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The ABC’s of Empowerment Self-Defense: The Letter M

Self-defense is more than just how hard you can hit. It is the full spectrum of tools that you can use to protect yourself every single day. We utilize skills from self-defense in our decision-making processes, such as when we communicate with people, when we drive or do activities, and more! Self-defense is really so expansive that we thought we would give you a better idea of what to expect when you take a self-defense class with IMPACT by breaking it down for you ABC-style.

The Letter M: Matching Body Language

“Body language and tone of voice–not words– are our most powerful assessment tool.” (Christopher Voss)

The way we present ourselves is important to any of our interactions. When setting boundaries, having neutral and confident body language can make our boundaries clearer and help create understanding of our boundaries. While the words that we say are important, the body language and expressions that follow it make up approximately 93% of the message that is received. Here are some other areas that can help strengthen our boundaries:

Tone of Voice:

When we are speaking, a large part of what is being communicated comes from our tone of voice. If we are using an overly aggressive tone of voice, even if our words are de-escalatory, aggression is going to be what the other person hears. The same goes for passivity. When we are communicating (setting boundaries/de-escalating), we want to ensure that our tone of voice matches the words that we are saying and portrays confidence and readiness for whatever the interaction turns into.

Eye Contact:

Oftentimes we think that making eye contact will make a potential assailant mad because it can be seen as disrespectful. However, making eye contact is actually a sign of respect. It means that I can look you in the eye and say something is going on. Whether you’re talking to a stranger, a friend, or a coworker, making conversational eye contact can show that you are confident in yourself and your boundaries and help the person understand that you’re serious.

What you say should be taken seriously regardless of your body language. By presenting yourself as strong and neutral, it can help you project confidence in place of fear, and it can help the person acknowledge your boundary quicker and with more understanding. We can only speak for customs within the United States and we recognize that this varies culturally.

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