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Violence!….. To Engage or Disengage?

Posted September 6, 2018 12:57 am

What happens when you’re confronted by someone or a group intent on violently attacking you?

Fear?
Anger?
Or a commitment to one’s self?

Perhaps a combination of all 3.

For the untrained or somebody who has trained but never experienced a real violent confrontation, Fear may well be the strongest emotion here.

For somebody who has trained regularly and or just experienced violence previously often it will be a combination of Fear and Anger.

However what we really need to see, is a small amount of fear (unavoidable to a degree and useful initially), a small amount of anger (too much is dangerous) and a very strong commitment to ones self! (most important).

What do we mean by that?
Well you need to be committed to going home in one piece or as close to one piece as possible, for it’s not just your self worth, it’s also the worth others have for you , such as family members depending on you etc.

It’s the commitment to survive the situation by what ever means are necessary, keeping the legalities in mind!

It’s the commitment to keep going no matter what!

Giving in isn’t an option here!

To Engage or Disengage?

Let’s look at the options, if we engage what are the odds of winning versus survival, or losing? And what does losing mean?

Well survival and or losing could mean a lengthy stay in hospital, it could mean living with a permanent disability or worse, you’re family may become carers for you.

If we engage after some kind of attack such as a punch or push etc, will we have given the attacker/s the upper hand, or will we be coming from a position of surprise?

That’s a difficult question and will depend entirely on the attackers attitude, Eg:- too much confidence, very aggressive attitude or too much fear.

Each option will cause a different response from the attacker/s, so we need to assess their mental state to a degree and respond appropriately.

Does engagement mean an all out assault with everything available or a moderate response to create distance and dissuade the attacker/s from pursuing the situation further.

The variables are enormous and every situation will dictate a different response from ourselves, the most important thing is, if we are to engage :- do we wait and respond as discussed earlier or do we Preemptively Strike?

Keeping in mind the legalities of the situation and having exhausted every other civilized approach such as verbal deescalation, Preemption may well be the best option.

Having tried the verbal deescalation approach prior to preempting will certainly lower the level of aggression and alertness of the attacker/s giving you a much greater chance of success.

Stun and Run! at this point would be a great strategy if possible!

If there is no option of escape then you must fight on with everything you have!

Keeping in mind that you should recognize when the job is done and it’s time to move on, in other words exercise control and restraint as required.

What if our response is to simply not engage and cut and run?

Well that would of course be the ideal solution, But! it’s not always possible, for a myriad of reasons Eg:- you’re with a loved one who won’t be able to keep up if you run, the attacker/s are too close and if you turn to run you give your back to him / them and they’ll be all over you, confined spaces, you’re encircled or you’re incapable of running due to injury or you’re in some way encumbered.

So what do we do?
Well, we go through the process again, Verbal deescalation (we should be assessing the mentality of our attacker/s at this point), looking for common objects we can use as obstacles or weapons, tactical positioning, mental preparation for the inevitable and make the appropriate decision:- Engage or Disengage!

Advantages of disengaging:-

  • No need for physical interaction.
  • Limited or no injury.
  • No legal risk.
  • Disadvantages of disengaging:-

  • There are very few.
  • You have loved ones and leaving them would be disasterous.
  • Potentially in close quarters you won’t have time to escape without the attacker/s being all over you.
  • Advantages of Engaging:-

  • You may take the attacker/s by surprise, giving you the upper hand and opportunity to overwhelm and disengage.
  • You may create an opportunity for your loved ones to escape unharmed.
  • In a group situation you may be able to defuse a much bigger situation by taking Preemptive action and nipping it in the bud.
  • Disadvantages of Engaging:-

  • Huge risk of personal injury.
  • Legal risk! That is ending up as the criminal when starting as the victim. The bad guys know how to use the legal system against us!
  • Waiting for the attacker/s to throw the first punch may leave you at a huge disadvantage or maybe even catch you by surprise when distracted.
  • Blog post by Dave Sargent, Senior Instructor at Krav Maga Canberra.

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