My System of DIRECT Defense teaches awareness as a cornerstone for all it’s programs. In any self-defense scenario one must recognize and be aware of the situation at hand. To simplify and teach awareness we use a color code system know throughout many law enforcement and security agencies. Known as Cooper’s Color Code model, it was originally devised by Col. J. Cooper, a pistol shooting guru. Most recently we all may be familiar with this system of color codes as it is used for terrorism alerts by the US government and seen on places like CNN. Commonly the code system is as follows:
Condition White: You are unaware of what is going on around you. The only time you should be in this condition is when you are sleeping. Reasons why one may be in this condition maybe due to fatigue, stress, or impairment due to drugs or alcohol. At this condition you are really not ready for anything.
Condition Yellow: You are alert but also calm and relaxed. You know what is going on in front of you, to your sides and to the rear. You are alert to you surroundings/environment and the people who occupy it and their body language. Being in this state makes it difficult for someone to surprise you.You are alert, not paranoid!
Condition Orange: A heightened level of awareness. You sense or recognize that something is not right. This is the time to formulate a plan and start to act. At this point you make the decision to act, Fight or flight (avoidance/diffusion).
Condition Red: The highest level of awareness. You are taking immediate and decisive action. You are in contact (or range) of the subject and physical action is taking place. LEO and security don’t always have the same luxury as civilians to disengage (run away).
This color code model gives a basic visual of what level of awareness one should be at a given point in time. Note that sometimes one may go from one condition to another in a split second. To further simplify Cooper’s model we may say either one is aware or they are not aware. Be Safe and Be Aware!
Through my experience and studies I have decided to start writing on the subject of practical self defense. I find this writing necessary due to the main streaming of the martial arts, the popularity of mixed martial arts and loss of the proper understanding of self defense and it’s purpose.
In terms of self defense and martial arts there are three main types of attacks or fights. This is just a simplified view but most can be fit into one of the three categories. Also one category may move into another if given the opportunity.
The Ambush: is the first type of attack. It where the subject is ‘jumped’ or as stated ambushed by the attacker(s). The level of awareness of the subject to their situation is obviously low or next to none. The ambush can be averted mostly by the use of awareness! Awareness of ones’ surroundings and to those in them and the knowledge of an attackers rituals and how they set up an attack are pivotal in avoiding an ambush attack.
The Confrontation/Three-Second Fight; is as written where one is confronted or an attacker is setting the subject up. This type of fight is usually controlled by an interview stance/fence and ended usually either through verbal diffusion, posturing, pre-emptive strike(s), or escape/flight. If a physical confrontation is not ended within the first few seconds then it usually ends up in the third type of fight, the match fight.
The Match fight; is when two or more either decide to fight or things have continued from an ambush or a three second fight. A match fight relies more on size, shape, conditioning, skill, speed, power, and physical abilities more than the other two types of fights. This is the area where most martial artists train as self defense but yet is the least “self defense” related area.
Awareness is the key in all three types of fights /attacks to avoiding them and/or to a large degree controlling these situations. In up coming blogs I shall be covering various subjects for good self defense practices such as awareness, mind-set and other such topics.
Going through some old boxes and lockers I came upon an old tape of footage from a Championship held back in the mid 90′s. This was the G.T.F. North American Championships held by Master Wing Hon Fu in Aylmer Quebec. In this video are highlights of the students from my school which was then called TaeKwon-Do Elite. Though a member of the GTF, we used to have school teams to compete in many GTF, ITF, WTF and open Tae Kwon do tournaments and championships whereby they did very well. Since this time many of the students have gone on to earn their Black Belts and all have grown to follow their chosen paths.
As a white belt many years ago, our instructor related this story to us. He explained it much like this:
There was once two pearl farmers in Korea. They both lived in the same small village on the coast of Korea. The first farmer was a meager farmer with only but a limited number of strings from which hung his oysters with developing pearls in them. The total number of potential pearls amounted between 100-200. The second farmer had hundreds of strings of oysters amounting to a potential of thousands of pearls. Now after a time the pearls were ready to be harvested. The first farmer harvested all the oysters he owned and collected 100 or so pearls of quality to sell at market. The second farmer though he had such a large potential of pearls only harvested a very small number of his oysters resulting in 50 pearls. After the harvest they both went off to market and sold their bounty. The first farmer with his money paid off any outstanding debts he had and with the rest of his money he was able to live the rest of his life not extravagantly but comfortably until he passed a number of years later. The second farmer, with the little amount of money he made, lived out the rest of his days very poorly never bothering to ever harvest anymore pearls but rather save them for the future (which never came).
Which farmer was richer?
The first farmer, though with technically fewer pearls, used his potential and benefited fully from it. The second farmer though potentially much richer, did not use anywhere close to his potential and suffered greatly from this choice!
If we look at the word pearl and substitute it with the word talent, it is much like many in martial arts. Some have so much potential talent but never really use it. Others have very little potential talent yet use every little bit of talent they have! The choice is yours! Use every bit of your talents no matter how great or how small. It is what you do with what you have which truly counts!.
99% of personal protection is using ones brain! So many confrontations, attacks and fights could be and can be avoided or altered by using simple methods utilizing the brain instead of brawn! Probably the most important mental aspect of self protection is Awareness! Although it sounds simple for one to be aware so few people actually are. To explain awareness we may use Color Code model based on one first devised by the pistol shooting coach Jeff Cooper. The model is as follows:
Although the chart gives four Code levels awareness could be simplified even further into the fact that either; ‘one is aware on what is going on around themselves’ or ‘they are not!’. A sad factor working against awareness is apathy. “That would never happen to me!” or “Assault is illegal so I should be able to go where I want and not worry about being attacked!” Sure, these and similar ideas are great but far from realistic! One should never have to worry about violence or being assaulted but apathy to reality could get you hurt or killed! Sorry! it’s not a perfect world! Conflicts, confrontations, attacks, assaults and murders do happen. Be safe and be aware! There is no need to be paranoid, just be aware. Know that you are in control when you take action. If you are apathetic you are a victim! If you are aware you are in Control!