Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Hierarchy of defense

hierarchy of defense infographic

View the full sized graphic

It's very important that people begin to understand all the elements of defense, most importantly those things that come before what most people teach as "self defense". I hope people will be able to use this chart to help understand and teach that. STEAL THIS CHART AND USE IT.

Some notes, bottom to top:
  • This chart is not designed to be advice on how to handle a situation. It merely explains the progression of defense possibilities and gives examples for it. Do not interpret it as "do these things". The sidebar is merely a guide that has relevant examples. If you don't like how there are examples presented on the side, cut them out and pass the chart around that way.
  • Chart gets bigger at the bottom because you have more options. It is less red at the bottom because there is less threat.
  • Prevention and avoidance are the two best things you can teach and are the two easiest to accomplish. It's all about not getting near a fight to begin with. I discuss this briefly in "How to hide in plain sight", but there's a LOT more to it than that. Most sane people can come up with good examples for these stages. This is some of the most important stuff you can be teaching. It's not glamorous or cool looking, but it's more effective than any physical technique is.
  • Tony Blauer talks a lot on the diffusion stage. He discusses pre-contact cues and a lot of other things related to pre-fight. Be sure to look his stuff up and the SPEAR system.
  • Preemption is something a lot of people will disagree with. Remember, these are the stages of what you can do defense-wise, not the stages of a fight or the stages of what you must do. Preemption is an option, not a requirement, just as all the other parts are.

The fight stage is what everyone talks about when they teach "self defense". This is most of what the world has to go on. I challenge you to teach the rest of the pyramid.


Jenn said...

This is a great graphic; thanks for making it. (Brings back good memories of my old school, talking about how not to be a victim and civilian use of the force continuum.)

Sean @ Gisoku Budo said...

Great post Jesse, any chance I can post a copy of the diagram on my blog with full credit to you and a link to this post? Would love to write a post on this topic, as I found it a really pro-active, eye-opening topic.

Jesse Crouch said...

Thanks guys!

Sean - yes of course you can take it. You don't even have to link me. I just want people to use this and teach it. Throw it all around the web as you please.

Sean @ Gisoku Budo said...

Awesome, thanks mate - I'll whip up a post in the next couple of days on the topic, and will definitely link back to your site, even if you're not fussed. It's just good etiquette in my opinion! :)

ramon lazo said...


This is an excellent chart! This is one of the best representations self-defense usage hierarchy I have yet seen on the Internet. Thank you for posting this. I will take you up on the offer to use this chart. You may see it on a future blog post (blog.modernarnis.com) sometime.

I realize that this is only one way to view the escalation into violent engagement. There are others who written about these topics (Masoud Ayoob, Christensen, Grossman, et al..) and apparently there is a connection with the scientific community that studies among other things, human performance under stress and PTSD.

This is a very popular topic and I urge you to continue studying this and adding to this chart.


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