Author Topic: YOUR POWERS OF OBSERVATION- swanson  (Read 6410 times)

Offline swanson

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YOUR POWERS OF OBSERVATION- swanson
« on: December 07, 2008, 07:40:55 AM »
Something I wanted to share from my own travels and is useful in a general survival sense...

swanson

OBSERVATION SKILLS

I have taught quite a few students different skill sets and weapons handling procedures, but teaching that stuff only goes so far in being useful to the student at large.

You can be tough and as High-speed and low-drag as they come, but even if you are all that, you still have to be aware of trouble to mitigate it.

Teaching someone how to SEE and not just look is one of the hardest things to accomplish. You've got to get a student to turn his own light bulb <awareness> on and scan for relavant information in his or her environment that affects personal safety and security.

Having driving and fighting skills is not enough to mitigate threats to your survival. Your skills must be coupled with clarity and an alert and discriminating consciousness. You can't just look and see a problem, you have to SEE...

“SEE, DON’T JUST LOOK.”

Observational skills are critical to staying safe.

For too many folks, too often, their situational awareness suffers due to a lack in presence of mind.

Folks get distracted by thoughts and forget where they are and how having situational awareness (or lack thereof) affects their safety and security.

General observational skills must be cultivated and used to enhance your survival.

Think about the activities you partake in and weigh the risks of the situations you find yourself in.

Do your assessments and pay attention!!! This is a daily ordeal, not just something to do when TSHTF.

Develop the ability to discriminate what poses a danger to you and what does not.

See what “fits” in your environment and what stands out as a danger. SEE the problem before it happens. Too, often You will see what you want to see instead of recognizing trouble for what it is.

This is an active skill and DON’T JUST LOOK…

Scan for relevant information and focus accordingly.

Here's a little exercise in "seeing" .vs "looking"...

What's different in this picture?



Did you find it?

Here's some more notes on what we SEE -

- 2 observations per second
- 120 observations per minute
- 3200 observations per hour

Remember, your mind will see what it wants to; the eyes will often lie...

What do you think?

Offline archer

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Re: YOUR POWERS OF OBSERVATION- swanson
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2008, 08:09:19 AM »
I see it... +1..

Offline firetoad

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Re: YOUR POWERS OF OBSERVATION- swanson
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2008, 08:22:39 AM »
Great post!

That picture is a great example for your post!  I knew that the "first" observation I had was not correct.  So, I left the picture and came back.  Then it popped out!  Pretty cool!

I was very fortunate to have had some training with some great instructors in the past.  All of these instructors greatly emphasized the importance of situational awareness.  They always stated, it is the one that you don't see that gets you.  While this seems to be just common sense, there is more to it than just the literal.  "The one you don't see" can easily be the 75 year old grandmother that you let your observation guard down on.  

I know I find myself always looking for escape routes whether driving, stopped in traffic or in a store.  To look properly, one must be able to determine what the threats are you need to escape from.  

This post is a little disjointed but I could go on and on as many here could.  I just wanted to hit a few hi points.

Offline swanson

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Re: YOUR POWERS OF OBSERVATION- swanson
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2008, 08:26:28 AM »
Here's some more...

swanson



"OAR not OR"

O - Observe (SEE) what populates your environment
A - Assess what you need to do about it
R - React by carrying out the required action

NOT

Observe
React


Offline swanson

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Re: YOUR POWERS OF OBSERVATION- swanson
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2008, 08:35:19 AM »
firetoad,

Thanks for your response and input; a welcomed addition on the subject.

How can we collectively make this post a bit less disjointed?

Any more assistance you can offer (or anyone else) would be appreciated by me. I put this together this morning in a haze from my first cup of coffee (I need about 3 to function properly).

I believe that situational awareness is the bedrock of survival and don't want to leave any stone unturned on this subject if we can collectively do better.

Regards,

swanson



Offline firetoad

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Re: YOUR POWERS OF OBSERVATION- swanson
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2008, 08:54:48 AM »
swanson,

I am so sorry, I did not mean your post.  Your post was well laid out.  I meant my post was a little disjointed in that it jumped between three different points without much, if any, transitional "language."

Offline swanson

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Re: YOUR POWERS OF OBSERVATION- swanson
« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2008, 09:08:58 AM »
firetoad,

Sorry for my misunderstanding.

I think everything you have related is cogent and thought out as well.

Thanks again.

swanson

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Re: YOUR POWERS OF OBSERVATION- swanson
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2008, 11:32:15 AM »
Here's a couple of more thoughts...

swanson

The faster we move through our observations to SEE the needed and relevant information present, the more accelerated a response can become. This is not unlike the O.O.D.A. loop.

I assert that developing a set of scanning sequences can help us put context to the use of our observational powers.
For instance:

THE DRIVING SCAN

When on the road, scanning is crucial to making sound judgments on interacting with road conditions, potential threats, and the other vehicles that surround you.
If you look immediately to the front you when driving, often, your brain cannot cope with the amount of information you are asking it to absorb.

Moving fast can confuse the brain and create problems in making sound judgments.

