Situational Awareness is your best defense.

Guns have been in the news and media a lot lately. Questions have been raised whether they are needed for self defense. My personal answer is ” when defending myself or a loved one I will always bring a gun to a gun fight”. That being said I believe that situational awareness can help give you a tactical advantage in any confrontation and maybe even avoid one.

In the Army Field Manual, situational awareness is defined as- “knowledge and understanding of the current situation which promotes timely, relevant and accurate assessment of friendly, competitive and other operations within the battle space in order to facilitate decision making. An informational perspective and skill that fosters an ability to determine quickly the context and relevance of events that are unfolding.”

So what does this mean to a civilian or a Sheepdog?

Well situational awareness is the process of being observant of one’s surroundings and recognizing a potential threat or dangerous situation at an early stage and taking measures to avoid it. This is more a mindset than a skill that is learned.
I know some of you out there are asking well how do I get this mindset going. The best way is to play the” what if “game. How do you play? well i’m glad you asked. Just take a look around where ever you are and ask yourself –
  • What if  when I pull up to this corner that guy comes running over to car jack me, can I just give it gas and turn right or is it blocked and I can only go left. Can I put the vehicle in reverse and go that way?
  • What if when I pull into the gas station thieves come running out and shooting from robbing the store inside. can I drive away. if not can I hide behind any effective cover. Can I shoot back in self defense from that effective cover?
  • What if this person walking towards me decides to attack me. If he attacks me from the front with a bear hug how can I defend? If he turns and attacks from behind how can I defend?
Questions like these while you are going about your day will help develop the mindset of situational awareness and may even give you a tactical advantage. Now you don’t have to go around being paranoid, but you should maintain a level of awareness that is equivalent to an attentive level of awareness while driving, riding a motorcycle or using a knife on a cutting board.

Many people do not realize just how vulnerable they are doing a normal activity such as grocery shopping.  I see so many people making careless errors that could cost them their life. Distractions are a big part of that. Talking or texting on your cell phone when walking into or leaving the store is not a good idea you should be taking that time to look at the vehicles and people around you. Being distracted on a phone makes you look like an easy target, which is exactly what thieves are looking for.

Routines also make you vulnerable. They set patterns, patterns can be exploited. Do you always take the same roads on your way home, do you always jog on the same path and take the same shortcut through the woods, a person with malicious intent now can plan where to ambush you. Look to see where you are vulnerable and how you can off set these critical vulnerabilities by changing your routine .

The best advise I have ever heard for self defense and situational awareness is from the movie The Karate Kid  where the wise master, Mr. Miyagi tells Daniel San, “Best defense – not be there.” Very wise indeed.


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