Verbal Dissuasion

The Body Language Project

Body Language Mastery

Get Instant Access

When avoidance is gone and escape is no longer possible we are left with verbal dissuasion. Verbal dissuasion means talking the situation down. There is not a lot to say here that isn't obvious, other than the fact that you should never undertake mediation without some sort of protective shield, that shield is what I call 'the fence'. Now the fence is a whole subject in its own right and should be studied in-depth. For this I recommend that you read my book, or watch my video; The Fence. I shall give you a brief outline of it here because, as I said it is very dangerous to start negotiations without a fence and a book on avoidance tactics cannot be complete without its inclusion.

Therefore, as soon as you are approached in a potentially confrontational situation take up a small forty five degree stance (as illustrated) by moving your right (or left) leg inconspicuously behind you. Simultaneously splay your arms (fence), as though in exclamation, whilst replying with your dialogue. The lead hand is placed between you and the assailant, the reverse hand back, ready to control or attack. As you will see in the illustrations, the fence allows you to control the distance between you and your attacker, disabling any attempts he may make at grabbing/striking you. Though it may be on a subconscious level, your fence will act as a barrier between you and he. Try not to touch the assailant with your hands, unless you are forced to, the touch may fuel the fire and possibly result in your wrists being grabbed. If he keeps forcing forward, you are in danger, attack is certainly imminent so make your decision without haste. Indecision begets defeat.

For the duration of dialogue it is imperative to maintain distance control until you are able to escape, or are forced or strike. If you are forced into an attack situation -this should be an absolute last resort -make it a telling blow to a vulnerable area. Explode into the opponent with every fibre of your being, then run!! Many defence gurus advocate a second strike, a finisher. If there is a choice in the matter, don't do it. The few seconds you buy with your first strike could easily be lost if you linger for even a second. With some of the people I have interviewed, and certainly in many of the incidents I have witnessed, this attempted and unnecessary coup de grace resulted in the victim being grabbed, and subsequently defeated. There is also the danger of your attacker's accomplices (if he has any), coming to his aid if you do not take advantage and beat a hasty retreat. So unless a second strike is absolutely necessary the rule of thumb is 'hit and run'.

Dissuasion range, or conversation range usually allows only 8-12 inches between you and your potential opponent. If this is mismanaged it rapidly degenerates into vertical grappling range and then ground fighting - not a good place to be if you don't know the arena or are facing more than one opponent. Whilst conversation distance is not the chosen range of the majority -most people feel safer at about 4 or 5 feet - it can be maintained so that it does not degenerate further into grappling range by 'putting a fence around your factory'.

If you had a factory that you wanted to protect from robbers, the most sensible thing to do would be to place a fence around it to make it a hard target. Therefore a potential robber has got to get past that fence before he can even think about attacking the factory. Whilst the fence might not keep him out indefinitely it will make his job decidedly harder. Rather like a boxer who constantly flicks a jab into his opponent's face, even if that jab does not hurt his opponent it keeps him at bay. If his opponent wants to employ his Knock Out blow he first has to find away past his opponent's jab-to the boxer the jab is the fence around his factory.

In practical terms the 'fence around your factory' is your lead hand, placed in that all-important space between you and your antagonist to maintain a safe gap. Like the factory fence the lead hand will not keep an aggressor at bay for ever -just long enough for you to initiate verbal dissuasion, escape or a pre-emptive attack - but it will place you in charge, even though your aggressor may not know it. Placed correctly the lead hand will not only maintain a safe gap, but it will also disable the attacker's armoury (right and left-hand

techniques! head butt etc). Although the aggressor may not realise this on a conscious level, he will instinctively understand that, until that fence has been removed or bypassed, his techniques have no clear way through.

The lead hand should be held in a non-aggressive way and should not touch the aggressor unless he makes a forward movement and tries to bridge the gap between you and he.

The lead hand acts as an antenna to your aggressor's intentions. If he moves forward, he will touch the fence and set your alarm bells ringing. This forward movement should be checked so as to maintain the safe range by using the palm of the lead hand on the aggressor's chest. Don't hold the touch, as this may be seen by your assailant as a controlling movement. Whilst of course it is a controlling action, it's better, at this stage that the aggressor does not feel that you are in control, this creates a power play and may force him to knock your hand away or grab your wrist and possibly cause him to attack you pre-naturely. Therefore, as soon as you have checked him return the lead hand to its stand-by position.

Your reverse hand is used also to check range but primarily it is held back for attack purposes should the dissuasion fail and you find an attack you last line of defence. Once the fence is up, you can try and talk the attacker down by telling him that you do not want trouble. This may hurt the old pride a little, but it is better than having to become physical. Depending upon your make-up you can be submissive with your speak or if you think the situation demands it and you can carry it off, firm to aggressive.

It is important, as I stated earlier to keep a check on the opponent's body language. If' he is aggressive and moving forward then he is a greater threat than if he is aggressive and standing back. The difference being that the attacker that is moving forward and touching the fence is usually preparing to attack. The opponent that stands back is usually posturing and does not want "to become physical.

Below are some of the physical traits that might give the attacker's intent away. Running concurrently with attack ritual will be signs of adrenal reaction this attack body language which, if spotted, can help you to recognise potential menace. It has to be said though, that many of the very experienced attackers may have learned to hide adrenal reaction and only an expert eye will see imminent attack.

Was this article helpful?

+2 -1
Body Language

Body Language

Is a handshake really just a mere handshake, or does it express so much more? Discover Body Language and How it Can Benefit You. You will never be in the dark again on a persons mood when you can read their body language!

Get My Free Ebook


  • Vanessa
    What should the distance be between you and an assailant?
    9 years ago

Post a comment