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How to Be More Aware

This is a guest post by Scott Sylvesterbe more aware

Anticipation Behavior

Your eyes feed a constant stream of data to your brain allowing you to perceive events that occurred micro seconds in the past. Yes, you are all living in the past and there is scientific proof! Your eyes gather the light reflecting off of objects in your gaze pathway and your brain interprets that into shapes, faces, objects and colors that we call sight. The data that is interpreted by your brain is linked even deeper to the various stimulus responses and recognition patterns you have developed over your lifetime. These patterns have been filed away and are interpreted by your amygdala in two ways: Threat or Non-Threat

Without realizing it, every time you look at someone or something your brain has automatically classified it as dangerous to you… or not dangerous to you. If a person, animal or object is determined harmless you proceed throughout the course of your day and lack recall of these people or items. Just try to remember the faces of the strangers you passed in the grocery store. Chance are you can’t because as they crossed your gaze pathway they were deemed non-threatening and you moved on without conscious thought devoted to them. Think about your drive home from work, how many cars passed you that you barely noticed… until one of them swerved a bit too close and then:

Items you deem threatening based on patterns or behavior cause a different reaction. When you see a threat your amygdala prepares your body physiologically by releasing chemicals like adrenaline and your heart rate soars to 160+ beats per minute. If you have schema (See my recent article Schema for Success) your training kicks in and you respond.

Drawing from the previous article, (If you have not read it, you should stop, go back and read Schema for Success) having a series of “files,” or “scenarios,” makes you react faster to a perceived threat. Using your visual cortex and the schema you have already developed, this article is going to talk about recognizing the behaviors and patterns prior to the schema or scenario you have in place… If you can anticipate threatening behavior you will react sooner helping you gain the initiative in the fight.

Every behavior we recognize as threatening has a series of movements that lead up to it. Those pre-cursor movements that lead up to the attack are what we need to start analyzing and adding to our files. Every human body is jointed and only articulates in certain ways so unless your assailant is a cast member of the Cirque de Soleil, chances are you can pick out elbow movements, hand positions and shifts of balance.

For example, a suspect who wants to access a handgun in their waistband will have to bend their elbows, and bring both hands to the center of their waistline or appendix area. You will see one or both hands and elbows move upwards to clear the garment covering the gun and then one will descend to grasp the firearm. The downward motion will be followed by an upward draw followed by a twisting of the elbow and forearm extension that will orient the handgun towards their victim. You may also see their head rotate and orient towards the intended target, (you).

Most traditional training teaches students to recognize the actual weapon as the threat. By the time you see the weapon however, the fight is almost over and you have lost. What we need to practice in training is recognizing the series of movement patterns that initiate the accessing of the weapon. This is one main reason we teach police officers to be wary of and watch the hands of a suspect. We teach this because hands have movement patterns that can allow less experienced officers to observe and build schemas in their brain. Eventually officers learn to watch the hands, feet, torso and head position of suspicious people and assemble an orchestra of body movements they may not be able to articulate but their subconscious recognizes as pre-attack cursors.

Every day you watch people and your eyes bounce to different parts of other people and areas looking for specific information so your brain can subconsciously monitor potential danger and to provide you with the information you need to comprehend the activities and tasks around you. As your eyes bounce around, start training yourself to recognize the series of movements that combine into an attack. The faster you can piece these images together, the faster you start your decision making process and begin to respond.

A quick and easy way to train this, is to go to your favorite web site that shows videos of people being attacked, robbed, shot or stabbed. Watch the assailant carefully just prior to the attack and watch how their hands move, how their torso twists, how they balance their stance, etc. You will start to notice a lot of similarities in their behavior. To access their firearm, they will have tell-tale movements you can pick up on. When an assailant goes to throw a punch they set their feet, draw back and clench their fists… again a recognizable series of movements you will see, which will trigger a schema and initiate your subconscious response.

Recognizing these pre-attack behaviors will teach your amygdala that what your eyes are seeing is a threat and your physiological responses onset rapidly instead of waiting until you see the actual weapon or are actually struck by a punch or kick.

There is a wealth of information and books on body language but the best teacher is actual people. Watch them in the world around you and start really looking at how humans articulate and move and you will be on the path to being safer, faster and better prepared to win.

Until next week, train hard a stay safe. Go watch a few videos and see how many common movements and patterns you are able to recognize.

Scott S
One Weapon Any Tool – Visit us on Facebook or at www.oneweaponanytool.com

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