Thread: Reading People's Body-language
03-31-2009, 00:00 #1
Reading People's Body-language
I had a really thorough question written up, with examples and everything, but I pressed the wrong button and everything got deleted, so now I only have enough energy, at this late hour, to post the barebones.
Basically, I'm curious to hear what people have to say about reading body-language, detecting aggression, sizing up opponents by how they move, etc. I know this is kind of vague. What I am look for are 'tells' that might show something about a person. They could be as simple as the heel hitting before the toe to signify an opponent favors a solid base or as complicated (in answer) as an assailant stepping forward with a hand moving with the leg to signal he might harbor aggression. If you wouldn't mind telling me how you came by this information, I would be appreciative of that as well.
03-31-2009, 19:07 #2
Hello J. Michael. I just had the pleasure of some L.E. training with some guys up your way. A pleasure to work with them. To address your question, there are extensive studies on human non verbal communication, which entails about 80-90 % of our communication. Subltle signals convey sincerety, andger, deception, aggression, etc. To directly affect you, the "thousand yard stare", target glancing (with the eyes and or visible head movement), preperatory weight shifts and posturing are BIG warning signs that something nasty is heading your way. In reverse, subltle body languang can signal confidence, fear, intimidation, etc. This is a subject worthy of some research, study and practice and in my opinion a very good thread to start and explored. My best to youHonor is a language universally understood, yet spoken by few.
03-31-2009, 19:09 #3
please forgive my type o'sHonor is a language universally understood, yet spoken by few.
03-31-2009, 19:16 #4
Touching the face - nervous
Blading the body - preparing for attack
Keeping the hands down around waist level/behind back - access to a weapon
Look all around and behind you - checking for help/witnesses before the attack
Moving into your personal space - having a conversation with you while closing inside your safety zone
Making a gesture just outside of your line of sight - distracting you for an attack
Check out "The Gift of Fear" by Gavin De Becker for verbal cues
Last edited by Musubi Dojo; 03-31-2009 at 19:21. Reason: Though of something elseChris Luttrell
04-01-2009, 11:15 #5
Truly believe that situational awareness can keep us and our families out of many conflicts but if one should arrise, that heads up and moving to a postitve way before you are just defensive is a great survival mode. My instructor onced asked at a rank promotion what would I do if I knew that I was going to get into a fight with a bigger opponent. My answer was to strike first and multiple times. He was actually looking for a response to run but the old Korean still smiled at my answer. If you can avoid, avoid, but sometimes you can't and you better react up front.
These days it's not about an attitude adjustment for someone in a bar disagreement over looking at my girlfriend with a leering eye, it's about protecting my wife and family from grave harm and one must be prepared to do what needs to be done.
04-01-2009, 20:34 #6
I'm in sales; or rather, I was. I got laid off :-( Anyway, when I practice regularly, I am very sensitive to what's going on in a meeting room for example, as well as picking up body language.
I can't give you a translation table to say that A means B. This sounds kind of mushy, but you have to learn to tune into what's going on around you in the sense of the Japanese word "kan."
04-05-2009, 23:44 #7
I participated in this short video as part of a media project for a friend of mine and a local film student.
It shows a handful of threat indicators. This is a link to a blog post with some more details about each indicator:
I second the DeBecker book suggestion.
Last edited by tgace334; 04-05-2009 at 23:50."Mental bearing (calmness), not skill, is the sign of a matured samurai. A Samurai therefore should neither be pompous nor arrogant." - Tsukahara Bokuden.
"For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill." - Sun Tzu
04-06-2009, 04:16 #8
04-06-2009, 10:02 #9
04-06-2009, 11:05 #10
There is actually a significant body of real academic study devoted to this field. I believe there is at least one board member here that actually practices in this area, as I understand it. It seems that you have to study your population group because different folks will have different 'displays'.Richard C. Goad
04-06-2009, 11:46 #11
And some cultures are much easier to read than others. The following is, of course, very stereotypical and multiple exceptions certainly exist, but here's what I have observed.
Germanic/Scandinavian/Midwestern - subtile but pretty clear.
Mediterranian & Slavic - kinda clear but the intensity of the expression is much greater, so what would be a big warning sign in Germanic may mean the same emotion but the Germanic woudn't show it unless s/he were really passionate (so an Italian waving his arms like a nutcase may be normal but the same motion and tempo for a Germanic may indicate an attack is on the way).
Californian - There are so many layers of indirection and fakeness here that I still have no idea how to read people in my own state, especially southern Californians.I realize you think you understand what you thought I said, but what I am not so sure about is whether what you think you heard is what I think I meant.
04-08-2009, 20:03 #12
Thanks for all the info so far guys. I am really appreciative. Concerning the question regarding relevance in and out of the ring, it doesn't matter. I am concerned with body-language that would have significance either in the ring or out of the ring.
Last edited by Aldiel; 04-08-2009 at 20:05.Speak softly and act boldly.
04-09-2009, 09:25 #13
Reading posture is king in the one-on-one.
Situational awareness is king "on the street."