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Personal Protective Stances and Tactics for Self Defense and Violence Prevention

Updated: Jan 11

How To Stand And Position Your Body Prior To Conflict For Best Self Defense

If you find yourself in a circumstance where avoidance and escaping the threat is not an option and the aggressor is advancing, it is critical that you ring-fence your personal space to control the gap between you and the opponent.

How To Stand And Postion Your Body Prior To Conflict For Best Self Defense
How To Stand And Postion Your Body Prior To Conflict For Best Self Defense

As we discussed in the previous articles many violent conflicts begin with an interaction before the assault.

Obviously for an interaction to take place proximity must change. This is how criminals close the distance. Criminals will advance and the close gap down to two feet or less using conversational or some other technique.

You need to defend the gap between you and the opponent. It's vital to your survival. This critical space gives you precious time and options. The closing of the gap is their final action before the assault. You must prevent them from closing this gap.

Secure The Gap

Gap security and is maintained by ring-fencing. Ring-fencing is a nonaggressive body posture that you control the space between you and the opponent. Controlling the gap will buy the time you need to act. Once secure you can try to deescalate the situation verbally or reposition yourself to a more dominant position.

If hostilities continue to escalate your ring-fence security offers you well-positioned defense as well as a strong high ready stance to do your own preemptive strike.

Low ready stance to strike should things escalate

The fact is that in any violent conflict you are going to trigger an adrenal stress response (adrenalized). The fight or flight response, which is inevitable in violent situations. This should be understood and is thoroughly covered under;

Having some type of strategy will help you manage your fear which reduces brain fade. It also increases your response time and provides you options. The strategy could include;

  • Situational Awareness set to condition orange- Be alert and vigilant

  • Avoid and escape when possible.

  • Implement a Ringfence for all Threat

  • Verbally de-escalate the situation, if possible.

  • Preemptive strike, fast, and hard

  • Strike until there’s no more threat and then escape.

Once again, good situational awareness will help you avoid and escape most problems. For those it can't, you move to deploy your ring-fenced to secure your physical circle of defense.

At this point is a good time for verbal de-escalation.

Setting Up a Ring-Fence

The Ring Fence is a spin-off of the great Geoff Thompson's work in the early 1990s. It's critical that you secure the space and occupy the gap between you and the threat. There are a number of techniques to do this without escalating the situation.

Positioning your body in a certain way and while raising your hands above the threat's hands in a non-aggressive fashion. To the uninitiated, you will appear calm, confident, and naturally chatting while speaking with your hands.

We are trained in public speaking to make outstretched gestures to the audience with open palms. It has evolutionary foundations according to Mark Bowden, president of a Toronto-based communications training firm.

It refers to it as "no tools, no weapons." Everything from the handshake to the "hands up" movement people give to police provides proof that you have nothing to hide. "If I'm showing open palms, it signals to everybody that I've got nothing to harm you and I'm exposed," he says

However, it covertly brings your weapons to bear in a high ready stance to strike should things escalate between you and an attacker.

High ready stance to strike should things escalate. You can use the ring-fence to keep you safe while you try a verbal deescalate the situation.

The position of the body sends a subconscious message to the threat that it will be tougher then he thought which may get him to reconsider. You want to avoid an aggressive fighting stance as talks commence.

A high ready ring-fence position also sends a message to the people and security cameras around you that you are calm and trying to be peaceful with an agitated person.

For situations that turn from threat to hostile, the ring-fence is an excellent jumping-off point to launch a preemptive strike. Deception is key for a preemptive attack.

Where you position your hands is dictated by the nature of talks and distance between you and the threat. If the opponent has to take a step forward in order to strike you that's considered outside touching distance.

You may be in a situation where you're at close range and have little option otherwise. Close proximity is required in order to hear each other. This is typical in;

  • Crowd like situation on a city street.

