It’s a nightmarish scenario to imagine – let alone live through. But having your wrists zip-tied to restrain your movements is something that could potentially happen to you one day. Thankfully, though, the team at Imminent Threat Solutions (ITS) have explained how you can easily escape from such a situation in seconds.
Taking on tough situations
Bryan Black is the founder of ITS. He had previously been in the U.S. Navy, but his time in the military was cut short by an injury. He completed much of the training required to become a SEAL, though, and learned a lot about taking care of himself in tough circumstances... like having your wrists tied.
Identifying the threat
After leaving the military, Black developed his interest in surviving the outdoors. And all of his experiences inspired him to establish ITS. It's a website that helps readers to safely explore the world while also learning skills that can get them out of unsafe situations. One potential threat identified by Black and his team is kidnapping.
An all-too-common tactic
More specifically, in a YouTube video that the team produced, they focused on restraint by zip ties. They also acknowledged that some kidnappers may prefer to utilize rope or duct tape. But, as the ITS staff point out on the website, “All of these methods can be easily defeated.”
Establishing the situation
In a kidnap situation, then, it’s all about waiting for the right moment to act. “Your captors are most likely not going to have the resources or the patience to keep an eye on you constantly,” the ITS site says. So, to demonstrate what people should do in such an emergency, the ITS team invested in the strongest zip ties available to them.
Knowledge is key
They wanted to make the demonstration as close to real life as possible. “We chose these because realistically if someone was determined to go out and buy zip ties to use to illegally restrain someone, they’d more than likely hit the local hardware store and find the toughest ones they could,” they wrote. But how exactly are you meant to try and break free from such tough restraints?
It might hurt, but it's worth it
In the resulting YouTube video, an instructor showcases a very simple way to escape from restraints. He uses a zip tie, although he advises viewers to practice first with duct tape. “This can hurt a little,” he says of the hard plastic tie before adding, “Duct tape works the same as what we’ll show.”
However, in the case of a zip-tie restraint, there are a few material-specific instructions. For starters, the ITS instructor points out the locking bar, which holds both ends of the plastic strip in a loop around your wrists. The placement of the locking bar is very important, the ITS instructor says.
Locate the locking bar
“What you’re going to want to do is secure the zip ties so [that] this locking bar that you’ll defeat is right in the middle of your hands,” he advises. That's worth bearing in mind, should you ever be faced with the unthinkable scenario of somebody else restraining you. So what's next?
Tighter is better, actually
The instructor then places both hands through the loop and begins to tighten the zip tie around his wrist by pulling the loose end with his teeth. Make sure you really pull on that tie, too! “The tighter they are, the easier it’ll be,” he says.
A quick, simple motion
The instructor begins to explain the quick, simple motion that will snap the zip tie in two. “You’re going to be coming down and kind of chicken-winging your arms. And, at the same time, you’re going to push,” he says. Sounds simple... right?
Called the "chicken wing"
Luckily, the tutor demonstrates this move by putting his arms over his head then bringing them back down toward his belly button. His arms are, in fact, in a triangular position. This is what he means by “chicken-winging” them down.
Demonstration in action
Just in case, the instructor provides another description of how it should look and feel. “In one fluid motion, you’re going to come from the top and push down. And [you] almost want to simulate touching your shoulder blades together as you come down,” he says.
Looks easy, right?
Then it’s time for the tutor to demonstrate how the move would work in real life. He again puts his hands over his head and launches them back down toward his stomach. And at the bottom of that trajectory, the zip tie snaps off – with the entire process taking just two seconds. While this ITS video has raked in 8.5 million views on YouTube, there are still a few unanswered questions.
What about in other situations?
For instance, some people wondered how this would work in an enclosed space such as the trunk of a car. Then, of course, there was the question of the hand and zip tie placement. “Anyone who [has] had any training with restraints would never tie hands in front of the person,” wrote one YouTube user. And he wasn't the only one to think about this.
It'd have to be just right
Another commenter noted how the zip tie placement would have to be just right in order for the plan to work. “I guess you could ask the bad guy nicely to put the catch end... in the right place,” they joked. But others were more sympathetic.
Don't let them know
On the ITS website, the team provided more suggestions on how to break out of zip ties or how to slip your hands from a loop, depending on the way you’re tied. But in any situation, they advise you to “remain passive” so that kidnappers have no indication of your expertise.
Choose your captivity
The ITS team also passed on another tip to make the escape simpler. “Make every effort to present your hands to your captor before they use force to restrain you. Essentially, you’re presenting the wrist position of your choosing to them,” they wrote. And if you remember that, you may just be able to break free from a terrifying situation.
