25 October 2006
A Training Plan for the "Prepared Citizen"

The concept of the prepared citizen is an important one. For me, being prepared is a moral, as well as practical duty. I refuse to abdicate responsibility for my safety to the authorities, especially when they do such a poor job of it.

Preparation covers many, many areas from self-protection ability, first aid and knowing how to swim through to knowing how to store and prepare food. Simply put being prepared is knowing how to be a fully functional human animal.

Loudernhel at TPI has written the following article which gives a good idea of what is involved. Of course he writes for the US citizen but most of principles will apply equally in the UK.

This article had its genesis in a previous essay called “KSA’s for the Everyday Warrior.” I’ve decided to both revisit the topic and change the name. Unfortunately, the term “warrior,” much like its close cousin “hero,” has become so overused it is in jeopardy of having its meaning diluted. Therefore I’ve settled on the word “Prepared Citizen,” as I think this best describes the type of person I’m talking about here.

Please note that this list is merely an attempt to start a conversation, with the hopes that people who know more than me, and have a different perspective, will weigh in. It is a first draft and very malleable. I’m actively seeking comment and if you have constructive criticisms or additions, I would be honored to listen to them.

I have two goals:

The primary goal is to design a general training regimen that would prepare an ordinary citizen to survive acute emergencies such as a violent attack or "SHTF" type situation of short duration such as earthquake aftermath, hurricanes, civil unrest and etc. Survivalist, "end of the world as we know it" scenarios are beyond the scope of this, although there is certainly overlap in skills.

A secondary goal is research for a book that a friend of mine and I have talked about writing.

I’ve attempted to list a core set of skills. I’ve broken them down into “basic, intermediate and advanced” levels, because I think it is important to keep an overall perspective in our training. It makes little sense to me to spend the time, effort and money to become an “advanced” carbine shooter but pay absolutely no attention to empty hand skills, for example.

First a definition:

Prepared Citizen: Your ordinary, average person who is realizes that from time to time, life threatening emergencies may arise where the “proper authorities” may not be around to help. The Prepared Citizen is willing to step up and accept the responsibility for the safety of his or her self, his family, and perhaps his neighbors. The Prepared Citizen also enjoys side benefits of self confidence and advanced problem solving skills that come with training.

He is "Joe or Suzy Homemaker." He or she is a "civilian" not an "operator." Most of the "missions" he or she goes on involve getting a gallon of milk or taking the kids to swim practice. This is good and bad. Exposure to violence is much less likely. However, "professionals" whose job description includes dealing with violence, go forth expecting it and are generally paid to spend a certain amount of time training for it.

Any time he or she spends training is time that has to be squeezed into the demands of family, work and other expectations. Some families are comprised of warriors and may train together but most likely, he or she is the only one with an interest.

Any money that is spent has to be balanced against the mortgage, saving for the kid’s college, and orthodontist bills.

1) The Ability to unplug your ego.

You recognize the importance of self control in avoiding confrontation. You recognize that you may have some skills already, but learning is a never ending path. You do not fall victim to “The Rapture of The Shallows” and realize no matter how good you get at something, you can always improve.

The only thing worth fighting about is survival. The guy who cut you off in traffic is not worth fighting about. The guy who stood across the street and made the lewd comment about your wife is not worth fighting about.

When it comes to training, you have an open mind. For example, even if you have trained doing a tactical reload one way for years, if someone presents another, you will happily try it to see if it is better.

When it comes to the street, you are unflappable. When it comes to training, you absorb what is useful, regardless of source or preconception.

2) The Ability to blend in.
You recognize that one of the fundamentals of avoidance is to not attract special notice. You have political, religious and other beliefs but feel no particular need to advertise.

In dress, appearance and manner, you are not terribly remarkable, yet you also do not present a “victim” image.

You are the gray man.

3) The Knowledge of Use of Force Laws civil liability.

You recognize the importance of knowing your jurisdiction’s black letter and case law regarding use of force. You recognize that the moment you become involved with the criminal justice system or a civil suit, you loose, it is just a question of how much.

You had solid training in use of force and liability issues for the layman. You have a business card for both a criminal and civil attorney. If you were to become involved in a use of force incident, you would make decisions in accordance with the law, and be able to clearly articulate why you did so.


4) The Ability to be aware of your surroundings.

You recognize that the fundamental first step of avoidance of conflict is awareness of the potential. You focus on your surroundings as you go about your business.

You notice subtle clues in human behavior that are potential precursors to violence or unpleasantness in time to leave, or at least in time to brace yourself.

Little escapes your notice. You can remember descriptions of people, vehicles and events that at the time seemed unremarkable.

5) The Ability to Verbalize and Social Engineer

You recognize that your ability to talk to people is a useful defensive tool. You have perhaps read “Verbal Judo” or a similar book.

You are comfortable talking to people of all backgrounds, mental states and degrees of intoxication. You are able to firmly establish boundaries verbally without egging on conflict.


6) Skill at Strength and Conditioning

You recognize that you are fire more likely to die from heart disease, diabetes or high blood pressure than a criminal assault. You recognize that fighting is a dynamic, physical activity and that no training, weapon or tool will make up for being out of shape. You formulate a fitness plan that includes diet and working on basic flexibility and cardio-vascular training.

You are at or within a few percent of an ideal weight for your body. Your cardiovascular fitness, flexibility and strength are adequate to survive a short violent encounter or emergency situation.

You are as fit as many professional athletes. You will probably out live all of us.

