Situational Awareness:

The Cross Move of Death … Or At Least Inconvenience

by Keith Pascal

You already know that I started studying practical martial arts, because I wanted to get “an edge” — an advantage in the world.

To that end, I quickly realized that I couldn’t do what the masses do and expect to acquire a different skill set.

You also know that I think that most people go through this world just a little more aware than a zombie.

Note: Most people just don’t bother stretching the gray matter in their heads. As an example, lately, I have been doing a magic trick where I have a spectator name a card. You’d be surprised at how many people name the same common card. Most don’t stretch their brain enough to come up with a less chosen pasteboard (card). Mooooo!

We’re about to put both of my points of view together….

 

Lately, I have been reading a lot about situational awareness. This is the awareness that you need when you are out and about.

Do you notice … well … everything?

If you do, that will go a long way to keeping you safer in this world.

I have noticed that the masses, as mentioned before, go through the world without being very aware of their immediate surroundings.

I’m more aware than 98% of the world, and you can be, too.

What I’m talking about is when, where, and how you cross in front of others.

Most people aren’t aware of “people’s potential paths.”

From now on, you will. 🙂 We’ve already talked about cars merging in at the last moment. In a sense, that car is crossing in front of you.

Now, is this person unaware of the construction ahead that’s forcing everyone to merge left, or is the driver just being rude and is taking advantage of the now empty right lane, expecting to cut in at the last moment? (No “cutsies.”)

As I said, this topic is old news in this zine.

So, let’s not talk about cars. People on foot, in a store or at a mall are as bad….

The other day, my wife and I were shopping in our favorite discount warehouse. The place

was packed. (Who knew that the weekend after Labor Day would be just as crowded?

So much for living “off peak.”)

Anyway, as we moved through the store, I counted over half a dozen instances of some unaware person walking right across the path of someone going down the aisle with a cart.

In one case, they bumped, but most of the time the cart pusher made a sudden stop or slow-down, to try to avoid hitting the … two people engaged in a conversation, who crossed right in front of them.

These “crossers” don’t only appear in department stores — you’ll see the unawares crossing in front of cars in parking lots, or worse, walking down the middle of a parking lot lane with a car sluggishly having to wait behind them.

(Oops. I said we wouldn’t talk cars.)

You see others interrupting the path and flow of another in grocery stores, on sidewalks, on campus, in malls, speciality shops, and so on.

Before we move on to crossing over in a fight, I’d like to urge you, if you’re one of the half-asleep walkers who crosses in front of others, to stop.

Stop it, now!

It doesn’t matter if you’re truly unaware or if you’re being rude by not caring if you inconvenience others; neither is befitting of you as a martial artist or caring person.

Now, let’s talk actual martial arts….

For me “crossing” in a fight is when you cross or your opponent crosses one leg in front or behind the other, or when you cross one arm in front or behind the other.

The only time it’s okay to cross in a fight, is when your enemy can’t use such a move to his or her advantage.

For example, if you’re out of range of your opponent’s possible kick, then it might be okay to

cross on leg behind another in preparation for an extended kick.

If you happen to be in range, then such a leg crossover could be used against you. The legs crossing becomes the perfect time for a kick.

One solid kick could smash one leg into the other, dropping you. Your opponent gets to affect two legs (or ankles) with one kick. Ouch.

Again, you should only cross your legs when that action absolutely can’t be used against you, whether because of distance, position, or pressure (energy).

But what about the arms?

With arms, my subconscious also looks for a “two-for-one situation” any time I see another cross one arm in front of or behind the other.

Any time that happens when I’m in range, my reflexes go for the “trap.”

Note: The Third Way of Attack is Attack By Trapping. You want to immobilize one or more arms or legs, to allow you to use one of your limbs to attack.

Of course, the flip side of the coin dictates that while I want to trap my enemy, if he or she is dumb enough to cross limbs within my reach, I also want to avoid my own potential crossovers.

I can do a crossover, if my opponent is well out of range. I can also do one, if it’s impossible, because of timing, for my enemy to get to the point that my limbs cross one another.

One of the most dangerous times to cross one’s arms or legs is while you’re transitioning to a

different position or strike, when “the meanie” is in range.

So, most crossovers have to get eliminated from your repertoire.

The easiest and safest way to strengthen your fighting system is to eliminate its weaknesses.

So, these crossovers have to be thrown out.

In fact, that’s the way I’d like to end this article….

It doesn’t matter whether we’re talking walking across the path of another or crossing one’s legs

close together in a fight; don’t!

Don’t crossover!

With situational awareness, you’ll up your game by being aware of the paths of others.

This is actually very important.

And in a fight, you’ll be eliminating some potential weak spots.

Whew!

(Wink)

Keith

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