Understanding and Identifying Potential Threats Before they develop into an Attack Can Save Your Life
Ever think it would be useful to be able to see a developing problem before things get really bad so you could avoid trouble altogether? In a previous blog post I wrote about Situational Awareness. Click the link below to view the post.
Situational Awareness Blog Post
In this post I will add specifics to help clarify the crucial factors. Generally, good situational awareness is being alert for anomalies; seeing and recognising the visible unlikely circumstances that could indicate an attack is imminent.
The information below highlights the details that we need to look out for. Any one of them alone is likely nothing to worry about, two of them should alarm us; three of them? Probably a solid indication that we need to get away from the situation immediately.
– Odd presence People meandering for no reason should interest us. Most people are walking with purpose, have items in their hands, or are carrying packages to and from somewhere. When none of that is going on and someone is just dallying, questions marks need to be raised.
– Target glancing Be watchful for people who look in our direction trying to not look like they’re looking at us. They could be determining target value, looking for police or anyone who might intervene, CCTV cameras and where their escape route is.
– Sudden change in position/posture If someone is sitting on a bus stop bench and the only thing that changes is our arrival near them and they suddenly change their position or posture (e.g. They suddenly stand up) when we get near them, consider if that’s coincidental or not. Particularly if “Odd presence’ & ‘Target glancing” apply.
– Similarity of movement We notice some things that alarm us and we cross the street. So does the person causing us alarm. Or we walk past the person at the bus stop and they fall into step behind us. Or we move away from the person giving us nasty looks in a bar and a minute later, there they are near us again. In all of those examples we would be right to be extremely concerned.
– Hidden hands causing unnatural movement(s) That person who fell in step behind us. S/he is walking with a hand held behind her/his leg. That’s not natural. That person coming toward you who crossed the street to intersect your path? Her/his right hand is in her/his left armpit. Why do we need to question that? Trained criminals know the fastest draw in the world is no draw at all. The weapon is already in her/his hand.
– Inappropriate clothing Criminals don’t spend any money on special equipment to carry weapons. They place weapon/s in the groin or abdomen area. Light clothing can reveal weapons, if clothing is too tight it can make weapon concealment difficult. These factors may explain why the person is wearing a loose sweatshirt in the middle of summer.
– Alarming movement/actions that seek an advantage/dominant position If two people walk up on you apparently to ask you where something is and one steps to your side (flanking) that’s an alarming movement. If someone hovers at an angle to us we need to ask ourselves why they would do that. We need to be very sensitive to any positioning that makes us feel vulnerable.
– Unnatural impediments to free movement Any time our freedom of movement is restricted we should be alarmed. No one has the right to do that to us. If it’s done against our will it constitutes an assault. If we are walking and someone impedes our movement, take a quick step back to keep the person in sight and check flanks. If a vehicle is involved (we are driving and suddenly a vehicle backs out in front of us and stops, creating a sharp pause) look to the flanks immediately to see if something else is taking place and get ready to push that car in front of us out of the way.
– Unsolicited attempts at conversation Yes, this is a tried and tested technique that still happens.
– Baiting We are relaxing sitting in a bar and someone blurts out “What are you looking at?” or “What did you just say?” We should realise that nothing we say or do will be the right thing. Removing ourselves from the situation is the best option.
Please note that all of our Krav Maga Self Defence Classes and Courses are based in Manchester
Thanks Dave. Great to have a detailed description of all those signals and what to do if you encounter the different types of behaviour. It’s the sort of thing you need to become second nature, not so easy to develop on your own but attending the sessions where we go through scenarios and responses are reinforced makes awareness second nature.