Situational Awareness: Hope is NOT a Plan.

Of the many gifts the martial arts journey has given me, the people I’ve gotten to know, learn from and train with is up at the top of my list. This past week, one of my friends and training partners from the Active Countermeasures Group (ACG) volunteered his time to talk to my Women’s Self Defense class at Minneapolis Community Technical College. His presentaion exposed these young women to the highest level instruction and cutting edge information on situational awareness. I've watched them throughout the semester learn and become both aware and proactive in their day to day self protection.

Hope is not a plan. Have a plan!
— Dale O. Applied Countermeasures Group (ACG)

Dale’s presentation taught me a great deal as well. One of my favorite quotes from the lecture was, "If you're hoping something won't happen, you're unprepared. Hope is not a plan."

Two weeks ago, Sgt A. Williams from the Minnesota State Patrol gave the women the same message, differently: "If your plan is to call 911, you don't have a plan." The required reading for the class, Defensive Living by Ed Lovette and Dave Spaulding also highlights the importance of awareness, avoidance and having a plan. It is my hope that having so many great sources say the same thing slightly differently will impress upon the students just how important it is to pay attention and get your mind right ahead of time.

I’ve added two of the elements I learned from the lecture to my every day awareness skill development practice:

1) To take a moment to scan all the way to the left and all the way to the right before entering or exiting anywhere. While I'm attentive and aware of what's going on around me, I do go from one thing to the next at a frenetic pace and do not take that preparatory moment before I barge from location A into location B. I have been looking to add a ‘mindfulness practice’ element to my life, and I think this is where it’s going to fit in: mindfulness in awareness! Lesson: Take a breath and a moment ... to scan for threats, especially when changing locations. (If I do this every time I go in or out of somewhere, maybe I can get one with the universe while I increase my situational awareness!)

2) “When you’re bored in class, figure out how you’d barricade the room you’re in..” led to the second practice I've added to my day. I've never thought about how to barricade myself into the room I"m in. I know my exits and I've definitely thought about what items I would use as a weapon, but I’d never done the mental gymnastics on what is barricade worthy furniture and how'd I'd put it together. Lesson: assess interior decor with an eye to barricade building.

So much great information and concepts in 75 minutes! That it will help those young ladies walk safer through their world.. exciting to watch! Thanks Dale!

If you or your business are contemplating some risk assesment, etc you can learn more about the Applied Countermeasures Group here:

If your plan is to call 911, you do not have a plan.
— Sgt. A. Williams Minnesota State Patrol