Survive In Place              Sample Lesson

The Ultimate Step-By-Step guide to creating your Urban Survival Plan

Welcome to another Sample SurviveInPlace™ lesson!

How To Increase Your Awareness By Becoming The Hunter!

I believe it’s important to develop your armed and unarmed skills, but when it comes to violence, luck can play a significant role. As a former no-holds-barred fighter (before MMA was regulated,) I saw and experienced how quickly a fighter with superior skills could be defeated by a newbie who got lucky.

If they’d fight 100 times, the superior fighter would probably win 90 times or more, but the newbie still has a chance.

With violent encounters, there is no referee or rules and a lucky cut, stab, or shot can kill you, even if you eventually stop the threat.

Although it sounds overly simplistic, one of the best ways to survive a violent encounter is to avoid violent encounters all-together.

One of the best ways to avoid violent encounters is to train your mind to recognize criminals, and the quickest way to do this is to start thinking like one.

For the next several days pretend that you are a mugger. As you go about your daily business, picture how you would ambush someone in the various places in which you find yourself.

Pay particular attention to which people you would feel comfortable ambushing and which ones wouldn’t be worth the risk.  What common actions do you have with potential victims that you can change?  What actions make others not worth attacking that you can begin to mimic?  Try to ignore physical attributes–they only camouflage the bunny or beast inside.  There are people in wheelchairs that I wouldn’t mess with and 300 pound muscle-heads that I’d be willing to fight with only one arm.

If you live in an apartment, where in the building or parking facilities would you hide if you were going to attack someone? With a little practice, you’ll be amazed at how many spots in which you might be able to hide.

Start at home and then move your at­tention to your place of employment. Pay attention to those areas where you would normally be by yourself. The parking lot. Even the restroom. Pay attention to which stalls are the most vulnerable.

Start watching how you open doors. In particular, note where you’re looking, which arm you use, and how that helps/hinders your ability to react to someone on the other side.

Most crimes occur outside of where you live and work. Elevators, garages, building entrances and exits offer criminals opportunities to take you by surprise.

After you’ve learned to spot the ideal physical settings for a crime, you need to spot potential criminals.

You need to pay attention to the physical mannerism of potential bad guys.

When you see a person approaching you, ask yourself “is he dressed ap­propriately for the circumstances?” Is he wearing baggy clothing to hide a weapon? Do his shoes match his cloth­ing? If he’s wearing running shoes with nice slacks and shirt, be careful. Is he wearing a hat and sunglasses that go out of their way to hide his face?

Don’t be afraid to look people straight in the eye. You want to know if they’re checking you out as a possible victim. Does the potential bad guy have his hands in his pockets, perhaps holding a weapon? Does he appear nervous, sweating or breathing heavily?

Most attacks come from behind, so learn to expand your field of vision.

Most of us tend to stare when we look at something. Here’s a simple exercise you can use to break this habit and expand your field a vision.

Look at an object in the room you’re in. Now, without moving your eyes or head, what do you see out of the sides of your eyes? How about top and bottom?

It’s amazing how much more you see when you pay attention to your periph­eral vision. Imagine a hose nozzle that can be adjusted back and forth from a wide spray to a concentrated stream. When you need to focus on something, tighten the nozzle and then quickly ad­just your vision back to a wide spray.

As you develop your vision, with a little twist of your head you will be able to scan almost 360 degrees around you.

No one will ever be able to sneak up on you again. Try it and see for yourself.

Most people have never seen a real criminal in person. So as part of your training you’ve got to get out and see the bad guys, learn how they think and act.

When Rick Jones joined the L.A. County Sheriffs Department he was being groomed for undercover work with L.A.’s most notorious gangs. To prepare him for that assignment, he was assigned to work in one of California’s toughest prisons. Why?

Because you get to see the worst that society has to offer in terms of vicious criminals — and they’re all in one place.

Dep. Jones was able to observe and study the behavior of killers, rapists, muggers, robbers, and a special group of violence prone people referred to as EDP’s (emotionally disturbed people).

In time Jones became an expert in spotting criminals and categorizing them according to their specialty and propensity for violence.

Today, whether Rick Jones walks into a restaurant, bar or other place of busi­ness or simply walks down the street, he quickly sizes up people he meets. If he senses trouble he knows what to expect and he’s ready for it.

Here’s the next best thing you can do to learn the same kind of lessons Rick Jones did.