Most of us probably won't find ourselves in a situation where we need to escape zip ties, but it turns out that there are many things beyond knowing how to escape a dangerous situation that you can copy from the military on a day-to-day basis. Everything from preventing blisters to fixing loose threads, these old military standbys will help make your life that little bit easier.
Use duct tape to prevent blisters
If you enjoy spending your downtime walking across national parks or running half-marathons, then this tip could be a godsend. Shoes that are worn in the military aren’t exactly renowned for their high level of comfort. And so servicemen and women will often resort to a staple of the hardware store for help.
Tried and true method
Yes, the humble roll of duct tape can be super handy when it comes to keeping blisters at bay. All you need to do is stick some over the spots on the feet where your sneakers, shoes or boots are most likely to rub against. For some extra protection, place a Band Aid on the same area beforehand.
Powder wound with sugar
You might want to make sure you always have a bag of C&H’s finest in your cupboards for emergencies. And we aren’t just talking about whenever a neighbor pops around to borrow a cup of sugar. Apparently, the sweet stuff can also be very useful when it comes to treating wounds.
That’s right: sugar can serve as an unlikely kryptonite when it comes to dangerous bacteria. Powdering an open wound with some may stop infection from spreading, until more conventional treatments can be applied. And it can be in its usual form or as a paste, too.
Shine your shoes properly
Military men and women pride themselves on looking the part whenever they’re on duty. And that extends to their footwear, too. It’s very rare to see a member of the armed forces without shoes so gleaming that you can almost see your reflection in them. But how can you achieve this?
Nice and shiny
Well, all you need to do is leave your everyday shoe shine on a little bit longer than you normally would – a quarter of an hour or so. Then place a heat gun or lighter over the surface and see it shine. You can also use a damp cloth as a final polishing trick.
Use Vaseline to start a fire
Starting a fire’s always one of the first lessons when you’re learning how to take on the great outdoors. But if you haven’t yet mastered this skill, then help is at hand. And you don’t need to head to Target to buy a fire-starter, either.
In fact, all you need to do is look inside your medical supplies cupboard. And if you happen to have some cotton wool and Vaseline, then you’re in luck. Simply scrunch the former into a ball and soak it in some of the latter. Then add a naked flame and you can keep warm for at least a few minutes.
Adopt the military tuck
Forget Tan France from the hugely successful Netflix reboot of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. The military got there first when it came to tucking in your shirt in the most effective way. And it’s particularly useful for anyone who’s been on a diet or bought the wrong size.
Fold and tuck
If you find yourself getting ready for an important meeting, job interview or date and suddenly find that your shirt’s a little on the big side, fear not. Just use the fold-n-tuck method adopted by the armed forces. It’ll soon look as though it was made to measure.
Lose your tail
Now hopefully you won’t ever have to resort to this hack. But if you do find yourself wondering whether another vehicle’s been following the same route as you for a suspiciously long time, then try not to get too worried. There’s a simple way to determine whether you’re really being pursued.
Four turn rule
All you have to do is make a turn, and then another, and then a further two in quick succession. Should that same vehicle still be in your mirror, then it’s time to seek help. Either phone the emergency services or head to the closest police station immediately.
Preserve your night vision
Military men and women will often have to operate in the dark during their service. And many adopt a clever tactic whenever their night vision’s in danger of being compromised by an oncoming vehicle. It may sound risky, especially if you’re behind the wheel, but it involves closing your eyes.
If you find yourself about to pass a car with strong beams on the other side of the road, simply shut one eye. Then quickly do the same with the other once the vehicle’s gone out of view. This’ll help your eyes readjust from being exposed to the bright lights.
Make your bed the military way
Making the bed’s one of those household chores that sounds relatively simple but often ends up taking much longer than you expect. And a lot of the time it barely looks any better than when you first got out of it. But the armed forces have this particular task sorted.
To achieve the tidiest look possible, simply fold the sheet’s side section before tucking it in. Once you’ve folded its footing part, use its side to form a straight angle and then also tuck that in. And voila, you now have a bed that’s fit for the neatest of soldiers.
Use a shirt garter
This particular military life hack will probably require you to make a new purchase. But if you’ve recently lost a lot of weight, then it’ll also save you from forking out much more of your hard-earned cash for an entirely new wardrobe. And it’s all to do with keeping your shirt in place.
Yes, if you’re struggling to get to grips with tucking your shirt in the right way then there’s another tactic you can use. Buy a garter and you never have to worry about anything spilling out over your trousers again. Military men and women often wear one during their working days.
