Responding to Threats: Level Three

In the last part of our series we looked at Threat Level Two which includes high-level verbal threats that are menacing and possibly criminal. If you haven’t read that article yet, please click here to read.

Let’s move now to Threat Level Three.

[Podcast version at the end of this article.]

Threat Level Three is where someone approaches you physically with the intent to cause you harm.

Response Level Three is where we “run,” “escape and run,” or “stun and run” to get away from the attacker(s).

Escape and Run and Stun and Run are specific to when someone makes physical contact with you as shown in the image below.


The person approaching you may verbally threaten to hurt you, then step toward you with an obvious intent to carry out their threat. However, they may approach you in a menacing manner without saying a word.

Bodily harm is the lowest level of physical harm and is defined legally as “physical pain or injury or any impairment of physical condition.” Almost any kind of physical contact can cause “bodily harm.”

Legal Considerations

Our response should be in proportion to the action. Legally, assault is –

“… an intentional act by one person that creates an apprehension in another of an imminent harmful oroffensive contact.” Legal Dictionary, The Free

A criminal assault — a threat or physical act that creates a reasonable apprehension of imminent harmful or offensive contact with one’s person — involving an additional, aggravating factor, such as the intent to inflict serious bodily injury or the use of a dangerous weapon.” Wex Legal Dictionary, Legal Information Institute

An assault (sometimes called attempted battery) is where someone threatens you with bodily harm and presents the ability to cause you harm. Someone approaching you in a threatening manner with threatening words may rise to the level of criminal assault, but the first thing you need to do is evade their movement toward you.

Running is usually the best option when you can do that. However, there are times when someone has cornered you or grabbed you in a way that keeps you from running. What can you do legally? You can “escape and run” or “stun and run.”

Your response may be as simple as an escape technique (e.g. pulling your arm away from their hold) or a push or pull technique (e.g. push, punch, kick, throw).

You have a legal right to defend yourself in these ways, but you don’t have a right to get revenge on someone. Once you are free of their attack, run.

Click on the image below to watch a video describing how to respond to Threat Level Three.

Personal Considerations

Once someone is close enough to grab, hit or kick you, you need to move quickly to escape. Once the threatening person makes physical contact with you, their attack has gone from assault to battery. You can use a variety of non-deadly defensive techniques to escape the attack. The important thing is to keep yourself safe.

Next Time

What happens if you are with other people (e.g. family members, friends, strangers who are victims of attack) and you don’t want to run away and leave the others to face the attacker alone? We’ll look at responses to Force Level Four in the next part of our series.

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© Grace Martial Arts 1990 – 2019

Grace Martial Arts Fellowship Newsletters 2004-5 Grace Martial Arts

  1. Grace Martial Arts Fellowship Newsletters 2004-5
  2. Grace Martial Arts Fellowship Newsletters 2004-7
  3. Protecting the Vulnerable (Part Two)
  4. Protecting the Vulnerable (Part One)
  5. Grace Martial Arts Fellowship Newsletters 2004-3

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