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Personal defense: the S.A.F.E. method - Article image

Personal defense: the S.A.F.E. method

Reconnecting us with the self-defense discussion and the use of martial arts (see the article "The 6DKF's diagram about the use of violence") we want to expose an easy to remember / employ method to be applied in all cases of aggression.

After several experiences (direct / indirect), studies and comparisons with other methodologies, we have developed the S.A.F.E. method, a simple acronym to memorize which reminds us, in every situation, what to do and in what order.

In the specific, S.A.F.E. means:
  • Safety
  • Argument
  • Flee
  • Engage
This is not a panacea, but no doubt, even in moments of intense psychological stress / emotion, a simple mental pattern like this can help us to solve the situation in the least possible invasive way.

Without repeating what has already been mentioned and without going too far into the details, here is the significance and practical application of each of the 4 S.A.F.E. "commands":
  • "Safety" means prevention, alert (see the article "Constant attention: what is and how it works"), both in terms of active danger (set an immediate defensive strategy, do not raise the tension level beyond the limit, make sure being legally protected, reaching or contacting other people / law enforcement, etc.), both in general (avoiding dangerous places, inappropriate behaviors, risky encounters, activities that make us vulnerable, etc.)
  • "Argument" means keeping a critical situation under control through dialogue; we must keep the concentration, we must discuss (see the article "Self-defense: 10 correct attitudes during a quarrel"), negotiate (eg. giving what's less important, like money, etc.) and / or use deception if necessary (for an example see the article "Personal defense and psychological tricks"); any non-violent / lawful means is preferable to ensure our safety and the one of who is with us (or at least to make us gain time)
  • "Flee" means eliminating the problem by moving away from it, to reach a safe place (law controlled, crowded, inaccessible, etc.); in doing this, if possible, we must move slowly and discreetly, without ever showing any fear, anxiety or rush; if the aggression is already going on, naturally we have to run, but in all other cases, walking (and talking) offers advantages not to underestimate, it does not trigger forcibly rapid reactions, it approaches us to our safety point while still keeping our energies almost intact (indispensable in a hypothetical second time where we might have forcibly to run, fight, etc.)
  • "Engage" is the last option, not only because we are peaceful people but also and above all because we rarely know enough about our aggressors (what are they capable of doing, what they are willing to do, and with what instruments, abilities, weapons, determination, etc.); we do not necessarily have to respond with violence to other violence but if we have come to the point of not being able to prevent, discuss or escape and our lives are in danger we must face our opponents with everything within our reach (techniques, weapons of defense / attack, proper / improper, deception, etc.); in doing this, we must not forget that the goal is simply to put an end to hostility and to stop the people who are attacking us; where possible / reasonable we must try to defend ourselves in the least lethal possible way (blocking, disarming, dislocating, breaking, stunning, terrorizing, etc.); an excess of defense is not preferrable brings us endless problems (revenge, legal problems, remorse, etc.)
Let's never underestimate the fact that in moments of real personal defense the lucidity is very difficult to maintain and we will never act impeccably; the use of the word S.A.F.E. itselft does not really serve much but if we relate it to the 6DKF's principles, tactics, strategies and techniques (mental and physical) it can really make a big difference.
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