Yesterday The Sun newspaper reported that Paul Gascoigne had allegedly head butted a bouncer whilst on a night out playing snooker and now the Gazza head butt video is everywhere. The situation could have been very different if the bouncer had followed our body positioning rules.

Many of you might think it is common sense to watch your positioning closely when you are a door man but I can guarantee you that it’s not common practice and in this case it resulted in the bouncer, Paul Hindle, being head butted.

The Sun reports:

“Paul (bouncer) took away his cig and this time told him to leave. Paul said: “That was when they started getting aggressive. I could tell it was about to get violent, and Gazza just launched himself at me.

“I was shocked. Some people might have hit back but I didn’t because Gazza is so scrawny now and I thought I’d end up hurting him.”

As my regular blog readers will know in our POLITE model, the P stands for Position and this is critical in a potentially violent situation like this. In the video the Mr Hindle approaches Mr Gascoigne with his hands down by his waist, even though he knows he is heavily under the influence of alcohol, and breaking the law by smoking inside a public place.

If Mr Hindle had assessed the situation before stepping in he would have known Mr Gascoigne was drunk and had a reputation for being highly unpredictable.

Mr Hindle also said he thought Gazza was scrawny, that was a mistake. Nobody should ever underestimate an opponent and just because he is a celebrity doesn’t mean he won’t be violent – I am sure we can all think of some that have been.

Whilst approaching Mr Gascoigne, Mr Hindle should have had his hands up and open with his palms facing Mr Gascoigne. His left hand should have been slightly forward, his right hand back (assuming he is right handed) and his arms should be almost, but not completely, fully stretched out. Just in case he gets his arm snatched away.

He should have approached Mr Gascoigne at a 45 degree angle and not head on and should have gesticulated with his hands whilst talking to him. If he had his hands in that position it would have been almost impossible for Gazza to head butt him as he would have had to get around the bouncer’s hands.

In truth, this technique works on a number of different levels. Firstly, he is demonstrating he is prepared to negotiate, secondly his left hand allows him to control his range. His outstretched hand shouldn’t touch Mr Gascoigne but act as a guide, if he can’t touch him, then Mr Gascoigne shouldn’t be able to touch him either.

In Summary

  1. Take precautions and analyse the situation first before acting
  2. Approach at a 45 angle
  3. Have your left hand out and use it as a guide – not touching the other person, just use it as a sensory guide.
  4. If the other person moves forward and touches your hand you know you must do something by either stepping back or pre-emptively striking with the right hand – always subconsciously controlling where you are
  5. Start talking – to stop diffuse the situation altogether.

Remember, your hands and arms should act as your first line of defence and become a big fence around your body both physically and psychologically.

If you do have to strike with a push, this will start their adrenaline pumping and they will either stand still, move forward or step back. You can read this as it tells you whether they have gone into fight or flight mode. However, if the other person rocks on their feet, they have what I call sticky feet, so you have to become more assertive to stop them thinking about it. If you increase the assertiveness or your aggressiveness then it is probably going to end up with them aborting their attack.

I can assure you that once you learn this technique of using your left hand/arm out you don’t get hit. People aren’t sure (subconsciously) about getting around your hands the theory is 90% will abort – it gets rid of the opportunists who attack you. The remaining 10% will be professionally trained fighters or psychopaths who don’t care about their actions but at the end of the day this technique gets rid of almost everyone. I used it when I was a doorman and the net result was I didn’t get hit anymore. Simple.

In conclusion, I believe that if the bouncer had used this technique with Paul Gascoigne he could have potentially diffused the situation and Mr Gascoigne would have gotten to smoke his cigarette outside. A win-win in conflict resolution.