Archive for Personal Defense Readiness

Blauer’s Ten Commandents of Street Survival

Posted in Day's Lesson, Miscellaneous, Self-Defense, Teaching Topic, Training, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on June 24, 2012 by Combative Corner


Imagine for a moment losing a real street fight.  Imagine the impact on your confidence, dignity and pride.  Imagine if you were hurt and couldn’t train or possibly go to work for several weeks.  Imagine if when you “physically” recovered you were gun-shy in sparring.  Imagine all this.

At the time of the attack you took too long to recognize the danger, hesitated and as you started to react you were knocked to the ground and though you put up a valiant effort you were beaten.

Upon reflection you realized that you lost this fight for several reasons:

  1. Your actual understanding of the theories of “intuitive radar”, “attacker profiles”, “sucker punch psychology” and “fear management” were limited.
  2. Actually, you never did “sucker punch” drills.
  3. You had never done “threshold and pain tolerance training” or
  4. Worked on “ballistic ground fighting” and
  5. You never analyzed natural stances.

This scenario is a fantasy or perhaps a nightmare.  But it need not be.

“Totality” in your training is simply about being thorough.

I always tell my students,

If I am to lose to the superior fighter.  Let me lose because he was better than I was.  Not because I was worse than him.”

How hard do you train in relation to “why” you train?  Think on that.

Coach Bear Bryant said, “The will to win compares little with the will to prepare to win.”  That is one of my favorite quotes and pretty much sums it up.

You can’t not train and expect to be your best at a moment’s notice.  Boxers agree to fight 3 months in advance so that they may train for the contest.  You don’t have that luxury.  As my friend Marco Lala said, “You can’t fake endurance.”


The mental side of combat is so vast and powerful that it quite literally determines your next move.  Dan Millman wrote, “When faced with just one opponent and you oppose yourself… you’re outnumbered.”

Powerful words.  Your mind can be your ally or your most formidable opponent.  Your thoughts can motivate you or they can create the inertia State of psycho-physical paralysis.

Psychological fear leads to doubt and hesitation.  Unchecked it can devolve into anxiety and panic.  Unsolicited, a ‘Victim’s vocabulary’ starts: What if I lose?  What if it hurts?  What if I fail?  Thoughts like these must be eliminated from your vocabulary for you to perform at your peak.  Your ‘self talk’ or ‘internal dialogue’ must be positive, assertive and motivating.  Your inner coach must empower you to greater heights, to surpass preconceived limitations, to boldly go where… you get the picture.  That is what it means to not defeat yourself.


The will to survive is probably the most neglected area of our training.  It is also the most important.  Knowing what to do and knowing which tools to use is important but compares little with the ‘will to survive.’  If you have great technique, but do not know how to dig deep, I will bet on the opponent with heart.  Will beats skill.  “Not giving up,” means Not giving up.  You must research this.

Irrespective of your training, there are situations that can catch us off guard.  Sudden violence or specific threats outside our Comfort Zones can overwhelm us emotionally and induce the ubiquitous “victim” mind-set.  To off-set this I have my students tap into their “desire” to survive by writing out a list of things they will lose if they do not survive the fight.

This list is memorized (ideally, long before any serious altercation) and serves as an unconscious motivating force that triggers the survival mechanisms when our theoretical warrior-self is experiencing technical difficulties.

The list should include the most important people, places and things in your life.  And you must remind yourself that if you “give up” in the street – you may be giving up that list as well.

In 1987, this concept became the Be Your Own BodyGuard™ principle.  This is a powerful metaphor for street survival.  Sometimes we feel that we would rush to someone else’s aid quicker than we would defend ourselves.. this is a common emotional feeling, however, it is not very practical if you are the intended victim.  So ask yourself, “Who (or what) would you fight to the death for?”  And if you are the person’s Bodyguard, who is yours?

My friend… be your own bodyguard.


More dangerous than your opponent is your mind.  If it doesn’t support you you’re 3/4 beaten before you’ve started.  There are really only two types of fear: biological and psychological.

Fear (biological) has been generally described as the “fight or flight” syndrome for most of our modern history.  This definition does not serve us once the physical confrontation is under way and is really not pertinent to your success.  Though the adrenaline surge created by your survival signals is a component of success, it is the mind that ultimately determines the action you will take.

