• Sgt. Dan Semones

Survival, Is Your Mind In The Right Place?


So sitting at my desk this morning and thinking about the horrors that society is facing right now, I was kind of drifting back and forth thinking about past experiences and how I would respond to different threats around me. What did I come up with? Well one man’s experience is maybe another’s salvation? Kind of like, I went thru it so you don’t have to type of thing. Let me explain.

Throughout my career I have been fortunate enough to have some pretty good instructors and with that I believe that I have taken that with me and became a pretty good one myself. Now throughout training, be it tactical training i.e. SWAT, Spec Ops Training, or just simply annual in-service, one topic that has always stood out and became muscle memory is being aware and assessing my surroundings. Anyone who has been thru any kind of weapons training has more than likely heard “Scan and holster”. When scanned and holstered you could proceed accordingly, picking up mags, and so on. Every single time in every single scenario, it was the same, scan and holster. Why? To be aware of your surroundings. If it was a real life scenario and I scanned and came across another threat would I holster? Ahh no, engage, scan again, engage or holster and proceed. Then once the scan and holster was engrained in most then came the fun part, kind of like why is Daniel painting the fence? So he could learn to block of course.

Observe, Orient, Decide and Act.

Observe, Orient, Decide and Act.

Observe, Orient, Decide and Act. Of course I am referring to the O.O.D.A. Loop. What is the O.O.D.A Loop you ask? Well let’s break it down. Colonel John Boyd was a United States Air Force Fighter Pilot and Pentagon consultant in the late 20th Century, his theory of the O.O.D.A. Loop has affected Military Theories and has changed the process by which an individual reacts to an event. Now the concept of the O.O.D.A. Loop theorizes that the key to victory is to be able to create situations wherein one can make appropriate decisions more quickly than one's opponent. It is basically broken down like this.

  • Observation: Observe your Surrounding

  • Orientation: Orient yourself to your environment

  • Decision: Decide What To Do

  • Action: Act on Your Decision

Now of course, while this is taking place, the situation may be changing, as they do constantly. It is sometimes necessary to cancel a planned action in order to meet the changes. This decision cycle is thus known as the OODA loop. Boyd emphasized that this decision cycle is the central mechanism enabling adaptation (apart from natural selection) and is therefore critical to survival.


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