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Using power moves to save your life

Hey so just food for thought. I was watching the scene in Breaking Bad where Gus Fring, completely unarmed walks out in the open towards the sniper with his crosshairs on him and it got me thinking: "When confronted with a situation where your life was at someone else's mercy, would you increase your chances of survival if you used a big power move like that?"

Although it is hard to find concrete evidence of survivors using power moves to intimidate their would-be armed assailants, I have heard some crazy stories from friends of friends of mine that would seem somewhat plausible.

In addition to this, there are many examples in combat sports where one fighter will lower his hands and stick his chin out. As a big fan of combat sports, I would say that over 90% of the time the other fighter won't be goaded into taking advantage of an obvious compromised stance. The caveat in these cases though is that it usually happens when the fighter doing the taunting is winning or at least slightly better than the other fighter. Sometimes I've seen losing fighters pull this off, though the success rate varies.

Here's another example:

In this video, the lion could very clearly rip the man in half without even breaking a sweat but for some reason he backs away...


I've heard of Fidel Castro, the survivor of over 600 assassinations (source:, survive a few of them in this manner as well.


So if you were confronted with a life or death situation, do you think you would more likely survive if you tried to intimidate/dominate the attacker?



By the way, the way you're defining "power move" here is as a "display of power that you don't really have".

It's difficult to say whether or not taking that type of risk will increase your odds of survival.
But if the chances of being attacked were almost 100% and your chances of survival almost 0%, then definitely a power move will increase your chances.

It gets a bit murkier though when the chances of being attacked were not close 100%.
Then your power move might only make you a more conspicuous target, incite rage, or give the attacker the willingness to "prove you wrong" and fight you.

When A Power Move Is About Giving Up Power

A power move to save your life can also be a strategic display of no power whatsoever.

In case you have power, then this is the old game of "baiting with fake weakness, and then attacking", which is often good strategy.

Sometimes you might have no power at all, though, and everyone knows it.

In those cases, it can pay off to give that power totally away, as if to say "now go ahead, if you want to be a son of a bitch, be one".

There is actually a lesson talking about this fringe cases.
And one of the examples is this one:

Jill the power of resisting force (murder or rape).
Considering there is a bunch of other men outside with the guy, that is almost nothing.

She gives it up and says "you can lay me over the table and amuse yourself".
That's smart because she already rules out murder.
And the way she says it, accusing him of being a bandit, she also shames him (she takes a judge position on him).

If he proceeds, he confirms her judgment of being a low-life bandit.

In those cases, yes, it pays to act like Jill acted.
Going power against power will surely see you lose. Then, you better play other cards.

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