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Before we talk about actual objects we can use as defensive weapons, we must train ourselves to increase our level of, what the military and law enforcement sometimes call, ‘situational awareness’. This simply means look and see in an active, engaged way. Obviously different situations require different levels of awareness. Entering a poorly lit car park or hallway at night requires a different level of awareness than say, sitting at home in an easy chair reading. Awareness is not about being fearful or paranoid. It is about being in your environment, not only physically, but also mentally. We all look but do we really see what is happening around us?

Here are few things you can practice everyday to increase your ability to observe, become more aware and avoid a possible threat. It is important that you make this training an habitual part of your daily routine.

  • Don’t walk or act like a victim. Walk confidently head up looking the world in the eye in non-threatening or confrontational way. REMEMBER: Predators prey on those they see as the weakest members of society.
  • Always trust your instincts. If a person or situation does not look or feel right, usually you will be correct. Immediately move away from that person or situation
  • Train yourself every day to, and make it a habit, check the backseat of your car before you enter the vehicle.
  • Don’t round corners blindly, take a few paces or steps out from the wall or building before you turn the corner. You will be in a better position to see a possible threat; this will also allow you more time to react.
  • Train yourself to be more aware of people around you. For example: Start with a simple observation drill. Next time you are at the mall, Identify to yourself how many people are wearing baseball caps, or how many people have long hair as opposed to short hair. Sounds simple, but by doing this you will be amazed at how quickly you will increase your general level of awareness.
  • Learn to deal effectively with distractions. For example: The next time someone comes up to you in the street and asks for the time or, directions, assist them if you can. However, learn to divide your attention, keep the appropriate distance and also be very aware of their actions, and the actions of anyone else in the immediate vicinity.
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