Archive for July, 2017

Monday, July 31st, 2017

                The Cooper Color Code: Tightening It Up

ALTHOUGH we disagree completely with the mechanics of that which he referred to as the “New Technique of the Pistol” for serious combat shooting of the handgun at close quarters, we nevertheless am grateful for learning the “Combat Color Code” when, back in the mid-1970’s, we took his Course personally, from the late Col. Jeff Cooper. In fact it was a friend’s lending us a copy of Cooper’s Principles of Personal Defense, which we regard as a masterpiece for anyone and everyone engaged in any form of self-defense training ––– with or without weapons ––– that caused us to contact Cooper in the first place. Mental conditioning For Combat had been a matter of serious study for us since the 1960’s, and when we discovered the PPD we were delighted.

Over the years we have modified how the Color Code is used for ourself and our students. Our view of all forms of armed and unarmed combat is that simple is better, and we believe that by simplifying the way the color code is utilized, we’ve simplified that particular aspect of mental conditioning for combat ––– and improved it for practical application.

Here is the Combat Color Code, invented by Jeff Cooper, and the specifics of how he taught it:

Condition WHITE: Inattentive, relaxed, paying no particular attention to anything near or around you. Unaware.
Condition YELLOW: Relaxed alert. You are paying attention wherever you go and wherever you may be to who and to what is around and near you. There is no specific cause for alarm or concern, but you remain situationally aware as you go about whatever business you may be going about. You notice as much as possible within the area where you happen to be at the time.

Condition ORANGE: Specific alert. Something/someone has attracted your attention and has caused you to consider that it/he may need to be dealt with. You remain in Condition Orange until whatever has caused you to be concerned has been explained and determined not to be a source of possible danger.

Condition RED: Alert and ready to take action! Whatever has caused you to become alarmed in Condition Orange has you convinced that yes, you may need to take serious action and ––– being guided by whatever “triggering action” you have decided must take place before you actually do neutralize the threat ––– you are ready to go! Whether armed or unarmed, if the individual(s) who has aroused your state of readiness to act decisively makes a certain triggering move or takes a certain triggering action that you have decided upon in advance, you will neutralize the threat instantly.
(Note: The “trigger” is decided by you, and will vary according to circumstances. For example, “If his hand is raised as a fist, I’m going to attack”, “If he produces a weapon I am going to shoot him”, “If these two move to block my way I am going to attack”, etc. and so on.)

That Color Code is better than excellent, and if it suits you exactly as Cooper taught it, that’s fine. But realizing how dangerous any attack can be, and understanding how simpler is always better insofar as technical or mental preparation goes, we have “tightened up” Cooper’s Color Code, so as to bring the defender “closer/sooner” to a state of readiness to drop any threat to life or limb.

Our particular belief is that Condition Orange should include being

Ready to take action! Whatever has caused you to become alarmed in Condition Orange has convinced that yes, you may need to take serious action and ––– being guided by whatever “triggering action” you have decided must take place before you actually do neutralize the threat ––– you are ready to go!

Condition Red then is ACTION! And we refer to the stages of YELLOW, OR ANGE, and RED as: Ready, set, go! Condition WHITE is, exactly as Cooper taught it, unacceptable and inappropriate to living, functioning, traveling, working, and so forth in a dangerous world. Only when you control completely the environment that you are in, know exactly who is near and around you, and understand that only those who mean you no harm can approach you, is being in Condition White justified.

We have not modified Cooper’s Color Code just to be different. With great respect for his innovation we have tried to make it even more effective for more students of self-defense, everywhere.

We note that here and there others have added something they call condition “black”, thus further complicating matters (and, we feel, just to make gullible fools believe that they have improved upon Cooper’s work). We stress again: SIMPLIFYING is what improves things in combat arts. And in the spirit of wanting to improve a great thing created by an extraordinary man, we offer our thoughts which we hope make the color code even more effective for you.


