SPD 002 – The Defensive Mindset

Developing the Defensive Mindset and the Principles of Personal Defense

The Defensive MindsetDeveloping a defensive mindset should be a priority for those inclined to take charge of their own self-defense. Jeff Cooper’s Principles of Personal Defense is considered by many to be one of the greatest books ever written on the subject of the combat mindset. In SPD 002, Bruce discusses Principles of Personal Defense and Cooper’s ideas on conditioning the defensive mindset.

In Principles of Personal Defense, Cooper theorized seven practical principles to help you develop proper defensive mental conditioning and gain a solid foundation for your self-defense training and readiness.

Bruce talks about the meaning of each of the seven Princples and ways to develop them in order to strengthen your defensive mindset.

If you want to buy a copy of Principles of Personal Defense, you can get one at any of the following links:

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Defensive Mindset Tip of the Week

Strengthen Your Observation Skills by Playing “Kim’s Game”

Situational awareness is key to a strong defensive mindset. One of the main ingredients to maintaining situational awareness is the power of observation. Many of us have become so absorbed with what we’re doing that we’ve lost the ability to pay attention to what’s going on around us. This simple game can help strengthen your observation skills, which in turn leads to strong situational awareness a solid defensive mindset, and greater personal security.

I had an instructor once tell me that ‘KIMS’ stood for ‘Keep in Memory Stupid.’ It’s also been said by sniper school instructors that it stands for ‘Keep in Mind Sniper.’ Truth is, neither is correct. Kim’s Game comes from the Rudyard Kipling book, Kim. The book’s hero, named Kim, plays the game to learn observation skills while he’s in training to become a spy.

Now that you know the history of the game, here’s how it works. I like to play against one or more opponents. It seems to me that a little competition makes it more effective. So, here’s how you play:

  • Have someone (we’ll call them the teacher) layout several small items on a tray or small table and cover them with a cloth. 10-15 items should be a good enough number when you’re first starting.
  • All the players gather around where they’ll be able to see the items.
  • The “teacher” will uncover the items for one minute.
  • The players will study the items and remember as much about them as they can.
  • After one minute the teacher covers the items.
  • The players will right down as much as they can remember about what they saw. The winner is the player who remembers the most.

When you first start, you’ll probably end up just naming the items you saw. Take a look at the picture below.

Kim's Game for developing observation and defensive mindset
Items for playing ‘Kim’s Game’

When you first start playing the game, you might remember that you saw a golf ball, a clothes pin, a cigarette lighter, a paperclip, a battery, etc. The goal is to observe more than individual items. You want to remember details. You want to remember the items you saw, but what do you remember about them?

So, you might write that you saw a dirty golf ball, a red disposable cigarette lighter, a metal paper clip about two inches long, a wooden clothes pin with a spring, a ‘AAA’ battery, etc. Obviously, there are many more details that could describe each item. As you become more skilled you’ll remember more details about the items and start describing how they are situated in relation to the other items.

After you learn to play the game, you can translate Kim’s Game into your observations about your surroundings. When you’re sitting at intersections, at work, or in other public places, what do you notice about the people? How are they behaving? What do they look like? What are they wearing? What about the layout of the building you’re in? What about the vehicles around you?

All the little details you want to start observing can seem overwhelming at first. As you strengthen your observation skills it will become habit to observe details and it will get a lot easier. Playing Kim’s Game is a simple and fun way of learning to incorporate observation into your everyday activities.

Defensive Firearms Training Tip of the Week


Beginners often ask what pistol they should buy. There are a lot of opinions floating around about the best answer to this question. In Episode 002, Bruce explains why he suggests a polymer framed, 9mm pistol, without a manual safety.


We’d love to know what you think of the show. We’d also like for you to send us your questions and topics you’d like to hear discussed on the show. You can comment below, or send comments, questions, and suggestions to bruce@smartpersonaldefense.com.

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Thanks for checking out Smart Personal Defense. Remember, you are your own best defense.