Looking "Deep"

This is a discussion on Looking "Deep" within the Defensive Carry & Tactical Training forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; So i have seen Situational Awareness brought up many times on this forum. I would like to shine a light on one aspect of it ...

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Thread: Looking "Deep"

  1. #1
    Distinguished Member Array DingBat's Avatar
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    Looking "Deep"

    So i have seen Situational Awareness brought up many times on this forum. I would like to shine a light on one aspect of it i haven't seen mentioned here yet. Perhaps it has been but i haven't seen it. Mods; not certain if i put this in the right place, sorry if i didn't.

    Growing up in the mountains and the woods, and hunting game since i was very young, i learned the best way to take in your surroundings was to keep your head on a swivel, and to look deep.

    It's easy to see what is going on in the immediate 15-20 foot radius directly around you. But if you focus your vision further out, and allow your peripheral vision to soak up what's near, you can often glean a lot more information about your surroundings. if this isn't something you're used to doing it takes practice and may not even make sense. You're not ignoring what's going on close by, and you're not staring into the distance.
    When i enter a structure of any sort, i usually scan the furthest walls i can see first, but a quick "big picture" scan, i am looking for ingress/engress, i am looking for features like stairs and elevators, water fountains, good cover or trip/falling/whatever hazards. but my peripheral vision is also open to anything thats jumps out in the near field, such as a dog coming up, friendly or whatever.

    my head is on a swivel, scanning side to side, front to back. then i start bringing my vision closer and closer building more and more detail.

    If you only get a short "snapshot" of an area this technique will allow you to absorb much more info. such as walking by an open door or driving past a side street, if you look deep you will see the details in the distance you could've missed, and your brain will get better at picking up the closer details as second hand nature. looking UP is another thing many people don't do. it's amazing what most people miss on a daily basis by not simply looking above head level often if at all.

    i have been trying to instill this practice in my wife, and it's quite amusing how lately she has said thing like "i never saw that before" tlaking about an interesting structure or feature while driving thru our 'hood. i saw it the day we moved in. something that was in the middle to far fields of vision she completely missed. Beucase she was only seeing what was on the immediate surface of what she was looking at.

    Motorcyclists will know this as a survival trait on the road. You learn to look further down the raod then most car drivers as you have to see and be ale to react to a higher degree.

    Maybe no one cares and i am sure some will disagree, but i have found this to be an excellent avoidance tool. Being avle to see some belligerent guys starting a fight on the other side of a crowded room, when it's 30 feet away instead of 10-15 feet away can save you a lot of greif. Seeing a construction zone from further out can help you driving. See a construction area in a building can help you plan your "route" better from both a "tactical/strategic"(sorry to use THAT word) point of view, and from a simple convenience point of view.

    I suppose this post is long enough, hope this made sense and somebody can find something useful in it.
    ANGLICO, Secret Spuk, DRM and 6 others like this.

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    Distinguished Member Array BadgerJ's Avatar
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    That's all and good, but what you should be doing is analyzing when your SA did NOT work and take that apart and see if it could have been solved.

    We ALL go into 'ultra close focus' at times on various things. THEN your SA -will- fail. That's why cops (used to) have partners, one of whom stands back.

    It happened to me at a hotel, I had gone to get breakfast, and was struggling trying to get a bagel out of a plastic bin with a sliding lid and this heavy, 50's something cafeteria lady had some how got on my 6 and between me and my pack (which unknown to her, had my firearm in it - after all I was in slippers and not completely awake at 6:45 am). I never heard her, saw her, smelled her, nothing and she was right there, her left foot actually touching my right foot. HOW did she do that. I don't get tunnel vision around food, but I was hyper-focused. I DID scan the room, but not the adjacent kitchen opening which was interior to the food layout.

    It's happened to me at gun shows, at libraries, at book stores (where I'm standing in the stacks reading a book). You can't always be SA. Learn when, how, and what to do about it by focusing not on your epic skillz, but on your epic fails.

    HTH
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    Distinguished Member Array DingBat's Avatar
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    and i would agree with that 100%. sorry if i came off high and mighty. of course we all have had surprises, and we should all try to learn from them. i was simply trying to offer something i find useful that i haven't seen a lot of people doing. i have been caught off guard many times, and even my wife catches things i miss all the time. i apologize if i sounded arrogant.

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    Distinguished Member Array Hodad's Avatar
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    Good thoughts, but I tend to start close and move out. I think it accomplishes basically the same thing, but I am more concerned with stuff in my immediate vicinity. Once I clear that, I move outward.
    DRM likes this.
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    I think your point is a good one. Now learn to do that without attracting attention. The new person is easy to find or the scared person is easy to find. Their head is constantly moving left to right they are looking behind them and stop with their back to the wall and looking like a robot head rotating from left to right.

    The skill you talk about is vital but as you know prey detects movement before it detects the threat. You need to move slowly casually and give no hint to the prey you are watching.

