Situational awarness

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by Gweilo, Jan 12, 2020.

  1. wab25

    wab25 Black Belt

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    One of the most effective parts of situational awareness, is thinking ahead. I used to go to a few dance clubs in San Francisco, they were in the less friendly parts of town. So, I would go into town early, so I could park literally in front of the door. (In San Francisco many of the lanes turn into parallel parking after rush hour...) Then I would walk down the street and over a block, to the tourist section to eat dinner, then walk back to the club. At night, I walked out the door, got in my car and drove away... no issues. Other people I knew, would park further away, down alleys and occasionally ran into people whose intentions they had to figure out. One day, I decided to take a short cut, through one of the alleys that I knew was not tourist friendly. I had to deal with a bunch of people, all who had less than good intentions for me. I should have taken the route I knew to be safe, even if it would take me a few minutes more.

    I teach my students to think about where they are going, and when they will be leaving. If you are going to a movie at 7, there is usually lots of light left (especially during daylight savings). But, look at where you are parking and think how dark will it be when we leave? How far, is it from the door? Where are the lights? Is there outdoor security? What part of town are you in? Who are you going with?

    The point is, that by thinking about where we are going and how we will be leaving can lead us to make some small changes that will put us in much better situations.

    The next thing I talk about is just generally being aware. Step one: get out of your phone. Put your phone away when you are walking down the street. Nothing says: I am an easy target! like burying your head into your phone while walking down the street bumping into people and falling down holes. Once you put your phone away, look around as you walk. You may get to see a bunch of really cool things. You may see trouble, way over there, in time to cross the street before trouble sees you.

    Thinking ahead and keeping your eyes off your phone, looking around can really keep you out of a bunch of situations. I know its not as fun as talking about reaction times, and subtle moves of intension and the tactics of using improvised weapons... but will keep you out of a lot of situations that you don't need to be in.
     
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  2. Buka

    Buka Grandmaster

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    Not all "fences' are created equal. I have successfully used a fence numerous times both as a police officer and as a private citizen. I do not, however, use a fence as it is usually depicted.

    I so love using a fence. :)
     
  3. Rusty B

    Rusty B Green Belt

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    Never walk THROUGH a group of people hanging out, true. Just be careful if you're crossing the street to avoid walking past them. Because if they happen to be a group of thugs, chances are that they will notice this and perceive you as scared or weak. And the very thing you thought you were avoiding... you end up inviting.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2020
  4. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    I get your point. But that made me laugh out loud when I read it. :):p:)
     
  5. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    So did I until I got popped.

    Oh. And my hand in between their hand and my head.
     
  6. Gweilo

    Gweilo 2nd Black Belt

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    Whilst I agree with your comment about distinguishing shoplifters, that was not my point, my point was that I do notice subtle differences.
    As for your point about instructors not being qualified to teach psycology in life threatening situations, yes some are, the founders of the art I practice were indeed serving operatives for Russian soecial forces, and bith also instructed recruits for said soecial forces and intelligence personel, Systema was developed for surviving military senarios including, ones fitbess and mental welbeing, one of the said founders still holds an officers rank, both taught my direct teacher, who was a captain in the british para's and served in another elite British force. Most of Systema training is about getting to know yourself, not a unique quality in ma, but we do train in psycology of stressful and high pressure situations, training thats been passed down by the 3 mentioned, which was developed for elite military forces for combat and survival, this us one of the reasons last september we spend 10 days treking in the jungle if Borneo last september, not just for the physical challenge, byt its an area of the world where you still rely on the senses for survival.
     
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  7. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    That sounds like an incredible program to be in. We do several outside events but nothing like that. Sounds like a blast.

    To be fair, your program is an exception(al), not the rule. I feel @jobo is only referencing the other end of the extreme. His speaks to the issue of saturation in some styles/systems/schools. Simply put, the farther you get from the origination of something the harder it is to maintain integrity.

    A comparison along the same idea is Christianity. One religion with 'I don't know how many' man made denominations, mostly because someone thought they had a better idea. This idea is used only for comparison, Not for discussion.

    There are a great many programs that have instructors which are more than capable of teaching in areas that could be construed as seeping over into psychology. Whether it be from formal training in some vein of psychology or from other experiences, they are very capable of conveying this into valuable information for their students.

    Their will always be outliers in any category. Ala, the perennial snake oil salesman.
     
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  8. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    thers giving information and there is giving understanding, what your doing is reading someone else stress reaction. now you can reasonably see someone position to throw a punch, thats easy to spot, what you really need to be able to do is identify the moment they are thinking of throwing a punch, by reading there '' tells'' much as you do in poker. thats gives you say 5 seconds of time. you know before they do what they are going to do, you should have already identified if they are right or left sided, you know from where their eyes go what the target is, if they are looking down they are going low, you can also reasonably tell from eye position if they are lying to you about needing directions or what ever.people generally have a real problem with making eye contact and lying at the same time, you can also usually pick up the stress reaction in the voice if its a situation were you have got into conversation.

    running simulations really misses this, the persons knows they are going to try and punch you, the stress reactions is considerably less or maybe considerably more, either way its not representative of a live situation,
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2020
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  9. Gweilo

