The ABC’s of Conflict Avoidance, Resolving Conflicts Peacefully With Dignity and Wisdom


The ABC’s of Conflict Avoidance
Resolving Conflicts Peacefully With Dignity and Wisdom

As a fundamental of all of our law enforcement, security, self-defense, bullying prevention and anti-abduction training we include the ABC’s of Conflict Avoidance. Originally taught to me by Master Dave Kovar, I have since included elements from Advanced Threat Assessment and Executive/Dignitary Protection and Close Protection (Bodyguard) training. The ABC’s of conflict avoidance self defense are also influenced by my military training while serving in a reserve Special Forces unit. Over the past twenty five plus years, these tools have helped many of my students and clients problem solve and end conflicts peacefully.

We recommend that you role play these until confident. Using a video camera works well as an evaluation and feedback learning tool.

Conflict Neutralization
A: Always practice safe habits. Avoid potentially dangerous situations. Be Alert to safety priorities for situational Awareness.
Avoiding potentially dangerous situations is relative. It depends on where you live, what you do, your age, ability and life experience. Obviously the choices must match the unique situation. A child growing up on a farm in the country faces different dangers than a child in an urban setting. Self defense is situational, that is, it is context specific and therefore must be treated appropriately.
This can be taught to a child by playing the question game. Simply using teachable moments such as crossing a busy street is a perfect opportunity to reinforce safety lessons in a calm manner and build confidence in your child. It might be going out on a boat or visiting a friend of the family with firearms in the house. Rather than instilling worry, children can be armed with tools to make better decisions to avoid situations that might lead to danger.
Indeed, these are not one time lessons, but reinforced on a regular basis and made appropriate to the age and maturity level of the child. It is recommended that it be taught in a relaxed, matter-of-fact manner to avoid any unnecessary anxiety, worry or unwarranted fear. Unwarranted fear can have nasty repercussions because it can scramble or be mistaken for our God-given survival signals (what my teacher Gavin de Becker refers to as “The Gift of Fear”).
As parents, teachers, coaches and mentors, we want to model the behaviors for them, remaining calm and making good choices.

B: Be calm, Breathe, Be centered.
The human brain is an extraordinary, complex and powerful computer. However, left untrained and unmanaged it can run a muck. This is the case when we have mid-brain -forebrain conflict where emotions and logic collide. The heart rate increases, stress goes up, the hormone adrenaline is released into the system and the ensuing result us usually not productive, often making the situation worse.
One method soldiers, law enforcement and martial artists use successfully to help manage this problem is using a yogic style deep belly breath. This smooth style of breathing helps lower heart rate, improve brain function and regain emotional control. Proper breathing is a great way of managing the stress response to a fear stimulus.
An important part of conflict resolution, especially in Verbal Judo (founded by Dr. George Thompson), is the use of emotional separation. Not allowing ourselves to get drawn into the insults, feelings or emotion of the moment is key to making wise choices that have lasting consequences.
Proper breathing helps us remain calm and insert time to avoid doing or saying something irrational, potentially making the situation worse. Often, the last thing we want to do is escalate an already agitated situation.
This can help also in taking a moment to read pre-incident indicators (red flags for violence), or pre-assault cues (warning signs), exit points, vulnerable targets, weapons of opportunity, barriers, people to recruit and other useful self defense and protective tools.
This can be taught when you notice your child (or yourself for that matter) experiencing intense emotions. Encourage them to stop, take a moment to breathe and insert time to respond rather than react. If this is a regularly used skill around your household, children can better learn to manage their own emotions and make better choices. When you see them do it successfully, make a big deal out of it and celebrate their choice to encourage it as a habit. Taking ten to twenty deep, slow, belly breaths can be really beneficial.
This doesn’t mean that they will not still feel angry, but it does allow more use of the fore-brain (our center for logic) and make better choices. This goes a long way in learning how to problem solve, use words to communicate and get their needs met. Of course, you as a parent or role model will need to lead by example. Children reflect what they experience and see from their parents.

