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The Force Continuum
Part 8: Summary
Choose the appropriate level of force for the situation--and nothing more.


 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
"You and your mates are at a waffle house. You've got the standard waffle house table in front of you. Should something bad happen, what on the table would you reach for?"
 Related Resources
• Color Codes for Combat Readiness
• Martial Arts: Aikido
• Martial Arts: Jujitsu
• Martial Arts: Weapons
 From Other Guides
• About Law Enforcement
• About Psychology

Things to Think About

If you think carefully about the force continuum, you'll see that it's not just a simple staircase of options, where you escalate from one step to the next. Instead, you can start anywhere, and jump to any level.

Force levels change along the continuum often, even within the same encounter. You might apply a joint lock on someone, then they acquiesce, so you move down to just communication, but then they get a little rowdy so you go back to pain compliance or up to a joint break. All in a few seconds.

Most times you jump levels, even in an instant. You'll be talking to someone, and they take a swing at you, so you immediately jump to impact moves to put them down. Or, you're walking down an alley and you see the flash of a knife in someone's hand. If running the other way (body movement) isn't an option, escalating directly to your legally carried lethal weapon might be an option. You might jump directly to a very high level of force in a military or police situation.

There's also a continuum within each level of the force continuum. Communication can range to a smiling, friendly greeting to a shouted, authoritative command. Control moves, as we mentioned earlier, could range from mere pain to a full joint break.

Keep the continuum in mind as you train so you'll be ready in violent encounters. When trouble starts, you won't have time to mull over which response to use--you'll just have to do it!


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