Awareness, Awareness, Awareness. Awareness is the key to protecting yourself. However, as it’s all encompassing it seems impossible. In the real world we are constantly multi-tasking. Driving while drinking coffee, listening to the radio, and thinking about all the errands we need to run during our lunch break. The reality is that we can not be 100% aware 100% of the time. This would be is impossible. However, this doesn’t mean that awareness is not the answer. It means we must develop situational awareness. Situational awareness are guidelines for when and how to use awareness.
Real Life Self Defense
Real life altercations can come in a variety of scenarios. For example, if we were to imagine two very real, yet very different types of situations we might address the street fight and premeditated predator-victim assault.
The street fight is something we might imagine as a couple of drunk guys, who get in a heated shouting match after a watching a football game at a bar. There’s some chest bumping and ego’s are at stake. Things escalate until the confrontation becomes physical. Usually one guy shoves the other, someone takes a swing and they end up wrestling on the ground until their friends, bouncers or cops come to pull them apart.
The second is a premeditated predator/victim assault. Meaning, the individual committing the act/assault/crime is planning their attack in advance. They want the women’s money or something worse. Like a Jackal in the wild looking to prey on a young fawn, they are looking for the easiest target possible. They do not want resistance and they do not want to be caught. Your situation is unique and understanding this is crucial. I hope you learned specific techniques that will help you should a situation become physical. However, my goal is to help you understand situational awareness so that you can prevent yourself from being recognized as prey to a predator.
The triangle itself is the assault or crime. You need three things to completely form this triangle. For the crime to happen you need a predator, an (unassuming) victim and the opportunity. To prevent an assault from taking place, you must be 100% committed to making sure the triangle is never completed. We will assume that there is a predator. You must prevent the opportunity or not be an "unassuming victim". You may be a target but you are a SUSPECTING target, not an unsuspecting target. There is a difference!
This means, that you’re awareness must increase as you recognize the triangle being formed. This means, if you are in the supermarket and there’s many people around you and no one who seems particularly suspicious, you can allow that awareness the decrease. If you then go outside to walk to your car at night, you recognize the opportunity and your awareness increases. In your heightened state of awareness, you suddenly sense the presence of someone following you and recognize the possibility that this is a potential assailant. Now you’re awareness increases to the next level and because you TRUST your INSTICTS and you are prepared to ACT. Your awareness put’s one step ahead of where the possible assailant expects you to be!
While you do not wish to escalate the situation, you must face the situation head on. You must take action. This be as simple as as walking across the street to where is maybe a better lit path or other bystanders. You may need to become verbally assertive and say, “I see you. Do not come any closer to me!” (you might practice saying this from time to time when you’re alone in your car), while becoming physically asserting and posturing in a more athletic/aggressive fashion. This may also mean yelling for help and running. You might prepare to access your pepper spray or your concealed carry weapon. You can not worry about being politically correct, or offending someone by accident. You must act. What is the right thing to do? Well, you will use your judgement to pursue the best course of action, but you must know that anything you do is better than doing nothing!
Once the predator realizes you are not going to be an easy target, and that if they pursue further action, at the very least you can positively identify them as the culprit, they will most likely reassess the situation and look for an easier target. Cowards do not want confrontation.
Summary You can learn martial arts techniques, or plan to carry a concealed weapon. Either might save your life. However, what is a more important precursor than either of these tools/skill sets, is a prepared mindset geared toward situational awareness and preventing the triangle of victimization from being completed.
Shifu Lucas Geller
(This is 100% paraphrased from The Gracie Academy Women’s Empowerment Curriculum. Thank you Rener Gracie and Eves Torres for your amazing and thoughtful insight!)