Situational Awareness -Assess, Assess, Assess

Posted: August 7, 2018 by urbantacticskravmaga in Krav Maga Principles
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Situational Awareness

Whether it be for Krav Maga, real self defense situations or just life we always need to be situationaly aware and assess, re-assess and assess some more to ensure at any given moment we are making the correct decision bases on the information we currently have. Short of being clairvoyant it is unlikely that in anyone point in time you will have all the information to make the perfect decision. Yet, we still need to make a decision and when it comes to self defense it is a decision that needs to be fast. All this while processing all the factors in the use of force decision tree and more, while dealing with our fight, flight, freeze mechanisms and attempting to act before our assailants.

As to our knowledge humans have not developed superpowers, the best way we can make the best decision is as mentioned to constantly assess for new information. In a self defense scenario we have to rely on our senses and experience to collect this information.

  • Sight – Can you see another assailant? Can you see a weapon? Can you see a clear exit path to safety? etc…
  • Sound – Can you hear another assailant? Can you hear police coming? can you hear gun fire? etc..
  • Feel – Can you feel the assailant resisting more or less? can you feel your control of your body or loss of it? Can you feel injury?
  • Smell – Can you smell fire? can you smell the release of toxic chemicals? etc…
  • Balance – do you still have good balance? is your balance compromised due to trauma or substances? etc…

Though you should not limit yourself to just these senses, they are most likely the ones you will rely on the most in a self defense scenario. At any point a scenario can go from fine (safe) to not fine (not safe).

Maybe you had the situation handled with one person as you effectively deployed stage 2 self defense (Diffusion) and talked the person down but then their friend showed up and they now have a higher than before self confidence and become more aggressive with the help of their friend. Now the situation is quickly changing into something worse. If you fail to assess correctly and avoid (run) or pre-emptively strike you may find yourself at the end of a sucker punch or worse.

Often, new students get so fixated on the techniques they forget that they may need to adapt in the moment based on new information.

For example a common mistake for beginners is they forget to disengage and create space even after they have clearly lost control of the situation. Yet they continue to attempt to gain control even though the tactile information (sense of touch – feel) has told them they can no longer safely control the person. This is because they know they are suppose to gain control by moving through the situationaly appropriate ranges but forget that new information has changed the strategy from attack, to avoid.

Whether new student or experienced failure to accept new information from constantly assessing the situation as it unfolds can mean going from a “successful”* violent encounter to an un-successful one.

So remember, Assess, Assess, Assess but don’t take to long to make a decision as after all, hesitation could mean death.

*Really, a successful violent encounter is to avoid it in the first place but in the absence of this possibility, a successful one could be considered one in which you escape alive and with minimal damage to yourself or loved ones.

**Topics under any principle category (EX. Krav Maga Principles) may be updated from time to time so always check in every few months to see if the posts have been updated.

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