Self Defense Size Up - your fate is decides in the first few seconds.

Self Defense Size Up

Self Defense Size Up

Self Defense size up happens in the first few milliseconds your in someone else’s space.

They see you as a possible target of opportunity and they need to make a quick decision, a COST BENEFIT analysis if you are going to be worth it. 

In other words, will they be able to impose their will on you without being injured, captured or identified. 

When walking in rough neighborhoods or past thugs, people who don’t know any better will tell you to AVOID EYE CONTACT, keep your head down and just keep moving.

This is not good advice. 

At our core, we’re animals and in the animal kingdom there are PREDATORS and PREY. 

If you act like either one, you will be TREATED as such. 

When criminals and bullies pick targets, they’re looking for PREY – not a title fight. 

Take this story I just received from one of our Elite Members, Lee.

“I was walking out of a Walmart when a male in his twenties, hocked up and spit right across my path. He was standing next to the wall and my inclination was to swing my right arm around and plaster his head against the wall before he could escalate the situation.

Needless to say, I didn’t, but I did however make eye contact, maintained my distance while walking past and he went back against the wall.

I do believe he got the message.

I have come to discover that the will to act is the currency of respect in some circles. It sends a message that it’s not a real good idea to mess with me.

However, on a bad day, this could have degenerated into an ass-kicking contest real quickly.

So I’m glad I have something stronger to control these animals.

Thanks for your course and thanks for being there.”

– Lee
Elite Member


The “spit” was the punk’s way of testing Lee.

A little test to see if Lee was going to be a problem. This is how most crimes of violence begin. They try to get away with a little, then take a little more and so on. Make no mistake, once they have you on the tracks, it’s only a matter of time until it gets out of control.

Imagine if Lee looked down and try to avoid dealing with this punk all together. There’s a good chance this kid decides to follow him to his car, asks him for some spare change and then continues to see what he can get from Lee. 

The good news is, WE WILL NEVER KNOW because Lee acted like PREDATOR, not PREY. 

Are you predator or prey? 


  • Make strong EYE CONTACT
  • Walk head up, scanning the environment
  • Are looking to HUNT and DEFEND
  • Move with purpose


  • Avoid eye contact
  • Constantly looking for ways to escape
  • Are looking to GRAZE, SCAVENGE and ESCAPE
  • Move with panic

Remember, where ever you go, you’re being SIZED UP and TESTED so how you’re perceived is entirely up to you. 

Now, this doesn’t mean to overtly CHALLENGE the local thugs on the corner, but casual eye contact for less than a second is enough and when you move your eyes off of them, KEEP YOUR EYES AT THE SAME LEVEL, look past them and slowly scan the area, left to right and right to left. PLEASE – DON’T GET INTO A STARING CONTEST.

Always keep your head up, chest out and move with purpose and intent. 

It also helps (a lot) if you have plan of action mapped out like Lee did.

Having a plan will:

  • Instill your purpose of movement
  • Emote confidence
  • Calm your nerves and channel that adrenalin rush
  • Give you something to focus on 
  • Stop you from panicking

Be Predator, NOT Prey…

Until Next Time…

Train Honestly, 



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Published by Damian (Instructor)

Founder, The Self Defense Company

Join the Conversation


  1. I also like to give just the tiniest little smile that says I am really going to enjoy myself as I look at a point about two feet behind their head. This really seems to unnerve most folks.

  2. I had a similar experience in the Bronx. I was walking home and five guys were coming towards me on the sidewalk I was on. Rather than cross the street I stayed and walked right thru the group as I was looking straight at them and said “Have a good day guys” as I smiled and kept walking thru. As I was walking away I heard one of them say…”He must be a black belt”…… Not there yet (Brown belt), but I have had to deal with bullies and successfully disarmed and beat the **** out of 3 knife wielding muggers and sent them running. The “Predator” mentality is real and if you look and act scared the “PREDATORS” will attack.

  3. The Presidents have something to teach us. Without stirring any political controversy, or upsetting anyone, I’d like to offer an observation on dealing with predators.

    Teddy Roosevelt: “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”
    Obama: “Speak softly and give them your stick.”
    Trump: “I’m going to show you the size of my stick!”

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