In this series of posts we’ve talked about some of the thought process involved in self protection. It is easy to do the things we like to do and for most of us that’s the physical side of the game. Running, shooting, lifting weights, or rolling are all a heck of a lot more fun than trying to strike up a conversation with a complete stranger. Whether we like it or not, however, we also need to work on the things we might not enjoy as much. I think of each component as a spoke in the wheel. We want each spoke to be equally strong to help support the wheel which is self protection. We have to keep our focus on learning and developing the ability to out think, out talk, and if necessary out fight any opponent(s) we might encounter. We’ll talk more about the wheel of self protection and what I consider to be the spokes of the wheel in a future series of posts. For now, let’s talk about talking.
In any encounter there will be some level of communication; verbal, physical or a combination of both. The ability to quickly understand what is being communicated is as essential as the ability to communicate. We can all think of a simple misunderstanding that went way to far and maybe ended in violence. While we might enjoy the study of physical side of this journey we also need to make sure we have done all we can prior to making that move. This will involve some ego killing on our part. We can’t allow ourselves to be easily provoked or lured into an encounter. Be nice, until it’s time to not be nice. It helps if we understand the dynamics of an encounter well enough to let our opponents build our criminally and civilly defensible case for us. This greatly simplifies the fight that comes after the fight. Remember we are still in the talk phase of this encounter, we aren’t talking about being under imminent threat so appearing nice and willing to talk are the name of the game.
We’ll talk about practicing verbal agility in the next post, for purposes of this post let’s talk about scripts. Craig Douglas is a master of verbal scripts and teaches course work you should be familiar with called Managing Unknown Contacts or MUC for short. I would encourage you to take a class or ten with Craig to really understand this concept. For starters and purposes of this post lets refer to a script as preloaded verbiage we have on tap for an encounter with someone we don’t know or need to know. Rather than getting pulled into a verbal game with someone that has an unknown purpose for engaging us, we can simply say; “no thanks” and keep moving. This will work for street level contacts from panhandlers up to those with a more malevolent intent. Don’t engage, don’t get dragged into an exchange simply respond in an assertive manner, “no thank you” or some similar phrase, and move on. Don’t wait around and don’t second guess yourself. If this is someone you don’t know, you don’t owe them a conversation or a moment of your time. Being assertive in your disengaging script as well as moving with purpose will stop most encounters that are exploratory in nature. Avoid adding too much to your standard response. We need brevity, directness, we don’t want anything that invites further engagement.
We’ll go further into this topic in the next post but for now think about 2-3 one sentence responses you can use to quickly disengage from a street level contact and begin to practice these until you can use them without conscious thought.