Breakaway Training

We train your team to quickly identify and safely breakaway from violence.

  • Recognize an escalating violence risk
  • Use de-escalation strategies to keep safe
  • Use Body Signals and identify Escape Routes
  • Breakaway from violence if needed

Hundreds of safer clients...

Hospitals and




public services

Our Experience in Breakaway Training

Dynamis breakaway training will enable your staff with the knowledge, skills and judgement to be able to protect themselves appropriately to your environment. Our self-protection courses are always tailored for your specific target context and your client group.

Safe Caring and Breakaway

Our Safe Caring courses provide your staff with habits and procedures which help them to work safely in close proximity with older or vulnerable people who can present with unpredictable or distressed behaviours - the breakaway tactics need to be appropriate to the setting.

Read More about Safe Caring

Enforcement Team Self-Defence

Community Safety Wardens or City Enforcement Officers who carry out their work on the streets of our communities need effective situational awareness and appropriate breakaway tactics for their specific contexts, often involving bystanders and the equipment they carry.

Read More about Enforcement training

Social Worker Personal Safety

In addition to the risk-assessment part of our lone worker courses, we also teach a module on Personal Safety and Breakaway which may be used inside the confined spaces of a person's home or flat, for example.

Read More about Lone Working

Ambulance and Paramedic Safety

With experience of working near to and inside a variety of vehicles, our trainers tailor breakaway courses for professionals who carry out their work on/near transport and within the confined spaces of their vehicles.

Content of Breakaway Training (6hrs option - 3hrs also available)

Staff will learn:

  •  Health and Safety principles for managing safety in the workplace (Duty of Care) during a breakaway incident.
  •  Principles of resolving conflict using non-physical means where possible prior to needing breakaway.
  •  Managing proximity using body-language ‘barrier signals’ for protection and breakaway
  •  Escape route selection and movement in confined spaces (bedrooms, toilets, corridors, lifts etc.)
  •  Legal rules on the use of reasonable force in self-defence or breakaway situations
  •  The risks inherent in breakaway and self-defence scenarios and how to reduce or avoid them.
  •  Practical ways – including a small number of physical skills which can be broadly-applied – for staff to protect and safeguard themselves and disengage from the most common assaults prevalent in care services.

Staff will be able to do physical skills as follows:

  • Managing Proximity while approaching unpredictable persons 10-5-2
  • Managing Proximity using a 2-5-10 rule away from danger
  • Understanding ‘Instinctive Protection’ when suddenly assaulted
  • Connecting ‘Instinctive Protection’ to sudden stimulus
  • Building ‘Frames’ which naturally protect the body
  • Strengthening the Frames
  • Maintaining balance during movement
  • Protecting our consciousness as a priority
  • Survival and Breakaway versus Hair Grab or Hair Pull
  • Survival and Breakaway versus Limb Grabs
  • Survival and Breakaway versus Biting, Pinching, Scratching
  • Survival and Breakaway versus being punched, hit or slapped in the head
  • Survival and Breakaway versus throat grabs
  • Escape tactics for disengaging (Breakaway) from the assailant


Basic Self-Protection Tactics

☐ Understanding Instinctive Protection

☐ Apply Instinctive Protection to Stimulus

☐ Understand ‘Frames’

☐ Strengthen Frames with Pressure

☐ Maintain Balance under Pressure

☐ Protect Consciousness under Assault

Survival from Common Attacks

☐  Survival and Breakaway against strikes to the head

☐  Survival and Breakaway against body grabs

☐  Survival and Breakaway against clothing/limb grabs

☐  Survival and Breakaway against throat grab

☐  Survival and Breakaway against hair grab

☐  Survival and Breakaway against the rear choke-hold

Some thoughts on Breakaway Training

Breakaway techniques were originally designed to enable staff to disengage from situations whereby they were being held or grabbed in an aggressive manner and were very context specific ie if you were held by the wrist you resort to technique A, if you were being strangled from the front then you would use technique B, and so on and so forth.

