Martial Arts Awareness – Are You Aware?

Wing Chun, Tae Kwon Do, Hapkido, Boxing, Karate, Judo…it doesn’t matter what you do. There is the one thing that will determine a martial artist’s ultimate demise. If proper respect and attention is not devoting to maintaining this one thing properly, it can demolish any training no matter the level. This may come as a surprise to many, but this is not an external attack. Rather, it’s a defeat that occurs within oneself. It’s what we call your level of martial arts awareness.

Awareness is the first key to any situation where conflict can arise. Whether in a sports arena, on your way to your car, or in a busy subway, an attacker can defeat the greatest practitioner of any art if they are not aware of their surroundings. As a martial artist, learning to be aware of all of your surroundings is key. Also, learning to have awareness of specific attacks from an opponent is also crucial in overcoming a situation. By neglecting to develop your awareness you leave yourself open to anything, anyone, at anytime. But there are two kinds of awareness alluded to, lets call them single awareness and broad awareness.

Single awareness here, refers to having altercation with an individual in something like a sports arena. This would be in the realm of sparring or cage fighting, facing off with one person at a time. The crucial awareness here involves focusing more watching the fighter’s movements as a whole. If you put too much focus on his eyes, for example, you will not see his kicks or knees. If you place too much focus on his legs and take downs, you may not see his strikes. Therefore, by having a balanced focus, you gain awareness of the big picture. Practically speaking, the ideal location to watch is the chin or chest, giving you that balance to catch everything. Fighting with blinders on is the fastest way to get knocked out.

Moving to Broader Martial Arts Awareness

Moving onto broad awareness and why it is so important outside of the cage or ring. When crossing the road, we are all taught to stop, look, and listen for oncoming traffic. Why should your personal safety from the threat of a mugger or robber be any different? The Navy Seals utilize a checklist to make sure that they are operating with full awareness in any situation. Their checklist is as follows:

  1. Attempt to guess what individuals are doing or thinking.
  2. Watch for odd behavior.
  3. Determine where you would go for cover from explosions or gun fire.
  4. Find the closest two exits.
  5. Determine whether or not someone is following you or taking an unusual interest in you.

These tips become very hard to accomplish if you focus in on any one specific thing. That includes looking at your phone, the ground, or even your friend. Learning to take in your entire surroundings while picking up specific details is a hard skill to acquire. But without it, the danger of threat grows exponentially.

Sifu Och trains his student’s against worst case scenarios: Head-locks, chokes from behind, bear-hugs, etc. But, to avoid these scenarios altogether is much more advantageous than having to deal with them. You cannot utilize the checklist mentioned above if you’re not actively choosing to be attentive to your surroundings. Be aware of your surroundings, and be alert and ready. In short, practice and hone your martial arts awareness.

Don’t Wait. Learn Self-Defense Now

An old saying goes, “Don’t wait until you need a drink to begin digging a well.” So why do people wait to learn to defend themselves until after they’ve been attacked? Or, they wait until they’ve heard about a home invasion in their neighborhood. Or, perhaps, a sexual assault story hits the news and stirs them to action. Don’t wait to learn self defense. Learn self defense now, while you can protect yourself and your loved ones.

Most people go through life with the attitudes such as: “I live in a safe community. Nothing like that would happen here. I don’t need to worry about becoming a victim of a violent crime.” While I don’t think we should live in a constant state of paranoia for our personal safety, we do need to be aware that anyone of us can become a victim. No one is exempt. No one ever thinks it will happen to them. We have to change our mindset.

For example, you could find yourself on a date that turns into a situation that gets physically or sexually violent. Normally, we don’t think about having to potentially defend ourselves from someone with whom we’d trust enough to go on a date or get in a car. Again, no one ever thinks it could happen to them. However, if that situation occurred, I’d want to have a solid arsenal of self-defense techniques at my fingertips. I wouldn’t want to wait until after I’d been assaulted to learn what I could have done to protect myself.

There is one simple thing we can do to keep ourselves from becoming victims, but many of us don’t do it!

Be aware of your surroundings!

  • Don’t text on your phone as you walk, especially if you’re alone. Don’t sit in your car and text even if you’re parked. You’re a sitting duck to anyone who may have watched you walk to your car and knows you’re not paying attention to what is going on. Keep your head up. Be alert. Always be surveying the scene to see who and what is happening around you.
  • If you’re going for a run, and you want to listen to music, only use one earbud. Allow, yourself the ability to hear the things going on around you with the other ear. You will be better able to hear footsteps or people talking which is especially important if someone was to try to sneak up on you.
  • Always try to use the buddy system. You are less likely to become a target for crime if you are with another person. An attacker is usually looking for a target who will be easy to overpower. Two or more people in a group make for a less easy target. Don’t be afraid to ask a trusted person to walk you to your car. It’s a much better choice than being attacked because you walked by yourself.

So, let’s say that you followed these general suggestions for being aware of your surroundings, but you are physically confronted by an attacker. Just being aware that there is someone who is trying to hurt you is no longer sufficient at this point. Now, you have to decide upon your course of action. You have two options: 1) fight your attacker off, or 2) give in to your attacker because you don’t know what to do.

If you’ve been trained to defend yourself, you’re much less likely to let someone take advantage of you. No one has the right to take anything from you! You have the right and responsibility to protect yourself from those who would try to physically harm you!

Learn to protect yourself and those you love. We recommend Wing Chun training as a practical, real-world solution. No one deserves or asks to be a victim of violence, but nonetheless it happens. Prepare yourself to protect yourself! The time to learn self-defense is well before you need to use it! Remember: “Don’t wait until you need a drink to begin digging a well!”

You can start your training today at Sifu Och Wing Chun. Learn self-defense techniques that are applied to practical, real-world situations. Sifu Justin Och will show you effective ways to protect yourself and those you love.

Sifu Och Wing Chun Kung Fu Studio
World Ving Tsun Association Regional Director for the Southeastern USA
East Pine Street, Lakeland, Florida 33801


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