Self-defense size-ups happen in the first few milliseconds you’re in someone else’s space.
They see you as a possible target of opportunity, and they need to make a quick decision — a COST/BENEFIT analysis — on whether you are going to be worth it.
In other words, will they be able to impose their will on you without being injured, captured or identified?
When walking in rough neighborhoods, people who don’t know any better will tell you to AVOID EYE CONTACT, keep your head down and just keep moving.
This is not good advice.
At our core, we’re animals, and in the animal kingdom there are PREDATORS and PREY.
If you act like either one, you will be TREATED as such.
When criminals and bullies pick targets, they’re looking for PREY — not a title fight.
Take this story I just received from one of my elite members, Lee:
I was walking out of a Walmart when a male in his 20s hocked up some phlegm and spit right across my path. He was standing next to the wall, and my inclination was to swing my right arm around and plaster his head against the wall before he could escalate the situation.
Needless to say, I didn’t, but I did make eye contact and maintain my distance while walking past, and he went back against the wall.
I do believe he got the message.
I have come to discover that the will to act is the currency of respect in some circles. It sends a message that it’s not a real good idea to mess with me.
However, on a bad day, this could have degenerated into an ass-kicking contest really quickly.
So I’m glad I have something stronger to control these animals.
Thanks for your course and thanks for being there.
The spit was the punk’s way of testing Lee to see if he was going to be a problem.
This is how most crimes of violence begin. Criminals try to get away with a little and then take a little more and so on. Make no mistake: Once they have you on the tracks, it’s only a matter of time until it gets out of control.
Imagine if Lee had looked down and tried to avoid dealing with this punk altogether. There’s a good chance this kid would have decided to follow him to his car, ask him for some spare change and then continue to see what he could get from Lee.
The good news is WE WILL NEVER KNOW, because Lee acted like a PREDATOR, not PREY.
Are You Predator or Prey?
- Make strong EYE CONTACT
- Walk with their head up, scanning the environment
- Are looking to HUNT and DEFEND
- Move with purpose.
- Avoid eye contact
- Constantly look for ways to escape
- Are looking to GRAZE, SCAVENGE and ESCAPE
- Move with panic.
Remember, wherever you go, you’re being SIZED UP and TESTED. How you’re perceived is entirely up to you.
Now, this doesn’t mean you should overtly CHALLENGE the local thugs on the corner, but casual eye contact for less than a second is enough. And when you move your eyes off them, KEEP YOUR EYES AT THE SAME LEVEL. Look past them and slowly scan the area, left to right and right to left. PLEASE — DON’T GET INTO A STARING CONTEST.
Always keep your head up and chest out, and move with purpose and intent.
It also helps (a lot) if you have a plan of action mapped out like Lee did.
Having a plan will:
- Instill purpose in your movement
- Emote confidence
- Calm your nerves and channel that adrenaline rush
- Give you something to focus on
- Stop you from panicking.
Remember — be predator, NOT prey.