Self-Defense Acronyms

Hecate ponders about betting your life. She makes many valid points about self-defense and personal responsibility, the biggest of which is that self-defense is your own responsibility.

Like anything we must learn, ways and tricks to help us learn and retain the information is useful. One learning technique is using acronyms. Hecate’s article points out a couple and I wanted to add a couple more.


The OODA Loop stands for:

  1. Observe
  2. Orient
  3. Decide
  4. Act

The OODA Loop (created by Col. John Boyd) is a decision-making process. For instance, in a self-defense situation you might observe a strange man walking towards you, you orient yourself based on past experience that guys looking and acting like he is are up to no good, so you decide to avoid him, and then act by turning and walking in a direction away from him. This is now where the loop part comes in, because the decision-making process continues. You might now observe this man changed his walking direction to follow you, so you orient from not only your experience but now this new information that he might be specifically following you but you want to be sure so you decide to change walking direction again, and act and do so. The loop continues: observe he didn’t change direction, orient that it was likely coincidence, but decide to keep your guard up until you’re certain, and act to do so. The loop continues….


Hecate’s article mentions ADEE. ADEE stands for:

  1. Avoid
  2. Disengage/de-escalate
  3. Evade
  4. Escape

The ADEE model (by Skip Gochenour) is certainly a worthwhile model. It’s really the ideal that we should be striving for in self-defense. The #1 rule of a gunfight? Don’t get into one. That dovetails right with #1 here: avoid. However if trouble cannot be avoided, find a way to bring the situation down. So someone gets in your face, insults your mother, gets all big and puffy and appears hell-bent on hurting you. Y’know what? Apologize, even if you didn’t do anything wrong. Be kind, back down, appear submissive, don’t let your ego get in the way… even if they are totally at fault, even if they are the world’s biggest asshole about it all, is it really worth your life? If that doesn’t work tho, you may have to evade the situation: walk away, calmly but politely, and perhaps move right into step 4, escape… keep on walking.

What makes this setup so nice is that it works to keep you from getting in trouble, which could mean legal (criminal and/or civil) trouble. But unfortunately, the situation may not work out and you may be forced into ACDC.


ACDC (no, not the band), stands for:

  1. Avoid
  2. Close
  3. Destroy
  4. Cover

Again, this comes from Hecate’s article. Avoid the initial attack. This might be dovetailing from ADEE’s escape, or maybe ducking that haymaker, maybe just backing up (distance negates skill). Then you want to close the distance. Now that does go contrary to what I just said (distance negates skill), but depending upon your martial tactics you will often find that “getting inside” is essential for you to deploy your attack and negate/jam your opponent’s attack. But this is truly where instruction and knowledge in combat is essential (e.g. if I was empty-hand fighting I may be more willing to close the gap; if I was gun fighting I’d likely move away). But you could still look at “close the distance” as something like “close the window of opportunity” which is a different set of tactics. Destroy the attacker’s willingness to fight. This could be physical destruction, this could be mental, this could be emotional; the options are endles. Then cover the downed attacker, cover any injuries, move to cover.

One thing to be mindful of when visualizing the application of such acronyms is taking it to the extreme. That is, don’t necessarily think that ACDC will wind up with you pulling your gun, a bloody gunfight ensues and of course you come out the victor. It may be as simple as you avoided their initial verbal intimidation, you closed the window of opportunity by presenting your concealed carry handgun, the mere presentation of destroyed their willingness to continue the attack, and you were able to hold them at gunpoint until the police arrived. But on the same token, it may be a lot worse. Make sure when you visualize and practice the application of these techniques that you don’t lock yourself into one mode and context.


This is the final self-defense acronym I want to talk about, and perhaps the most important: the InSights ABC’s (hat tip to Greg Hamilton):

  1. Always Be Cool

If you act cool when defending and acting, then you will be perceived as cool.

At first it sounds a little cheesy, but often self-defense can be as simple as this. If you look nervous walking down the street, you’re looking like a victim. If you look cool walking down the street, you’ll look less like a grass-eater to the wolves. If someone gets in your face and calls your momma a whore, do you give into their taunt and get furious, or do you remain cool and laugh it off? If the fists start flying do you panic? or do you know what to do and keep your wits about you?

Whatever’s going on, always be cool.

6 thoughts on “Self-Defense Acronyms

  1. Pingback: The Three D’s « Stuff From Hsoi

  2. Pingback: More Useful Acronyms « Stuff From Hsoi

  3. RCAT (Weapon Defense)

    Take Away


    Neutralize the threat
    Take down and Control

  4. Pingback: Awareness by any other acronym is still Awareness « Stuff From Hsoi

  5. Pingback: streetfighting uncaged

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