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  ABC's Of Conflict Avoidance

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ABC's of Conflict Avoidance

A = 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 people. 

    1. The first person is absolutely convinced that there is someone hiding around the corner. This person is paranoid.

    2. The second person is absolutely convinced that there is no one around the corner. This person is naive.

    3. 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 careful people.

  • 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 breaths.

C = Communicate With Confidence

  • 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:

    1. Look people in the eye, especially when first meeting someone.

    2. Keep their shoulders back and chin up.

    3. Walk with purpose, like they know where they are going.

    4. Speak clearly and confidently (but not arrogantly).

    5. Appear alert and aware of their surroundings.

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 several examples:

  • 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 Your Advantage

  • 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 dangerous situation.

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 First

  • 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

  • Once a situation has become a violent confrontation, practice to work backwards from H to A.

    • Hit Hard, Hit Fast, Hit First (H)

    • Then Get Away (G)

    • As you exit the situation, yell FIRE to attract attention to mitigate further conflict (F)

    • Pay attention to how your Environment will benefit your safety (E)

    • So you Don't Put Yourself in a Worse Situation Than You Are Already In (D)

    • Communicate With Confidence your needs to anyone in uniform, or even a stranger who can help eliminate the conflict. (C)

    • Remember to Be Calm and Breathe to remain in control of your body (B)

    • Finally, use what you learned from this situation to Avoid a Potentially Dangerous Situation in the future (A)

American Family Kenpo 19 Depot Street  Uxbridge, MA
(508) 838 - 8438