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Your attacker reads your body language long before you begin your defense, so you should always present confident but non-aggressive posture and behavior.
- Eyes. Potential attackers often "test" you through eye contact. If you show submissiveness by looking down or to the side as you move around in public (what psychologists call a "downcast demeanor"), you will pass the victim test. Keeping your eyes forward and scanning is a sign of attention and intent. If you brood, stare at the sidewalk, search through a purse or bag, read a map, etc., you will be distracted and more likely to be attacked. Exaggerated or furtive eye movements or sweeping side-to-side head movements imply fear, preoccupation, or being off guard and make you a potential victim.
- Head. Keep chin tucked in so head is not tilting backward, keeping neck relatively straight and upright. Royalty and successful warriors returning to their home cities are often described as entering with "head held high." This head position indicates confidence.
- Shoulders. Keep shoulders lowered slightly in a natural posture, not raised, not slouched, and not hunched. Often we raise our shoulders to indicate surprise, uncertainty, or disinterest. Tension in the shoulders will also cause them to appear raised. All of these attributes display un-readiness, which translates into vulnerability. When holding the head in proper position, the shoulders will find their natural, lowered position.
- Children are taught to sit up straight. Slouching or slumping is associated with a lower status or position in life, which is why we call a lazy person a slouch. A slumping or hunched posture is associated with low energy, poor body coordination, and low self-esteem. Holding your shoulders lowered, but upright, presents an image of confident ability.
- Hands. Keep hands about two inches in front of the upper thighs, fingers toward the thighs. Keeping your hands free and in front of your body conveys readiness. Keeping your hands and arms close to your body helps prevent large gestures that may be misinterpreted as insults. Avoid crossing your arms or shoving your hands into your pockets as these may be considered threatening behavior and they limit your readiness.
- Abdomen. Keep lower abdomen flexed slightly, but keep spine straight. Height is a natural deterrent to aggressors. Standing with a straight posture makes you appear taller. Flexed abdominal muscles create a sensation and attitude of readiness. Like a spring, a slight tension, as opposed to total relaxation, prepares you for action.
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