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The Force Continuum
Part 3: Communication
You can often defuse a hostile situation with negotiation, threats, bluffs, or humor.


 More of this Feature
• Part 1: Introduction
• Part 2: Body Movement
• Part 3: Communication
• Part 4: Control Moves
• Part 5: Less-than-lethal Weapons
• Part 6: Impact Moves
• Part 7: Lethal Weapons
• Part 8: Summary
 Join the Discussion
"When breaking up a fight between (as far as I was concerned) two strangers, I suddenly found myself faced with two psyked up nutcases, both of whom wanted my blood. In this situation I was able to defuse things with some well chosen words."
Rev. Phil
 Related Resources
• Color Codes for Combat Readiness
• Martial Arts: Aikido
• Martial Arts: Weapons
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• About Law Enforcement
• About Psychology
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• Crisis Prevention Institute

Can't We All Just Get Along?

Simple communication can often take care of the misunderstandings that lead to fights. Like in the scenario with the drunken guy at a party--if he's still sober enough, maybe a stern lecture, or a distraction, will calm him down ("Hey, let me introduce you to this girl I met..." as you pocket his car keys and send him to the backyard to cool off).

This assumes, of course, that your opponent responds to suggestions. People under the influence of alcohol or other substances might be more receptive, or less receptive to negotiation and diplomacy--it depends on the drug. A bad guy whose intent is to rob, rape, or otherwise attack you in any way isn't going to stand around talking. In such cases, you'll be escalating up the force continuum, jumping levels to more serious countermeasures, in an instant.

Don't Mess With Me, Man

If you can pull it off, bluffing or threatening can work also. Just saying, "I'll beat you up, and your friend up, and your momma, and your friend's momma too..." doesn't work by itself, unless you're built like Shaquille O'Neal or look like Ken Shamrock. And in many cases, this sort of threat is just an incitement to start the fight. I don't recommend this option.

Ha Ha...You Didn't Really Want to Fight, Did You?

Some fights start when one person feels slighted by a remark or even a "funny look." Using humor, getting that person to laugh with you, can reduce the likelihood of trouble.

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