Soak your footwear in water
You certainly don’t join the military if you’re looking for a job that requires sitting down constantly. Whether they’re marching around or training for combat, those serving in the armed forces will often spend the majority of their working days on their feet. And inevitably, shoe bites and blisters will form.
Soften up those boots
Thankfully for the servicemen and women who’re put through their paces every day, they’re able to prevent these types of foot sores. And all they do is use water to soak their boots in. It’s a softening method that anyone going for a long walk or run can use, too.
Cure athlete’s foot
We can only apologize for including this particular military hack. Even more so if you’re currently tucking into your lunch. But as gross as it may sound, peeing while you’re scrubbing up in the shower can apparently be an effective way of treating the condition known as athlete’s foot.
Tie your shoelaces properly
When you’re in the zone on a lengthy run, there’s nothing worse than noticing that your shoelaces have come undone. But the armed forces have mastered a way of tying them that should ensure you never have to worry about stopping mid-flow again. Oh, and it’ll reduce the chances of you falling flat on your face in public, too.
The real way to tie your shoe
Yes, it turns out that all these years you may have been doing up your laces wrong. The best way’s to tie the knots above the laces. And if you also do so at the middle of the shoe then you can stop them from slipping to either side.
Use socks to keep drinking water cool
Keeping your drinking water cool when you don’t have a fridge to hand can be a difficult task. Most of us don’t tend to lug about a cool-box unless we’re going on a picnic or a camping trip. But it turns out that the things we use to keep our toes toasty can help.
That’s right: all you need to do to avoid drinking lukewarm water is find a spare sock – if possible a clean one, obviously. Then soak it in some good old H20 and place your water bottle inside it. This hack can come in particularly handy if you’re in terrain that’s very dry.
Efficiently pack your clothes
Men and women serving in the armed forces could even teach Marie Kondo a thing or two when it comes to saving space. The military are experts in the art of storing clothes. Just take a look at how they roll trousers, fold shirts and even make their underwear as tightly sealed as possible.
Military style packing
Of course, there’s a very good reason why this particular profession’s mastered clothes storage. Armed forces personnel have to be able to pack up and move with barely any warning. By minimizing the volume of luggage, servicemen and women can relocate with much less fuss than the average traveler.
Make your bed quickly every morning
You’ve hit the snooze button several times, wearily dragged yourself out of your pit and are just starting to feel slightly human again after a shower. Making the bed before you head out to work’s probably the last thing you feel like doing. For the military, though, it’s a vital part of beginning the day. But why, you may ask?
Well, just listen to the speech Admiral William McRaven, an ex-Navy Seal, gave to the University of Texas in 2014. He said, “It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.”
Use your diet to beat jet lag
There’s nothing worse as a traveler than enduring jet lag after a lengthy flight criss-crossing time zones. But there’s a way you can beat all the headaches, sleep disruption and general sense of bleugh: the four-day Argonne Anti-Jet-Lag Diet. And it was devised by none other than the U.S. Department of Energy back during the 1980s.
Switching it up
The diet involves repeatedly switching between the salads and soups of light-fasting days and the carbs and proteins of feast days. In 2002 military research concluded that adoptees were far less likely to suffer jet lag when heading on a westbound flight – seven times, to be precise. And you might be surprised to learn that number more than doubled during trips heading east.
Wear runners’ tights
Anyone serving in the military must face the outdoors in all kinds of weathers. And when it’s particularly cold, they have a secret weapon up their sleeves – or on their legs, to be exact. Yes, people in the armed forces swear by what are called running tights.
Feeling the benefit
You mightn’t know that running pants will heat you up more than the majority of thermal items on the market. Even better, they’re easy to wear beneath standard clothing. And despite their name, you definitely don’t need to be a runner to feel the benefit.
Shower the military way
For some people, a long, hot shower’s the perfect way to kickstart a day or to end one. But if you’re more of an in-and-out kind of person, then this military tip may appeal. And it’ll also help spare both water and expense.
Less water usage
So what does the armed forces guide to daily showering actually involve? Well, all you have to do is turn the shower off once your body’s entirely wet. Soap up without any H20 sprinkling from above and only turn the shower on again to clean away the suds.
Use fire to fix threads
The temptation to pull out a loose thread from a favorite item of clothing can be overwhelming. But in a YouTube video, military man Austen Alexander revealed there’s another method that doesn’t involve yanking it out with your bare hands. And it’s much more likely to keep the rest of the material intact.
Don't pull it out, just burn it
Alexander explained that whenever he sees a loose thread in his uniform, he reaches for a lighter. He then burns off the stray piece of material. Of course, anyone trying this at home is advised to do it as quickly as possible to avoid setting the entire item alight.