Using the Cooper Colour Code system for Krav Maga and Self Defence

Updated: Jul 25, 2019

As Mayhem students know, we have been implementing a Colour Code system in our training more and more over the last couple of weeks – something that we believe will help increase your chances of success when avoiding trouble or defending yourself if things get physical.

The Colour Code system was developed by Jeff Cooper, a US marine and firearms instructor who, among other things, wrote a book called ‘Principles of Self Defence’ wherein he laid out his Colour Code system.

Jeff believed, as we do, that mindset is as important to successful self defence as techniques and tactics. He developed the following Colour Code system to help people understand escalating levels of threat, and the appropriate mentality or mindset required to successfully handle a situation.

Ultimately, the Colour Code system helps us think through the timeline when we train, and therefore be able to ‘think’ if, or when, we need to use Krav Maga. The colours do not refer to amount of danger, but rather the stages of violent confrontation – or the timeline as we know it in Krav Maga – and the mental states we should be in at each stage or colour.

As we can see from the Colour Code, we do NOT want to be in White. This is the state where process and resource predators will home in on you. If you are in White, you might not notice the signs of social level violence such as a monkey dance or educational beatdown being initiated either!

We need to be in Yellow as much as possible – just like when we’re driving, hopefully, and paying attention to our surroundings – so that we can recognise threats as they emerge. Being in Yellow will allow us the best possibility of a fast shift to Orange then Red and avoiding or de-escalating trouble. Remember, avoidance and de-escalation are two of the tactics that have a high chance of success. Being in Yellow will also allow us to shift to Orange the Red and to use prevention instead if required, or one of the other high chance of success tactics – pre-emptive striking!

The hope is by being aware (Yellow), we can assess (Orange) and act first (Red). Like I said, this will give us the highest chance of successly dealing with an encounter and getting home safe.

Going straight – especially from White – to Red is what we don’t want, this is where we have already been punched, stabbed, headlocked or taken to the ground before we can do anything about it…

The Cooper Colour Code - for Krav Maga

Jeff Cooper's Colour Code System edited for Krav Maga Self Defence
Cooper Colour Code for Krav Maga Self Defence

Okay, I hope this post helps! Please read and digest. Practice being in Yellow when you are walking around. It could help save you one day!

Best and keep safe,


293 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All