Why We Disagree So Much on Self-Defense – It’s in the Math

Take a look at many self-defense related intenet discussions and you will see the same thing.

Heated threads filled with back and forth arguing about what works, what doesn't work, what is "real", what is fantasy. Most suggestions of "what to do" seem to only generate multiple
counter-responses of why "that won't work", "that is a bad idea", etc.

So why can't the "experts" agree?  It's because the math makes it almost impossible.

The outcome of a self-defense situation is determined by the respective intents, abilities, and opportunities of the parties involved, combined with the consequences of the event. I am leaving out the effect of luck even through it also plays a role in the outcome.

This equation maybe represented by the six variables, I ,i, A, a, O, C, where:

 I = Defender’s intent to defend from harm.
 i = Aggressor’s intent to cause harm.
A = Defender’s ability to defend from harm.
a = Aggressor’s ability to harm.
O = Defender’s opportunity to defend combined with Aggressor’s opportunity to attack.
C = The negative consequences of the event such as prison, financial, psychological, etc.

Each of these variables can be described by six progressive levels from very low to very high where:

 1 = Very low (intent, ability, opportunity, consequences)
 2 = Well below average (intent, ability, opportunity, consequences)
 3 = Slightly below average (intent, ability, opportunity, consequences)
 4 = Slightly above average (intent, ability, opportunity, consequences)
 5 = Well above average (intent, ability, opportunity, consequences)
 6 = Very high (intent, ability, opportunity, consequences)

There are six variables with six variations. This situation may be represented by using six regular
six-sided dice. One dice represents Defender’s intent (I), one dice represents Aggressor’s intent (i), one represent’s Defender’s means (M), etc.

                                               I      i     M     m    O    C

Therefore, any self-defense situation has as many different variations as there are combinations that arise from rolling six dice.

For example, the above roll of I=1, i=2, M=3, m=4, O=5, C=6 describes the following situation:

I=i, Defender with very low intent to defend from harm.
i=2, Aggressor with well below average intent to cause harm.
M=3, Defender with a slightly below average means to defend from harm.
m=4, Aggressor with a slightly above average means to cause harm.
O=5, A well above average opportunity for Defender to not be harmed.
C=6, Very high negative consequences that resulted from the event.

By using just these six variables, there are 46,656 different ways a self-defense situation could unfold (6 x 6 x 6 x 6 x 6 x 6). These multiple different situations explain why there is so much disagreement between the “experts” and commentators of self-defense. It is highly unlikely that each person is envisioning and talking about the same situation with the exact same set of variables as the other. 

It is theoretically possible for 46,656 different people to each talk about a different self-defense situation than the others. But they all might believe they were talking about the same thing.

Therefore, the majority of self-defense tips, advice, suggestions, techniques, etc have very little usefulness, UNLESS the specifics and variables of the situation are well defined first.

NOTE: The above roll of 1,2,3,4,5,6 seems to describe an unlikely situation until you think about it. It could be two people who get in a pushing match over a minimal event, one falls, hits his head and dies. Switch the C from a 6 to a 1 and the pushing match ended with an apology and handshake.