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Thread: Environmental Awareness

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    Default Environmental Awareness

    I thought this topic might encourage some good conversation. So, what's your view or how do you define Environmental Awareness and how do you teach this principle to your students (if you have any.) ??
    "It is sobering to reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence." Charles A. Beard

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    Default Re: Environmental Awareness

    Thread moved to appropriate area.

    Rob Broad
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    Default Re: Environmental Awareness

    Quote Originally Posted by Celtic_Crippler
    I thought this topic might encourage some good conversation.
    I bet!

    So, what's your view or how do you define Environmental Awareness?
    Where to start? It is all encompassing in one sense. It includes being alert to your surroundings, recognizing potential problems or problem areas, and both preparation and avoidance techniques. It includes training, and recognizing street tactics.

    For police, fire, EMS, security, and for those in East LA (or other high risk jobs or areas) a higher level of awareness is necessary. Before they go out, they (should) have a good knowlege of their area. They know their route(s) as well as alternate routes. Construction, traffic patterns, working street lights, open facilities that could afford sanctuary..., the list could go on... . For those of us fortunate to not be in need of such in deapth knowlege, a good general idea of conditions where we are is still a plus.

    Preplaning to wear appropriate clothing which protects you from the weather without hindering your movement too much- requires awareness of forecast and local weather patterns. Wearing shoes appropriate to terrain or dress, but that will work well for self defense.

    I guess what I'm saying is that environmental awareness begins long before you enter the environment. A corralary would be that it should continue after you leave the environment, especially if you noticed anything out of the ordinary or suspicious. Things like being followed- maybe not a good idea to go straight home.

    Good topic.

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    Default Re: Environmental Awareness

    Sorry. I posted about the same time you moved the thread.

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    Default Re: Environmental Awareness

    Quote Originally Posted by thedan
    Sorry. I posted about the same time you moved the thread.
    We want people to post on the topic, but the thread was in the Technique of the Month, not the General Kenpo area.
    Quality outweighs quantity every time.

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    Default Re: Environmental Awareness

    Yea what he said!

    hehe more than that.

    It's evenvitable that you will end up some where you don't know but you should still learn to look and pick out trouble spots in any location. Pillers, sharp corners, clumps of trees, allys..

    I lived on the streets for a bit.. it's amazing how many small hiding places you can find on the most common street.

    Remember that it is not only what you can see but keep your ears open.. they will often warn you before you see anything.

    Store and car windows are your friend.. large reflective surfaces are great for taking a glance behind you withou actualy turning arorund.

    As for training...

    We used to do something called "Muggers ally" we would set up two lines facing one annother about 10 to 15 feet appart, turn down the lights, and then rotate as one person at a time walks down the middle of the two lines. Compleatly randomly, people in the lines step out and attack the mark with any technique... punch, kicks, grabs.. from the front from the side.. from the back. sometimes you only get attacked once or twice.. sometimes you have two people attaking at the same time.. sometimes 3 depending on belt and comfort lvl.

    This can also be done in a "circle of doom" (love thenames heheh)

    Same concept but everyone stands in a circle with one person in the center being atacked from all sides.

    Thing to remember on this drill is CONTROL.. it is very easy to get too into this and hurt a friend.

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    Default Re: Environmental Awareness

    Quote Originally Posted by MrBunny
    I lived on the streets for a bit..
    I thought I recognized your picture! You were the guy three cardboard boxes down from me! Your street name was...

    Seriously, you made some good points.

    Another good way to train (I used to do this a lot more, now I do it to stave off boredom more than out of any percieved need):

    As you travel through an area, simply be observant. Think about alternate routs or areas of sanctuary. If you have the time, take some detours or go to sanctuary to see if you are correct. If there is an obstacle, your preknowlege was faulty. Look for and avoid those areas where you can be ambushed easily. If you should suddenly run into or have to avoid someone who got too close, your observation and avoidance skills need to be worked on. If you carch yourself rounding a corner too close... you get the idea.

    Sorta obviouse, but it works.

