Sunday, September 26, 2010

Awareness - Part two

A while back, I blogged about awareness.  See the post here.

I read an interesting post Jiu-Jitsu Sensei's blog on the importance of surprise in self defense.

See her post here.

In it, the issue of awareness comes up, paying attention to your surroundings so you are not taken by surprise.   It's worth a read, including the comments.

I've been spending a lot of time on public transit lately, trains and subways.  I am blessed/cursed with not being able to relax, I watch other people constantly, need to have my back to a wall, etc. Looking around at other people lately has made me realize that I'm one of the only ones doing that.  Everyone else is texting, on cell phones, surfing the internet on their phones, listening to music with ear phones.  Heads are down, no eye contact is being made, people are reading books.  Nobody has the slightest clue who or what is going on around them.  People are often nearly touching and neither one has a clue that the other is there.  This dynamic is also happening more and more on street level too.

This concerns me.  The next time you are out and about, take a look around.  Look how easily someone could become a victim, never seeing the attack coming.  While I don't recommend seeing how close you can get to another person before they realize you are there (that's creepy), watch others as people brush past them.  I doubt they even look up.

From a criminal's perspective, these must be great times.  You could pick pocket, assault, push down, or rob people and there's a good chance they might not even get a good look at you.

I'm not suggesting looking everyone in the eye, but have some idea or your surroundings.  Look up from time to time, see what's going on. Your spidy-senses are never going to tingle if you're absorbed in your cell phone.

Parents should talk to their kids about paying attention to their surroundings as well.  It might be a tough sell, but looking up from their wireless devices from time to time could save their lives.

Be safe.  Be aware.


  1. You know what? This is a 'big city' syndrome. Whenever I visit London I'm always astonished by how people behave in crowded spaces, particularly the Underground. I think it's to do with creating/maintaining personal space. There is no physical personal space when you are crammed up together on a train so people try to create a sort of 'mental' personal space by avoiding all eye contact and reading or listening to something. It looks weird when you are not used to seeing it (it doesn't happen where I live - at least not to the same extent). I'm sure psychologists/anthropologists must be having a field day studying this behaviour. In one sense it is a form of self preservation but obviously it is maladaptive as it renders you vulnerable to physical assault.

  2. yesterday i was forced by a car to walk around the corner of an alleyway tight up against the wall--i like to walk around corners by a few feet--sure enough, a young man came blasting around the wall with his head down..... if i hadn't been almost expoecting this situation we would have collided.... hard... and if i were an attacker he would have been easy prey.