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I'll be the first to admit the my general day to day SA is pretty bad unless I'm in a situation or location that is more likely to have a problem (bar, fair grounds, parking lot at night, etc). :twak: It's something I want to improve and know it is important for me to be better at if I'm going to train my wife and kids.

  • What exercises do you use to keep your SA sharp?
  • LEO/ Military: What things were you trained that is useful to the everyday folk?
  • What "games" do you play with yourself/ family to help them to develop SA?
 

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Games. none really.
Training, none, I developed my SA on my own.
Exercizes, none really.
My SA training is aperfectly natural response to life.
Try thinking like the BG, if you wanted to jum somebody in a crowded area, who would you target and why?
The BG will look for the small ,the weak or the unaware.
I refuse to be unaware, I try to stay in shape to avoid being weak, I can't do anything about being 5'4" and 125 pounds.
The best advice I can give is to pay attention to everything around you, all the time.
If you pull into a parking lot, pause and look around. Where could someone hide, where would you hide to ambush someone.
Anticipate anything and everything that could go wrong and think of your best option to avoid becoming a victim.
I know it sounds silly, but it's a good first step to becoming aware of what is going on around you. After a while it will become second nature to anticipate and avoid, which is, after all what we all hope to do.:smile:
 

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Games. none really.
Training, none, I developed my SA on my own.
Exercizes, none really.
My SA training is aperfectly natural response to life.
Try thinking like the BG, if you wanted to jum somebody in a crowded area, who would you target and why?
The BG will look for the small ,the weak or the unaware.
I refuse to be unaware, I try to stay in shape to avoid being weak, I can't do anything about being 5'4" and 125 pounds.
The best advice I can give is to pay attention to everything around you, all the time.
If you pull into a parking lot, pause and look around. Where could someone hide, where would you hide to ambush someone.
Anticipate anything and everything that could go wrong and think of your best option to avoid becoming a victim.
I know it sounds silly, but it's a good first step to becoming aware of what is going on around you. After a while it will become second nature to anticipate and avoid, which is, after all what we all hope to do.:smile:
This is very good advice... Try to "walk a mile in your brother's shoes." aka think like a Bad Guy.... if the BG notices that your head is constantly on a look out they will probably not try anything, or they will but act good to get close enough for you to think they aren't going to do anything i.e. "hey man can i get a dollar?' then when your guard is down they will getcha... JMO
 

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I recently qualified for my Missouri CCW, and find my SA lacking at times. As such, I have been trying to exercise my SA and looking for specific things I can do to improve it.

Actually, I was contemplating starting this exact thread but the OP beat me to it.
 

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There was an exercise/game I learned years ago called the "What if" or the "If, Then" game.

You basically run through scenarios while walking around, explaining to yourself that for instance "If an armed man walks through this door screaming for everyone to get down, Then I am going to run into this room, draw my weapon and ____"

Obviously I wouldn't play this game all day long. The idea behind it is that if something crazy happens you won't have to think "OMG, what do I do now?!" You will already be prepared for it. Some LEOs use it when responding to calls.
 

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There was an exercise/game I learned years ago called the "What if" or the "If, Then" game.

You basically run through scenarios while walking around, explaining to yourself that for instance "If an armed man walks through this door screaming for everyone to get down, Then I am going to run into this room, draw my weapon and ____"

Obviously I wouldn't play this game all day long. The idea behind it is that if something crazy happens you won't have to think "OMG, what do I do now?!" You will already be prepared for it. Some LEOs use it when responding to calls.
In addition to "if then" figure out exactly how you would call for help. Where are you? How can you describe what is going on without being confusing? What can you describe about the BG? What direction did he run after comitting the crime? What is the status of any victims? Go over in your head how things should come out, and you'll sound less like a babbling idiot when something does go down, and may actually be able to help. This is assuming of course that you didn't eliminate the threat, in which case you still have to make a call, but for a different reason.
 

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I'm an avid people watcher. That helps. Walk through a crowded store and see how many faces you remember, or what you notice about people. Try to find people who might be CCW. Look for the people who don't fit in with the rest. See if you remember any cars in the parking lot after you leave.

Also play BG. Look for people not paying attention. Figure out how you would rob or steal if you were a BG.
 

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Get in the habit of looking fro egress from wherever you go. In the mall? Where are the exits? In traffic? What are my escape routes?

From there you will start to ask yourself other questions, like "what if there is a fire, or an active shooter..etc"
 

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SAP = Scan, Anticipate, Prepare to react

This is actually something that I learned in my motorcycle safety course many years ago, but I also apply it as prevention system.

I walk to work every day (about a mile) and what I do is that I look at least two blocks ahead (or around me) to see who and what I see. Then, I create a plan of action after assessing the potential threats.
 

