Step 1: Create the scenario: If possible, always refer to a situation that has really occurred to someone where (sadly and unfortunately) the individual was victimized or potentially victimized. This can be either through personal experience, news, word of mouth, research etc. The premise of the attack should be congruous to the replication and in tuned with the scenario and the individual participating. The scenario itself must coincide with the student’s (participant’s) lifestyle (I.e. don’t create a bar scene/scenario for an individual that doesn’t frequent such establishments). Lifestyle familiarity for each individual is critical here.
Establish the time of day, the environment, the frame of mind, the reason behind the attack, the presence of other parties etc. The scenario must unfold based on the circumstances surrounding it, as each variable will affect the outcome and response.
- Do not challenge your attacker. Example: “Yeah, what are you gonna do about it?!” – These types of replies will more often than not challenge the male ego and cause an adverse effect. Inevitably, challenging your attacker will cause them to accept the challenge as no one wants to lose face. The fight will escalate very quickly from this point.
- Do not threaten your attacker. Example: “Touch me and I’ll kill you” or “Don’t come any closer or else!” or "STOP: Back Off!!!"– For the most part, these types of threats will usually cause the attacker to become more aggressive. Rarely will the attacker back off when challenged or threatened this way as once again, the male ego is under attack and for the most part, the single major cause of fights is due to ego and insecurity and the need to prove ones self so attacking the very cause and source of the situation will only escalate it.
- Do not command your attacker. Example: “Relax” or “Calm down, I don’t want any trouble” – the term relax suggests your opponent is out of control and is inflammatory. Telling someone to calm down and you don’t want any trouble may sound like you are defusing because it isn’t aggressive or insulting but the underlining issue here is that you are telling your opponent what to do. Once again, this is a no-no when it comes to ego, never command your attacker, you’ll end up with a reply like “Don’t fuckin’ tell me to relax!” or “I am calm mother-fucker and you got trouble!”
- Do not insinuate your attacker is wrong. Example: “I wasn’t looking at your girlfriend” or “I don’t have any problem” – once again, wrong answers. If your attacker accused you directly or indirectly of staring at his girlfriend, telling him you weren’t is insinuating he and/or she is wrong or lying. You may instead want to reply with something like “Hey man, I had no idea you guys were together bro, sorry, she’s very attractive and you’re a lucky guy”, will usually calm the situation down as you admitted to looking but apologized with a valid excuse and a compliment to both. Behaviorally speaking, a reply similar or as such will not challenge the male ego or trigger an aggressive response.
Step 6: Do not undermine the startle to flinch response (Inspired by Tony Blauer's SPEAR concept). The primary physical portion of the assault is critical to your understanding of what works when and why. During this step of the scenario, providing you (the defender) haven’t gone pre-emptive, the exploration of the instinctive protective reflexive response is paramount to minimize the time frame between the startle to flinch response and your retaliatory arsenal.
That’s the bridge between maximizing perception time and minimizing reaction time. There are far too many outside stimulus distractions that will prevent you from focusing solely on the danger at hand (your opponent/attacker) such as bystanders, your friends, your opponent’s friends, obscure or misinterpreted body language, auditory distortions, visual cues, etc. Taking your eyes off your opponent for even a fraction of a second can and will often result in a ‘sucker punch’ or attack you just didn’t see coming. If you maintain postural integrity (the Passive Stance) then you will maximize in protection of your centerline as well as your startle to flinch mechanism.
There has been much confusion regarding the startle to flinch mechanism. One cannot modify a flinch or choose when or how to flinch. The startle to flinch mechanism is an autonomic one that is not cognitively controlled. A flinch is an involuntary reflexive response to a sudden and unexpected stimulus which involves flexion of most skeletal muscles and a variety of visceral reactions - so neither you nor I can dictate its trigger; only a stimulus that is introduced too quickly will trigger it. The startle response or flinch occurs in two phases: an initial surprise response and then a more affected tightening. It is sustaining this latter part of the response that results in so much chronic tension. Studies found that they could somewhat control the effect of the second part once the flinch occurs, but not the first. The flinch response is just buried too deeply in the instinctive machinery of the nervous system to be affected.