As I sit down to write I on an overcast and drizzly day here in the Tyrol, I cast my mind back to a much sunnier holiday years back in Tenerife, not my favourite Canarian destination, I prefer Puerto Blanca in Lazaretto or a particular hotel in Fuerteventura, but we decided to sample the delights of the main island. After a few days we decided a family walk of a couple of miles from our out of town resort to the hob of Playa Las Americas was in order to see what the Blackpoolisation of the island looked like, we did not like it. Not our cup of tea on so many levels. The worst part was all the touts pestering you ever five yards for trips, timeshare and sundry other rubbish we were not interested in. Eventually we about turned and headed for home, passing as we had already done once a particularly abrasive tout who offered me his unwanted attention again although I had already declined. I ignored him but several yards past in a busy are I said to my wife 'do I look like a Muppet'? She was beaten to the reply by the tout who assured me that I did. Oh dear. Monkey brain engaged immediately I turned and began the monkey dance. NO, NOT THAT ONE. We squared off and he mouthed off, my assessment was that was all he had so I head pecked him a couple of times and nodding towards the back of the cafes and bars suggested a walk to a nice quiet spot instead of doing him in front of the several hundred people watchers, (witnesses), now enjoying the prospect of a little impromptu entertainment. He declined, I laughed at him then walked away the big monkey, he called me a few names, there was nothing to be gained from giving him a pasting but a family row, arrest and deportation on the cards if the police arrived. On the way back I paused and had to physical resist the monkey urge to go back and administer what Rory Miller calls an educational beat down. It was hard but I did it, I got the monkey brain under control and got back in control and back on holiday. Austria is such a relaxing break compared to the hustle and bustle of some of the Mediterranean resorts, especially those where mass tourism has taken over and all but eradicated any trace of local culture and identity. It is gentler here, much more civilised and relaxing, you are surrounded by beauty and tranquillity and it permeates your senses so quickly and easily. Yesterday after a lovely breakfast my wife and I took the gondola, that is less than 100m from our hotel door, up the hill and through the cloud clinging to the upper parts of the mountain, to arrive on a sunny, grassy ridge for the start of our days walk. The views were tremendous, the weather very warm and you could actually watch the last of the cloud, that hung as a curtain to one side, burning away and rising as if through an invisible chimney to dissolve somewhere above us. We walked up some very steep slopes over pieces of rough ground to reach after a few subsidiary tops, our goal for the day, the Rosskopf, which a 1731m above sea level dominates the area and there is a fantastic 360 degree vista of snow capped mountains deep into Austria and Germany in the north west, somewhere there lies Hitler's Eagles Nest. The view was stunning as the cloud had now dissolved and we snacked and drank water before beginning the descent. My wife likes going down less than going up, especially through a steep woodland descent with thousands of roots seemingly competing to trip the unwary. We had the same old discussion re her buying and using some poles but instead, as usual, she held onto my rucksack for balance. A few times I went ahead an watched how she walked, I then pointed out a couple of ways to make things easier, little things and what they we did not matter. The interesting point was that because she was worried about tripping or slipping she was looking at her feet all the time and not a couple of yards in front and picking up her feet in her peripheral vision. I explained how this worked and she asked me how I knew, I explained it was both from experience and reading up on theory and testing it out. So on the side of a mountain top in Austria I explained a drill we did with Rory Miller just over a week ago back in Sheffield. Practising the Dempsey Drop with an elbow strike we were teaching people to step off centre and once the got that to not look at the target, especially not eye contact, but off to the side to where we were about to step. The first part of the strike would then appear to the target as an attempt to dodge past them to something else we were focused upon. The strike then could drive home undefended and to maximum effect. Job done. Ok but what is the theory behind this. Well once again it is explained excellently in Bruce K. Siddles, 'Improving the Warrior's Edge', where he looks (sorry) at the mechanics of our binocular vision and explains how the brain picks up movement much quicker from the periphery of our vision more easily than on the object we are focussed upon. Once again, if you want the detail read the book. If we focus too hard on the object, an opponents eyes for instance, or a tree in the distance too hard we lose some of our peripheral vision, just like, and especially if when we are adrenalised. Lt Colonel Lloyd Grossmann talks about the effectiveness of the thousand yard stare, a phenomena often talked about in GI's returning from Vietnam, those guys who's life depended on detecting the slightest movement or clue in often near impossible conditions had learned to reply on what appeared to others to be a kind of vacant stare, the thousand yard stare, a survival instinct driven stare that allowed their peripheral vision to dominate and detect movement or change in a much wider field of vision. Back to Austria then Tenerife, When walking down steep, uneven, unpredictable terrain, the looking a few yards in front helps your overall vision, it is a reduced version of the thousand yard stare but the effect is the same, improved information from eye to brain and better coordinated and balanced movement as a result, it helped my wife descend the rough, steep mountainside more confidently. Back in Tenerife, well you all know I did everything wrong, so do I now and hindsight is a wonderful thing, but I knew some of this stuff then if not so well. So what went wrong, well firstly the monkey brain came to the for and prevented a rational response, i.e., keep walking and ignore the tosser, go back to the hotel, dine, sleep in the sun and swim and just reflect that you have not sunk so low as to have to spend your days trying to con holidaymakers into engaging into financially disastrous arrangements. However, if in a confrontation, disengage, de-escalate then walk away, if this is not an option, then off centre, avoid eye contact, look away over their shoulder, adopt a thousand yard stare, so there will be no clues in your eyes, but you will see their slightest movement and using the lowest level of force possible, make it over quickly, make it clinical. The cloud is lifting here in Niederau, we are off walking soon, our packed lunch is ready and we are itching to go. There are no touts here, Austria is clean in many ways but the clouds are still clinging a little around the hills, I hope we can see a thousand yards soon and that today I use that stare to pick up movements of the wildlife like the Greater Spotted Woodpecker we saw and watched yesterday or the native Black Squirrel, the unknown raptor that soared below us and the beautiful yellow little birds I will identify from my book when I get home. The thousand yard stare is helpful in combat and in seeking beauty. Weidersehen.