7) Skill at empty hand defensive techniques

You recognize that use of force happens on a continuum, and the basis for all other skills is good, solid, simple empty hand techniques. You seek formal training and begin to learn basic blocks, strikes, choke escapes, ground fighting and etc.

Instead of learning more complicated “fancy” techniques, you focus on delivering the basics with more speed, precision and power. You start integrating your empty hand with other use of force options.

You have developed speed, precision, and power in simple, direct, combat proven skills. Your transition between one type of use of force and another is seamless.

8) Skill at using OC spray.

You recognize the importance of intermediate weapons. You receive formal training in the use of OC spray.

9) Skill at using impact weapons, both designed and improvised.

You recognize the importance of intermediate weapons. You adopt some of your basic empty hand techniques (hammer fists, etc) to include a striking object such as a Kubaton, small flashlight etc.

You have formal short term training with impact weapons, such as a Kubaton class or ASP baton class. You begin long term training in one of the stick fighting disciplines. You start to integrate these techniques with your other skills.

You continue formal training. Your transition from one type of use of force to another is seamless. You could pick up just about anything vaguely stick shaped and defend yourself with it.

10) Skill at using a knife, and defending against knives.

You recognize the deadly threat that even a small edged weapon poses, and also realize that in many situations, the knife may be a better defensive tool than a gun. You can adopt some of your basic empty hand techniques to include a knife.
You attend formal training at a knife seminar and begin to integrate knives into your defensive repertoire. You may begin long term training in one of the knife based arts.


You continue training with the knife. Your integration is seamless.

11) Skill at using a handgun.

You recognize that while it is a valuable tool, a handgun does not make up for a lack of training in other areas, nor is it a guaranteed “fight stopper.” You have received formal training and can manipulate and handle a handgun without being a safety hazard to yourself and others. You are able to safely draw from a holster and shoot in a static “square range” environment.

You have received formal training on shooting and movement together. You have achieved speed with drawing, shooting, reloading and other gun related tactical skills. You are integrating your firearms skills with other use of force skills.

You continue to develop skills and integrate them.

12) Skill at using a short range long arm.

Note: The term “Short Range Long Arm” is somewhat clunky, but I wanted to differentiate between to different skill sets. “Short Range Long Arm” skills are from contact range out to perhaps 30 yards (for buckshot loaded shotguns) to 100 or 150 yards (for rifles/carbines and maybe shotgun slugs).

You recognize that if you are going to participate in a gunfight, it is best to have some sort of long gun around. You have received formal training and are able to safely manipulate and handle a long gun without being a safety hazard to yourself or others. You practice combat shooting skills in a “square range” static environment.

You have received formal training in shooting and movement together. You can transition from long gun to handgun or other use of force option.


13) Skill at using a long range long arm.

Note: Again “Long Range Long Arm” is clunky. This skill set is for shooting at ranges over 150 yards or so, out to the limit of the equipment and shooter.

You have received formal training and can safely manipulate a long gun without being a safety hazard to your self and others. You have a basic understanding of exterior ballistics and can zero your weapon for a specific range. You can reliably achieve good hits within the point blank zero of the weapon, and in calm wind conditions. You know what shots not to take.

You are developing skills for estimating range and the effects of wind, and are able to compensate for them. At this point you may actually begin to shoot at the mechanical limits of your equipment and have to upgrade.

If you can see it, you can hit it.

14) Skill at driving a vehicle

You practice basic safe driving skills, awareness and maintain your vehicle in good condition. You always leave yourself a path of escape. You recognize that the front bumper of a Geo Metro has more “stopping power” than any firearm.

You have some skill at driving off road. You take a class in evasive driving. You know the limits of your vehicle, how high a curb it can clear, how it handles on wet grass and etc.

You have received training in offensive driving and can PIT and perform similar techniques.

15) Skill at moving tactically

You recognize that there may be little call for the ordinary citizen to clear a building going INTO harm’s way, you may have to clear your way OUT of harm’s way. You have received formal training and understand concepts such as cover, concealment, slicing the pie. You have received training in low light techniques and tactical use of a flashlight.

Tactical movement, weapons skills and flashlight skills are becoming integrated with all your other skills.

16) Skill at providing emergency medical treatment

You have taken a Red Cross (or similar) Basic First aid and CPR class. You carry basic medical supplies such as a gloves and a CPR mask at all times.

You have taken advanced First Aid, First Responder, or (ideally) Wilderness First Responder training. You carry basic medical supplies such as gloves, a CPR mask and a blow out kit at all times and have ready access to a trauma kit.

You are an EMT, Paramedic, Nurse, M.D. or similar healthcare professional. You carry basic medical supplies such as gloves, a CPR mask and a blow out kit at all times and have ready access to a trauma kit and other drugs and tools appropriate to your level of training.

17) Environment survival skills

You have a basic understanding of the pricipals of survival and either formal training or some experience in back country living. You could keep your self alive by finding shelter if out alone in moderate conditions. You can reasonably expect not to get lost with a map and a GPS or compass. You can fabricate crude shelters and build a fire in moderate conditions.

If out in moderate conditions, you could actually survive in comfort for quite some time. You could survive extreme conditions for a short period of time. You can easily fabricate shelter and can make a fire in less than ideal conditions. You can reliably navigate with map and compass.

You can survive with minimal equipment for an extended period of time, fabricating your own shelter and foraging for safe food and water. You can navigate by stars and dead reckoning with survivable accuracy. You are tempted to live on a mountain with a pet bear and a cantankerous prospector as your only friends.

That’s where I’m at right now. What would you add, take away, change or move? And most importantly, why?

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