Body Language Sends a Message

posted on June 1, 2012
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Frankly, the article had a few good points but it really fell short on one topic. The author suggested that people should avoid making eye contact with strangers when they go about their daily business. Keep your head down and don't challenge strangers by making eye contact, the article advised.

Unfortunately, that sort of demeanor is the body language of a victim. It communicates that the person is afraid and that they have something to be afraid about. To the observant crook this posture may mean the person is not able to defend themselves, don't know how to defend themselves, and that they may have valuable possessions that they are afraid of losing. It gives every indication that the person is worth watching further and being considered as a potential victim.

Now I don't mean to suggest that most street criminals are conversant with the whole concept of body language. But, being predators, they have a pretty good understanding of what a potential victim looks like and how they act. Just as a pack of wolves will go after a sick or crippled cow, so will the criminal go after someone who looks and acts like a victim.

In the Combat Mind Set, urge the student to be alert and make every effort to spot trouble while it is still far enough away that it can be successfully dealt with. To do this, one has to essentially remain erect and observe everything that is going on around him. He looks at people to determine if they represent a threat. He makes eye contact with people to determine if their demeanor will give away their criminal intent.

What the criminal reads in all of this is that he is observing a person who is not afraid. And his immediate concern is to wonder why that person is not afraid. Is he armed? Is he skilled in martial arts? Is he a plainclothes policeman? Is he worth the risk?

Now, while going about your business in an alert, confident manner, it is not necessary to use the "commando grimace" that seems to be so popular among certain trainers. A pleasant smile is perfectly all right and will be much more acceptable to those around you. The important thing is to stand erect and hold your head high, make eye contact and be alert, and let your body language tell those around you that you are not a victim who can be easily taken.


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