Basic Awareness Exercises For Self Protection

Jack Prot

Recently I began looking for some exercises for people to do that could aid them in improving their awareness skills. While I think it is important to know more specific things to look for regarding criminal behavior, I think these kinds of exercises can still help one begin to sharpen sensory perception, powers of observation, and pick up more readily on anomalies in the environment. Some people do not know how to begin the process of becoming more aware, or what situational awareness entails.

We could easily be bombarded by sensory data, but the brain gives us a break, not bothering to alert the conscious mind of all the information that is flowing in through our vital contacts with “reality”: visual, auditory, olfactory (smell), gustatory (taste), and kinesthetic (feel) perception. Personal experience certainly has a hand in shaping what our minds keep and discard as important or irrelevant. This, of course, is not always to our advantage and our blind spots can prove detrimental to us. Some of us just get plain stuck in our heads no matter where we are or what we are doing, thinking about everything else under the sun but what is going within our vicinity. This is very advantageous behavior for a nefarious opportunist.

I gathered some of the following examples from Kristie Kilgore, who spent a lot of time with bodyguards. I think these are great for anyone, but especially people (and children) who spend a lot of time in condition white (state of cluelessness):

Simple Meditation-immerse yourself in the now. Quiet your mind and tune into what the senses are telling you about the present moment. If your mind wanders, no big deal-just guide it back to the present moment. Starting with five minutes is probably a gracious plenty for most people.

Observation Exercise (at home)-observe objects in a familiar room. Focus on imprinting the room and its contents on your mind. Have someone remove an object while you are out of the room. Can you discover what is missing?

Observation Exercise (variation of Kim’s Game)-observe various objects on a tray. Get someone to remove one of the objects as you avert your attention. Can you discover what is missing?

Sensory Acuity Exercise-feel energy. Sit blindfolded in a chair. Get a friend to move around the room, in and out of your personal space. Instruct them to occasionally reach out towards parts of your body. Can you begin to feel that presence?

Sensory Acuity Exercise-work in low light conditions. Practice some light drills from your particular martial arts discipline in diminished light. Allow your senses to really get involved.

Observation Exercise (variation of Kim’s Game)-observe people in a public space. What do they look like? How do you feel about them? What does their body language express to you? Do you notice anything unusual about their behavior or the way they appear?

Observation Exercise (variation of Kim’s Game)-observe cars on the road. Recall details about the vehicles and their drivers, if you can see them. What are the drivers doing? How do you feel about the way they are driving? Can you sense any of their body language, or the behavior of the car they are operating?

These are basic exercises, but I never underestimate basics. Turn exercises into games until awareness becomes so habitual that you do not even consciously have to do it-it becomes locked into an unconscious process and part of your intuitive nature. Inform your sixth sense by giving your attention to what IS so that you may be alerted to anomalies in the patterns of life.

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