Kiado-Ryu Karate

Dec 6, 2021 - Feature of the Week

Potential Combatant: First 4 Actions

Most of us, perhaps all of us, have been in a situation involving a potential combatant. Perhaps it is an angry driver, pissed off neighbor, unruly guest at a function—whatever, whenever, wherever, whomever. The thing is, we want to avoid a physical confrontation if at all possible. We don’t want to hurt anybody, get hurt ourselves, or be part of a self-defense conflict in which things can get out of hand, destructive, or worse.

Something to remember: in today’s increasingly hyper-sensitive, emotionally explosive, and lunatically litigious atmosphere, every punch, strike, kick, etc. will most assuredly have some lawyer’s name on it. In other words, each individual involved in a physical conflict will most likely have to “lawyer up” because there may well be lawsuits filed. It’s just the way it is. Do we really want that? Just think of all the turmoil, headaches and costs involved. Therefore, wisdom necessitates we do all we can to avoid any calamity. And don’t forget the real potential of any cell phone cameras recording everything by some onlooker. Videos are great evidence.

Kiado-Ryu Martial Arts recommends the following FIRST 4 ACTIONS in order to prevent any physical clashing when confronted with a potential combatant.

Remain Calm

Keep your cool! Take a deep breath. It’s hard to think clearly when we’re upset.

Establish Distance

Keep your distance. Position yourself no less than three armlengths away from the other person. Distance = time … and safety. Three arm lengths will provide enough reaction time if needed should your combatant move on you. It is incredible how almost universally this tactic of creating distance is violated. If the other individual begins to move toward you, put your hand out and tell him to stop. Be polite if possible, using a phrase such as, “Please, don’t come closer,” or, if needed, a sharp “Stop!” or a strongly delivered “Back off!” Using such phrases will be critical to whether a judge and jury find you guilty or not if a fight were to occur and you ended up defending yourself in court. Informing your assailant you do not want a confrontation shows you are peaceful and not the perpetrator of the conflict.

Check the Hands

This is often missed or even neglected in a potential self-defense situation. Look at the hands of the individual! Is there anything in them that can hurt you? Gun? Knife? Club? Stick? Spray can? Rock? Rope? If there is one of these implements, it’s a red flag of potential escalation. Be aware and beware. This is not a time to let your concentration slacken. Just the opposite.

Be Non-threatening

In your language, body motion, and tone of voice be as non-threatening as possible, at least in the initial encounter. Let your sense of calm, calm the other person down. Don’t scream at him/her using explosive language or take an obvious fighting stance. The goal is to neutralize any fear or angst in the other person in order to de-escalate tension and keep him from advancing.

From this point in the process you can talk things out, hopefully. Should the situation devolve into some type and degree of physical confrontation, then use your self-defense skills but don’t overdo it. The law generally allows one punch to be given for one punch taken but no more. Excessive force is against the law. However, if the situation further devolves into a life or death situation and you are afraid for your life then use whatever force is necessary to neutralize the threat and keep yourself safe.

Self-defense is a God-given right. If a confrontation is imminent, don’t be afraid to simply walk away. Ask yourself if your ego is too involved. Don’t let it be. Also, is a conflict with this person, and its cost, really worth it? Think before you act. What are the immediate and long term consequences for you and your family? Duking it out does have repercussions. After all, this is not the Old West. It’s 21st Century territory—for better or worse.

To review these 4 actions:

  1. Remain Calm
  2. Establish Distance
  3. Check the Hands
  4. Be Non-threatening

Stay safe, remain alert, be well and … be smart!