Self-defense: aggression in front of a supermarket

The 6 Dragons Kung Fu’s S.A.F.E. method applied to a real aggression in front of a store

This article contains a report (as precise and informal as possible) of what happened in a real self-defense situation experienced by me (Kongling).

Note – This article has been asked by one of our Core Course practitioners on Patreon (see how to attend our home study classes here Learn Kung Fu online: a beginner-to-expert course).

The background (in short):

  • I was in my car and I was traveling at low speed because I wanted to go to a supermarket (300m further on)
  • Arrived near the entrance to the parking lot, I signal my intention to turn with the flashing arrow

The situation that has triggered the criticality:

  • In the car behind me (which was not at the right distance) the motorist starts to honk the horn in a very insistent way (he was probably absent-minded and was taken by surprise)
  • Instinctively (and this was my mistake) I made one of those typical signs not overly vulgar but at least of disapproval (with the right arm, as if to say “what do you want from me?”)
  • The driver of the vehicle behind has instead interpreted my gesture as a heavy insult, has blocked traffic and in the grip of anger has made a (dangerous) reversal to enter the car park from the opposite side
  • I had already parked my vehicle when I found the car of this boy marching in my direction almost as if to want to come upon me (I hope not with the intent to really hit me)
  • Continuing with my pace I put myself safe from its trajectory, the guy nails the car and goes down screaming in an exaggerated way “that hand you know where you have to put it on?”

The application of the S.A.F.E. method

Trying to break down sequentially everything that happens next, let’s see what my analysis of the situation (based on the S.A.F.E. method of 6 Dragons Kung Fu) has been. Needless to say that everything happens in a matter of minutes.


  • As is natural, first I avoided the imminent danger of the running car (with the idea of putting me safe but without showing useless fear or agitation)
  • Secondly, I analyzed the people in the vehicle (looking for any secondary threats); the boy, his mother and his girlfriend have come down (in this order)
  • Third, I linger on the hands, then on the possible content of pockets / clothing (looking for any weapons, blunt objects, etc.); I start from the most likely aggressor and then move on to the other two (at first glance they appear all unarmed)
  • Fourth, I analyze (as far as I can), the size, the physical form and all the possible signs of danger of my possible aggressor; in the present case, the boy was in excellent physical shape, not too tall, broken nose and excoriations on the right knuckle (bad signs, read Recognize the opponent’s preparation level)
  • Fifthly, I estimate that his gait is rapid but not that of those who want to attack (read The guide to the signals of aggression), in any case (for safety), I position myself (with the same calm pace) beyond the railing that is in front of the supermarket; this small trick (putting an obstacle between us) eliminates the possibility of a quick attack (for me was easy to move, for him very complex to get to me, he had to take a long ride or try to climb over the handrail)


  • I empty my mind, I try to be able to negotiate without emotional involvement both to fight to the best of my possibilities (read Become the absolute zero)
  • As soon as he gets in front of me the boy starts screaming (red in the face); he is clearly prey to the fumes of anger, his logical ability is reduced to nothing, whatever I tell him would only result in raising the tension, then I remain silent and decide to let it vent
  • I keep a visual contact with his eyes but without any challenge (under the 2 seconds continuous), he does not stop to shout phrases like “if you want to go out with that **** car, you have to be careful of what you do!” and again “I’ll break your nose ****!”
  • Hearing of mentioning an action and a specific target, I understand he is waiting for an occasion to hit (but probably at the moment he does not want to do it), for precaution I assume (with extreme calm and without being aware of it) an “undeclared” guard position (read A little trick: the secret guard of the 6DKF)
  • He approaches and speaks even louder, he insults me, he wants to make me react; in the meantime, the mother and the girlfriend (also on the other side of the “architectural barrier”) enter the discussion “you  had to pay attention to whoever you had behind!”
  • With the intervention of new elements (much less involved) in the dispute, I have the opportunity to tone down; I thus expose my version of the facts, but I address to the mother (with a calm and respectful tone) “please, be patient Madam, I have promptly reported my maneuver with the arrow, he would have to maintain the regular distance provided by the highway code”
  • The mother answers “it’s not true! I did not see your arrow, my son had to brake!”; addressing the mother is a trick to lengthen the timing of communication and give the boy the time to dispose of a bit of overflowing rage
  • The boy starts to argue with his mother and loses a small but decisive part of aggressivity “No, he has put the arrow, this is not what interests me… this **** insulted me!”
  • The very fact of pronouncing the word “insult” brings up the tension, the boy turns back to me and, shaking hands, says “Leave my mother alone, you now pay for that… you insulted me and you will pay for it!”


