Krav Maga is one of the most valuable self-defense systems available today. Not only does it offer a life-changing workout that accommodates every lifestyle and fitness level, but it also focuses on cultivating your self-defense skills beyond the training center by stressing the importance of situational awareness.

While it’s easy to succeed in a controlled setting within a training facility, real-world attacks throw the rules of guided instruction out the window. The ability to recognize a potentially dangerous situation within your day-to-day life and subsequently develop a method to remove yourself from that scenario if needed is a primary focus of Krav Maga training. Situational awareness and genuine safety are inextricably linked, making the modern, real-life focus of Krav Maga training particularly effective.

If you want to make the most of your Krav Maga training, you have to start by improving your situational awareness. In other words, you have to hone your ability to be fully aware of your surroundings at all times, allowing you to react effectively if a dangerous situation were to arise -- and in many cases, allowing you to remove yourself from such situations in the first place.

Keep reading for a few ways you can improve your situational awareness and assure your safety in any circumstance.

1. Identify Objects Around You

Improving your situational awareness starts with being mindful about your surroundings. Each time you enter a new environment, take a moment to identify every object in your immediate vicinity. Chairs, tables, trash, even walls and doors should all be recognized and recorded in your mind. It should only take a few seconds to identify the objects around you, but looking at your surroundings with a discerning eye and acknowledging each item is a crucial step in developing a mindful attitude. When you’re aware of the things around you, you can effectively determine what can be used as a weapon and what will be a potential obstacle. Should a dangerous situation develop, you’ll have a leg up in using your environment to your advantage.

2. Notice Other People

Identifying objects in your environment is crucial for improving your situational awareness, but it’s equally as important to detect and observe the people around you. Watch out for nervous or agitated behavior in others, and keep an eye on people who seem to be moving outside the norm. You can even monitor the behavior of people you interact with every day, like family members or coworkers. The ability to detect inconsistencies or distress in other people can allow you to anticipate dangerous situations, giving you an opportunity to respond in the most effective way possible.

3. Identify Entry and Exit Points

You’ve identified objects, you’ve monitored the people around you; now it’s time to determine how to remove yourself should a dangerous situation arise. Every time you arrive at a new location, pick out all points of entry and exit. Should you have to defend yourself, you want to know how to withdraw from the situation, thereby limiting your time and need to fight. Knowing how to disengage from a treacherous circumstance is another key connection between situational awareness and safety—you’ll likely be more secure if you can withdraw from a dangerous scenario altogether and avoid engaging with an attacker.

4. Practice Prediction

Perhaps the most challenging element of situational awareness involves predicting the actions of the people around you. It’s a difficult skill to imagine future danger, but it’s one that can be cultivated and enhanced with time. When you enter a new location or observe suspicious behavior, try to imagine what would happen if things went poorly. What if that drunken man suddenly became aggressive and confrontational? What if the group of strangers walking toward you has bad intentions?

In each of these situations, establish one or two potential scenarios that would put you in danger, and outline how you would handle them. We’re not recommending that you allow your imagination to run wild with constant fear and anxiety, but actively working on your ability to identify potential threats can be crucial in improving your situational awareness and automatically choosing an appropriate response to danger.

It’s actually healthy to maintain the realistic mindset that you’re not always safe.

5. Stay Vigilant

While it’s comfortable to walk through life without considering your surroundings, a lack of critical observation of your environment can have dire consequences. Situational awareness requires constant vigilance of your circumstances in order to identify issues and eventually predict problems before they arise. While it can initially feel exhausting to sustain an attentive mindset, it will eventually become a habit that requires no effort to maintain.

On a more practical level, this often means you’re going to have to put down your phone and put the earbuds away (sorry). If you’re walking in an unfamiliar public place and staring at your text message stream, you not only sacrifice your situational awareness but may even be making yourself a target -- attackers love oblivious targets.

6. Trust Yourself

Although it can be easy to second-guess your gut feelings, learning to trust yourself is an important tenet of self-defense. Situational awareness absolutely acknowledges factors outside yourself, but it also requires taking an inventory of your own feelings. Are you feeling anxious or worried? Does the environment just feel “off”? Your internal reactions can be a key element in pointing out danger, so don’t ignore your intuition. If your inner alarms are going off, remove yourself from the situation immediately, as stopping to second-guess yourself could put you in critical danger.

7. Practice Situational Fighting Techniques

While training your mind to be aware of your surroundings at all times is crucial for improving your situational awareness, simply recognizing your circumstances isn’t enough to protect yourself. You also have to train your physical body in order to ensure that you’re able to withstand an attack. At Krav Maga Worldwide, we’ve tailored our training to account for the link between situational awareness and safety. Instead of simply changing environments or tactics, we practice situational drills that will improve your ability to determine appropriate techniques, maneuvers, and reactions in a variety of different scenarios. We genuinely believe we offer the best in self-defense training that will allow you to coach your body and mind simultaneously.

Sign up for a course today and start yourself on the path toward improving your situational awareness and overall self-defense capabilities.

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