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Tandemkross

Author Topic: Jeff Cooper's Combat Mindsets  (Read 1940 times)

Offline SharpsShooter

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Jeff Cooper's Combat Mindsets
« on: December 15, 2012, 07:12:03 PM »
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White: Unaware and unprepared. If attacked in Condition White, the only thing that may save you is the inadequacy or ineptitude of your attacker. When confronted by something nasty, your reaction will probably be "Oh my God! This can't be happening to me."

Yellow: Relaxed alert. No specific threat situation. Your mindset is that "today could be the day I may have to defend myself". You are simply aware that the world is a potentially unfriendly place and that you are prepared to defend yourself, if necessary. You use your eyes and ears, and realize that "I may have to shoot today". You don't have to be armed in this state, but if you are armed you should be in Condition Yellow. You should always be in Yellow whenever you are in unfamiliar surroundings or among people you don't know. You can remain in Yellow for long periods, as long as you are able to "Watch your six." (In aviation 12 o'clock refers to the direction in front of the aircraft's nose. Six o'clock is the blind spot behind the pilot.) In Yellow, you are "taking in" surrounding information in a relaxed but alert manner, like a continuous 360 degree radar sweep. As Cooper put it, "I might have to shoot."

Orange: Specific alert. Something is not quite right and has your attention. Your radar has picked up a specific alert. You shift your primary focus to determine if there is a threat (but you do not drop your six). Your mindset shifts to "I may have to shoot that person today", focusing on the specific target which has caused the escalation in alert status. In Condition Orange, you set a mental trigger: "If that person does "X", I will need to stop them". Your pistol usually remains holstered in this state. Staying in Orange can be a bit of a mental strain, but you can stay in it for as long as you need to. If the threat proves to be nothing, you shift back to Condition Yellow.

Red: Condition Red is fight. Your mental trigger (established back in Condition Orange) has been tripped. "If 'X' happens I will shoot that person".


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Considering the principles of personal defense, we have long since come up with the Color Code. This has met with surprising success in debriefings throughout the world. The Color Code, as we preach it, runs white, yellow, orange, and red, and is a means of setting one’s mind into the proper condition when exercising lethal violence, and is not as easy as I had thought at first. There is a problem in that some students insist upon confusing the appropriate color with the amount of danger evident in the situation. As I have long taught, you are not in any color state because of the specific amount of danger you may be in, but rather in a mental state which enables you to take a difficult psychological step. Now, however, the government has gone into this and is handing out color codes nationwide based upon the apparent nature of a peril. It has always been difficult to teach the Gunsite Color Code, and now it is more so. We cannot say that the government’s ideas about colors are wrong, but that they are different from what we have long taught here. The problem is this: your combat mind-set is not dictated by the amount of danger to which you are exposed at the time. Your combat mind-set is properly dictated by the state of mind you think appropriate to the situation. You may be in deadly danger at all times, regardless of what the Defense Department tells you. The color code which influences you does depend upon the willingness you have to jump a psychological barrier against taking irrevocable action. That decision is less hard to make since the jihadis have already made it.


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"In White you are unprepared and unready to take lethal action. If you are attacked in White you will probably die unless your adversary is totally inept.

In Yellow you bring yourself to the understanding that your life may be in danger and that you may have to do something about it.

In Orange you have determined upon a specific adversary and are prepared to take action which may result in his death, but you are not in a lethal mode.

In Red you are in a lethal mode and will shoot if circumstances warrant."

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Jeff Cooper's Combat Mindsets
« on: December 15, 2012, 07:12:03 PM »

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Offline Flame Of Liberty

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Re: Jeff Cooper's Combat Mindsets
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2012, 02:45:33 PM »
I do Krav Maga and this was the first thing my instructor taught me. I am always in yellow and it has helped me prevent potential issues. It also saved my moms life a few months ago. Be aware at all times!
Look to the past to see to the future.

Offline Lebowski

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Re: Jeff Cooper's Combat Mindsets
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2013, 06:26:57 PM »
What about "code brown" when it's really hitting the fan!
The Dude abides.

Offline 1slickAR15

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Re: Jeff Cooper's Combat Mindsets
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2013, 08:14:31 AM »
Being switched on all the time would let you respond the fastest but being so high strung would probably take years off your life.  I'm probably between white and yellow most times.  I'm eggshell.  Off white?  Taupe?

Offline JammGear

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Re: Jeff Cooper's Combat Mindsets
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2013, 10:02:23 PM »
Unless you have an intense job would it benefit you to stay in orange or red?
"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." Aristotle

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