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The colors of danger in self-defense

red-phone-2 The colors of danger in self-defense

The colors of danger in self-defense are a representation of the levels of attention in different contexts.

One of the things you often read on self-defense books is the use of colors to identify the danger level and the resulting alert status to keep.

Beyond the schematization that is useful to learn how to quickly prepare your psychology for a rapid change of behavior, what you need is to get used to being “careful”.

The first rule for self-defense is to “stand with your eyes open and your ears outstretched“, so that you recognize the danger before it becomes inevitable.

It may seem like a trivial statement but it is just so, indeed I will tell you more if you have a feeling that is wrong, listen to it.

Attention to the context in which you are located must use a quick and intuitive method of evaluating the situation in order to do the right thing at that time.

There is no rule that applies to all situations.

I-colori-del-pericolo The colors of danger in self-defense

Where do the 4 colors of danger and the resulting state of alert come from

In self-defense or martial arts courses it is often easy to find a legacy of military extraction where the danger color table is used (who has never heard of the fateful “red alert!”), or the alarm levels.

Surely in some movies you may have heard this terminology indicating the levels of danger, but as you have seen in recent years even the cities that have suffered terrorist attacks have used the same terminology in the real world.

Personally, I had the misfortune to be in a place under terrorist attack and the blockade in homes and tourist facilities by the relevant authorities worked precisely on behaviour based on alert status levels.

What is it in practice?

If we want to use the dark military terminology it is the “degree of preparation” of each operational, defensive, tactical or logistical garrison, depending on the political, international or military situation of the moment.

If you have seen films about war or terrorist threats, in times of war crisis, but as has also been seen in “relative” moments of peace, there is a “state of defense” (the famous American
defined with numbers (from 5th Peace Time, to 1st red alert, precisely).

In practice, nations, like individuals, should have a pattern of behavior based on the “state of alarm” to have appropriate behavior to each contingent situation (from the international crisis, to the staggering encountered on the street, to the neighbor who sclera for children who mess up).

There are people who even have the famous bag out, that is, a baggage of ready use in case of social dangers or national crises in order to be able to escape quickly and have with them fundamental elements for survival for 36 hours or more.

The military purpose of the levels of preparation it’s used basically in terms of coordination because depending on the “state of defense” decided by the command, every military sector already knows where it needs to be and what it has to do and knows in advance the kind of “attention and aggression” that it has to face with the consequent reaction even if it does not see it yet.

product1-2-e1559302617106 The colors of danger in self-defense

The color approach of danger and personal defense

This approach can be used in different ways but it essentially teaches you that you must always be present and attentive to ciò what surrounds you and behave accordingly..

Today it is easy to see distracted people on the street watching social media on smartphones while walking down the street, talking on the phone with headphones at all hours, etc. totally isolating themselves from what is happening around.

Unlike the military no one will tell you at what level of alarm color you have to be but you have to make a self-assessment of the situation and an important lesson that I want to give you: never underestimate!!

A key principle that you need to know is that an aggression is all the more likely the more the surprise factor works,or the environmental advantage that can be maintained in favor of the attacker.

Experience shows that the famous “aggressor” does not randomly strike his victims because remember that:

the aggressor seeks a victim and not a fight.

Although considering the exceptions of the case on the basis of the reasons for an assault that are different this statement remains true in most cases.

Even when we get into trouble by making unnecessary arguments or playing to seduce a stranger in a club, perhaps openly provoking us our potential attacker, at the base of everything there is almost always a misjudgment of the context or the person in front of you.

So we read the chronicle where for example:

  • The sedentary clerk arguing over a parking lot with a tattooed beast made of cocaine.
  • The poor lady who ventures alone into a dark street was attacked and snatched,
  • The girl raped in the desolate parking lot and famously frequented by illegal immigrants,
  • Etc.

The chronicle unfortunately every day offers gruesome examples.

What you need to understand is that what the victim often lacks is a degree of awareness and consequent attention to the dangers that a certain thing runs and/or being in a certain place.

Too often people feel protected behind the utopian claim of“living in a civilized country”but it is just one of the many false security that are somehow related to the famous saying“it can’t happen to me... . .

The fact that security in our society has been turned over to law enforcement doesn’t mean you don’t have to worry about your personal safety yourself.

It also considers that in the society in which we live there is a high abuse of exciting narcotics that alter the emotional state of people, who no longer realize the level of violence they express for trivial things or make people seemingly quiet to do aggressive actions or abuse.

The news

The chronicle is unfortunately full of cases of crazy beatings for trivial discussions of both lonely people and herds.

Not to mention the presence of foreigners who come from different parts of the world where the social status, levels of violence or consideration of women are different.

Obviously I’m not telling you that you have to live in a state of paranoia as often newspapers and some politicians propose to us (instead of updating the laws and methods of security and control of the territory to adapt them to the current condition that is not that of 30 years ago) because the risk unfortunately is that some for fear of being attacked implement behaviors that worsen the quality of their lives , or simply increase the danger.

So we see people who lock themselves in the house limit their social life, arm themselves (with the risk at the first potential emergency of not knowing how to handle the situation and have endless grains with the law), assume xenophobic, racist or justiceist opinions that do not change the situation at all because without laws and regulations the result is that nothing changes!

As always, it is not the words but the actions that follow the words that lead to changes otherwise it is only false caress used by the political classes of every orientation or color.

That’s not the solution!!

The media uses fear and influences behaviors but not constructively as does the study of self-defense

Certainly one of the explanations is again the responsibility of the media that create a media hype about facts chosen with the sole purpose of creating audiences and not socially useful responses because then basically the laws remain the same, nothing changes except the increase in the sale of weapons and instigate to absurd social behaviors when the statistics in that period maybe are the lowest in history.

One example is the media noise around the eastern European gangs that are dedicated to looting in the villa (a few dozen cases in all) and that seems to give rise to real emergencies, when there are daily events and thousands of smaller tragedies and frightening social costs but to which no one seems to be able or want to give a solution.

Without laws in a civil society there are no changes, those who commit crimes know what they are criminally risking and are already ready and if they know that for certain crimes they are likely to be at risk, it is probably in the one that they will specialize.

An example such as that of robberies in the villa with people inside, a situation of high danger but if the law practically makes no difference between a home theft with people inside or without for people without scrupulous it is not easier to enter and get given money or get opened the safe rather than search or break into?.

It is the laws and their severity that lead to curbing certain behaviors then there will always be a percentage of bad guys who will care and maybe not decrease the thefts but at least the modalities will be different, now someone could disprove this statement but do nothing means not bring no change and is not what people who demand answers to different levels of violence than in the past.

The problem is important but it must be solved politically through laws!

The best answer as in life is not on choices based on emotionality but in personal balance and knowledge of the real problem.

The perception of danger

Speaking of the perception of danger if you compare it to road safety, you know that car traffic every year causes thousands of victims in Italy alone.

If you compare how many people die every year in our country from road accidents with people who at the same time remain victims of crimes, we would all have to wonder why we are so affected by the single murder, perhaps more resounding because committed by the immigrant on duty, and we remain indifferent to the endless slaughter that every day destroys lives and whole families.

Now if we had the same approach that we have towards road accidents if we had a minimum of consistency you should panic every time you get in the car and not when you meet someone in the dark room under the house (who is maybe going quiet for his own business) theopposite happens.


One of the reasons is certainly the aforementioned media imprinting that is inculcated into your emotional imagination, but it’s not just that.

When you’re usually aware of the potential dangers you run, but that doesn’t make you particularly anxious about walking alone in a dimly lit street, or picking up your car in the garage or in a public parking lot in the evening, which often creates a bit of anxiety.

There is a reason, and it is in terms of your ability(perceived)or not to cope with any unexpected.

Your belief that you can deal with the unexpected allows you to manage anxiety until you virtually cancel it out.

Two examples, try to answer:


  • How does the average school pupil feel when he first lifts the clutch pedal and hears the car moving?
  • How does the average individual feel when, alone in a dark street, he is approached by the usual shaved character, chock-full of piercings, with a swastika tattooed on his forehead, and with a convex scar on his face?


  • How does the same student feel, after two years of obtaining his license, driving quietly on the same road?
  • How does the first-time individual, who survived the first episode, feel when he meets a bunch of guys, armed with clubs, clearly looking for someone to party with?


The answer, in the case of the first example is that they’re both going pretty badly and the adrenaline and fear

are felt in all its effects and probably the first of the two will turn off the engine with a sharp uproar causing the instructor to jump, the second will stammer an inconsistent response to the unknown tattooed energumeno who simply asks for directions, because he is lost.

In the case of the second example, however, the answer is that the school student now drives through the traffic with confidence and is obviously better off than that other loser gentleman who finds himself again in a situation of being in a dark street with strangers.

But why is he doing better?

Even the guy who learned to drive runs dangers to stand in the middle of the traffic on the road and if you look at the accident numbers in Italy it doesn’t seem at all out of danger, and the guys with clubs maybe are just coming back from a baseball game and are therefore a little bit galvanized by the game.

Leaving aside other considerations of the case, the difference between the two protagonists of the example is the qualitative aspect where one of the two, the driver, has or believes to have control of the situation, the passer-by on the street, for his part, just not.

The difference lies in the perception that you can manage and control the danger


What does it mean to be in control of the situation?

It means being aware of where you are and knowing what you need to do at that time.

