Author Topic: SURVIVAL AND THE CONFLICT CYCLE  (Read 4473 times)

Offline swanson

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« on: December 02, 2008, 09:17:32 AM »

I hope this is thread useful to forum members.

Please, let me know what you think.

I am a big fan of charts and graphs. I guess I just like pretty colors and am a Power-Point Ranger at heart…

The little graphic I created above is a tool I use in training to combine some fundamental ideas to help students build a framework and approach to handling the violence and confrontation that often crops up in our society and way of life.

None of what follows is anything new, just repackaged for thought.

I have found that boxing things in is useful when it comes to conveying fundamental concepts, so here’s the meat of the graphic’s meaning…


Let’s break it all down.


I have adapted this cycle from Jim Wagner’s training models. Adding his books to your self defense library is worth the investment.

The conflict cycle forms the outer ring of the graphic and represents the process we all <should> go through when dealing with the corrosive impact of interpersonal violence.

So, here’s my added “spin” on the conflict cycle…


No matter our profession or lifestyle, we all know that violence can and will show up in our lives sooner or later. So, we must prepare for that day by educating ourselves and training.

Do not neglect this simple observation. If you train regularly,  you will reap the benefits of a seasoned response to conflict. If you don’t train, you will find yourself at a deficit and reap the outcomes of that choice as well.

Relying on luck and circumstance is not a bet I am willing to take- so I train often.

Make a study of the threats you might face and the tactics, techniques, and potential procedures that that the criminal/terrorist actor might use against you.
If you’re serious about survival, you will have already started this study well before reading this prose.


When going about your activities in the world at large- develop your situational awareness and be on the watch for pre-attack behaviors and the cues and signals that criminal actors will precipitate prior to launching an attack.

Your enemy will initiate his attack cycle, but will rarely do so without giving it away, subtly.

Here are some common indicators linked to the “initiation” of interpersonal conflict…


Pacing back and forth
Face turning white
Target glancing
Witness glancing
Clinched fists
Clinched jaw
Thousand yard stare
Puffing up of the chest
Increased respiration, almost like hyperventilating
Shift from a head on to a bladed stance
Elevation of volume or pitch of speech
Dropping of the head
Slight sinking of the body or bending of the knees
Apparent, unwarranted attention to another
odd behavior, something that sticks out as "not normal"
Apparent motives for that behavior or attention to another


Luck has not been on your side, and being deselected as a target has failed.

At the point of “escalation”, acting in your own defense is a foregone conclusion.

“Something” will occur and trigger your appropriate, defensive response at this stage.

Expect to deal with an escalating heart rate and the impacts that your own nervous system will bring to bear upon you due to the presence of danger.

Your intuition, training, and experience are all in play now.

(A threat has tripped your “mental trigger”, and it’s time to act!!)


At this stage, physical conflict has not been avoided and is taking place.

If you have taken survival seriously, you will be appropriately responding to deadly conflict by transferring suitable and legal amounts kinetic energy through the tools you have at hand.

You must stay in the fight until what threatens your safety is “rendered passive” or the adversary you face is incapacitated.

This is rough stuff and you must be mentally prepared for this stage of conflict as well as physically. If you are not, you may be less effective in your response or hesitate at the moment of “truth”.

Don’t be that guy who we are about on the news that was paralyzed by fear and could not act in defense.


Now that you have applied the necessary force to defend your person (or others in your care), and the immediate threat(s) have been neutralized, you will move into a post-conflict mode.

The proper authorities will be called in to the scene, and justice will take its course.

Be ready to legally defend your actions in court, and don’t be surprised to find yourself under a legal microscope for the actions that have resulted from your involvement in conflict.

My suggestion is this- If you ever believe that violence is a possibility in your life, you better retain a decent lawyer and have legal counsel well before an incident takes place.


Sooner or later, life should get back to business as usual.

However, you may be recovering from the mental and physical injuries you sustained due to the conflict itself.

For everyone, this experience will be different-but hopefully, you will get beyond the corrosive experience of violence you had and achieve a relative quiet and normal domestic scene.

Evaluate your experiences and circumstances and press on!!!


The OODA Loop sets in the middle of the conflict cycle diagram as a reminder that every day we make 100’s and 1000’s of observations and decisions, and it’s important to never discount the potential need for a defensive course of action no matter where and what you are doing.

So what do you think?