Shadow Warrior Publications We Know what Waits in the Darkness

Purpose: The purpose of this page is to discuss the self-defense awareness philosophy & help the reader to understand criminal psychology. To do this we will offer practical advice and discuss inherent self-defense  awareness philosophy.

How we reach this purpose is by first forgetting what is the common instruction of self-defense. Many times we are told to use the color code of self-defense awareness. The color code system was invented by John Dean "Jeff" Cooper a retired US Marine Corps officer, writer & firearms instructor. Mr. Cooper's color code system was based on awareness of one's own biological reaction to stress. Beginning in condition white, then yellow, orange & red. The US Marine Corps uses an additional condition of condition *black however, condition black was not part of Coopers original color code.

Combat Mindset & Cooper Color Code: 

  • White: Aware of surrounding and completely relaxed. If you are in this condition you should not be conscious.
  • Yellow: Relax alert, no specific threat detected.
  • Orange: Specific Alert, a potential threat detected. Heart Rate elevated.
  • Red: Fight! You are engaged in open conflict and have a sense of immediate danger.
  • *Black: Panic! Heart rate over 175 beats per minute, breakdown of physical & mental functioning.

Why this good for Soldiers & Marines but bad for Self-Defense.

Marines are fighting men, they are trained to be prepared for the enemy's tactics, they have experienced leaders & multiple individuals to maintain awareness of the signs of potential danger. What civilian has a) "combat experience" with criminal activity or b) has an NCO to tell them condition orange intelligence said? These conditions are even true of Police Officers who use the same color code awareness & get information from snitches and informants & have higher ranking officers to tell them to raise their awareness level.

Self-defense instructors spend most of their time teaching simple but effective fighting techniques. What they don't often teach is to think like your "enemy" the common criminal. How will you reach condition orange if you don't know what should trigger said condition? By the very nature of violence & the criminal mindset, their goal is to get you to condition white. They lie, they cheat and they stack to deck before they engage. It doesn't matter if you walk around in condition orange going from possible threat to possible threat in your awareness if you don't know what a threat looks like. There are only two conditions of awareness; aware and unaware. If you are aware, are you educated on what to be aware of?

Educated awareness means knowing the basic tactics of common criminals to avoid the potential threat before it becomes a danger to you.

How is Educated Awareness Different then the Color Code Awareness:

The color code of awareness is intended for military men in the course of their service. These soldiers have many different variables such as Fragos (Fragmentary orders), Situation Reports, Mission Briefings, Safety Briefings, Intelligence Briefings & more to ensure these fighting men are aware of potential and present threats. War fighters have an educated awareness. As a lone individual you have only two conditions aware & unaware, and that means you need to be educated to what a potential threat may be.

There are many things that effect your awareness; intoxication, distraction & the limits of your senses. A mother trying to get a crying child into it's car seat and keep the grocery cart from rolling away can't be expected to keep the same level of awareness as a someone simply walking to their car in the same parking lot. Thus aware or not aware or properly, exercising educated awareness or unaware because to quote the G.I. Joe cartoons from my childhood "Knowing is half the battle."

Fight, Flight or Freeze Vs Threat Display, Fight, Flight or Submission with potential intellectual Freezing:

There is debate among the Status Quo Self-Defense Instructors as to whether the Fight or Flight response should include a Freeze response. Modern Sociology says we have instead four responses to inter species conflict. Posture, Fight, Flight or Submit with Freezing being the result of conflicting information between natural response and conditioned responses. What this means is that their is a pre-conflict phase of displaying a threat posture to either gain dominance or ward off attempts to be dominated. This suggests a preliminary phase of sizing up your opponent. From this you will go in either Fight, neither side finds the other's threat posture intimidating so fight/physical conflict occurs. Flight, a tactical withdraw from physical conflict doesn't mean you've won just means "they" might be back with friends or a weapon. Submission, which is the yielding to the threat display either calling off the original threat display or giving into threatening individuals demands.

Freezing occurs when one has a conditioned response that is counter-productive to a person's nature. If your natural impulse is to fight and you've been conditioned to not fight, your response might be to freeze because your conscious mind is repeating the conditioning you've been given and your natural is against that same conditioned response. The same is also possible where a person who has learned martial arts knows 100 different responses to a single technique. Their mind freezes because they must try to select 1 of 100 responses in the fraction of a second. Once you understand the issue is nature versus nurture you can find ways nurture your nature, i.e. make the art your own. You see this with Champion Judoka or Karateka who use only a select set of preferred techniques. They can teach 100s of techniques but only use about 10 to 15 themselves that thy have perfected over time. Thus limited their select from 1 of 100 to 1 of 10 or 1 of whatever number they build as a basic foundation functional techniques. 

Not all Violence has been Created Equal:

There are two types of violence merging into three forms. The two types of violence are social & asocial violence.  Social violence is the threat of violence or violence to gain/maintain social dominance. This can be seen as bullying or temper tantrums and so on but, can be seen in a more acceptable form in terms of competition like martial arts, wrestling or boxing. Asocial violence is violence or threat of violence with the intent to harm others. This translates into the three forms of violence;

  • A Fight: This is social violence of bullying, competition & social dominance.
  • A Self-Defense Situation: This is use of violence or threat of violence to gain something or take something from another. It is materially motivated asocial violence on the lower end of the spectrum.
  • A Street Fight: This is the higher end of spectrum of Asocial violence where intent is to severely harm another; Kill, Cripple or Maim.

Once you understand their are different types & forms of violence you understand their is no one size fits all solution. The problems are often social, psychological & environmentally based that determine the threat level. Here educated awareness is key understanding the variety of situations you'll find yourself in or could find yourself in. A gang member conducting a drive by shooting and a terrorist executing a suicide bombing are in essence the same a street fight. Which is the same level of intent as two thugs with baseball bats. Your response to all three is essentially the same; avoid if possible, break contact if you can & be willing to do whatever it takes to survival. This is completely different from keeping drunk uncle Bob in line without seriously hurting him, a fight. This is Self-Defense Situational Awareness Philosophy.

Read More in the Street Focus Jujitsu Handbook it is a basic condensed set of sociological concepts and psychological principles. It is presented here as a guide for the reader to help better understand awareness & how the human mind reacts in an altercation.