Psychological fear, on the other hand, is an emotional state.  Therefore it can be controlled and used to create action.  However, due to the lack of good information on fear management, fear, as we feel it, usually creates emotional inertia: your body’s inability to move.  Inertia or panic is created by psychological fear when the mind visualizes failure and pain.  Understanding this process is necessary to conquer fear.

We use three acronyms, to help us remember that psychological fear is only in our mind.  They are:

  1. False Evidence Appearing Real (External stimuli that distracts ups; physical evidence: weapons, multiple opponents, etc.)
  2. False Expectations Appearing Real (Internal stimuli that distracts us; how we visualize, images of pain and failure.)
  3. Failure Expected Action Required (A trigger to DO SOMETHING!)

Cus D’Amato, a famous boxing coach, said, “The difference between the hero and the coward is what they do with their fear.”  The next time you feel it – fight it.  Challenge your fear.  Attack your fear.  Do not fear fear.  We all feel it.

Fight your fear first then fight your physical foe. 

This is one of the true ways of growth.


When it’s time to fight, most fighters telegraph their intentions.  This “faux pas” is committed at times by everyone and every type of fighter, including you and me.  From street fighters to professional boxers, from military generals to serial killers.  We all telegraph.

Telegraphing for most is considered to be a physical gesture, but really, the physical telegraph is usually the third stage of the telegraph ‘Domino effect.’  In my seminars I always remind participants that you can only beat the opponent when the opponent makes a mistake.  Think about that.  The “real” opportunity occurs at the moment of the telegraph, when the intention is revealed, when there is hesitation or a momentary lapse in attention.

Start thinking about the various ways we reveal ourselves, signals that create the telegraph: anger, erratic breathing.  Adopting a specific stance, going for the knockout, verbal threat.  These are some of the most common telegraphs that would afford an experienced opponent some mental preparedness.  Remember that your opponent should be the last person to see your attack.

This subject is so vast that I can’t do justice to it here.  Just remember that fighting is like tennis, the player who makes the most unforced errors, generally loses.  But don’t look at the obvious.  Be sure to study our Sucker Punch Psychology and Non-Violent Postures theory.


You must know in advance that you will survive the authentic street fight.  By ‘authentic’ I mean a true situation where you have a moral and ethical reason to take action.  Only then can you be resolute in your conviction and only then will you have the support of good and the force of the universe behind you.  This may sound corny to some, but when you use your skills for “life” (for preservation), rather than “death”, (abuse of your skill) the emotional power that is available to you is exponential.

You must also appreciate the relationship to the pejorative ego in combat.

You don’t “win” a real fight.  You survive one.

Win & Lose are labels our ego uses.  Think survival.  Think about your life and why you’ll survive.  This is true power.

Remember this: Never fight when your opponent wants to fight.  Never fight where your opponent wants to fight.  And never fight how your opponent wants to fight.  Take care of those three factors, I’ll bet on you.  Sun Tzu wrote: “The height of strategy is to attack your opponent’s strategy.”  Study this.

*On purely a strategic level you can study the Samurai treaties about the mind and the ego and death.  They reveal much about the appropriate mind-set for lethal combat.  If you catch a glimpse of the power of this mind-set you will recognize true power and you will be sure not to abuse this power.


You’ve heard the expression “An accident waiting to happen.”  So many victims of violence failed to use simple skills like awareness and avoidance.  No one deserves to be a victim, but many street tragedies result from “planning for failure through failure to plan.”  Though the world is an incredible and wonderful place, it does have its dangers.  If you respect the simple truth and spend a little time developing your Survival Toolbox, you can get back to the real task at hand: enjoying your life.

For simplicity sake consider there are two types of victims.  Those who deny and ignore (apathy will usually help seal your fate) and those who manufacture danger at every turn.  If you haven’t had the opportunity to read Gavin De Becker’s excellent book, The Gift of Fear, get yourself a copy.  It is the first time, in my opinion; anyone has effectively explained the fear signal in a positive, useful light as it relates to danger and violence.  His examples and theories are welcome additions to the pre-contact arsenal necessary to try to avoid violence.

