Learning how to shoot & fight are very important, but the reality is they will do you little to no good if you lack situational awareness. Situational awareness is extremely important if you are to be able to effectively defend yourself!!!! What is situational awareness? How its defined depends on who you ask.
But there are a few key traits which we view as being important in situational awareness:
1. Aware of your surroundings, geographically. Knowing what is happening in the environment or atmosphere around you, knowing where you are, knowing where you are going. Example, knowing that you heading into a high crime area or to a very secluded rural area.
2. Aware of the people around you. Knowing the people, knowing how many people there are, knowing who is friend and who is potentially foe, observing their body language, listening to what they are saying, monitoring the distance between you and them, watching people's hands, having eye contact with them.
Without situational awareness the best fighter & shooter in the world would be extremely vulnerable if they are ever attacked and unlikely to be able to effectively defend themselves.
Scenario example: A young woman is going for an evening walk. She is carrying pepper spray & a rape whistle in her purse. She decides to walk through a secluded park, at night, by herself. This young woman is staring at her smartphone, listening to music in her headphones, music blasting, oblivious to her surroundings. 2 men begin following her. They are both wearing baseball caps and all black clothing. Both men put on gloves. The young woman still oblivious to what is happening continues into the secluded park. Both men draw 6" blade knives. 1 man hands the other man a condom and hollers "You do her first, but don't mess her up too bad dude so that I can have some fun too!" The young woman never turns around, never hears them coming or talking, continues walking through the secluded park in the evening, listening to her headphones, oblivious to her surroundings. The 2 men attack her, 1 pressing his knife to her neck while the other presses his knife to her back. She is raped repeatedly in the secluded park, then stabbed to death. The police find her body in that secluded park 4 days after she never returned home.
I wish scenarios like this were not true, but unfortunately they are true. They happen daily. The unfortunate reality is the world is filled with violent predators looking for prey. Most predators are opportunists and they tend to choose soft targets, the weak, the defenseless, those not any paying attention, those who are not alert, those not listening, the easy target, the sheep. This is what you do NOT want to be! Never be the EASY target! Never be the sheep! Be the sheepdog, the alert, the aware, the one ready & prepared to defend immediately should the need arise!
I am not blaming the victims. The goal of this article is to alert the would be victims, wake up! A person can be the most skilled fighter & shooter, but if they are not aware of the situation then they have already lost the battle. If you can help it NEVER let anyone get the drop on you. It's an uphill battle trying to draw on a drawn gun, fight back when you've been initially attacked hard, draw your knife when you've already been stabbed twice, create distance when your attackers are already on top of you! The goal of situational awareness is to observe and notice the signs of an imminent attack BEFORE it happens giving you enough time to prepare and effectively defend yourself from it, or better yet evade or avoid the attack all together and SURVIVE.
I love shooting, martial arts, and other physical forms of self defense. But in reality I know that my 1st line of defense is to be aware of my surroundings, ALWAYS. There is no greater tool. Be safe everyone.