Perhaps you’ve seen someone about to get into a fight stand a little taller, puff out his chest, stick out his chin, shout, swear, or flat out take a fighting guard. This is posturing. And it could help you in a self-defense situation.
Cobras make themselves larger by rising up and spreading their hoods to intimidate prey and prepare for a swift attack. Mongooses rise up and make their fur stand on end to appear larger. Both animals show their fangs/teeth and make noise. Silverback gorillas hoot and pound their chests as they threaten their opponent to back down.
Many animals, including your house cat, posture instinctively. People, however, need to train for it.
Posturing is making yourself appear confident, strong, and intimidating to your attacker so they lose their will to fight. It is both a fighting position and an attitude. No, you don’t need to pound your chest, although I have seen guys strike their chests and holler, “You want a piece of me?”
My teacher, Sensei AJ Advincula, tells a story about a two-hour self-defense class he gave, in which he taught what to do if grabbed. “Jump back, scream, get into a position, and act like you know what you’re doing. Give them your meanest look.” In other words, posture. The next day in the airport, a man grabbed one of the women who had made his class. She jumped back, screamed, and postured. The man ran away. Why? Because bad guys want victims not opponents. Remember an attacker fears two things: getting hurt and getting caught.
A fighting stance and fighting attitude may be all that’s needed for you, or for your characters, to avoid an attack.
Here is a scene from my Science Fiction romance, CAPTIVE (The Survival Race #1) showing Max, the book’s alpha gladiator hero and a rookie posturing for position in their cage. Enjoy!
After returning him to the slums, the race master, Yafuk, unclipped Max’s leash and shoved him inside his cage.
He’d almost forgotten how cramped it was in here. Less than half the size of HuBReC’s breeding box, it required him to sleep diagonally in order to stretch out.
He’d plenty of space at the Human Breeding and Research Center. Though he hadn’t slept much there. He’d been too busy trying to seduce the woman…and failing miserably. What the hell was wrong with her? She’d wanted him. He’d seen it in her eyes. He’d felt her body’s response.
He’d wanted her, too. He’d wanted her so badly, he ached remembering it. She was beautiful, and she smelled so damn good. Her feminine scent was a glorious reprieve from the farting and unwashed body odor coming from the gladiators living in this dank three-hundred-square-foot pigsty.
The fourteen other men in the neighboring cages were their usual rowdy and unruly selves, awaiting a midday meal that might or might not come.
No one had acknowledged his return. Why would they? He’d beaten them all on the training field or in the survival races. Yafuk’s gladiators were mediocre at best.
If they weren’t all half-starved, they’d have the energy to train harder. His stomach rumbled in agreement. They’d better get fed today. He would need major calories for tomorrow’s Survival Race Championship.
If he didn’t step up his game and make it into the top three, he might not live to regret it.
Yafuk appeared without their slop. A leashed gladiator followed on his heels. The door to Max’s cage sublimated, and the young gladiator stumbled through the gaseous vapor as if he’d been pushed inside. He couldn’t have been a day older than twenty.
What the hell?
He was this Yard’s alpha. Didn’t that entitle him to his own cage? There was barely enough room for one person in here—now he had to share it with this pup?
In a relaxed ready-to-attack stance, he stared hard at the kid who postured like he was full of piss and vinegar. Max was in no mood to whip his scrawny ass, but a dominance hierarchy must be established.
“Stand down, son.” That would be his only warning.
The kid assessed him, weighing the possibilities against the consequences. Noise from the other seven cages faded, which meant fourteen pairs of eyes were watching them.
Come on, kid. Don’t make me have to pummel you.
If this kid thought he’d be victorious against a veteran alpha gladiator, then he was dumber than he looked. Then again, Max had been equally stupid at that age. He had been eager to fight the Hyboreans, and he’d lost every time he tried to stop the sons of bitches from stripping him of his family.
And his life.
And his humanity.
His jaw clenched. His fists curled.
The young gladiator’s eyes widened. He backed away and lowered his head, conceding Max’s dominant status. There would be no fight today. Too bad. Now that his blood was pumping, he itched to hit someone.
It was chilling how fast his inner beast emerged without warning.
This morning it had emerged in the breeding box, the one place he’d sworn to act human and the one place on this damn planet that had been safe enough to try.
His restraint had been fleeting. The need to touch his broodmare’s curves and taste her lips had consumed him. He’d wanted to sheath his cock deep inside her warm body and forget the hurt and shame of his ugly existence. He had wanted it badly enough to let her believe in a cult. He had pretended to be charming by singing and joking like he used to do before his abduction. He had even lit the aphrodisiac fire to get her in the mood.
But she refused him. She exposed him for the animal he was. He couldn’t deny it, and that pissed him off.
Powerless and frustrated, he had lashed out, unable to control his rage until the Hyboreans shocked him, snatched him out, and—
No. He would not think about their abuse.
He jumped and grabbed hold of the rings hanging from the cage’s overhead frame. He pulled his body weight up and down. Chin-ups would help clear his thoughts. He had to forget the breeding box and his spirited broodmare. Forget her scent and her curves and her kiss. Forget her fire and vitality that made him forget—for a brief moment—that he was nothing more than an animal.
CAPTIVE IS AVAILABLE AT
~ K.M. Fawcett
Author and Martial arts instructor