It Doesn’t Feel Right...
 
Our training in the martial arts goes beyond learning specific moves. One of the aspects encouraged is knowing what’s around you. It’s called proprioceptive awareness. That’s ok. You don’t need to remember the term, just what it represents. Think of it like this: Imagine you are watching me walk around. I walk behind you, out of your vision. Did you forget where I was? Did I disappear? No, you are aware that I am simply behind you. You’ve used your proprioceptive awareness to keep track of me.
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You can use this with all your senses in any area of your life. Which is what I did during a recent drive home from the dojo. I was driving along Broward Boulevard and my lane was empty for a long distance behind me. There was only one other car nearby. As I came to my turn, I slowed down more than normal (Why burn the gas when there’s no one around to upset?). So did the other car. At the last second,
they merged behind me and turned. My awareness was raised now. The next street is two lanes, and the other car stayed just behind me in the other lane.
As I slowed down for a light, they changed lanes and matched my direction once again. “Hmm, that’s odd.” Now, I’m highly suspicious. I take this last stretch to my community very slowly. Once again, they ride in the adjoining lane, staying just behind me, even when I’m doing less than 20 mph. I put on my turn signal, so do they. At this point, I’m not taking any chances in leading this car any closer to my house. I turn into my community, then quickly make a U-turn back out. The car does not follow. I exhale deeply, then drive down the street and back, checking that the car isn’t waiting at the entrance to my community. No one there. Now I’m ok with driving to my house.
Did I thwart a burglary or home invasion? Who knows. But I also only inconvenienced myself 2 minutes, while ensuring my safety. If you’ve seen me driving around the dojo, I tend to “stick out” (yes, that’s me in the red convertible). Could that make me a target? Once again, I don’t know. But because my awareness was up, I noticed early on that the other driver was behaving suspiciously. This could be translated to anywhere: Walking through a shopping mall, carrying groceries to your car, or navigating around a place you’re unfamiliar.
A little bit of paranoia is a good thing. If it doesn’t feel right, trust your instincts.
© 2017 Sensei Joseph Winn