Without good situational awareness, you could be vulnerable to various types of criminals that tend to prey on people that appear “switched off”.
Awareness, one of the main ways of staying safe on the streets
When it comes to training in Self Defense, one of the first things that should be taught, is “Situational Awareness”. This is part of Personal Safety and involves developing good habits that keep you out of trouble when out or in unfamiliar surroundings.
Types of attack, armed or unarmed
Without good situational awareness, you could be vulnerable to various types of criminals that tend to prey on people that appear “switched off”. Or those simply unaware of what is happening around them.
Obviously, you wouldn’t want to wander around in a constant state of paranoia, but neither would you want to walk around totally blinkered and vulnerable. Situational awareness is a learnable process. It’s the learning of good personal safety habits that help you to avoid violence or robbery before it happens.
If you look at muggings, for example, which are often seen as a random attack. They are actually planned well in advance and use various tactics to “ambush” the victim.
“Most muggings are not random acts; there is usually a ritual that precedes an attack. The attacker will select his victim, usually someone that is daydreaming or isolated. Often the victim will be stalked seconds, even minutes before the attack. Many professional muggers approach their victims before the attack and ask a distracting/disarming question such as ‘Have you got the time please’ or ‘I’m lost, can you give me directions’. This is done to engage your brain before the attack. It’s a primer. Once engaged the mugger goes to work.”
How is it possible to disrupt a violent attack before it happens?
By understanding what is actually happening in the attack process it is possible to defend yourself against a violent attack without resorting to violence.
Once the process is something you understand you can train in methods to deal with it, be they psychological or physical.
You can develop skills to react to the threat, nullify it or avoid it. Personal safety aside, once you are closer to a potentially dangerous situation, there really are things you can do to avoid violence.
Understanding the threat process
I know this might be stating the obvious, but understanding what is really happening when you are being set up to be attacked is the key to avoiding it.
To do this we can use violent assault or attack “models” such as “The 5 stages of violent crime” or a “crime triangle” to help analyse what is happening.
Firstly, let’s look at “The 5 stages of violent crime”