Avert dangers: the concept of constant attention

How can we avert dangers?

When an antelope drinks from the brook, it is calm but its senses are all aimed to capture every little environmental anomaly.

Despite all the tricks that the predator can use, he will find difficult to catch us by surprise:

  • If we are naturally connected with the surroundings
  • If we know where and how common risks born
  • If our senses are instinctively controlling the scenario
  • If we know what is normal and what not in the context where we are

Human reaction times cannot help us

Our reflexes:

  • Have reaction limits beyond which no training can lead us
  • Can only slightly be increased (on average it is something like 250 milliseconds for a visual stimulus)
  • Are completely useless if our body is not profoundly trained to perform the correct actions
  • On their own, do not go beyond the fright and / or the uncontrolled muscle spasm if not conditioned

Theoretically, the (main) skills to be attached to good reflexes are:

Unfortunately, this is very far to be enough. If we are caught:

  • By surprise (eg. while we are reading a book)
  • By a short distance (eg. in a pub at our shoulders)
  • Without any guard stance (eg. from a person we know that has access to our safe area)

The unexpected attacker has always an overwhelming advantage and on the other side:

  • We have to feel his presence – With our senses we have to precisely know where he is (eg. behind us)
  • We have to understand his intentions – Sometimes sight is not at our disposal and we cannot assault everyone is potentially dangerous
  • We have to understand the type of attack – We have to be able to prepare a countermove to frustrate his action (eg. the throw of a beer bottle)

In some cases, we are talking about fractions of a second and no one, not even the record-man of mankind could fill this type gap (it would be necessary to move at speeds that the human body can not express).

Constant attention

Things like reflexes, speed, etc. are decisive when a combat is already started but at the beginning of an improvised self-defense situation, they are useless. To remedy to this physiological lack comes into play the concept of “constant attention”.

Before explaining what this skill is we need to review what is not (and should not be):

  • It does not mean to get distracted from our life to analyze the possible dangers
  • It does not mean to be afraid of everything and all
  • It does not mean isolating / limiting our social relationships
  • It does not mean to live in a constant state of agitation / anxiety
  • It does not mean to lose sleep at every sound, light or bad look of a stranger
  • It does not mean to judge people by their aspect/nationality/etc.

How to approach to constant attention

A few thoughts:

  • Even the strongest lion always attacks the weakest gazelle – It is interesting to stress that a person who possesses the constant attention skill is normally recognized by a big part of the potential aggressors (eg. thieves, rapists, etc.) and consequentially avoided
  • Constant attention is not for superhumans only – We do not need to have a formidable psychophysical talent to develop constant attention, it is enough to have constancy and concentration capability
  • Constant attention increases our mind’s calculation capacity – It makes us acuter because it forces our mind to perform unconscious actions and analysis that normally does not (or it does superficially)
  • Constant attention must help us to live in a more serene way (not the opposite) – Sometimes it could be very funny to share our exaggerated impressions with our friends (we do not have to live in a paranoid way to prevent dangers that probably will come 10 times in a life)

In the next article of this series, we will see how does constant attention works in the 6 Dragons Kung Fu (read Constant attention: what is and how it works).

In-depth articles


Reply in the comments and share your experience:

  • When a person arrives behind you and puts a hand on your shoulder, how do you react?

Author: Master Kongling

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