The Color Code of Mental Awareness
This is by far the most important information that we can give you in this course. The reason why it's the most important information is because you can be the most accurate shooter on the range. You can be the fastest out of the holster. You can know all of the high-speed, low-drag tactics that there are to know … but if you're not aware enough of your environment to see the fight coming, a common street punk can have your car keys, your wallet or your life before you even know what's happening.
This information is also the most important information we can share with you because if you adopt this as your own, you're less likely to ever have to use the deadly skills that we're teaching you this weekend because criminals will see that you're aware of your environment and they'll let you walk right on by and attack someone else— who's less aware.
This is also the most important information we can give you because the decision to shoot another human being, even when your life is on the line, is a difficult decision to make. It takes a definite mental “ramping up” to do that. If you don't follow this Color Code System of Awareness and mentally ramp up to press that trigger when you should be pressing it, you may be talking to yourself and saying, “I can't believe this is happening to me.” instead of shooting to save your life or the lives of your loved ones.
The Color Code of Mental Awareness has Five Levels: Condition White; ConditionYellow; Condition Orange; Condition Red; and Condition Black.
Condition White is that level of mental awareness that we'd all like to live in if this were a perfect world. That is: unaware and unprepared. In Condition White you're an easy victim. An easy mark. Criminals look for people in Condition White because they can catch them by surprise. They can overwhelm them.
Examples of people in Condition White:
A person walking down the street, hands in his pockets, head in the clouds, whistling the last song he heard on the radio. Completely oblivious to everything going on around him.
A person sitting on a park bench on a beautiful spring day engrossed in a good novel or immersed in the newspaper, completely oblivious to everything going on around him.
A person driving to work— mentally already at work— completely oblivious to everything going on around him.
We've all been in Condition White. If you're caught in Condition White, you're an easy victim. It doesn't matter who you are. You can be a Four Weapons Combat Master. You can be a 7th Degree Black Belt. You can be a cop who's been on the street for 25 years and won 5 gunfights. If you're caught in Condition White, you're an easy victim. Why? Because you're caught by surprise! And when caught by surprise it is very difficult to react quickly enough to prevent injury or death in a lethal attack.
Here is what I mean by that: How many times have you walked around the corner and somebody that you know— a friend or family member— is going to pull a little joke, a little trick on you by hiding behind the corner to scare you? As you walk around the corner they jump out and yell, “Boo!” Has that happened to any of you? Sure it's happened to all of us. At that moment when they jump out and catch you by surprise, what do you feel? A little shock? A little fear?
How long does it take you to recognize that this is your friend or your family member and then how long does it take for your brain to tell your hand to push them away and then how long does it take for you to say, “Don't ever do that again!” How long does that all take? What do you think? A second, a couple of seconds, a few seconds? That amount of time in a lethal encounter is an eternity. Remember the “average gunfight” we talked about yesterday? Most gunfights are over in 3 seconds.
So it took you a second or two or longer to recover from your initial shock and fearwhen you recognized this person who scared you as a friend. You see, that initial feeling that you felt was a kind of a shrinking, withdraw fear that occurs because you're caught by surprise. You must mentally ramp back up into a higher level of emotion, usually a bit annoyed at this point or even angry. Right? Then and only then are you able to react and tell them, “Hey don't do that again!”
What if it's someone you don't know? What if instead of someone saying, “Boo!” as you step around the corner, it's the knife that's coming down into your chest. Or the hands around your throat as they drive you backwards and try to knock you to the ground?
In that situation, many times the initial feeling of fear, is driven deeper into apathy or surrender. And you've all heard victims of crime say this, “I wanted to scream but … nothing would come out. I wanted to run but … I couldn't move.” Criminals rely on this.They try to catch you by surprise, overwhelm you and drive you down into that emotional band of apathy or surrender where you simply submit and don't fight back.
So don't get caught in Condition White because there will be a moment in time, no matter who you are, that you will not be able to respond. And it's during that time that your life is in the hands of your opponent. And that's why we say the only reason you'll survive a lethal attack if caught in Condition White is if your opponent was sloppy. Meaning he didn't finish you immediately. He gave you enough time, and it's a lot of time that he has to give you, so you could mentally ramp up, counter and take the fight to him. Don't count on that. Stay out of Condition White.
Condition Yellow is where you want to be. Condition Yellow is best described as relaxed and alert. You're aware of your environment. You are walking down the street with you hands at your sides—your head is up—you're looking around. You're using all of your senses.
