Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Posturing or Placating

            Until a few years back I used to run first year classes at a major university. As an incurable people watcher the first few weeks of the first term were always entertaining. Something interesting I observed when it was time for the first large practical class. This was a stressful time. There is a big room of people you don’t know and you are not sure what to expect. I would usually be standing near the door and would be one of the first things the student would encounter. I am big, ugly and look like I own the place. Here is what I noticed.

            Young males would enter the room, obviously nervous and uncertain. On seeing me they would puff themselves out and try to walk with a swagger. Didn’t fool anyone and I would often have to repress the urge to laugh.

            Young women, on the other hand would usually smile at me and would often say hello. Interestingly many of the more mature male students also would acknowledge or greet me.

            What has this got to do with self-defence? Quite a bit really, since the first stage of defence is to avoid a fight entirely. The young male response was to posture, the female to placate and establish a rapport. Something to think about.