Do you know Retired Marine Jeff Cooper and his contributions to what we do?

Many have been taught that there are different levels of awareness that we perceive our surroundings and possible threats within those surroundings.  There was a mental preparation awareness system developed by Retired Marine Jeff Cooper known as “Coopers Colours”. This system is still currently taught to many US law enforcement and security officers.  This system of colours is a mental awareness model which will allow a person to adjust one’s height of awareness depending on the circumstances of the surrounding environment.
Condition White
i. Unaware of surroundings.
ii. An attack on an individual in condition white will probably be successful.
Condition Yellow
i. General awareness of surroundings.
ii. You perceive events and changing in condition yellow 24 hours a day.
Condition Orange
i. Heightened state of awareness.
ii. A possible threat is identified and contingency plans are made for dealing with the situation.
iii. The threat is monitored closely to determine if action is necessary.
iv. A person can only stay in this condition for about 3 to 4 hours.
Condition Red
i. State of Action – “FIGHT or FLIGHT”
ii. A person in this state has either already gone into action or they are standing by ready and prepared to go into immediate action.
iii. A person can only stay in condition red for a few minutes.
iv. NOTE: DURING this state a person will exhibit the symptoms of physical reaction to
high stress.
Condition Black
i. Shock.
ii. A person in this state is so overwhelmed by the situation they are shocked into an
inability to react.
iii. It is as if they had closed their eyes to the event, thus blacking out the entire event.
iv. An attack on a person in this state will probably be successful.

Based on Cooper’s color system we should always at least be starting in Condition Yellow and fluctuate in and out of Condition Orange.  I totally agree that no one can reside or stay in Condition Orange and above for any extended period of time.  Unless you purposely train in condition in a simulated Condition Red you will not be familiar with the adrenaline dump and how it affects your Fine and Gross motor skills.  Specialists that do PSD are always in Condition Orange and Condition Red.  Simple tasks like buttoning your shirt will seem ridiculous in these Conditions.

As Gavin de Becker wrote that we should always be in the NOW makes absolute sense.  Think of a line graph where the NOW is in the center and the left side is the past events in your life and the right side is future events in your


Imagine being on a detail where you are diverted by thinking about something that happened to you yesterday.  If an event occurs NOW, you will have to vacate your thoughts and travel forward in time to get in the present [NOW].  Conversely, if you are on the same detail and you are thinking about something you will do on your day off and an event occurs you will have to travel back in time to get into the NOW. Wasted time gives the advantage to the adversary.

I encourage you all to research and read Cooper’s colors and understand how it plays an essential role on what we do.

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