It would be nice if simply ‘trusting’ survival signals were all we needed to detect and avoid danger.  Unfortunately, there may be situations where we do everything right, but still find ourselves in the thick of things and must take physical action.  Preparation is paramount.

Learn to evaluate a stimulus in advance.  This mind-set will spare you a lot of trouble if you do a little research.  In the end, most situations are easily avoided with the right attitude, awareness and advance analysis.

Here are the critical areas you must examine:

  • Evaluate your routine.  Are there any obvious places you could be attacked?  Is there something about your schedule, behavior, residence, etc. that sends a ‘come and get me’ message to an opportunist criminal?  When you you attack you and why?
  • Evaluate your mind.  What type of person are you?  Do you find yourself in many confrontations? (Of any nature)  How do you deal with them?  Do you lose your temper quickly?  Do you accept abuse (verbal, mental, etc.) too readily?  Both reactions could create serious problems in a violent confrontation.
  • Evaluate your arsenal.  You may take care of the routine and have yourself in total control and still be faced with a threat.  What specialized skills do you bring to the confrontation?  Many of us become fairly proficient with our empty hands in a ready stance in the dojo where we know the rules, we know our opponent, the level of contact is agreed to and we’re wearing equipment and.. I think you get my point.  Do you really understand the nut on the street?  Are you confident on the ground?  Against a weapon?  In a survival scenario?  Total confidence results when you ask pertinent questions and research, to satisfaction, the answers.  That’s being proactive.  After all, this is your life.

Apathy and denial will seal your fate in a confrontation.  Other personality aberrations like an inflated ego, misguided inferiority complex, and overconfidence all contribute to the issue of safety.  There attributes will create problems during confrontations of any nature.  Be proactive about the things that can cause you grief.

I have a simple belief that keeps me honest and introspective:

I believe we experience confrontations every day of our lives, (“Confrontation” defined as any situation that affects our enjoyment of the moment – I know people who take traffic personally!).  Therefore, the degree of calmness and clarity with which we deal with our confrontations will directly determine the quality of our day and therefore, the quality of our life.


Bruce Lee wrote in his Tao of Jeet Kune Do, “Forget about winning and losing; forget about pride and pain.  Let your opponent graze your skin and you smash his flesh; let him smash into your flesh and you fracture his bones; let him fracture your bones and you take his life’ Do not be concerned with your escaping safely – your life before him!”

Hmmm? What do you think of this? Pretty powerful, huh? Not how it triggered a visual and how it affected your mind-set: power or fear?  Though Bruce Lee’s quote has much value, it sends a dangerous message if not analyzed correctly.

Many people who come to the martial arts for self-defense buy into the mythological image of cool nerves, impenetrable defense and total control.  Unfortunately, the sociopath’s intensity on the street bears little relation to the energy in the dojo and so those martial artists who have not done diligent homework for the street situation are predisposed to fail.  This doesn’t mean they will.  But, it means they survive in spite of the way they trained.

What would you do if…?  Have you really visualized different scenarios and analyzed what would be necessary to escape the confrontation safely?  It takes courage to walk away.  Is avoidance a component of your self-defense system?  How far would you go to avoid bodily harm? Would you kill?  What moral and ethical issues do your responses raise?  do you possess a directive, one that would support you in a court of Law or when you looked in the mirror?

When you train with integrity, and respect all humanity, you will grasp the deepest message in Bruce’s words.  As a last resort I endorse his message.


There are key areas of concern for this commandment.  Human beings are designed for improvement.  Our brains and bodies are built for success.  We use only a small percentage of our brain’s capacity.  Our bodies are capable of massive muscular and cardiovascular development and we have only just begun to explore the power of spiritual development.

Remember earlier I wrote that the mind navigates the body?  I believe that there are three fundamental rules we all break from time-to-time that prevent us from maximizing our performance and development in many areas.

