Aiming for ‘Condition Yellow:’ A Lesson in Awareness

Annie Oakley Wilson, The Dachshund. Sheriff Jim Wilson

Annie Oakley Wilson, mistress of condition yellow.

My little Dachshund has me pretty well trained. That little girl will come and stare at me until I understand that she needs to go outside. When I open the back door, she only sticks her head out and then looks around before going on out. And the amazing thing is that, while she’s been to Gunsite Academy, she’s never actually trained there.

I grew up in rattlesnake country and have lived here all of my life. As a little kid, my father impressed upon me the importance of looking around to avoid close encounters with those pesky legless lizards. Consequently, I’ve been close to rattlers and other poisonous snakes on numerous occasions but have never been bitten. 

Unlike my dog, I have taken numerous courses at Gunsite and fully understand the Color Code and the fact that Code Yellow stands for relaxed awareness. That is, we are continually observant and alert for trouble, hopefully, while it is still far enough away to allow us some options for dealing with it,

All of which explains why I was quite embarrassed when a friend walked up behind me in the grocery store and said hello. The first that I knew he was there is when I heard his voice.

The simple truth is that none of us are as aware of our surroundings as we should be. The guy who tells you that he is always in Condition Yellow is either trying to fool you or trying to fool himself. There are generally two reasons that this happens. Often, it’s because we’re in surroundings that give us a false sense of security. Or perhaps we’re preoccupied with the sort of stuff that goes on in our everyday lives. Both are common mistakes but, make no mistake about it, they are mistakes nonetheless.

Those of us who are involved in defensive training look forward to the opportunity to walk up to each other, undetected, and issue a verbal greeting. We laugh while the other guy jumps and whips his head around–with that look on his face. “How’s Condition Yellow working for you today?”

Am I always in Condition Yellow? Absolutely not, but I ought to be. And I try to be. And you should, too.

This article originally appeared in Shooting Illustrated.

This entry was posted in Personal Defense, Philosophy, Training and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Aiming for ‘Condition Yellow:’ A Lesson in Awareness

  1. Larry Berry says:

    Good article . I try to be in condition yellow always . However I am not . Isn’t it embarrassing when someone we know sees us before we see them . I could kick myself when this happens . I will have to try harder .

  2. DH says:

    Does your Weiner dog really have what looks to be a brand on it? We have had two they are great dogs. Good article.

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