Rob Pincus

Resetting a Threat's OODA Loop

Rob Pincus
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Duration:   3  mins

Rob answers a question he got recently about resetting a threat’s OODA Loop. This is a decision-making loop that’s been used inside the defensive community to talk about not only the things we defenders do, but also what the bad guy is doing while trying to hurt us.


OODA stands for Observe-Orient-Decide-Act. Rob believes the OODA Loop, especially in the sense that we talk about it inside the defensive community, has been somewhat misapplied. He has made a detailed video explaining the OODA Loop and other related videos you can find on the site. Research these to understand Rob’s point of view that during a fight, we will respond in a realistic way based on our training, as opposed to thinking there’s going to be a deep cognitive process of decision making in the middle of a fight.

Just as Rob thinks we the defenders will not be going through an in-depth “A or B” complex decision-making process in the middle of a fight, the threat will not be either, therefore the idea that we can reset the threat’s OODA Loop during an attack is incorrect.


Realistically, what we will do if suddenly under fire is respond or react to that stimulus based on our training, not decide anything. It’s the same for the bad guy — he will be responding based on his intended plan, not making decisions.

During an attack, the bad guy will be locked on you with his eyes, and if you move to the side, he will track you with his eyes. The idea of lateral movement is another of the self-defense concepts Rob has made several videos about and recommends them as further research. Lateral movement is not an attempt to “fool” the bad guy — he will easily stay with us.

But if we stop suddenly, this may surprise him and disrupt his OODA Loop, though what we’re really doing is causing him to mispredict our actions based on his previous experience. During a fight, both good and bad guys will be executing their learned responses.


If you’ve seen the cues that someone may be about to attack you, that’s the time you can disrupt the threat’s OODA Loop. Rob explains how.

Is there a place for resetting the bad guy’s OODA Loop? Yes. Is it in the middle of a fight? Probably not.

We welcome questions from members, and the site has a few different methods for asking them. Keep them coming!

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