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Self Defense & Personal Awareness

What does personal awareness mean to you? Could this be you walking along the street focused on your phone and little else? by Pixabay via free

What does personal awareness mean? In some Self Defense training courses and workshops it refers to how you present yourself in public.

1. Do you walk with purpose with your head up scanning the area in front of you for potential danger or are you distracted by your phone, e-Reader, smart tablet or music playing through your headphones or earbuds?

2. Does what you are wearing obscure your vision or hearing? Maybe what you have on will impede your escape, or hamper your ability to physically defend yourself?

3. Are you keeping a safe distance from potentially dangerous people and places?

Do you ever take these things into consideration when going out in public?

In all of the Personal Safety – Self Defense Courses and Workshops we role-play different street situations. One of these role-plays involves having 3 participants walk across the room, while the others observe.

– The first will walk with an erect posture and their head will be moving from side-to-side scanning the area around them.

– The second will be walking with their hands in their pockets and looking down, sometimes with a hoodie pulled up over their heads.

– The third will be walking with a smart phone in their hands as though they were texting.

I explain to the participants who are watching the other 3 walk that they are predators looking for their next prey. After they have observed the 3 possible victims walk back and forth a few times I ask them to choose who they would attack. They can choose more than one target.

– The first one, who is paying attention to their surroundings very seldom gets chosen as a potential victim.

– The second one, who is walking with their hands in their pockets looking down and or with a hoodie up, is often chosen as a likely target.

– The third, walking with the phone and texting is always the first choice of the class as you might expect.

When I ask why they chose the person texting as their victim. The first answer is usually something like “they aren’t paying attention,” which is correct, but what they sometimes forget to add is the mugger can see you have a phone and it is worth taking the risk to attack. The attacker can get anywhere from $50 to $150 for that phone. It may range as high as $300 for the right phone.

Imagine walking down the street with 5 twenty dollar bills fanned out in your hands and you are looking at the money and not paying any attention to what is going on around you. That is what you look like to a predator when you are have your head down texting. They may only grab your phone and run, or they may hit you first before taking your phone.

You might feel safe sitting in your car texting or talking, but maybe not? Read about what happened to Megan Boken when she was spotted on her phone by two predators.

Be aware of your surroundings and who is nearby. It is better to identify and avoid potentially dangerous people, places and situations than it is to physically defend yourself.

If you are interested in a Personal Safety/Self-Defense Class for you, your child’s high school, college, business, or organization contact me at

Thousands of adult men and women as well as high school and college students have learned how to improve their personal and situational awareness and to physically defend themselves using a wide variety of Martial Arts techniques.

Ed Kress
For over 40 years Ed Kress has been an instructor and student at the Degerberg Academy of Martial Arts, named "Best Overall Martial Arts School” worldwide by Black Belt Magazine. Master Fred Degerberg awarded Ed his 7th degree Black Belt in 2015. Growing up on Chicago’s Southside, Ed learned early in life to pay attention to his surroundings in order to avoid potentially dangerous people and situations. With the help of local law enforcement officers and directors of campus security, Ed developed a program focused on personal safety on the streets, and as it relates to the high school and college experience. Ed has trained thousands of adult men and women as well as high school and college students to improve their personal and situational awareness and, when necessary, how to physically defend themselves using their brains and a wide variety of martial arts techniques.

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