  1. Avoid Comparison: Compete with yourself.  Use other people for inspiration only.  If someone is better than you are, use his or her “skill level” as a reference point.  Find out how they train and what their beliefs are.  Many people miss this point and experience frustration in their training.  The pejorative ego is duplicitous and works overtime on comparison.  It’s your job to defuse this emotional time bomb and get focused on your path.
  2. Don’t Judge: Don’t judge others.  Don’t even judge yourself.  Learn to evaluate, diagnose, weigh, and consider.  When you change the “judgement filter” to one of “analysis”, you will gain so much more.  Like comparison, judgement is a detour away from our goals.  Many times we enter some arena (relationship, job, fight) worrying about what the other person is bringing to the table.  Howe can you be yourself and work on you when you are fixating on them?  True education takes place when we start to notice our tendency to compare and judge.
  3. Limiting Beliefs:  Many of us have been fed negative programs during our life and these ‘ideas’ eventually become our very own erroneous beliefs.  And they severely handicap our growth.  How often do we say or hear statements like, “You can’t.” “That’ll take too long.”, I’ll never be able to do that”, “What’s the point?”.  The list goes on… you get my point.  Beliefs that do not serve your goals, success, happiness, or dreams must be purged from your mind.  This is an easy process.. you believe it is too hard.

Just remember that starting off positive is every bit as important as actually starting.

Here’s another key concept in the performance enhancement formula my company has developed:  You’ll often hear motivators state: “Your potential is unlimited.”  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Actually ‘potential’ is quite finite, whereas ‘capacity’ is unlimited.  Think about it [and yes I know this is completely backwards from conventional thinking].  Your ability is limited by your capacity.  But you can work on your ‘capacity’ daily.  And therefore ‘capacity’ is continually evolving.  However, ‘potential’ is fixed.  In other words, your potential is limited by the fact that you are human, or of a specific gender, age, size and so forth.  Potential is also something we ‘can’t do’ yet.  The trick in maximizing performance therefore, will be our ability to reframe, to create a personal paradigm shift and really direct our energy into our ‘current abilities’ and forget about where we could be if…

Confused?  Read the next two paragraphs and then reflect a little.

I have done a number of motivational seminars on this very important paradigm shift, an empowerment process I call The Myth of Peak Performance.  To consider, evaluate, plan and proceed, you must understand the difference between “capacity” and “potential.”  What you can do is your capacity.  What you would like to be able to do is your potential.  But, at the end of the day, you can only do as much as you can do.

Reflect on this expression:

“You’ll never know how much you can do until you try to do more than you can.” 

In training, assess your capacity, recognize your potential as greater, and create realistic goals so that you experience success regularly and you will be on your way to self-mastery.  But do not fixate on your potential.

In the self-defense and martial art world many practitioners severely handicap their capacity by not sharing information, not investigating other options and ideas, not asking questions, etc.  To go beyond the limitations of style’, you must challenge all ideas so that your training results in unshakable faith in your skill.


Bruce Lee said, “Man, the living creature, the creating individual, is always more important than any established style or system.”  This commandment is important on two levels.  Firstly, on an emotional level it is so important to make peace with everyone we contact.  This attitude is contagious and if we all adopted a more loving and compassionate view of life and of our fellow human beings, we would all experience a significant increase in happiness and peace of mind.

In the martial arts world there exists so much comparison, pejorative competitiveness and politics, that our industry is simply a microcosm of the warring nations and rival gangs that pollute our cities and countries.  Please reflect on this.

We are on the same team.  We train to better our selves.  We choose different schools and styles for a variety of reasons.  But we all want the same think. Peace.  Inner peace. Confidence. Self-control.

So keep an open mind.  Maintain a “Beginner’s Mind.”  A beginner loves to learn.  He is intent and intense.  Learn to communicate, listen to the words, and listen to the voice of body language.  When someone shows you a different way or explains a different approach, listen keenly.  Savor, digest and absorb.

And secondly, as a martial artist and self-defense specialist, you cannot afford to limit your training.  The more you understand any and all strategies, approaches, attitudes and methods, the greater your confidence.

So remember, training must be holistic: Mind, Body, Spirit

(*Note how each commandment interconnects and a flaw in one of the areas could very well throw the equation into flux.)

*Article is re-posted with permission & unchanged from the original. 

From Tony Blauer, “Permission is granted to quote, reprint or distribute provided the text is not altered and appropriate credit is given.

