Self Defense Philosophy - Fight or Flight

Last night, at the gym was sparring night, we were watching the guys and noticed that there seemed to be two prevalent fighting philosophies:

  1. Evade and set up. When attacked they would back off, side step, evade and set up
    for a counter attack.
  2. Attack the attacker. When attacked they would return fire, parry strike, duck and
    So that got me to thinking, in our world, which are you? Do you evade a threat or do you attack a threat. Run from the attacker hoping to make a clean escape or face the attacker hoping to get the upper hand? For me, in the ring, I’m a number 2., I want to counter the attack with offense, stop the threat so to speak.

I would have to say that I would transform to the situation at hand. Is it one on one or one on five? This is what I learned from the legendary Bruce lee. Your fighting technique should be transformable to the situation. One technique could be flawed.


I recall Bruce Lee’s primary strategy was avoid. Even though he was practically super-human, he didn’t want to get into any unrefereed fight that he could walk or talk his way out of. He taught his students to do the same. I’ve always thought that was pretty good advice for those of us who are not super-human.


My training in self-defense:
Rule 1 - avoid conflict - if at all possible, get out of there, or away from the situation. Try and de-escalate the conflict.
Rule 2 - if unable to avoid, escape, or de-escalate, and you’re faced with bodily harm or death, use all manners of defense available to negate the threat.
With the current “criminal justice system”, you have to know when the “threat” is eliminated and not continue “defensive measures”. The criminal can and will seek charges against you, and a liberal prosecutor will be more than happy to come after you and overlook the criminal.
Training and education are primary. Knowledge of the law is extremely important.
USCCA is exceptional for providing information that can save your life and avoid YOU getting on the wrong side of the law.


Wait your turn and counter! Gather info, find weaknesses, attack!



It depends.

That’s really the most simple and also most complex answer I can give.

So many variables


Where is number 3 - anticipate and prevent them from landing 1st shot or 1st stab (can also be the last)

Not to forget, rule 0. Dont be where the attacker is.

To say you identify with style 1 or style 2, is like, read Sun Tzu but only the even pages :slight_smile:


I avoid fights, confrontations, quarrels, etc.

However, if I was drawn into a fight not of my own choosing,
2 - The best defense is offense.


Certainly there could be many shades of gray here.


If there is no way to evade the fight, I am the type to let the attacker make the first move. I hate to fight, so I always trained in defensive fighting. I have only thrown the first punch(elbow strike) once. That’s only because a guy under the influence made a fist as though he was going to punch my wife, and I was not going to wait and see. Aside from that, you have to take a swing at me first.


It’s hard to paint a definitive defense to a hypothetical scenario, but I will say that if you have the ability to retreat safety, then do so. Never put your back to an enemy, don’t let them close to you, and don’t do anything in your retreat that puts you at risk. Stay safe but stay smart! The goal is to deescalate if at all possible.


Good advice Tim Larkin who teaches self-defense very strongly advises talking your way out of a fight, walking away, running away. His dictum is the way to win a fight is to not have one.

Also he preaches knowing when to stop. How many times have we seen someone prosecuted because the perp got shot in the back as he or she was turning away? In the split second he turns away your brain has already given the signal to your finger to shoot. The next signal to not shoot arrives too late to stop the shot and the bad guy ends up with a round in his back. Happens more times than we would care to contemplate and it is truly not a shot to the back. It was a righteous shoot when it started. That said, to a prosecutor and unfortunately to too many jurors a shot even approaching the back paints you as the bad guy in the situation. As Tim Larkin constantly preaches: The best fight is the one you avoided.

And the media, Hah! I remember a case involving an elderly Korean lady working the cash register in the family store. A black teenager was stealing a bag of potato chips. The Korean lady tried to grab the bag from the teenager. Now the situation we have is an older lady who stands less than five feet and weighs less than 100 pounds confronting a girl who, although only 14, stands about 5"8" and weighs at least 160. She knocked the elderly lady to the ground. The lady came up with a handgun and fired as the teenager is turning away from her. The lady was charged with serious felonies. The media at first showed the girl beating on the lady and knocking her to the ground. Later the video started when the lady popped up with the gun and shot her. Didn’t show the initial assault at all. Of course, everybody was horrified, shooting a young girl in the back over a bag of potato chips. I would have made the DA go though the whole routine, preliminary hearing, stand your ground plea and full blown jury trial. The sad part of it is that all would cost over 100 thousand in attorney fees if the lady couldn’t qualify for the public defender. In CA, anyone with any assets at all has to reimburse the public defender, albeit at a lower rate than a private attorney would cost. Having spent 25 years in court, there are some public defenders who are far superior to private attorneys. The PDs try criminal cases every day of their working life. The private attorney, even if he specializes in criminal defense doesn’t handle as many cases. Like in private practice, there are some public defenders who are just collecting their salaries and the defendant doesn’t get to choose which one he gets. In fact, some useless PDs are preferred by the defendants because they don’t know what to look for in a criminal defense attorney. Anyway the old lady pled guilty to a felony, got suspended sentence and probation. But she fell for the line about getting the max if she went to trial. In my view, I would have told the DA to shove it because I knew that the probation department wouldn’t recommend state prison or even local jail time for an elderly, foreign born, frail woman. They wouldn’t want the medical liability that went along with imprisoning such a fragile, older person. She probably had a going-through-the-motions PD. A real PD would have known and realized she wouldn’t get the prison time the DA was threatening. It was a fake threat. He would also know that at pre-trial hearing the judge would strongly advise the DA to drop some of the chicken poop charges the LADA’s office was prone to fling at the wall hoping something would stick.


Agreed, avoid the fight IS the Best Answer. That said, many of our conversation are on the “you can’t avoid it” side of the conversation. I don’t train to hurt anyone, I train so I don’t get hurt.


Every situation is different but in general my first goal is always to avoid a fight however I can. But I am not exceptionally strong or bulletproof so if all attempts fail and avoidance is not an option then I need to act aggressively and decisively to end the threat as quickly as possible to keep myself and loved ones from being harmed.

So in most cases when cornered I think my best strategy would be to attack with everything I have as quickly as I can. Though that would likely include actions like firing rapidly while moving to cover or striking and kicking to gain time and distance so I can run and/or draw my firearm, etc.

Guess my go to strategy is Avoid/Attack/Evade and repeat as necessary:)



Basic. Avoid the attack when you can. Why look for trouble?


Stepping into the ring by choice with a philosophy of offense/defense is different from walking down the sidewalk after a movie. Reading CC Mag I’ve been reminded there is a third response to a danger stimulus: “Freeze”. I feel our goal is to train to read the situation (and evaluate the opponent) and eliminate the third type of response.


Time for you to leave, grasshopper. :pray:

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The best way is not having a fight by practicing conflict avoidance and situational awareness i do this every waking moment of my life, this has served me very well.:cowboy_hat_face::cactus::us_outlying_islands::sunglasses::sun_with_face::desert::us::+1:


I don’t like to fight,never did.However since I had to daily for a few years I’m well trained be it hand to hand or armed.I don’t fear much these days other than God’s wrath after I expire.I don’t like it…but I will if forced.