By Mike Smith
18th of March 2017
I have in the past briefly mentioned the Jeff Cooper Colour Codes when it comes to situational awareness.
Mike Smith - A lesson in situational awareness – Never leave your house in Code White
It is important to notice that this model is not perfect and other people have added more colours or used different colours and wording in the past. Lt Col. Dave Grossman speaks of a “Condition Gray” and omits “Condition (Code) Orange” in his book “On Combat”, chapter four.
In fact originally Jeff Cooper never used a “Condition Black”, because the argument is that Situational Awareness stops when you enter the realm of the fight for survival and you only act instinctively.
However, as we will see later, this is not always the case. Instinctive actions can be trained. Further, the trained fighter still has and needs to have an acute sense of awareness of his situation at all times and especially when he/she is on the losing end.
Fighting is not luck or magic and it certainly is not a guessing game. It is an art. A science. Not for no reason did Sun Tzu and Machiavelli call their respective books, “The Art of War”.
Strategy and techniques we can cover later.
Positioning is everything
For now, you need to know that the trained fighter/soldier needs to know exactly what stage of the fight and what position he finds himself in, in order to know what to do. He needs to know exactly which stage, and position his antagonist finds himself in, what his plans are, what he is going to do next, etc. so that he can neutralize him with the highest efficiency and optimum utilization of resources, human and other.
MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) fighters borrowed the hierarchy of positions from Brazilian (Gracie) Jiu Jitsu.
How to act in stage red and black will follow later. However, there is no magic formula, but by careful analyses and study of the physiological and psychological aspects of a conflict situation it is possible to know exactly where you are, what is happening to yourself, to others and to your antagonist in battle so that you can know what to do. It all starts with…Situational Awareness.
A definition of Situational Awareness
A mental state of awareness of yourself and your environment in order to know what to do.
Situational Awareness is not static, but dynamic
Situational Awareness is not a binary (“On” –“Off”) thing. It is not like a pitch dark room where you suddenly switch the light on brightly. Rather it is like a dimmer switch that you use and you can increase or decrease the amount of light. Strange as it might sound…Your Situational Awareness "light" goes in reverse; from White to Black with yellow, orange and red flowing into each other in-between.
The Jeff-Cooper Model of Situational Awareness
Whether you are in single battle for survival on the streets, driving a car, flying a plane or in a combat situation in war, the principles of Situational Awareness remain the same.
It should be used and trained every second of every day and become a natural part of your life to the point where it is automatic, subconscious and you hardly notice that you are actively applying it.
Below follows the Jeff Cooper Colour Code system of Situational Awareness as applied to Civilians in South Africa and I use a female example, but it can be modified to fit males just the same. The amount of applications of the principles of this system is almost infinite. You can use it from driving a car to sailing a warship; from self defence to military combat. In fact this knowledge was previously only taught to police and military personnel, but in my opinion South Africa is in a state of war and therefore every citizen should be able to defend him/herself against attack.
|One can hardly ever be in |
this stage in South Africa
|One is almost always in |
this stage in South Africa
|Criminals often use distraction to attack you from the rear.|
Have someone cover your rear or position
your back against a wall if the threat increases.
|Tunnel vision (aka "Focus Lock" as in a camera) sets in, |
but also tunnel hearing
|There are no rules and no second or third places in the street.|
Your aim is to survive through speed, intelligence and brutal efficiency