Situational Awareness – Toby Cowern

Situational awareness is mentioned frequently in Self Defense circles. As it should be, it is a vital part of self defense strategy and training, and used correctly can help avoid confrontations outright or significantly reduce their impact.

Unfortunately, many pay mere lip service to Situational Awareness, and barely ‘mention it in passing’, not lingering to look at the details of the subject. For me Situational Awareness is a term which has both breadth and depth, and warrants much more investigation. One of the things I will briefly touch on today, one of the ‘deeper’ aspects of Situational Awareness is what I refer to as Environmental Awareness.

Environment is defined as; the surroundings or conditions in which a person, animal, or plant lives or operates. In contrast to ‘Situation’, where we are identifying and assessing the (potential) impacts of unfolding activities, Environmental Awareness is looking at the threats and impacts of the physical space we are occupying.

Living in an extreme environment, as I do, is one of the reasons I address this area in detail. Understanding copious quantities of ice being present on the ground for 1/3rd + of the year has a significant impact on being able to ‘stay standing’ during any type of altercation.

Also noting temperatures can drop to -40c have a profound impact not only on managing bleeding and other injuries, but even being ‘knocked out’ and left for a short time unattended takes on far more serious connotations.

Being without sunlight for up to 22hrs a day, greatly lengthens the preferable time for criminal activity AND means EDC items such as flashlights need to be used with much greater frequency, but also can be more susceptible to damage (A result of such cold temperatures)

Dealing with the cold also means dressing for the weather, having profound impacts on where, what and how you carry items on or around your person.

While I look into cold weather impacts, any other climate will yield it’s environmental specifics that need to be addressed (As I was VERY clearly reminded on a recent trip to Delhi, India)

I will be addressing this subject in much more detail, along with other ‘sub sets’ of Situational Awareness in future articles, but for today, wanted to introduce the basic concept to you.

What are some of the deeper ‘layers’ of Situational Awareness you give consideration to? If you have ideas be sure to share them in our Facebook discussions here


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