The 5 Guiding Principles

All of you know The Rules. They have serve the Team well, and they continue to do so every day. However, last year was particularly difficult for the team. We were caught in different situations where our mental strength was tested. Often in less than permissive environments. So, we developed the following set of principles during the various AARs to help us keep our heads in the right direction when we need it. We call them The 5 Guiding Principles. I'll try to explain them the best I can. Please let me know what you think.

Here are the principles, followed by a short explanation.

  1. Always have an escape plan
  2. Simple and light equals freedom, agility and mobility
  3. Don’t spend time trying to move your opponent, just move yourself
  4. The solution is in the problem
  5. If it's stupid but works, it isn't stupid

1- Always have an escape plan

Everything can fail in one single instant. There is no doubt about it. Always have a way out.

Based on Rule 1, this guiding principle is at the top of the list in everything we do. From field work to simple everyday tasks. We always make sure that we can escape, or find a solution to a problem that is stuck.

Always think about PACE: Primary, Alternate, Contingency and Emergency.

2- Simple and light equals freedom, agility and mobility

Being small and light allows you to move faster, more fluently. Being light allows you to be more efficient.

This also applies to mindset and planning. Keeping the plan nimble, simple and agile will allow for changes to happen when reality hits the team.

Having a small team also means it can adapt faster, that momentum can be stopped; if a 180 degree Plan B or an escape plan need to be executed then the team will not be crashed.

In everything try to think "how can I achieve this the simplest way possible" and "can I perform with only half of what I thought I needed".

Stay small. Stay light. Go fast. Be lean, productive and effective.

3- Don’t spend time trying to move your opponent, just move yourself

One of my earlier Aikido Senseis taught me this principle. Essentially, your opponent can be stronger than you, bigger than you, better than you. You can't move him. You can't control him. But you can control yourself. Move, make your opponent come to you, make him play by your rules, blend into his attack and send him flying.

This can be applied to Red Teaming, planning, working, studying and pretty much each aspect of our lives. If the problem seem too big to find a solution, just move around the problem, look at it from a all sides. Make the problem work the solution for you. Be flexible, be fluid, think outside the box.

If a plan is failing once it reached the real world, don't try to change it by forcing a half-cooked alternative. You can't always control the environment, however you can control how you can react to the environment or the reality you find youself in. Move yourself to a position where you can make a difference.

Remain flexible and nimble. Think in small team terms and train for the unknowable, because that’s what lies in the real world.

4- The solution is in the problem

A problem is often the result of poor planning or foresight. In most cases you can find the solution to the problem within itself, however you need to look at the problem from all sides in order to do this. Looking at the problem as if it was a hollow cube.

Make the problem work the solution for you. See Principle 3.

5- If it's stupid but works, it isn't stupid

The simplest solution is always the best. A solution that sounds stupid but works, ceases to be stupid.

Always try to find the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) solution. Have the team, friends, families or even strangers give you their opinions. Listen to them, even if they might sound stupid. Some might be, but there you can find the simplicity of it.