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Interesting Thread. I am a confessed poor SA practitioner so I have begun exercising it, forcing myself to look around. It feels weird so far and I feel self-conscious looking behind me like I'm calling attention to myself. Of course I'm just starting, but how long before it becomes comfortable?
 

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It is like defensive driving. Most of us keep an eye on the other drivers to identify potential threats. It is a habit formed after practicing.
Situational awareness is defensive walking. Keep an eye on the people in your area to identify potential threats. It is a habit that can be formed by practicing. Of course, it is more than when walking, but this approach may get you started.
 

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At times my wife and I will ask each other about situations we should both have seen. We will ask each other about 'clues' to people who have passed, point out people talking on phones, shady characters, etc.
I try to watch 360' around my person...I don't want any 'sneak up interviews.:22a:
 

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It definitely wasn't a game, but before I went to Iraq we did some training with EOD that really opened my eyes.

First they had all of us walk down part of IED Lane, then those of us with Humvee licensees drove down the second part. It was scary how much we all missed.

I don't see how that would help others, but for me that was the incident that really made me realize exactly how important SA is and how badly I was lacking.
 

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Interesting Thread. I am a confessed poor SA practitioner so I have begun exercising it, forcing myself to look around. It feels weird so far and I feel self-conscious looking behind me like I'm calling attention to myself. Of course I'm just starting, but how long before it becomes comfortable?
Comfortable? That varies from person to person. I have always been a "watcher", as far back as I can remember I've watched people, and learned to notice "little things" that stick out to me. Even as a kid I never sat in a position that I couldn't see what was going on around me.
The more you watch, the more natural it becomes and after awhile it will become automatic.
Hubby and I play the "did you see" game quite a bit. I see more things than he does, but I point them out to him, and he's starting to see more on his own.
He still often asks me what I'm looking at when we are out and about, and I have started telling him to look in the same direction to see if he can spot what I'm "seeing".
He has learned a lot about parking lots, looking before he gets out and where to park and where not to park.
Baby steps, but he's getting better, and my daughter is learning too.
 

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I don't think SA can be taught, but is either intrinsic to you or you must experience something which makes it occur. For Lickey up there, it was his experience in IED lane, which certainly makes sense.

I've always been very aware and very in tune with my surroundings. I naturally sit in good SA-conducive areas and positions, am an observer of people and things, and seem to just know when someone is acting oddly or is hiding something. I don't think what I do can be taught.. it's intrinsic to my nature.

To develop it, I would assume you would unfortunately need an experience to spur it on. Watching stuff or counting things isn't going to help, honestly, because you're still going to miss the stuff you missed before. "Count the exits" will only do you good when you notice the exits, but it's not in your nature to even see them. Tihs is pralitaly the rsoaen why you can raed tihs snactene woituht too mcuh tubrloe: your brain is very good at assuming everything is fine because what you first and last encountered is within normal or expected parameters. Until something makes you be more observant or unless you're naturally very observant, you'll continue to miss important SA things because it's not in your intrinsic nature to do that.
 

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as sad as this is going to sound im still going to say it, the way we were trained was through muscle failure. in the barracks we were always challenged (basic training of course) if there was something out of place or someone there and we did not notify someone of the change or even question it we were "gifted" with push ups, leg lifts and mountain climbers among other "fun" things they deemed fit. sure it was miserable but they drilled it in your heads to just PAY ATTENTION to your surroundings. an exercise that i usually work with is what a few people above me mentioned the "what if" game and if that doesn't work for you try having someone challenge you every now and then to see if your "paying attention"
 

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Pretend your a kid again and use your imagination. "Play" a game of "spy." Walk into the grocery store, imagine that there is one enemy agent in disguise who is looking to drop you, and keep your eyes open.

Even a little kids game, you'll be amazed how much you begin to notice every detail.

It should be noted, do not take out your gun while you are "playing". (Also, I shudder at the thought of using a gun in a grocery store...masses of people, no real backstops....good place to practice SA regularly though).
 

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SAP = Scan, Anticipate, Prepare to react

This is actually something that I learned in my motorcycle safety course many years ago, but I also apply it as prevention system.

I walk to work every day (about a mile) and what I do is that I look at least two blocks ahead (or around me) to see who and what I see. Then, I create a plan of action after assessing the potential threats.
Oh yah, I remember this from many many years ago during one of my bike classes also, glad someone thought of this, it goes right along with everything I learned as a military cop and my MA/SDs.

I do stress to my family and friends that I teach that don't be on high alert all the time or you will burn yourself out, it takes a special type of person to be on high alert continously and most people can't do it without burning themselves out. Stay alert, but keep relaxed also, enjoy life at the same time, don't be a victim, but don't let it consume your life. It can be done.
 
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