Call your local police office (or a friend who’s in law enforcement) and ask if you can do a “ride-along” with them.  Try to find someone who is a “beat cop” and who regularly runs into bad situations.  It won’t do much good to ride with a detective or an officer doing traffic stops.

You can also spend some time in the local criminal court. Spending a few hours a day, or night, over several days will give you a great education when it comes to knowing who the bad guys are and understanding their behavior.

By watching these people you get a feel for what they’re like, the way they move, act and THE WAY THEY WATCH OTHER PEOPLE.

Most criminals are petty thieves and not very dangerous. What you’re looking for is a way of spotting those who are mean, sadistic or emotionally disturbed. They are the violent offenders who will rob you first and then shoot you just for the fun of it. They are the ones you want to spot early on. You want plenty of time to either avoid, evade or otherwise deal with these people.

After a little practice in criminal court, it’s time to go to your favorite mall or even a busy street corner. Find a spot from which you can watch people. Then repeat the exercise, only this time your picking out the bad guys from the gen­eral population. See how easy it gets to “BE ALERT” once you know what to look for.

I hope you enjoyed this sample lesson, and look forward to you signing up for the course at

I have received several responses about the course and how much people got out of going through the exercises.

Remember, it’s a self-paced course, so you can complete it in 12 weeks or stretch it out longer once you’ve received the lessons.

You can go to to sign up for the complete course right now.

God Bless,

David Morris

P.S.  Please coment on this…anything to let me know you’re alive and I should keep sending you urban survival information.  Love it?  Hate it?  Let me know!

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425 Responses to “Survive In Place Sample Lesson Situational Awareness”

  • Elisabeth says:

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge – intend to join the full course when we can afford it. Ages ago I practiced basic self defence (Aikido) – gave me a confident way of walking. Invested in iron “sole protection” on my bootsoles, (in scandnavian countries good for winter walking), also good in case you have to kick someone. Had the experience one night, that a boy gang commented: “Let´s not mess with her”… Also it helps to be polite to “low life” people – (the really basically friendly ones, if you can spot them) since they will defend you if you get into trouble. Other example: hubby once went unawares into a rocker bar full of viking types. He was taken aback but polite (aso knew Tai Chi etc.). He got his coffe and was treated with the utmost respect. Cats also give good lessons in politeness.

  • D. Farmer says:

    This information is priceless. I like your direct and to-the-point presentation— no extra fluff or sugar to spruce it up. Being a former nurse, I know a little bit about observing people for signs and symptoms of illness. The info you present about how to observe people is excellent. These emails are helping me….. thanks so much.

  • michael says:

    Great information, very informative and looking forward to my next lesson.

  • John says:

    Great info!!! At my last job, I was always on the bad side of town working the night shift. Always by myself, I had a tire bumper (used for checking truck tires) loaded with lead and a police style flashlight (I worked for the city) inside the truck with me all the time. Anytime I was outside of the truck, I kept my toolbox opened with an assortment of weapons (tools mainly) at my disposal anytime I needed it. Now with this fairly new job, I’m not allowed to carry any firearm or weapon whatsoever. Although, I do carry a spike and a Kershaw 1605CKT knife that are concealed and hopefully the DOT and other security never finds should I be checked. With all the work areas I have been in, I always check my back no matter what. I have done some security work checking empty homes and doing some parking lots and have learned, being in the worst places, never let your guard down even if you have someone helping you. Your vision means everything.

  • Lydia says:

    loving it so far…just a newbie, stocking up slowly, perfect timing.

  • Jan says:

    I really enjoyed this first sample of survival tips. It made me realize that i used to pay alot more attention to my surroundings than I do now. I have lived in a very low risk area for several years now. it is good to have these specifics to zero in on. I will definitely practice these tips so I can become sharper for what lies ahead.

  • jeremiah says:

    I have been working in the security field for a couple of years. I have found that reflections are my new best friend. They allow me to look forward and backwards at the same time. At night as you walk to your car notice the reflection in the mirror.

  • scott says:

    Yes,Dave most important! one should know his or her surroundings at all times!

  • dick says:

    As a 68 year old CCW I am on constant lookout for danger. I have learned many years ago to “walk strong” as I call it. Thugs have a inborn ability to spot easy targets. I am constantly checking my six and carry myself in a manner that says ” pick someone else to screw with”. Just because you are older doesn’t mean you have to be a target. It also helps to be willing to fight down and dirty.

