Interview with Simon Cowie
Now, here at Naturally Applied we have built a training facility to present the security materials for personal, corporate and Government clients. I’m talking today with paramedic Simon Cowie…
Now, here at Naturally Applied we have built a training facility to present the security materials for personal, corporate and Government clients. I’m talking today with paramedic Simon Cowie, just returned from Cambodia to finish his masters in international aid and assist with a travel safe course here in Canberra Australia.
Kriton: Simon I am interested in your recent experiences in both the east Asia and eastern Europe. And as an individual who has just spent several years in high risk, cross cultural environments, what are some of your big takeaways when it comes to personal security travelling safe and getting home in one piece?
Simon: This is a great question and one that, when we apply ourselves gives a greater sense of personal freedom, fuller engagement and ultimately peace through active security practices. Living in 3rd world countries you know you are on your own, no big brother coming to the rescue, parents too far away, law enforcement and government agencies are either ineffective or underdeveloped. Then there is the language hurdle. So its easy to see that the responsibility sits with ourselves. And most of us know that it is our mindset and overall perspective that is our primary and most effective protective layer. As both you and I are deeply aware, the world can be a dangerous place, so it’s critical that we personally take responsibility and maintain a keen ‘tuned in’ mindset.
Kriton: And it’s interesting because people often have that miss placed sense of safety and capability and in doing so they will actually miss or discount physical and verbal cues which alert us to impending danger to either them selves or nearby loved ones. You have done training with people like Tony Blauer and have a solid back ground in reality based training so what insights do you have for someone who wants to enhance their survivability?
Simon: Well that is the basic premiss of the program we have put together for Travel Safe, using a scenario based approach, incrementally building on the knowledge we all inherently have, taking the sequential steps to Personal Security or as you like to put it protective behaviour. Of course this all hinges off how much attention we pay to our situational awareness and threat assessment skills.
A larger Awareness of who we are with, our state of mind, area of focus, awareness of surroundings the compounding factors rolled together whether we are leaving a cafe, heading down a restricted area, bottle necks or funnels in our path or in hostile environment such as in the many European American cities to countries across the middle east and Asia.
Kriton: Something that has been discussed by authors like Gavin De Beckker is that when a situation unfolds, people explain away the signs and signals they are exposed to, often making them either slow to react very slowly, or not responding or reacting at all, others are caught in a fear loop, as they are overcome by multiple warning signs.
So by having a strong action based thought process prior to any event, to run through possibilities, pricking our senses so we have an early threat identification and are in action mode prior to the threat being in our sphere.
Simon: No doubt much like your time in travelling the world and specifically in Iran, Syria and near by countries. Constantly, you have to be prepared to respond and have strong mental confidence / backup by having multiple plans, the thinking is already in place, and actively rolling out and responding to the changing events. I suppose it is this preparation which can save lives regardless of where it happens, home invasion, street life, emotionally charged work places and war zones. With this preparation we are in a much better position to respond to the threat and see it coming way before others.
Kriton: Nice one, in new or hostile environments we look for specifically for what is was either unusual or what is missing. These bits of information alert us, our little antennae go up and the body says…pay attention. So by constantly having a strong sense of environmental awareness we pick up and importantly we need to act upon the behavioural / visual and verbal cues that are running counter to ‘normal’.
As an example, having enhanced awareness, good operators, when arriving in a new setting, already have prepared several departure options, so when something happens at the restaurant they have already assessed the options (cover, concealment, safe exits….) so they are prepared for when something happens.
Simon: That’s critical, check out how people are sensually numbed by earphones, electronic tablets / phones on every street in every country with close to zero awareness of their surroundings. Thats is just plain scary. When you are in public environments you got to have your ‘Radar on’ and identify and mentally investigate things that just don’t look right.
So these are some of the things we are sharing during the courses at Naturally Applied uncovering our natural skills, listening to the inputs we are exposed to so we can all take advantage of what life has to offer.
Kriton: Thats right Simon, and that’s why we have been so thrilled about our training facility here in Canberra and the the new set of courses. Thanks for assisting in making it a reality. The reason we built Naturally Applied, is to make people safe at home, at work and when we are out and about. Now I hear you are off to Liberia to assist with the Ebola outbreak, by coordinating the medical response now that sounds interesting….. you know I wish you the very best and I look forward to catching up for another interview when you return safe and sound.