I was strolling home from town the other day, down some quiet back streets when I noticed that I was slowly gaining on a young lady walking down the same street as myself. As it happened we were going the same way and after a few turns and crossing of the road, I felt that she was becoming increasingly uneasy. She kept glancing behind and when we got close to her home she almost ran to her front door, fumbled with the keys from her bag, jumped inside and slammed the door.
She obviously was worried that I was a potential attacker (I was getting worried for her), tall guy, black hoodie (hood down), following along behind her she was understandably concerned for her safety, as even though this was in the middle of the day there was no one else in sight.
Her home had a very small front garden, with only a few steps from the pavement to her front door. It would have been easy to attack her in this instance, but she was actually aware of her own vunerability, her surroundings and potential threats. I felt sorry that she had become alarmed but also quite pleased that she had actually been aware of a potentially dangerous situation.
There were a few things she could have done to be safer. She hadn't taken her keys out ready to get in, she had bags galore and no free hands.
Moving on a few more streets, and I ended up behind an older lady who was not so aware of her surroundings. I overtook her and as I did so she almost jumped out of her skin.
In Kenpo we hope to achieve enviromental awareness. This means being aware of what is around you, on you (clothing, bags, valuables etc) and in you (any negatives - injuries, sickness, restrictions, and positives, knowledge, skill, fitness, flexibility etc).
In the first instance the young lady, although she became worried, at least she was aware, she would have stood a fighting chance, and could have screamed for help. In the second instance this older lady would have had zero chance to even scream.
As an instructor of a martial art that is based upon realistic street self defence, I so wish that people took a few hours out of their busy lives to learn even the basics, to keep themselves safe. You can't live your life in fear but with a simple grasp of the basics you might have a fighting chance if someone means you real harm.
Please be aware (not afraid), and stay safe.