T Nation

Situational Awareness


I see what you are saying here and I agree to a point. If a guy is just punching you in the face you can't legally shoot him anyway. The situation will determine what your options are in the end.

I think and have seen that in any given scenario if somebody really really wants to kill you or hurt you, then they will have a pretty high success rate if they don't care about the consequences. I do practice open carry. It is legal and convenient in TN. I walked past two cops this morning inside the gas station, they never even flinched. I work as a process server as well so I carry openly doing that damn near everyday.

I get different reactions from different groups and areas. some people just hate cops and I look like a cop doing my job. I see the gun as a deterent for the most part but some people will just come at you anyway especially if they are more on the wild/hard side. Basically they just don't give a fuck and want to try you. I will say when you knock on someones door you get more respect wearing a gun than not. I have tried both ways. I also don't have to flip a shirt or coat or anything to get to my weapon if I need it and that is worth it to me.

That being said. I would not automatically go to my firearm for defense. I get more enjoyment from beating a dudes face anyway and I spend less time in jail and smaller fines for it. Guys who say they would just shoot some guy who played the knockout game on him is and idiot. If a bullet leaves your weapon you are responsible for its effects. Even if you don't get charged criminally, which you would, then those kids parents are going to sue you.

If I sense a situation may occur I just try to stay away. If I can't avoid it then I keep my eyes and ears open and all the bad guys on one side of me.


Good post.

If you don't get any type of "gut feeling" about a person and are able to keep them at a distance, then looking them in the eyes and nodding or saying hello would be fine. If you get bad vibes from them or look at them as if you're some sort of "tough guy", then you would probably be best not to look them in the eyes.

Whether you would be better off with your hand on your weapon would depend on:
1) The type of weapon
2) Your proximatey to your potential attacker
3) Your skill in using the weapon
4) Your willingness to use the weapon
5) The level of perceived danger/threat
6) The legal/moral realities of the situation

In some cases you would absolutely want to either pre access the weapon or have your hand on it and be ready to access and deploy it. In other cases you would not want to do so. This is really going to be one of those case by case individual judgement calls that you would have to make based on the situation/circumstances.


Worked the door and floor for years. Had a guy I wouldn't let in for violating the dress code tell me he was going to get his gun and come back for me. That didn't end well for him. At all. The police were quite understanding :). And he was arrested. Unfortunately he is still around to procreate.

That's the way things should always work out, but sometimes they don't. I never assume people will take rejection well, and I've been called more names than most by groups of angry people. You always need to be leaving the club with a group of employees unless the area has streetside parking in the middle of the lighted main strip. If you are going out to party rather than work, you STILL need to do the same. If your group dissolves because people get ADHD drunk (oh look! shiny....) then you need to exit the bar at the same time everybody else does, regardless of whether you know the barkeep or anybody else. This is a situation where there is strength in numbers from a street thug perspective. Usually I would say the opposite, as idaho has pointed out--I don't like crowds. However, some situations mean you need to say with the crowd in order to give the maximum amount of difficulty to would-be muggers or attackers in terms of witnesses. You should probably be aware of the times when you need crowds vs. when crowds are a liability.


Well, I don't want this thread to go political, but I'd say anybody open carrying or CCing needs to be aware of how to draw quick, how to be aware of the 21 foot rule, how to be situationally aware so they don't get in the situation or at least have a fighting chance to get their weapon out in time to be effective.

2 feet is too late unless you disarm the attacker or cave his skull in. You need to know how to deal with weapon access appropriately.


Yes I agree, but I would take that with a grain of salt too--it's more outrage than a serious response, and I'm sure you agree. It's what we all WISH we could do, not what we think we would actually do given the circumstances.

Ya gotta let people blow of some steam without taking it as a literal answer on their method of resolution :slight_smile:


On the eye contact point:

In my view, it is generally better in a bad area to be seen as a predator than prey. That means being prepared to hold make eye contact. There is a fine line between making eye contact, and holding it in a way that conveys a challenge. I find that scanning streets bars, people when your on the door, in the same sort of way you would look at someone you were boxing (look ahead, and then sort of unfocus slightly) is an effective way of conveying your capability, but without issuing a challenge. It says that you are alert, confident, and wise to the darker sides of life. However, it stops you looking like you're swaggerin around like the toughest guy in the playground, which is always a sure way of getting into trouble.


Yeah, sounds about right. You want the person to realize that you are aware of their presence and alert and you also want to covey confidence (which suggests to a would be attacker that you won't be an easy target), but not arrogance or aggression. Walking around like the toughest dude on the block will actually deter a lot of people, but you had actually better be as tough as you are posturing or you will eventually stare down the wrong person (or group of persons) and pay for it.


I realize I'm coming a bit late into the discussion, I've been lurking but this is what got me to actually want to comment. Not only do I check the back seat, but as soon as I get into the car, I lock all my doors ASAP.

There's something to be said for a little paranoia that can get through a situation. Don't just scan the crowd that's within your eyesight, use shop windows as mirrors to check behind. When in the city, walk away from the alley-ways and doorways: you never know who or what is hiding.

Situational awareness allowed me to spot a strange guy from over a 100ft away who was watching my brother and I in the woods. The eyes-on-the-back-of-the-neck feeling is instinctual and often times, very helpful.

