Situational Awareness Training – Choked and Robbed Case Study

Situational Awareness Training: Case Study

Surprise and Panic are two factors that make the average person freeze when suddenly attacked. Good Situational Awareness is key to Self Defence. In fact, the best self defence is prevention, rather than cure. Ultimately, you don’t want to fight or be put in a position where you have to defend yourself. That’s why situational awareness training is key.

Today we look at how poor situational awareness lead to this man being choked unconscious and robbed. We will look at the mistakes made as well as his opportunities to escape or fight back. Keep watching.



This victim made a number of mistakes we can learn from. Most of all we will examine how he got himself into this situation and the steps he could of taken to defend himself. For ease you can follow along with the video above and read the pointers below. I’ve timecoded my observations to help you better analyse the event.

How the Offender Selects his Victim

0.55 Victim selection is often made on vulnerability and opportunity. The offending first assesses the environment in advance. This gives him an opportunity to check for bystanders, witnesses, and potential escape routes. This offender is better aware of his environment than his potential victim. In fact, the victim pays no attention to the offender when walking up the stairs.

1:05 It’s likely that the victim was selected because he was distracted talking on his phone. Look closely and you will see that the victim is balancing his phone between his shoulder and ear.

1:33 Now that the victim is marked as distracted and vulnerable. The offender had enough time to prepare for the attack. This allowed him to calmly draw his firearm. Calmness of your attacker is another consideration in your self defence.

The Method of Attack

1:56 Still standing at his door the victim is completely unaware of the offenders approach. Key to note that the offender was going to step to the victims left to box him into the corner. Classic robbery tactic is to confine the space of the target. In this case, the victims lack of awareness allowed the offender to change his tactics and circle to the weaker side of the victim.

2:04 Note how the offender reaches over the shoulder of the victim to take the phone. Still unaware the victim lost an opportunity to identify the weapon and act accordingly.

2:25 At this stage the victim is in shock. He is paralysed and unable to make a decision and or take action. Compliance is acceptable at this stage, but you must at least face your attacker to ensure your further safety.

Situational Awareness – Spot these Mistakes 

2:38 Surprisingly the offender puts his pistol on the ground in order to free his hands. Perhaps correct situational awareness combined with orientation would have allowed the victim to run even fight to escape.

2:45 The offender now has two arms to take the back of the victim to choke him. The calmness of the offender allowed him to make a smoother transition to attack.

2:55 The victim still hangs on to his phone.

3:09 At this stage, the offender has put down his firearm. His top arm is exposed in the rear naked choke. This is the opportunity for the victim to pull off the back arm that that is blocking the choke. Instead the victim holds his bag.

3:33 The offender has some experience in applying the rear naked choke. Perhaps he has trained MMA or some BJJ as he correctly transitions to the rear arm behind the neck and hides this arm with his head. Now making it impossible to unlock the choke.

3:50 After he passes out. The offender takes his wallet and phone.



You must be aware of who is paying attention to you in your environment. People that stand out. If you have to speak on your phone. It is always advisable to use headphones in order to keep your hands free to defend yourself. You should already have your keys in your hands when approaching a door. Do not waste time rummaging through your bag while distracted.

The take away is that situational awareness is a measure of prevention. It allows you the ability to respond in real time to attacks and not lag behind the decisions of your attacker. Please do not let your phone distract you any further. Better yet seek better situational awareness training.

Thanks for reading.



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