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How a Military Concept Called "Left of Bang" Can Apply To Violence Prevention and Self Defense

Updated: Feb 20


Imagine a timeline. On one end, there's a bang - a dangerous event that you want to avoid. On the other end, there's a series of actions and decisions that can prevent that bang from ever happening.


This is the concept of "Left of Bang," a revolutionary self-defense strategy that has its roots in military tactics. In this article, we'll explore how this concept can be applied to personal self-defense, helping you to stay safe and secure in a variety of situations.


How a Military Concept Called "Left of Bang" Can Apply To Violence Prevention and Self Defense
How a Military Concept Called "Left of Bang" Can Apply To Violence Prevention and Self Defense

Originating from military and law enforcement circles, the "left of bang" concept encourages individuals and organizations to identify and address potential threats before they escalate, ultimately promoting safety and security. In this article, we will delve into the "left of bang" concept, its origins, and its relevance in various aspects of life.


The Origin of "Left of Bang"


The term "left of bang" comes from the book "Left of Bang: How the Marine Corps' Combat Hunter Program Can Save Your Life," written by Patrick Van Horne and Jason A. Riley. This book, based on the U.S. Marine Corps' Combat Hunter program, introduced the idea of being "left of bang," where "bang" represents a critical incident or a violent event.


Being "left of bang" means recognizing the signs and indicators that precede an incident and taking proactive steps to prevent or mitigate it.


Understanding The Left of Bang Concept


Preemptive Awareness: The core principle of "left of bang" is preemptive awareness. It involves recognizing pre-incident indicators or behavioral cues that may signal a potential threat. These cues can include changes in body language, unusual behavior, or suspicious activity.


Proactive Decision-Making: Once potential threats are identified, individuals are encouraged to make proactive decisions and take appropriate actions to prevent or respond to the situation. This may involve alerting authorities, moving to a safer location, or de-escalating a potentially volatile encounter.


Risk Mitigation: The goal of "left of bang" is to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of violence or other adverse events. By identifying threats early and acting on that knowledge, individuals and organizations can mitigate risks effectively.


Applications of "Left of Bang"


The "Left of Bang" concept, originating from the military and law enforcement, can be a valuable approach in personal self-defense situations. It involves recognizing pre-incident indicators or cues that may signal potential threats and taking proactive measures to stay safe. Here's how "Left of Bang" can be applied in personal self-defense:

How a Military Concept Called "Left of Bang" Can Apply To Violence Prevention and Self Defense
How a Military Concept Called "Left of Bang" Can Apply To Violence Prevention and Self Defense
  1. Situational Awareness: The foundation of "Left of Bang" is situational awareness. Pay close attention to your surroundings, the people around you, and any potential threats. Avoid distractions like excessive smartphone use or headphones, which can limit your awareness.

  2. Baseline Assessment: Establish a baseline understanding of what is normal in your environment. This includes typical behavior, routines, and the appearance of people and objects. Deviations from this baseline can signal potential threats.

  3. Identify Anomalies: Be on the lookout for anomalies or deviations from the baseline. These can include unusual behavior, body language, or attire that raises suspicion. Trust your instincts; if something doesn't feel right, take it seriously.

  4. Behavioral Cues: Pay close attention to behavioral cues that may indicate potential danger. These can include aggressive postures, nervous gestures, erratic movements, or signs of intoxication or drug use.

  5. Verbal Indicators: Listen for verbal indicators, such as aggressive language, threats, or confrontational remarks. Verbal cues can provide important information about a person's intentions.

  6. Maintain Distance: If you observe someone displaying concerning behaviors or cues, create distance between yourself and the potential threat. This can provide you with more time to react if the situation escalates.

  7. Alert Others: If you're in a public setting, alert others to the potential threat discreetly. In many situations, bystanders can provide assistance or act as witnesses if needed.

  8. Have an Exit Plan: Always know your exit routes and have a plan in place for how to escape if the situation becomes dangerous. Avoid getting trapped in confined spaces with limited escape options.

  9. Seek Help: If the situation escalates and you feel physically threatened, call for help immediately. Dial emergency services or alert security personnel or law enforcement if available.

  10. Self-Defense Training: Consider undergoing self-defense training to learn physical techniques for protecting yourself in case of an attack. Knowing how to defend yourself can provide confidence and a greater sense of security.

  11. Avoid Ego Battles: It's essential to remember that self-defense is about protecting yourself, not winning a fight or proving a point. If you can escape or avoid a physical confrontation, do so.

  12. Legal Considerations: Familiarize yourself with the laws regarding self-defense in your jurisdiction. Understanding your rights and responsibilities is crucial.


Situational Awareness Series


Applying "Left of Bang" to Self-Defense

In the context of self-defense, the "bang" could be a physical attack, a robbery, or any other dangerous situation. The key to preventing these situations is to be proactive and take steps to avoid them before they happen. Here are a few ways to apply the "left of bang" concept to your self-defense strategy:


Situational Awareness

One of the most important aspects of "left of bang" self-defense is being aware of your surroundings. This means paying attention to the people and events around you, and being able to spot potential threats before they become dangerous. By staying alert and aware, you can avoid dangerous situations and take steps to protect yourself.


Body Language

Your body language can play a big role in how others perceive you. By standing tall, making eye contact, and using confident body language, you can project an image of strength and deter potential attackers. On the other hand, if you appear timid or unsure of yourself, you may be more likely to be targeted.


Verbal De-escalation

In many self-defense situations, the best approach is to de-escalate the situation verbally. This means using clear and assertive language to communicate your boundaries and intentions, while also trying to calm the other person down. By de-escalating the situation, you may be able to prevent it from turning physical.


Physical Defense

If the situation does turn physical, it's important to have a plan for defending yourself. This could include learning self-defense techniques, carrying pepper spray or a personal alarm, or knowing how to use everyday objects as weapons. The key is to be prepared and know how to defend yourself if necessary.


Incorporating "Left of Bang" principles into your daily life can significantly enhance your personal safety. By being vigilant, recognizing potential threats early, and taking proactive measures to mitigate risks, you can reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim in self-defense situations. Remember that the primary goal is to stay safe and avoid confrontations whenever possible.

The "left of bang" concept underscores the importance of proactive situational awareness and early threat detection. By recognizing potential threats and taking preemptive action, individuals and organizations can enhance their safety and security in an uncertain world.


Whether applied in military operations, law enforcement, or everyday life, "left of bang" serves as a valuable tool for minimizing risks and promoting a proactive approach to personal and collective security.


Violence Prevention and Self Defense Articles

The goal of the Center for Violence Prevention and Self Defense is to stop violence by educating at-risk people and empower them with the skills needed to protect themselves both online and live training. CVPSD's live training is available to people of all ages.


Through workshops and seminars we educate participants about violence prevention and guide them on assessing risk factors while establishing boundaries in relationships. Additionally practical self defense classes equip people with hands on skills and effective strategies to prevent and intervene in cases of assault.

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