Situational Awareness & Safety

For 2 days, anytime you step in a room “check your corners”. Glance to a side, seeing the nearest corner, and pan across to take in the whole room until you can see the #2 corner closest to you and sweeping across the 3+4 corners along the way. Takes a second but gets you thinking of your surroundings.

For 2 days, anytime you get a text while in public (or some other chosen trigger) count people. Count women, men, people buried in their phones, count hats, count bags, anything. This is a beginning step to doing the pscyh “how many hats do you remember” drill we’re all familiar with. Combined with corner checking and you have a fair first couple steps to being like psych.

Body language in general. We spend a lot of time learning body language because the right kind can stop most fights from ever even occurring. You’ll find similar benefit by picking up a few of the cues. The most valuable centered on “dominant/alpha” vs “submissive”. It’s a bit of a flawed model but it helps to see us as pack animals and realize we rank out somewhere in social standing based on how we act. The alphas act a certain way–usually taking up more space in all dimensions (louder, lead conversations, move more slowly) while submissive folk don’t. This also correlates very closely to confidence and self esteem which means you can get an excellent read on someone in seconds.

Here are a few drills that you can do to improve your situational awareness skills [ModernSurvivalBlog]:

  1. Identify all the exits when you enter a building.
  2. Count the number of people in a restaurant, subway or train car.
  3. Note which cars take the same turns in traffic.
  4. Take a look at the people around you and attempt to figure out their stories. Imagine what they do for a living, their mood, what they are focused on and what it appears they are preparing to do, based merely on observation.
  5. Next time you’re in a parking lot, look for – and count – the number of cars with people sitting in them, whether you’re walking to the storefront, or coming back to your car, or even driving through.

If you are ever faced with a blade-wielding attacker, there are a few things you should remember that will drastically improve your survivability.

  1. Stay mobile. Distance is your best ally against any contact weapon, so use your footwork to stay as far away as possible. Run if you can.
  2. Place barriers between you and the attacker. A barrier is anything your threat has to avoid or move around to get to you. This can be done by moving behind a stationary or moving object, such as a park bench or a car, or by physically placing an object between you and the attacker, such as a chair or shopping cart.
  3. If contact is made, do your best to protect your vital organs and arteries. Keep your hands up and guard your centerline, which encompasses your throat, neck, lungs, heart and arteries.
  4. Don’t get fixated on the weapon. Like the tip of a whip, the blade is the fastest moving piece of the attack. Train your eyes on the attacker’s sternum, because any movement of the arm will originate with the upper torso. Allow your motion-sensitive peripheral vision to pick up the movement of the blade.
  5. Stay in the fight. There’s a good chance you’ll get cut; don’t focus on it. No matter what, fight through to the end. You’re not dead until the coroner says so. 


  • Carry pepper-spray

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