Fear & Social Violence Conclusion (diary entry)

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Hour five of this course finished our work on social violence. We continued looking at fear management, covering breathing exercises, visualisation, mental blueprinting and mental detachment.


I then covered Mo Teague’s version of the OODA Loop, called the Three Rs. These have been covered a number of times on this blog. However, in essence they are both response cycles. The OODA Loop is more based on decision-making whereas Mo’s version takes decisions out of the equation. In essence, a risk is recognised, read and then responded to. Such methods help an individual to take action. We also covered the 10/80/10 rule, which is also extensively discussed on this blog. With fear being more accepted as a “superpower” rather than negative alien force, an individual can roll with it more effectively. Having such fluidity in mind, we talked about the importance being able to adapt as a situation evolves.


Then we looked at an overview of basic strategy. Joe Saunders offers an excellent comparison table in his Managing Violence course between basic martial arts concepts and communication. For example, Bruce Lee’s daoist appropriated “Be like water” concept neatly translates to “adapt to conversations”.


With true empathy at the base of your desire to de-escalate a situation, it is important that you ensure you correct your position as quickly as possible. For example, taking control of one’s emotional state rather than being pulled into the discord is an essential starting point. Principles are important but Joe puts it clear that one shouldn’t allow one’s code to be their death. This is why I have come to a conclusion that all good self-protection training needs to establish a personal moral compass. True north needs to establish one’s life priorities. With the compass metaphor in mind, it is essential that one is clear about what one wishes to achieve in communication. A person who has been aggrieved in some way needs to understand that you wish to resolve their problem peacefully and are not a rival or reinforcing the perceived sleight they are reacting to. With this in mind, we return to the empathy and perceptive listening. In fact, listening is key to finding a solution. By understanding the aggrieved party’s story and ensuring they know you get their point, you are in a better position to help them come up with a peaceful solution.

When working with an aggressive person within the context of social violence it is important to establish a calm and subversive state of control whilst not coming over as being false. Body language must be confident but not overly submissive or aggressive. Eye contact should be maintained to establish trust and respect. Smiling can work in certain circumstances but not all. Smooth movements are preferable to jerky movements. Maintain good even breathing and be aware of distancing. Most importantly, “Lead the dance”. The aggressor is rushing towards the idea that he might attack you for what he thinks you have done wrong. Your job is to steer him away from this idea.


We then went through the right way to speak to angry person. With this in place we further unpacked the empathetic listening concept and covered tactics such as mirroring the angry person’s arguments to demonstrate understanding. Moving in with apologies early are also important as is solution hunting and breaking the escalation pattern.



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