I have no social media accounts; all purported ones are fake.

The maddest skills in the world won’t help if you can’t tell when you need to use them.

The maddest skills in the world won’t help if you can’t tell when you need to use them.


What’s the easiest way to defeat a martial artist? As it turns out, it’s the same way you defeat just about anyone: you wait until their mind is on something else.

Out of New Zealand comes the sad story about a young MMA instructor named Tyson Murugan, who was stabbed to death on the street for, apparently, his cell phone.

How does someone who presumably knows how to take care of himself get into a position where he can be stabbed in the chest and stomach? According to reports, he was listening to music through his earbuds and likely didn’t notice the attack coming.

Distraction is a hugely important but rarely talked about part of personal safety. We often talk about awareness, but awareness is nothing more than the management of distraction. Being more aware shouldn’t be the goal; being less distracted should be.

We all get distracted. Many times in every single day, in fact. Whether that distraction is the menu at the restaurant, an intriguing companion, the malfunctioning copy machine, or any one of a thousand different things, it leads to times when a criminal can take advantage of us.

To be safe we need to learn to manage those distractions: control the amount of our awareness we allow them to monopolize; dictate where we allow them to impact on our attention; and realize when a distraction might be acceptable and when it isn’t.

Walking down the street is neither the time nor the place to allow yourself to be distracted by music. There are times and places where it would be appropriate, but on the sidewalk probably isn’t it. If the reports are accurate, Mr. Murugan paid the ultimate price for his inability to manage that distraction.

Keep in mind that this isn’t some magic formula for complete safety; sometimes you can do everything right and still lose. It is, however, a way to significantly shift the odds in your favor. After all, it’s a lot easier to sneak up on someone when he’s looking the other way.

Internalize this: you only have so much awareness to work with at any given moment. You need to apportion that awareness so that you can both live your life and be able to respond to a threatening situation. Making sure that you’re not distracted, or that distractions are minimized and rapidly disposed of, is the main tool you’ll use to do so.

-=[ Grant ]=-

  • Posted by Grant Cunningham
  • On July 31, 2014

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