The Importance Of Awareness
Awareness is the fundamental and absolutely indispensable key to any successful self-defense program. Awareness easily accounts for 85% of a total self-defense paradigm. This means that if you’re using your awareness to its full potential, you should be able to defend yourself from 85% of possible encounters. This type of defense is actually avoiding situations that are potentially harmful or recognizing threats at the earliest possible moment. Awareness is not just limited to the consciousness of your surroundings also called your situational awareness, although that is extremely important. It also refers to awareness of consequences, awareness of your opponent and awareness of yourself. You can see that while awareness does involve an external set of loci, it also entails some introspection as well.
The Physical Sense of Awareness
You must also be aware of your surroundings in a physical sense. This involves making mental notes of things like the nearest exits, nearest possible improvised weapons, other possible attackers and anything else that is physically in your surrounding area that could impede or help in your ability to defend yourself. You should make this a habit out of the simple need to escape quickly in the event of an emergency, which is really just another form of self-defense. Being aware of the nearest exits is self explanatory. If a violent encounter is about to happen or is happening, you should get out of there ASAP.
Being aware of any other possible attackers is referring to the need to address possible multiple assailants. The other point I mentioned is awareness of possible improvised weapons, not out of a need to learn to use your keys as a weapon, but to be actively thinking whether a potential opponent can use them against you.
Another facet of awareness that comes into play is to be aware of your attacker. Now this seems like a no-brainer of a concept. Obviously, most people are focused on an aggressor when a violent encounter is anticipated. But, they become too focused. They suffer from tunnel vision and lose sight of subtle, yet, important clues that could help them avoid or minimize the threat of violence. Things like awareness of where your attacker's’s hands are. Are they in his pockets? This could indicate that there is no real desire to fight. It could also indicate that there maybe a weapon that can be used. Either way, if you’re unaware of this, you will be uninformed and could place yourself in an unfavorable position.
Also, you need to be aware of body language. Small details like heavy breathing, rapidly blinking eyes, rapidly opening and closing fists or twitching fingers can all be tell-tale signs of an impending attack. If you are aware of these signals, you can be better prepared to defend yourself. You also need to be aware if the antagonist has friends lurking somewhere. If you are focused on the main antagonist to a point that you’re “staring through them” then you’re not really aware of anything at all.