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    Default Re: Environmental Awareness

    Good topic. I consider the title to also be the definition. Environmental Awareness means being aware of your environment, all of it. At it's most basic, it means being aware of your immediate surroundings, being able to understand what your sensory input is telling you and responding/preparing accordingly. I've been in EMS and the Fire Service for 24 years, my younger years spent working in some pretty dangerous areas. I'm constantly looking around me and paying attention to my surroundings. It's become an unconscious action. On a larger scale, it means knowing what's going on in your community. What's the weather going to be like? Are there traffic or other issues that are going to impact where I'm going and what I'm going to do? How am I going to react to that? On an even larger scale, it means being aware of what's going on in the region/country/world. Is there something going on that could impact me? If, so what can I do to mitigate its impact?

    The martial artist is primarily concerned with immediate surroundings but that should just be the beginning of personal awareness.

    Some of the concepts should be fairly easy to teach but it's up to the student to put it into practice. A constant reminder to always be aware of the surroundings is a good way to start off. Giving examples of where and how to put this into action would also be appropriate. Thanks for starting this thread, this is something I need to start emphasizing more with my students and my teenage children.

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    Default Re: Environmental Awareness

    Quote Originally Posted by jdinca
    Environmental Awareness means being aware of your environment, all of it. At it's most basic, it means being aware of your immediate surroundings, being able to understand what your sensory input is telling you and responding/preparing accordingly. I've been in EMS and the Fire Service for 24 years, my younger years spent working in some pretty dangerous areas. I'm constantly looking around me and paying attention to my surroundings. It's become an unconscious action. On a larger scale, it means knowing what's going on in your community. What's the weather going to be like? Are there traffic or other issues that are going to impact where I'm going and what I'm going to do? How am I going to react to that? On an even larger scale, it means being aware of what's going on in the region/country/world. Is there something going on that could impact me? If, so what can I do to mitigate its impact?
    You said it better than I did. The only thing I can add is that while you are being aware of what is going on around you, be aware of what you are doing. I used to teach the Emergency Vehicle Accident Prevention course (volunteer), and it is amazing how many radio microphone chords I've seen wrapped around steering collumns while negotiating courses. Same applies in self defense. Don't focus on one problem and walk inadvertantly into another. Good post, JD- got me to think.

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    Default Re: Environmental Awareness

    yea, I was lucky enough to find the waxed carboard box.. now thats liven in style... But seriously. I have had to run and hide, I have had to lose people arround the university and yes knowing the area is very good for that. I spent time exploring the steam tunels under the university it's creapy and a freaking maze. But that was back in the day when I lived in Albuquerque.

    Couple of weeks ago I was walking to lunch with some co-workers here in DC and one of them noticed that I check all my corners when I walk past buildings.. it's reflex for me and he commeted "Dude.. you look like you expect somone to attack you." I responded with "I do."

    It is also a good reason to learn really really good control... I was a waiter at a TGIF several years back.. and on a busy night you are walking arround with some serious cash. My thing back then was to sing happy B-Day in Italian Opera.. great for tips.. anyway I was walking to the back of the house past the entrance and I felt somone grab my wrist and start dragging me to the front door. I locked her hand to my wrist locked out her arm and dropped her to the ground... she was trying to get me to come sing at her table. Fortunatly I was aware enough to A: defend myself and B: realze she was not a threat and not break her arm.

    Environmental awairness is not just out on the dark streets it's right in the middle of a crowd. Just something to think about.

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    Default Re: Environmental Awareness

    Quote Originally Posted by MrBunny
    ...I lived in Albuquerque.
    Dang, we were neoghbors! I lived in Las Vegas, NM-... Old Town! Lot of two legged animals in that whole region.

    I was a waiter at a TGIF several years back.. I felt somone grab my wrist and start dragging me to the front door. I locked her hand to my wrist locked out her arm and dropped her to the ground... she was trying to get me to come sing at her table.
    LOL! And you still got good tips!

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    Default Re: Environmental Awareness

    Good points.

    - Being aware of what's going on in your community is an aspect of Enivronmental Awareness (EA). Knowing that MS-13 has been active in your community will make you more likely to be on the lookout for gang activity.

