This post originally asked for your comments regarding using the word ‘respond’ to an attack instead of the word ‘react’ to an attack.
Definitionally, both words are close in meaning. The verb ‘respond’ means to react favorably or, in physiology, to “exhibit some action or effect as if in answer”. The verb ‘react’ means to act in response to an influence or to respond to a stimulus in a particular manner.
So you can see they are both somewhat circular using the other word during the description of their definitions. ‘Respond’ uses the word ‘react’ in its definition and ‘react’ uses ‘response’.
However, for self-defense purposes, I am trying to make a semantic differentiation to communicate a mind-set.
When you ‘react’ to an attack, it infers that you are acting in an immediate, instinctive manner. When you ‘respond’, you are assessing the stimuli and choosing an action that is the most appropriate. To me it seems that ‘react’ is natural and ‘respond’ is trained.
There are basically three natural actions when you are attacked:
The untrained reaction puts the defender, who is under tremendous stress, in danger of simply hitting the freeze button to answer the attack. This is especially likely for defenders who don’t know how to to fight and who cannot flee because they are trapped or are co-opted by the attacker who threatens harm to their person or friends or loved ones.
The trained response follows more of Col. John Boyd’s famous OODA Loop that is comprised of observe, orient, decide, act. Using this theory, the trained defender can process this OODA cycle quickly to events that are unfolding and use it to interrupt the opponent’s OODA loop (called “getting inside his OODA loop”) and gain the advantage.
I’m trying to get students to think about responding to an attack in a way unlike the untrained person who simply ‘reacts’ to the stress.
Am I simply splitting hairs here and making too much out of a slight semantic difference?
Your thoughts and comments are appreciated.