Maya always cherished weekends. They provided a beautiful breather from her demanding job, allowing her to connect with her three-year-old daughter, Lily. Every Saturday, they’d head to their sanctuary: the quaint local park with its flower-laden paths and glistening pond. Their ritual was simple; Lily would feed the ducks and then dash to the playground, while Maya, ever watchful, observed from a nearby bench.

One sun-drenched afternoon stood out. While absorbing the joyous scenes, a figure near the pond caught Maya’s attention. A solitary man, perhaps in his forties. At a casual glance, he might’ve appeared ordinary, but Maya discerned several anomalies. His heavy jacket on a warm day, no accompanying child or activity, continuously fidgeting hands. Most alarming was his scrutinizing gaze on the children.

Summoning her protective instincts and recalling news stories of child abductions, Maya took swift action. With the help of a nearby couple and a security guard, her concerns were validated as the man was found with disturbing images and illicit substances. Her proactive awareness had ensured safety for her child and many others in the park.

Awareness: Understanding Baselines to Detect Anomalies

In our era of omnipresent digital distractions, cultivating an acute sense of awareness is indispensable. True awareness isn’t just passive observation; it is a thorough understanding of your environment, its baseline, and actively looking for deviations or anomalies.

Defining the Baseline: The ‘baseline’ refers to the expected patterns or norms of behavior in any given environment. It’s the regular hustle and bustle, the sounds, activities, and behaviors typical of a space. Grasping the baseline is paramount because it provides a backdrop against which anomalies can be spotted.

Baseline Variability: Every environment has its inherent baseline, which can shift depending on several factors.

  • Daytime urban streets may have vendors and pedestrians, while at midnight, these streets turn silent and deserted.
  • A park’s baseline on a sunny weekend would involve families and joggers, but on a rainy weekday, it might only attract a few individuals with umbrellas.

Understanding and Recognizing Anomalies: Anomalies are deviations from the baseline. They are activities or behaviors that stand out because they don’t align with what’s typical for that time or place.

  • A sudden loud argument in a typically calm café.
  • Someone lingering without purpose in an event where everyone else seems engaged.

Factors to Consider When Observing Potential Threats:

  • Demeanor: Is someone’s behavior erratic or do they appear overly nervous?
  • Hand Plus Hand: The hands can betray intentions. Are they visible or are they concealing something?
  • Waistband: Frequent and covert adjustments might hint at concealed items.
  • Wingspan: Always be wary of what’s within an individual’s immediate reach.
  • Dress Code: Inappropriate attire for the setting or weather can indicate something’s amiss.
  • Dealing with Unknown Contacts: When approached by someone unfamiliar, maintaining a safe distance and being aware of exit points is crucial. Keep conversations short, and if you feel uncomfortable, trust your instincts and disengage.

Trust Your Instincts: Our primal instincts serve as in-built alarms. If something feels wrong, trust that feeling. It’s always better to err on the side of caution.

Action: Merely being aware isn’t enough. Taking timely action based on your observations is essential. Investing in formal awareness and self-defense training can provide tools to better recognize threats and respond appropriately. In a world full of uncertainties, such proactive measures are invaluable.

About Fierce & Fearless:

Fierce & Fearless, co-founded by Jessica Cargill and Jason Epps, stands as a beacon of empowerment and strength for women in our community. With a steadfast mission to educate and equip women with genuine self-defense skills, this initiative is more than just a training program. It’s a movement, a declaration of independence from fear and vulnerability. Through their expert guidance, women not only learn the techniques to protect themselves but also cultivate a renewed sense of confidence and resilience. Fierce & Fearless is not just about defense—it’s about reclaiming one’s power.

Pride Mixed Martial Arts, Edmond, Oklahoma

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