Know the AOI Triangle, defend yourself on the street
Vol 0 | Issue 1
Everything happened so suddenly that I didn’t know what happened; I was totally taken by surprise.” This is the often heard lament from victims of assaults.
There is nothing like a surprise assault for an informed person. You can remain alert when you become aware that certain elements need to be conducive for a criminal to launch his assault. If you are able to understand these elements, you can avoid the shocking unpredictability of a sudden assault.
Two kinds of Assaults
There are only 2 kinds of assaults – Assault in Anger and Assault with Criminal Intention.
Both have characteristic ways of developing and culminating. It’s more critical to understand criminal assaults, since unpredictability is a dominating element in them.
The Awareness Antenna - AOI Triangle
Do you remember the Triangle showing the 3 Elements of Fire, which we studied in School - Heat, Fuel & Air? Even if one of these elements is taken out, the Fire is contained.
Similarly there is a Triangle of Elements of Violent attack. The three elements are – ABILITY, OPPORTUNITY & INTENT. To remember this easily, let’s call it AOI triangle.
ABILITY – To mount an assault, the attacker should be confident that he has superior ability than you.
The confidence of the attacker may be due to his physical superiority, a weapon he has in his hand, or the fact that he may be having more people on his side or that he is on familiar territory, while you may be a stranger.
• The most obvious advice is, of course, "Please AVOID getting into such a situation."
• If that's not possible, be AWARE of the People (around you) and the Surroundings.
• Don't behave like a soft target. Even if you are apprehensive, at least ACT confident.
The criminal always chooses people who give him the assurance that he can dominate them physically and mentally. So, your body language and words should ooze confidence.
OPPORTUNITY – The attacker should be confident that he will not be disturbed during the crime and he can make an escape
Ideal targets for an attacker are potential victims at ‘home alone’, on deserted or unlit roads. Commuters using public transport and those in public places like a park, provide ample opportunities for the attacker to choose his victim. Attacks take place in a crowd too, since the attacker can disappear fast – mostly in 'snatching' crimes.
Many urban attacks take place in ‘fringe areas’ too, like in car parks, elevators or stairways - because one is not surprised to see strangers in these areas, while the criminal is assured of reasonable anonymity.
• If you feel something is wrong with a person or surroundings, trust your gut feel. ANTICIPATE a problem and prepare for damage control.
• ASSERT -Deny the criminal the window of opportunity he is hoping for, by delaying the process. If the criminal senses you are a tough cookie, he prefers to back-out, rather than face a prolonged confrontation which will increase his risk.
INTENT – The attacker should have a clear motive.
Common motives for the attacker/ criminal may be: money, sex, previous enmity and influence of alcohol or drug.
If these three elements of AOI warn of an impending assault, you need to act at once.
You should immediately try and subvert the Ability or the Opportunity of the aggressor, since you can’t do much about his Intention.
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.