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TELLS of a Violent Encounter




After being in the firearms self-defense instruction business for over 40 years, I have been asked many times what it the most important skill I could pass on to a new student. It made me think each time it was asked. And the answer has been and still is……. Awareness and mindset.
It never ceases to amaze me that most concealed carry permit holders have never been in a violent encounter or even a fist fight.
I have developed a syllabus that covers awareness and mindset in all our curriculum regardless of the platform. Pistol, shotgun or carbine.

We start with several issues, warrior mindset, both definition and application. Next the OODA Loop, history, and usage. Then on to Color Codes of Awareness of USMC and Jeff Cooper fame. The history and usage. How it applies to everyday use. Then on to the dynamics of a violent encounter or patterns of conflict.

The final piece of this puzzle is to know what the TELLS of a violent encounter with another person looks like. A TELL will give you an idea in advance of a violent encounter. A violent criminal does not start a violent encounter in a vacuum. There are many tell tale signs of the oncoming violent encounter, but you must know the signs or tells.
So here we go.

1-Verbalization- “I am going to kick your ass” “So, you think you are a badass?” “You will be sorry” “. Those are easy ones. But they can be very offsetting also. “Hey, can you help me out?” “Have any spare change?” “I need some help” Those are meant to get you to lower your guard, gain sympathy and allow invasion of personal space.
2-Visable overt awareness- Visible weapons, unusual nervousness, hidden hands.
3-Asumption of a fighter stance or bladed stance.
4-Looking around to see if they are alone, no witnesses. Looking for an escape route, a possible assistant assailant. Overall assessing their battle area.
5-Invasion of personal space
6-Change in Body Language
7-Clenching of jaw muscles, clenching and unclenching of fists.
8-Blinking eyes unnaturally or squinting. Eye movement changes from the normal 20 closures a minute. Staring hard at or through you.
9-Aggression redirected to other objects or people. Kicking cans, kicking or shoving chairs. Smacking walls, breaking pencils, or glasses and inanimate objects. Yelling at others.
10-Sweating
11-Flared nostrils, heavier than normal breathing. Lips part showing teeth to intake more breath.
12-Tensed up posture.
13-Stretching back and arms. Opening and closing elbows. Head rolls and neck stretches.
14-Removal of excess clothing.
15-Pacing, finger pointing shaking fists, over exaggerated hand, and arm movements.
16-Facial discoloration, normally to red.
17-Dress what they wear and how they wear it.

Most of these have been noted in a survey that was done by two researchers from University of Toledo, Richard Johnson and Jasmine Aaron in “Adults’ Beliefs Regarding Nonverbal Cues Predictive of Violence. Criminal Justice and Behavior.

When we notice these TELLs, we want to create space and time to make the attack easier to manage or to Avoid, Evade and Escape.

Always remember violent encounters are a mathematical equation of time and distance. The problem is we do not know the digits until the encounter is over. Time and distance are your friends or your worst enemies.

Bob Harvey

President and Chief Instructor
South Florida Gun School

Bob is a veteran Marine Corps veteran firearms coach PMI, Marine Security Guard, PPSU Instructor, NRA Training Counselor and Instructor. Owner of both South Florida Gun School and SDK Security Consultants. Subject matter expert, expert trial witness for firearms and their use.
44 yrs of Firearms and self defense training.
 
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Excellent Bob! Situational awareness is key! I wish this kind of thing were among the curriculum in FOF courses. I'd want to practice it. :thumsup
 

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Excellent Bob! Situational awareness is key! I wish this kind of thing were among the curriculum in FOF courses. I'd want to practice it. :thumsup
Every one of my courses has mindset training. Except Precision Rifle and NRA courses
 

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:2thumsup
 

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Thanks Bob.....You got it covered...as always..Something everyone needs to know when they carry a gun to protect themselves or their loved ones. ebl
 

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"17-Dress what they wear and how they wear it." <-- put a colon after 'dress' and capitalize the 'w' in 'what.'

The concept of developing awareness and reacting early to a potentially dangerous situation is well worth knowing. All defenders are challenged to develop that skill. Meanwhile, H2H training is vital. The more you train to deal with physical attacks, the more you develop the skills and mindset to deal with them. Here in a defensive carry forum, most members will be thinking about drawing and firing, but in a vast number of real-life situations, grabbing the nearest thing at hand and using it will likely be a solution. And that might be an open-handed slap.
 

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:clap
 

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Excellent read, thank you Sir.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Pre assault indicators, :thumsup
In the book, "The Gift of Fear" by Gavin DeBecker, he calls them "PINs" (Pre-incident indicators).

And Bob's #1 item, "Verbalization," is referred to as "The Interview" in DeBecker's book... Do you have the time? Do you have a cigarette? Got any spare change? Can you tell me how to get to _______? These are designed to gain your trust (through seemingly innocent questions) and close the distance / get closer to you.

Great book!

And excellent post by Bob. Much more succinct! :clap
 

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An ideal verbal response, one I have used many times, working at The Cavern Club, of Beatles fame. 1960 X 1964 Liverpool UK. "Do you like Hospital food?"

When a group of young men approach the door, 4 or 5? When told they cannot enter! The one at the lead, (Moves his feet) (Tenses up) Last move, glance to one side to check his buddy! The minute he eye flicks, he has a broken nose, kicked out knee.
 

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Great read, situational awareness is key. Your body language can also be used as a tool to warn aggressor that you are aware of them and their intent. I was standing outside at my daughters Karate school, I was talking on my phone and scanning the area and parking lot as I always do. I noticed a young male approximately 17-18 years old crossing the parking lot in a zig zag pattern when he became fixated on me staring at me and walking directly at me. He got to about 25yds from me and I switched phone to weak hand (left side) bladed left shoulder to him and put hand under shirt on my EDC and he immediately did a 180 degree turn and walked away. Pegged him!
 

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Neat summary.
Nothing comes out of nowhere. Ever.
Not even with mentally disturbed people, when is harder to tell.
Evading is almost always possible. Escaping is more like a choice :grin
 

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I'm a desert rat by birth who has moved to the state of constant sweating. I have not adapted, so I take exception to #10: SWEATING. If you see me sweating in Fl, please, for the love of god, do not kick my arse or shoot me! Its just normal for me, other than that, excellent post. :thumsup
 

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I'm a desert rat by birth who has moved to the state of constant sweating. I have not adapted, so I take exception to #10: SWEATING. If you see me sweating in Fl, please, for the love of god, do not kick my arse or shoot me! Its just normal for me, other than that, excellent post. :thumsup
Trust me... I feel for you man... I truly empathize.. :thumsup
 
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