↩ Back



Confrontations among people may involve one or more of the following escalating types:
  • Discussions
  • Disagreement (verbal or written)
  • Arguments (verbal or written)
  • Lawsuits
  • Police Assistance Required
  • Unarmed Fistfights
  • Armed Attacks
  • Life or Death Struggle (armed or unarmed)
Everyone will experience some type of confrontation during their lives. Some confrontations are minor, such as a parent who is mad at you for the decision you made as a referee; some may be major, such as an irate motorist that wants to hurt you because you cut him off in traffic. In any case, your goal is to end the confrontation as soon as possible with minimum problems. To accomplish this, you need to manage confrontations and guide them toward the desired outcome. 

Phases of a confrontation

Confrontation consists of five phases: initiation, reaction, control, execution, and completion. Initiation and reaction are the most critical phases.
  • Initiation. Initiation is a psychological phase where one perceives that conflict is imminent and that physical force may be necessary. Without this decision to commit to the confrontation, no conflict may occur, and thus no reaction to the threat is needed. A wrong decision may result in your being injured or killed. A correct assessment of the situation at this phase may mean the difference between a fight or no fight occurring. This assessment often occurs at a subconscious level since there is usually no time for conscious thought.
  • Reaction. Reaction is the defensive or offensive actions taken in response to an attack. This is perhaps the most critical of all phases since error or hesitation may result in defeat. Any reaction must be executed calmly, smoothly, quickly, and with authority. During the reaction phase, or at least at its beginning, the opponent is strong and active. Psychologically, the opponent feels superior and confident, or he or she would not be attacking. Always give the opponent the choice of not attacking. It will keep you safe—morally, legally, and physically.
  • Control. Sun Zi, in his strategic military treatise The Art of War says to never attack a strong and psychologically prepared opponent. The wise way is to turn the enemy's strength to weakness before attacking or counter-attacking. This may be accomplished by yielding, absorbing, blocking, or neutralizing the attack and then striking to incapacitate. Relatively little force is needed to control the opponent since he or she has been caught at his or her weakest point. Psychologically this method is devastating because the opponent loses just as he or she felt on the verge of victory.
  • Execution. In the execution phase, finishing techniques (if necessary) are applied to ensure the opponent does not continue to fight.
  • Completion. After execution, the situation is reassessed as to whether there is still a threat and whether further action is required. 


Bachman, L. Street Defensive Tactics.

↩ Back

No comments: