black belt defender logo

free shipping on orders over $49

We're having a 15% off sale on all our products. Enter your email below to be notified about future sales.

credit card logos
condition yellow

Jeff Cooper, a celebrated firearms instructor, developed a color code system that serves as an essential tool for assessing and improving situational awareness. By dividing awareness into five levels, it helps individuals identify threats and respond appropriately in potentially dangerous situations.

Each color, namely white, yellow, orange, red, and black, depicts a distinct level of situational awareness. The white level signifies a complete lack of awareness; the yellow level denotes relaxed alertness; the orange level indicates a heightened sense of awareness; the red level means a state of near-panic, and the black denotes a state of maximum danger and potential violence.

This system is widely recognized and used by various institutions, including law enforcement and military agencies, to train their personnel and ensure their safety during critical situations.

  • White is the lowest level of awareness, and in this state, individuals tend to feel relaxed and at ease, perhaps even lethargic. When one is in the “white,” they tend to have no real focus or attention to the environment around them. As a result, they are completely unaware of any potential threats or opportunities. This relaxed state of mind can be beneficial when one is trying to de-stress but it can also be harmful and dangerous in some situations. Being in the white zone leaves an individual vulnerable to all kinds of unforeseen threats and dangers. Therefore, it is important to be alert and prepared at all times, not only when you sense danger.


  • Yellow is a highly significant level of awareness that is often overlooked. When you are in a yellow state, your senses are heightened, and you have a greater understanding of your surroundings. You may notice things that you would usually overlook and remain hypervigilant of anything unforeseen occurring. It is not a relaxed state as you have to be alert continuously, but it does not equate to being a state of high alert, either. In other words, yellow is a state that brings profound awareness and attention to the present moment, which can be beneficial in various settings such as when driving, in meetings or even instructing children. Being in a yellow state requires practice, but once mastered, it can serve as an invaluable tool in your everyday life.


  • Orange is an even higher level of awareness. In orange, you are on high alert and prepared for danger. You are constantly scanning your surroundings and ready to react to any threat.  This state of mind requires a high level of focus and concentration, allowing individuals to stay alert and ready to respond to any potential threat that may arise. When you’ve reached the orange level of awareness, every sense is activated, and you are fully immersed in your environment, scanning for potential hazards or threats. Your body is on high alert, and you are psychologically and physically prepared to react to anything that may come your way. Ultimately, reaching the orange level of awareness is an important skill to have, especially if you work in high-risk environments or simply want to take responsibility for your own safety and well-being.


  • Red is the highest level of awareness. In red, you are actively engaged in a confrontation. You are using all of your senses to gather information and take action to defend yourself.  When you reach the state of red, you are fully immersed in the present moment, actively engaged in a confrontation. It’s a moment where all of your senses are fully activated. You are hyperaware of your surroundings, gathering every single piece of information, every detail, every movement, every sound. Your body is on high alert, ready to take action at any moment to defend yourself against any threat. This heightened state of awareness requires a great deal of mental acuity and physical preparedness. When you are in the red state, you are fully focused on the task at hand, maximizing your potential for success. Ultimately, the red level of awareness is the epitome of survival mode, and it allows you to react with the speed and agility needed to maintain your safety in any potentially hazardous situation.


  • Black is an exceptional level of awareness associated with a traumatic event’s aftermath. This state of being is characterized by an overwhelming sense of shock, rendering the individual incapable of processing what has recently transpired. The person in this state may feel completely numb, dazed, or even hysterical as they attempt to come to terms with what has happened. It can be challenging to understand or verbalize one’s feelings while in this state as the emotions are intense and may feel all-encompassing. It is essential to seek help and support if you or someone you know is exhibiting signs of being in the “black” state. This level of emotional state is a natural response to a traumatic event, and it is crucial to seek help from mental health professionals to help navigate through it.


Cooper’s color code system is a highly effective and popular method designed to help individuals improve their situational awareness and ensure emergency preparedness for danger. The system emphasizes a deep understanding of the various levels of awareness and encourages consistent practice to ensure that individuals can smoothly and effortlessly transition between them.

By adopting this all-encompassing approach, individuals are better equipped to manage and respond to a broad range of potential threats and attacks, helping them to protect themselves and those around them. Overall, the color code system is an essential tool that can significantly enhance your safety, giving you the confidence and peace of mind to navigate even the most unfamiliar situations effortlessly.

Here are some tips for using Cooper’s color code system:

  • Be aware of your surroundings. This means paying attention to people, vehicles, and other objects in your environment. It also means being aware of your surroundings in terms of potential threats, such as dark alleyways or secluded areas.
  • Be prepared to move between levels of awareness. The level of awareness you need will vary depending on the situation. For example, you may need to be in orange when walking alone at night, but you may only need to be in yellow when in a crowded public place.
  • Practice using the color code system. The more you practice, the better you will assess and improve your situational awareness. You can practice by taking a self-defense class or paying attention to your surroundings throughout the day.


Cooper’s color code system can improve your situational awareness and prepare you for danger. This can help you to stay safe and to protect yourself from harm.


Living in Condition Yellow

Many people indeed spend too much of their time in Condition White. This is because it’s a very comfortable state to be in. We don’t have to worry about anything and can relax and enjoy our lives. However, this can also make us vulnerable to attack. A predator could easily catch us off guard if we’re not paying attention to our surroundings.

Children are often taught to operate in Condition Yellow. This is because they are still learning about the world and need to be more aware of potential dangers. They are also more likely to be targeted by predators because they are seen as being more vulnerable.

As we age, we tend to become more complacent. We think that we know the world and can handle anything that comes our way. However, this can be a dangerous mindset. The world is a dangerous place, and we must always be aware of the potential for danger.

The best way to stay safe is to be aware of your surroundings and to operate in Condition Yellow. This doesn’t mean that you have to be constantly on edge. It just means that you need to be aware of the possibility of danger and that you need to be prepared to react if something happens.

Here are some tips for staying safe:

  • Avoid walking alone at night. If you must walk alone at night, stay in well-lit areas and be aware of your surroundings. If you can, walk with a friend or family member.
  • Don’t wear flashy jewelry or carry expensive items. This will make you a target for criminals. If you must wear jewelry or carry expensive items, keep them hidden or in a safe place when you are not using them.
  • If carrying a purse or bag, keep it close to your body, and don’t let it hang off your shoulder. This will make it more difficult for someone to snatch it from you.
  • Be careful what you say on social media. Criminals can use information you post online to target you. Be cautious about sharing your personal information, such as your home address or travel plans.
  • If you feel threatened, trust your instincts and escape the situation quickly. Don’t be afraid to yell for help or call the police.
  • Learn martial arts and self-defense. This will give you the proper skills to protect yourself or a loved one if attacked.
  • Carry a self-defense weapon. This could be a knife, pepper spray, stun gun, or a firearm. Do plenty of research, learn how to use it, and practice regularly.


By following these tips, you can help to reduce your risk of becoming a victim of crime.

Everyday Code of Conduct

Jeff Cooper’s color code system is a valuable tool that helps individuals assess and improve their situational awareness. The system is built around the concept of having five distinct levels of awareness, each of which corresponds to a particular color. By taking advantage of this system, you can significantly enhance your ability to detect and react to potential threats around you.

Situational awareness is essential for personal safety and prepares individuals to act quickly and effectively in various crucial situations. Using Jeff Cooper’s color code system will help you identify potential dangers that may be present while allowing you enough time to prepare and deal with the situation efficiently.

Having good situational awareness is not only limited to detecting potential threats. It can also help individuals make better decisions, anticipate possible outcomes, and remain calm and collected during a crisis. So, it is crucial to adopt this color code system as part of your daily routine and be better prepared for any situation that may arise.

As always, be safe and be prepared.


See Also:



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *