Stress positions, search and inspection positions, military drill positions; harassment, hazing and punishment positions. Eye discipline.
Control without physical restraint
I've been detained and supervised in many of these positions; they appear tolerable but become increasingly uncomfortable. "Toughening up" is currently unfashionable, for me, the time-honoured punishments are interesting methods to study ways of becoming tougher.
Physical punishments can't be standardised. Individual reactions vary to many physical punishments like these or CP. Some enjoy them as a challenge, others are bored or find them unbearable.
Unless you've endured a punishment or stress position as part of a discipline regime it's difficult to appreciate the reaction. Doing it alone in front of a PC is not the same.
Counter moves are possible for most of these positions as part of unarmed combat training.
Eye discipline: the direction of subject's eyes may also be specified; unauthorised observation or challenge to the supervisor is prohibited.
Some old-style prisoner control positions formerly used in Senior Approved Schools, Borstal and Prisons
SIT legs crossed, with EYES DOWN or HEAD BETWEEN YOUR KNEES.
KNEEL, again with EYES DOWN.
The order HANDS ON HEAD was often added for additional control.
Punishment positions include CROUCH, hands behind the back.
When crouching became intolerable, the detainee was permitted to lean his forehead against the wall. That's a trick. It makes it easier for a short while bit but soon becomes worse as not only do the knees hurt but the forehead hurts too.
The worst one was "CROUCH KNEES HEAD WALL AND DON'T MOVE" which means crouch with your hands behind the back, forehead on the wall, knees on the wall.
Moving - otherwise known as wriggling or fidgeting - was just asking to stay there for longer.
TOUCH YOUR TOES or GRAB YOUR ANKLES are a well-known preliminaries to the free-standing administration of corporal punishment (CP).
Crouching and squatting have the centre of gravity of the body over the heels and as near to the ground as possible. Squatting has the feet further apart than crouching with the heels touching, in the squat position the thighs are parallel and in the crouch position the upper legs are at ninety degrees to each other. Squatting as a martial arts or gym workout position has the head forward and level (don't look down) and the back straight; feet parallel, soles flat on the ground; for a crouch the feet are angled and the heels are off the ground. Duck walk - that the French call marche canard - is the version where you walk in this positrion. Like the static positions, it quickly becomes tiring - or duck walk can be viewed as an excellent, but punishing, workout for the legs.
Crouching is ready to spring into action: the crouch position is recommended to hikers or soldiers when resting outdoors to avoid getting a damp bum from sitting on the ground. The dictionary has this as the original meaning, the connotation has gradually changed so that crouching now describes a submissive posture derived from crouching before the cucifix, which has in turn become kneeling before the crucifix.
Squatting is routinely used in Asian jails as a prisoner holding position. The dictionary associates the word squat with with animals defecating. For humans it's akin to squatting over a hole-in-the-ground WC or "Mandy" toilet: The French Traditional W.C. It seems particularly uncomfortable to Westerners accustomed to sitting in chairs.
The punishment wall, used in old Senior Approved/Borstal regimes for 18-21 year olds. You were standing for hours on a four inch wide wall, about three feet off the ground. The advantage is you can have several on the wall at once. One Governor at Feltham had them in boots only. Kerrison Senior Approved/Reformatory had them bare feet. More about punishments in Borstal
On a similar note of punishment, at Borstal we were made to hold a large book (usually the Yellow Pages) and forced to hold it out at arms length in front of your body. Might sound easy but after 5 minutes your arms where in agony. If we let go within the 5 minutes is meant a hard whack over the arse with a strap...
In the movie Chatahoochie, based on a true story that takes place in an American mental hospital in the 1950s, there is a scene where a patient is being punished by sitting motionless on a backless bench. The guard sits there watching him with his feet sprawled out comfortably eating and smoking and reading. It is implied that the prisoner had to sit there a long time.
Search and Inspection positions
These positions aim to expose the prisoner to allow full body searches; sudden moves or resistance are exposed and thus discouraged. Maintaining the hands above the head or shoulders soon leads to fatigue.
These positions become stress positions if they are maintained for extended periods. My personal experience is limited to being detained for an hour or so in the spread-eagle position. Spread-eagle and tiptoe are frequently recommended as prisoner holding positions prior to interrogation; with the addition of a blindfold or hood, the prisoner can become confused and disorientated. This may be contrary to the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War.