C: Communicate with confidence.
Selection Phase and Testing Phase of the Pathway to Violence
This is a critical skill to help individuals present themselves in a manner which eliminates them from the victim profile or the “selection phase”. Those who are perceived as most vulnerable tend to be the ones least likely to tell, resist or create problems for the attacker/abuser. From making eye contact, standing tall, shoulders back, alert, noticing others and whats going on, speaking up, and learning when it is OK to question authority, these go a long way in building assertion competence. It is a fundamental belief that you are worth fighting for. The average “bad guy” is selecting their victims based on perceived vulnerability. Just learning how to carry yourself with confidence and communicate clearly can often mean avoiding trouble.

“Bad guys don’t have an alternative plan, they have an alternative victim”

We are always sending out signals with our behavior, demeanor, appearance, actions, tone, words, eye movement, posture and energy. Imagine sending the signals of “I’m a victim” and how dangerous that can be. Now imagine sending the signals, “I’m a confident, communicating individual who will fight back, attract attention and cause you problems.” The difference can be life saving. The goal is to be a mismatch for the criminals selection radio frequency so we are never selected in the first place.

“My safety is more important than their feelings.”

In Verbal Judo training programs, Dr. George Thompson teaches Police Officers that like it or not people will instinctively judge us upon first meeting as 1. One better than you. 2. Same as you. 3. Less that you. This is why paying attention to the signals you are sending others is a fundamental in self defense, avoiding bullying and establishing your own authority.
Children and subordinates (lower ranks in law enforcement or military) need to feel safe and confident that they can go to their superiors to report things if needed. Setting this climate is a priority of a good leader or parent. Often, individuals who were continually victimized, indicate that they did not report it because they didn’t feel they would be listened to or believed.
These are no guarantees taht you will not be attacked, confronted or selected, but it does help stack the odds in your favor. Self defense, security and protecting yourself with effective personal security is building layers of protection. This can be a good layer to include in your personal security and safety self defense planning.

Bad guys usually test. This can come in the form of using questions, engaging in conversation, attempting to build rapport, uninvited advances, solicitations and seemingly innocuous touching. All of these are used to assess the limits and boundaries the individual will assert, defend or ignore. “This can be in a variety of forms including, Do you have the time?” “Can you help me find my cat?” “Do you know where the game store is?”. This is why it is important to learn the criminal “lures” and how to thwart them. Teaching children to speak up and set boundaries starts at an early age and needs to be consistently reinforced so they learn healthy boundaries without anxiety. Remember, it isn’t necessarily what you say but HOW you say or do it that can make all the difference. The goal during this stage is to deter the pathway toward abuse by assertion competence. Firmly stating “NO!” or “Back Off!” might be effective.

Above all, teaching yourself and your child to trust your intuition when something doesn’t feel right and take action on it can save lives. [Read THE GIFT OF FEAR by Gavin de Becker]

Isolation is trouble. Privacy and control are the setting for abuse.

D: Distance yourself from trouble. Don’t put yourself in a worse situation. Never ever go with someone to a secondary crime scene location. Research clearly shows that a defenders chances significantly go down if transported to another place. Remember that privacy and control are the setting for abuse. You might remember it the way my team and I do as P.C.. This is a powerful strategy in diverting the pathway to violence.

E: Environment can create opportunities.
Learning to use your environment is key to successful self defense and escaping danger. Just learning to take mental note of the entrances and exits in a room can be beneficial for evacuation. One association you might make is to fire safety. This help you piggy-back on an existing skill and augment it for other safety and self defense purposes.

You can train your mind to look for barriers you could use to slow an pursuer, something to use as a shield, cover or concealment, or even weapons of opportunity. Things like off hand blunt objects like a book end or, pens, pencils staplers can be used as defensive tools. Of course, the more training you have, the more relevant these can become for protection. A working knowledge of vital targets on the human anatomy is critical to effective stopping techniques.

