Lowering your Victim profile – become the “Grey Person”!

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In a August 1996 Guns & Ammo article written by Jim Grover a.k.a Kelly McCann, the following points were outlined to help you lower your victim profile.

  • Dress to blend whenever possible
  • Watch the overt display of affluence
  • Walk with another whenever possible
  • Move away quickly from sudden impediments to your movement
  • Keep away from walls (i.e., stay out of arm’s reach) when turning corners while walking
  • Use physical barriers whenever possible
  • Develop contingencies
  • Don’t let embarrassment or pride deter you from using good security precautions
  • LOOK for trouble
  • Always carry a less-than-lethal weapon
  • Don’t second-guess yourself if you truly believe, This is it!!!!

I believe the image you want to project is the one (the grey person) that the average person will forget the second he takes his eyes off of you, however, you also want to project one that the bad-guy “DO” notice and know you are not to be messed with.  You can do this by projecting a positive, aware and alert image! Everyone agrees that the criminal is looking for the easy target.  Don’t be that target! Just be careful not to be the one identified as the Guy or Gal with the gun.

How do you become the individual that is aware, alert, and is not a soft target? You do this by training and actually being capable of putting up a fight, by looking alive when you have to, yet not look like a human radar when the situation doesn’t require it. No need to be paranoid, but be ALERT!  Think in terms of Colonel Jeff Cooper’s condition yellow;

CONDITION YELLOW-   This is a relaxed state of general alertness, with no specific focal point. You are not looking for anything or anyone in particular; you simply have your head up and your eyes open.  You are alert and aware of your surroundings.  You do not expect to be attacked today but you recognize the possibility.

Anything or anyone in your immediate vicinity that is unusual, out of place, or out of context, should be viewed as potentially dangerous, until you have had a chance to assess it. When your mental radar picks up on a blip, you should immediately be prepared escalate up to the next level.

Here is one additional suggestion, watch what you wear.  Consider dull colors, current fashion and be careful about wearing the latest 5.11 fashions, tactical rigger belts and vests.  I am not suggesting that you never wear these types of clothing, I do.  My suggestion is to blend them with other civilian clothing and try not to look like the latest tactical fashion model or civilian private security contractor.  Take a little time and do a 360-degree evaluation of yourself and see yourself through the eyes of others.  This is obviously the pathway to self-awareness and will certainly enhance your self-protection skills.  The following Scottish poet by Robert Burns praised the importance of the 360-degree evaluation:

Oh that the gods
The gift would gi’e us
To see ourselves
As others see us

Being the Grey Person take a little effort but is extremely important in the world today.  The 3 Cs, criminals, crazies and crusaders are looking for the easy target, don’t be that target.  Remember the motto, “Train Today for Tomorrow’s Battles!”

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Incognito?

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Here is a great quote from a great book!  “The goal is to invest thousands of hours of training so that in the heat of the battle the right maneuvers will come automatically, with no interference from consciousness.”  – David Eagleman

Is your training incognito? So the big question is, what amount of time are you spending on your self-protection training?  Once a month, once a week, once a day or very infrequently?  Here is an interesting measuring tool!

Amateur Talent – 2000 hours of practice

Average Talent – 5000 hours of practice

Expect Abilities – 10000 hours of practice

Yes, that is a lot of practice time.  Just remember, focus on mastering the basics, they will be there when you need them.  In my opinion, way to much time is spent on practicing so-called advance skills and letting the basic skills deteriorate.

Practice your basic self-protection skills daily to include your situational awareness. You should also study your body’s external and internal natural reactions to fear.  Why?  This way you will know what to expect when faced with sympathetic nervous system (SNS) activation.  Remember, the SNS is most likely activated from the FEAR of Death, Serious Bodily Injury or Pain.  Our goal is to calm the fires of the SNS and get the PNS (para-sympathetic nervous) system back in control.  One simple method to do this is BREATHING!  I will discuss this more in future post.

Ok, enough talking.  Get out there and train.  Do something today to enhance your Self-Protection skills and be safe!

Soft or Hard Target!

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Learning how to protect yourself is an interesting process.  Your first step is to do a threat assessment.  What is your threat?  Living in a high crime area, you are possibly faced with a more serious personal threat than living in a million-dollar subdivision.  But is this really true?  Only you can answer that question.  I would suggest to you that you need to make a conscious decision today to be a hard target.  What is the difference between a Soft target and a Hard target?

A Soft target is usually unarmed and unaware.  Do you know how to use your personal weapons like your head, elbows, and knees?  Do you carry a firearm, a knife or some other type of improvised weapon and know how to use it properly?  If you do not, then you are relying on luck and you are most likely unarmed.  You are unarmed if you do not have good situational awareness.  Most victims are unarmed both mentally and physically.  Do not be a victim, be the victor!

