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Private Investigations and Personal Security/How to prepare to avoid a fight--and how to prepare to deal with one if you can't avoid it

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Hi Marc,
So I'm 21, about to graduate college.  I'm looking at different career options and (somewhat worryingly) I'm finding myself feeling pulled towards nonprofit work that would take me to bad parts of town and rough groups of people.  So the ability to manage violent conflict is a skill that I'd really like to add to my arsenal.  I'm a wimp (my fighting experience is limited to fencing), and I'd only have 6 months tops before I would be starting this inner-city work.  So my questions are
1)  Do you have any resources for defusing conflict before it gets violent?  I have puny muscles but a big mouth, so any tips that you would have for talking your way out of conflict (as well as recognizing when conflict is looming so you can get out) would be great.  Feel free to recommend books, youtube videos, articles, or just write up your top ten tips--whatever you want.
2) What's my best bet for getting myself competent in a fight in 6 months or less?  I'm obviously hoping that I'd never need that competence, but I'd like to have a fallback option other than "punching bag" if I can't talk my way out of conflict.  There are some kickboxing lessons in my area; if I go to that 2-3 times a week for a few months, is that a good plan?
Thanks so much!  I look forward to hearing your advice.

Answer
Ummmm ... you need to do three things before we can have a meaningful conversation about this topic.

1) Read Ruby Payne's "Understanding a Framework Of Poverty"  That's a good introduction and was written for teachers, but she also has some good stuff on doing charity work in other books.

2) Read Rory Miller's "Meditations On Violence"

3) Brew yourself a pot of coffee and go to http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com/psychology.html
then browse and read whatever strikes your fancy. Yes there is information on de-escalation, but look up the 'monkey dance'

The reason why I'm telling you this is that you will be moving into circles where violence is considered a tool. Furthermore, there are many kinds, levels and types of violence (that's on the Website too). Such people have an entirely different mindset about violence and their 'non-verbals' telling someone to back off are entirely different than what middle classed people (who get most of their information on violence from Hollywood) think and believe. If you drop into your 'monkey brain' and start displaying like a middle class person, then you've just painted a target on your chest.

Most of avoidance and de-escalation isn't based in how tough you are (although it really doesn't hurt as a backup factor). Most de-escalation is really about being a 'fixer.' It's that you come in with the intent of 'let me help you solve this problem.' You'll find some interesting information on the kinds of violence and types of violence pages on the Website.

I'd also recommend you go take a look at the Alpha behavior pages.

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