The main difficulty associated with this type of approach, is that it is very much one dimensional and fails to consider the psychodynamic nature of violent assaults.

Violent assault does not occur in a vacuum and many factors will invariably influence the outcome for both the perpetrator and victim of violence, which is why modern training programmes should place more emphasis upon the psychological and emotional preparation that is required in order to deal with these types of encounters. What is the point of training clinical staff in any personal protection skill if they are unable to manage their own fear response in the first instance?

Although some training providers have made stirling efforts to reduce the number of techniques taught to its staff, the skills still often remain 'complex' in nature.  Although Dickens et al (2009) states that more research is needed to find out what types of training are best recalled, it is useful to note that the authors propose that techniques closely resembling instinctual responses may be better remembered. 

All kinds of "practical skills" training in how to release / extricate from common types of grips, grabs and strangle holds along with techniques for use in the event of an attack have come to be known generally as "Breakaway".

Following an integrated breakaway and de-escalation skills training programme which took place at St Thomas' Psychiatric Hospital in Ontario, Canada in 1976, the number of violent incidents and of patient and staff injuries in the year fell by 9%, 12%, and 10% respectively compared to the previous year. The number of staff man-hours lost due to assault-related injuries also dropped by 31%.

A similar training programme in Denver, Colorado in 1980 (Gertz) contributed to a 32% decrease in violent incidents in the following year (although the possible effect of other factors is not discussed).

Infantino & Musingo (1985) also reported dramatic results in their comparison of assault and injury rates in staff who had and who had not received training in aggression control techniques. Out of 31 staff who received training in verbal interventions, 'self-defence' and 'takedowns', only one was assaulted in the 9-24 month follow-up period, compared to 24 staff assaulted among the 65 who had not received training. Of these assaulted staff, 19 received injuries (the severity of which is unspecified). These results cannot be explained by differences in locations where trained and non-trained staff worked, because trainees and non-trainees worked together on the same shifts in the same units. (Although however, the reduction in assault frequency in the trainees may in part be attributed to increased confidence following the training.)

Employers that don't provide at risk workers with training in Breakaway Skills may find it hard to justify! The fact that so many organisations are now providing Breakaway Skills training to employees (plus the research that backs it) makes it difficult for other employers to justify not providing the same to their staff - especially if they are facing the same kinds / level of risk.


Enter your email address below and get instant access to a short video course about how we design modern Breakaway training.

Your team learn in a scenario-driven approach

Because of our unique training methodology which focusses on YOUR service, YOUR people and YOUR service users - the training programme develops understanding, decision-making and skills together and in-context. Your team will learn skills and understanding which will more-easily transfer to working with your people in your context and make it safer for everyone.

Communication Skills

Your teams will model and practice appropriate verbal skills for preventing and de-escalating conflict.

Behaviour Awareness

Your team will develop their awareness of aggressive and pre-assault behaviours and the ways in which situations can trigger distress, anger or emotional disturbance.



Every conflict encounter carries risk, so your team must learn how to navigate options and reduce the risk of adverse outcomes.

Self-Protection (where necessary)

Your team will be challenged to develop personal safety habits and perform robust, appropriate self-protection tactics in many different scenarios where a person may be at risk of hurting them.

3hr Breakaway Training Schedule:

Breakaway training from Dynamis has been designed to enable public-facing staff faced with the imminent threat of violence or a violent assault with the appropriate attitudes and tactics for personal safety.  

If danger can not be avoided any other way, staff should breakaway or disengage from violence and move towards safety using appropriate personal safety or self-defence skills.

Our breakaway training incorporates a comprehensive explanation of the law regarding assault and use-of-force for self-defence or disengagement in a workplace context. 

This includes the Duty of Care perspective and a discussion of Risk Management. Our breakaway training delivers effective breakaway skills for public-facing staff, teaching a quickly-learned and easily-retained method of breakaway and disengagement.

The Evidence Base for our training is based on the results of numerous studies conducted into the usefulness and effectiveness of breakaway skills.