Ps. Beware of the Dunning-Kruger effect

dunning-kruger-effect-varie The colors of danger in self-defense

Car drivers know they are taking risks, but have developed technical knowledge (driving the vehicle), behavioural (code rules) and instinctive (automatisms), which allow them to have the right reactions in the face of any eventuality (or almost) even if I would like to make an emphasis: there is another mortal danger for the driver.

Often there is a message that the television and radio media pass that they emphasize to repeat, which is often not speed or drunkenness but the distraction, the imperfection, the underestimation of risk.

Hence the need for anyone to have in every context always the right degree of attention and evaluation of what he is doing, while driving the car you can not read the messages on the smartphone, video calls or see videos in YouTube (you also see this on the street!), you just have to drive.

The other character in the example, on the other hand, besides always putting himself in dark streets isolated continuously (which in itself represents a fault) does not know what he does there was going to his friend (he could have gone a longer but less isolated road) and does not quite know what he has to do to get out of trouble (he has no idea how to deal with an aggression).

img_3007-2 The colors of danger in self-defense


Now you, for example, behave?

  • As you walk down the street, as well as watching as you cross, see where you are and where are you going to get to your destination?
  • Who’s on your path?
  • Do you know the area you’re going through?
  • Are there people and what kind?
  • Are there lighting and shops?
  • et cetera.

If the place doesn’t convince you, change your ways, and stay with your eyes open.

In short, you have to know how to quickly assess the situation and be ready depending on what is happening around us and the color code.
rfnbe The colors of danger in self-defense


And it can do better if we have a simple reference scheme in our head, like the famous color code:

White Code:

Relaxed state. No danger. In this state you are inattentive and unprepared.

If someone attacks us in this state, we have no chance of reacting.

Yellow Code:

Attention relaxed.

In this situation you always know where you are and who has passed by you, without you having to turn around.

Even if you are not in a situation of danger, you know that such a situation can surprise you at any moment.

Orange Code:

Alarm that requires immediate attention.

Someone comes up to you running in the parking lot.

At night you hear glass breaking in the house.

You see a suspicious movement.

Code Red:

Potentially deadly danger.

It’s time to fight or escape.

This is a crucial and central point of the matter.

codice-rosso The colors of danger in self-defense

The colors and statistics of aggression

The case shows that many of the people who were assaulted were in “
white code
“, until they abruptly realized the danger.

On the other side there are paranoid people who live perpetually in the orange code, putting us back in quality of life and also of psychological health to the point of giving up doing some related to social life (cinema, dinners, visits of certain places, etc.)

Going back to the example of one who drives, the driver of the car is (or should be) always in the alert state “
“: this is a moderate activation state that is compatible with prolonged exercise (unlike the orange and
which are only for emergencies), allowing rapid reaction in the face of occurrences.

Similarly, when you’re on the street, or at work, or in any other context that requires attention, you can’t afford to stay in the“white”

activation state, you’d be continually at the mercy of contingencies or accidents: it’s a law of nature.

It applies to animals in the savannah, it was true for our ancestors, it still applies today, when we live, or we delude ourselves of living in a civil society.

A fundamental aspect but that you have to accept and work on is that even if it is very difficult you have to switch in an instant from the minimum alert state (white) to the maximum(red).


Our organism, our brain, there are no allow it:

the adrenaline rush overwhelms our physical, psychological and mental defenses, resulting in panic, paralysis or, on the contrary, awkward, rigid and ineffective reactions.

It is much easier to defend ourselves from panic if we perceive the danger a few moments in advance and have time to prepare, otherwise the risk is to block you, stay frozen.

Another important consideration is that a person in a state “
“, is a person whose attitude shines through in the eyes of the observer classifying it as difficult to surprise and thus represents a subject “little suitable” in the eyes of a habitual attacker (such as a snatcher) who is looking for a “victim”.

The aggressor on duty, you would see yourself identified even before entering into action seeing so thwarted what is his most important ally: the surprise effect.

Such an attitude is the basis of any preventive plan for personal safety.

This does not mean that you always have to do it but at certain times your attitude must already be coded superior to white.

Stay Tuned!

Street Fight Mentality!


Ps. Don’t get paranoid but be careful!

What do you think?

Written by Andrea

Instructor and enthusiast of Martial Arts and Fight Sport.

- Boxing / Muay Thai / Brazilian Jiu Jitsu / Grappling / CSW / MMA.
- Self Defence / FMA / Dirty Boxing / Silat / Jeet Kune Do & Kali / Fencing Knife / Stick Fighting / Weapons / Firearms.

Street Fight Mentality & Fight Sport! State Of Love And Trust!

Other: Engineer / Professional Blogger / Bass Player / Knifemaker

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