During our Krav Maga classes, we devote a lot of training time to defending against assaults we are unable to prevent – punches, grabs, weapon assaults etc… The preference, of course, is to avoid these situations whenever possible. This involves situational awareness.
Situational awareness involves understanding your environment and your (and those you might be with – family, friends, co-workers) place in it. This environment can be a subway, sidewalk, shopping mall, pub, public park…anywhere. Awareness happens when you survey your surroundings and learn to recognize potential dangers that give you time to stay away or leave.
This can be challenging, particularly in crowded urban settings. Let’s outline some general points to consider when surveying your surroundings.
Where are the exit points? Being able to leave quickly and safely is essential to avoiding or escaping danger. What is the most accessible exit? What are the obstacles (crowds, vehicles, etc…)?
Who is in the area? Families, groups of young adults, an elderly couple, a security guard, a man walking with his hands in his pockets and his jaw clenched. Take note of who is in your space.
Take note of body language. Someone staring at you or looking away when your glance in their direction. Fast, sharp gestures with hands, hands, or legs that could indicate agitation or aggression.
Auditory Cues. Yelling, grunting, cursing, objects being knocked over or thrown – all signs of agitation. Silence – as in someone walking directly towards you, hands in pocket, silently concentrating on – should be noted.
Where are peoples’ hands? Grabbing, punching, stabbing, shooting – all involve the hands. Be aware of where people place their hands. Be wary of hands deep in pockets or covered by a jacket or sweater they are carrying. These are common ways to conceal weapons.
Common Objects. Are there objects in your surroundings you can use to protect yourself? Chairs or backpacks to shield, coffee or water to distract…? Effective use of common objects can help you evade danger.
We want you to be aware without being fearful. In future blogs, we will look at specific aspects of situational awareness. As always feel free to contact us with feedback or questions.