Avoid, Deny, Fight — Three Strategies To Save Your Life

Avoid, Deny, Fight -- Three Strategies To Save Your Life

Avoiding the fight, denying your enemy access, and when all else fails, fighting. These three basic steps aren’t the invention of this blog, they’re the taught points by the ALERRT program – the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training. This is a group of men and women from many different disciplines of law enforcement who come up with realistic training points based upon actual experience and events.

These three points can and should always be applied for self-defense. Whether you are a concealed carrier or unarmed, your ability to survive truly trying and traumatic situations is to give your enemy no good options on his assault.

How To Avoid A Fight

We don’t always get to choose the time and place for hand-to-hand combat. When ALERRT came up with the three training points – avoid, deny, fight – it was from the perspective of preparing civilians and law enforcement to deal with an active shooter scenario in either a workplace environment or college campus. Avoiding a fight can take the form in multiple ways:

Situation assessment

Situational awareness of an event as its unfolding is critical. Even if nothing comes of a particular event taking shape, knowing that it’s happening is the first step to finding a quick solution for it.


If you aren’t directly either under fire or under assault, you have the opportunity to place yourself in the most advantageous position possible. Once you come under fire, your only priority is to seek cover and concealment and work on safely retreating or sheltering in place. Prior to that type of thing happening, position yourself so your attackers can’t use their superior numbers. Force them to bottleneck in hallways or expose themselves in open doorways. Position yourself so you can’t be easily detected and seen. Limit your defensive perimeter – the space you can be assaulted from.


Know your primary and secondary exits. No one is responsible for that information except for you. It’s your job to know where the easiest doorway to exit is located and then to know a backup if that isn’t available.

How To Deny A Fight

Block doorways, push desks, and office equipment against doors and windows. Make your situation as fortified as possible. If your attacker wants to assault your position, he’s going to have to direct a lot of time and energy to get in and you’re not going to waste any energy repelling him. It also impedes his freedom of movement. That’s a concept we’ll run into time and time again. Freedom of movement in a combat situation is essential. If you are limited in where you can move because you’ve barricaded yourself into an office, you’ve sacrificed your freedom of movement for cover and concealment.  If your potential assailant wants to come after you, he’s going to have to sacrifice his freedom of movement and cover to do so.

How To Fight

In a life or death situation, you will not play nice. You will find improvised weapons that you can easily hold onto and use your surroundings to funnel and limit your enemy’s path of attack. This may include positioning yourself over doorways or simply getting ready with a sharp stick when your attacker comes rushing in through the door. Anything that gives you the advantage and gives your attacker a disadvantage is in your best interest. Definitely consider how your attacker is armed and their likely mode of assault but when it comes to fighting, you need to have already made the decision that your foe must be neutralized at all costs to ensure your survival.

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Sean is an avid hunter and firearms enthusiast. He has been carrying concealed since 2005. His main concealed carry setup is a Springfield Armory Mod.2 9mm carried in an Alien Gear Holster ShapeShift IWB although he does have different methods of carrying depending on the situation.
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