Get FREE Instant Access
To your online Video Fighting Course.
Click Here For FREE Instant Access.

Six Special Agent Urban Survival Skills by Derek Smith

One essential skill every special agent needs is to be smart about what’s happening on the streets. If you don’t understand the street, then you won’t understand your adversary. The term “Urban Survival” or “Street Survival” is very popular these days and can mean different things depending on who is writing about it and in what context. For me, a formal undercover agent and military counterintelligence agent it represents surviving in any urban environment in which you may find yourself.

For this article, I am going to talk about how you can survive in an urban environment by becoming proficient at street smarts. Or, put even another way, tips for the development of a street-smart attitude in a survival situation. I am from the South side of Chicago, and I grew up with street smarts. Joining the military and going into criminal investigations and counterintelligence honed those skills to another level, as did becoming a federal agent after my military service.

Let me begin by giving you a definition of “street smart.” The Urban Dictionary describes street smart as the dominant trait of “someone who is intelligent, has good common sense, knows how to handle bad situations, and has the skills necessary to function where they live.” To me, “Street Smart” is the ability to recognize what is going on in the world, in the place that you live in, and in your immediate vicinity at any given time. It also means having the physical and mental tools to adapt and survive within that world and that place. This equates to you being ready and able to handle almost any street situation.

So, imagine that there is chaos all around you (due to a natural disaster, civil unrest, a terrorist attack, whatever). Even if you are close to home, there are times when you and your family have to venture out into the world. This could be when you are traveling to your job, taking your kids to school, and going to the grocery store, movies, amusement park, etc. As we see far too often these days, an attack can occur anytime and anywhere, and you MUST be prepared. So, what can you do to keep yourself and your family safe… well, I am going to tell you now!

Six Street Savvy Tips to Survive the Urban Jungle

1. Trust your instincts and stay alert: When we are first born, we have what is called “gut instincts.” It is that holdover from thousands of years ago when we had to have the flight or fight instinct to survive against wild animals and such. As we became more civilized, this instinct went away. During my special agent training, we were taught to embrace this feeling of dread. Women seem to do it much better than men. Now is the time for you to pay attention to your gut feelings. If something around you seems “off,” you need to walk away and retreat to safety. Don’t be embarrassed or ashamed to admit that you are frightened even if you feel foolish after the fact. Bad vibes are bad vibes so trust yourself, and you will be fine. You want to live to fight another day, not be worried about being called a coward. There are a lot of dead tough guys who should have run away.

2. Evaluate the risks: Are you going to an area that you are not familiar with? As a soldier, this is something I often had to do. You can handle it the same as I did. First, evaluate the risks of the area you are visiting so that you are prepared. One thing they taught me was to dress to blend in. For me, that meant not wearing clothing that would immediately identify me as an American. Also, don’t carry a lot of obviously expensive electronics because someone will probably want to take them away from you. This brings me to another thing, don’t wear expensive jewelry, carry expensive bags or purses, talk loudly or a lot, or do anything that will call excessive attention to yourself. If the area is a hotspot or under siege, you should evaluate if you even need to or should go there in the first place. Is it worth the risk?

3. Evaluate your home security and create a safe zone: You also want to be secure in your own home. Make sure the outdoor area of your home is well lit and that the foliage and shrubbery are trimmed around the perimeter of your home. I have lights on all four sides of my house as well as cameras I can see from inside my home and from my phone when I am not there. The last thing you want is a convenient hiding place for the bad guys right on your own property.

4. Situational awareness: I often say that most people walk around in condition white, not aware of anything going on around them. They are engaged in conversation, texting, or watching videos on their mobile phone. You don’t want to be THAT person. Instead, teach yourself to look for signs of threats and dangers actively. Bad guys and crime can be anywhere but tends to be more prevalent in dark, quiet areas such as parking garages, alleys, stairs, and lonely roadways. As you enter these areas, look around for things that don’t seem quite right and then return to tip number 1, trust your instincts!

5. Know your neighborhood: Now, I am guilty of this one. I live in a cul-de-sac, and I don’t even know all my neighbors. When I grew up in Chicago, everyone on my block knew and interacted with everyone else. That seems to have all changed. For you, I recommend that you take some time to reach out and get to know your neighbors and members of your community. I have said this before and will say it again, talk among yourselves and come up with a plan to work together and to look after each other during a crisis or disaster.

6. Every day carry items: Increase your ability to defend yourself and get attention. This can be as simple as carrying a whistle, some pepper spray, and a small flashlight. Or, depending on your situation, this could include a knife or firearm. As I always advocate, you should definitely learn some fighting skills that can save your life if you need to. I prefer to have a weapon at hand, but there may be times when the only weapon you have is yourself and your training.

What to Do If You Feel Threatened

If you do find yourself in a street situation where you feel threatened and afraid, try not to be so obvious about it. Even I find myself in a scary situation and feel that little tinge of fear in my gut. But your attitude is everything and can make a huge difference. Do not give off signals that you feel vulnerable and threatened. Sometime this alone will get you out of the situation. However, don’t be stupid and purposely put yourself into a dangerous situation. Instead, withdraw as quietly and unobtrusively as you can and retreat to an area where there are more people around, and you have more control. Worst-case scenario, run away while making a loud noise to draw as much attention as possible. No criminal wants to be found out so they may run the other way.

My Final Word

Having street smarts means using your common sense and training yourself to deal with all kinds of people in all sorts of situations. Having well-honed street smarts is essential for those who live or are traveling to big cities, rural communities or remote areas. This is a great time to learn and practice having a street smart and street savvy attitude. And hopefully, these tips will help. Most of all be smart and be safe.

Click here for ultra vicious kill moves taught by Derek Smith.

Leave A Reply:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *