= Avoid Potentially Dangerous Situations
The single most important
step in conflict avoidance is knowing where NOT to be.
The ability to recognize
potentially dangerous situations is more than just common sense. It is a
learned skill that should be practiced.
There are three types of
The first person is
absolutely convinced that there is someone hiding around the corner.
This person is paranoid.
The second person is
absolutely convinced that there is no one around the corner. This person
The third person thinks
that there might be someone waiting around the corner, so they take the
appropriate precautions. This person is a careful person.
We want to you to become
Do not underestimate the
value of the first step. If we can get you in the habits of being aware of
your surroundings and always consciously being as careful as possible, you
will be much less likely to be confronted violently.
B = Be Calm, Breathe
Most people tend to become
emotional and react accordingly when confronted with an intimidating
situation. They might act angry, afraid, or intimidated. Remember, logic and
emotion are like oil and water; they don't mix. When you react emotionally
to a situation, you are almost always going to make a poor decision that
will further provoke the situation.
In order to think clearly and
logically in an intimidating situation, it is important to become calm.
Believe it or not, the easiest to maintain a calm disposition is to talk
slow, deep breaths, rather than the fast, shallow breaths that usually
accompany an emotional outburst.
Helping to maintain a clam
attitude allows you to respond, rather than react. When you can calmly
respond to an intimidating situation, you have the best chance of discussing
the situation peacefully, because you are appealing to the other person's
logic rather than emotion.
Another way to maintain a
calm disposition in an uncomfortable situation is to visualize the aggressor
in a less intimidating fashion; i.e., with a clown nose on or standing in
their underwear. This obviously is not always appropriate, but can come in
handy in some circumstances.
Visualize being in a
threatening situation. Then try to take slow, deep breaths and remain as
calm as possible. Remember, just knowing how to take deep breaths in
threatening situations is not enough; it has to become second nature. The
only way to make it second nature is practice. When confronted with an
unavoidable situation, remaining calm is the key to responding to the
situation instead of reacting to it. A simple deep breath is a powerful balm
for calming the nervous system.
Also emphasize that the most
dangerous emotions in a confrontation are fear and anger. Remember to put
your shoulders back and tip their head up slightly to allow for deeper
C = Communicate With
Studies have shown us that
most people who are the victims of violent crimes send out some sort of
signal saying that they are vulnerable. Their body language conveys the idea
that they are weak and easily intimidated.
Other studies involving
people who are frequently involved with verbal or physical altercations show
that these people send out signals of arrogance and disrespect.
The solution is simple. If you can learn to present yourself in a confident
and respectful manner, you are less likely to attract trouble.
Let's identify the signals an
insecure person sends out. How do they carry themselves? Are their shoulders
hunched forward? Do they look downward, afraid to make eye contact? Do they
speak softly and walk as though they are not sure where they are going?
The next step is to identify
the signals that Confident people send out. Remember what these signals are
and how to make them their own. Remember, even if a person doesn't feel
confident, they can appear confident by acting it.
Five basic traits of a
confident person. Confident people always:
Look people in the eye,
especially when first meeting someone.
Keep their shoulders back
and chin up.
Walk with purpose, like
they know where they are going.
Speak clearly and
confidently (but not arrogantly).
Appear alert and aware of
D = Don't Put Yourself In A
Worse Situation Than You Are Already In
It is important to remember
that, although we cannot always control our environment, we can always
control how we respond to our environment. How we respond will usually
determine the outcome.
Once we understand that we
are in control of how we respond in any given situation, we also understand
that our actions can either make the situation better or worse. Here are
In the middle of an argument,
the other person starts to yell and hurl insults. Although it might be
tempting, don't react in the same manner. Instead, listen clearly to the
other person's point of view and then respond calmly. To react emotionally
will only serve to make things worse.
If, while walking down the
street, someone pulls up next to you and, at gunpoint, tells you to get into
their car, refuse to do it. Although refusing to get into the car will
obviously infuriate your assailant, you are still much better off than if
you were to get in the car. Once in the car, you are completely at the mercy
of your assailant.
When walking home from
school, you see a group of kids up ahead looking for trouble. Instead of
walking past them, take another route home. Remember, you're not a coward
for avoiding the, you are intelligent.
E = Environment Can Be Used To
Being aware of your
environment is critically important in making the best of a bad situation.
Your environment can work for or against you. Awareness of your environment
is a powerful tool for avoiding or dissipating a conflict.
A child should be taught
where the safe houses are in the neighborhood. They should be taught whom to
go to when in need of assistance. A safe choice is to teach your young
students to look for someone in a uniform, a parent with child, or, in
certain circumstances, even a stranger.
You should be reminded of the
basics of how to use your environment to your advantage. Park in well lit
areas. Stay away from known trouble spots. Shop during the day when
possible. When out at night, keep the car doors locked. Use the buddy system
whenever possible. Keep as much distance as possible between yourself and a
would-be attacker, etc.
Learn to identify the natural
weapons available to you in any given environment can be beneficial. Some
natural weapons could be car keys, lip or eyeliner pencil, a coffee mug
(imagine getting hit on the bridge of the nose with the rim of a coffee
mug), a shoe held in the hand, or even a belt.
Brainstorm with your family
and friends to come up with other natural weapons for possible defense.
F = Stands For Yelling Fire
Instead Of HELP
Yelling Fire is a good
alternative to yelling, Help . Often people will not respond to a direct
plea for help because they are afraid to become involved. But, everyone is
curious when someone yells Fire. The attention that yelling Fire brings to a
situation, may be enough to dissipate it.
Also, there are other
comments to shout that may be helpful, depending on the situation or the
person's age. Learn alternative comments such as, He's not my dad, or they
are trying to kidnap me. Give them choice if confronted with a potentially
G = Get Away
The point in any
confrontation should be to Get Away as soon as possible, not to Win . You
must know that running from a dangerous situation is OK to do.
In today's climate, there are
too many variables that come into play. The repercussions of winning an
argument or fight aren't worth it.
Make your objective to end
the conflict not to win the conflict. Getting away from a dangerous
situation is always a top priority.
Remember the wisdom of this
step by pointing out the potential for revenge if the confrontation
escalates to violence or potential legal repercussions.
Also remember that this Get
Away step is really your last option to avoid conflict.
H = Hit Hard, Hit Fast, Hit
When you have done everything
in your power to avoid a confrontation, but are unsuccessful, the worst
thing that you can do is to let your opponent strike first. If the aggressor
steps inside your comfort zone, you have two options. The first is to step
back out of range; the second is to strike. If you are forced to defend
yourself, don't hesitate! Hit Hard, Hit Fast, Hit First.
A person who knows how to
strike without telegraphing and is close enough to touch the opponent can
almost, without exception, be effective with the first strike or two. This
is why it is important to strike first; because if your opponent strikes
first, chances are you are going to get hit.
If you strike first, but pick
a poor target and/or a weak strike, you will probably lose your advantage.
That is why having effective striking zones is important.
Programming basic, powerful strikes to designated areas; such as neck, nose,
knee, and groin; will give your students a powerful advantage.
From H to A