You’re Unlikely to Survive a Home Invasion Unless Your Hands and Feet Are Free to Function — Here’s How a Spy Does It!
According to the FBI, approximately 200 home invasions take place every hour in the United States, and one out of every five homes will experience a break-in or home invasion. Additionally, 38 percent of violent assaults and 60 percent of rapes occur during a home invasion.
These are harrowing statistics, but they don’t tell the whole story with respect to how most home invasions unfold. After an intruder bursts into your house, chances are he’ll immediately restrain you — and your family members, if they’re home — with tape. Do an internet search for “duct-taped during home invasion,” and you’ll find numerous news stories in which this has happened. The headlines should serve as a wake-up call: “77-year-old duct-taped during home invasion,” “Family of 5 bound with duct tape during terrifying home invasion,” “Deaf couple beaten, duct-taped during home invasion,” “Robbers beat ducttaped man with pipe during home invasion” and “College students ducttaped during armed home invasion.”
As the news stories note, duct tape is one of the most popular ways criminals use to bind people all over the world. Why duct tape? First, it’s easy to get. Go to almost any hardware, grocery or big-box store, and for less than $5, you can walk away with a huge roll.
Second, most people regard duct tape as a super-strong material that can be used to fix and hold together virtually anything. That’s why criminals believe the person they just duct-taped isn’t going anywhere and why victims mentally give up on trying to escape when their hands and feet are taped (or when they’re bound to a chair).
The truth, however, is much different. There’s no reason anyone should be bound, tortured or killed because of duct tape. In fact, if you ever find yourself tied up with it — whether it’s just your hands or your hands and feet — it’s relatively easy to escape. Doing so takes less than five seconds. That may seem hard to believe, but I’ve shown folks as young as 5 and as old as 77 how to escape.
If, heaven forbid, you ever find yourself in a bad situation and are unable to fight your way out, a criminal probably will duct-tape your wrists first. He’ll make you extend your arms in front of your body, after which he’ll
wrap your wrists a few times. If it’s a kidnapping scenario, he may drag you into a van or getaway vehicle. If it’s a home invasion, he may start with your wrists and make his way to the rest of your body.
I’m often asked why criminals usually duct-tape your hands while they’re in front of your body and not behind your back. The most important reason: It’s very difficult to duct-tape someone’s wrists when the hands are placed to the rear. It takes significantly more time than doing so when they’re in front. Criminals want to be able to bind you quickly — especially if it’s a kidnapping situation.
Another reason is it’s tough to position a person’s hands close enough together when they’re behind the back. Often when it’s attempted, you easily can lift your hands right out of the restraint.
The third reason is criminals prefer to have complete control over their victims. When they duct-tape you from the front, they can grab your arms and drag you wherever they want.
Now that you know you’ll most likely be duct-taped from the front, here’s the exact method you’ll want to use to escape in mere seconds.
First, raise your arms straight above your head with your palms together as if you’re praying. Your hands should not be at eye level; you should have to look up toward the sky to see them.
Second, in one fluid, lightning-fast motion, bring your arms down while pulling your hands apart and throwing both elbows behind you. Envision trying to slap your hips, and you’ll get the idea. The key to this escape is that the moment your hands start moving, you must begin separating them. If it helps, pretend someone you don’t like is behind you and you need to throw two rear elbow strikes into him.
If you do these two movements correctly, the duct tape will tear and your hands will be free. The reason most people are unable to escape when they’re bound at the wrists is they don’t immediately separate their hands from the praying position. Instead, they bring their hands down to their stomach and then try to pull them apart. That doesn’t create the angle you need to break free.
Of course, merely reading how to effect an escape is not enough. To build muscle memory, get a roll of duct tape, find a training partner and take turns wrapping your wrists. If you encounter any difficulties, reread the instructions and study the photos in this tutorial. Once you’ve got it all down, it’s time to learn how to escape from a more serious situation.
A well-known record producer and his 14-year-old daughter are just two of the many Americans who’ve experienced the horror of being restrained with duct tape during a home invasion. What the criminals did — and what they typically do in this kind of scenario — is break into the home, bind the victims to a chair with duct tape and then make for the master bedroom to rummage through drawers in search of cash, coins and jewelry.
Once they’ve ransacked the bedroom, they typically come back downstairs to where the homeowners are still restrained. The worst part is, the criminals frequently elect to torture or even kill their victims.
Here’s a proven method for escaping from this predicament. The key is to free yourself while the criminals are upstairs so you’re not sitting there helplessly when they come back. First, forget what you see in movies and don’t purposefully tip over in the chair or scoot back and forth across the floor. There’s no point.
Instead, remain still — and then jolt forward with your torso, putting your head between your knees as if you’re trying to kiss the floor. To envision
this motion, imagine that you’re on an airplane and you feel like you’re going to throw up. After grabbing that little white bag from the seat pocket, you’d put your head between your knees to vomit. This is the exact move you want to use to escape from a chair — except that you need to do it with a lot more force. Done correctly, your abrupt forward motion will tear the tape, and you’ll be free from the chair and able to flee your house.
The final situation in which you might find yourself comes about when a criminal decides not only to ducttape your wrists to a chair but also to secure your ankles. If you had the time, you could free your wrists first, then bend down and tear the tape from your ankles. But what if you hear the criminal walking down the stairs toward you and you know every second is a matter of life and death?
A faster way to escape being bound at the ankles — after you’ve freed your hands and stood up from the chair — is to quickly squat with your toes pointing outward. Your feet should form a V-shape. With your toes at that angle, the tape will tear as you lower your body.
It should take less than five seconds to escape from this worst-case scenario. Unfortunately, most people who find themselves in such an unthinkable situation end up getting beaten or killed because they’re overwhelmed from being duct-taped essentially from head to toe. The best way to avoid that fate is to memorize the instructions presented here and practice until the moves are second nature. Not only are the escapes fun “party tricks” and family activities, but they also could end up saving your life one day.
Note that all the techniques described in this article also work with other types of tape. For instance, you’re probably familiar with the Gorilla brand that’s incredibly strong and sticky. Even if a criminal uses Gorilla tape, you can escape in less than five seconds. The only difference is that Gorilla tape is so sticky that when you try to pull it off, your skin might rip and you could bleed a little. That’s something you’ll want to avoid in training, but obviously it won’t matter in a lifethreatening encounter.
DUCT-TAPED FROM THE FRONT:
Jason Hanson is bound at the wrists
(1). To initiate the escape, he raises his hands overhead with his palms together (2), then quickly and smoothly thrusts his arms downward
(3) while angling his hands apart to rip the tape (4). Note how his followthrough leaves him in a position that looks like he’s delivering two elbow strikes to the rear (5).
DUCT-TAPED TO A CHAIR: When Jason Hanson is restrained, the first thing he does is refrain from tipping over or scooting around the room (1). Instead, he sits momentarily upright (2) and then pitches forward (3-4) until his head is between his knees (5). The leverage generated by his downward-moving torso tears the tape, enabling him to escape (6).
DUCT-TAPED AT THE ANKLES: If an escape must start with the defender being bound at the wrists, bound to a chair and bound at the ankles, Jason Hanson advises clients to first free themselves from the chair, then separate their hands from each other as shown in the other photo sequences. Next, he stands with his toes pointing outward
(1). He begins squatting, making sure his knees move outward (2). The leverage this creates angles his lower legs away from each other, which breaks the tape (3-4).