Self-defense also focuses on different strategies than would be utilized outside a competition scenario. Below is the order of operations, chronologically. This is called Threat Assessment and Response. Understanding this order of assessment and response is instilled in practitioners early and often.
- Avoid - awareness and the ability to avoid situations comes first.
- De-escalate - if avoidance is not an option, deescalating violence is the objective.
- Fight - if the above is not an option, violence is then utilized.
- Escape - violence is used to facilitate extradition of yourself from a situation.
Avoiding danger is the most effective means of self-defense, and as such it should be the primary goal. Concepts in this phase of assessment and response include recognizing and avoiding situations which might put one in considerable danger, understanding the mindset of an attacker, practicing situational awareness, and recognizing possible exit strategies.
De-escalation involves recognizing when a threat might be forthcoming and being able to lower tensions to avoid conflict. This involves presenting non-threatening body language, using persuasive vocal techniques, calming agitated people, negotiation, or even convincing an attacker of the possible outcome they can expect should they continue to an altercation.
If an altercation is unavoidable, then physical measures are used within reason and proportionate to the threat. This is done to eliminate the threat and facilitate escape.
Escaping the danger is the final step, and can be done in conjunction with any of the preceding steps. Avoiding is the most effective escape, with de-escalation being the next best thing.