Instinct, Our Primal Survival
Instinct, we all have an inbuilt alarm system that warns us when something is wrong or we’re in danger. What are self-defense awareness and instinct? To explain the psychology behind this gut feeling would take a longer article. Intuition or fight-or-flight is the term used to describe this feeling, and it is the first condition for self-defense. Self-defense awareness and instincts can help you protect yourself and those around you.
How can you develop self-defense awareness and instincts? A suspicious person following you as you walk down a darkened street should set off your internal alarm. Our intuition puts us on alert, but how we react makes a difference between becoming victims or fighting back. There are three areas where you can categorize your intuition and your mindset.
In this article, I’ll explore three (3) tips to help you develop your urban survival instincts.
Instinct 101, Recognizing Suspicious Behavior
Always remain aware of your surroundings and the people around you, noting any sudden or unusual behavior. It may prevent you from getting mugged and avoid becoming a statistic. Scanning people around you can help you make quick and informed decisions. Recognizing body language and cues can be the difference between being a mugging victim and walking away unscathed.
It’s someone looking too hidden and suspicious or bold and daring in their body language. These individuals hide away from people or wander through a crowd as their sights lock on them. Practice situational awareness by staying alert and aware of who and what is around you. Be mindful of your surroundings at all times, and be aware of potential danger signs, such as suspicious vehicles or people.
Your gut instincts are even more critical of how people behave around you. Do daily exercises, and test whether your intuition is working for you. Study body language, memorize license plates the next time you’re outside, and find indicators to which you should pay close attention.
Instinct 101: Recognizing Verbal Cues
What about verbal distractions? If someone asks you the time, how would you feel about that? It’s a harmless request, but you should be on guard. Your intuition is your best protector. You must pay attention to your instinct and stay alert. Self-defense techniques can be handy, but self-awareness should always be the first defense.
How someone presents themselves when they approach, you is an indicator to raise your survival awareness and instinct level. You’ll need discretion when someone randomly comes and speaks to you. Usually, it may be someone asking for directions, but thieves also use distraction tactics to catch victims off guard.
I use a color-coded system to instruct my self-defense clients about the boundaries of their personal space. There are three colors in the design:
- Green: Your space is safe from attack
- Yellow: Your space is getting compromised
- Red: Your space is infiltrated, danger
Understanding boundaries prevent predators from gauging your space or manipulating their way into your personal space. Never leave your guard down, even within a social setting such as a bar, theater, or club. Predators have an excellent opportunity to invade your space if you engage them in conversation. Adjust your behavior accordingly. Beware of strangers invading your personal space or crossing your boundaries.
Know Your Environment
Another gut instinct that you need to pay attention to is environmental. If you may find yourself in an unfamiliar place, you’re a tourist in a foreign land, lost your way of travel, or ended up on the wrong side of town. Our instinct, intuition, and sense of discomfort coincide with our surroundings.
Environmental awareness also applies to gathering places such as parks, restaurants, or schools. Before settling down in a crowded space, get to know your area and familiarize yourself with possible escape routes. Proximity, also called proxemics, isn’t how far people are from one another. Instead, the idea is how close they are to one another within the environment.
When you start breathing more deeply, your heart will start palpitating, then your body subconsciously tells you, “don’t ignore me. Something is off.” Your intuition will assist you in determining when and how to react, its when you start feeling anxious.
Mental preparation for self-defense is just as essential as physical training. Developing strategies to handle threats such as verbal, physical, and even weapons can empower you to take control of your safety. When it comes to self-defense, we must first condition self-awareness.
The first thing we should condition is self-awareness. To improve your instincts and become less of a target, consider these tips: always be aware of who is around you, trust your instincts, and be prepared for when you need to protect yourself.