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:

*Amazon Affiliate Link Disclosure

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.

The show is available on iTunes and Stitcher. We’d love for you to rate and review the show. That would really help us out.

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

SPD 001 – 5 Elements of a Self-Defense Strategy

Self-Defense Strategy

5 Elements of a Self Defense StrategyA good self-defense strategy includes more than carrying a firearm or learning to fight. In this episode I discuss five elements I believe we need to consider when we’re beginning to think about developing a self-defense strategy. The five areas I talk about in this episode are:

  1. Self-Defense Philosophy and Mindset
  2. Knowledge
  3. Personal Behavior
  4. Tools and Equipment
  5. Training

Of course, many aspects of self-defense strategy are subjective and their level of relevancy are highly dependent on individual situations. Also, the five elements are definitely not an exhaustive list of all the items that you should consider when you work out your self-defense strategy. They are, however, a good start to building your plan.

Self-Defense Philosophy and Mindset

What are your underlying beliefs about self-defense? Do you believe you have the right and/or obligation to defend yourself? Or, do you believe the State (that is, the government) is responsible for the personal safety of its citizens? Your philosophy will determine how you approach your self-defense strategy.

Are you mentally prepared to defend yourself? We need to understand and develop a defensive mindset as part of our self-defense strategy.


What do you know about defending yourself? Maybe you know how to use your chosen weapon. But, do you know how and when it is legal to use your weapon in whatever jurisdiction or situation you find yourself in? Do you know how to identify and avoid situations where you might be unnecessarily put in danger?

Personal Behavior

Our behavior can either discourage an attacker or it can give them confidence that we’re easy targets, and thereby encourage an attack. Does your behavior discourage attackers?

Tools and Equipment

What tools and equipment do you need to discourage attackers and respond to an attack, if necessary? The tools and equipment you need for your self-defense strategy will be largely dependent on your situation.

There are two “must-have” items should be part of your self-defense strategy. You should always carry a mobile phone and a flashlight. Mobile phones can be vital to reaching help in an emergency. Flashlights can be used to find and deter attackers. They can also be used as weapons against attackers.

Most people these days already have a mobile phone. If you don’t have one, and you’re not keen on getting involved in a contract with wireless carrier, you can get a prepaid phone for $10-$25.*

Flashlights can get pricey, but you don’t want to go ultra-cheap here. Look for one with at least 100 lumens output. You also want a momentary switch that will keep the light on while you press the switch, and turn it off when you release it. Here are some decent flashlight options.*

*Affiliate Link Disclosure


Training is an often overlooked element of self-defense strategy. Training helps us gain knowledge and practical experience from people who already know how to do what we want to do. Whether it’s using weapons, legal training, fortifying your home or some other defensive related subject, it’s well worth the time, effort, and money that it costs to get professional instruction.

Developing Your Self-Defense Strategy

I think you’ll find it useful to consider these five elements when you’re developing your self-defense strategy. If you already have a self defense strategy you might want to review it and see if it can be fine tuned.


I would really like to know what you think of the show. Please feel free to comment below, or send comments, questions and topics you’d like to hear discussed on the show to bruce@smartpersonaldefense.com.


Smart Personal Defense supports, and asks you to consider supporting, the following organizations, Click on the links to support and find out more about these organizations. 

The Convention of States Project
The National Rifle Association
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