By Linda M. Gilbertson
“Physical fitness, critical thinking skills, quick recognition of evil,
and avoidance have a bigger role in your survival than your gear.”
I wish I could take credit for this quote, but I can’t. It’s perfect, however, for the purpose of this article. It is so right-on, that it is imperative that it be a part of any self-defense training. If you’re not learning situational awareness, “. . . critical thinking skills, quick recognition of evil, and avoidance . . .” when you take a class, then don’t even have a gun, mace, taser or anything else. It’ll be used against you. Just get a magic marker and write VICTIM on your forehead.
Many women are victimized because they’re “self-absorbed” to the point that
they don’t pay attention to what is going on around them. That is, until they
are picked out of the crowd. That failure to recognize “evil” leads to the
failure to respond in a timely manner and “avoid.” Victimization is then the logical outcome.
For decades, the FBI has noted in the Uniform Crime Report the count on victimization of women. They recommended that women not resist, as resistance would lead to death. Within the last two decades, however, the FBI has changed their recommendations. They now recommend that if confronted, you should “fight like you’ve never fought before”. Because if you don’t fight, you’ll die. The “kinder, gentler society” is a myth, as morals, values and ethics have disappeared from society. Your life is not worth anything to a perpetrator, and your failure to recognize a threat and act on it will lead to serious injury or death or the serious injury or death of someone else.
So, once you get your head out of the sand, what can you do to increase your situational awareness? Practicing the Color Code of Awareness is a good beginning. In Condition Yellow, scanning the horizon all the time, noting peculiarities in people and their behavior, relying upon your women’s intuition, sixth sense, or the hair rising on the back of your neck will alert you to threats. You’ll easily transition to the other colors as the threat level becomes apparent.
Condition White — Unaware and unprepared. (Ex. Head in Sand)
Condition Yellow — Relaxed awareness. (Ex. Driving a car)
Condition Orange — Specific alert. Something is not quite right and has your attention. (Ex. A bump in the night)
Condition Red — Specific threat. I will use deadly force if it becomes necessary. (Ex. baseball bat, a knife, a gun, a fist, a verbal threat)
Once you’re comfortable with this, then develop visual scenarios utilizing self-defense principles. Learn how to be mentally aggressive and ruthless, yet maintaining coolness, decisiveness and surprise. Practice transferring mentally by practicing physically. These visual and physical life and death scenarios will prepare you to recognize a threat in time to take action.
No one said Situational Awareness was easy. It’s very hard, and I don’t want you to learn it by being a victim. Get your head out of the sand and pay attention.
In Part II, I’ll discuss how to handle your FEAR, which is the logical
progression from recognizing a threat.