A Soft target is accessible and predictable.  Accessibility is all about controlling your personal space and environment.  Do not put yourself in a bad situation.  If you must go some place that by normal standards could be consider dangerous, then use the pack or gang mentality.  Travel in a group.  There is strength in numbers.  Muggings occur when people are alone, not when they are with a group.  Do not be predictable.  Please change your routines or patterns.  Now you do not have to do this everyday, but you should do it.  I am not talking about adopting a state of paranoia; I am talking about healthy awareness.  Yes, I know, most criminals are looking for a target of opportunity, but some do not.  Some are looking for a pattern, an opening into our daily defenses.  Take a moment and look at yourself from a third party’s perspective.

“We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are.” –Anaïs Nin

Use your awareness skills and see things as they are.  This is the greatest self-defense technique you already have in your arsenal: your ability to be aware!

A Hard target is armed with the capacity to perceive and accept the threat.  You must see the threat, and hopefully before it is upon you.  You must also believe that the threatening action is actually happening to you and not shut down to it.  Do not “Freeze”, take action.  Never become complacent, always maintain a heightened state of awareness and be alert to potential threats.  Practice these skills daily; present moment awareness really is the key.  What do you observe as you move through your environment?

Once a Hard target perceives and accepts the threat, a process of analysis and evaluation of the threat’s potential for harm needs to be conducted.  Obviously, this process must occur relatively quickly.  Studying pre-attack indicators and body language will go a long way in giving you the ability to size-up the situation quickly.

Lastly, a Hard target is unpredictable and takes action.  After the situation is assessed, action must be taken, which usually entails running or fighting.  My suggestion is that you Fight to Run.   Fight long enough to create space and then run like you have never run before.  This may not be possible if you are with a loved one, unless he or she has already run away (and hopefully called the police).  Do not fight just to be fighting.  Remember that situations quickly change; one minute you are the victim and the next minute you might just be the aggressor in the eyes of our court system.  Fight and Run, then contact the local authorities.

“When you are hungry, it is foolish to hunt a tiger when there are plenty of sheep to be had.”  Baader-Meinhof slogan 

Your goal today is to become a “Combat Hard Target”!  Be the Tiger!

Take all Training Serious! Live the Tactical Lifestyle!

Chris ending the Snake Drill

I have had the opportunity to serve with some the greatest law enforcement officers and professionals in the world.  It has been 31 years since I started my law enforcement career and I have had some amazing training experiences that have helped shape my life.  My story is simple, Military Police, Corrections Officer, Police Officer, Deputy Sheriff and Federal Special Agent.  I continue to grow each and every day however if there is one thing that I wish that I have known when I started three decades ago, is the philosophy of taking all training serious.

I have unfortunately, sat in many classes spaced out and saying to myself, I will never need or use this stuff.  This instructor is terrible, where did they get this person.  I cannot believe I wasted my day off to come to this training.  Every one of us has possibly had one of these thoughts.  I am going to suggest to you that once you have had this thought, it will be but a few shorts minutes, maybe days or sometimes even years later you will be in the middle of a situation and you will say to yourself, ”Damn”, I  wish that I had paid more attention in that class.  Trust me when I say this, take all training serious, you truly never know when you will need to pull a tool out of your tool box and you want to certainly know how to use it.

Brian Willis is always talking about WIN!  What’s Important Now!  This is so powerful.  Think about WIN the next time you are sitting in a training class and remember the most important thing you can do is absorb all the information the instructor is providing and figure out a way to make it stick in that brain of yours.  You never know if the next call you are on, will test you like you have never been tested before.  The simple fact that you paid attention and thought about how you could apply your new knowledge could very well save you or your partner’s life.

Let us take CPR as an example.  Shake to establish consciousness.  Ask if they are Ok.  Have someone dial 911 for assistance.  Check the airway for obstructions.  Check the pulse, give breaths and compressions.  Do you really want to be trying to figure out what to do next while you are in the middle of saving someone’s life?  I think not!

Life has a way of slapping you in the face with you least expect it.  You need to have a plan of attack to deal with this slap and move forward.  Taking your training seriously will certainly help.  Here are some additional thoughts:

Take notes.  Ask questions.  Get involved in the class and learn as much as you can.  Be an active participant and student.   This will go a long way in retention.  I also suggest that upon completion of your training, review, review and review.  Reviewing you notes helps with retention.  You should probably do this for several weeks following the training.  One other trick for retention is too immediately teach the skills you learned to someone else.  At the minimum, discuss what you learned with someone else.

If there is one piece of advice that I could give, here it is.  Follow and Live the “The Tactical Lifestyle”.  The concept of Tactical Lifestyle is borrowed from my good friend and excellent trainer, Dennis Martin.  If you do not know Dennis, please visit his website at www.cqbservices.com.  He is one of the best.  The Tactical Lifestyle focuses on a blend of Mindset, Tactics, Skills and Kit acquired during training and used every day in travel, work, home and leisure activities.

