Simple Exercises to Develop your awareness for personal protection

Posted on June 18, 2015 • Filed under: Crime, Ecuador, Latin America News

You hear it often when discussing crime in forums about traveling or living in foreign locations – “Stay Alert”, Use Common Sense”, “Be Aware of your Surroundings”. All good advice but what it does not instruct you on, is how to develop those skills. How do you learn those things? It is similar to baseball, which I consider the great educator of many of life’s lessons, You can show someone how to hold the bat and say see the ball and hit the ball. But what is missing for most want to be batters is they have not developed the muscle memory to do the job when they are up to plate in a game and it is time to hit.

Personal safety is much the same. You can have capstun, mace, or other instruments for your protection but if you have not learned how to use them, you are out of luck when crunch time is on and you are being accosted or robbed. How many times I have been told by a victim, well I had the capstun in my purse. Even without those tools there are steps we can take as individuals to minimize the odds of becoming a victim while out shopping, walking ect no matter where you are at.

Here are two very simple, low tec or no tec ways to help insure your safety when you are out and about. Think of them as playing a game. But develop them in your everyday self talk until it becomes habit. While there is no guarantee they are 100 percent in all situations, you clearly will have learned to be more aware of your surroundings and what is going on around you. This method that I call “what if?” will allow you to develop your mental muscle of being aware much as the batter taking thousands of practice swings before he is at bat. When facing that pitcher, he will be much more aware of how to respond when he is delivered the pitch.


This exercise is designed to keep you alert and aware. You are walking down the street in Quito and you simply ask yourself “what if?” and then give yourself a scenario and let your mind give you an answer. What if that child approaching me asks for money, how do I respond? What if a group of children approach me asking me for money. How do I respond?

What happens and why would an apparent local ask me for directions when I am clearly a foreigner?

The scenarios are limitless and can really exercise your brain power in staying alert and being aware of your surroundings. This exercise also works very well in developing your defensive driving skills.


Very similar to number one but in this exercise or game you think specifically as to if you are in a any situation and assaulted. You ask yourself, if I was attacked at this time what are five items in your vicinity that you could use as a weapon to defend yourself. Is the pen on the desk? Is it the paper weight? Is it a trash can? Is it a chair? Is it the glass on the table?

Believe me that when these types of incidents happen you will not have time to think. You don’t want to say “well it happened so fast”. Attacks often happen within a one to two second period of time. You need to be using your brain muscle memory to be able to act and defend yourself without thinking. Like the batter up to bat. You can not think the swing, you must already be prepared. You will find these two very simple exercises extremely valuable at making yourself more aware of your surroundings. And remember, don’t be paranoid, be aware.


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