Contextual Relevance – Stay Ahead of the Gun

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The easiest way to get out of an ambush or win a fight is not to get in it. Don’t just pay attention to your surroundings, understand the significance of what you’re seeing. Truth is, none of us are gonna be hyper vigilant at all times — build good habits to mitigate that. Mad Duo

Contextual Relevance- Staying Ahead of the Gun
 Freddy Osuna

Your perception is your reality. When reality strikes will you be prepared? Reality is out there; he’s a criminal on the prowl. Reality is searching for his next opportunity. He takes many forms in our society and comes in all colors, heights, makes and models. He is just as likely to come from a white collar or low income, broken or unbroken home.  He’s a criminal and only knows fast money. He lives for the now and when your reality doesn’t see reality coming then your “nows” will cross and you will be forced to go to gun.

Keeping people from meeting unanticipated friction on patrol, the beat, the streets, or in the board room is my goal. Will we experience friction? Yes! How you deal with it determines your resulting performance. It all begins with perception; perception leads to understanding, and lends to projection. By using what we know and what we are sensing we can project an anticipated outcome. Your body is geared up for this process so let’s explore how we may be able to optimize it in order to keep us law abiding gun owners safe.

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Everyone has flipped through a magazine and seen the U.S. Navy SEAL promo ad which states, ”Pictured from left to right…”, “Do you have what it takes?”. Depicted is a swamp photo where the servicemen are hiding without detection. Like me you probably thought what a crock of BS as you painfully try to make out some semblance of a frog man? As you succumb to this clever U.S. Navy  marketing gimmick you start thinking of excuses why you couldn’t see them.


Has anyone ever made out a SEAL in this photo? Are they standing directly behind trees? What kind of camo are they wearing? How close are they? They’re probably underwater…right? Well the problem that we face in this photo is not unlike the problem we face every day as responsible citizens.

What we are experiencing is a deliberate defeat of our senses through a lack of contextual relevance. We all have a mental model of what we believe a swamp should look like. This mental model is developed by experiences, knowledge and training. As we visually scan a scene for what we are looking for we must be able to separate that which belongs from that which does not. If we only have mental models of that which belongs in any given scene then we are setting our senses up for defeat. If we limit our sensory input to only vision than we are severely limiting our intuitive capabilities. After all, does the swamp not contain many other clues of human presence? Think insects ceasing to chirp or buzz, bird alarms, the scent of disturbed surfaces and so on. This real time information combined with our existing mental models produce situational understanding.

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About the author: One of our duskiest and insightful of minions, Mad Duo Freddy is a spiritual warrior philosopher who has been involved in tracking for over 20 years.freddy He’s a Yaqui Indian and former Marine  who grew up in the desert of Arizona. He currently runs the tracking portion of USMC Combat Hunter East at Camp Lejeune. He was an infantry squad leader with 1/4 Marines before completing the Scout Sniper indoc program/Scout Sniper School, eventually working as Staff NCOIC, 1ST Marine MTU (where he was awarded a Gold Star for his Marine Corps Achievement Medal in lieu of second award for excellence in innovative training techniques). He was later medically separated from the Marine Corps because he got broke (combat injuries sustained in OIF2). He’s the author of Index Tracking: Essential Guide to Trailing Man and Beast, and the guy who spearheaded the development of GLINT (Green Laser Index Night Tracking) and the Battlefield Tactical Acuity Course/BTAC (both of these are taught through his private company, Greenside Training. Though Greenside specializes in the interdiction of highly evasive individuals who rely on terrain exploitation to harass or evade our forces, it does not (as many other schools do) focus on the TTPs necessary for running a tracking operation. Greenside creates trackers who see more. Greenside offers classes for military, L.E., ESAR and civilian enthusiasts alike, of if you’re interested you should check them out on the web or Facebook.


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