II – Aware

Jeff Cooper’s Principles of Personal Defense

A vertical image of Jeff Cooper's Situational Awareness color codes

Col. Jeff Cooper, creator of the “Color Code” that sharpens a person’s situational awareness, is also the author of the booklet, Principles of Personal Defense, in which he describes 7 characteristics a person should strengthen in themselves to best be able to ward off a violent attack. They’re primarily technique-oriented.

[ Read the SemperVerus article, The 5 Elements of Self-Defense Law ]

SemperVerus has added the component of biblical insight as a foundation to each principle, in keeping with the understanding that Scripture inherently supports the right of self-defense as presented in the booklet, The Case for Biblical Self-Defense.

1. ALERTNESS — “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 (NLT)

2. DECISIVENESS — “An indecisive man is unstable in all his ways.” James 1:8 (HCSB)

3. AGGRESSIVENESS — “Be angry and sin not.” Ephesians 4:26 (KJV)

4. SPEED — “With blinding speed and power he destroys the strong.” Amos 5:9 (NLT)

5. COOLNESS — “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV)

6. RUTHLESSNESS — “Hate what is evil.” Romans 12:9 (NIV)

7. SURPRISE — “Be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” Matthew 10:16 (NIV)

Read in full the booklet, Principles of Personal Defense.


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SemperVerus™ Brotherhood/Sisterhood Launches to Help People ‘Stay True’

Comprised of 5 Catalysts + 1 Tactical Agent:
Prepare, Aware, Be, Know, Do, +Self-Defense

SemperVerus™ (Latin for “Stay True”) is a new dynamic motivational communications operative that has as its mission to inform, inspire, persuade, impel, and invigorate men and women to personal life-changing positive commitment, decision-making, and responsible self-defense awareness. It accomplishes this objective through its website and Twitter stream (semperverus.com and @semper_verus), publications, reminder wristbands, the SemperVerus Brotherhood™ and SemperVerus Sisterhood™ pledge, and group presentations.

“The best antidote to a culture shifting to bad behavior is to re-normalize good behavior,” says social observer and author Seth Godin. SemperVerus (the “V” in Verus also stands for the Roman numeral 5) believes the best way for a person to avoid drifting off-course into bad behavior—deviating from his or her life’s “true north” of fulfillment, happiness, and civic well-being—is by attending to 5 transformative catalysts that culminate in 1 tactical agent:

I.    Prepare:  putting your life into proper condition and readiness to successfully handle material and spiritual foreseen and unforeseen circumstances.

II.   Aware:  heightening attentiveness to be alert to—and anticipate—dangerous potentialities and temptations, as well as edifying opportunities.

III.  Be:  developing rich personal leadership character of exemplary moral and ethical quality.

IV.  Know:  becoming a life-long learner to clearly, and with certainty, apprehend situations from which to benefit personally and others.

V.   Do:  resolving to intentionally and skillfully act to accomplish positive and fruitful outcomes.

+    The sum total of these 5 catalysts cultivates the strategic and tactical agent of Self-Defense: the intelligent ability to responsibly protect yourself from menacing spiritual and physical threats.

The SemperVerus website blog is a regularly updated source of developmental information and curated resources for personal leadership and self-defense, with articles focusing on the Prepare, Aware, Be, Know, Do, and Self-Defense categories, such as:

  • A list of links to organizations that support the Second Amendment.
  • A list of links to self-defense training resources.
  • A list of links to mobile apps for instruction in dry fire, self-defense, survival, travel, personal leadership, and more.
  • A list of important legal decisions regarding self-defense law.
  • A collection of every USA state’s constitution article that establishes the right of armed self-defense for its citizens.
  • The 4 basic rules of gun safety and links to basic gun safety videos.

As a motivational impetus, SemperVerus invites people to join the SemperVerus Brotherhood™ or SemperVerus Sisterhood™, where adherents are invited to pledge to stay true to common virtues as outlined on the website (semperverus.com/brotherhood).

SemperVerus is also the publisher of the pocket-sized booklet, The Case for Biblical Self-Defense (ISBN 978-0-692-08979-8; 26 pp.; $10; available by emailing staytrue@semperverus.com). For those who consider the Bible to be their authoritative guide for life and personal behavior, this booklet answers in the affirmative the question, “Is it biblical and in accordance with Christian faith to be ready to employ lethal force to protect your life from an imminent and wrongful life-threatening attack?”

Contact SemperVerus (staytrue@semperverus.com).


Invite SemperVerus to present its 5 life-changing success-generating components—prepare, aware, be, know, do—to your organization to inspire and motivate your members.

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The 4 Basic Rules of Gun Safety

An image of the four gun safety rules

Col. Jeff Cooper (1920–2006) was a US Marine, the creator of the modern technique of handgun shooting, and an expert on the use and history of small arms. He introduced the concept of the mental alertness color code which indicates the degree of peril a person is willing to act upon and which facilitates a person to move from one level of mindset to another (situational awareness) to enable the person to properly handle a given situation.

[ Read the SemperVerus article, Checklist: Matters to Consider When Deciding on a Handgun ]

As a way of encouraging universal firearm safety, Col. Cooper also advocated a simple 4-point set of rules anyone can understand:

  1. EVERY gun is loaded until proven otherwise.
  2. Point the muzzle ONLY at what you want to destroy.
  3. Put your finger on the trigger ONLY when you’re ready to fire.
  4. KNOW your target and what’s behind and around it.

Building An Iron Mindset

Your mindset determines how you show up in any given situation. Using these four mental techniques (The Big 4) developed by the US Navy Seals can assist you to build and maintain a strong mind and stay focused on your success to conquer any challenge.

  1. Goal Setting: Goals should be SMART—Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time bound—and formed using the WIN method—What’s Important Now
  2. Mental Rehearsal: Visualize in your mind all aspects of a task before entering into it to be better prepared to execute it
  3. Positive Self Talk: Intentionally replace your negative thoughts with positive thoughts
  4. Arousal Control: To help stay calm in a chaotic and difficult situation, use Tactical Breathing by inhaling through your nose into your diaphragm 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, exhale out of the diaphragm through the mouth 4 seconds, hold 4 seconds, and repeat. Also perform Progressive Muscle Relaxation by tensing the 4 major muscle groups for 5 seconds, then relaxing them for 5 seconds moving progressively through head and neck, arms and shoulders, chest and back, and legs.

Read this article in full…


Invite SemperVerus to present its 5 life-changing success-generating components—prepare, aware, be, know, do—to your organization to inspire and motivate your members.

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