The 5 D’s of Self-Defense


Here, we offer a framework that can be used by everyone from the uninitiated to the expert to understand the components that need to be present in every self-defense situation. The 5 D’s divides the entire spectrum of self-defense into five distinct stages. These stages are defined by the five steps of the strategy of DECIDE DETER DISRUPT DISENGAGE DEBRIEF.

DECIDE is the preparation step. It is the foundation of self-defense. It is made up of planning, education, acceptance, training, conditioning, avoidance, and strategy.

Decide not to be a victim. Use preparation and planning prior to an act of aggression. Learn about crime and criminal behavior. Train to respond to all forms of aggression. Practice avoidance and risk reduction. Acknowledge the existence of risk. Condition your body and mind for the realities of violence.

DETER is the prevention step. It begins when you leave an area of safety and continues until the moment of the actions of DISRUPT. It involves repelling all potential aggressors and building your readiness for a physical assault. It is characterized by awareness, intuition, attitude and appearance, assertiveness, body language, boundary setting, and deception.

Deter and prevent an act of aggression. Learn how to de-escalate a confrontation. Project confidence with body language. Be assertive. Practice situational awareness. Respond to the warnings of intuition. Create safety zones. Utilize boundary setting. Deceive when necessary. Build readiness. Determine Confirmation of Bad Intention.

DISRUPT is the violent and most physical step of self-defense. Its sole purpose is to create the opportunity to escape. It begins with the trigger to act and involves the concept of attacking the attacker to surprise, shock, or cause injury to your attacker.

Disrupt the aggressor. Respond to the Trigger to Act. Foil his plans. Apply verbal and/or physical techniques. Use tactics such as the employment of weapons of opportunity. Execute a decisive strategy. Attack the attacker. Utilize any means available. Create the Opportunity to Escape in order to disengage.

DISENGAGE is the immediate goal of self-defense. It involves your complete commitment to get away from your attacker. Alternatively, it is the result of your actions that has caused your aggressor to discontinue the attack. It is characterized by your flight to safety, or either the aggressor being unwilling or unable to continue his actions.

Disengage and get away from the aggressor. Respond the Opportunity to Escape. Create an ending. Carryout an exit strategy. Cause the aggressor to break off his actions. Evade and escape. Terminate the aggressor’s ability to engage and cause harm. Flee to safety. Get out of there.

DEBRIEF is the long term goal of self-defense. It is the after effects of an assault. The ultimate purpose of self-defense is to minimize the long term consequences and the aftermath of aggression. This concept includes creating peace of mind.

Debrief and discuss the consequences of aggression. Reduce the after effects. Promote physical and emotional healing. Get legal advice. Seek support and assistance. Learn resilience.

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