Body Language is Important

Body Language is Important

This is a discussion on Body Language is Important within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; i haven't had chinese food in awhile. there's one particular place in my area whose food i love, but they don't deliver. i decided to ...

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Thread: Body Language is Important

  1. #1
    Ex Member Array jahwarrior72's Avatar
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    Apr 2006
    the raggedy edge

    Body Language is Important

    i haven't had chinese food in awhile. there's one particular place in my area whose food i love, but they don't deliver. i decided to pick up my younger brother, who lives in the neighborhood, and go eat.

    the place isn't very big; there are only 4 tables, and they're small. we sat and waited for our food; i ordered the sesame chicken, he got beef lo mein. the front of the place is one big plate of glass, so it's hard to sneak in the front door, which is the only door.

    the restaurant isn't in the best neighborhood; it's a busy street, but things still happen here. it's surrounded by a McDonald's, Dunkin' Donuts, Weis Supermarket, Rite Aid, and a bunch of other stores, but the area's been getting run down in recent years. i've been in two confrontations in the area, one of which required i draw my gun.

    while we sat and waited, i saw 3 guys walking back and forth outside. i saw them in the smoke shop next door as we pulled in; they sell Phillie Blunts cheap there. they were hanging around outside the restaurant. i watched them intently. my brother saw my look, and glanced over his shoulder. he turned back around, and unzipped his hoodie. i kept watching them. one of them went over to their car, and reached in the passenger side, grabbed somethng, and shoved it in his coat before i could see what it was. i reached under my shirt, and unsnapped my holster. my brother, never taking his eyes off of me, put his hand under the table; i assume he had it on his PF9.

    both of us now, were on alert. my hand was on my shirt, my brother's under the table. the one who'd reached into the car entered the restaurant, hands in his pockets. he looked around, and saw my brother and i staring back at him, hard. he hesitated a bit, then slowly took his hands out his pockets, reached into the cooler, and took a Pepsi. he paid for it, and walked out.

    when he got outside, i saw him say something to his buddies, obviously irritated. they all jumped into the car, and peeled out of the parking lot.

    i finally breathed.

    "you odor finish!," chirped Julie, the girl behind the counter. i paid for it, and i noticed one of the cooks in the back was holding a meat cleaver. he nodded in my direction, i nodded back. i guess i wasn't the only one who paid attention.

    we at our food, and talked about what just happened, and the importance of non-verbal communication. i watched the posturing of these individuals, and my brother picked up on mine, and responded accordingly. in turn, the car reaching hoodie picked up on ours, and maybe changed his original course of action. i'm not sure if i should have followed up with a call to the police; maybe i should have? it ended up being a non-event, but it could've gone the other way as well.

    i want to start a discussion on the importance of non-verbal communication; how you do it with people you know, if you do it at all, how well you're in sync, how you interpret the body language of others, whether they're friendlies, neutrals, or potential threats. my brothers and i have had 30 years to get synchronized, my parents and i have had 36. how have you gone about developing methods of communicating? this is a topic that really interests me, and i'm hoping for a lot of responses.

  2. #2
    Member Array TravisABQ's Avatar
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    Dec 2004
    Moving to Texas
    Call police? and tell them what?

    You'd get nothing but eye rolling, and a scornful look.

    Prepare for the posters here telling yoiu you "overreacted".

  3. #3
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    Array Thumper's Avatar
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    That's an interesting story. Nothing wrong with being prepared either!

    I think if I had a fellow CCWer to go places with it'd be something I'd talk about with him/her. I'm generally the only one armed with any of the people I hang out with though and I practice what my signature says.
    ALWAYS carry! - NEVER tell!

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  4. #4
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    Array HotGuns's Avatar
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    Body language is a serious indicator and once it is figured out, its not hard to understand the intent of someone. Just about everyone you meet "telegraphs" their intention is some way. Paying attention to that can give you an advantage, not paying attention can get you hurt.

    Police use it just about every time they approach someone and the conversation goes accordingly.

    It sounds like you did a fine job paying attention. Most bad guys can tell the look of a prepared person a mile off and would rather not have to deal with it, preferring to go to an easier mark.
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  5. #5
    Distinguished Member Array Paymeister's Avatar
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    I've been unfairly "profiled" before when testing a VW I had been working on all day, and so if these guys were legit I could imagine the irritation being with the hostile response they didn't deserve.

    That said, I think you all did exactly the right things: God gave us eyes and a brain IN ORDER to profile people in similar situations to yours*. You saw clear signs suggesting a brewing problem, and you took appropriate action. You didn't draw, brandish, or swagger to the door saying something from a bad Western. But the situation did not go sour on you... and the cook seemed to validate your concerns.

    I wish I had friends as prepared as yours, communicated as well as you do, and had my radar working as well as you did.

    *To forestall comments on God blessing vigilantism or not, perhaps I should clarify by saying that protection is probably of secondary importance since it is external; the God-given profiling skills we have are probably best used to evaluate our OWN inputs, motivations, thoughts, and actions. And regarding bigotry, labeling someone based on THEIR choice of clothing and behavior sure seems OK to me; the big trick is for me to be willing to let someone OUT of the box I've put him in initially once he gives evidence suggesting a misclassification.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Array Plop's Avatar
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    Nice job all around! Great situational awareness by both your and your brother (and the meat-cleaver wielding cook)! Were you able to give your brother a play-by-play while the BG was outside, or were both of you silent during the whole ordeal?

    You bring up an important point about non-verbal communication. I have found that it is only effective between like-minded people though. And by effective, I mean being able to communicate more than a "yes" or "no".

