It seems only common sense to make sure that awareness is at the very foundation of our self-protection studies. And, while this is a given for most people, I've found that the majority tend to focus only on watching for actual dangers.

What I mean is...

...everyone is watching for the obvious, when it comes to being on the alert for potential danger - they're waiting for someone to do something before they even notice that something is going on.

The truth is that, the farther away we can be aware of the possibility of danger, the more prepared we can be to escape from it, or even avoid it altogether.

But, instead of merely watching out for the aggravated individual who has already blown his or her cool, why not increase - or deepen - our level of awareness to the conditions that might cause a person to become agitated to the point of physical violence?

While it's true that there are countless variables, situations, and conditions that might trigger violent behavior, I thought I'd discuss just one of these today. It seems only fitting that I choose one that you can practice focusing your awareness on right now because of its presence. And that factor is heat.

All Is Not Fun in the Hot Summer Sun
It's common knowledge, and therefor important to remember, that the heat of Summer can put people on edge. And the higher the mercury, the shorter fuses can become. We could say that heat, even in human beings, has the very real potential for triggering an explosive response - even from the coolest things.

Being aware of this fact can help you to do two things. It can:

1) Keep you cool and collected, personally, so that you avoid exploding for no reason other than physical discomfort, and...

2) Focus your awareness on those individuals who seem to be the most uncomfortable due to the temperature.

The warning signs are pretty easy to spot and include irritability; quick, short, abrasive answers to simple questions, complaining, and more.

Simple But Effective Strategies...

If you think you might be in the presence of someone becoming agitated by the heat, there are several things you can do right away to increase your safety or control the situation:

  • Suggest that the conversation or interaction move indoors, or at least under cover with shade
  • Change your vocal tone and ask the individual if they're feeling alright. Merely asking can often make the other person more self-aware and therefor more likely to take steps to alleviate his or her discomfort
  • Increase your distance physically so as to not be in the "blast area" should they explode and become violent

Please remember that I'm only suggesting that the heat of Summer can increase the likelihood of physical aggression. Most people are calm, rational, and in control of themselves. However...

...stimuli like excessive heat can trigger an abnormal tendency toward violence in even the most benevolent individual. Whether it's through the heat itself, or some secondary condition resulting from it (like dehydration), this time of year can bring with it the impetus for danger and from directions that we would never expect.

Copyright 2008 by Jeffrey M. Miller and Warrior Concepts International, Inc. All rights reserved. This article may be freely distributed as long as the content is offered as-is with no changes. This includes all links remaining live with absolutely no coding that would stop or redirect the viewer from that which was originally intended. The article must be offered free unless express, written consent is given by the copyright holders.

Author's Bio: 

Jeffrey M. Miller is the founder and master instructor of Warrior Concepts International. A senior teacher in the Japanese warrior art of Ninjutsu, he specializes in teaching the ancient ways of self-protection and personal development lessons in a way that is easily understood and put to use by modern Western students and corporate clients. Through their martial arts training, his students and clients learn proven, time-tested lessons designed to help them create the life they've always dreamed of living, and the skills necessary for protecting that life from anything that might threaten it. To learn more about ninjutsu and other subjects related to the martial arts, self-defense, personal development & self-improvement, and to subscribe to his newsletter, visit his website at