Do you know which neighbors to go to for help? Do you have an agreed upon meeting place in case of evacuation? These are helpful in times of crisis with little or no time to think.

Conflict Resolution

The ABC’s of Personal Safety from a Security Self Defense Specialist

Self Defense Tips – The ABC’s of Personal Safety and Security for Personal Protection

Self defense is something everyone knows that we should learn, yet few actually do. Rather than use a few self defense or fighting tips as an emotional pacifier, it is important to test and apply what you think you know. It is through this process that self defense competence is built. With self defense competence comes personal protection and security confidence. A good self defense instructor will ad to your peace of mind and help you use your innate survival signals and skills to bring to bear in protecting yourself and/or the ones you love.
When you learn to defend yourself you are less likely to have to because:

1. You tend to avoid potentially dangerous situations because you recognize them earlier
2. You are more likely to trust your intuition/gut feelings therefore act on them
3. Project more confidence which often removes you from the victim profile. Criminals like easy targets, not difficult ones. It is said that bad guys do not have an alternative plan, rather an alternative target to victimize.

HERE ARE A FEW OF OUR ABC’s OF PERSONAL PROTECTION – SELF DEFENSE STRATEGIES FOR PERSONAL SECURITY

“Dangerousness is situational” – Gavin de Becker

Alert to Avoid Potentially Dangerous Situations
– Knowledge and Awareness of dangerous situations and how criminals operate
– Trusting instincts and Acting on intuition
– Always observe safe habits and practices – Remember, we are always building habits – so practice good ones

Breathe and Be Calm by Believing you have options
– Belly Breath with Backpressure on exhale helps manage stress, adrenaline and fear
– Be looking for opportunities, weapons, barriers, escape routes and targets
– Be prepared with training and a plan but Be flexible

Communicate with Confidence and Commit
– Clearly say and demonstrate directly what you mean and mean what you say
– Change the Context of any situation you feel might lead to a violent encounter
– Commit to your plan and execute with intensity

Distance
Whenever you increase distance, you increase time and options and usually deny the targets

Eyes on targets and Escape options
Eyes, neck, groin, knees, Everything’s a weapon, Escape

Recommended reading: “The Gift of Fear” by Gavin de Becker

Personal Security and Self-Defense Training Courses

Escape to Gain Safety: Jeet Kune Do based self defense for women http://www.fighting.net/johnn
P.E.A.C.E.: A 5 Step Program of Self Defense
ABCs of Self Defense: Self Defense Basics for Everyone
The 5 Fingers of Self Defense: Self Defense Concepts
Street-Wise Street-Smarts: Street savvy self defense lecture
http://USA-MartialArts.com
Hit Like a Girl: Bodyguard Tactics for Women in a fun entertaining format http://www.facebook.com/pages/Hit-Like-a-Girl/339618134337?ref=ts

Children’s Personal Safety Self Defense Courses
Kid-Wise Street Smarts
Bully to Buddy Friendship Beats Bullying
Bully Proof Vest- 5 Steps to Handle Bullying Effectively
Escape School for Kids- Stranger Safety Skills
http://USA-MartialArts.com

Rapid Learn Immersion Reality Based Self Defense Training
Paul Vunak’s RAT: The rapid learn hand to hand combat course taught to Navy SEALS
John Nottingham’s VIPER Personal Protection: A customized street combat course specializing in scenario based training and adrenal stress conditioning, survival stress inoculation with context driven solutions.
http://JohnNottingham.com
Each program can be taught as a lecture or hands on clinic and tailored to the individual or organization.

USA Martial Arts Phoenix

4731 E. Greenway Rd. Suite 9
Phoenix, Arizona 85032
602-896-8721
http://USA-MartialArts.com

Nottingham Sword&Shield; SecurityNTS TACTICAL TRAINING Phoenix Campus
4731 E. Greenway Rd. Suite 10
Phoenix, Arizona 85032

* Credit for the original ABC’s of Conflict Avoidance to Kiyoshi Dave Kovar http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpcB_2_kMKs

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