  • It is not time to leave, I would lose the logistical advantage (risking to be followed), I try to mitigate the situation “ok, on this you’re right, I’m sorry for doing that unconscious and instinctive gesture, I apologize but I reported my intention to turn, maybe you have lost it, it can happen, let’s do not make this a national case, we have both wrong”
  • At this time the level of anger (after having given him the reason, the excuses, the alleviation of error and the sharing of guilt) has come down but unfortunately not so much to bring the discussion on a civil plan; the boy, made strong of my submission, insists boldly in saying “you do not want to understand that I break your nose, **** head of ****?”
  • In the meaning time a scared woman (that I know by sight) exit from the supermarket; looking at her with gestures and the right  facial expression I take this opportunity to make it clear that I am the victim and not the aggressor; this passage is fundamental because in an eventual procedural seat I have secured me a favorable witness


  • Now that the anger has fallen, it is a question of triggering a situation that will cause the boy to leave without losing his dignity in front of his family; I can therefore start to make him believe that my anger is rising (which was not difficult at all), so my look from mild and impartial becomes intense and continuous
  • While he continues to talk and look around (less and less convinced), I let my left hand slide slowly on my jacket and grab the flap (as if to open it); I know he’s watching me carefully (it’s enough lucid to do it now)
  • My gaze becomes even more gloomy and without uttering a word, I let my right hand slip slowly over my abdomen; the impression I want to give is double and its interpretation depends on the mental excursus of the observer, he may in fact think that I am about to extract a weapon from under the jacket (a knife, a gun, etc.) or simply that I’m about to take off a cumbersome garment (gesture easily interpreted as the beginning of a physical battle)

The final result:

  • Determination, serenity and mystery have the desired effect but only because there was involved nothing of really serious and because mine was not a fiction at all (I was really about to take off my jacket and I was really ready to fight); if my eyes had betrayed fear or (worse) if my action had turned out to be exasperated, things would have been different
  • The boy noticed the imminence of a danger and lucid enough to understand that it was not worthwhile to face a possible unequal fight (for something he was wrong about) he said very quickly the following words “you’re lucky I have to go and nearby there is a barrack of perhaps the order, otherwise I would break your nose! “; having said that he quickly brought the family up in the car and literally “escaped”
  • A few days later we met again (I found him attending one of the places where I go more often), we met but our eyes did not even cross; in a short time that guy who could be a problem is back to being a stranger (him for me and me for him)

There is no doubt that if the boy had attacked me I would have to react but for those who think I should have taken his head and slammed it on the iron railing (which as a practitioner of 6DKF I focused at the same time as the boy approached it) I would like to list some realistic “alternative endings”:

  • Physical confrontation with a doubtful result and certain bruises (I know what I can do and I am afraid of it, I do not know what others can do and I take as much consideration)
  • A day at police headquarters, accusations, complaints, remorse, revenge (for what? For what purpose?)

6 Dragons Kung Fu was born to learn to control our mind and body, to see far, not to apply violence to others (read The 6DKF’s diagram about the use of violence).

In the next article, after describing this particular event we will go on to trace a more general path on how to behave in similar cases.

This episode is resolved in the best possible way but later we will analyze other cases of personal defense (and not only) ended badly, so as to work not only on hypothetical situations but amalgamating theory and practice through a concrete basis of real events.

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Reply in the comments and share your experience:

  • Have you ever been attacked?

Author: Master Kongling

Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.

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