Some people say that the more you train in self-defense, the more likely you are to find yourself in situations where you would need to protect yourself because you’re thinking about it all the time.
I disagree with that. I think that the more you train, the harder a target you become. If you exude an aura of awareness and confidence, there is less of a chance that people will mess with you. Now if youíre training because you want to fight or test yourself, then of course your subconscious radar is going to lead you into situations where you can exploit those skills or abilities. But if youíre the proverbial Good Samaritan training for the right
reasons,it wonít. A good recommendation is to train at a club that has a moral,ethical foundation. Look at the people there and their understanding of the philosophy.
For example,look at the people of CrossFit. One of the things I always talk about is how cool,how down-to-earth every CrossFit trainer is that Iíve ever met. I donít
experience any attitude or ego in the coaches. Everyone is there to help. Now go to a general health club,how weird are the vibes when you walk around a gym? Itís awful,right? You’re always getting looks from guys who have weird clown clothing on. (Where do they get those pants, anyhow?) I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with clown clothes, of course, but the point is youíll get
all sorts of different personalities and egos and dynamics there, and that sort of thing attracts those types of people.
There are parallels between the martial arts communities and fitness. When you look at CrossFitters, at people who genuinely do it because they get it, they get the idea of functional fitness. And with the exception of a few genetic specimens like Greg Amundson, you can’t tell who’s a CrossFitter by their body type.

How do you incorporate CrossFit into your training?
I’ve always done CrossFitesque training in my workouts, blending aerobic and anaerobic fighting drills. When I started reading about CrossFit,I thought,hey Iíve always done CrossFit,but without the variation. I’d never incorporated specific exercises that worked on my body head to toe from a strength and conditioning point
of view. My approach was intuitively based on the SAID (specific adaptation to imposed demands) principle. We would work almost exclusively on the drills and skills needed for the fight.  Incorporating the sprints, pull-ups, gymnastics, and core exercises has made me a more complete athlete. I’m stronger and healthier
as a result. CrossFit training has added to my total strength and confidence. The Lombardi line about fatigue is something I look for in my opponent instead of worrying about whether perhaps it applies to me. I love the idea of variety. Yesterday I did a deadlift workout. Now,I’ve never done deadlifts in my life before CrossFit!  I’d never done any Olympic lifting, and I wonder now, at age 46, how much stronger and faster Iíd have been if I’d incorporated
this stuff earlier. I’d never been exposed to this formula of cross training in the right way or had its function explained. So I’d see weightlifting in the Olympicsóweird-body-shaped guys in spandex doing cleans and jerksóand I’m thinking,   ‘Okay, thank you, next!
Where ís the judo or the gymnastics?î But watching CrossFit trainer Nicole Carroll outlift guys twice her size made me think, ‘Oh my god, that ís functional strength!’
So what I’ve done is add these core skills on top of my regular workouts as best as I can.  I travel a lot - I‘m on the road 180 days a year without equipment - and CrossFit is perfect. Recently I was teaching a course in Tennessee; after the dayís training, I did a modified
‘Helen’.   I ran 400 meters around the building, jumped up to the first-floor balcony and did pull-ups from the second-floor balcony (which was awesome,because it was a completely different grip - almost all finger tips). I didn’t have anything to swing so I did some handstand pushups and some shadow boxing and Tabata squats.
When Iím in town at home, I do pretty pure CrossFit workouts because we have equipment in my office,and thereís also a great facility at CrossFit Montreal.

You’ve been teaching real-world self defense since 1979.  How has it changed in all those years?
It’s changed dramatically. What I was teaching then was a kickboxing derivative, because that was my influence at the time. My philosophy was always about street defense. But I went from being heavily influenced by Bruce Lee, Bill Wallace, Joe Lewis, and the full contact kickboxing generation to my current path. Part of it was luck, part of it was research. We had started doing a lot of force-on-force drills in the early 80s and we had become quite
creative and extremely realistic with our simulations. We put out the PANIC ATTACK video series that influenced most of the modern groups now doing scenario- and reality-based training.  But it was in 1988, while doing an isolation drill, that our biggest discovery was made. The drill was a ‘sucker punch’ isolation that included dialogue and natural movement pre-contact. And pretty quickly I noticed how effective the flinch was. I was looking at the
video after training and thinking,’Man, I almost got hit there, but I flinched and I didn’t get hit,’ and looking at all these other times when I was a nanosecond late on a block or slip and I did get hit.
As a trained fighter, instructor, and athlete, it was a real enigma because it didn’t make sense that I could be more effective when I didn’t try to intercept the attack and just let my body do what it wanted to do naturally. That’s counter-intuitive.
Of course, none of this makes sense until you focus on the most important factor and that is the physiological relationship to the surprise attack. I couldn’t say this as clearly back then as I can say this now, but unconscious neuromuscular communication is way faster than conscious neuromuscular communication. Conscious
neuromuscular communication is the conventional decision-making loop: I see the punch; that is my stimulus. I choose to slip, block or do some move; that is my response. But in an ambush, action is faster than reaction,and the action portion is the bad guy!
And that’s the part that most people donít get. It’s a huge light-bulb moment if you do understand it. As soon as you say ‘Let’s practice counter-ambush,î itís no longer an ambush. That’s why I said you can’t practice real fighting. Youíve got to scientifically replicate things, because at the end of the day, you canít do Pink Panther stuff and have adults jumping out of closets and attacking each other -someone ís going to go to the hospital.

