since it was not yet an escalated event. they could just get his car, without touching him!
    anyway,
    i my case i would probably have all doors of the car closed. if they had manage to stop me, i would run immediately with my car, even if i had to run over one of them! (i think police would record it as a simple accident!). if i were face to face, i would happily give them my money and mobile!
    of course you never know how it ends,but within our country context one will probably escape serious outcomes,untill now!
    i hope we all be lucky and not face such events.

  13. Kostas Dervenis  •  March 16, 2012 @9:49 am

    @george el
    Yes, Athens is becoming violent. Nektarios reacted as a protector, though, not as the average citizen; he understood he was in a position to make a difference and implement a lesson. He checked for heavier weaponry and his onboard computer developed a projection that he could handle the weapons he saw – which may or may not have been a knife, but was certainly something metallic other than a firearm.

    That having been said, your observations are correct. I carry a tire iron in the car myself, which has a functional purpose and is legit, but then again Nektarios has never played Fallout – although he did once dress up as a Brotherhood of Steel Paladin, and successfully scared the crap out of a bunch of people in doing so.

    Private humor aside, you reach a point where you can confront violence with controlled violence, not for your sake, but for the sake of others. The trick is being able to correctly estimate when you have the capacity to handle the threat, and when not. Predators are actually more capable of this type of analysis than the average citizen, moreso when they are intelligent.

  14. Yiannis Sampalis  •  January 10, 2013 @8:51 pm

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