Kiado-Ryu Karate

Apr 26, 2021 - Feature of the Week

The KIA C.A.P. Plan

For Self-Defense and Survival

Life is full of strife, struggle and conflict. Name one clear-headed adult on the planet who would disagree with this reality. Strife et al. is the basic nature of this world. Of course there are varying kinds and levels of struggle and, to be sure, everyone will experience them at some time or other.

The germane question is, “How do we deal with the strife, struggle and conflict? Everyone has his/her own strategy. In dealing with such situations, the Karate Institute of America offers the C.A.P. plan—an acronym for “Calm-Aware-Prepare.”

Martial Arts is rooted in the principle of self-preservation, which means that a person may have to protect himself, his family, friends and possibly others from the nefarious, violent and destructive conduct of villainous souls. The C.A.P. strategy addresses this situation.

In the C.A.P. plan, the “C” stands for calm. When we’re confronted with a threat, we get excited. It’s normal. However, our ability to manage the situation requires us to remain calm as best we can when facing a threat for three basic reasons.

  1. When we’re excited we may not be able to think clearly, and clarity of thought is critical in handling a threat.
  2. Being excited may cause an adrenaline rush which could impede our ability to move. When we can’t think or move, we’re in trouble from the get go.
  3. By remaining calm we may be able to mollify the situation and thereby neutralize the threat. If the threat escalates to an attack, we will at least be ready to manage it via our ability to think and move.

The “A” signifies aware. We’re living in an age where being aware of our surroundings and the people in it are mandatory for our well-being, even survival. Anything can happen anywhere in an instant. For example, when we go into a store, do we quickly surveil the environment and the people in it? When we go to a dine-in restaurant or a shopping mall, do we immediately look for avenues of escape, such as other doors? Do we also look for places creating cover, i.e., structures that would stop a bullet if we were to hide behind them?

The “P” stands for prepare. This involves forethought and planning. What good is it if we remain calm and aware but have no plan when confronted with a dangerous situation? When mayhem erupts is not the time to ask ourselves, “What do I do?” It would be too late. Part of being prepared is knowing that chaos can always explode any time, any where—at work, churches, malls, theme parks, movie theaters, grocery stores, commercial buildings, restaurants, beauty shops, etc. With the world coming unraveled, we simply cannot afford to be lazy or indifferent to life by being unprepared.

Being able to execute the C.A.P. strategy requires that we practice such events by visualizing them and acting perfectly in such conditions. For example, we should visualize ourselves being very calm entering a store (or other place, event, etc.). As we do so, we quickly look around at who’s there and where additional exits may be located. In shopping malls, for example, every store within the mall has a back door where deliveries are made. Those back doors lead to open areas. Then, we should visualize some dangerous event occurring with us executing the C.A.P. plan and escaping the place or event successfully.


The Department of Homeland Security emphasizes the RUN►HIDE►FIGHT strategy if an active shooter event were to occur. The attached video is only 5:55. Watch it! It contains valuable information and could save your life and those of others.


  • If there is an escape path, attempt to evacuate.
  • Evacuate whether others agree to or not.
  • Leave your belongings behind.
  • Help others escape if possible.
  • Prevent others from entering the area.
  • Call 911 when you are safe.


  • Lock and/or blockade the door.
  • Silence your cell phone.
  • Hide behind large objects.
  • Remain very quiet.


  • Attempt to incapacitate the shooter.
  • Act with physical aggression.
  • Improvise weapons.
  • Commit to your actions.

DHS Notes

  • Try to be aware of your environment.
  • Always have an exit plan.
  • Know that in an incident like this, victims are generally chosen randomly.
  • The event is unpredictable and may evolve quickly.
  • First responders are not there to evacuate or tend to the injured. They are there to stop the shooter.

911 – When Law Enforcement Arrives

  • Remain calm and follow instructions.
  • Keep your hands visible at all times.
  • Avoid pointing or yelling.
  • Know that help for the injured is on its way.

It’s sad the world has come to this but it has and all of us must deal with its reality. Therefore, be wise and educated. Take the time to think through some scenarios. Practice by visualizing. Do not be lazy or indifferent. Your life and the lives of others may well be at stake, and your preparedness could be the key to survival.