A seasoned attacker is a world-class profiler. They are looking for hints in your posture, gaze, gait, other body language and verbal ques to determine whether or not you will be easy prey. There is one thing that you are likely doing right now to appear more like a victim and you are not even aware of it. Fear not, it is a simple thing to fix once you are aware of what to change. It is a simple yet powerful change in how you interact with a would be attacker that can mean the difference between life and death.
The behavior you are likely engaging in that is making you appear more like a victim is this: checking out a potential threat with your peripheral vision. What do I mean by this? Imagine the following example: You are walking downtown in your local city late at night when you catch a shadowy figure in your peripheral vision. Many people's natural tendency in this situation is to put their head down, angle their eyes down and away from the shadowy figure and keep walking, not wanting to make eye-contact. This can communicate to the attacker that you are ready and willing to be victimized.
It is FAR better in this situation to make direct eye contact with the potential attacker. This lets the attacker know that you are aware of their presence. In addition to that, it allows you to gather more information about the potential attacker. It also allows your intuition to get an ever better gauge on their intent thanks to the increased information.
This may seem counter intuitive but let me placate you here: You will not turn a peaceful, non-violent transient into a violent, murdering killing-machine simply by making direct eye contact with them. Some people say you should not make direct eye contact because that will make them upset. Look to your own life as an example though. Have people on the street ever made direct eye contact with you or you with them? Yes. Did that direct eye contact send you into a violent episode where you tracked them down and killed them? Likely not. You stand everything to gain by getting a good look at your potential attacker and very little (if anything) to lose.
In an age where so many people's eyes live between their cell phone screens, someone who looks up and directly at a would-be attacker is far more risky to engage with than approaching someone lost in iPhone land. Do not fear making eye contact. Look at them. See all there is to see so that your intuition (see previous blog post) can make the best assessment of the threat and situation. Let them know that you know.
Just as you fear direct eye contact so do they. It is unnerving to suddenly have someone stare at you. How do you think you will make them feel? From their perspective, they feel hidden and secluded sizing you up when suddenly you stare right at them and fully acknowledge their presence. It throws their rhythm off and may be all that is necessary to deter them from attacking.
Always remember warriors, the greatest fight is the one that never happened.
The Warrior Speaker Blog is a collection of warrior lessons Alexander has learned in addition to practical information about protecting yourself and all that you deem most personal.