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Self defense is seeing danger patterns early


Many people feel powerless against potential criminal attacks or activities. They don’t even think self defense will work. Crime seems too quick or too random to defend against.

That kind of thinking is precisely what criminals like to plant in the minds of their would-be victims. People in denial or who think like a victim before an attack are easier to manipulate.

Good news, everyone! Danger is more predictable than you think.

You simply have to know what you know and know when that changes.

Seeing Differently
Confused? Don’t be. Here are a few everyday examples of pattern recognition:

  • Parents know the patterns of noise and silence their children create. A noisy child playing in the backyard growing suddenly silent, demands investigation. Same goes for a silently sleeping child who starts yelling or crying.
  • A sales clerk can tell from the body language of those in her checkout line how tough the next few minutes will be. Sighs, eye rolls, or slumping shoulders indicate impatience and more surly customers. If the customers are alert, pleasantly talking to one another, or waiting patiently, the checker knows the next few minutes will go smoothly.
  • A person steps into the office or workplace and notices the tension level could be cut with a knife. There is little to no conversation, everyone is working at an exaggerated pace, and co-workers refuse eye contact or greeting. It’s apparent the big boss is probably on a rampage, and you do your best to avoid being noticed.

Game of Clue
Much of police work or tracking someone in the mountains is knowing what is out of place. For the cop, it might be a furtive look at a hidden stash. For the tracker, it might be vegetation or landscape disturbed in unusual ways.

Even if the environmental clues of potential crime go unheeded by most, it does not mean they aren’t there.

Ever had people plan a surprise party for you? If you were surprised on the day of the party, you will think back and likely remember a multitude of missed clues. Conversations abruptly ending as yPatternDisruptedou entered the room, whispered exchanges, or party planners attempting to conceal their sudden funny or guilty expressions spreading across their faces. Such patterns of deception are easier to see in hindsight.

Similarly, cues signaling danger exist as well. You know what is normal or safe and are aware of those patterns associated with the common events of your life. You must note when those patterns change:

  • You come home from work and start to slide the key in your front door when you notice the curtains in the front window curtains are shut. You immediately think, “I’m sure I left those open.”
  • You start to walk into your local bank on a warm, sunny day, but see a tough-looking character wearing a heavy winter coat entering just ahead of you. You think, “Doesn’t this guy know it’s 95 degrees out here? Crazy fool.”
  • You know the neighbors a couple of doors down and across the street fight and scream at each other every day. Twice the police came to calm the situation down. For two days there has been silence, and now at just after dusk, you see from your window a stranger loading a number of belongings into a van you have never seen before.
  • You make a late-night shopping run and are now returning to your car with your arms full of groceries. The lot is nearly empty, but a van is parked next to your car on the driver’s side.
  • New neighbors move into a run-down house near you. They seem OK, but you keep smelling rotten eggs or cat urine coming from their place and they open windows with fans in them sometimes on the coldest of days.

Inner Warrior Eyes
Danger patterns are most always present before an attack, even if we don’t sense them (and this is not a reason to beat yourself up should you happen to miss them.) Sadly, many people remember them after the assault as they replay the incident ad nauseam in their minds. They may suddenly remember a shadow in the rear view mirror they didn’t pay attention to, a certain odd look of triumph on a predator’s face they had dismissed, or how the story a date-rapist told them in the bar seemed to be filled with holes.


To be clear, it’s not that every person wearing a heavy coat in the summer is rigged with explosives. Nor is every house reeking of funny odors like cat urine a meth lab. When it comes to sensing danger patterns, you want to develop a self defense skill that creates connectivity between your subconscious and conscious mind so your Inner Warrior can see the danger you might otherwise miss.

If you honor your intuition and you keep your awareness skills primed by staying in code yellow, then sensing danger patterns will become much easier.


Take a look around you today. Open your eyes and “spidey senses” to the ebb and flow of your life. What patterns do you notice are in place and which are disrupted?

Thank you for visiting and learning about self defense.
If you think others can benefit, please pass it on!

Lori Hoeck

Photo Credits:   uair01 (top), John-Morgan (middle), EKavet

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • TrinaMb November 4, 2009, 10:57 am

    sound thinking, nice presentation Lori

  • vered | blogger for hire November 5, 2009, 2:10 pm

    Your tips and insights are always interesting. Do you think we need to be so aware even if we live in a “safe” area with very low crime rates? Or are we never truly safe?

  • Lori Hoeck November 5, 2009, 2:25 pm

    Hi TrinaMb,
    Why, thank you, thank you very much!

    Hi Vered,
    I’m still working on answering that in a post for you! Here’s a preview: the question to ask isn’t “How safe is my neighborhood?”, but “How strong are my self defense skills, my emergency preparedness, and my survival mindset?” To steal from Forrest Gump: “Safe is as safe does.” (Ooooh, I like that!)

  • vered | blogger for hire November 5, 2009, 5:59 pm

    Looking forward to reading that post. 🙂