“Perhaps…in the heightened state of arousal caused by a real assault people would use any techniques that would work at the time.  Our finding that 80% of participants managed to break away successfully without using the taught techniques does give credence to this, suggesting that breakaway methods that centre on natural instinct as opposed to highly technical manoeuvres are likely to be recalled more successfully”

— Journal of Psychiatric and  Mental Health Nursing 2009, 16

Grab a coffee and speak to our training advisor.

With over 15 years of experience working with clients, we are confident that we can gain an understanding of your issues, resources, timeframes and budget quickly and soon propose a training plan which fits your needs.

How to Organize Breakaway Training Painlessly

Our Process for Working with You

  1. 1
    Book your free training needs assessment. Every organization is unique and so you need a unique training course. Our free training needs assessment is a 20-minute process where we identify the risks your staff face and the training solutions you need to support your people.
  2. 2
    We formulate a Bespoke Training Course. Having understood the needs of your organization and the people you look after, we will create a bespoke training course tailored to your conflict flashpoints, issues and incident profile.
  3. 3
    Your Staff experience relevant and beneficial training. We will conduct your bespoke training course, helping your team to prevent and manage conflict within your service and with your service users.
  4. 4
    Satisfaction and Course Follow-up. Following the training session, we will conduct questionnaires with all attendees to give tangible before and after data.

We will teach you to deliver
evidence-based training

High Staff Engagement

Because of the immediate relevance your staff see in your course design and delivery, they are engaged, motivated and Energized during and after the training.

Better Transfer to the Workplace

Because sessions are all driven by your own scenarios, issues and challenges with the people you meet in your work, it has immediate relevance and transfers directly to your day-to-day workplace.

Time Well


Your teams get many, many opportunities to learn and practice their new skills during 'countless reps' of the target skills, actively learning in every session. There doesn't need to be endless powerpoints!

Measurable Change Happens

With highly targeted new skills, your teams can make measurable changes to their interactions and truly realise your organisation's safety ethos, focussing on dignity and respect, safety and wellbeing.


Director Of Training At Dynamis

Hi and thanks for visiting our website today.

In over 15 years of working with frontline staff who face difficult, distressed and dangerous behaviour, i have seen time and again how prepared staff can perform well and respond to challenging circumstances.

From teachers to nurses, teaching and care assistants to security officers in our hospitals and social workers in the community, if you deal with people every day, managing conflict becomes a necessity.

I became involved in this work because i saw the power of training and preparation in helping people to stay safe at work and to be more successful in working with their colleagues to create better outcomes.

I and my team of professional trainers now teach in over 200 training engagements every year around the uk and internationally for a wide variety of public-facing organizations just like yours.

We have sought out the best conflict management training content and the best learning methods in the world and bring them together for you and your team.

Join Over 3,000 Happy Customers

What our customers are saying:

Best Course I have attended in the NHS...

“This was by far the best course I’ve attended in the NHS. Fit for purpose, current, relevant and extremely well delivered. 10/10 for delivery, professionalism and structure.”

ANDY W. // Security Management Specialist

Made it Relevant...

“Very good training, and great effort to make it relevant for the type of conflict and situation we face. Excellent Trainer – 10//10”

MICHAELA G. // Community Engagement Officer

Tailored to situations we actually face...

“Gerard was a great teacher, he was very knowledgeable and friendly. He tailored the training to situations we might actually find ourselves in which I found incredibly useful.”

Louise C. // Homeless Shelter Support Worker


I left feeling confident that I could safely apply the techniques I had been shown and know when to use them. Since completing this training another member of staff and I who where both on the course have been able to safely escort a child, whom we have previously struggled and felt unsure/ unsafe with escorting when dis-regulated back in to the school building safety. We were both on the same page as were the other members of staff who witnessed the incident (and were also present for the training that day) and this greatly helped us to safely bring the child back in to school. I would like to once again give my thanks to the team who came in to teach us that day. They were both amazing!

Classroom Teacher // Blossom House School March 2020.