Sunday, July 23rd, 2017

                        Common Sense And Concealed Carry

IT seems that everything involved with the subject of combat shooting and going armed is now regarded as complex doctrine that must be validated and presented by “experts” only; the individual who wishes to master combat shooting and be ready for emergencies can figure nothing out for himself.

Here are the simple facts regarding the matter of concealed carry. You can use them as a guide and save yourself tons of money, or you can line the pockets of “instructors” who will be happy to initiate you into what they enjoy presenting as the “little known lore” normally restricted to the elite professionals.

You should familiarize yourself with a variety of revolvers and semiautomatics and select the one (or possibly two or more) that you can handle and feel most confident with, personally. Your selection of a handgun or handguns for your personal carry and use should be based upon the following criteria:
a) The weapon should be of the highest possible quality manufacture. If you live in the United States you are very fortunate here, because you can select from amongst the finest quality firearms available from every manufacturer on earth ––– or damn near every single one. Quality must be first class. You don’t look to save money when purchasing a firearm by compromising quality. Buy the best; because if you ever need that handgun you will need it very badly indeed, and the last thing that will matter to you is how much you “saved” on a bargain-basement firearm.
b) Unless you have the knowledge and experience, purchase a brand new weapon. Used weapons can be every bit as good as used ––– sometimes, depending upon who owned and used them, they can be superior to new weapons ––– but you need to have the ability to examine and to evaluate them. If you lack that expertise, buy brand new.
c) We personally urge that you select nothing less than a .38 Special or 9mm handgun. Carrying a .357, .40, or .45ACP is best if you can carry it comfortably concealed on your person. (We love the old Colt Commander Model .45 auto pistol. We carried one 24/7 years ago, and it was ––– in our personal experience ––– an absolutely fabulous constant-carry piece. When carrying that was not feasible, we carried a Smith and Wesson Model 60 Chiefs revolver in .38 Special in an ankle holster. Today, we would choose a Centennial revolver, which we feel is a better pointer.)

2. You must determine how the variety of available holsters fit you. Your physical structure (height, weight, hip width, etc.) will greatly affect which holsters feel comfortable and enable you to carry concealed, and which do not. Each of the following can be perfect under certain conditions for certain people. Check into it and utilize what you discover about your physique, mode of dress, etc. and how these factors affect any given concealed carry mode for you.

––– Small of the back holster (Excellent in certain situations. Obviously no good if you are sitting down)

––– Crossdraw holster (One of our favorites. Excellent sitting or standing)

––– Appendix carry holster (Comfortable for some)

––– High hip holster* (Probably the all-round fastest. Not at all good when seated in a vehicle)

––– Shoulder holster (Another of or favorites. Excellent sitting or standing. Permits either hand access. All but makes a weapon snatch impossible.)

––– Ankle holster (Not the best, but will do when no other option for concealed carry presents itself)

––– Inside the pocket holster (Very practical for many)

*Inside-the-pants carry mode is extremely popular, and rightly so. However, do not automatically assume that this will prove functional for yourself. It may not. Excellent outside the pants holsters will permit outstanding concealment, and if an inside-the-pants causes you discomfort, you will not want to wear it for ten or more hours steadily, and discomfort ––– with any holster ––– could easily give away the fact that you’re “carrying”.

Your selection of concealed carry modes MUST FIT YOU.
3. PRACTICE, practice, practice, practice, and practice more! Speedy access (“quick draw”) should be drilled into you so that, in a crisis, your weapon can be produced ––– accident free! ––– in the shortest possible time ––– ready to fire!

Most often quick draw is not required. But if you can accomplish quick draw then smooth and efficient access (which is always required when a firearm must be withdrawn from its holster) is easy and natural. Note that quick draw from an ankle holster (the late excellent holster-maker Chic Gaylord to the contrary notwithstanding) is not practically possible under combat conditions. Please do not point to some odd exception who practices for hours every day and who is a natural perfectly coordinated athlete and shooter. This type of individual cannot realistically serve as a model for the statistically average person (private citizen, law enforcement officer, soldier, etc.) who must accommodate less favorable hereditary and daily practice realities.