Tony Blauer is one of the most sought-after authorities in the area of self-defense and is the owner of Blauer Tactical System in San Diego, California. For more information on him, visit his website at http://TonyBlauer.Com and/or follow his postings on his Facebook Group (Personal Defense Readiness).


Tony Blauer’s Cycle of Behavior

Inteview with Tony Blauer

Outside 90

The Cycle of Behavior | Tony Blauer [PDR]

Posted in Self-Defense, Teaching Topic, Training with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 9, 2012 by Combative Corner

The Cycle of Behavior™ is so important to our understanding, that the Combative Corner asked Mr. Blauer if we could express these insights through this concise and essential article.  He happily agreed.  What you’re about to read has been compiled and transcribed from a series of videos and articles by Mr. Blauer throughout the past year and represents a very important and often overlooked area behind self-protection.  Presented here with Blauer’s permission is The Cycle of Behavior™.  For more in-depth understanding of C.O.B and other elements of Blauer’s Tactical System, visit the references at the bottom, check out his website/Facebook Group or get hands-on at one of his workshops.

The Cycle of Behavior™ Learning Tool describes processes that the body/mind undergoes creating a deeper understanding of how you think, make decisions, absorb information and manipulate yourself towards a set goal.

IMPORTANT NOTES – All of this (C.o.B.) happens in nano-seconds.  All fights are dangerous.  But you have to give yourself permission to engage and win, or you’ve lost before the whole thing starts.  The most important thing that I want you to recognize about the C.o.B. is how each step takes place in a part of your brain.  Remember, the mind navigates the body.  There is nothing that you have to do other than sit in your chair, think about this, and be honest with yourself.  Also, learn to evaluate stimulus/situation in advance.  This mind-set will spare you a lot of trouble if you do a little research.  In the end, most situations are easily avoided with the right attitude, awareness and advance analysis.  Do not neglect the power of the mind.  Your mind can be your ally or your most formidable opponent.  The mental side of combat is so vast and powerful that it quite literally determines your next move.  The author Dan Millman wrote,

When faced with just one opponent and you oppose yourself… you’re outnumbered.

THE SCENARIO – Remember, if the scenario is a real fight – you don’t “win” a real fight, you survive one.  The scenario can be anything from a jiu jitsu tournament to being followed home, to waking up with a knife next to your throat.  The number one place to start any type of research or programming is to define the scenario.  Get as black and white as possible, and move on to the next phase.  Remember, the more specific your definition, the more articulate and scientific you approach something, the faster you’re going to achieve the results you want.

MOTIVATION – If the above scenario is that you’re followed home, what’s your motivation to stop and turn around?  Most people visualize losing.  The predator visualizes winning.  You’re a perfect match.  Don’t be that person!  Motivation is huge.  You will not do anything (it’s my feeling) if you have a negative expectation about the outcome.  What we need to do is put together as many factors as possible, so that we can be as motivated as we can be in the event.

EXPECTATIONS – No fighter goes into a prize fight thinking they’re going to lose.  But when they step into the ring, you notice their body language.  Body language is 60% of communication.  Even when the fighter has the mantra, the strategy, the do’s and don’ts (going into the fight), it’s all cerebral/psychological.  The biggest thing is really this:

If, even at the cellular level, somewhere in your unconscious mind, you have a negative perception of the outcome – it will de-motivate you!

Howard Gardner, the famous researcher estimated that, “80% of our motivations are derived from our expectations.”  If you expect pain, discomfort or death, how motivated are you going to be to take care of it?  Remember that starting off positive is every bit as important as actually starting.

VISUALIZATION – What influences, inspires our expectations is how and what we visualize.  Some people don’t think they visualize.  They think it’s some special technique.  Let me lay it out for you – we visualize.  The trick, if you want to call it that, is to consistently visualize the positive.

BELIEFS – Beliefs are something that you hold to be true.  If we are told things like: “You’re small.  You’re weak.  You’ll never overpower someone bigger.  Avoid fights at all costs,”… If someone parented that into you, that will be a hindrance to you at some level.

Belief is just a belief, it is not necessarily a fact.

NEURO-ASSOCIATION – Fear creates doubt, which unchecked, turns into anxiety.  This changes everything!  Where does it come from?  To a large extent, it comes from how/what our mind associates information (symbols, icons, something we relate to).  It’s in seeing the “Big, bad wolf” as the big, bad wolf.