    Having SA (Situational Awareness) is the best thing you can do to prevent bad things from happening to you and others, as you and your brother demonstrated. Great job, and thanks for the post!

    PS - That's why I always sit facing towards the door wherever I go.
    "In America, freedom and justice have always come from the ballot box, the jury box, and when that fails, the cartridge box."
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  7. #7
    VIP Member Array grady's Avatar
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    Sounds like the place was about to get robbed. Any chance you could call in your order next time so it would be ready when you got there, and then take it home or somewhere else to eat?

    Sounds like the meat-cleaver guy knew what was going on. Was he able to see you and your brother as you were seated?

    Learning non-verbal cues with those you know takes time together. You've had a lot of time with your brother, so he picked up on it right away. If one spends enough time with a coworker or partner, one can learn to pick up signs also. It takes time together. I suppose the process could be sped up if two people actively worked on it.

    I was with a coworker once travelling across the state. We stopped to eat, and I guess my situational awareness was down. My partner spotted a guy who was keeping an eye on us, who then got up to leave just after we did. I missed my partner's nonverbal cues, and the guy was fairly close to us which prevented verbal cues. Nothing happened, but afterwards we established a code word in case we encountered a similar situation where one of us wasn't paying close enough attention.

    I think staying alert and spending time with someone who is also alert helps move the process along. Like Plop says, it works best when you're with someone who is like-minded.

  8. #8
    VIP Member Array Ridgeline's Avatar
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    Communication and intel are key along with preparation, training and execution will give you the edge ... even though you will usually be playing catch-up.
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  9. #9
    Array RETSUPT99's Avatar
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    Being armed is important, but being alert is what it is all about.
    Nice job...
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  10. #10
    Ex Member Array jahwarrior72's Avatar
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    the raggedy edge
    Sounds like the meat-cleaver guy knew what was going on. Was he able to see you and your brother as you were seated?
    i doubt it. he most likely could see what was going on outside, though.

    I've been unfairly "profiled" before when testing a VW I had been working on all day, and so if these guys were legit I could imagine the irritation being with the hostile response they didn't deserve.
    i thought about that for a bit. i've been profiled myself, because of ethnicity, but that's not what got my attention. when i used to live in the Bronx, i learned when the group of guys on the corner were just hanging out, and when they were looking for prey. ethnicity doesn't factor in for me, it's all in th body language.

    Were you able to give your brother a play-by-play while the BG was outside, or were both of you silent during the whole ordeal?
    neither one of us said a word until they left. i even jumped a little when the girl called me for our food. we sat and talked about it afterwards for awhile, mainly trying to work through the adrenaline we both were dumping.

  11. #11
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    Array ppkheat's Avatar
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    I agree with the importance of reading body language of others; AND using my body language to my advantage.

    Quick story:
    I was in a place of business recently in a "bad" part of town that I didn't know had turned bad until I got there. I was the only customer, and the lady behind the counter was the only employee (I think). As I was talking to her, I heard the door open behind me, as she looked around me, I turned to look behind me also. I didn't like what I saw. This young guy claimed to need a day job, if not, then could he have a-quarter-type-of-conversation. As he and the lady clerk were talking, I turned all the way around and casually faced him, he was about 8-10 feet away. I stayed out of the conversation, but stood there interested and scrutinizing, with my hands in my pockets just looking at him. If he were up to no good, I wondered if he wondered whether I was armed or not. I was armed and had my hand on a little pocket pistol.

    The guy may have been just looking for lunch money, or maybe not, I'll never know. My gut still tells me he was up to no good, and I hope my body language caused him to decide to move on. There's no need in enhancing myself further as a "target of opportunity".
    Turn the election's in 2014 to a "2A Revolution". It will serve as a 1994 refresher not to "infringe" on our Second Amendment. We know who they are now.........SEND 'EM HOME. Our success in this will be proportional to how hard we work to make it happen.

  12. #12
    Member Array Trumpetchuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jahwarrior72 View Post
    i learned when the group of guys on the corner were just hanging out, and when they were looking for prey.
    I think you did a great job.

    I believe that your awareness, and YOUR body language prevented a robbery, or worse.
    "Don't be afraid to see what you see.
    -Ronald Reagan-

  13. #13
    Member Array Rockk's Avatar
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    Great job. Like someone mentioned already, I'd start calling in my orders to that place if possible. :)

    I think body language saved me a little last night. Friend and I went into a bar to grab a drink. Sat down at a table and ordered a beer. Almost immediately we notice a man keep looking back at us. Then his wife/girlfriend keeps looking. Then some teen, gangster looking kid sits down and joins their staring. I don't mind people looking at us, but this was a different kind of staring.

    Anyway, we picked up our beer, went to the other side of the restaurant to finish them real quick, paid our bill and got out of there. I wasn't carrying at the time since I was in a bar (and I'm not saying that carrying would have changed my actions).

    Moral is, like you say, body language is VERY important.

  14. #14
    Member Array DPAZ's Avatar
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    Body Language

    An armed individual seems to carry themselves differently. Call it body language, or the self confidence that comes with being able to handle most situations yourself, either way it seems to prevent lot of bad situations.

    Predator and prey have very different demeanors walking down the street.
    Be prepared
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  15. #15
    Member Array The Arverni's Avatar
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    One of my situational awareness tools is to consider what people might actually be doing. Regular people in public places typically move with purpose and a certain economy. They're trying to accomplish a task, and it's usually easy to figure out what that might be, e.g. paying for gas, picking up a take out order, etc. When you can't figure out what a person is doing, and they seem to have no reason to be where they are, that's time to go into yellow alert. I always ask myself "what's this person trying to accomplish?" If the answer doesn't come easy, I proceed with caution.
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