Awareness-The new Dimension in Self Protection

The last post I did featured the subject of awareness. How to learn to spot violence and how we actually see. I appreciate this is some what a brief guide however the subject is designed to get you inquisitive juices flowing., it is a platform for you to start your own research and I suggest you start by visiting my last blog page if you haven’t already and also my website and sign up for my free newsletter at the <a href=”” target=”_blank”>self defence</a>

Ok for now I want to share with you the next stage of your development of your ability to be more aware of your surroundings. You may recall I suggested that you start to scan your visual field to pick up more of the environment that surrounds you. This scanning allows your mind to see more of the information out there. If you remember we briefly discussed how the brain sees and not your eyes.  I also mentioned about the RAS or the Reticular Activating System which is used to prioritise stress and how we must start to learn about violence if we are to ever avoid it.

Over a hundred years ago a group of ships known as the Megallen fleet landed on an island never seen before by the western world, the crew set out to explore and meet the natives, however the natives asked how they got to the island and the explorers turned and told them it was the ship a short but easily visible distance away. The natives failed to be able to see the large ship that had brought them to the land. It wasn’t until a witch Doctor saw this ship and explained this to the natives that the other natives could see it. Why the witch doctor saw it and the natives didn’t no one can be sure but he did and had to explain what the ship was to the rest of the natives, once he did this they all could see the vast wooden ship. Now this story has many routes and versions and its accuracy can never be confirmed however we see the similar effects in  <a href=”” target=”_blank”>Single Image Random Dot Stereograms, (SIRDS)</a>. Also known as magic eye pictures the person who views them can usually only see a flat image and until they put effort in or someone tells them how to view the image does the 3 D image then appear to the person.

Regardless of if the Megallen fleet story is true or not it certainly could have happened. Science backs this up. However what we must learn is that the mind cannot see what it doesn’t perceive. So to become very good at predicting or preventing violent behaviour you must absorb violent behaviour. This should be seen as an educational process and on my site I have a range of videos for that reason. I recommend several views of each one to study what is happening. Look at the hand gestures, the body language and what actual attacks are used.

Now on to the next stage of your Awareness development.

This exercise is designed to work on your memory. The reason for this is very simple and will help to bridge the gap to your next development point in self protection and awareness development. The memory is a very unusual device and works in a range of ways contrary to what people believe. I will look at this process in detail in coming weeks and how and why it is important to deal with issues  as the moment presents. However this memory development is really just a memory game that will test how much you recall and how much you make up of an event.

Firstly take your smart phone or digital camera out and wherever you are (the more detailed the location, and more going on the better) and take a photo. Then take a good 10 second look at the real life events with your eyes.

Ok that’s it. Leave it a few hours and grab a pen and pad. Then write down everything you saw with as much detail as possible. This should include the clothes people were wearing that you saw, the colours of cars and window frames. Whatever the detail you can recall but make it as detailed as possible. Focus on the static structures, people stood talking, cars parked and houses etc.

Now get the camera and look at the photo you took. Apart from things that may not be in the frame you saw such as moving cars and people walking etc.  Is what you saw the same as what you have written?

Depending on how much you have challenged yourself then it is highly likely that you missed things. Some of those things may have been right in front of you such as a bright yellow car, you may have also added details that weren’t there. There are several reasons for this that I will explain in later posts, partially due to memory and partially due to focus. The bottom line is that all the things on your camera were there for you to see. However you neither saw them or remembered them despite being told to recall as much detail as you could about what you were seeing. Now this may have been very different if I had told you to look out for a particular item or describe a particular event but my point here is quite simple. Our awareness and visual fields are not as reliable as we believe nor is our memory and neither is our attention.

Now take this test on you tube. It is an attention test where you watch a clip of a video. Really simple but have a go.


This test was a world famous test. Did you spot it? Some people do and some don’t.

Half of the subjects in the original study did not see the not so hidden item because their attention was elsewhere. It was task orientated, they were so involved in the task given to them they didn’t see the object. Even if something is right in front of your noses you wont always see it. This is the same for potential threats. Part of learning to spot trouble or potential for violence is learning the signs. Only experience can teach this and as such I can provide this knowledge for free.

In conclusion what I have shown here is two things. Firstly our memory is not what is is. We can make things up and add things that weren’t really there and things are far harder to recall than you think. In addition to this our attention isn’t what we thought it is. Remember the test above. We could have all missed it, and just because you saw it doesn’t mean you can see everything in front of you. Remember what I said your eyes don’t see, your mind is what sees things. Your eyes gather information and your brain processes it.

This post was simply a learning curve to open you up to new possibilities. Next up we will look at the signs to spot so that you will know what to look out for when facing threats. Just like if someone had told you about the hidden item in the video you would have seen it. To spot potential violent incidents before they happen you must learn the signs and this post will help you to do that.

Take care and keep safe

Andrew Holland


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