Self-defence the HARD principle

The HARD principle is a simple set of guidelines to follow in a confrontation that Increase chance of success in a self-defence situation as well as avoiding legal issues. These guidelines are designed to be simplistic as they must function in high pressure situations. The HARD principles will work with the self defense and combatives techniques learnt in the Total Martial Arts Swindon basic program.


The hands a placed in a nonviolent and non-aggressive position that still creates a barrier between you and the aggressor and allows you to attempt verbal de-escalation of the situation or to execute a pre-emptive strike or defensive techniques if necessary. This is also known as a ‘fence’ position. Remember body language is even more important element than words in communication.


Use your voice and ask the aggressor a question such as “what do you want” or “why are you doing this?” This will make it clear to any by standers or witnesses that you have taken verbal measures to prevent a physical altercation. Additionally asking a question acts as a thought interrupt which can distract an aggressor momentarily allowing for a pre-emptive strike.


This step involves moving to a more advantageous position such as near an exit or behind a barrier of some kind. Or it can mean taking a step backwards so that the aggressor must close the distance if they wish to escalate the situation to a physical altercation.


This is the time to reassess the situation and they decide how to act. If you have taken to previous steps and the aggressor is still presenting a threat then the choice is simple fight or flight.