  • Amy says:

    I love setting down reading these. Great info so far. I am a stay at home mother of 3, I homeschool all of them and have to have my guard up all the time for all of us. We live in a very small town in the middle of nowhere. Unfortunately it seems to be the place where bad people go hide from the law as well. My trust of other people has never been very good, I don’t really care for other people and I believe there is a very good reason for that. Keep the information coming, it always helps to fine tune my protection plan for the most important little people in my life

  • Chuck says:

    Thank you for the insight…it is never too late for us old dogs to learn new tricks. We have begun preparations to defend ourselves, and I remember an old line…the best defense is a good offense…just hoping we do not have to use the skills you are sharing with us. I understand the need for practicing the things you are sharing here about being able to recognize the bad guys in all situations, and being able to recognize the places we might be that make us or anyone more vulnerable if we are not at the ready. Again, thank you!

  • Ron says:

    I grew up in South Philly. I was rather young when I learned to do exactly this to avoid trouble. I am always sizing those around me up. My wife and I just took a trip to Atlantic City and I was telling her as we walked where our next attacker was going to be. Between parked cars in the nearest dark corner etc etc. My wife thinks im crazy but its funny to read this today. Now I just have to teach my skills. Thanks for reminding me im not crazy

  • Michael Isenhour says:

    Testing your site and lessons out – So far you seem to be right on target – Keep up the good fight – We all need to learn as much as possible

  • Nathan says:

    I am getting amazing information out of this 2nd and recent sample. Looking forward to being satisfied with all samples and purchasing the complete course!

  • TK says:

    As I read this I realized I’ve been practicing some of these traits for quite some time.Plus it helped working with known thugs and criminals,at one time in my life.It doesn’t hurt to pick up on some of their language and phrases.It could get you out of a potential sticky situation or at least give you time to make a quick exit.
    Thanks David.Looking forward to more insight on surviving the crazy world we live in.

  • Donna says:

    This is wonderful and I would enjoy getting further lessons by email.

  • r.k.dethman says:

    Thank you for some new safety tricks.I’m new a taking care of myself {newly divorced} Time to teach an old dog new tricks. Looking forward to each new lesson. Thanks again—R.D.

  • John Edwards says:

    David, Thank you for the information. I am 69 and live alone and I do think about these things. Please send more as yor like. John Edwards Excelsior Springs, Mo.

  • Linda says:

    Thanks for the info. As I get older, I am not as confident as I used to be. I, too, took karate and other self-defence classes but as my strength wans, so does my self-confidence. I do watch other people, I do look for hiding places, but I no longer carry a weapon. Maybe I should start again…

  • Millie Morgan says:

    Chuck, this has opened up my mind on a lot of things to do and have readied. We never know when we may be attacked. I never go at night by myself. I am not the brave person but when I get mad they better look out. Thanks!


  • William B. says:

    Your informational sample emails indicate a good knowledge of the subject matter. This most recent, on situational awareness, is likely the most important. Whether planning for “fight or flight” during a national emergency or threat assessment while returning to your car at night, situational awareness is a skill one should attempt to master. You are providing a great service to your customers.


  • J.D.S. says:

    Great stuff dude. Spent more than my fare share on the street as a youngster, used to be part of the problem you could say- but those skills learned from being a dumb kid have translated and grown into useful tools. Basically I watch for dumbasses that I used to hang out with, easy to avoid them at this point. Also easy to spot them before they do something stupid to another person, I’ve seen the signs and stopped a few if them before anybody got hurt. Just luck I guess.
    Thanks for all the info, I’ll be grabbing the full S-I-P package soon. Thanks bro, keep fighting the good fight.

  • Cheryl says:

    Love this info. Was with sister last week at coffee shop & she (retired parolie officer) said watch your purse that guy is a
    junkie. Asked her how she knew & she replied when you work with them you begin to recognize them. She was always looking around during our coffee break. she encouraged me to be more aware & hold on to my purse in different way while walking to the car. Near the courts & not best area of town. Your info is right on and very similar to what she had said.

  • Carolyn says:

    Learned a long time ago to keep my keys on a lead rope clip on my belt loop for easy access and IN MY HAND. laced between my fingers (like brass knuckles) when going to my vehicle. Learned to look in the back of the truck and underneath it before I put the key in the door lock. If things looked anyway at all suspicious, I do the walk around to make sure that someone hasn’t let the air out or cut any of my tires. I make sure the light is on in the truck before I slide in and I immediately shut and lock the door. I start the engine as soon as I get in and THEN I shuffle around with the window cover or my “stuff” as I get ready to move. Windows should be UP at all times. If there is any trouble, your vehicle is your best weapon if it is already started and ready to go.