It is very doubtful that one handgun and one carry mode will suffice for anyone who must go armed constantly. The principles given apply to each and every firearm and carry mode, and to all who employ any!

We have not referenced firearms safety, proper handling, maintenance, basic combat (i.e. point) shooting, and how to use the handgun when distance, time, and light permit use-of-the-sights aimed firing. We merely wished to mention the salient facts about concealed carry so that those decent citizens who wish to go armed and can legally do so, but who cannot afford to pay through the nose for instruction in this simple subject, will get the scoop.


We understand that carrying a knife concealed is normally not covered by any permits that are issued for concealed firearms carry. Therefore we present the following for academic/informational purposes only. We do not recommend or endorse the carrying of a knife or of any weapon in any manner, illegally.

Fairbairn had a great idea in regard to knife carry. He had a holster sewn into his left hand pocket. He was right-handed. Thus his right hand was free to strike, and no one noticed him draw the razor sharp commando knife that was his own ––– and Eric Sykes’ ––– invention, with his left hand.

Whichever pocket you choose, we think that having the pocket modified so that a fighting knife can be held in a conveniently placed holster inside that pocket is a great idea.

Soldiers in battle dress often carry a knife on their web gear, but not concealed. There are shoulder holsters for knives, but we cannot recommend any personally. We have never carried any fighting knife concealed. We did carry a Buck Folding Hunter that was slightly modified with a nub welded on the blade for one hand opening. This was years before some excellent commercially available “flick type” folding knives became available.

As we have written elsewhere, we like the box cutter (“utility knife”) as a self-defense weapon. These, and lock blade folders ––– the only kind to carry for defense purposes ––– are very easy to conceal in normal pockets. We train students to employ folders that have not been already opened as yawara sticks to strike blows before taking the moment to open them.
The important thing with a knife that you carry concealed is that it be convenient, readily accessible, and comfortable for you. There really is no “official” or universally recommended carry mode for knives. In fact, where lawful, the carrying of a knife in a conventional belt scabbard can be fine. Again, you must determined what suits you best and what accommodates your unique requirements ––– dress wise, physique-wise, technique application wise.

Weaponry is an important aspect of modern, practical self-defense, as it has always been an important aspect of real world close combat.




Tuesday, July 11th, 2017

         Something To Think Seriously About

IN a way you could say that this is the foundational prerequisite of proper mental conditioning for close combat and self-defense. It also may at first blush seem to be something very obvious or easily dismissed and taken for granted. Please believe us ––– it is not necessarily obvious, and it must not be taken for granted.

We are speaking of the conviction in your mind that yes, indeed, violent aggression may come to you. If you shrug and say “Well naturally I know that; that’s why I train in self-defense skills and why I read and study the subject,” we must point out that a great deal of evidence exists that points to the likelihood that many people who train in martial arts do not in their heart of hearts truly accept, understand, feel, and believe that a serious, life-threatening attack by one or more deadly felons actually ever could be in their future. They may say that they believe it, but study of the facts points to the possibility that they may well be amongst that large number of private citizens, soldiers, and law enforcement officers who ––– at the deepest level, do not believe it.

So . . . what makes us say this, and where is there any evidence of its being true?

In our decades of research and study, which of course includes speaking with and/or reading the after-action reports of military and police professionals and private citizens who have spent considerable time, energy, and money learning self-defense both with and without weapons, we note that in more than half the cases the individuals state that they “couldn’t believe what was happening”, “it didn’t seem real”, “I felt like time slowed down and I was living a bad dream”, “nothing felt real” “I just could not believe that this guy was pulling a knife (or gun)”, “it didn’t feel real when he went to punch me (or whatever aggressive action the assailant took), and so on. Black belt experts, seasoned street cops, trained military men . . . all are among those who ––– we’d say very obviously ––– were not convinced that the awful reality of a dangerous physical attack against them would ever “really” come to them.