Military Drill positions
British Army Drill positions
A paean could be uttered on the joys of drill. Endured by all servicemen, loved by few, detested by most, equally admired and misunderstood by civilians... the routines of military drill underpin the discipline of service life since drill was first foisted on an unwilling soldiery by the Prussians.
The following basic definitions are classics of British Army prose. A punishment of the National Service era was to be detained until the defaulter was able to recite these definitions word-perfect. The descriptions begin with the word of caution followed by the word of command.
Spring up to the following position : Heels together and in line. Feet turned out at an angle of about 30 degrees. Knees straight. Body erect, and carried evenly over the thighs, with the shoulders (which should be level and square to the front) down and moderately back; this should bring the chest to its natural forward position without any straining or stiffening. Arms hanging down from the shoulders as straight as the natural bend of the arm will allow. Wrists straight. Hands closed but not clenched. Backs of the fingers touching the thigh lightly, thumb to the front and close to the forefinger, thumb immediately behind the seam of the trousers. Neck erect. Head balanced evenly on the neck and not poked forward, eyes looking their own height and straight into the front.
The weight of the body should be balanced on both feet and evenly balanced between the forepart of the feet and the heels.
The breathing must not in any way be restricted, and no part of the body should be either drawn in or pushed out.
The position is one of readiness or expectation of the word of command and is that adopted when addressing, or being addressed by, a superior officer.
2. Standing at Ease.
Keeping the legs straight, carry the left foot about twelve inches to the left so that the weight of the body rests equally on both feet. At the same time carry the hands behind the back and place the back of the right hand in the palm of the left, grasping it lightly with the finger and thumb, and allowing the arms to hang at their full extent.
(i) In marching order without the rifle the arms will be retained as in the position of attention.
(ii) When a recruit falls in he will stand at ease after he has got his dressing.
3. Standing Easy.
The limbs, head and body may be moved, but the man will not move his feet, so that on coming to attention there is no loss of dressing. Slouching attitudes are not to be permitted. If either foot is moved men are inclined to lose their dressing. On the caution Squad, etc. the correct position of Stand at Ease will be assumed.
Note that AT EASE and PARADE REST are positions which require the body to be tensed, ie held taut, stressed.
Recruit Hazing and Harassment positions
Institutional bullying of military recruits has long been formally outlawed in the UK, EU and US, however the long-standing traditions continue. These are positions with no purpose except the harassment of recruits by their seniors.
FRONT LEANING REST, the starting position for a set of press-ups, is another position that is not restful if demanded and held for an extended period of time.
The position of SIT-OUT requires the junior recruit to sit against a wall with his body trunk vertical, thighs horizontal and lower legs vertical. The arms may be required to be held out horizontal to the front carrying a rifle. As fatigue sets in, movement is an opportunity for shouting verbal abuse at the recruit or humiliating him such as requiring him to sing the wash list. This position was known as plebe's rest in the US military academies at Annapolis and West Point.
Hazing in the US military academies went much further than fagging, which meant the allocation to the plebe class - juniors - of necessary menial duties such as fetching food, collecting washing, opening windows and winding clocks. Hazing was forbidden by law of the US Congress in 1901. Nonetheless black eyes and bruises persisted among the highly-strung recruits in the military academies. There were US Congress hearings on hazing 1901, West Point Military Academy and 1906, Hazing at Annapolis Naval Academy.
Medical Examination Positions
Doctors and nursing staff often require access to a patient's body for an examination or treatment. Anything from OPEN WIDE to PUT YOUR LEGS IN THE STIRRUPS and HOP UP ON THE COUCH ON YOUR HANDS AND KNEES for a rectal examination. Sometimes rectal examinations are carried out with the patient lying on his left side, and crouched in the foetal position.
anthropological slave positions
Historical slavery in Africa under colonial rule produced many subtleties of behaviour in inhuman conditions. Illustrations in anthropological texts include examples of slave posture with standing with head always bowed, the eyes always downwards, through to permitted positions of sitting.
Among Soninke in Sudan only the chief was allowed to sit cross-legged, other noblemen had to sit with at least one leg extended. Slaves were not permitted to sit cross-legged; if permitted to sit on the ground, both the slave's legs must be folded rearwards. Saves of lower grade were never allowed to sit but only allowed to kneel with one knee on the ground, the other folded rearwards, the head and eyes always lowered submissively.
sm slave positions
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