“Change in behavior of a person or group in response to new or modified surroundings.”*

Adaptation is the defining feature of the human species. In anthropological terms, it is a slow, many centuries long process of genetic modification leading to new and improved capability to survive and control our environment. On a day to day basis, and on a moment by moment basis, adaptation can be the key to becoming a victim or a violent crime or surviving or avoiding this fate altogether.

Here we are not concerned with the genetic modification process. We are not going to grow wings to fly away from muggers or develop eyes in the back of our heads in time, or any time soon I would bet. What we humans have made good use of to adapt to situations is our minds, our ability to project future events out of current events, using our memory and imagination together to predict what might happen to us if a particular course of action is taken.

In order to successfully adapt in time to a rapidly changing situation, it is essential to develop a sense of awareness, preparedness, and openness. Too often we get tunnel vision, a sort of narrow focus on what we are pre-occupied with, whether it is something that is bothering us at home or work, or just being focussed on getting somewhere within a certain amount of time. These are states of mind that can close off our ability to perceive threats or potential threats. It’s easy to lose context, like “Why is this man approaching me while I’m walking down the street talking on my cell phone, I’m busy right now!” This is the sort of self-absorbed activity that can make you profiled as a victim by an opportunistic criminal.

Krav Maga gives you the skills to be prepared, but all the physical skills in the world won’t help you when you get surprised. Most of the time we get surprised because we are not paying attention, and not thinking ahead in ways that will help us adapt to problems. The combination of developing physical skills, and developing an adaptable mind gives you the best chance of survival when you are confronted with threatening situations.

* The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition