Getting Your Mind Right

It’s More Than Movie Dialog
; .

Regular ongoing training cultivates your awareness mindset
and helps “stress-inoculate” you against panic.

If you have not seen the movie Cool Hand Luke, tear a corner off your Superman or Wonder Woman card. The old Captain is counseling inmate Luke about his behavior and tells him to get himself squared away.

It’s sage advice to Paul Newman from Struther Martin in the movie and even more so in today’s world. Gunsite’s founder Jeff Cooper wrote a book entitled Another Country. The basic premise is the world had changed so much it is now like another country. He was so right those decades ago — and even more today, with the increasing dangers around the world as well as within our Republic and our own communities. What evil is there within our communities, not even beginning to consider what has illegally crossed our borders?


Gunsite Instructor and GUNS contributor Steve Tarani demonstrates
a gun takeaway. However, if you walk around clueless, you’ll never
even get a chance to use your skills.

Danger lurks …. Are you prepared physically, training wise and mentally? If you have not read Cooper’s treatise Principles of Personal Defense, you should. If you have, it is past time to re-read it — I read it at least twice a year and gift it to many. While the book is a mere 44 pages, it is very deep in the philosophy of self-protection. Cooper was a master of synthesizing topics to the simplest and most easily understood form. He found seven principles of personal defense:

• Alertness
• Decisiveness
• Aggressiveness
• Speed
• Coolness
• Ruthlessness
• Surprise

As these are principles, they do not differ due to your geographic location or demographics of the population. They are worldwide.

If you study a bit more, you will also learn the Color Code. This is a simple method of conditioning your mind for a potential incident. The condition of your mind controls your readiness.

Condition White — Most spend their life in Condition White. White is asleep at the wheel. You are unaware of the world around you. Look at the Zombies walking about with their heads in their phones. The official term in my prior life as a LEO was these people were “practicing cranial-rectal inversion.” Live in Condition White and you are begging to become a victim.


When considering emergencies, do you know where a nearby
first aid kit is located and how to use it, including a tourniquet?

Condition Yellow — This is a relaxed state of awareness. You know the world is not the rainbows and unicorns we once thought it was, and we must be alert and aware. We walk like bipeds with our heads erect and looking about. We aren’t looking for trouble but will have some clue if something may be about to happen. We will not be surprised.

Condition Orange — This state occurs when we pick up a blip on our radar that may be a problem. This blip on the screen does not take our undivided attention, but if something happens, you will not be surprised. You almost anticipate trouble and, most importantly, you have a plan. The plan is not necessarily to go to guns. It may be a plan to quickly exit the building, what you can use for cover and what provides concealment. Regardless, you will not be surprised and forced to formulate a plan in a millisecond.


Part of being prepared for emergencies is considering what
happens when you or someone else is injured. These students
are practicing using a battle dressing to staunch (fake) violent bleeding.

Condition Red — This is possibly a fight. You resolve the statement, “If he does this, I will do that.” This minimized your reactionary loop as you have seen a possible problem, already formulated a plan and put it into action. The miscreant is now reacting to you. As opposed to the reaction they expect — you wilting into a puddle — you react otherwise and have a greater chance of gaining the upper hand.

This is a learned ability that isn’t cumbersome nor conspicuous. You simply get your head out of your electronic device, watch what is going on around you and trust your “woman’s instinct,” the hair rising on the back of your neck or what simply seems out of place.


It’s great to carry a firearm as self-defense, but what if you’re
out of the country and cannot do so legally? The Cooper Color
Code and principles of self-defense still apply!

I’m not saying you must use a bounding overwatch patrol technique as you and your Significant Other shop through the big box store. Keep it much simpler. If you can maintain a level of alertness while shopping, traveling, at home or at work, your chances of being a victim are greatly reduced.

Train yourself to think like a feral cat or a coyote. Have you ever tried to sneak up on a feral barn cat? If you can learn this simple skill, your chances of winning and surviving a dangerous encounter is much greater.

Our world is different now, even in our local “safe” communities. It is time for you to have a personal and family plan for disasters from weather, earthquake or man-made/caused crisis. The more training and education you have will help “stress-inoculate” you from responding in a panic mode. Take the time, make the plan, and communicate and practice it with your friends and family. In other words, make ready.

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