Proper mindset is critical.  It is often stated by some of the great gunfighters; that combat is 90% mental, 5% skill and 5% luck.    As far as mindset applies to the Tactical Lifestyle, there are two principles that need to be discussed.  They are Colonel Boyd’s OODA Loop and Threat Evaluation.  In my opinion, you need to immediately start your research and study of Boyd’s Loop.  The loop consists of four phases, Observation, Orientation, Decision and Action. It is a life saving principle that has unfortunately been overlooked by many.  Do not be one of the many.    As far as threat evaluation is concerned, look at realistic threats that you could face on a daily basis and have a plan to deal with these threats.  Mentally image a positive outcome for each threat and when time is available role-play the scenarios with fellow officers and find viable conclusion to each threat.

Tactics is the next part of the Tactical Lifestyle.  You should develop a set of core tactics to deal with a variety of situations.   You tactics should become a habit. Obviously the only way to do this is constant, serious practice.  I call this practicing with intent.  Too often we just go through the motion during training.  Do not fall into this trap.  When you are training, train!  We can play later and I am all for that aspect of life also.  You should also practice integrated team tactics.  Often we are tasked with working with other individuals, so it would be extremely beneficial if our tactical thinking matched.

You must practice Skills that work.  These are just a small example of skills that you should be practicing.  Defensive tactics, firearms, immediate weapon use, first aid and driving skills.  The list could and should be endless.  The main point is to practice effective skills that transfer effectively from the gym to the street.  Remember, stress is the prime consideration when talking about skills.  The skills that you are practicing must work under extremely stressful situations.  If they do not work in the controlled environment of the training hall, then they will most certainly not work on the street.

Lastly, you must know your Kit i.e. your Equipment.  Please make sure you kit is serviced and in working conditions and do not carry kit that you do not know how to use.  It is great to have the latest and greatest equipment, but it would be even better if we knew how to use it during a crisis.  My thoughts are keep it simple and it should be ready when needed.

Well, there you have it.  This is my five cents worth of information based on my experiences.  The law enforcement profession is a very noble occupation.  You will not receive many pats on the back, raises or awards.   You can however, except that during your career you will most likely be assaulted, spat on, possibly shot at and all other sorts of nasty things.  You have chosen this profession for your own reasons.  I only aks two things, first take your Training Serious because you just never know when you will need the skills you are being taught.  Secondly, live the Tactical Lifestyle.  Proper mindset, solid, proven tactics, the development of practical hard and soft skills, and the knowledge of your equipment will go a very long way to ensure not only your survival, but will give you the edge to WIN!  Thank you and Best wishes.

Ferocious Resolve and the Confrontation

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If I use the term “ferocious resolve”, am I referring to some type of animalistic behavior?  Why yes I am!  It is the innate survival instinct we all share.  It is part of the winning mindset that you need to develop to win an all-out battle against another human aggressor.  A physical confrontation is a battle; a foray into chaos.  These conflicts are often sudden, extremely violent and can be relentless until one of the parties is incapacitated, or to put it bluntly, DEAD!  You do not want to be the party that becomes the contents of a body bag; developing the sensibility of ferocious resolve is imperative to your survival.

Let us dig deeper.  What more can we say about ferocious resolve?  Well, creating a good definition is a bit tricky.  To borrow a term from NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), ferocious resolve is a “state.”  Marcus Wynne says “a state is a combination of two things: your physiology, or your body chemistry and neurological working; and your internal representation.”  Simply stated, your state is everything that is going on in your body and mind at any particular moment in time.  A few examples of state might be happiness, fear, worry, boredom and alertness; each one is a mode, if you will, of being, encompassing the physical and mental aspects of your existence.  It is critical for you to learn how to properly manage your state before, during, and after an assault.  You need the ability to function in the chaos.  What will you fight for?  You are the only one who can decide this answer, and it is best to consider it now–not while you are embroiled in a fight for your life.  Here is an awesome quote from the father of Combatives:

“When you’re caught, you’re down, and you’re a goner if you don’t ATTACK…And keep in mind, it’s ‘Gutterfighting’: any means, fair or foul, to save your life”. –W.E. Fairbairn

Some people refer to ferocious resolve as the “Eye of the Tiger” or the “Will of Steel.”  I like to think of it as your ability to do whatever it takes to win, not just survive, but WIN!  I am all about winning.  If you come face to face with an attacker, you must have the pre-determined mindset of going until your attacker is beaten down and no longer poses a threat.  Metamorphose from the prey into the predator; it is this mindset or state, and the willingness to attack the attacker that will help you to prevail.  As my good friend, Gary Klugiewicz says, “Be nice, until it is time to be mean, and then be nice again”.  These are wonderful words to live by.  Once the threat is neutralized, calmly seek a protective position, perform a self medical assessment, and call for the authorities to assist you.