Fronting – The First Step in Self Defense

Fronting – The First Step in Self Defense

Fronting” is the dodge to get in close to you. The frontal assault, as opposed to the ambush.

Fronting can be either a direct confrontation (intimidation) or it can make use of “artifice”, i.e. “got a light”, “got the time”, “how do I get to such and such”. Anything “innocent” to throw you off your guard and allow the assailant to “get into your safety zone”. That area where action WILL ALWAYS best re-action.

The key here is NEVER TRUST anyones “intention”, NEVER!

Maintaining the “reactionary gap” is the single most important “thing” in this situation. In order for ANY attack to be optimally effective three things must “work” in the attackers favor: Time – Distance – Opportunity.

NEVER “allow” anyone within arms distance. If they are close enough to simply reach out and touch you, you have a BIG PROBLEM.

How did you get there?

I wish I had a dime for every self-defense “expert” that starts with this line – OK, the bad guy throws a punch……………

WHAT? Did he just appear in a cloud of smoke? Simply materialize from nowhere? What preceded this “punch”?

How did he approach you and manage to get into your safety zone? Is it an “ambush”? How did you wind up dealing with the attack?

The equation for dealing with this is NOT the “defense”, its understanding our “triad”, TIME – DISTANCE – OPPORTUNITY.

Increase the TIME necessary for the assailant to be effective.
Decrease the TIME necessary for YOUR attack to be effective.

Increase the DISTANCE necessary for the assailant to be effective.
Decrease the DISTANCE necessary for YOUR attack to be effective.

Remove or minimize the OPPORTUNITY necessary for the assailant to be effective.
MAXIMIZE your OPPORTUNITY to make YOUR attack effective.

The assailant has to TARGET YOU, COVER THE DISTANCE TO GET TO YOU, and then have THE OPPORTUNITY to implement his assault, in other words you have to be there when he gets there.

Now! Time – Distance – Opportunity = SPEED – POWER – ACCURACY.

That’s the full “combat” equation. It works for the assailant AND it works for you.

So, I’m more concerned with “how” we disrupt the equation for the attacker and use it to our advantage, than I am about “defending against the punch”.

Here are two good ones:

“A miss is as good as a mile”
“Almost only works for horseshoes and hand grenades”

That’s also what I mean when I say look at the “big picture”.

Combat shooting:

Speed and “man-killing” accuracy. “Nail driving” accuracy is great as long as it doesn’t effect your SPEED!

Distance? Measure the longest “area” in your home. Hallway, bedroom, kitchen, etc., all the places that an attack may occur. What’s the distance? Don’t waste time firing at ranges over that!

I know people that have weapons strategically placed around their living environment. Never know where you’ll be when you need what you don’t have, right?

How about the one place where you really are naked as a jay-bird? The shower. Drawstring plastic bag(waterproof) with you in the shower, containing 230 grains of “soap”. No, I’m NOT kidding. Better to have “it” and NOT ever need it, than to need “it” and NOT have it. ALWAYS, ALWAYS…..remember Uncle Murphy! The SOB will always show up when least expected, ALWAYS!

Ok, I’m sorry I made your stomach hurt.

SWEAR WORDS! I’m shocked! Don’t tell me that good solid Catholic schooling was wasted?

Anyone who knows me, KNOWS I do NOT approve of such language!

Hope I helped clarify.


Carl Cestari

Published by theselfdefenseco

Founder, The Self Defense Company

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  1. I wish I was here in time to know him. He was wise and knowing. I miss him and never heard of him before 2017. L-5

  2. An excellent article with very specific information.

    I have always followed the adage with my students that very seldom should someone get closer with their hands to your firearm than your hands are. In other words, if you find that someone has caught you off guard (it happens to everyone eventually) and your weapon is on your strong-side hip (as an example) your first movement should be to rotate that hip away from them. If you are forced to be at “contact distance,” with a stranger…at least make sure your “body-width,” is between their hands and your weapon.

    Thank you for publishing your article. Awesome info!

  3. Mr.Carl Cestari – even though I never knew him in person, in 2007 I got hold of his Old School series (only parts of it), and that is the very reason why I ended up with a neverending interest in WW2 Combatives.
    Mr.Carl Cestari – the Man, the Teacher, the Warrior.

    May he rest in our Lords’ arms.

  4. Excellent points! I have run into this exact circumstance when traveling overseas, where other cultures do not have the “personal bubble” emphasis that many Americans have. Attention to reaction space becomes MUCH more imperative in those circumstances.

  5. Just had a good conversation about distance and situational control with a professional boxing instructor last night. Totally on the same page when it comes to the reality of street assault. It was good to know that there are at least some other types of instructors out there who understand the street.

  6. At 70 it’s probably a bit late to start to learn, but I have to say I would feel a lot more confident if I had a some knowledge of how to disable a attacker or to at least hurt them if they are going to hurt me.

    1. Alistair, The Self Defense Company teaches based on principles and not techniques. There is something here for everyone! If the self sefense doesn’t work for everyone then it isn’t true self defense. You can get great training here at any age or level of fitness.

  7. I’m armed 24/7; however, the shower thingy is a bit much. My place is alarmed up and can not be disarmed outside the joint. Even a ‘no-knock’ beat down of my door or broken window, gives me time <10 sec, even naked, to access my 'border repeller by the sink! LOL

    1. Bars of soap in a bag, Rocks in a sock, canned vegetables in a sack create a mace that can be very effective against a knife or even a gun wielding assailant. If the soap gets wet, it will turn to bluck and not work. That’s prison knowledge brother. I knew a guy that would rub soap on the floor, not all over just in certain spots. Work the guy on to the spot. Probably won’t need it, so just clean it up when your done.

  8. Alistar…I am also the ripe old age of 70 and thankful that I know many of the training techniques that Damian puts out there. At our age we are no longer able to go toe to toe with someone younger/ stronger and quicker than we are …so much mor the reason to take just one class at a time online with SDC . I have aught many people from women, martial artists and State Law Enforcement but limit it to @ 20 moves. You do not have to have ten years of training to be effective to eliminate a threat …learn a few and know them well and you will do fine.

  9. As Damian says NEVER EVER trust anyone……….assume they arel carrying a weapon(s) which they have the full intention of using, always watch their hands…this simple advice kept me safe for 26+ years.
    Thanks Damian,
    Best regards,
    Steve (Italy)

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