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Book Review: Beyond OODA by Varg Freeborn

Varg Freeborn is a writer and firearms instructor that has a very unique view of the industry. Whereas many instructors have experienced violence through the military of by being in law enforcement, Vargs experience is through the criminal realm. His first book, Violence of Mind, took us through his experience in a his self defense case that ended with him sentenced to 5 years in prison. His violent family upbringing and dangerous prison time gave Varg a view of people, especially violent predators, that most people can only make guesses.

In his second book, Beyond OODA, Varg focuses on something that you can control: your orientation. While this seems simple, Varg lays out a set of criteria that MUST be addressed prior to engaging in lethal combat. His view on orientation is that your mind must have the right answers so that your body can execute the right skills.

The author begins with an overview of Col. John Boyd's OODA (observe, orientation, decide, act) process, and how his research found that Boyd's focus was also on orientation over other parts of the process. He talks about how mental blocks can slow your down response time, and how if you work through these blocks now, you can easily create and advantage. He notes that if you spend enough time orienting, paying attention, and then an little time on the physical skills, you are much more likely to prevail.

Next, he talks about culture and values and how it relates to how you act as well as how a violent criminal will act. For instance, if someone had a stable upbringing, with loving parents, then that person has a hard time understanding why a person would hurt someone else. On the other hand, if you were abandoned, lived in a crack house as a kid, or were present when reputation violence was done, you have a different view on how valuable another person is beyond their wallet or car. The same archetypes are present too. In the firearms industry, we have seen many "tough guy" marketing ploys to include, the Punisher, spartan warriors, and the vikings. These work because people want to tell themselves who they are in relation to known warriors. The criminal element does the same thing, only they use Scarface, El Chappo and other criminal element archetypes to create their story. From both views, there is an emotional investment in being the person you see yourself as, therefore it can drive or create its own behavior.

Finally he finishes with some observation/awareness knowledge. When we are not in our own environment, we are not attuned to what it should look, sound, smell or feel like. So how do we notice that the "birds have gone silent in the jungle"? Varg gives some very down to earth observation techniques and some knowledge on common predatory scams that can give us greater insight into how to avoid violence altogether.

Varg again gives us information from a view that is indispensable in the industry. His knowledge is not to be dismissed, and I hope you will read this book. It is available in paperback and Kindle HERE.

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