by: Seth Adams, Sensei Seth's Karate
Let’s be honest with ourselves here and admit that bad people exist. It is also silly for us to say that we would definitely be prepared for the worst if something of nightmares occurred! While it is important to train for the worst and do your best to keep well versed in protecting ourselves, it is also important to understand how to keep great situational awareness!
1. Don’t Go Alone
Now, I know how difficult and daunting this can sound, but especially when it’s to a location with an unusual amount of sketchy stuff happening… DON’T GO ALONE! Keep good company with you that you can trust and enjoy time with! Obviously, I don’t expect you to always phone a friend to run to Target. I would say it’s smart to think about it this way. The more sketchy the area, the more (and ideally bigger) friends you should have join you!
2. Analyze Your Surroundings
Being able to tell where all exits are, where people who can keep you safe are and knowing WHO is a threat is a key factor in being able to keep yourself out of harms reach! I tell people all the time that yes, it’s SUPER important to learn how to protect yourself, but it’s equally important to know how to keep yourself out of the situation in the first place. One of the first things to do is knowing who else is where you are. Look around every now and then. Catch someone staring at you? Make note of it.
3. Watch Faces and Motions (Eyes, Hands, Eyebrows, etc.)
So how do we know who’s a threat? Usually there’s a few things that people instinctively can see that raise red flags. Some people just give off a vibe that you may not want to be around. Some specific things to keep an eye out for are:
Eyes that tend to go places you may not appreciate
Eyes or hands that tend to wander to whatever you may be drinking
Eyebrows constantly moving up and down
Someone who is far away but you can feel them staring a hole in the back of your head
Lack of eye contact
Laughing at a time that doesn’t really make sense, etc.
Be weary of what people are doing! Keep yourself safe by staying as attentive as possible.
4. Don’t Give up Your Back!
If someone is truly bothering you, or you feel could be giving you issues shortly, create distance between you and them and make sure you stay facing them (don’t turn your back to them) without making direct eye contact or looking at them. You want to be sure you can see what they’re doing without giving them the thought that you’re looking at them! If you’re alone, try and get as much distance as possible and if you need to find someone else for help. If you are with friends or a loved one, put them between you and said person. By doing this you can evaluate when to leave on your own while also keeping something between you and the threat.
5. Trust Your Gut! Leave When it’s Time to Leave
It’s way better to keep from getting sick then to take meds once you’re sick to fix it, right? Why should these situations be any different. Sometimes it’s just best to leave and find something else to do, or another way around than to try and tough through whatever bad situation you could get yourself into. With that being said, also keep in mind that you don’t want to put yourself in situations that leave you alone and walking home. If you’re really worried you can always get an uber, talk to the bartender, or find someone else. If it’s a one on one encounter on the street do your best not to get too close to a threat in the first place.
If you’re someone who often thinks to themselves “what’s the worst that can happen?”, I really do beg you to reconsider your logic.
When in doubt, get out.
Sometimes all of these other things we do to keep ourselves safe fail. Sometimes you get sick and you need the medication. Adrenaline rushes will happen and your body will NOT react the way you think it will when you’re not prepared for a situation. It’s important to train and build reaction time and muscle memory so when…*stuff* hits the fan, you can trust yourself to figure out how to best stay safe! It’s scary to think about and can seem like a lot to handle when thinking about doing Martial Arts classes, but being in the situation and poorly equipped is even scarier.
If you ever have any questions about ANYTHING Martial Arts related, feel free to send me a message on Instagram. I try my best to get back to all questions!