Chaos vs Stasis

In life, there is a balance of chaos and stasis. If one side starts to overpower the other, the system becomes out of sync and bad things happen. To quote my philosophical brother, “Look at the ecosystem. [It seems to be] total chaos. Jaguars eating chimps but take one piece out and it falls apart because there was order there. Everything relied on everything else to form a perfect balance of chaos and order.” He makes a good point. This is a brilliant example of what seems to be total chaos but really isn’t. Total chaos is uncontrollable. I would consider his analogy controlled chaos. I know that may not makes sense right now, because the definition of chaos is literally “a state in which behavior and events are not controlled by anything” but bear with me.[1]

When it comes to dealing with a violent encounter, a degree of chaos and stasis are both needed. A huge percentage of violence comes with directions.[2] For example, in a bar, someone who is looking to monkey dance might come up to you and say, “get out of my chair” or a robber will demand your wallet then threaten you with violence if you don’t immediately give it up. In these times, stasis is usually the best option, and by stasis, I mean do what you’re told to. In most cases, this will end the encounter without violence. On the other hand, chaos is needed when that robber, who you just gave your wallet to, demands you get into a vehicle with him (NEVER under any circumstance go with an attacker to a different location. The outcome will most definitely be death and probably not a quick one).

Chaos is an aspect of violence. As Rory Miller states in his book Facing Violence, “A poor fighter tries to ignore the forces and the chaos. A good fighter tries to minimize the effects of force vectors and chaos, to fight his own plan. A superior fighter uses the things he can’t control to increase his own effective speed and power.”[3] This simply means that ignoring or fighting chaos will not help you but minimizing and using the effects of the chaos can help you. This is what I mean by controlled chaos.

When we are attacked, we are reactive and basically have little control over what is happening. We are left with two options for a chance to gain control: wait and hope for the attacker to leave an opening so that we can take advantage of it or we make one. Using the effects of chaos is similar. When using the effects of chaos, you are essentially creating an opportunity for yourself, for an opportunity to make a move, take a better position, escape or any number of options (the choice is yours). For example, if you are in a guillotine choke and the blood supply is being cut off from your brain. You have, at most, ten seconds before you are unconscious. This would be the ideal time to create an opportunity for an opportunity by increasing the amount of chaos in this encounter. When it comes to creating controlled chaos, your options are endless based on your surroundings. If you’re near a busy road, you can throw yourself and the attacker into traffic or if you are attacked in stairway, down the stairs or push through a wall. These are just a few methods of creating controlled chaos. In a nut shell, use your environment to create more variables that the attacker will have to adjust to.

Be advised, if you create this controlled chaos there may be a few outcome(s): 1) you get injured or die 2) the attacker gets injured or dies 3) you both get injured or die. It is an unknown, but you have the advantage since you know that the chaos is coming and the threat will need to adjust or adapt to the sudden increase in chaos. Creating more chaos in this situation isn’t as treacherous as you might think. Like I just mentioned, you know what was coming and the attacker should be surprised. This sudden chaos can cause great bodily harm to your attacker, force a freeze, create fear, or force the attacker to simply give up to avoid further injury.[4] However, if you are on the other end of this spectrum it would be in your best interest to minimize the chaos as best as possible.

All in all, if you find yourself in a losing situation, you really have two options: do nothing and at a minimum receive great bodily harm, or increase the chaos. You may be injured sure, but being injured is better than being killed when, where, and how your attacker chooses. Simply put, “When winning, minimize chaos; when losing, increase chaos.”[5]



1 “Chaos.” Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 5 May 2014. <;.
2 Marc Macyoung No Nonsense Self Defense. <;
3 Rory Miller Facing Violence ( Wolfeboro, N.H.: YMAA Pub 2011), 116
4 Rory Miller Facing Violence ( Wolfeboro, N.H.: YMAA Pub 2011), 153
5 Rory Miller Facing Violence ( Wolfeboro, N.H.: YMAA Pub 2011), 152

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: