From Thought to Action: OODA Loop

70% of self defence occurs before any physical confrontation and despite the popular belief that self defence is all about how to react when placed into a situation of physical violence, one must also know when to be assertive and take action. How do you come to a conclusion with the situational information presented to you and decide upon the most correct course of action at the time?

Our article today will introduce you to the OODA loop which will break down a situation into steps that you can undertake in order to commit to a course of action and carry it out.

OODA stands for – Observation, Orientation, Decision, Action.

Observation means to take in the facts of the situation as they are currently presented.

Orientation is when you link the information gained from observation to the information you already have stored in your mind about a situation.

Decision requires you to provide a mental check on the course you wish to undertake with the combined observed and orientated information.

Action is the phase where you carry out your plan.

This entire loop should be done as quickly as possible and repeated as many times as required. For example:

You are walking down the street in a bad neighbourhood and you observe some unsavoury looking characters. Your orientation kicks in and you recall hearing on the news about a number of robberies having occurred in the area. You decide it would be best to cross the street and you undertake that action.

In one scenario the unsavoury characters do not follow and in another, they do which would then require you to initiate OODA again. It is the simplest example to understand and both observation skills (being street smart) and orientation (keeping up to date on local crime) are very important. The OODA loop works very well when travelling as well, ensure you are aware of scams that run in different countries and observe the locals to catch any patterns mentioned in your research.

A point to remember is that the OODA loop only helps you to decide on a course of action. As mentioned above – it presents you with the chance to take the most correct course of action at the time. Sometimes the best way to be self defence assertive is to not be in an area that is known for trouble.

I would also like to note that the OODA loop is in no way my invention as it is a sequence utilised by many different schools and also military organisations.

Always remain aware, informed and decide on the course of action that will keep you safe.


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