When it comes to self defense, there are many variables that can effect the outcome of an encounter: knowledge (how much technique you know), mental fortitude, physical abilities, and more. However, there is one factor that is more important than all the rest.
After decades of teaching law enforcement, military, security contractors, and law abiding citizens how to defend themselves and transition from empty hands to primary (rifle or pistol depending on participant or secondary weapons systems and back down. One variable stands as the clear essential primary contributor to success: situational awareness
When speaking to survivors of an assault or officers involved in use of force, I often hear the phrases “he came out of no where,” “I looked up and it was coming,” “I never even saw it coming,” or “before I knew what was happening we were on the ground.” First, I must make it clear that it’s never the victims’ fault. These statements embody the opposite of situational awareness.
With our smartphones all but glued to our face, chances are you’re reading this article on your phone right now. If you are around others right now, look up and take note how many people around you are engrossed in their smartphone. How many of those people can you simply walk up to and tap on their shoulders? Hang on, wait a minute, don’t go touching any strangers, I just want you think about it, I don’t want to have to run down to your local jail to bail you out.
As the name implies, situational awareness, is being cognizant and aware of your environment. Where are my potential threats? Where are my escape routes? Am I comfortable walking down that dark ally with a burnt out street light, or should I walk another block and walk down a busy street with lots of people around?
The better your situational awareness, the more likely you will have a larger reactionary gap between you and the potential predator. With a considerable size reactionary gap you will have more options of fight or better yet flight, but more importantly keeping you out of the freeze response. Fight, flight, or freeze will be your only options during a violent encounter. I would much rather have you at flight than fight, but certainly not freeze.
So, keep your head up, scan, make eye contact, let them see that you see them.
I teach a women’s self defense workshop every month at Lightning Kicks, come join me! Lightning Kicks is located in Portage, MI. If you will be coming from out of town for the seminar, there are a number of hotels near by. You can register for upcoming seminars at www.lightningkicks.com
About the author:
Amir Khillah is a retired professional fighter, holds a Master ‘ s degree in Human Performance, a Bachelor ‘ s degree in Exercise Physiology/kinesiology, a Police Academy Subject Control Instructor, a police officer, and the founder of Centurion Moderns Subject Control. For more information about officer Khillah or Centurion Modern Subject Control, please visit www.CenturionMSC.com