  • Sue says:

    I enjoyed this sample, it reminded me of a ‘rape ceminar’ I went to as a young nurse. It confirms my subconcious need to watch my surroundings and keep my back to the wall, so I can see what’s coming. When I can afford to, I will be purchasing your course. Looking forward to more samples….

  • Bobbi says:

    Thanks for the article… I’m forwarding it to my *urban living* friends and family. I’m a small woman but have never been afraid to walk around cities… I was brought up to NOT look like a victim and to be aware of my surroundings. If you walk around looking scared, you look like a great target. Looking aware is not the same as looking scared. When alone, I carry my keys between my fingers, look under my car before getting too close, look all around and into my car (front & back) before unlocking it, make sure windows are up & doors are locked, etc.

  • Robert Eger says:

    Wonderful emails. I’m 69 and losing my muscle mass but this has made me aware that all is not lost. Keep them coming.

  • Dave says:

    Great info,and I too have had much of the same background as you have,and fought n hold bared before the MMA got started. I also grew up in the city which helped a great deal with situational awareness, then with Military training much of it is second nature now, but great stuff to teach Folks so they can be ready.

    I also teach H2H and situational Awareness to our group in Ga which is pretty large, just citizens worried about keeping their families safe when IT hits, and making sure we keep our freedoms.

    Keep up the great work.

  • Terry says:

    As a Vietnam vet, and a lifelong student of personnel defense since the army, this is good info. Knew it before but is good to renew every once in a while, especilly now as I get older.

  • Matt says:

    Mr. Morris as a former Marine and a current law enforcement officer I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate you offering this sample course for free. I have read the first two lessons and it is helping bring me back to center. As soon as I can afford the full course I will be purchasing it. Thank you again, Matt

  • Samantha says:

    Thankyou soooo much for all of this info. I am only a newbie but have done karate and krav maga as well as a basic self defence course. i consider myself fairly aware but you have opened my eyes beyond belief. thanks again and i look forward to your other samples

  • Anne says:

    Very interesting information thanks for sharing it with us. I’ve been reading also the TFT you mentioned as having undertaken as well. Both you and TFT seem to recommend “taking control” before anything really bad has a chance to happen. Rodney King was mentioned referring to the incident which caused law enforcement to take a look at their methods. Without going into the right/wrong of that event, there is a newer incident that to me surpasses that incident in causing concern to anyone who might use force and possibly lethal force and that is the incident with Border Patrol Agent Jesus “Chito” Diaz who recently received a two-year prison sentence related to his work. The justice Department says Department said he committed a civil rights violation because of how he handled handcuffing a known illegal drug smuggler.

    How, in the face of what happened to Diaz, is anyone supposed to defend themselves with some of the methods discussed here and in TFT? If thats what happens to a guard doing his job, what are we to expect if we undertake something more than rough handcuffing?

    What if we get out of a direct assault/confrontation and then end up going to prison like Diaz?

    I guess if confronted I’d take my chances on not getting time because if I used something like that it would be because I was afraid for my own life, “self-defense” in other words but I think the BP Agent incident casts doubt on the success of that.

    What are your feelings about civilian use of force with the above incident in mind?

    I am very concerned about the world we live in and in my own neighborhood I am afraid sometimes and I’d like to believe your philosophy/advice is well thought out but how do we get passed Diaz’ fate?

  • All your suggestions are very good. As a Mormon, I’ve always practiced food storage, etc. But now, as a senior citizen, slightly handicapped, I feel more vulnerable. I’m not going to shoot anybody, and am mostly home based, am interested in home based survival. Thank you for your generous and thoughtful suggestions. I would add — be spiritually ready and spiritually strong, at peace with God and other people.

  • Rita says:

    Thank you, I am grateful for your prospective.

  • Lisa says:

    I love the lessons, I set in my car at large parking lots and watch people, there are very few people that look at each other. I keep my eyes open all the time for what is going on around me.

    Never dress as a TARGET for people just waiting for some rich lady to come out of the stores. I also carry a roll of quarters in my coat pocket…. it is a great weapon.

  • Elaine says:

    Thanks David. This is much needed information. I look forward to the next lesson.

  • Carlyn says:

    Thanks for the information. I’ve stored it away for later reference after I read it. Good Stuff.

  • Jan says:

    Sad that we have to be concerned about this kind of stuff, but it is a reality. Great information and will keep learning as much as possible.

