Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Pre Assault Indicators: Reading An Attack

Ever watch animals right before they fight? There’s some posturing and some staring down then they pounce on each other. People are like animals in this way. Often you can see a fight coming. To prevent a confrontation there are some signs that can help better to see it coming.

Cooper’s Color Code when followed, heightens your awareness and allows you to see potential threats to your safety ahead of time. This provides a window of opportunity to prepare for or prevent potential conflict.

In any conflict situation, the more knowledge you have in reading the other person the greater your chances are of threat detection and avoidance, which makes the color code all the more effective. For example, law enforcement officers are trained to look for specific physical cues that indicate when a person is in an aggressive state of mind. These cues serve as early warning signals that indicate that an attack is imminent.

There are some things to look for in a dangerous person
1. The Face: The face is on one hand the most expressive body part we posses, and on the other hand, the most easily manipulated. Experts are able to meticulously control their facial expressions so as to be unreadable (eg. the poker face) while amateurs will crack nervous grins and will sport numerous facial twitches. Ignore the signs that can be controlled and thus manipulated, and focus on those that cannot:
• Pupil dilation: The human fight or flight reaction is something few people can control; the brain signals the body to dump adrenaline into the bloodstream raising the heart rate and dilating the pupils (making them larger). As the pupils dilate, the peripheral vision narrows – it is a mechanism designed to have us face the threat directly. People about to act aggressively or perform a violent act will usually have their pupils dilated the size of pie plates.
• Pulse: As aggression or impulse builds, the heart rate increases as does blood pressure. The net result of this is a pounding pulse which is visible in the neck and temples. Again, this is difficult or impossible for most people to control.
• Sweat: An increased heart rate causes involuntary perspiration, which again, not even professionals can adequately control.
• Mouth: Besides obvious expressions, an open mouth often occurs when a person can’t get enough air from just their nose and is breathing rapidly.
2. Upper Torso: The upper torso reveals two important clues to those keen enough to observe them. The first clue is the shoulders – are the shoulders hanging naturally in a relaxed pose, or are they tight and raised? A person who is about to strike or move will often telegraph this intention by the way he carries his shoulders. The second clue is the upper chest area, where it pertains to respiration. Normally, men are stomach breathers while women are chest breathers, but when the action amps up, both sexes tend to breathe in a shallow manner from their chest. Look for the rapid rise and fall of the chest as evidence of breathing hard.
3. Hands and Arms: As one astute police officer said – feet never killed anyone. The reference was to the fact that overwhelmingly, hands hovering around the waistband represent a threat. At any moment, the person could produce a weapon, and so it’s important to watch the hands closely at all times. While things like balled fists are an obvious sign of aggression, keep in mind that many attacks come from the position of crossed arms, or hands in pockets.
4. Legs and Feet: Primarily, what we are looking for here is stance. As often happens subconsciously, people will tend to blade themselves towards a perceived threat. Blading refers to a combat style stance, where the dominant foot is behind the non-dominant foot and about shoulder width apart. Blading also serves as a dual clue – most people carrying a concealed weapon will subconsciously blade the weapon side away from the threat, both to protect it and to conceal it.
5. The Whole Package: Lastly, look for movement warning signs, nervous twitches that signal that the person is about to act. Two common signs of impending action are pacing and standing on the balls of their feet. Many attacks begin with a person pacing back and forth and then launching an attack at about the midpoint; many flights or escapes begin with the person getting up on the balls of their feet, much as a runner would before the starting gun goes off.
Being able to identify these pre assault indicators can give you just enough time to, at best, leave the scene, or if necessary give you the edge in preempting any physical attack with a defensive response of your own.
Before a physical attack occurs, the aggressor typically threatens an attack by displaying indicators. These are involuntary physiological “tells” that project from a person when they are in fight or flight mode. While the following list is not all-inclusive it includes the primary indicators you should be aware of.

* Blading: Body ‘blading’ happens when the aggressor puts his strong foot slightly behind him so that his torso is facing around 45 degrees to the right or left of you. It is an indication that he is settling his stance in preparation for an attack.
* Fist Clenching or Pumping: One of the side-effects of the fight-or-flight response is that blood is pulled from the extremities into the large muscle groups and major organs. Due to vasoconstriction in the hands and fingers, a natural response is to pump or clench them.
* Trembling: Due to adrenaline, you may notice trembling of the hands or knees. It’s just another indicator that the aggressor is in an agitated state.
* Rapid Shallow Breathing: Again, this is another indication of agitation and stress.
* Avoiding Eye Contact: This could mean a few different things or a combination of them. When a person is trying to mentally process the situation in an agitated state, it is difficult to multitask (hold your attention and think of a plan and psyche himself up). It could also be an attempt to lull you into a sucker punch.
* Posturing: Surprisingly enough this in many cases is also an involuntary act. It is common among many animal species as well as us humans and indicates a display of dominance and threat of attack. One of the main indicators is puffing up the chest to make one appear larger or lowering the head as if ready to charge.
* Bobbing and Rocking: This is similar to trembling and fist clenching above. With the combination of adrenaline and oxygen getting pumped into their systems, the aggressor may display odd movements. He may bounce up and down, rock back and forth, or start pacing. This provides a release of extra oxygen and indicates a subconscious preparation for action.
* Hiding the Face: An aggressor on the verge of attacking may attempt to conceal their stress and excitement by turning their head or hiding their faces. This may also be seen when an aggressor wipes his face, slicks back his hair, scratches his nose, etc.
* Focused Attention: When you’ve recognized many of the previous indicators and you begin to see focused attention on you they are essentially made a lock on their target. This also includes focused attention on a particular body part such as the chin or groin showing where they will probably strike.
* Thousand Yard Stare: This is the opposite of focused attention. Here the person isn’t so much focusing on you but looking through you. What this tells you is that he is mentally shutting down and is ready to go on aggressive autopilot. Gain some distance, fast.

The whole point of the above list is not to get freaked out just because you see someone slick back their hair or look away from you. What you need to do is look at the entire situation and try to find groupings or ‘clusters’ of the above behaviors. If you see these indicators it’s time to act! The best option is to run away if possible, but if you can’t ‘beat feet’ then you better get ready.
I can’t tell you to launch your own pre-emptive strike, but if you can see no other alternative, and know a fight is coming, hit first, and hit hard. But you’d better be sure because you may become the attacker instead of the victim. By striking first you may be assaulting and the original attacker is just defending himself. This is important especially legally. Be very careful how you do this. You could end up in jail for assault.

Semper Paratus
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