Check Six

by Scott on June 22, 2011

Editor’s Note:This is a guest post from Ron Borsch. Ron’s bio is at the end of this article.

The military and law enforcement has long had an old and still valid caring phrase of “WATCH YOUR BACK” from one comrade, officer or deputy to another. Just about as common is the phrase “STAY SAFE”! Many tactical officers have adopted “CHECK YOUR SIX”, as a code for the direction you are facing is the front or “12” on a clock with hands, and “6” would be your back side. This is similar to maps, where the topside is always facing north. The symbol for “Check Six” is an empowering reminder, enabling us to PREVAIL and WIN the potential attacks that face us.

Reverse Engineering for Safety

Anyone familiar with tactics knows that the three factors of SURPRISE, SPEED, and VIOLENCE of action is a winning concept that has been tested by the time of centuries. The problem is that the concept works for the bad guys as well as the good guys, (muggings, car jacking, Etc.). When we reduce, deter or eliminate being surprised, that would give us a much better chance of prevailing and winning an attack upon us.

In the Martial Arts, we have the ancient saying and concept of “Where the head goes, the body follows”. While intended in the physical and tactical sense, it is also true mentally. For example, Stacy Lim, (Los Angles Police Department gunfight winner against multiple assailants), advises us “You must prepare your mind for where your body may have to go”.

On Sunday, November 29th 2009, we forever lost 4 brothers and a sister Lakewood WA police officers in a coffee shop in not much more than a minute at the hands of a Muslim assassin. The assassin calculated that with surprise, speed and violence of action, he could defeat four armed officers if he was deceptive and quick enough while they were relaxed and preoccupied with their laptops. We need to ask ourselves could I be killed in an almost no-win situation like this? What precautions could I take to avoid the very last mistake in my life of being momentarily caught Mentally Absent With Out Leave, (MAWOL©)?

Fortunately, a day or so later, in early morning hours, a very alert Seattle WA police officer, in his cruiser checking an apparent broke-down car, “CHECKED SIX” in time. He observed a male approaching from his rear. This alert officer got out of his car, recognized the male as the identified assassin, beat him to the draw, and shot him dead. That my friends, is known as a happily ever after bedtime story for law enforcement!

About the Author: Ron Borsch

After a three decade police career, Ron Borsch is semi-retired. Ron’s career included 20 years as Rangemaster and Pistol Team Captain and 17 years as a SWAT operator-trainer. While retaining a police commission as a consultant-trainer, he now manages and is the lead trainer for SEALE Regional Police Training Academy, a post-graduate facility in Bedford Ohio. SEALE Academy has specialized in tactically training 1st responders since the year 2000. Their current evolution of active killer countermeasures is SOLO, “Single Officer’s Lifesaving Others”©. Ron has presented various subjects in several different states to fellow officers, Chiefs of Police, national and international instructor audiences.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Fred Leland June 22, 2011 at 10:54 am

Another greta article by Ron, all officers should read. Our awareness and ability to adapt all stems around mental preparedness combined with the abilty to take what we know and apply it.

Taemian June 23, 2011 at 7:39 am

Same idea already presented here.

Decals and logos, like tattoos, are gimmicky. Either this stuff is in your head and you LIVE it, or you don’t. If ink on my arm (or a 6 decal on my car) is supposed to remind me of something whenever I happen to see it, then it really can’t be important enough to have me NOT thinking about it on my own.

RonBorsch July 7, 2011 at 6:25 pm

For those that may be interested regarding this potentially LIFE SAVING “MEMORY KEY” TRAINING AID:

In the article, I forgot to note: “Permission granted to reproduce the 2 character ‘Check Six'(C) symbol”.

Our minds think in PICTURES or SYMBOLS, not words. This NEW 2-character symbol was first introduced at the National Patrol Rifle Competition and Conference, ( this year during my “Final Option” presentation.

Orange “Check Six” stickers were distributed to every table of attendees.

This reminder symbol for “Check Your Six” can be enlarged or printed on stickers to be placed somewhere, (inside of your locker, on your ticket book, Etc.), as a memory key and constant reminder that police officers have been and are being targeted by assassins in their cars, at police stations, in coffee shops, off duty and at home.

SEALE Academy Bedford Ohio

RonBorsch July 13, 2011 at 1:16 pm

Another after thought:

There have been various positive and constructive idea’s, phrases and symbols intended to save lives of law enforcement officers.

Some important examples are “KEEP THE WALLS BARE” by ASLET, (American Society of Law Enforcement Trainers speaking about the names of officers killed in the line of duty engraved on the walls at the Police Memorial in Washington); (International Law Enforcement and Educators Training Association) has a couple, “WISDOM AND COURAGE THROUGH KNOWLEDGE AND SKILL”, and for the Trinity of Dedication Foundation, “HONORING LIFE, PREVENTING DEATH”. is promoting a “BELOW 100” campaign, where they are trying to keep the annual death toll of American Law Enforcement Officers below 100.

Gary Paul Johnson designed and promoted the One Asterisk (1*), “ONE-ASS-TO-RISK” proudly worn as a patch by many SWAT Teams.

These and other examples are a sincere organized effort to save lives. We should not take any of them for granted or dwell on the negative. Anyone with noble ideas should be encouraged to “NEVER GIVE UP”, exactly the same advice for prevailing and winning in the street, “Never Give Up”!

SEALE Academy Bedford Ohio

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