3rg Close Protection Training – Conflict Management Series Part 2

 In Close Protection, Conflict Management

3rg Close Protection Training – Conflict Management Series Part 2

In Part 1 of the 3rg Close Protection Training – Conflict Management series we discussed the importance of Conflict Management in the Close Protection role and how it is a core skill that is often overlooked.

We also introduced the ‘Chimp’ element of the human mind, and the natural emotional responses which take place in a situation of heightened threat. We must be aware of our personal responses and understand that we could in fact become the catalyst to a worsening situation during moments of confrontation.

This work and the introduction of the Chimp (Emotional/Rational mind) as we also pointed out is not only covered in the SIA Close Protection course syllabus but in greater detail through the work of Dr Steve Peters and his recently released book ‘The Chimp Paradox’.

In this part of the series we are going to discuss in further depth the nature of our internal Chimp and maintaining awareness to threat…..


Our Chimp emanates from an area of the brain known as the limbic region. This primitive region of the brain is designed to function as the ‘emotional manager’ to illicit the fight or flight responses when any perceived threat is encountered.

It is important to understand this Chimp ‘emotional manager’ thinks and operates independently from us. The primitive responses it produces are stronger than the more highly developed (in terms of evolution) ‘rational’ parts of the brain which operate with reason and understanding.

A Chimp will get anxious when they are unsure or in unfamiliar territory as it insecure by nature. Primitive responses and behaviour take place when we are ‘hijacked’ by the Chimp. In some cases this response is a lifesaving intervention in others it very much works against us!

From the perspective of operating in a professional Close Protection role this understanding has profound implications for the CPO when dealing with volatile or potentially volatile situations.

Emotions can shift ground quickly and therefore when a potential attacker is operating on this level they may become relatively unstable and inconsistent in their actions. At the same time our inner Chimp will become engaged. It is at this stage where the ability to control our behaviour becomes paramount with our aim to resolve the situation without over-reaction.


It is also important to understand that at some conscious level primitive responses may be occurring on a daily basis away from any specific threat. This could be particularly relevant for the Close Protection Operator working in a hostile environment but may equally be the case for personnel employed in lower threat regions where the stakes are high for the task to run according to plan – sometimes in the face of shall we say challenging clients!

As mentioned the ability to be able to control over-reaction is essential. Adrenal responses are there to help us but unless controlled effectively they can become detrimental to the way we operate and may inhibit the clear thinking needed to carry out task details or more specifically to carry out any emergency SOP’s.

Initially awareness will be the key and must be maintained even in protracted Close Protection tasks. The CPO must be able recognise, evaluate and subsequently avoid potential threats as they develop or materialise.


Colour codes of awareness was an initial concept devised by Jeff Cooper, an American combat pistol instructor, whereby codes are used as a yardstick for measuring threat. The system moves through a scale from Code White in which the person is ‘switched off’ to threat, through to Code Red where they are operating in fight or flight response and threat avoidance.

The general operating mode from day to day would be Code Yellow where the person maintains 360 degree peripheral awareness ‘not a state of paranoia but heightened observance’. Code Orange represent a rising threat allowing evaluation if circumstances deteriorate.

Operating in Code Yellow will be a first step in reducing the instigation of emotional responses as it will in many cases help to forewarn of incidents as they develop. This will allow the CPO to work much more logically through reasonable response options while maintaining all important personal and operational control.

In the next part of the series we will be taking a more in depth look at Adrenalin responses, their effects, danger signs and control measures as we work with our Chimp!…..


Richard Mann has taught Conflict Management/Personal Protection skills and principles as part of 3rg’s Close Protection course syllabus and on behalf of UKSF/military and law enforcement personnel.

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