How to Survive Any Encounter

Did my catchy headline grab your attention? I hope so as its exactly the same tactics that many internet martial artists use to grab your money and your attention.

I’ve lost count of the amount of websites I’ve seen with such promises if you buy their books, dvds or coaching course. So let me say this first and formost. There are no secrets to self protection, no gimmicks and no mind tricks. Good self protection starts with common sense advice and practical skills. These skills don’t take long to learn but can be practised and refined over a life time.  It’s very similar to driving. You never stop learning. No matter what people say, self defence isn’t routed in magical fantasy, it is about common sense, plain and simple.

The first step to good self protection training should always be ‘awareness’. Now I don’t mean some kind of high level voodoo, mind control skill here. I’m talking about a skill you already use and perform on a daily basis. You see ‘awareness’ is a term used to describe your ability to sense your environment that surrounds you every moment.

This may sound a little far fetched but let’s examine this for a moment.

The world that surrounds us all is interpreted by our brains via a series of electrical impulses sent via a variety of mediums. Our eyes for example receive photons of light and these are converted into electrical impulses. Our mind sees not our eyes because our brain provides the image to us.

Other sources of information are our other senses such as smell and touch etc. So the amount of information that our brain is processing is amazing. That sum of that process is awareness. However when it comes to self defence our awareness needs to be learned just like everything else.

For example, as children we learn to avoid running out in front of cars. It is taught to us all from an early age. As a result we are careful when crossing roads. It becomes an automatic action, we don’t even think about it.

Then let’s take driving, when we start to learn to drive it seems almost over whelming. There are so many things to consider, the road, the clutch, the gears, the speed and so on. However after a few years it becomes so ingrained in our minds that we don’t have to spare a second thought on driving. That is until our brain spots something that we need to deal with, then its prioritised to the front of the queue of our minds.

A good example of this could be a ball rolling into the road from behind a car. Experience tells us that children play with balls the ball didn’t appear from no where. It is likely that a child had the ball and therefore it is likely that a child may run after it.

This detection work is done in a split second. And the end result should mean you either stop or can take evasive action. Clever thing the mind. Behind this marvelous action is a part of the brain called the Reticular Activating System (RAS). I’ve touched on this subject on an old blog however I think its important that I mention it again.

The RAS helps to deal with how alert we are, it also plays a part in sleep as well. However what is important is that we learn how to use it. Otherwise we will never reach our true potential.

The RAS plays an important part in awareness as it allows us to be aware of our surroundings and protect ourselves however it MUST be learned. Unlike crossing the road and driving most of us haven’t been told how to use this amazing gift when it comes to self defence or personal safety.

When a self defence instructor talked of awareness, they specifically mean how we use our inbuilt systems to keep safe from other humans that can hurt us or or families.

This is the number 1 fighting skill that anyone can learn in a short amount of time. So in short awareness  in self defence terms is simply the ability to sense and predict potential threats to your safety.

So how does a person actually increase their awareness levels easily and of course quickly.

There are several options and I will of course provide them for free to you. However there are a few things you can do right now.

Firstly you won’t be able to know what dangers to look out for unless you actually learn about them. This isn’t some morbid activity. It is very important to gaining knowledge. My website the self defence has a range of videos and links to news headlines which are designed to educate you. These videos of real life incidents and stories will allow your mind to grasp just what type of threat could you face.

Thus education process is priceless as it allows your mind to recognise that there is a potential for harm. This simple process has already set your RAS to be alligned with protection of yourself from criminal assault.

So the first step to enhance your awareness skills is to absorb information on crime. Read the news in your area, watch the news and visit my site to learn. This won’t take long however it is an important step.

The second step you can start to do is called ‘scanning’. This tip I learned from advanced driving works in a way that allows you to gain maximum information from your surroundings.

To do this start by looking around you. Not by moving your head but whatever your eyes gaze upon simply scan that image and take note of what you see.

An example could be as I walk through the supermarket entrance ” I see the doors, made of glass, there are a stack of baskets, a poster on the wall, a hygiene certificate, two people in front of me wearing workmens boots and have dirty clothes, could be doing some building work etc etc” I scan by looking at everything in my vision for a split second.

Now this may seem hard work but its not what you will have to do. This is merely how to start to learn how to keep safe.

Perform this drill and then we can focus on how to fine tune your awareness so its on auto pilot.

These first steps are crucial to becoming more aware of your environment, next time I will look at fine tuning this skill to spot trouble before it happens. It is the art of fighting without fighting.

Keep safe


Andrew Holland


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