The ultimate and highest form of less lethal control of a violent person is the ability to just talk them down. This is not appropriate in all situations and would not be effective in certain cases. One such example would be that someone is holding you up for your money. You wouldn’t try to calm them down or talk them out of it. That would not make sense. You throw some money on the ground in their direction and take off running in the other direction.
Another situation where verbally defusing would not be appropriate would be where the person is so hysterically crazy, perhaps due to drugs like crack, that they couldn’t even hear or understand what you might try to say. We do teach that non-verbal clues including your posture and hand gestures are more important than your words. We teach how to perform and perfect those. We teach how, first, your awareness of your inner state of fear when you are under attack, and second your ability to center, calm and control that state, have a very strong effect on any attacker. This comes from the animal world. Certain predators can only attack prey animals that flee. If you can be in a state of control and command, some human attackers will not be able to attack. That is real mastery. But not everything fits that. There are situations where the crazed attacker is an imminent threat to you, to others or to themselves.
For such cases the evolution of less lethal weapons holds hope to control without killing. Although mainly developed for law enforcement, some of these options are appropriate for self-defense for people who work in areas of high crime and dangerous encounters, the so-called Badlands.
Gel & antidote
https://www.police1.com/police-products/less-lethal/articles/how-this-new-gelantidote-combo-provides-a-better-less-lethal-tool-1hjFTq7oO4P3IBny/?utm_source=Police1&utm_campaign=4f26667974-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2021_07_14_06_10&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_5584e6920b-4f26667974-83446536 Gel & antidote
https://www.police1.com/emerging-tech-guide/articles/how-police-are-using-soundwave-technology-for-crowd-control-NiE9AGlgjnfiatUx/ LRAD long range acoustical device
LRAD is an acoustical system that can be used in two ways for crowd control. One, pictured above, is an officer can use the police van mounted device to address a person or a crowd from a very great distance away. Unlike a bullhorn which gives an unpleasant, garbled, blaring sound, the LRAD will deliver crystal clear voice transmission. A community leader or someone from the protest group itself could address the crowd.
The other use is very different. It can deliver sound frequencies that immediately cause pain to the person or persons at which it is directed. It will drive them away.
https://wrap.com/ Bola Wrap
Bolas were a Pre-Colombian hunting weapon, later used in primitive warfare. They consisted of a cord with weights on each end. BolaWrap® is a high tech tool which fires a Kevlar cord that wraps around the assailant or threatening person and restrains them. It’s in use by 500 police departments.
Ultrasound and Infrasound
Ultrasound and infrasound are crowd control devices as explained in this Wikipedia article:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonic_weapon infrasound and ultrasound
Pepper Gas is the least expensive self-defense less-lethal device. From $10 and up on Amazon. As this article from Forbes Magazine explains, pepper gas can in some circumstances cause death:
This Department of Justice study concluded it is effective in stopping an assailant 85% of the time: https://www.ojp.gov/pdffiles1/nij/195739.pdf
However, this is for people trained in using it. A friend of mine taught pepper gas defense courses for police and also for college students at a community college. He was the students’ physical education teacher. They knew him. After an hour practicing with devices which just shoot water, he would tell a student that he was going to simulate attacking her and she should put out both arms, with one hand making a “Stop” gesture and the other aiming the “pepper gas” device. She should say “Stop!” If he didn’t stop she should discharge the device. He would yell loudly. He said that 95% of the time the student would cringe up in panic and end up spraying the water sprayer onto herself. It took another hour or practicing until most students would be competent. So just buying the device will not be enough.
For individuals not in law enforcement, learning how to avoid situations, learning early detection signals, learning situational awareness, learning how to project confidence and not to assume the victim role or put out the vibe that you are easy prey, are preventative steps. Learning, by proper training practices done under stress simulating attack situations, how to verbally defuse an attack is the ultimate defense, but some circumstances call for tactical tools.