We’ve all heard it a thousand times before: “You need to be more aware!”
Although it’s impossible to be 100% aware of what’s going on around you, situational awareness does, in fact, lay down a good foundation for that moment when things go south. It’s no surprise that criminals, since the beginning of time, have used the element of surprise to pounce on unsuspecting victims and therefore gain the upper hand. What is really needed is a system of implementing that concept into one’s daily life, whether it be at school, work, parking your car, coming home late at night, whatever activity you engage in, etc.
In modern self-defence classes, traditional martial arts schools and even in modern combat handgun training classes, the concept of awareness lays a foundation for any other skill that you might have but what is not always considered is the fact that there are many people in the world who do not have these skills. It stands to reason that awareness, as a defensive measure, is certainly an important skill to have especially in avoiding dangerous situations. Herein lies the problem: Awareness is not always seen as a trainable skill.
There is a system of awareness called the S.I.P.D.E. System and it stands for Search, Identify, Predict, Decide and Execute. Let’s look at this in more detail:
Search: You need to keep those eyes of yours open. Be on the lookout and search for hazards or potential hazards in your vicinity. Some people are so engrossed in what they are doing that they are sometimes oblivious to what is happening around them. Be aware of what is going on ahead, behind and on each side of you. Utilise all your senses.
Identify potential hazards before they become dangerous. What is a hazard? A hazard could easily be a suspicious person in your vicinity and that person’s body language is important. Do not let your personal space be invaded. Pay attention to a person’s hands, body language, eyes and facial expressions. What about strange vehicles in the area? Do you have a registration number? Make and model of the vehicle? Was it a pickup truck or a car? Was it a hatchback or a four-door sedan? You need to look at the details.
Predict possible hazards and possible actions of persons in the vicinity. What are the actions going to be, or more realistically, what do you think they are going to be?
Decide: Make a decision on your prediction. Do you have a plan? What are you going to do if the predicted hazard is going to occur? You need to develop a plan in advance. Develop more than one plan. You should have different options at your disposal. Analyse the situation. Plan at least two moves in advance. Follow your plan decisively. Do not hesitate. Do not panic. Plan a counter-attack. If an attacker is challenging you and threatens a grievous assault, why wait? Surprise him. Take the initiative away from him and prevent his assault. It might discourage him.
Execute your plan decisively with speed and accuracy. Whether it be fighting or escaping you need to see this execution of your plan through to the end. Go through your plans in your mind regularly. It will give you an advantage.
The above-mentioned system will provide you with decisiveness, aggressiveness, speed, calmness, ruthlessness and the element of surprise.
Remember: paranoia is a state of fear. Try to control your fear. If you are not constantly prepared and always anticipating an attack, you add to the sad statistics.
The above system or exercise must be done in order and must be practised regularly in your daily life so that it eventually becomes automatic, much like any skill in life that one practises. With enough practice over time, this exercise will increase your chances of being more vigilant and therefore also increase your chances of survival in a dangerous scenario. Of course, it must be remembered that although this can be practised in your daily life you would still need to arm your alarm system at night when asleep. Your alarm system can be seen as an extension of your awareness and it’s when you are sleeping that criminals are more likely to burgle your home and pose a threat to you and your family.
The above system is not perfect, and nothing ever will be, but it’s a chance for you as an individual to do something for yourself. So why don’t you give the above exercise a try and give yourself a chance?
This is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your specialist for specific and detailed advice. (E&OE)