Sunday, October 3, 2021

Distance: Friend or Foe?

We all have our preconceived notions of how we=d react in a violent encounter, but the truth is that we=ll never truly know until we=re put in that exact situation. I’ve written, talked about, taught, and drove my family and others crazy with my advocating a color code to describe a person=s state of mind. Not so much in regards to a level of alertness, but purely the mental state. I met and was taught by Col. Jeff Cooper. He was a fine human being as well as a wonderful instructor. In his book “Principles of Personal Defense” he taught what has been come to be known as the Cooper Color Code Condition White B You are unprepared and unready to take lethal action. If you are attacked in White you will probably die unless your adversary is totally inept. Condition Yellow B You bring yourself to the understanding that your life may be in danger and that you may have to do something about it. Condition Orange B You have determined upon a specific adversary and are prepared to take action which may result in his death, but you are not in a lethal mode. Condition Red B You are in a lethal mode and will shoot if circumstances warrant. The body alarm response is what naturally happens to your body during an elevated state of awareness and the adrenaline dump that comes with a stressful, fearful, or dangerous event. This is typically referred to as Afight or flight,@ but more appropriately described as body alarm response. During a body alarm response, the characteristics exhibited are rapid heartbeat and it=s counterpart, rapid breathing; tingling of the extremities, degradation in fine motor skills, tunnel vision and that sinking sensation in your stomach. You should embrace these characteristics as your body=s early warning system and be glad they=re working, not let them control you and succumb to the Afear@ you might think this means. Blood is drawn into your core from your extremities (that tingling sensation and possibly numbness), you may recall the smallest of details during this heightened level of awareness. Blood being drawn away is also what can cause loss of fine motor skills, which aren=t as Afine@ as you might expect. There are ways to control body alarm response though, meaning that through training and preparing yourself, you can mitigate it=s effects. One of the most powerful training tools is embracing it. Breathing is one way. I’ve heard this referred to as “tactical breathing”. I heard this taught in the military and whenever it is taught with this nomenclature I have to smile. Many years ago my first of many slice elements (children) were born. In the 80’s we went to what was called “La Maze” classes. This program still exists but is used a lot less. None of my daughters have had the training from a class, but only from FLAG, my wife. In this class breathing is emphasized. It is in essence, tactical breathing. Breathing through the pain of labor. It does work and I would recommend it. One very late night of work brought me to this service station. I had a tire that kept going low on me. I also kept putting off fixing it. I was actually glad the air was off on the edge of the parking lot away from the building. That way I could see all around me clearly. Unfortunately I did not have enough change to “buy” air. I had to walk into the building to get the required change for the machine. I thought about just forgetting the whole thing but then I looked again at the tire and saw that it was quite low. Even if I just went home where I had my own compressor, I’d have to run on that tire and I wasn’t comfortable with that. As I was approaching the store I saw a man get out of a late model vehicle that I noticed had out of state license plates on it. He was walking briskly toward me even as I angled away from him hoping he would go into the store. As he approached me I thought to myself “watch his hands”. I put up one of my hands and said “Stop!” probably more forcefully than I had intended. At this point stopped with his hands down by his side, while stating ADo you know if there=s a Walmart aroundY@ I cut off his question and said, AJust wait right there and I=ll answer your question.@ My right hand was near my gun. His immediate response was to put both his hands up and say AOk, I was just trying to find the WalmartY I found the HEB, I just can=t find the Walmart.@ By now I think he realized that I didn=t like him invading my personal space and he finally seemed aware of me putting distance between us. I gave him some simple directions to Walmart, but was very short with him, continuing to watch his body position. After he said thanks for the directions, he turned around and walked back to his car. After getting change, I exited the building. Ensuring to keep my head on a swivel all the way back to my vehicle I didn=t see the stranger or his car again. I brushed off the encounter until I was back in my vehicle and on the road. It was then I really took stock of what happened and the indicators that warranted my elevated condition. I truly feel that my actions prevented me from becoming a victim, or at least made me appear to be a hard target. I think this was an innocent event. I think he honestly needed directions. I wanted to share my story with you, because I think it helps to reinforce how important it is to listen to the Spirit and an example of how your conditioning and training can take over, even when you don=t plan for it to. I think that If I hadn=t mentally rehearsed this scenario thousands of times in my head and been exposed to it during my training, the outcome would have been dramatically different. In a perfect world, I=d like to say that I follow the 21 ft. theory. It states that a healthy adult male can cover the distance of 7 yards (about 21 ft.) in 1.5 seconds. Coincidently, that=s also about how many seconds it takes to draw a sidearm and put two rounds center mass on a human-size target at 7 yards. You make that quickly approaching adult male an armed attacker and you can see why it=s called the 21 ft. rule. Realistically, we allow people within this 21 ft. perimeter each and every day; for me this day was no exception. Putting distance between myself and this stranger was also something I’m glad I did. Remember that moving backwards is never a good thing. If you=re moving in reverse, things come from behind. But I also feel that moving back is the natural thing that most people do if they are not comfortable. I’ve also learned by experience that distance is not always what you’re looking for. In a gun fight, you don’t always want distance unless you are trying to break contact with your attacker. In combat, you usually maneuver for closer position. But when we talk defense, distance is always your friend. If I am in a firefight and I want out, I want to put as much distance between me and my attacker. If I have moved from Yellow to Orange, I want distance between the threat and me. The importance of situational awareness then comes directly into play. If you forsee a possible threat, you can begin to widen the distance to it. So to answer the title question, is distance friend or foe, I would say in most cases distance is your friend. Semper Paratus Check 6 Burn

No comments:

Post a Comment