The ability to act is the key to surviving a self-defense situation. While action takes many different forms, all actions require awareness: The ability to recognize, analyze and then accordingly devise and revise your actions based upon what you are seeing, hearing, and feeling. Awareness allows you to respond mentally and physically in situations when hesitation can harm you. Developing the following outward areas of awareness and coupling them with strong self-awareness will help you act confidentially in the most challenging of situations.
1. Perceptual awareness is being conscious of the input your body is receiving from your five senses. The more you practice being mindful of this input the more you will recognize signals in body language and verbal tone and subtext alerting you to a situation.
2. Situational awareness, reading the room, is knowing what is going on around you. What is the threat level? Why are those voices so loud over there? Can you take action to avoid it? Where are your exits? This can help in a wide variety of situations ranging from an act of violence to simply recognizing and avoiding a patch of ice before you slip and fall. Developing your situational awareness will help you recognize potential issues in the people and environment around you.
3. Social awareness is understanding how you react and interact to the people around you. How can you use your words and body language to deescalate rather than intensify a situation?
While achieving a high level of awareness takes training, just beginning to develop awareness will help reduce your chances of finding yourself in a situation you didn’t see coming. It will allow you to act, and that is most important- you must do something. More importantly, you must accept the fact that it can happen to you and you need to prepare for that actuality.