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JWT's picture
De-escalation Opportunity

As many of you know I run a number of open scenario training days a year to enable people from lots of different systems to safely put themselves in unpredictable self defence scenarios.  Although everyone is armoured in the scenarios a number of them are not designed to progress to physical violence and the opportunity is there for participants to de-escalate the situation by using common sense and appropriate positioning, body language, tone and verbal approaches.

This video is from November 2013 and shows a scenario that was not supposed to go physical (unknown to the trainees experiencing the aggression) but did to a combination of inexperience and poor decision making. I've shared it on my youtube channel because I think as a 'debrief video' it shows an excellent mixture of good and bad decisions and presents an opportunity to observe and question ourselves and say "how could I have done better than that?"

Bad language from the start

Hope you all enjoy

John Titchen

Marcus_1's picture

I must say, I watched this earlier today and got confused by the role of the guy in blue. The other 2 people are pretty evident, but the guy in blue just seemed to be there to effectively get in the way.  

Maybe you could explain his role a bit more so I can make a better informed decision on how this panned out?

JWT's picture

Hi Marcus_1  

I asume you mean the guy in light blue?

He was there as the friend / companion of the young lady. In this 'run' most of the variations on this theme were of a one angry/aggressive person while two people were being themselves. He was actually specifically selected as both a friend of the young lady and as someone who had shown themselves physically able to act where necessary in earlier scenarios and with a cool enough head to attempt to avoid physical fighting.

The single angry person dynamic with two people responding to the unexpected aggression and personal space invasion is a useful one to run through. The video debrief always brings up some useful points. It raises issues about acting or waiting for others to act first, about the temptation or not to exit the situation and leave your friend to 'face the music (we've had a teenage boy do that to a girl under verbal and physical intimidation before), about how easy it is to intervene either verbally or physically in an altercation between two other people, about relative positioning for safety or for pre-emptive attack etc.

In this scenario the guy in light blue (unprompted) was attempting to deflect attention from the girl. This taught him a few things about himself (as that role playing attacker can be an intimidating guy even when holding back as he was here) and enabled (through video debrief) identification of good and bad tactics employed. In similar vein as a group we were able to give lots of feedback to the young lady in question about how she handled the situation. The day starts with one on one events and two v two events, then things get far less clear. Hope that makes things clearer. John

Marcus_1's picture


Thank you, that helps clarify things. It is interesting to see how people react in this form of training and certainly something that could be useful to all people (and I can see a need for it as a reflective practice for those I used to teach in my old job!!) Those who train in martial arts but who don't necessarily use the skills in day to day life due to their work, generally don't know what "real life" confrontation is, this helps to show how dynamic and fluid situations can be.

Even those who do train and deal with confrontation on a daily basis deal with things differently, there are so many factors at play here.