  • Confined space like hallways bathrooms

  • A noisy environment like a bar

Where you position your hands for the ring-fence is up to you. The only rule is you protect the gap and appear nonaggressive.

The Bro Fight Stance
The Bro Fight Stance

The Bro Fight Stance (NEVER DO IT)

Is one the most assumed positions prior to a fight if you search street fights on the internet. It is also of the most dangerous position to assume prior to a fight as it;

  • Reduces your reaction time

  • Reduces your startle flinch response

  • No lastic response

  • No offensive or defensive capabilities.

Lastic response refers to the nature a muscle is in depending on the position of a particular body part.

The difference has an impact on reaction and performance. Think of it as the difference between the two rubber bands. The first one is taught and ready to release its stored energy versus one that hanging and would need to be drawn back first.

Prayer Hands or Seat Belt Stance
Prayer Hands or Seat Belt Stance

Widely adopted by professional security details and secret service personal. It's an unassuming mid-range position with hands at chest level. It is well balanced and appears professional. It offers the following benefits;

Positions hands to move the jacket out the way to draw their weapon if need be.

  • Helps maintain weapon cover by securing a jacket.

  • Hands are in the ready position to respond.

  • Outside The Ring Fence

This is an effective body stance when the threat is beyond arm's length and outside your ring-fence. This is an example of “Thinking Man Stance.” Great position to keep your hands on the high ready position while appearing relaxed and non-threatening.

Thinking Man Stance- Self Defense Stance- non-combative, gestures, and natural body language
Thinking Man Stance- Self Defense Stance- non-combative, gestures, and natural body language

Important to point out to maintain lastic muscle response and not to tuck the hand too deep in the armpit that it restricts movement.

Self Defense Ring Fence Range

Possible threats can be managed by controlling the space between you and the aggressor in a simple and fluid approach. This is accomplished by communicating with your hands and using non-combative, gestures, and natural body language.

The next stance uses the ring-fence somewhat more aggressively. A potential attacker that is notably agitated needs more security. This high ready position is for high-risk threats. Its the international symbol for "I don’t want any trouble.” Stab back.

Inside The Ring-Fence (Touching Range)

When you are in close quarters situation with a threat, it is best to keep your hands in a high ready stance. Again this posture should have a non-aggressive appearance and you should maintain the lateral body movements while speaking with your hands.

Inside The Ring-Fence
Inside The Ring-Fence

The Lead Hand of the Ring Fence Serves Three Roles:

The lead hand acts as a spotter and range finder. If your lead hand can touch them, then your rear hand can strike.

The lead hand secures the gap and prevents the bro stance. If the ring-fence goes down, the gap will close, accompanied by a strike.

The lead hand serves as a probe telling you when an attack is imminent. Remember a forward-moving attacker is the last signal to violence. The early trigger warning will give you vital time to respond.

The lead hand slows down an attacker's advance. The attacker will have have a harder time closing the gap with you.

Effective Lower Body Positioning For Inside-Outside Ring Fence

Place your lead foot 12 to 18 inches in front of your trailing foot, and point your toe toward the aggressor. The position of your feet should be approximately shoulder-width apart and turn your trailing foot about 45 degrees outward to provide stability.

Keep the heel of your trailing foot slightly off the ground and carry your body weight on the balls of your feet. Turn your waist slightly so that your lead hip is facing the opponent. Maintain a 50 / 50 weight distribution.

Stillness is Death

This is a great quote that typifies the construct of the platform you are trying to create. The ring-fence is dynamic, forever moving, and never fixed and 360 degrees. Maintain lateral and hand movement in an effort to overload your opponent with information while keeping you off the X and controlling the gap.

No One is Coming to Help

If you cant de-escalate the situation, one of 2 things is going to happen, they are going to hit you or you are going to hit them. Either way, you are in a ready state to deliver a preemptive strike or defend. Based on the threat this person poses and the physical disparity between you and the attacker you can decide to preempt or respond.

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