    -It's also directly related to common sense and locations. If a bar or club has a bad reputation, then don't go there! Or, how about not taking the shortcut through the alley at 3:00AM by yourself? Stay on the well lit sidewalk instead. Common sense, right? Not necessarily, some people actually have to have these things pointed out to them.

    -How about "objects?" Making mental notes about the locations of objects that can be useful to you in a self defense scenario. Noting the location of a broom or mop when you enter a builiding for example (good bo staffs ). Or noting the position of security cameras...hey, somebody is or will be watching it so you may want to stay in range of those for safety or in hopes help will come.

    -Body Language. Making mental notes of the body language of people in your general vicinity. Do they seem aggitated, angry, passive? Do they walk aggressively or seem to be taking their time. Nervous? Why would they be nervous? If someone approaches you and begins a conversation.. where are they looking? At you? At the ground? All over the place!?!

    ...just a couple of things that came to my mind. =)
    "It is sobering to reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence." Charles A. Beard

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    Default Re: Environmental Awareness

    Quote Originally Posted by thedan
    Dang, we were neoghbors! I lived in Las Vegas, NM-... Old Town! Lot of two legged animals in that whole region.



    LOL! And you still got good tips!
    heheh Yea, and Albuquerque has gotten much worse in the last 10 years so I have heard.

    well, she complained to my manager and he backed me up telling her that she does not have the right to touch his employees. He did comp her dinner.. I remember that..

    I did actualyy get some good tips that night.. several of my tables saw me and it was a conversation point most of the night.

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    Default Re: Environmental Awareness

    Environmental Awareness is one of the main things I have learned from Kenpo; becoming aware of my surrounding and options. Unfortunately, I've actually had to use this 4 times in the last 8 months... (1 real
    threat, 2 non-lethal disturbance, some unfortunate/fortunate friends)


    1. I was leaving Kenpo class when on my way home, I realized I was being followed. Luckily, I was able to pull my followers into my old neighborhood where I could lose them. It turned into a dangerous car chase with lights being turned off and my truck breaking several speed limits. I got into my parents house in time to see them drive
    straight THROUGH the yard, looking for me. *shivers*

    2. I was at a local night club, listening to some fellow musicians. I realized a much larger person had walked up beside me. He choose that moment to smack me on the a$$. Little did he know that I had had 7 stitches removed from my tailbone that very morning, (I'd had surgery 2 weeks prior). One move later, I was standing over him and the musician on stage was saying, "Damn Alex, what did you do to her?" He was on the ground, holding the family jewels, trying not to vomit. Turns out I know the guy.

    He still covers himself around me.

    3. At work, I was standing at a cubicle when I noticed someone walking up on me. "Hey Beth!" I said without looking at her. She snapped her fingers saying, "Darn, I wanted to sneak up on you and see you do some of that Kenpo stuff to me." I smiled, looked her straight in the face and said, "You just did" and went about my day.

    4. In LA, a friend and I were walking around Beverly Hills. She asked if I realized how I'd looked everywhere while we were out roaming. I said I knew that and then proceeded to point out all the escape routes we could use if anything went down. She laughed and bought us coffee. While drinking said coffee on Hollywood Blvd, we watched a bag-lady catch
    herself on fire. I led my friend away, using one of the back routes I'd pointed out. She snickered then said she felt safer w/me than if she'd had a gun in her hand. I winked. What are friends for?

    I still have tons to learn, but Environmental Awarenes is one of the most valuable lessons I've had thus far.
    "Second chances they don't never matter, people never change
    Once a whore you're nothing more i'm sorry that'll never change
    And about forgiveness, we're both supposed to have exchanged
    I'm sorry honey, but i'm passing up, now look this way...*" --Paramore "Misery Business"


    (*this is where a punch would be landed)

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    Default Re: Environmental Awareness

    I went to one seminar at a school and after we changed and went into the gym. The instructor said, without looking around, tell me all the exits in this room. I'm glad we weren't testing.

    The point was well made though. Especially since I still remember the lesson from about 10 years ago. You have to know what and who is around you at all times.

