Five Pre-Attack Indicators You May Not Know

There are countless pre-attack indicators. The more you are able to recognize, the greater your chance of avoiding a physical confrontation. Multiple pre-attack indicators are usually present. Here are five pre-attack indicators you may not know:

  • Silence or Hesitation to Respond: If you’re in a situation that is escalating and your adversary has gone silent, you’re probably in big trouble. You have to assume a violent, explosive attack is imminent. Humans are not designed to multitask. We are good at switch-tasking. Preparing oneself to launch a violent attack is an intense process. Target glancing, contemplating the consequences, worrying about witnesses and the fear of getting hurt takes a tremendous amount of mental energy.
  • Flanking: If multiple attackers are involved, they may separate in order to control and confine your movement. If one attacker is involved, he or she may suddenly step off line to catch you by surprise. He may block an avenue of escape, or pin you  against wall, car or other barrier.
  • Removal of Clothing: An attacker my take off a jacket or sweatshirt to improve range of movement. Or, that thug who approached you may set his $200 cowboy hat on the table so it doesn’t get damaged.
  • Developing Attack Range: Punches, kicks, elbows, knees and head butts require an attacker to be fairly close. Be leery of altercations where aggressors start closing the distance, as they may be getting into attack range.
  • Eye Blinks: Rapid eye blinking is a sign of increased stress and tension. If you notice an increase in the rate of eye blinks, more than likely you will see other signs of increased tension such as a clenched fist or jaw.

Learning to recognize pre-attack indicators increases your chances of avoiding violence. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below or ask a question in our discussion forums.

By |2018-09-05T20:39:49+00:00September 13th, 2018|Self-Defense|2 Comments

About the Author:

Founder of Mindful Defense™, an effective system of self-defense for all skill levels regardless of age, gender or physical ability. David is a full-time martial arts and self-defense instructor at his studio, Overland Park Karate, in Overland Park, KS.


  1. Lori September 20, 2018 at 2:05 pm - Reply

    Good information! Another resource that I have come across which discusses attack indicators and signs that someone approaching has evil intentions is The Gift of Fear. An excellent book for anyone wanting to learn more about personal safety.

  2. David DiBella September 20, 2018 at 3:43 pm - Reply

    “The Gift of Fear” is a great book and I highly recommend it as well. It can be purchased here:

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