Environmental Awareness: mental preparedness to what's On-In-Around you. This is the ability to observe the environment and make decisions to prevent danger, or take an advantage of an opportunity.
Paranoia: a mental disorder characterized by systemized delusion and the projection of personal conflict.
Some can say there is a fine line between the two. To a trained person, someone with personal threatening experiences or a certain environment upbringing will see this behavior as awareness. To quote some Words of Wisdom during my Ed Parker Kenpo days, "Suspect first, Prospect later". This train of thought applies to just about everything, not just to people but your surroundings.
Learning to pay attention to what is around, on, and in you should be a constant. This type of training can help speed up your ability to make decisions, because of your ability to read between the lines. You train yourself to fore see possible shifts in your environment and most likely to avoid or take advantages of, by making preventative decisions. Anticipate danger and beat action with action verses re-action. "I sense a disturbance in the force" sort of speak.
Here are some not so typical scenarios/exercises to play with, but may save you from harm.
1. You're walking in daylight with a descent amount of people out. While visually paying attention to your 12 o'clock, do you pay attention to your 6? Listen or make note of footsteps, keys jingling or any sound that's constant. Can you distinguish its range? Most crowds walk at the same pace, pay notice to the sounds that don't.
2. How many of you have driven into an unfamiliar neighborhood and pay attention to the graffiti, not just the artwork but the "tagging". They tell a story of what IS, HAS, or WILL happen in that area. You don't want to be caught in a neighborhood war.
3. You're sitting at a table having some drinks with your friends. There are strangers all around you going in and out. Of course pay attention to their 6 o'clock. They may not know this concept so without sounding "paranoid' and ruining a good time, just look for their eye, facial and body expressions to give you a sense on what’s going on behind you. It also doesn't hurt to check for any reflections that you can check periodically either. You never know when a hot looking woman or man (for you ladies) enter the room till you see their eyes light up. Those tell the tale before they open their mouth.
4. Just like how we practice sheathing and unsheathing our blades, when entering your car, instead of looking at the door or ignition hole to enter the key, use your eyes to scan the area instead. Have your index finger as your eyes and feel for the key-entry instead. You'll be surprised on how easily and quickly someone can come up on you just from keeping your eye on the key entry instead! (Eh-em, personal experience!)
Finally people, let's not forget ZombieLand rule # 22 : when in doubt, know your way out. Always thinking there's a monster around the corner can be mentally and physically taxing. That's why we "train it, to ingrain it". If you're aware then you're prepared.
Maraming Salamat Po,
Manong Rich Verdejo
Manong Rich Verdejo