Situational Awareness Is Vital for Survivors…

Situational Awareness Fail.

Maintain Situational Awareness:

I want to talk about why victims have a hard time maintaining situational awareness.

  • A person who has already been victimized in life may suffer many more attacks. Why?

  •  They learn to tune out of their bodies and their environments because of FEAR!

  •  They shut off from their feelings and observations, because they don’t want to feel or remember what happened, and they don’t want to see the next assault coming.

  •  This has to be turned around. As a survivor you will have to work even harder to stay in an alert state when you are going about your daily life.

  •  And you will have to try not to “freeze in fear” if an attack is imminent.

  • If you have mentally rehearsed “What If” scenarios it will help you to defend yourself better. Imagine “What if I had to defend myself in______ situation. What would I do? Where is the exit? Is there anyone to help? Are there any witnesses. ETC.

  • One of the most powerful things I have ever done is to get appropriate training to use weapons safely and skillfully…(Asp, My Hands, Pepper Spray, Escrima Stick, etc.)

So I know I have the best chance of never being victimized again.

Play the “Identification Game”.

I want to introduce a little “game” I used to play with my kids which you can do for yourself too.

Look at a person in a public place you have never seen before for just a few seconds, then look away and describe to someone with you (or just go over in your mind):

  • What were they wearing?

  • Hair color,

  • Ethnicity,

  • Guess their age,

  • Height,

  • Weight,

  • Tattoos,

  • Or any other identifying details about them

As you learn to do this you train your mind to gather details that may help you to describe a potential assailant to the police.

It will also help keep your mind focused on your environment maintaining situational awareness.

You cannot afford to walk around in a state of oblivion. You must be aware of your environment at all times.

Color Code Of  Mental Awareness:  

Graphic Courtesy of Wu Chin

You must always be in a state of situational awareness because you may need it any time!

Subway Sandwiches with Vagrants:

My sister had come to Seattle for a convention and I went to stay with her overnight at the hotel where she was staying.

It just a little after 6 pm and to our surprise all the restaurants nearby were closed. The hotel restaurant was ridiculously expensive so we decided to go for a walk to find a place to eat.

We walked about 12 blocks and found a Subway sandwich shop very close to Pike Place Market– which was also closed already. As we went in the door there was a group of 5 vagrant men loitering at the entrance and looking like trouble. But we were hungry so we pressed on.

We went in and ordered our sandwiches. There was only 1 young employee working out front. We were the only customers in the restaurant.

As we sat down to eat, one of the vagrants came in and came directly over to our table and just stood there with his head down, not meeting my gaze- only a foot from me. All of his buddies were watching from outside to see what we did. They had sent him in to harass us.

In karate we are taught never to let anyone in your 3 foot radius circle because you have no reaction time if you have to defend yourself against an attack.

I stood up put my hands out in front of me like “Stop” and said, “You need to leave us alone right now!”

I looked at my sister and said, “Get up we are leaving– Now!”

She grabbed her sandwich and we headed out the door. As we left I looked directly at each of the men, so they knew I could identify them, and I said, “Leave us alone!”

Remember there are 5 of them and 2 of us women—both unarmed. We have only our wits about us, no weapons.

I started walking very fast in the direction back to the hotel. Usually I am not able to walk very fast and I get teased about it– but not this time.

My sister said to me, “Wow, this Karate “Inner Warrior” thing is really working for you. I’ve never seen you like this. You are such a Bitch!” (In a good, tough, sort of way.)

Just then we heard a man yell out to us from the entrance to an alley. We looked over and saw a man about 6’5” and very muscular and he said, “Hey ladies, looks like you’re having some trouble, why don’t you come over here?” Right! Like we are going to go over to an alley so we can get “help” from him!

My sister, who has terrible trouble setting boundaries, looked directly at him, put her hand out, like she had seen me do, and said, “We’re good!” Amazingly he also left us alone.

We walked very quickly back to her hotel and when we got inside she finally felt the effects of the adrenaline dump, and I had to talk to her about how to get out of that state and back to normal.

Take Away Points:

  • Look your potential assailants directly in the eye with the most fierceness you can muster. Look fierce, sound fierce. It may save your life!

  • Try not to go into a building where you are alone with only the employee.

  • Don’t keep your back to the door. Keep your eyes where you can see potential danger.

  • Use your words and body to convey you are not going down without a fight.

Effects of Adrenaline:

  • After an adrenaline dump you may: vomit, urinate, defecate, shake or cry uncontrollably.

  • Do some deep breathing from your belly filling the lowest part first, not from high in your chest.

  • Hold Acupoints for Calmness, on the Chest and forehead.  See Acupressure for Emotional Healing Video  

If Your Feel Threatened Set Boundaries with Your Voice and Your Body!

Stand up and set a boundary with your hand in front; palm out, like a stop gesture, and with a loud voice, and your fiercest face say,

“Don’t come any closer, I will consider it an attack.”

If they mean no harm they will back away—usually with an apology if not– Prepare to engage.

My hope is that you are here to gain the skills and awareness you need BEFORE you are attacked.


Phoenix Alexander


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