The Weekend Leader - Street Smart

A KravMaga expert's 4 D's to prevent road rage and other conflicts

S Sreeram


Vol 0 | Issue 1

“Violence starts where civilization ends." It may sound a bit ironic that I often spout this quote in KravMaga self defense classes.

I sincerely believe physical violence as a way to address a problem can only be the last resort, when all civilized options are exhausted. In fact I would go to the extent of saying violence often escalates an issue rather than solving it. This is true for the individual as well as the society at large.

Volatile situations happen every day in bar rooms, board rooms and bed rooms. Wherever there is more than one individual, opinions may differ. Unfortunately and unexpectedly, sometimes these differences escalate to physical violence.

It is only when bones break, blood spills and one ends up waiting for hours in a police station or in a hospital corridor, one wakes up to the harsh reality of physical violence.

So, here’s how you could tackle explosive situations and prevent them from getting out of control.

It brings us to the first D.

DENY - your ego

Most of us are blind to our own faults. Especially in a conflict situation when passions are flying high, whatever objectivity one possesses is diminished further.

So, instead of assessing the ways to resolve the conflict, we escalate it further by angry repartees. This escalation snow balls to an extent where tactically backing off becomes impossible, without losing face. It becomes all about, "I won’t budge from my position whatever happens."

But, how does one temper the Ego? That brings us to the next D.

DELAY - the escalation

As they say anger is temporary madness - because the adrenalin surge does crazy things to you physically and mentally.

Imagine your car is suddenly going out of control. What is the first instinctive action? Take the foot off the accelerator. You understand that all the braking and manoeuvring is possible only if the car is not going any faster.

Similarly, just stop reacting word to word and gesture to gesture. Be silent for sometime if the other guy is ranting. Breathe deeply so that the shallow angry breathing is regulated. This should stop the urge to keep scoring verbal points.

This takes us to the next D.

DIFFUSE - the anger

Don’t show overt body language of aggression. Speak softly and firmly.

Avoid invading the personal space of the opponent, for two reasons. Firstly, he may see it as a personal affront. Secondly, if he starts punching or kicking you will be too close to defend.

DIVERT - his aggression

Once the snowballing of the conflict is stemmed, the next priority is to channelize the aggression away from a confrontation.

The fact is, except a retarded few, nobody likes violence. But many aggressors continue a suicidal anger posture because they don’t know how to back off. When you offer an alternative course of action, he is actually relieved.

Remember the 4 D’s - Deny, Delay, Diffuse & Divert.

As we love to say in KravMaga:

“A good fighter knows how to get OUT of a Fight.
A smart fighter knows how NOT to get IN a Fight."

The writer is a Krav Maga instructor based in Chennai. Krav Maga is a practical self-defense art which prepares you in a short duration for street reality – where there are no rules.

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