The OODA Loop and the Analysis Paralysis Trap

I was listening to Ben Branam’s latest Modern Self-Protection podcast. In this third episode, Ben talks about the OODA loop and its implications for self-defense and training. He has lots of great stuff to say, and I’d encourage you to take a listen, but I wanted to touch on an aspect of the OODA loop Ben didn’t talk about.

The OODA loop is a model developed by US Air Force Col. John Boyd to understand how we react to circumstances in our environment. The four stages of the OODA loop are: We observe an event unfolding in our environment, we orient ourselves to what’s happening and place it into a mental context based upon our cultural conditioning and training, we decide how to respond, and then we act. The reason the process is described as a loop is because the outcome of our action – or our inaction – can trigger a new circumstance, which then starts the loop over again.

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Where Do You Draw the Line?

Over at Active Response Training, Greg Ellifritz has a terrific post today about where we draw the line in terms of decisions we might make in the face of a violent crime. Do we hand over our wallet? Our car? Our clothes? Our children?

These are decisions we should think about ahead of time, because prior thought and planning displaces the “fight/flight/freeze” response that arises from circumstances catching us off-guard.

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