Fighting stances can be understood as being tactical body language... a physical statement that registers (unconsciously) with your opponent. Basically, it sends a message about your intention!
Many martial artists think that if they adopt a strong fighting stance when they're confronted, their opponent will see that they are a formidable adversary, and possibly back down (in fear). But that's not always the best tactic to apply in the initial stages of a confrontation.
Why not? Well in terms of body-language, a stance is an aggressive act... a threatening gesture.
So when one person adopts a fighting stance, the other person will often feel compelled to adopt a fighting stance as well (to protect themselves)... then one or both of them will feel compelled to launch an attack.
So adopting a fighting stance in the early stages of a confrontation can actually escalate the level of violence - unnecessarily.
Also, you might find that Common Law in many countries requires you to try and retreat from a potentially violent confrontation. So adopting a fighting stance isn't going to look like you did that. In fact it demonstrates the opposite... so you might find yourself charged with Affray (fighting in public).
Finally, adopting a martial arts stance informs your opponent that you do in fact have some level of skill. And with that knowledge they can change their attack strategy... prompting them to pick up a bottle or a chair, or call for a bit of help from their friends.
In fact, if any of your opponent's friends (wife or girlfriend) feel that your fighting stance makes you look too threatening, these days they're just as likely to step out of the crowd and hit you over the head with something... a bottle, or the heel of a stiletto shoe.
You can add to the de-escalation effect by saying "Calm down" or "Stay back", or even something much stronger. Whatever you say, it's vital that your tone of voice is deep, strong and confident.
Keep in mind that predators only understand their own language... so being nice is going to be a complete waste of time. You need to speak to them in a way they'll understand.... and that sometimes means using hard language!
So in summary, remember that in this age of CCTV cameras and camera-phones, it's important NOT to adopt a recognisable fighting stance... but instead, give your opponent the pointed-finger.
It's Primal Protection.
For more insight into the Tactic of Verbal De-Escalation, click on the link below :