Psychologically this is not too much of a surprise. It is a well known phenomenon that the overwhelming majority of soldiers who go into wartime combat do not really expect to die. And yet the possibility (indeed, in some instances, the probability of not emerging from an engagement in wartime combat is often incontestably present).

Ferociously realistic training and mental indoctrination can change this and increase the fighting man’s understanding of the reality of a deadly threat, and thus make him better prepared to deal with it; but the reality of this is rare. During WWII one of the absolute fiercest and most hardened and mentally conditioned units was the USMC’s Raiders. Interestingly, although the Raiders were routinely outnumbered by the Japanese troops that they fought, and the regular infantry marines were often not outnumbered, there were fewer losses percentage-wise amongst the Raiders than there was amongst the regular infantry. Years ago a former USMC Raider ––– a veteran of the Makin Island Raid ––– told us: “We were ready to die if death came, and we knew the Japs were ready to kill us. So we attacked and killed them because we knew that this was it; it was real, and we had one chance and one job to do.” We did clean up the grammar a bit, but we report the essence of the statement made to us. Please note: “. . . we knew the Japs were ready to kill us . . .” We have no doubt that this acceptance of exactly how great and real a threat they faced accounted for their incredible success and their comparatively small loss of men. When you know, understand, believe, and appreciate the reality and nature of exactly what you are facing you have the greatest chance dealing with it effectively.

And that’s the point we wish to hammer home. More precisely, we want you to “hammer it home” ––– into your subconscious mind, your motor nerves, and your reflexes!
It can come to you.

Naturally we hope that violence never intrudes upon our lives and the lives of those we love. But as students of self-defense we are “switched on” to the reality that the world we live in is hardly one big Disneyland. We realize that when we are out and about in that ocean of humanity out there wherever we work, attend school, go for recreation, seek to enjoy time with those we love, etc., we will not always or necessarily encounter some friendly Charlie The Tuna; it may well be JAWS, and because we anticipate this possibility occurring one day, we will not be taken by surprise if it happens. We will be ready. We will not experience, when that awful moment arrives and some worthless, subhuman scumbag suddenly comes at us, that state of bewilderment expressed by the words, “I can’t believe this! This can’t be happening to me!” We will instead react with a mindset that knew this occurrence was always possible, and that now commands us to bring into play those techniques and skills that we have worked so hard and long to develop.

Anyone feeling that he needs or would like to avail himself of really intensive mental conditioning should obtain our self-hypnosis CDs. Check out the list.We have carefully prepared a set of 20 that more than adequately covers the mental barriers to total mental conditioning for close combat and self-defense.

Just know and do not ever forget that we live in a world that is neither safe nor friendly. Disgracefully, one of the more hideous dangers that we humans all face is the danger of being attacked physically by self-inducedly inhuman members of our own species ––– i.e. dangerous, despicable, predatory savages. The death toll from scummy excuses for “people” who kill their own kind (unlike, we note with raised eyebrows, creatures in the animal kingdom who do not attack and kill members of their own species!) is akin to the death tolls from some dread diseases.

One day, if mankind ever survives this insane-asylum-masquerading-as-human-society, our mentality and morality will have risen to the point where we cease to tolerate predation by members of our species, and we react to them when they surface as we react to rabid, feral rats. But that day appears to be a long way off, if indeed it ever comes.

But adjusting the attitude of human society is not and need not ever be thought of as your or our individual concern. JUST WORK ON YOUR PERSONAL, INDIVIDUAL ATTITUDE, AND YOUR MINDSET; AND BEGIN BY REALIZING THAT THAT WHICH YOU ARE TRAINING TO COPE WITH MAY IN FACT ONE DAY REALLY COME TO YOU.