When in a confrontation, a cobra makes itself larger by rising up and spreading its hood to intimidate its prey and prepare for a swift attack. A mongoose rises up and makes its fur stand on end to appear larger to intimidate its opponent. Both animals show their fangs/teeth and make noise.

Many animals posture instinctively. People need to train for it.

Posturing is making yourself appear confident, strong and intimidating to your attacker so they lose their will to fight before the confrontation even begins. It is both a fighting position and attitude.

Perhaps you’ve seen someone about to get into a fight stand a little taller, puff out his chest, stick out his chin, shout, swear or flat out take a fighting guard. This is posturing. And it could help you defend yourself.

Sensei Advincula tells a story about a two hour self-defense class he gave in which he taught a woman what to do if grabbed: “Jump back, scream and get into a position and act like you know what you’re doing. Give them your meanest look.” In other words, posture. The next day in an airport a man grabbed this woman. She jumped back, screamed and postured. The man ran away. Why? Because an attacker is looking for a victim not an opponent.

Remember an attacker fears two things: getting hurt and getting caught.

A fighting stance and attitude may be all it takes to avoid an attack – for your characters or for you.

~K.M. Fawcett

2 responses to “Posturing

  1. Let’s say a woman is in an elevator and a man steps in. Should she look him in the eye and say hello? Just as a way to say, I’m watching you? Or is it better to never interact as you may draw attention to yourself?

  2. Hi Stacy, the answer might depend on the situation and what your intuition tells you about the person. You might want to acknowledge him by a glance, a nod, or a hello. I think the important thing is looking alert rather than looking distracted by searching through your purse/ shopping bags, texting or keeping your headphones on too loud. Don’t be an easy target.

    What is his body language telling you? There is a certain elevator protocol for personal space. Is he respecting yours or is he encroaching? He may test you first by standing too close. If he sees you’re uncomfortable, yet you do nothing about it, he knows you’re an easier target. Don’t be afraid to tell him to give you some room. Posture.

    If you feel unsafe you can always hit another floor and get off right away. If you’re afraid he might follow you after you exit the elevator, perhaps you can pull out your cell phone as if it vibrated and answer, “I’m on the elevator. See you in a minute.” Let him leave the elevator first, if he insists on being chivalrous, then exit the elevator and quickly walk toward other people. there is usually safety in numbers.

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