Situational Awareness and Inattentional Blindness (diary entry)

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Wednesday’s lunch time Self-Protection lesson with Kingham Hill School was largely a soft skills affair to start off the second half of term. We went through awareness as a presentation and discussion before revising the hard skills material from previous lessons.

 

We first looked at the phenomenon on inattentional blindness using a couple of videos. Firstly, we looked at a drama that demonstrated how an individual going about their normal regular day can be completely oblivious to a serious crisis occurring around him. The class then discussed how this might happen. Humans in familiar environments or going through everyday behaviours tend to go into autopilot and zone out what is going on around them as they concentrate on other things. We discussed how we can all be guilty of not being in the moment and often not thinking about our journey from one place to another during our day. As my coach, Mo Teague, often pointed out the news is full of stories of victims of serious crimes who had not factored in the possibility of an assault in their day. We then did a visual test that brought up how easy it was to miss out various changes when we focus on one thing.

 

Next we moved onto the Jeff Cooper Colour Code as a simple way to describe states of awareness. This method is flawed in some respects, but is a simple way to introduce concepts of elevating states of awareness. We then brought this into the field of situational awareness. Here we went through people, places, hazards and changes. This brought up my recent podcast, “Pinocchio’s Valentine and the Handshake Hit”, regarding the dangers of keeping the wrong company. We discussed how time could change the threat dynamic of the safest of environments. Hazards addressed not only the presence of incidental and improvised weapons but also secondary hazards in a crisis situation i.e. getting hit by a moving vehicle when fleeing a dangerous situation. Changes ran through all of these elements as did context. This brought up survival instincts and intuition. We also covered healthy and function awareness versus hypervigilance and unawareness.

 

The remaining part of the lesson was a run through of using the fence to pre-empt an assault and use of incidental combinations. Then we went through regaining the initiative from the cover. All of these responses were completed with tactical escapes to safe points.

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