Posted by Matt Little on 7th Mar 2022

“Drop as deeply as possible into stillness, into whatever is unfolding in the present moment.” - John Kabat-Zin

Awareness. This mental attribute is essential for anyone who wishes to excel at shooting, tactics, or combatives. Awareness is not attention. Attention is active, focused on something specific. Awareness is diffuse, non-specific. Once you have internalized the fundamentals of technique, the more you are simply aware, the more effective you will be, both technically and tactically.

In shooting, you should be aware of every piece of input the gun is giving you. The feel of the recoil impulse and trigger reset and break. You should know in great detail how the sights move throughout the entirety of the recoil arc, and still be aware of the empty brass tumbling out of the ejection port. And at the same time be aware of your surroundings and those of your target.

In tactics, you need awareness not just of your field of fire, but your teammates’ movements and positions, as well as the details of the environment around you. The best teams almost never talk in CQB except for radio calls to higher. Their awareness of each other is developed to the point that they can read each other’s nonverbal communication, apply the proper tactical principles to their environment and just flow through a structure.

In combatives, lack of awareness makes you vulnerable to feints, and susceptible to environmental hazards, not to mention other combatants. Proper awareness allows you to exploit those same factors against your opponent instead.

Cultivate your awareness. Strengthen your internal observer. Train yourself in this well and it will dramatically improve your performance in any aspect not just of conflict, but also of life in general.