This is mirror-posted over at According To Hoyt, and you can read all of it there.
I am a weapon. When the time comes to strike, the tool I happen to use is not the weapon, the squishy gray stuff between my ears is.
In aid of keeping my weapon sharp, I have done various training and thought exercises over the years, and I know that in order to be ready to defend myself and others, I occasionally need to refresh this. Like, as the truism above states, playing a mental game of situational awareness. Locate yourself in the room.
Where is the entrance? The exit? How else could danger come (the windows?) and how can you escape. Standing and doing battle may not be the optimal choice, depending on what is coming at you. But most important, be aware of your surroundings.
Out for a walk? Walk straight, with head up and eyes moving, rather than looking down at your feet or grocery list or book…And if you are listening to music, go with only one earbud in, not both, so you can hear your surroundings. This awareness is vital to planning the next move.
Not long ago I was performing at a party in a bad part of a nearby city. Now, I’m all sweetness and light at these things. But partway through the party I became aware that there was a situation, and I immediately started preparing for what might happen next. Best case scenario, which is ultimately what did occur, was that the cops came, all settled down, and there was no escalation. Worst case would have been for the teenage boy who was chased down the street being accused of theft to have returned with armed re-enforcements, a not unlikely situation in that area. Me? I planned to stuff the little kids under the sturdy picnic tables I was set up next to, where they would be out of the line of fire, and either join them, or stand guard over them. All I could do. Even had I been carrying (and I’m not saying I wasn’t) I wouldn’t have done anything to draw fire on them.