Safety Awareness Training


Awareness training is the cornerstone of good personal security. Awareness is a situational thing, you have to be switched on 24/7 when in the street. One method of teaching awareness is the color codes.

Jeff Cooper, an American combat pistol instructor developed the Coopers Colour Codes many years ago to help law enforcement personnel have an immediate and visual system of reflecting the changes of threat in their environment. He used the following colors, calling them CONDITIONS. Conditions, white, yellow, orange, red, and black are used. We will ignore condition black because this is for deadly force. Let’s have a look at what each condition represents:

  • Condition White relates to being switched off, this is where 99% of people spend their time. This is the victim state; in this condition, a person has no awareness.
  • Condition Yellow is the condition we should be in 100% of the time; it’s like turning on the radar; this is the scanning and seeing state, you are switched on and alert, having good situational awareness.
  • Condition Orange is when you see a possible threat, this is where you evaluate and make a decision. This is what being switched on is all about, giving you time to make a decision. Once the threat has passed you go back to condition yellow.
  • Condition Red is an action trigger you must turn and get out of there now or be ready for problems. Fight or flight.

So the color codes do two things: they act as situational warnings when your environment is about to change for the worst. Secondly, the color codes act as action triggers, especially in code red. Action triggers are strategies you have already worked out for a threat, so when it hits the fan, you already have a plan of action, this is important because when you are in fight or flight mode or under stress, it is really hard to make a decision.

The color codes need to be practiced to make them second nature. Action triggers and strategies should be written down so you can look back at them from time to time.

Article kindly provided by Jeff Gonsalves of the Shudan Dojo

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