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Conflict, what does it mean to us and how do we deal with it?

Posted April 6, 2018 5:00 am

Firstly, there are many forms of conflict ranging from state sponsored
(war or insurgency), gang or tribal conflicts to name but a few, or most relevant to us:- inter personal conflict. That is between individuals or small groups of individuals not necessarily gang related but none the less pack mentality type situations.

What it means to us is that we need the skills to recognize, rationalize and respond appropriately depending on the situation.

Some people may have heard of the OODA loop, an acronym for the decision cycle developed by a US Airforce Colonel.
It goes like this:- Observe, Orient, Decide, Act.
In other words for us, we need to use this process in our everyday judgement process when dealing with a potentially violent interaction so as to respond appropriately.

I’m not going to go to far into depth here as that’s for future blogs.
Let’s look at the individual versus individual or small group situation.
As that’s what’s most relevant to us as Krav Maga practioners, this is what we train for!
Having said that of course some come to us for fitness or strength training or just plain exercise and fun, never the less, all leave with the ability to defend themselves to a degree.

Conflict / potentially violent encounters!

Here’s a couple of examples;-
The kind of thing that can happen after a football game between supporters of opposing sides or as is common a bunch of supporters wound up on alcohol and some innocent passerby who happens to look the wrong way or bump into one of them accidentally.
The truth is the above situation doesn’t require a football game to wind people up, it’s just what can happen given a group of people mixed with alcohol and somebodies poor choices at a given time.
It could be the new kid at school being picked on by his new peers for nothing more than being new!
It could be one on one, where for anyone of a thousand reasons somebody feels the need to vent their aggression on another individual.

So, the what causes it question?
Well that’s a very broad question really, as I’ve pointed out above with just a very small set of examples. Conflict can evolve in an instant.
It doesn’t NEED a long term precursor but frequently comes with one. Eg;- an ongoing grudge between individuals or groups.
It can come from a perceived injustice, a glance in the wrong direction especially common with men (EGO! IT IS A DIRTY WORD!). Or it could be in the case of gangs or groups a punishment being handed out or if it’s more a random act by those groups it’s likely to be a nominee or an up and coming member who has to prove something to the group.
We could spend hours on the phsycology behind it, but in the end that’s of limited use unless fighting an enemy in war. We simply need to read the signals and act!

The thing to do here is try to recognize the symptoms of the problem and deal with it as early as possible to avoid the conflict in the first place. Which by the way is not necessarily possible when it comes to long term grudges, however the spontaneous situation between people who don’t know each other, even though spontaneous in nature may well be far more manageable given a little SITUATIONAL AWERNESS and use of previously trained skills both physical and mental (remember the OODA loop).

We need to OBSERVE both the people in our surroundings and the environment. ORIENTATE ourselves in relation to common objects to use as weapons and shields etc, exits and potential obstacles or choke points. DECIDE on our path, be it to deescalate verbally and physically with words and body language and evacuate ourselves before it gets violent, or to preemptively escalate / attack, with an appropriate level of aggression to solve the problem or simply create enough time to evacuate ourselves. THEN OF COURSE WE MUST ACT!

All in all the most important thing to remember is we need to observe and recognize the situation before or very early as it unfolds to respond appropriately. The single most important thing to us as Krav Maga practitioners is without doubt SITUATIONAL AWARENESS!

In summary, at Krav Maga Canberra we aim to not only train people to better defend themselves but to better understand the conflict dynamic or in plain english, what causes it, how to deal with it when it happens and most importantly how to avoid it if possible.

Blog post by Dave Sargent, Senior Instructor Krav Maga Canberra