Has the industry changed too?
The industry has evolved. The changes brought about by grappling and MMA have had a huge influence on how the community trains both fighting and conditioning. It’s awesome to see John Hackleman injecting CrossFit into Chuck Liddellís training and to see B.J. Penn and many other fighters embracing it.  While my system has evolved, itís really the same philosophy as when I started teaching. I started teaching exclusively self-defense
and essentially thatís still what I do. The philosophy has always been the same:I wanted realistic stuff. And I continue to evolve. In fact, I will drop what I’m doing today for an improvement that is going to enhance the survivability of myself, my family, and my students
tomorrow. Interestingly, I still receive e-mails from people asking what I think the best art for the street is and I always answer,’Art is for a museum.’ I love martial arts, but I can separate the sport and street toolboxes. I always tell people,’You’re not your style when youíre walking around.’
How do you modify your programs for men and
women? What are the differences?
A man walked into my office years ago and told me he traveled extensively and wanted his wife and daughter to learn more about self-defense since he was gone so often. I explained our approach to fear management, mindset, physiologically researched tactics, scenario-driven training, and so on. He was intrigued and then
asked me if I also had a men’s class since he should probably train too. I told him that what I had described was the class, that there was no gender separation. He was noticeably confused. I looked at him and said, ‘If what I teach will work for your wife and daughter, why wouldn’t it also work for a full-grown man?î Our
system is designed around human responses to fear and danger. You don’t have to train in martial arts to have a startle/flinch response. The startle and flinch exist before you come to class. It is a physiological survival mechanism. We donít each people how to flinch; we teach them how to convert the flinch into effective

What’s the best way to learn more about your
We have Personal Defense Readiness coaches all over the world, as well as CrossFit one-day workshops. We have many articles online on my website and on the policeone.com site in the columnist section. If you’re geographically restricted, video is the next best thing. Our bestselling video for ultimate self-defense is called Rape Safe. The title throws a lot of guys off because it sounds like it’s just for women, but we’ve heard from self-defense
instructors that it’s the best amalgamation of all of our principles, and it’s an awesome video. It takes some of the most potent information and goes from the psychological to the emotional to the scenario to the skills.
Click Here to Visit the website of Blauer Tactical Systems
Click Here to Visit Crossfit, forging elite fitness.

The S.P.E.A.R. SYSTEM™ (Spontaneous Protection Enabling Accelerated Response) is a scientifically researched & medically reviewed personal defence measure that exploits the body’s natural responses to violence and danger. This survival mechanism, dubbed: Startle-Flinch Response has been scientifically integrated into a series of neuro-muscular drills that teaches individuals how to convert their instinctive reactions into protective and combative tactics and solutions.

Research into the startle/flinch phenomena and its link to the survival system’s withdrawal reflex has spawned one of the most important evolutions in close quarter training: the S.P.E.A.R. SYSTEM™, which utilizes the speed and reliability of the startle/flinch mechanism to convert the sudden attack into a tactical counter. Most importantly, this system will not interfere with any current training and in fact it is most easily used as a bridge to any complex motor skill transition.

The S.P.E.A.R. SYSTEM™ is a 'behaviorally' researched, close quarter personal defense method that utilizes the body's natural flinches and reactions to fear or violence and then converts these reactions into efficient tactical choices. Because the system is "Genetically wired and behaviorally inspired™", anybody can learn it and everybody can do it.

Safe Space strives to enhance the survivability of every person regardless of size or gender by teaching tactics that are developed to take advantage of the body’s natural response mechanisms. The objective of these tactics is to be gross motor oriented, innate/instinctual so they will function during high stress and adrenaline overloaded incidents and also respect the body's survival system, signals and responses.

The S.P.E.A.R. System™ applies physiological research to help reduce reaction time during confrontations. Classical conditioning is used to blend two dynamic forces: 
1)  the speed of the flinch response
2) the power of extensor strength. 
By using the kinetic energy created by a startle/flinch response and the cross extensor reflex we can improve close quarter position. 
The S.P.E.A.R. then becomes a bridge to your style or system (complex motor skills).

All drills, principals, concepts are underpinned by:
“The S.P.E.A.R. System™ Is the Study of Human Movement As It Relates to Violence, Fear and Aggression.” Tony Blauer
What does the body’s survival system want to do prior to any training?
Does this response have a protective or combative application?
If so, why aren’t we integrating it?

   How does this thesis statement enhance a person’s survivablity?
A common ground with which everyone can work with.
A non-perishable skill set.
Easy, quick and simple to learn and practice.
It’s basic physiology – everyone can do it.

The S.P.E.A.R. System is accredited by ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officers) and is a core component of Police training Nationally & Internationally.

The S.P.E.A.R. System has been medically evaluated in three seperate continents.

The Universal Flinch


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