Situational Awareness Self Defense
In the Karate Kid film the wise master, Mr. Miyagi tells Daniel San, “Best defense – not be there.” We might call this “Situational self defense” but there is more to this topic. Most martial arts schools hardly touch upon the topic of self defense. Learning a judo throw, an arm bar or a front kick has very little to do with actually surviving a violent encounter on the street. Even schools that focus on self defense are usually very limited. They train for a few situations, usually involving one on one hand to hand combat with ample space and no handicaps.
Self defense, or survival, involves much more than just “techniques”. You must understand how the body reacts to fear. You must understand the nature of stress and you must be very very humble. You must also understand that if you react to a situation as soon as it gets physical you have reacted too late. Being hit by a rocket is unlikely. Being attacked by a knife is a possibility. So my situational awareness consists of thinking in this situation a knife attack is a possibility. Thus I will keep my physical distance as much as possible from others, I will watch their body movements and be aware of their hand positions and I will keep my hands free. Mostly, I shall remain very alert.
We must train ourselves to be alert and see potential dangers. This is our first line of defense. This Pre-Attack awareness is more important than any physical technique. In fact I believe this is our greatest challenge; to get to start thinking in these terms, to be aware. Having that awareness is not a given, but should become one. It is the difference between life and death.