Author: Ustaz Hussein
It’s been some years since I was a paramedic. Many things have changed, many things are almost the same. And one of those is how to handle EDPs. For those of you not familiar with law enforcement terminology, “EDP” stands for “Emotionally Disturbed Person”, not Eau de Parfum.
Many students ask me about this because they feel their techniques might not work as expected against these types of people. That is totally true. But that doesn’t mean that they are invincible and unkillable either…it just means you need to deal with them in a certain manner. Hopefully, for their safety and yours, in the correct one.
EDP is a general term Law Enforcement use to describe people who are experiencing some sort of psychotic episode. Most LEOs are not medically trained, hence the blanket word EDP. Whatever you wish to call these people, they are in a state of mind completely detached from reality and might be experiencing visions, hallucinations, increased strength, visual impairment, etc. For the sake of this article, we will use the term EDP because most martial artists and LEOs will be familiar with it. But what most people don’t know is that these psychotic episodes can be caused by many things such as drugs, alcohol, head trauma, diabetes, severe emotional upheaval, or voodoo induced hallucinations (yes, it’s happened). When you face these individuals there are three simple steps that can help you get out of the situation safely.
- Distance is your friend. EDPs are extremely unpredictable, and keeping a safe distance from their immediate grip is very important to assess how you can approach for a proper takedown that will safely control the EDP and help you and those with you continue breathing. I say those helping you because you should not try to do something like this alone unless there are ZERO other options available to you. So assess from a distance and see what you’re facing. Are they armed with something? Is it a drug, trauma or something else? Are they bleeding profusely? Getting some HIV infected blood into your face is as dangerous as a knife attack. Distance will save you from these issues and give you options.
- Beef up your team. I’m 6 feet tall, 220LBS (115KG), an expert in close-quarter combat, and a veteran of multiple armed and unarmed fights…and I’m telling you…I don’t want to do an EDP takedown alone, male or female. So please take that as a VERY serious warning. Get as much physical weight on your side as possible to minimize the chances of one single person getting severely injured. EDPs might feel absolutely nothing when you hit them or try any pain compliance techniques. But they will feel the six guys on them and they will be limited in movement regardless of what drug they took. Trying to take them down alone will most probably result in you getting severely injured while they are injuring THEMSELVES running into traffic, into walls, or smashing their heads on your car. And if they are armed it’s even worse. An EDP almost took my head off with a golf club once, fast footwork saved my ass but distance would have been much better. I don’t play hero anymore because of these lessons learned. Get people and take them down with the weight advantage. When doing this type of takedown, be wary of positional asphyxiation which basically means putting a person in a position that limits their ability to breathe. Any joint lock, takedown or hold must always take this into consideration unless you’re purposely trying to suffocate them.
- Structural targets are key. The human skeleton is a magnificent creation, but it has a very limited range of motion and can only handle a certain level of force against it. If you have to defend your life against an EDP, make sure you’re targeting their structure as much as possible through joint breaks, knee cracks, throws, etc. Blunt force is a lot more effective in dealing with these types of individuals than edged weapons and firearms are by far the best. Like The Walking Dead, a bullet in the head will do the trick or a dagger through the eye and brain. But the best option is trying to find a way to contain them until proper medical personnel can get on scene. EMS, with Law Enforcement assistance, will probably opt for a chemical takedown ( a concoction of sedatives) then proper restraints so the EDP cannot injure other people or themselves. But in the SHTF scenario and you are fighting them without assistance, destroying the structure that allows them to move will do a lot more for you than slashing them in the arms or legs with a knife, as many self-defense systems teach.
I have to say it again, don’t try and do this alone unless there is really no other option. Dealing with EDPs is no joke. Besides domestic disputes, they are the most unpredictable and potentially dangerous types of adversaries you can face. I’d much prefer being surrounded by angry gang members than dealing with EDPs. Keep your distance, get backup, destroy the structure, when/if necessary use zombie-killer techniques through the eyes and brain if all else fails and it’s you or the psycho meth head.