Color Me Red
- Color Coding Self Defense Responses
In our F.A.S.T. Defense programs we use a color
coding system to help our students identify the level of threat
and the corresponding level of self defense readiness.
There are three basic levels or "codes" we use
to clarify our self defense preparedness. Yellow alert is our
normal state of good self defense awareness. Orange is when
we sense that there could possibly be some danger or even an
unusual situation that our "gut feeling" tells us something
is wrong. Red is high alert. At this point you know that there
is a real threat and you prepare yourself for attack.
Let me take each level of self defense color coding
and explain the details of each.
First the yellow alert is just being aware of
your surroundings. Walking with your head up, shoulders back
and noticing what is going on around you. Criminals interviewed
tell us that one of the first things they look for in a victim
is someone who is not really alert or aware of what is happening
around them. A good yellow alert status would be to make the
habit of noticing people, situations, unusual conditions, etc.,
that are nearby.
We go to orange alert when something looks, feels
or obviously is wrong. It may be something small or something
we can't really identify cognitively. When going to an orange
alert we should instinctively bring our hands up from our normal
standing or walking position. It can be done quite subtly as
if to cross your arms or rest your elbow on one arm while with
the other hand on your chin as if you are thinking. This position
brings the hands closer to a defensive position without becoming
threatening to the other person. This is important as the threat,
at this point, may not be real.
Red alert comes into the picture when there is
no question that there is a real threat. The arms go up with
the hands open and palms facing out. One foot should be place
a little in front of the other. Hands should be held about face
height. From this position, you are prepared to either block
Along with the body posture in both the orange
and red alert modes, the voice should be used to both access
the level of danger and to help develop the assertive demeanor.
Asking a question like, "What do you want?", can quickly find
out the motives of a possible aggressor. Becoming progressively
more assertive here can have several benefits.
As you become progressively more assertive in
a self defense situation there is a good possibility that the
aggressor will back off. It's easier to find and easy victim
than to mess with one who may put up a fight. This is especially
true if you give him an honorable exit.
Another benefit to progressive assertiveness is
that it naturally brings up your adrenaline levels so if an
attack ensues you are prepared both physically and mentally.
A hidden benefit is that it protects you in court,
especially if there are witnesses. Your assertive posture (not
aggressive) and your words, congruent, strong, assertive and
telling the aggressor to "back off", "I don't want any trouble",
"I don't want to fight". "Just leave me alone". These words
may have kept a 'soccer dad' out of jail recently.
The entire assertive behavior model is explained
and demonstrated in Street Self Defense
Shihan Michael Pace