Monday, 11 August 2008

See the offering below from Mark Davies on awareness

Where personal safety is concerned a penny worth of prevention is worth a million pounds of cure.

What most people don't realise is that 90% of assaults could have been avoided with a small amount of prior thought. The most powerful weapon in the world that everyone has access to is not a gun or knife- it’s your brain! Awareness is your friend. Awareness makes the difference between avoiding being a victim, & ending up as another potential story in the local paper. Awareness is your own personal radar. Imagine a navy aircraft carrier; it has radar operating to warn it of threats. Take away its radar & pretty quickly it would have a bomb or missile up its backside!

Most attacks have a 'Pre Contact Phase' which (if you are aware) lets you know that someone means you harm. The pre contact phase could be noticing the same person watching you as you walk home a couple of days in a row. It could be noticing someone keeping on 'eyeballing' you in a pub or nightclub. It could be someone saying something to you that just feels or sounds wrong. Worst case scenario, the pre contact indicator is someone acting in an aggressive or threatening manner to you.

If you learn to stay aware then you will notice all the pre contact indicators that I mentioned above. The problem is that most people walk around with their mind in neutral all day. Next time you're out & about have a look around you & see how many people (young girls & women are worst for this) you can see walking around with their head down looking at the ground. Are you guilty of this? If you are not only are you not seeing whats going on around you, & possibly miss the 'tell' that someone is looking to harm you; you are also LOOKING LIKE A VICTIM. A number of people convicted of committing violent crimes such as muggings & rapes were asked what made them pick their victims. Every single one of them identified the same factors, a lack of awareness & body language that spoke of a lack of confidence. Most attackers aren't looking for a fight, they're looking for a victim. So if you're walking along head down looking at the ground what you're saying to the world is "if I can't see you, you can't see me- world go away I'm uncomfortable". You are screaming at the world "I'M A VICTIM WAITING TO HAPPEN". Worse still are those who walk along like this whilst they can't hear a thing because they're listening to their mp3 player. Now not only have you lost your vision (because you're looking at the ground) but your hearing too. One mugger commented that the mp3 player was a godsend to muggers!

So how can you stay safe? Firstly, keep that head up & keep watching what & who is around you. In bodyguarding we use a colour code to describe the various states of awareness.

White- totally unaware
Yellow- general awareness
Orange- suspicious activity
Red- Actual threat
Black- Fight

We want to maintain a level of 'Condition Yellow' all our waking life. In condition white it takes so long to react to any form of threat that we would be a sitting duck. In condition yellow we are generally aware of everything & everyone around us. You should be able to give a rough description of who is behind you without looking at any time, or what car is behind you whilst driving. A good way to condition yourself to be this aware is to steal a drill from the institute of advanced motorists that they use whilst driving. While you move around in your daily life keep an internal dialogue going inside your head (if you speak it out loud like you do whilst doing your advanced driving training people will think you're quite mad) describing what you see around you, & most importantly what you notice at a distance before you happen upon it. If you do this for a few weeks you'll start doing subconsciously. You'll see any threats long before they become a problem, & be able to take action to avoid it. Another good awareness tip is to always take 30 seconds or so to survey anywhere you're going before you go there. For instance;

You walk blindly into the petrol station without looking & find you've walked into an armed robbery.

You park your car in the multi storey car park & upon your return you just walk straight up & start getting in; only to get held up by a mugger that was hanging about near your car.

Just taking a few moments to survey your surroundings can save your hide!

You have to take a look at your life & do a risk assessment on yourself. Be honest, there's no point in doing it if you're going to skirt around any problems. Look at where you live, what are the potential dangers? Look at where you regularly 'hang out' or travel to, what are the potential threats there- is it a high crime area or do you have to pass through one to get there? Who do you hang out with? If you hang out with people who are regularly involved in trouble then the likelihood is that it will involve you at some point. After looking at the results you may find that you need to make some major changes in your lifestyle to keep yourself safe. At this point you have to weigh up how important your safety is to you. Sometimes the best thing to do is to take a long hard look at your loved ones & imagine how they'd be affected by having to identify you by a tag on your toe- this is a wakeup call! If you hang around or go to places where 'chavs' or 'neds' hang around in groups then the chances of you becoming the victim of armed assault is increased. Sometimes change is hard, but changing some friends & cutting yourself loose from negative influences can often be the best move of your life, trust me I did it!

Stay aware, look confident, plan ahead....... stay safe!


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