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    Default Re: Environmental Awareness

    Quote Originally Posted by thedan
    You said it better than I did. The only thing I can add is that while you are being aware of what is going on around you, be aware of what you are doing. I used to teach the Emergency Vehicle Accident Prevention course (volunteer), and it is amazing how many radio microphone chords I've seen wrapped around steering collumns while negotiating courses. Same applies in self defense. Don't focus on one problem and walk inadvertantly into another. Good post, JD- got me to think.
    Thank you.

    Mike cords wrapped around the steering column? Gee, never done that.

    As you know quite well, awareness when driving C-3 is critical.

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    Default Re: Environmental Awareness

    Quote Originally Posted by jdinca
    Thank you.
    Welcome.
    Mike cords wrapped around the steering column? Gee, never done that.
    I bet! A minor nuisance on the course, but can be devastating on the street (though usually just really embarassing or flusterating).
    As you know quite well, awareness when driving C-3 is critical.
    Again, you've said a mouthfull! Not only everything going on around you and what you are doing, but what might happen (the idiot that finally notices your lights in his mirror, panicks and slams on the brakes???), as well as what is going on in and around your apparatus. I also taught the Firefighter First Responder course. One of the main duties of a First Responder is driving the ambulance. Dureing the CPR part of the course I'd put recording Annies in the ambulances and send the students out with experienced EMS personnel. They had to learn total awareness and cooperation to work at all in that environment.

    I think every martial artist should have to give CPR in the back of a moving ambulance. It sure points up the fact that if you don't practice it before-hand, it ain't gonna work when you need it. After that, awareness, teamwork, effort and competance allways improved dramatically. Fire Services has a lot of lessons that easily cross over to martial arts. I'd say your students are probably very lucky to have that resource.

    For any of you who have the opportunity, volunteering or working in emergency response organizations is excellant training, as well as a service to your community and country. I miss it now, but I'll be forever grateful that I had the opportunity to serve. I got more out of it than I put in- and that's saying a lot!

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    Default Re: Environmental Awareness

    A Great book on this topic and I can't back it up enough. It's called "The Gift of Fear" By Gavin DeBecker.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/031...ncoding=UTF8It

    It talks a lot about environmental awareness. I was turned to this book by reading the book

    Kenpo Karate 101 : What the Beginner and the Black Belt Should Know by Lee Wedlake.

    Both books are definatly worth the read
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    Default Re: Environmental Awareness

    Quote Originally Posted by Celtic_Crippler
    I thought this topic might encourage some good conversation. So, what's your view or how do you define Environmental Awareness and how do you teach this principle to your students (if you have any.) ??
    Environmental Awareness is well....Environmental Awareness. Everytime you cover out you are checking your suroundings. You can not do any of the forms or techniques if you are not aware of your environment. Lets say you are doing five swords on somebody and while you are doing it somebody comes up to grab you or you step on something it is your fault becuase you are not aware of your environment. We teach this to our students the first day. We have them covering out with obsticals on the ground. And we tell them to believe these bads are glass or other things. When they are doing improvisations we usually tell the next person in line to sneek up on them. So they are hopefully learning.
    "To hear is to doubt. To see is to be deceived. But to feel is to believe." -- SGM Ed Parker

    "Sic vis pacem parabellum - If you want peace, prepare for war." -- "The Punisher"


    "Praying Mantis, very good. . . For catching bugs." --Jackie Chan

    "A horse stance is great for taking a dump" --Jet Li

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    Default Re: Environmental Awareness

    Quote Originally Posted by parkerkarate
    Environmental Awareness is well....Environmental Awareness. Everytime you cover out you are checking your suroundings. You can not do any of the forms or techniques if you are not aware of your environment. Lets say you are doing five swords on somebody and while you are doing it somebody comes up to grab you or you step on something it is your fault becuase you are not aware of your environment. We teach this to our students the first day. We have them covering out with obsticals on the ground. And we tell them to believe these bads are glass or other things. When they are doing improvisations we usually tell the next person in line to sneek up on them. So they are hopefully learning.
    That would make a good drill. Having the student execute a technique and have a 3rd student interupt the technique at random times from random directions to see how they'd react. Excellent! Thanks for the inspiration!
    "It is sobering to reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence." Charles A. Beard

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