Most people who have extensive training in the martial arts believe that they are fully capable of defending themselves and others if attacked. In the real world, even top UFC fighters and world boxing champions have gotten killed in street fights. Outside of the world of sport fighting, there are no rules and no referee. In the real world, there are no fair fights. Outside of the ring or the tournament floor, opponents have guns, knives, and accomplices. Physical self-defense skills are important, but if you commit to mastery of the practice of situational awareness, then your need to physically defend yourself or someone with you will be highly unlikely. When I was younger and trained in martial arts schools that happened to be in high crime areas of Boston, there were a few incidents where criminals targeted me for an attack. Not once did I ever need to resort to my martial arts skills. Although the term situational awareness has only recently become popularized, throughout time, some people just naturally have had this skill set. For whatever reason, I was always able to spot someone or something that was anomalous to the baseline before a criminal act could get executed. My natural situational awareness skills meant that it was always easy for me to spot and evade anyone who targeted me. Those skills can be easily learned, but they must be practiced and integrated into your life.
Brief explanation of situational awareness
Situational awareness is about staying safe from human predators through the practice of observing the behavior of people in your environment. It also includes things like observing the person’s hands to see if he or she is holding a weapon and noticing if the person keeps patting a certain spot on the body where a weapon may be concealed.
Most people are terrible at practicing situational awareness, partly because they are so distracted most of the time and partly because they form conclusions about those around them based on irrelevant things, such as race, nationality, religion, clothing, facial hair, tattoos. Those things are based on propaganda that infuses society and blocks the ability to observe the type of subtle behavior that could actually serve as a warning of real potential danger. People profile each other in that way because they mistakenly believe it helps them know who is safe to be around, but it only creates fear and paranoia, while distracting their attention from what really matters—actual behavior. Xenophobia is orthogonal to situational awareness.
Situational Awareness should not be confused with paranoia. Paranoia is about living in fear. Situational awareness is a practice of having full appreciation for your surroundings from moment to moment. You will begin to notice things in your environment to which you were previously oblivious.