View Linked Article
One of the frightening realities of real-world self-defense is that criminals will attack you when conditions most favor them and least favor you. Attackers armed with contact-distance weapons will therefore do their best to launch their assaults suddenly and from close range, to minimize your reaction time.
Situational awareness and the ability to recognize pre-incident indicators—the behavioral patterns that attackers typically, and often subconsciously, display prior to an assault—are obviously the best ways of avoiding a close-range ambush. Unfortunately, in today’s busy world and the complex environments we often have to contend with, maintaining a “reactionary gap” isn’t as easy as it would seem. In those circumstances, the best defense is sound tactics built on a foundation of instinct.
The Startle Response:
Millions of years of evolution have hard-wired us with instinctive physical responses that allow us to react reflexively to sudden physical threats. These instincts provide a basic, but surprisingly effective, level of defense that maximizes our chances of survival—even without any formal training in fighting skills.