Sometimes it’s just fun to watch an aggressor have the tables turned on him. That said, there are some good Active Self Protection lessons about social violence as well as the four controls we work on in our training!
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Original video of the aggressor is available in our Instructor Development Portal.
What does this surveillance video teach us about defending ourselves against an aggressor?
- If you can win “the fight before the fight,” you win. You win that fight by minimizing your potential for being attacked in the first place! That means making smart decisions and living a life of awareness and readiness so that you don’t take unnecessary risks. It means knowing what tips an aggressor off and doing what you can to minimize the risk of being attacked in the first place!
- The eyes may be the windows to the soul, but the hands are the windows to the intent of an aggressor. If you’re in a potential conflict, ALWAYS pay attention to what the aggressor is doing with their hands. They might have a force multiplier in their hand, or they might be hiding their hand so that you can’t see what is in it or using their hand to conceal something. If their hands are empty, there is a difference between someone with fists and someone whose hands are open and relaxed. As a self-defender your situational awareness must include seeing the hands of any potential threat in your vicinity, so watch the hands!
- A life of self-protection must be dedicated to avoidance, de-escalation, and escape whenever possible. You win 100% of the fights that you don’t get in, so make a commitment to de-escalate, escape, or evade any encounter you possibly can. Having good situational awareness will give you more time and opportunity to see problems coming and formulate a plan to stay away and protect yourself without danger to yourself or others. This is always our first choice as self-defenders.
- If you know there might be danger around or an aggressor like this, you should not stand there flat-footed with your hands at your side. That’s a great way to get lit up. Instead, if you think danger might be coming but not imminent, get your hands up protecting your head, neck, and chest. I do this by tucking one hand under the other elbow, and the free hand on my chin as if I were in deep contemplation. Others do it using the “interview position” with both hands as if they’re holding a pad and pen. Getting your hands up shaves split seconds off of your reaction time, but that might make the difference between life and death if you can prepare. Thankfully this aggressor telegraphed his punch, so the defender had time to intercept it.
- Using your verbal judo to de-escalate and redirect a conflict is always the best choice if it is available, so make sure that your verbal game is strong. Knowing how to redirect, how to persuade, how to empathize, and how to talk someone down from a confrontation is critical to avoiding some fights. That said, we must also know that some people will not be dissuaded from a fight, so knowing when to talk and when to act is critical as well.
Attitude. Skills. Plan.
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