Force on Force: The She Shepherd and Elevator ADEE

| March 31, 2015 | 4 Comments

Gavin de Becker’s book “The Gift of Fear” suggests something that we trust our instincts to avoid dangerous encounters. It’s our responsibility to hone those instincts with training, practice, and experience.

Regardless of your size (I’m short), strength, or age, it’s on you to Avoid, Disengage, Escape and Evade from hostile activity.

Here’s how everything came together for me in a force on force drill hosted by QSI Training.


I was instructed to enter the elevator, and that my stop was the bottom floor.


Most encounters start non-verbally. There are many behaviors that we all give off that may indicate intent. Some of these are called “pre-fight indicators,” and may make the difference between escaping to fight another day and going to the hospital and/or jail.

Assailants are profiling you, too. They look for meek, submissive behavior. I did not thumb at my phone as a prop to avoid looking at him. I acknowledged him, did not turn my back, and kept my shoulders back.

I made eye contact with the man as soon as he entered the elevator. I keep watching him looking for cues.


Here are the following behaviors that made me decide to exit the elevator as soon as it stopped.

  • avoiding eye contact
  • fidgeting
  • head roll / neck stretching

I should have staggered my stance rather than squaring up.  It would have kept my base stronger and less prone to being knocked down right away. I crossed my arms, locking my hands down in front of me. Big mistake. A better alternative would have been to hold one palm up in front of my body, while the other hand rested on top of is as if I were writing a note.

After I saw him roll his head I decided to get away as soon as I could.

This is when my mistakes are most evident. When the doors opened, I looked to see of the doorway was clear, as I rushed out I didn’t uncross my arms or look behind me. If I had I would have seen the man in the elevator move towards me as the next passenger began to enter.

My size worked in my advantage. I slipped by.

No one expected me to exit the elevator early. What should have happened next was a fight between me and two big guys in a small metal box. I was armed, and probably could have gotten to my gun, but so what? Then I’m shooting in a small metal box? I had a knife at hand, but people don’t realize when they’ve been stabbed and often continue to violently attack. Could I have survived until they bled out, or even retained a slippery bloody knife while fighting off two large attackers?


This is the kind of scenario that highlights how vulnerable you are in small spaces. Your ability to stay alert is what will make a difference. Stay off your phone. Look at the people sharing that space with you. Trust your instincts.


About the Author:

The She-Shepherd The She-Shepherd is a defensive firearms student, mother and advocate for pushing the boundaries of how we train. She believes that defensive training must balance context, mindset, and skill to be most effective. Her specialty has become testing alternative modes of firearms carry and best practices of less than lethal force options through rigorous force-on-force scenario based training.

4 Comments on "Force on Force: The She Shepherd and Elevator ADEE"

Trackback | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Kyliewyotie says:

    Best possible outcome. If I feel weird, its time to go.
    Nice job reading him, and great job critiquing your performance.
    That is one of the reasons I really like this page, the honest feedback from video.

  2. I was the instructor for this scenario. When She left the elevator and walked out of the situation we were setting up, my first instinct was to say, “Oh, no you don’t. Go back in and finish the drill.”

    But then it occurred to me: she HAD finished the drill, and she did it by doing what we tell our students to do, over and over again. She recognized a dangerous situation and got the hell out.

    There were several drills run that day, and She-Shepherd handled all of them. In every other drill, she had to fight. In this one, she saw an opening and went for it, and out of all the students who ran this drill, hers was the best possible outcome. Mad props!

  3. Sharon says:

    Excellent book. Informative post. Thanks.

Post a Reply to Kyliewyotie