Threat Escalation Response Framework

Words Matter

The term “Self-Defense” is used to generally describe the tools and techniques that we should use to defend ourselves against acts of aggression, whether they are verbal, physical, or life-threatening.

However, word choice matters. Let me illustrate.

The words “defend” and “secure” are similar, yet different.  Read these definitions and see if you spot it.

Defend (v): to resist an attack made on (someone or something); protect from harm or danger.

Secure (v): feeling safe, stable, and free from fear or anxiety; protected against threats; made safe.

Figure it out? Here’s my point.

When you “defend” against something, you are actively resisting an attack, meaning it is in the process of happening and was not prevented.

When you are “secure” you feel safe and free from threats. In other words, you feel confident. You have not entered the state of needing to defend yourself.

This, to me, is a fundamental difference in how we view ourselves and our abilities to execute techniques when they are needed.  Self-Security begins with the premise that you believe your life is worth defending.

When you believe this, you will spend time doing things that make you a better person. Building your skills, capabilities, knowledge, and character gives you confidence to build your life the way you want it and to protect your life at all costs.  You will need to execute the most vital techniques in your technique arsenal without hesitation and with the utmost confidence in your ability if you ever need them.

Tools in the Toolbox: The S3 Threat Response Framework

The ability to deal with complex situations requires people to have access to options. Think of it like a mechanic. The more complex the situation is, the more variety to tools and techniques you need access to to deal with it.

Often, much less time is spent teaching folks how to stay in the “Green” or the Preventive Tools & Techniques. This makes sense, because people want to know what they should do when the rubber hits the road and they are faced with the reality of dealing with a scenario where they need to defend their well-being.

However, you will end up spending the most time in this area and you should minimally be aware of the tools and techniques you have access to keep you there.

The 3 Level Self Security System (S3) Threat Response Framework will guide you through your three different options to prepare and respond for threats:

3 Levels

1) Prevent Techniques

2) Detect Techniques

3) Correct Techniques

Every situation is different. You may not be able to predict other people’s behavior. Your obvious goal should be to stay and steer towards (GREEN) at all times.

Before threats become worse, your senses and your “fight or flight” response may have kicked in.  In this stage (YELLOW) these tools can help mitigate or minimize the threat from becoming worse or allow you to remove yourself from the situation entirely.

If all else fails to work, or if the confrontation or aggressor picks you, the threat hits (RED) and you need to defend your safety.  Your tools here should be plentiful and razor sharp.

This is the framework I lay out during my seminars. If you’re interested in obtaining the full talkbook for the seminar to include the technique assembly for FREE, send me an email at


Published by Mark Munster

A Brown Belt in BJJ and Strength Training coach, I've been training 20+ years to test my human potential. Co-owner, Poolesville Self Defense Promoting HW3 Core Values: HARD WORK: leave nothing to chance. Work hard every minute, every day. HEROIC WILL: Dig deep. Don't quit. Ever. HEAVY WEIGHT LIVING: Strive to improve your life and others lives. Lead a life worth living and a legacy worth following.

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