This is not a state of paranoia. You are simply relaxed and alert.
You walk by a plate glass window—you see a reflection. You look behind you. There's someone walking about 15 paces behind you. You note their features and their pace.
You see a couple approaching from the opposite side of the street. They're holding hands. You're simply aware of what's going on around you.
You're driving to work. You know that there's a late model Ford truck with two 20-year-old males to the right—a late model sedan with a woman and two children to the left— a sports car is behind you and you're looking 2 or 3 car lengths ahead driving defensively.
You walk out of your home on a Sunday morning to pick up the newspaper. Before you walk out, you take a look out the window. What's happening in my neighborhood today? You walk out of the house. You look up and down the street. Is there anything that's out
of the ordinary? You pick up the newspaper. You carry it into the house before you open it up and you read the newspaper in the security and comfort of your home.
If you're in Condition Yellow, you're less likely to ever be picked to be a victim because criminals don't want to deal with you. You're aware of your surroundings! You see what's going on! They would rather look for everyone else who are in Condition White and are unaware and easy victims.
In Condition Yellow the amount of time it takes for you to mount a response is literally the amount of time it takes you to present your weapon or better yet, evade the problem entirely. Why so quick to act? Because you see the problem coming. You are not caught by surprise.
Here's an example: Let's take a high-powered business executive. The profile on this guy is he's graduated from an Ivy League college at the top of his class, was the captain of the water polo team and the lacrosse team. He gets accepted into a major law school, and graduates at the top of his class. He is picked up by a major law firm. By the 5th year he's offered a partnership. You get the idea? He commands 200 attorneys and a support staff underneath him and everybody does exactly what he says. He is in total control of his destiny … or so he thinks.
As he walks down the street in the financial district…has his Presidential Rolex watch on, and he is holding his $1000 briefcase…he's glancing at the stock report in the Wall Street Journal. Down the street in a dark alley there is a criminal, a drug addict who needs a fix real bad.
This drug addict has a knife and he's waiting for someone to walk by who he can rob.How easy is it for this criminal to slither out of his hole as this businessman walks by with his head in the Journal, and his mind on his stock values? How easy is it for this criminal to slither out of his hole, walk up behind that businessman, cup his mouth to prevent the scream, put a knife to his neck and say in the foulest language with the foulest breath, “Drop that briefcase, give me that watch or I'll cut your f—ing throat.” How easy is it for this criminal to make this high powered business executive fear for his life? Very easy, isn't it?
And what is that high-powered executive, who's been in control of his life do at this moment? What is he going to feel besides that warm liquid running down his leg? Can he resist at this point? Yes, but he will get cut or killed and he knows it. He's going to drop that briefcase. He's going to give up the watch and he's going to beg this criminal—this drug addict, “Just don't hurt me. Take whatever you want. Just don't hurt me.” And that criminal may cut his throat anyway because he despises the wealthy, or he hates attorneys or whatever reason that criminal needs to justify slitting another throat.
Now this same businessman AFTER receiving this lecture is a different person.He's walking down the same street. He's got the Wall Street Journal in the briefcase or rolled up under his arm. He's got the briefcase in his support hand to keep his firing hand free. And as he walks by the corner, he remembers from our tactical lecture “Keep away from corners. Distance is your friend.” He takes a couple of steps to avoid the corner and he just takes a quick look down the alley way as he walks by. And he sees the criminal standing in the shadows. He doesn't stop and confront this criminal, he simply continues on but he's going to take another look over his shoulder and maybe another one after that to make sure that the drug addict stayed put. Is that criminal going to attack him? No way.
In fact, what normally happens is the criminal is waiting for an easy victim but as the businessman moves by that corner and takes a look, the criminal is going to dive further back into the shadows and hope that he wasn't seen. He's not going to take the chance of further exposing himself. And he may then leave, find another place to hide because the business man may call the police!
So you being in Condition Yellow will actually save a number of people that are in Condition White who follow in your footsteps!
Condition Yellow, is where you want to be. It's not difficult. It's not a state of paranoia. You don't think everyone is out to get you. You're simply aware of what's going on and you're ready to respond at a moment's notice because you see things happen that others do not.
WHEW! Take a break! Ten minutes.
The Color Code of Mental Awareness (continued)
is the next level of mental awareness. Condition Orange is best described as a specific, potential threat.
Let's say you are in Condition Yellow and you're aware of what's going on around you and you see something out of the ordinary—you immediately ramp up to Condition Orange.
