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  • Writer's pictureFrontStrike01

Reactionary Gap

When talking about self-defense one of the most important things you can do is to start thinking about how you will respond to a threat. In order to do this it is important to understand the basic components that comprise a threat. These are factors such as: is there an attacker, are they armed, am I armed, what are the environmental factors, what is the distance between myself and the threat. The final thought regarding distance between you and the attacker is the point I want to focus on.

The distance between you and a threat (attacker) is referred to as the ‘reactionary gap’; the distance available to you for action on your part. The reactionary gap is going to be a major factor in your decision making process on how to address a threat. For example: you are walking across a parking lot towards your car, you have your head up and are looking around you (as you should always do), and notice that there is a person(s) loitering by your vehicle. At this point the decision needs to be made if, 1) are they a threat, 2) does my reactionary gap allow for me to turn around and avoid contact.

The reactionary gap is going to dictate how you respond to a threat. In the above example the reactionary gap would allow for you to turn around and return to your starting point, thus avoiding conflict. Let’s use the above scenario and change some of the factors: you are putting your key into the lock to open your car door when the same threat steps out from behind the car parked next to you. The reactionary gap has changed; you will have to adjust your immediate reaction tactics.


he reactionary gap is just one of several components that need to be considered when looking at a successful self-defense platform. It is one that needs to be factored into your response plan, but just like all the other components you need to think about and practice using the concept. The next time that you are out and about pick people at random, imagine them as a threat and think about your reactionary gap and how you would respond. The more that you ‘exercise’ this concept, the more it will become second nature to you. Having this concept ingrained in muscle memory means that should you ever need to use it, it will be there for you.

Always remember that it is okay not to be a victim. You are the weapon, everything else is just a tool. Be smart and be safe.

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