Here’s some factors to think about when doing the driving and observing things “at speed”:

•   The faster you go, the less you see.
•   Speed necessitates looking further ahead.
•   Without training/experience, you may miss what is crucial information available in the distance.
•   Subconsciously our observations come closer to the vehicle. 
•   With speed tunnel vision sets in.
•   120 observations per min becomes 60 at speed

CLOSE-NEAR-FAR SCANNING

To assist in combating velocity’s effect on driving observations and judgment, systematically observe things in a close-near-far fashion of scanning.
Do this in a continuous cycle as you drive and search your environment for threats.

THE CLOSE SCAN

•   What is immediately in front and around your vehicle?
•   What danger may be coming at you very quickly?
•   What dangers are you aware of already?
•   How many times have you already scanned the area in question?
•    Prioritize the dangers you have observed and concentrate on threat.
•   Utilize your Peripheral vision and team member/passenger input.

THE NEAR SCAN

•   Do exactly as you did in the close scan, but extend your vision further out to attain new observations.
•   Again, prioritize hazards, what can hurt me? What can I dismiss?

THE FAR SCAN

•   Observe as far ahead as possible give yourself time make reasonable assessments and plan ahead.
•   Again, Prioritize dangers and act accordingly.

Here's another excercise...

Look at this picture and apply the close-near-far scan and search for potential hazards and threats as if you were driving in a high threat environment like Baghdad -

Think - close, then - Near, then Far, and over again...



What did you OBSERVE with your scan, and how would you have proceeded?

Here's some of what I OBSERVED as having to manage....

CLOSE - NEAR - FAR



Offline Beetle

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Re: YOUR POWERS OF OBSERVATION- swanson
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2008, 09:58:48 PM »
What's the red circle?

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Re: YOUR POWERS OF OBSERVATION- swanson
« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2008, 08:50:22 AM »
Bailey,

Great question and thanks for bringing it up.

Understanding what the red circle represents is obscure and I should have explained...(I am sorry for that)

<Red circle = the top threat judged by the driver's scan>

This is not readily apparent with just the photo, but one of the big dangers faced in Baghdad were terrorist cell, bomb teams.

The red circle was to indicate the very real danger represented by the 2 vehicles and the potential pedestrian (lookout) in the far distance. This may seem to be an overreaction, but is not considering that cars, people, and roadside debris in Iraq "blew up" at an alarmingly common rate at the time of this picture.

For right or wrong, it's all about making judgment calls under the pressures of timing and the existing threats in your environment, or in this case, your battle-space.

In cases where observations like this represented a potential danger of this magnitude, we would seek to pass the danger area going in a counter-traffic flow fashion on the wrong side of the road pushing any oncoming traffic to the berm for our safety and theirs.

While this all may seem an overreaction in judgment and action, it is not considering the setting.

The sad part is- how many other things could have been "red circles" considering the criteria given?

Here's a few others that might have been red circles:

- The car at the intersection on the right.
- Oncoming traffic might be a serious threat as well.
- The guard rails on the left are a danger because bombs were often attached to their backsides.
- Was their any possibility that an I.E.D. might be placed under the the dirt patch to the close right in the picture.

Ask yourself, do you operate in a threat-laden environment and how would you proceed?

For me, whether in an environment like this or on the streets back home, I sit amazed at the amount of judgment calls we all make every day and am impressed at the amount of calculations that are processed in an instant when we drive and observe.

Making assessments based on our observations might never lead us all to the same conclusions, but this all should illustrate the need to sharpen your own observational skills and apply them to your environment.

swanson




Offline swanson

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Re: YOUR POWERS OF OBSERVATION- swanson
« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2008, 08:53:50 AM »
HERE IS AN OBSERVATIONS PROJECT FOR ANYONE WHO IS GAME...

1. Take a snapshot of a place you frequent and assess it like we have above.
2. Then, share your results on the thread.

This might help us all peer into our environments with a fresh look for hazards and common dangers.

swanson

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Re: YOUR POWERS OF OBSERVATION- swanson
« Reply #11 on: December 08, 2008, 11:26:09 PM »
Good one I didn't even realize it was a dirt patch.

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Re: YOUR POWERS OF OBSERVATION- swanson
« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2008, 07:01:30 AM »
I saw the dirt patch, I was thinking a construction truck could suddenly appear. I was not even thinking about the possibility of an IED.

Offline Dan

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Re: YOUR POWERS OF OBSERVATION- swanson
« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2008, 02:06:21 PM »
- Was their any possibility that an I.E.D. might be placed under the the dirt patch to the close right in the picture.
This was the first thing that struck me about the picture but the little piece of debris beyond that didn't register as a potential threat. Not having been in that environment I wouldn't have thought something that small would be a problem although I suppose something could be under the road covered by that debris.

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Re: YOUR POWERS OF OBSERVATION- swanson
« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2008, 05:12:57 PM »
To give some more perspective and background...

Here's some illustrations and examples of the nasties that could be found in your travels around Iraq -

swanson











Offline swanson

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Re: YOUR POWERS OF OBSERVATION- swanson
« Reply #15 on: December 09, 2008, 05:22:42 PM »
Here's a picture what can happen if you get caught making a bad judgment, don't see trouble coming, or cannot escape the ambush/Get off the "X"...

I provide this as a sobering reminder of  the violence that is the results of terrorism and our enemies.

Stay vigilant....

swanson

<GRAPHIC IMAGE> - Admin, please remove if over the line in taste and/or not appropriate on the forum.