    Gweilo 2nd Black Belt

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    Whilst I broadly agree with what you say, when you examine the statistics of an altercation, unless you are coming up against a very experienced fighter, most will give easy tells, as most peoples mind will be in the part of the body they are going to use, as people become trained they use technique, take a punch for example, an untrained fighter will, lunge, or lead with the shoulder, or indeed look to at the target area, so is easy to read, as technique is learnt, they start performing the basics, turning the lead foot in, trying to generate the power through their legs and so on, but not being proficeint in the technique, they tend to have bad habits, yes an experienced fighter is going to ge more difficult, but there are still subtle tells.
    The pscycology part is to understand ourselves in these senario, understand why we react the way we do, how do we feel when in these moments, usually it is a form of fear, or a lack of beleif in ourselves or our abilities, fears that are formed through experience, be it experience of pain, defeat, failure, always being told you will amount to nothing etc, once these fears arise, they create tension in the body, the mind will start with associated comments on your fear, which will create more tension, the result is a subtle change in your stance, a subtle change in your technique, your reaction time is off, and as the mind races, your descision making is off. A trained experienced fighter that has control of his phyche should resemble a father play fighting with his son, the father is confident, presice almost play like, if you are free of such tensions, you can spot the sublty in most and even trained fighters, abd make things look effotless. But you must understand how you work and react under pressure, and different pressures, its a skill that can be taught and perfected, and IMO is just as important as technique and fitness, after this, call it selfawarness if you like, a lot of things improved drastically, control of aggression, I no longer get the adrenalin rush that used to make my hands shake after an altercation or a near mis on the motorway, I am nowhere near the finished article as they say, but you can train psycology, you can train sublty, and you dont need Phd to do so.
     
  10. Gweilo

    Gweilo 2nd Black Belt

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    We are planning another jungle trek in 2021 in Belize if you are interested, the opportunity is not just open to Systema students, in the recent Borneo trip we had all sorts from existing uk, US and Russian elite forces, students, and a couple of office blokes, and even a bored x house wife.
     
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  11. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    well yes, people about to punch give fairly obvious tells, the point im making is to be able to read there state of mind at 20 yards,read there thought process whilst they are deciding to punch or not, identify ambush predators from someone who really does want directions, from vocal clues

    they don't get ma practitioners to interview police suspects, they send them on in depth training courses to understand this stuff
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2020
  12. Gweilo

    Gweilo 2nd Black Belt

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    Why would I read someone mind that is 20 yards away, if they looked dodgy, or was part of a rowdy crowd, I would cross over, or go another way, ok someone with a mental health problem that was going to randomly attack me is going to ge difficult, but its like the driving a car analogy, you scan the area a little in front on a subconscious level, and use a similar practice to the concentric ring defense.
     
  13. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    bause your going in that direction in a situation were crossing over isn't possible or convenient, or there near your car in a empty car park, so you know when to cross over if they aren't obviously dodgy, so you can mark them out to be avoided in a crowded pub,

    you like me seem quite happy to take your chance with letting them get close, i'm not crossing over to avoid any one person but that's not everyones state of mind
     
  14. ShortBridge

    ShortBridge 2nd Black Belt

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    Situational awareness is vitally important. Training it effectively can be difficult, but is essential for personal safety.
     
  15. Gweilo

    Gweilo 2nd Black Belt

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    What I am advocating is like the car analogy, I am driving down the street, in the distance my situational awarness sees a traffic light (stop light), its green, nothing to worry about, as I get closer it warrents another look as it might have changed, therefore the traffic in front may start stopping, but its green, as I get even closer it warrents another look as the situation may have changed, thus is all done subconsciously.
    I am walking down the street, soneone is 40ft away, I am aware they are there, at 40ft away unless they have a firearm or being aggresive, they are not a problem, as they get closer they may warrent another look etc, its the same as the car analgy, I am not talking about being paranoid and walking down the road as if you are watching a tennis match, like driving it takes time, and yes I am confident in my ability once they get close, but I keep my wits about me just in case a child playing with a ball runs into the road, and I need to take action.
     
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  16. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    you cant keep your wits about you AND rely on your subconscious, advance driver training is very much about doing a CONSCIOUS running commentary on what you see and interpret as you drive, your subconscious picks up marker differences from the norm, if the guy is dressed differently your subconscious will pick him up for attention, if he is dressed much the same as the last 50 people you have passed it wont.

    its great for spotting lions, not much use for spotting muggers in a area where everyone dresses in tracky bottoms and a hoodie
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2020
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  17. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    It's like muscle memory. When you're learning a new technique, it takes a lot of thought and effort into doing that technique correctly, but then you rely on muscle memory and your subconscious.

    When I'm writing this post, same thing. I'm relying on my mind to think of the words to say, but I'm not thinking "I...t...apostrophe...s" in order to spell simple words like "it's".

    When your subconscious catches something, your mind will focus on that. That's how our subconscious works, and why we have one. We couldn't focus on everything at once.
     
  18. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    obviously i didnt put the words in the right order for your subconscious to notice that, that is exactly what i just said

    its picks out unusual things for you to focus on, if what ever is going to present a danger doesn't look obviously different than the norm it wont.

    so in an area where everyone looks like a mugger it wont identify an actual mugger from more subtle clues than how they are dressed and round here about 40% of the population look like muggers, id never go out if i relied on obvious tells
     
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  19. Gweilo

    Gweilo 2nd Black Belt

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    See this is the problem with debating with you, we had already talked about subconscious and conscious, we moved on to sublty, you never gained ground in sublty, so you went back to a point where you thought you was strong, yes you are right about lions and the things that stand out, but with a higher level of skill in all disciplines, comes subtle differences, with SA as you increase the skill, you notice more and more subtle things, and with your ma training, posture, weapons, patterns that are familiar, stand out, things that are not obvious to the untrained eye, and no I do not have a scientific paper on this, I know because I know, and because of experience.
     
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  20. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    You know statistics are an actual thing right?123
     

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