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.
This projection of situational awareness can translate to non-verbal body language that shows confidence, alertness and even competence. It has the potential to make you too much of a difficult target or dismiss you as one altogether.
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.