A natural or subtly theatrical show of your situational awareness can act as an incidental preventative form of passive self-defense.

“The ultimate objective of self-defense is not to win or overcome, it is to prevent.”     -John Cain

Years ago in preparation for an op, I had to learn the methodology of muggings. Over the course of a couple of weeks somewhere in South America, I did just that, get mugged, repeatedly, on purpose. For research.

There was always my team trailing me for support just in case as “locals”, so I was rarely ever in real danger. But the exercises were real enough.

The most revealing from this research was the targeting methods of these muggers.

I masqueraded as a full-blown tourist as well as disguised as various local types, both with and without broadcasting obvious signs of wealth; jewelry, designer brands, iPhones and cameras.

Once. I only got mugged once. So I switched it up. I turned off my training (or better yet, made it look like I did) to make myself look clueless on the streets.

I made it visible to make it seem like I had no situational awareness. To look lost and confused.

So that was it. It wasn’t being a tourist or a local with money that made me a target, it was the lack of awareness of my immediate situation.

It’s not breaking news but it stuck with me since then that an assailant, or specifically in this case, a mugger, prefers to target obvious weakness over obvious wealth, even when the endgame is financial.

In the beginning, regardless of my impeccable tourist outfits and active urban camouflage, I was on high alert and therefore my situational awareness was projecting. This effectively prevented me from being mugged by way of passive self-defense.



Most street crimes are committed against the easiest prey. Being and visibly projecting situational awareness makes for a harder prey.

While far from the most effective self-defense tactic, it can almost always be “on” to prevent an action against you to begin with. And that is after all the ultimate form of self-defense, prevention.

Even if you’re not adeptly situationally aware at any given scenario, projecting it theatrically can be faked like any purposed outward body language.

Just move with a purpose and act like you belong.

[The featured photo was taken at the Hwaseong Fortress City of Gyeonggi Province, Korea.]

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  1. Thank you for this, very informative and will try to use in my everyday life abroad.

  2. Yankee Tango Reply

    Been reading your intel for a while now but just decided to become a pro member. Looking forward for more knowledge brother!

  3. Mr Cain-Mugging Prevention ??-Many years ago when me and my Wife to be (STILL MARRIED 17+ YEARS ON) WERE IN San Francisco for a long weekend of shopping etc.We ha donly been dating for a year or so and this was our first trip together away from home-Went out for breakfast out UNION SQ. were leaving the establishment about 9.00am out onto the street-before we exited the establishment I told Wife to lock down her stuff before we exited into the throng.
    She asked me were we were going?I replied-“i don’t know ,but I’m going to look as though I know”
    Moral of the story-Be confident.own the street look like you belong ,have a plan even if you don’t know exactly were you are going,be aware-It’s the difference between standing here or standing there -they will go for an easier target IT’S EASY TO SURVIVE

    happy new year thanks for the wisdom -tim24

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