Individually many things can seem trivial, but taken as a whole and they can take on a more serious tone. The problem is knowing the difference.

Overcoming Fear

Yes, there is evil in the world. Evil that only understands violence. You must be willing to face down violence with violence of your own. This can be the single greatest barrier to people taking personal responsibility for their personal safety. The idea they may have to get physical, things could get messy or they don’t want to naturally assume the worse. The last point really resonates with me. It is not healthy to naturally assume everyone is out to get you. It can lead to a shriveled up life where you try to keep everyone at bay. The trick is knowing the difference and part of that is being able to prioritize threats in real time.

Point-man Up

As I have discussed multiple times staying aware of your surrounding is one of the single most important self defense strategies you can implement. In the Teams we used to call this a point-man break. Immediately upon insertion we would patrol a few meters then layup so our point-man could tune into his new environment. Once you leave the safety of your home or vehicle, you need to take a break and look around. It literally can take a few seconds, but provide invaluable information. Look around you, your intended direction of travel for any obstacles, dangers or unknowns. Aside from avoiding normal accidents, like stepping in front of an oncoming car, you can spot people that don’t belong.


Why did your senses become acutely aware of the guy standing by the lotto station when you walked into a store. Maybe there is nothing wrong, but you paid attention for a reason. You finish your business and walk out the store only to observe the same guy exiting several meters behind you. It’s possible they forgot something in their car. As you walk down the street you notice they are following you. Coincidence…I think not!

Pre-attack Cues

The temptation to try and rationalize each of this individual events is very high. After all, we just want to go about our business. The consequences could be severe if we don’t calmly and rationally accept our new reality and address the situation. Looking around for possible safe havens such as a group of people ahead or even moving to the other side of the street are all pro-active measures. You are taking these measures based off the pre-attack cues you picked up and they have cost you nothing. While they cost you nothing, they also may not have solved your problem and real active measures are your next tactic. Active measures such as discreetly retrieving self defense tools; pepper spray, edged weapons or impact weapons.

Personal Injury on Your Terms

The problem with active measures is they put you in close proximity to danger. Danger were personal injury is high. What you have to recognize is your personal safety is already in jeopardy. Establishing your mental line in the sand that should it be crossed would initiate your active measures is difficult, but even harder to act upon. Again, we can rationalize how these are all coincidences and how you are over reacting. Don’t make that mistake, trust your instincts because the best case is you have to execute your hasty active measures plan. Yes, it could get messy, but it puts you squarely in the driver’s seat. As opposed to not acknowledging these pre-attack cues and now having to respond after the fact. Your re-active measures will be far less effective if you have the chance to employ them for the simple reason you didn’t see it coming or by the time you did, it was too late.

We all want to live a happy, but safe life. It sometimes mean trusting your instinct for one and being ready to act upon them two.

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