"To deter by threats", "to frighten into submission".
Two dictionary definitions of the word. We've all faced it, used it and
been influenced by it. We grew up with it and all our adult lives are
continually being altered by it. But what exactly is it, and how do we
My old Sensei once said that intimidation
works best when we allow it to. We can often refuse it, but most often,
we don't. We experience many forms of intimidation from a very early age
and it becomes the norm almost as soon as we understand language. "If
you don't eat your dinner you wont get any ice cream" or "wait
until dad gets home, he'll give you a good hiding". As children we
face it daily, from this and other forms of intimidation from parents,
teachers, peers, older children etc. It's not surprising then, that we
become so used to being intimidated, often so much, that we actually come
to expect it.
Hopefully, also in the process, you
will be able to turn the tables on your aggressor.
1- Visual Intimidation
This takes the form of size and appearance,
regardless of the truth or otherwise of the situation, size is invariably
linked with hardness, "Bigger is harder". Terry O'Neill used
to wear several sweaters under his other clothes to give the impression
of being bigger, thus harder (he doesn't need to do that now).
2 - Verbal Intimidation
|"Touch that again
pal and I'll deck ya!". This is an obvious and direct from of verbal
intimidation as is "Is it you who's drawn against our best fighter
next round? Pity you mate!" - this is a slightly less direct threat.
The final, subtler one is an actual true one, once said to me when I was
on "the doors" : "Hit me pal and I bleed on you, you're dead,
coz I've got AIDS". Simply put, Verbal Intimidation is used just to
make you think...
3 - Covert/Subtle Intimidation
|One common way would-be aggressors can try to intimidate you is through their reputation as "Hard men". Others use their reputations for being good at revenge "I do home visits", you know the sort, you may well be able to "Do them" in a real go, but they are the sort who turn up at your home and petrol bomb it or do the windows or simply come mob handed. Its not too easy to bring yourself to hammer the shit out of someone you know is perfectly capable of torching your house the next day. If you can't overcome and distance yourself from these forms of intimidation before you even start throwing punches, then your fighting ability will be well impaired. There's no doubt that if you are worried about the consequences of fighting, the pain, damage, injury or even death, then you've already given in to intimidation and your opponent has already won.|
|Even in a non-violent situation, FEAR
of consequence can have serious repercussions. Consider the following, you
have just passed your driving test just 6 weeks ago and you are a fairly
mild 18 year old. Your older brother asks you to pick up his £100,000
Maserati from the garage. You on the other hand have only ever driven a
You would be so intimidated by the Maserati that even though theoretically you have all the abilities you need to drive ANY car, this one makes you shit scared. You worry about the consequences, what if I crash it, he'll kill me. The dreadful WHAT IF?... enters your mind, a state of mind recognisable and common to all who face danger. You see, before physical skills can be brought into play, the mental, emotional, psychological and other non-physical aspects of intimidation have first to be recognised then overcome. I'm sorry if I dragged you through all the previous, just to get to this point, but as I said earlier, the actual understanding of the problem is the first honest step in solving it.
When two boxers meet to sign the contract
for their fight, it is almost common practise to have a stare out or to
rant and rave, insult each other and generally show how violent/tough/unstable
they are. When they meet in the ring, they use the ritual of the STARE
OUT to continue their intimidation. The Sumo-Tori do the same, there
is the build up via staring, glaring and posturing. These are mental intimidating
weapons and are as crucial to the actual CLASH. In fact the fight
is often won and lost at the face off!
But if you were to choose to ignore him totally or use an answer totally opposite of the conversation, then he would have to rapidly alter his challenge, because his conscious or even subconscious thought out plan isn't going his way. You see, whether he knows it or not, he WILL have worked out a game plan, but when the plans go wrong so does his confidence and control. So, even by just altering the plan slightly you have already tipped the scales in your favour.
In the animal kingdom a predator expects two things from his quarry, one is to freeze the other is to run, predators rarely expect or can deal with aggression turned back on them. So it is with us, those scum who mug the elderly and defenceless do so in the knowledge that their quarry will act as victims not aggressors. The assailant expects cringing submission not your size ten in his nuts. Refuse his challenges, don't argue with him, you are NOT there to enter into dialogue you owe him absolutely NOTHING. Don't argue, he expects that, don't beg, he wants that, ignore him and walk away (keeping a good eye on him) or change the subject. Getting him to have to think about what's said or done takes his mind from the physical aggression for the moment, enough time for you to plan and execute your escape or better still, your OWN attack. A very common form of early "In the fight" aggression and intimidation comes in the guise of the "Tough Walk" up to about hand shaking distance, sometimes (especially if he is taller), the chest to chest downwards glare at you often accompanied by some form of very loud verbal extras. You know the sort of thing, he shouts at you, waves his hands a lot, strides towards you (remember, hard men don't just walk they have to stride) loudly proclaiming just what he intends to do to you (often he doesn't intend this one iota, he just likes shouting it).
As I said earlier, play his game by his rules and you have lost. If he stops right in front of you, and a reasonable non-cringing escape isn't possible then take first verbal control, answering ANY of his questions puts you in HIS territory.
"You effing staring at my girl?" a subtle opener isn't it? Rather than start with "I don't know what you mean, what's up mate? Etc". Say instead "I'm bursting mate, see you in a minute" A form of escape via YOUR verbal control has just presented itself, take it. He is now left standing there feeling a bit of a lemon. If you can't get away then don't stare into his eyes, it's a form of challenge, instead look at the spot on his forehead known as "the third eye", then he can't read your eyes. Don't attempt to touch him just yet, it may trigger his attack, we don't want violence (yet). Adopt a non-belligerent, yet non-compliant stance such as using one hand to scratch your chin whilst resting on the other arm which is across your chest, or work out your own. These forms of posture give body language indications to the subconscious of your opponent and their message is "I'm not arguing, I'm not obeying, but I'm ready".
Often just checking that you have an escape route and saying "Excuse me" and walk past him, then GO is enough. If all else fails and the possibility of violence is imminent think only this ONLY 3 THINGS CAN HAPPEN IN A FIGHT :
1 - You do NOTHING and get
the shit kicked out of you.
BUT, WHICH ONE GIVES YOU THE BEST CHANCE OF SURVIVAL?
When you go, turn your fear into hate, turn your worries into madness.
Hit, Bite, Scratch, Push, Pull etc GO BERSERK!
HIT HARD..HIT DEEP.. HIT FAST AND HIT FIRST.
Remember, ignore how he dresses, clothes
may maketh the man but they do sod all for a fighter.
Keep Safe - Dave Turton 7th Dan
(Self Defence Federation Head)
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