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Krav Maga and Stress Responses: Part 4 - The Fawn Response

Updated: Feb 15

In this fourth installment of our series on Krav Maga and stress responses, we delve into the "fawn" response. Unlike the fight, flight, or freeze responses, the "fawn" response is not as commonly discussed, yet it plays a significant role in our instinctual reactions to stress and danger. It's an essential component of self-defense, and Krav Maga training addresses it comprehensively.



The Fawn Response

The "fawn" response is marked by a person's instinct to appease, please, or submit to a perceived threat or aggressor. It's an empathetic response, and it's often driven by a desire to avoid conflict, placate, or gain favour in a stressful situation. This can also translate into people pleasing and impact how we set boundaries.



Physiological and Psychological Changes in the Fawn Response:

  1. Excessive Compliance: Individuals experiencing the fawn response may agree with or yield to an aggressor's demands.

  2. People-Pleasing Behavior: A person may exhibit overly polite or submissive behavior to de-escalate a conflict.

  3. Avoidance of Confrontation: There is a strong desire to avoid confrontation or the use of force.

  4. Heightened Empathy: The individual may try to understand or empathize with the aggressor's perspective.

  5. Fear of Retribution: The fawn response often results from a fear of retribution or harm.



Why Discuss the Fawn Response in Krav Maga Training:

The fawn response is important to discuss within the context of Krav Maga training for several reasons:

  1. Recognition: Awareness of the fawn response helps Krav Maga practitioners recognize when they may be inclined to appease or submit during a confrontation.

  2. Self-Defense Skills: Krav Maga training equips individuals with self-defense skills to protect themselves when the fawn response is not an effective option.

  3. Boundaries: Learning how to set and assert boundaries is a crucial aspect of Krav Maga, helping practitioners maintain personal safety.

  4. De-Escalation Techniques: Krav Maga teaches de-escalation techniques that may be useful in non-physical confrontations, reducing the need to resort to violence.

  5. Empowerment: Discussing the fawn response in Krav Maga reinforces the idea that self-defense doesn't always mean physical combat. Empowerment can come from knowing when to use the fawn response or when to transition to other responses when necessary.


Krav Maga emphasizes adaptability, preparing individuals for a wide range of responses to real-world threats. In this context, understanding and addressing the fawn response contributes to a comprehensive self-defense training program.


In our next and final installment, "Krav Maga and Stress Responses: Part 5 - Integration and Mastery," we will explore how Krav Maga training helps individuals integrate all stress responses and master effective self-defense techniques. Stay tuned to understand the importance of a well-rounded approach to self-defense.

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