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our w's

When: 1 to 5 Days based on your identified needs and scheduled for your convenience

Who:  Groups of up to 12 care staff are led by each Dynamis trainer (larger groups by request).  Nurses and Care Workers, clinical staff, key workers and therapists can all benefit from courses which are tailored for your specific environment.

Our small but highly focussed team of trainers are highly experienced and professionally qualified verbal and physical intervention specialists.  They hold Level 3 Qualifications in physical intervention, conflict management and breakaway/self-protection and regularly attend CPD events which ensures the quality of their delivery.   Dynamis is an ICM Accredited Quality Award centre, assuring clients of our robust processes for the design, development, delivery and support of our training programmes.

Where:  Training is held at your venue

How:  Our trainers deliver this course using a mix of lecture/presentation, Q&A, physical practice and scenario rehearsal.

Why:  Matched to your needs      Led by Professional Trainers      Legally Audited      Fully Risk-Assessed      Values Dignity and Respect     Safeguards Client rights      Offers Staff Practical Options      Compliant with Government Regulations      Value for Your Investment

Our Partners and Accreditation


Dynamis is a Quality Award Centre with the ICM, a recognised accrediting body in the U.K. for workplace training in the prevention and management of workplace violence.

Healthcare Myth 2: If I Say Something It Will Make Things Worse 2



Dynamis is the premier European Partner for Vistelar, a global consulting organisation covering training across the entire spectrum of human conflict.


Dynamis represents the 9 Attitudes system, a fully behavioural approach to self-protection and physical control which is based on the observable realities of physical confrontation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the training carried out?

Usually the training venue will be our client's responsibility and full details of this are made clear around the time of booking so that you know what we are going to need to give your people the best possible experience of training with our team.

We have often helped our clients to source appropriate training venues, where that assistance was requested!

Due to the nature of our training approach, we often require a good-sized training room which has the capacity for your team to move around in and in which we can set up scenarios which are as close as we can get them to real-world applications of the material we teach your people.

What is the investment in training?

Our training costs are often calculated on a per-day basis and directly related to the Needs Analysis which we carry out with you.

We are constantly working to make sure that the investment level is reasonable and competitive.

We generally ask for an investment which takes into account the type of content we are going to work on with your staff, the numbers of staff involved, the risk level of the encounters they engage in and the number of days of training which will be required to get your people up to the proper standard.

We are VAT registered and all pricing sent to you is 'plus VAT at the prevailing rate'.

We also charge travel expenses which you should discuss with our training advisor so that these are as clear as possible as you book in your training course.

How quickly can I book training to happen?

Our training advisor is waiting to have a call with you to discuss your timelines and preferred schedule. We generally book training 4-6 weeks out from today, however we always have been able to respond to clients who need training 'as soon as possible' when urgent needs pop up. The sooner we talk with you, the sooner we can get the training in place!

How many people can attend a training course?

There are numerous formats which we use to deliver training with your team, whether it be a large group or a smaller team. We know that the best group sizes for learning depend on the complexity of the material to be covered, the amount of time we have with your people and also the constraints you may be working with in your budget and resources. Most of our clients put 12-16 people in our less-physically demanding training courses, and often fewer people than this into our more demanding courses. Let's talk about the best solution for your needs....

Is Dynamis training Accredited?

Dynamis has attained the respected Quality Award Centre status (QAC #2201) with the Institute for Conflict Management (ICM), demonstrating our commitment to quality assurance and strict adherence to the most recent guidance on the management and prevention of workplace conflict.  All our trainers are fully qualified and attend CPD development on a regular basis in accordance with ICM requirements.

Is the training suitable for my staff and my context?

Our goal is that you see a tremendous improvement in your team's ability to prevent and manage difficult encounters with the people in your service, so we focus on making sure that each training session with your people feels directly connected to their everyday work and is compliant with the relevant guidance which governs it.


100% Satisfaction Guarantee

You are fully protected by our 100% Satisfaction-Guarantee. If you are not fully satisfied by the training we deliver for your team, just let us know and we'll send you a prompt refund.

Gerard O'Dea