In Condition Orange, you need to do
: First, you must make some evasive maneuver which forces your opponent to show his hand. Second, you must start formulating that tactical plan in the event that this is a real threat. The evasive maneuver forces your opponent to show whether his actions are just a coincidence OR he's actually after you!
Here's an example: You're driving down the road, a late model Ford pickup truck with two 20-year-old males to the right of you. It slows down and pulls in behind you. Nothing out of the ordinary there, but you look in the rear view mirror and you see those two guys in the truck and they're messing around underneath the dashboard and pointing at you. You think, “Condition Orange. Evasive maneuvers. Formulate a tactical plan in case this is in fact, a real threat.” So you make a right-hand turn at the next light. That's your evasive maneuver—a very simple evasive maneuver. They make a right hand turn too! You make another right hand turn. They also make a right hand turn. How many of you would say, “It's getting a little brighter Orange here?” You make another right hand turn and they're still behind you.
How many of you would say, “Hey I think they're following me.” You make another right hand turn and you're on the same street you were on when they pulled in behind you. They are following you!
Condition Orange is the second safety valve that helps prevent you from ever having to use the deadly skills we teach at Front Sight. Why? Because criminals are not the smartest people in the world but usually they can figure out when you know that they are on to you. So after the third turn one says to the other, “You know that's the third right hand turn this guy has done and he keeps looking in his mirrors at us. I think he knows we're following him. Let's find somebody else.” And off they go. Only the most dedicated criminal will continue his attack if he knows You Know it is coming.
Well let's say they're still behind you after the 4th right turn. Does anybody have any doubt that this is a real threat? No. You forced your opponent to show his hand. What's your tactical plan? Well we would submit to you that sometimes the best tactical plan is more evasion, more escape.
So your plan is, “I'm going to start driving over to the sheriff's station or the police station. I'm going to keep plenty of following distance between me and the car in front. I'm not going to let these guys box me in. If they get out of their vehicles or they bump me, I'll drive up onto the curb and I'll get out of here.” Sure enough you're driving, make a couple of turns, you're heading toward the police station. You come to a stoplight. The car in front of you stops at the light. You leave a little space and these guys bump you. You look in the rear view mirror and what do you see? They're getting out of the vehicles with weapons in their hands. You immediately drive up onto the right hand side of the road, up over the curb and you drive out of there. They are left standing in the street, weapons drawn, and looking around. As they retreat back to their truck they are wondering, “How did that happen?” Color Code of Mental Awareness is how that happened!
That's Condition Orange versus someone in Condition White who's driving along, enjoying the radio, thinking about what they're going to buy at the shopping center or what they have to do at the office. And BOOM they get hit from behind. First they grab their neck from the pain of the sudden jolt and the next thing they hear this “tap, tap, tap” on the glass. When they look out their window they're shocked because what do they see? They see a .25 caliber pocket pistol that looks like a .45 caliber handgun pointing in the window and some guy yelling and screaming, “Get out of the car! Get out of the car!” They want to get out of the car, but they can't move.
(Many times these people get shot, not because they're resisting, but because they're not capable of getting out of the car. They are frozen in fear like a deer caught in your headlights.)
That's the difference between getting caught in Condition White and being in Condition Yellow, then seeing something out of the ordinary, then ramping up mentally to Condition Orange, making that evasive maneuver as your formulate your tactical plan.
Condition Red is that level of mental awareness you reach when you know the threat is real. There's no doubt they're after you. In Condition Red you must set a mental trigger. You must draw a line in the sand. If you don't set a mental trigger or draw a line in the sand, at that moment of truth when you should be active, when you should be shooting, when you should be running, whatever it is you should be doing — you may just be talking to yourself. And talking to yourself when you should be shooting will get you killed.
Sequentially it works like this: You say to yourself, “I'm going to do X. If my opponent does Y, I'm doing Z.” End of story. Decision is made. You draw the mental line in the sand, if your opponent steps over it, you know what to do andYou Do It!
Much like the carjacking scenario we just gave you. After four right turns, you know it's a real threat. You formulate your tactical plan. You say to yourself, “I'm going to keep good following distance. That's what I'm going to do. If they bump me or if they get out of their car, I'm going to drive upon the side of the road and get out of here.” You see?I'm doing X. If they do Y, I'm doing Z.
Remember the scenario we told you about yesterday? The police officers who'd received a call that the man was waving a gun
at the Shopping Mall? A witness flagged him over and said, “Hey he's around the corner. Be careful, he's got a gun