As a martial artist I had this intense fear of the black and brown belts.  You put that up on the proverbial pedestal and it would totally change your performance.

F.E.A.R. MANAGEMENT SKILLS –  F.E.A.R. management skills are very important because something is convincing us to feel a particular way about something.  We have three acronyms: False Expectations Appearing Real (internal stimuli that distracts us) and False Evidence Appearing Real (external stimuli that distracts us) and Failure Expected Action Required (trigger to do something!). 

Let me give you an example – You’re driving over a hill (you haven’t seen the cop yet), but as you come to the top you see the police lights.  Someone else, however, had been pulled over.  Once you saw the lights, you immediately slowed down.  Three seconds later your chest is beating hard – like you’ve been climbing stairs for 3 minutes but you’ve barely moved a muscle.  The false expectation was that visualizing in your mind the consequences (if the cop lights had been for you).  The false evidence was everything from: the cop car, lights, possibly missing your appointment or that you’re going to be late, etc.  It’s not… it wasn’t true, but the situation gave you that fear spike all the same.  Don’t imbue someone or something with traits unproven/unfounded. 

Cus D’Amato, a famous boxing coach said,

The difference between the hero and the coward is what they do with their fear.

The next time you feel it – fight it.  Challenge your fear.  Attack your fear.  Do not fear fear.  We all feel it.  Fight your fear first then fight your physical foe.  This is one of the true ways of growth.


The Challenge or Threatened Door comes up when you’ve identified yourself as being in the FEAR LOOP; something takes you into a dark place and what you have is a negative expectation – obviously being fed by a negative visualization.  If you have time to assess it, you find that your negative beliefs, influences from a negative neuro-association is all creating false expectation/evidence.  The only way out of it is this:

  • Identify what the fear is!
  • Tell yourself to take action
  • Am I challenged or threatened?

GOAL-ACTION-RESULT – The “sure footing” that you’re looking for under duress in a fight is a plan.  Plan is everything.  You’ve got to have them and know them in advance.  For example, in a self-defense situation your goal would be getting to safety (where do I need to be?), your action would be to fight/move (must have a plan & review that plan), and your result would be to achieve safety.  The Plan needs to be specific.  Do I take control, lie, feign compliance, etc?  Re-view (the plan) as in “see again.”  Run through this loop in your mind and make your decision. 

No one deserves to be a victim, but many street tragedies result from “planning for failure through failure to plan.”

PAST-PRESENT-FUTURE DILEMMA – In fights you will sometimes hear a coach/trainer say, “Just throw more jabs” or “Just take him down and the round is yours.”  Well, there is a step in between that and our decision for action – and that is our past-present-future fears.  For example, it may run through the fighter’s mind, “Last time I did this, THIS happened.”  Keep in the positive.  As a coach/trainer, never motivate through a negative.  People are not robots.  They are their own bodies making choices based on ability, motivations – their own Cycle of Behavior.






Cycle of Behavior : CrossFitHQ (Part 1) (Part 2)

Cycle of Behavior : JujitsuMania : Explanation Video

Personal Defense Readiness : Natural Tools

Related Posts

Tony Blauer : Outside 90

10 Questions with Tony Blauer


Tony Blauer is one of the most sought-after authorities in the area of self-defense and is the owner of Blauer Tactical System in San Diego, California. For more information on him, visit his website at http://TonyBlauer.Com and/or follow his postings on his Facebook Group (Personal Defense Readiness).

Tony Blauer : Outside 90

Posted in Self-Defense, Techniques, Training, Videos with tags , , , , , , , , on June 25, 2011 by Combative Corner

One of the human body’s natural reflexes is to push away danger – may that be an incoming potential attacker or an actual violent push, tackle or punch. In respect of trajectory, angles and speed that reflex surely can look different.

In this short video, taken at a recent “Be Your Own Bodyguard” Seminar Coach Tony Blauer, founder of the S.P.E.A.R. System and CEO of Blauer Tactical Systems shows basic applications of this natural defense mechanism.

[Above video and description via PDRgermany’s Youtube Channel]

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