  • Flora says:

    Hi! Thanks for this mini course.

    What you say is true… I know from first-hand experience, having been robbed and car-jacked at gunpoint, how extremely important it is to know exactly what’s going on around oneself at any given time. Had I been more aware at that moment, I really could have seen it coming (as I look in retrospect at the event as it unfolded) and would have recognized that things were out of the ordinary. I would have had time to get out of the way.

    Everybody, don’t wait until after you’re a victim of crime to learn the simple art of awareness.

  • Sharon says:

    I learned very early on to be aware of my surroundings. As a young woman, I had to go to Job Services and noticed two young men looking at me and talking to each other in Spanish while in the waiting room. When I emerged from my interview, they were just outside the doors, one on each side of the door and appeared to be waiting for me to emerge. I asked the armed security guard to escort me to my car and they dispersed. Very scary if I had of been less aware. Good stuff in these reports. Thanks for the samples. I was prepared to purchase the full course but was warned by my computer that there was something wrong with the certificate for your pay site. You may want to fix that if you want people to pay for it! Thanks again, Sharon

  • Lauren says:

    While reading this, I started to remember all the things my dad taught me before I went to college. I’ve been doing this every day, but reading this from a professional really cements what my dad taught me 12 years ago! Thanks so much. May want to include restaurant seating. Sit facing the action (if possible the main entrance) so that you can see who is coming in and out of the establishment. That way you’ll be able to see a potential threat and exit before anything happens.

  • Nita says:

    Love it! Thanks, keep sending

  • John W Daugherty says:

    As a senior, I am aware that any of us could be a victim especially if we think like one. I know I am no match for a strong attacker. I pray that I never need my weapon. Keep up the emails. We all need them, not living in fear, just being prepared is wise.

  • Rick edgerton says:

    Very good info keep it coming. I wish i could aford to buy the course but disabled not enough to go around the tips are great.thank you

  • Verlie says:

    thanks for the information. I have always wondered how to actually become more aware of my surroundings in a beneficial way.

  • Ron G says:

    Thanks for the information, I will work on being more observant and think about my surroundings. I am learning so much by your news letters and the courses you have offered. Thanks.

  • gena says:

    Enjoying your lesson samples. As others have said, plan to buy entire lesson set as soon as I have the money. Have been in jail four times for protesting abortion, paid a lot of attention to the other prisoners, checking out who might or might not be safe, pretty accurate, I believe in my accessments. One thing I’ve noticed is that regardless of the person’s size, if they look scared and/or cornered, they are more dangerous than people who are not so afraid. And, if they look scared beyond the circumstances they are also probably paranoid, which makes them even more dangerous to be around. One time when we were in jail they had brought in a black girl to our holding cell who was over 6 feet tall and over 200 pounds and she had been arrested for assualting a police officer. Everyone else was afraid of her. She said she had snuck in a couple of matches, would anyone share a cigarette with her. I offered her a cigarette, we went back into the toilet area, smoked together, talked together and by the time we (the pro-life people) were released, she had accepted a Bible from me and she and I were perfectly comfortable around each other. It isn’t peoples’ size that makes them dangerous – she had been angry about an arrest of a friend, interferred and got arrested. By the time she was in the cell with us, she was no longer angry, I could tell she was calm, and safe. You can tell. Anyone who has been around a VA hospital waiting room quickly learns when things are going bad, when to make an exit to a safe place, and who to avoid. Having also been married to two Vietnam vets with PTSD you also learn when to back off and what sort of things turn a person dangerous, how to defuse situations, and when to call for help or get the hell away from a dangerous situation. I’ve been told I’m hypervigilent, but when I go into a room I check out everyone, and pretty quickly know who is safe and who isn’t, and watch out for situations that start to go bad and then react accordinly.

  • Sherri says:

    I have enjoyed your newsletters. I’m still debating on whether to order the survival course. I would like to watch it as a family – brothers, children, neices, and nephews – but I have to get them organized. They will be my tribe. 🙂

    My husband is an ex-cop, my son-in-law is a cop, my nephew is attending the leo academy, and I worked in an leo’s behavioral science unit for overe 16 years. That’s a start…

  • Gary says:

    Great info. We just moved into a new area. I’m trying to get acquainted with some of the neighbors, so they will know that I’m not a threat. This also helps me to observe them too.
    Keep the info coming….

  • John Willson says:

    Very Good Advice. It just seems a shame that we have to think about ‘survival’ in this day and age, in this wonderful country, in this enlightened society.

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