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Old July 27, 2008, 09:46 PM   #46
Senior Member
Join Date: July 5, 2006
Posts: 375
copenhagen said:

...and I carry myself confidently, but not snottily.
Whenever there is a discussion about conflict avoidance, specifically about not looking like a victim, the question of posture always comes up sooner or later.

We are told to carry ourselves "with confidence". What that means precisely, I for one am not sure. I wish there were some objective standard that could be used to show me what most of the self-defense "experts" mean by a "confident posture".

But I'm at least glad to see that, in your above post, you showed an awareness that there is a difference between carrying yourself in a way that bespeaks confidence and swaggering around in a way that looks cocky and aggressive - and the line between the two can be very, very fine indeed. Actually, I think there's considerable overlap depending on whether the observer is a criminal or a member of polite society.

Gaining perspective over time, I have come to realize that I'm extremely sensitive, or tuned-in, to aggressive body language on the part of others, even to things that are far from being outright manifestations of aggression. When I see the slightest traces of the "macho swim" (arms held out from the sides as though the poser is a champion bodybuilder, even if obviously not), or someone sporting sunglasses in places where they're not needed, particularly wrap-around or mirror types, or someone who is slow to politely make way for others when quarters are tight, I think, "Geez, what a self-absorbed, posturing clown. I hope an equally hormone-laden cretin comes along and hands his lunch to him."

The thing is, in many of these cases, I really think that the people in question aren't knowingly telegraphing aggression. I'm also certain that some of you on this forum wouldn't be struck in the same way as I am by certain behavioral traits that appear, to me, aggressive or over-confident. Such people (those being observed, not TFL members) are just airheads who probably have been immersed in a particular lifestyle, and in one kind of company (their own) for most of their lives. But the underlying pugnaciousness of their physical, rather than mental, "confidence" nonetheless comes across loud and clear to some people of very different backgrounds and behavioral standards.

Point being that, though it is good to appear "confident", be aware that at least as much damage can be done by erring on the over-confident side as on the under-confident one. People who look as though they are making a display - even a subtle one - of themselves, especially in the sense of being physically poised, are sending clear, though maybe faint, signals that are going to catch the attention of those who wish to challenge or make an example of them. Not all criminal attacks are motivated by the desire for material gain, or are decided by a clear-cut risk/reward assessment. Some criminals relish selecting those who look as though they have a high opinion of their ability to take care of themselves, and then humiliating or defeating them.

Just a thought or two. Arguments can be made either way.

I'd still love to have someone actually show me his/her "confident" walk or body language. Even better, I'd like to have a sampling of many such examples gathered from people of all ages, ethnicities and both genders. Come to think of it, I wish that that bunch of photographs that some poster mentioned being shown to prison inmates for victim selection was available to the public, with the selected "victims" identified after I had a shot at it myself.
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