    Great thread set up a camera or have a friend video you at say the mall or other gatherings of people and then watch it. from the camera can you tell you are scanning and possibly apprehensive? If so correct what you find as the second poster said so correctly analyze what you see and what you missed and correct for the future.
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    Distinguished Member Array noway2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by manolito View Post
    The skill you talk about is vital but as you know prey detects movement before it detects the threat. You need to move slowly casually and give no hint to the prey
    Serious question: why? If they know you're aware would you not be less of a target?

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    Distinguished Member Array DingBat's Avatar
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    Absolutely. Corner of your eye and furtive glances become your friend. i know my SA went down in recent years as i focused on my career, all but stopped training, had kids and all other manner of distraction. i even stopped carrying as i knew i wasn't doing myself any favors. only in the last year or so have i found the focus to start working on all of my defensive skill sets. and only in the last few months have a starting arming myself again. just the other day i was at the bank in the grocery store and after about 5 minutes i "woke up" and realized i was doing about everything wrong and starting using my brain rather than running on auto-pilot. it's a challenge for sure, and one i don't think anyone can "master", it's somehting you have to pay attention to every day, and it's not easy.

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    Distinguished Member Array Hodad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by manolito View Post
    I think your point is a good one. Now learn to do that without attracting attention. The new person is easy to find or the scared person is easy to find. Their head is constantly moving left to right they are looking behind them and stop with their back to the wall and looking like a robot head rotating from left to right.

    The skill you talk about is vital but as you know prey detects movement before it detects the threat. You need to move slowly casually and give no hint to the prey you are watching.

    Great thread set up a camera or have a friend video you at say the mall or other gatherings of people and then watch it. from the camera can you tell you are scanning and possibly apprehensive? If so correct what you find as the second poster said so correctly analyze what you see and what you missed and correct for the future.
    I wholeheartedly agree. Your observation techniques should be more covert than overt. Use reflecting objects, peripheral vision, casual glances and sounds to conduct your recon.

    Otherwise you are going to look like a very nervous Don Knotts!!

    Of course if you are in the woods a different set of rules apply.
    Kavalander and tcox4freedom like this.
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    VIP Member Array StormRhydr's Avatar
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    Dont forget to use your "nose", too. The wife and I were leaving a big medical center this week. All non smoking.

    We parked in an underground garage (hate those). When we stepped off, I smelled cigarette smoke. No one in sight.

    It was rather dark down there. Many areas in shadows. We proceeded towards our car, but I slowed my wife down, telling her I was trying to locate someone.

    Standing virtually hidden in the shadows, back against the wall, was a black male, smoking a cigarette. His work uniform was primarily gray, and blended in very well with the concrete.

    So far as I know the guy just wanted a smoke, and wanted to hide because it was all non smoking. Thats how I read the situation, and we proceeded on.

    But sometimes your nose can tip you off to someone around you that your eyes have yet to pick up.
    Kavalander, tcox4freedom and DRM like this.

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    Thanks for the thoughts on this. It makes sense to me. The motorcycle reference tied it together for me.
    Kavalander likes this.
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    VIP Member Array ghost tracker's Avatar
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    Bad guys are (generally) playing offense with a game-plan. We are (generally) defending and, by definition, in a reactionary position. The better your vision & the faster your data-processing speed, the more effective your reactions become. You can practice to improve some of it. Some of it is hard-wired (like visual acuity). Staying awake, aware & squarely in-the-moment will assist even the visually impaired ahead of the curve.
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    SA is a learned skill that comes with time. Although you may actually see something, it does not necessarily mean that image is processed. Covert scanning from close to far works for me. Been doing this for over 50 years, ingrained pretty well.
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    Distinguished Member Array tcox4freedom's Avatar
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    The way I usually do things begins when I leave the house. As I walk through the house I'm looking through my widows for movement or anything outside. As I approach my door my focus turns more to under the carport and around my vehicles. As I begin to drive my focus in constantly changing. I look towards the horizon and move back in close. I look right and left; left and right; front & rear; rear then back front and out to the horizon again.

    This continues non-stop the entire time I'm out in public. I'm also a firm believer in engaging your other senses of hearing & smell as well. But, I still pay attention to my 'spidey" senses that have saved my butt on several occasions.

    -
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    Distinguished Member Array DingBat's Avatar
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    Spidey Senses... LOL!
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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Agreed, that seeing the forest and the trees has utility. Best to become adept at seeing as much as possible of it all, when moving through a location.

    The skills a motorcycle rider employs do roughly mirror this, in order to avoid becoming a speed bump. Absolutely. Gotta be on the watch for oil patches as well as crazy drivers heading 'round the corner or from the other lane. You never know when a bird's gonna dump a load just ahead, too. (Had that happen once or twice. Wasn't much to be done but duck and cover, then clean up at the nearest "hose" joint that could be found.)

    Ditto, on the "spidey senses" phrase. I happen to like "radar." But, it's all good. Those little hairs on the back of our necks can work wonders, as indicators ... whatever the phrasing.
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