Defensive Grooming Gestures

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Duration: 2:48

Defensive grooming gestures are great defensive techniques for when you aren’t sure what’s going on or for when you are sure but don’t want to escalate a situation by making more overt moves. Rob Pincus demonstrates these defensive grooming gestures.

Possible Scenarios

Imagine you’re walking down the street and see a couple of kids coming toward you and gesturing to each other, or looking at you nervously, and you aren’t sure what they’re doing. Maybe they’re just making fun of you, but maybe they’re targeting you for a knock-out punch attack, or worse, a more serious crime.

You may not be ready to put your hands up in a defensive posture, or yell at them, or cross the street. If you’re just worried or suspicious, that’s ok. Healthy awareness of what’s going on around you is the first step to preventing an attack. That awareness of possibly suspicious activity should prime your defensive system and put your defensive measures into play.

Defensive Grooming Gestures

If you’re not ready to go all out in unarmed self-defense mode, a defensive grooming gesture may be an appropriate action. As you get close to the person(s), you can reach your arm up and do any of the following: scratch your head, run your fingers through your hair, rub your nose, stroke your chin, or scratch your forehead. What you are doing is preparing your hand and arm to be in a position to defend your head if someone throws a strike.

Deterrent Effect

You may also be deterring that strike, because a person loading up their arm to throw a big punch to your head may realize he can’t easily knock you out with one punch because you have your hand up

These grooming actions are subtle, natural, and very easy to do.

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8 Responses to “Defensive Grooming Gestures”

  1. Me

    Good ideas. I first learned of these gestures from Louie Lamoure books written 50 years ago. Of course Louie wasn’t just a writer, but a professional boxer and tank commander during WW-II.

  2. Frank

    I guess you have to guess from which side the possible strike will come from. If I am grooming my left side, I am preparing for a right handed strike. Since most people are right handed, this would seem correct. However, a left hook is pretty devastating.

  3. Thomas

    If I am in a neighborhood or circumstance of serious possibility of danger. My suggestion, take my gun out, keep a distance, and let them be aware(visual) I have a gun. Better than scratching my forehead. Best way to dissuade them ! Whats to worry, that they will report you. Don’t have a CCP? so what. Better than being seriously hurt or killed..
    Remember, judged by 12, than carried by 6.

    • rburch20

      So the scenario Rob mentioned, “you’re walking down the street and see a couple of kids coming toward you and gesturing to each other, or looking at you nervously, and you aren’t sure what they’re doing.”

      Your suggestion for that is pull out your gun (brandishing) and threatening them?

      Again you do not know what they are doing, you have no indications of an articulable threat. They may be laughing at something you’re wearing, or talking about a project at school without even realizing you are there.

      There is no justification to pull a gun in that situation.

      • Hoppa

        Correct, I agree. Brandishing will land you in jail. Plus, a person cannot use lethal force just on a feeling or a thought. I hear time and time from people if they feel threatened to pull up your shirt to show a gun. That will land you in jail. Plus if you pull out a gun and the other person hasn’t done anything they have every right to defend themselves. The threat must be imminent.

  4. Goodguys

    Your best bet is to change direction and remain aware of what they do in response, then if they feign a reason to close with some bogus question, ‘interview’ stance while keeping your eyes on their hands. Why not teach that?

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