But I find the absolute BEST way to avoid a situation is to NOT put yourself there. I try to go places with a small group of people; the annoying habit of the female world: going to the bathroom in packs, is a very helpful strategy that I stress in all my Self-Defense classes.

But what I find most interesting about this whole discussion is, unless I am wrong, I am the only female to comment, and yet more women should be paying attention to what everyone has said thus far.


Thanks. I definitely pre-access a weapon if the situation looks bad.

But in general I just avoid shady places and people.


However, you want to make sure that there are some left behind to make sure no one messes with your drinks. Which also reminds me that you don't want to accept a drink that a man brings over to you.

Women should also, when going out on a date, let people know about it. Tell them to check up with them every hour or something. In this age of cell phones it's simple to do. With online dating instead of meeting someone for the first time alone, even if in a public place, bring a friend. This way someone else will have a physical description of the guy. The friend can always leave after meeting the man (And if she's clever she'll take a pic of the guy as well as his car. Again, cell phones are good for this.). Unfortunately I think women take a superficial view of independence and don't look at it as a state of mind. They equate being on their own with being independent. I don't know what they think guys will think if they come across as cautious but I know that most guys would actually be impressed by it and those who find it weird or stupid probably don't have sisters or any other women in their lives they care about.


100% agree. One of the most difficult things for a woman is to accept an invitation to go out on a date with someone she hardly knows. We are so quick to try to prove our independence, but we work so much better in small packs; depending on others for safety is not weakness, it's intelligence. I tell the women I teach, I'm strong: I deadlift 300lbs, squat 210lbs, and have trained martial arts my entire life, BUT I STILL try to play everything safe and take precautions. For a woman, she has to be smart and think steps ahead, like in chess, anticipating every move and re/act to it in an appropriate manner.

And I remember when I started locking my doors to the car, my fiance gave me this exasperated look of WTF. And I explained to him why, and he quickly agreed.


Great topic. Good stuff from everyone. I just wanted to add an exercise I encourage people to do when I do personal safety talks. Supposedly it has it's origins in training for close protection work. It's called commentary driving. The idea is that as you're driving around you pick a short interval of time, say 10-15 minutes and verbally call out as many details of your surroundings as you can as they unfold around you.

Vehicles, people, plates, whatever. The goal is to redirect your internal monologue toward what's actually going on at that exact moment, as opposed to the fight you had with your girl before you left or the shit job you need to do when you get to work or what you need to pick up for dinner or whatever. This is harder than it sounds.

It's a bit like awareness meditation, except the focus is external as opposed to internal and it really is challenging to stay truly focused. It takes a tremendous amount of discipline. That's why it's better to set aside 10 minutes to practice diligently as opposed to trying to do it all the way to work and ending up doing a half- assed job (I am guilty of this). It's astounding to me how much of our attention will just drift into to irrelevant garbage if leave our minds to their own devices and how hard it is to just pay attention to what's going on when, especially when nothing's really going on.

The same exercise can be done on foot, although I suggest keeping the commentary in your own head to avoid alarming the locals and generating a mental health call to police.


Really? Gimmie a break. If someone I was supposed to meet for a date was taking pictures of me and my vehicle I would dump her ass on the spot.


Great exercise.


Kinda depends on how they did it though, doesn't it?

If it's like, "I'm going to take a mug shot of you so I can point you out easier in a line up and by the way I'm going to take a picture of your car and liscense plate too in case I need to tell the police to look you up." Then yeah, that's going to be a little off putting.

But if it's like, "Hey we look so good together, let's have my friend take a picture of us" and they just happen to stage it in front of your car, or maybe the girl asks if she can put something in your car (maybe she is conveniently coming from work and wants to put her work shoes or work clothes in there and not have to carry them around) and then while you are there get's overwhelmed by the urge to take another picture with you because you are so hot and she wants to show you off to her friends (and her friend just happens to frame the car and liscense plate in the pic). Well, you are probably going to be less off put by that approach aren't you? You might still be thinking, "wow, this girl takes a LOT of pictures, not sure if I like that" but you aren't going to feel like you are being surveilled.


As long as the girl isn't being creepy about taking picture, you shouldn't even suspect a thing. Think about it: With social media, I can easily just scope you out on Facebook/Twitter/Google/online forums to get an idea: Most typically yield a photo, and then I could just tell someone, "Yeah, this is the kid I'm going on the date with." And you wouldn't even have known that you were already scoped out.

When I met my fiance five years ago, it was with a group of friends and at my track meet. The next few times we met, I was still with someone and my dad made sure to meet him early on (dad's a scary old man, 6th Dan and isn't afraid to tear people apart if it means protecting his family).


I'm probably different than most people in that respect. I am very protective of how digital images of myself are portrayed. No facebook, twitter, instagram. This means others including friends posting pictures of me on FB.

The idea I would rape, drug, molest, kidnap, or harm any woman I was willing to meet for a date is outright disrespectful and unwarranted. It's not that hard to get laid in this world, the idea that I would put my freedom in jeopardy is asinine. Maybe women should select better men to go on dates with?


To each their own. I wouldn't deal with that type of suspicion , but that is just me.

Btw, your lifts are impressive.


Prisons are full of men who did think like that. Colleges have more than a few guys walking around who think like that.


I think most DECENT males wouldn't do anything to harm or sexually exploit a female. Where are you drawing these conclusions from?