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Ritualized Combat - By Darren Laur
September 08, 2004
Below is an useful article from prominent self defense instructor Darren Laur on how to watch for body language signs that will help us to decide whether to defuse (talk it down) or defend (fight it out).
Hope you enjoy the article as much as I do.
by DARREN LAUR
Ritualized Combat was termed by a police trainer
by the name of Roland Ouellette. Basically, these "body language
signs" are rituals that the human body will, in most cases, go through just
prior, during, and after a physical confrontation (not so different from the
animal kingdom). These signs are important, why?, because they are really
good warning signals to let you know what your potential attacker may be
contemplating, even though he may not be “verbally” communicating this fact
to you. Ritualized Combative signs have been both scientifically and
empirically researched in such fields as “Human Performance” and “Neuro
Linguistic Psychology.” Here in Canada, I have used “Ritualized
Combative Signs” successfully in the Courts during expert testimony in
Self-Defense cases. I also possess hundreds of hours of videotape of
actual street fights, and when reviewed both in real time and in slow motion,
every one of the Ritualized Combative signs that I share in my articles and
training, are seen prior, during, and after these fights. This is why I
believe that all in the self-protection field should know about “Ritualized
Combat”. So what are these signs?
Assault Not Imminent But Possible:
you find yourself confronted by a subject presenting these signs, awareness/self
protection strategies should go up, and distance should be created. Your
body language should be assertive but not threatening and don’t be afraid to
allow the person to vent verbally.
Assault Is Imminent:
In this group of signs, you have about 1-1.5 seconds to act before your attacker either attacks or runs. If walking and talking your way out is inappropriate or unreasonable, then I teach “First Strike” philosophy, and continue on with a compound attack until your attacker is no longer a risk.
In both the Assault Not Imminent and Assault Imminent phases, I do teach my students (in some situations) to bring to the attention of the attacker what you are seeing because:
1) The attacker may not know
what they are doing. A lot of these signs are autonomic in nature, meaning
they happen without conscious thought.
If you have been able to deescalate the situation you have found yourself in, non-verbally, verbally or physically, also look for these Ritualized Combat signs that are good indicators to let you know that your opponent is no longer thinking about fighting:
Signs Of Submission:
Putting hands up in front of body
with palms facing out…. (universal sign for stop, stay back - also Kissaki Kai
Karate ready posture)
In all of the above noted signs, don’t just look for one, but rather clusters of two or more. If you see one and know what to look for, you will see others guaranteed. As a police officer who has been involved in many physical encounters, I can share with you that “Ritualized Combat” is a tool that you can use to your advantage. Many of my students, who are not police officers, who have found themselves in ‘situations” have also echoed the tactical benefit of such knowledge. One should also remember that a skilled attacker “may” be able to mask some of these signs, so never drop you guard and fall into a false sense of confidence!! Also remember that if the voice and body don’t match, always believe the body because the voice can LIE!! If your attacker is verbalizing the fact that he doesn’t want to fight, but yet he is showing Ritualized Combative signs that show otherwise, he’s a LLPOF (liar, liar pants on fire).
Some people who don’t know about Ritualized Combat, call it “gut instinct/intuition”. They are right!! The reason it is a “gut instinct/intuition” rather than a known empirical thing, is because no one has explained to them what “Ritualized Combat” is. What is happening in the “gut/ instinct” group, is that their “sub-conscious/reptilian brain” is picking up on these signs (rather than the conscious critical mind), thus turning on the warning bells. Some listen (the more experience), but most do not. Why can I say this, I am also a certified hypnotherapist and working towards my masters in Neuro Linguistic Psychology.Learn about survivor signals that protect us from violence in this book, The Gift of Fear by Gavin De Becker.
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