Combative Philosophy

BLAUER TACTICAL Combative Philosophy

The usefulness of the toolbox is that it carries a variety of tools to suit the 'mechanic's' dilemma. Fighters are like mechanics. When they are confronted with a problem, they must fix it. (This applies to the street and competitive arenas.)

"The superior fighter has no emotional attachment to any particular range of combat."
-TCMS maxim

Like the mechanic, we must be able to diagnose and treat the problem before it becomes too serious. The key to appreciating this philosophy is in understanding that there are two phases of "physical' training necessary for street confidence.

1. ATTACK SPECIFIC TRAINING (Type of attack: choke, hair grab, sucker punch, etc.)
2. SCENARIO SPECIFIC TRAIING (The actual situation: location, time, friends or enemies present, weapons, escape routes, the opponent, etc.)

It is dangerous to look at a fight as purely a physical dilemma. We need to ask: "What is the specific situation?" Do I need to be on my feet? Does my opponent have a group of friends with him? Is this fight in a subway station near tracks? Is this a confrontation with a drunken buddy? And so on.

In the above examples, there was no mention of the 'attack' or the tactics. But each question created an image, scenario and perhaps ideal strategy. Before you head butt someone or break an elbow with an arm bar - read the situation. I love the ground, but I respect its limitations.

"A good grappler knows a lot of moves, a great grappler knows when to abort them."
-TCMS Maxim

Strike when you can, grapple when you have to. This philosophy helps create clarity in the moment. Remember, don't use your favorite move in a fight, and use the move that's worst for your opponent! That takes versatility. There are times for the ground and times to stay on your feet. Most of the time, for the street, you want to be up and ready to move. But for real-life confidence you need to cross train.

Remember, street confrontations generally start in close quarter range. If the confrontation is not taken care of verbally or physically at hat range, or if the attack were so sudden, it would probably go to the ground. Learning grappling skills is extremely important for total confidence. And if you are forced to the ground you will not panic. You have the tools.

My message has always been to be diverse, skilled in all ranges. If push comes to shove you must have no physical preference, no emotional attachment to a range, only then you can make a calm, calculated, strategic choice and force the confrontation to the range that suits the situation.

Cohesion and 'relative' total confidence: There are three general groups that create confidence. They are:

1.Physical Conditioning
2.Physical Skills Development
3.Strategic & Tactical Conditioning

The simple message here is that your body must be able to support the activity. Your body/mind system must be able to perform movements to skillfully address the problems and your scenario training must be able to strategically and tactically solve the problem. If you leave out parts of this trinity, you weaken the synergy!


Being prepared in all ranges and situations cannot be addressed by a philosophy or a 'style'. Only a 'system' can attempt that, because systems evolve to address change. [How many people were really working the ground before the Gracie's blasted our reality (fantasy) channel and woke us up?]

A 'philosophy' is only validated if the tangible aspects of the philosophy are explored. That's' the scientific (physical) connection. And, a philosophy is useless if YOU control the experiments and the condition so that it supports the philosophy.

Preparation and 'theoretical' totality requires complete integrity (you have to be willing to throw ideas away, even if you've invested time and money - referred to as 'the paradigm shift'). Here's an example of theoretical preparedness: Would you agree that most martial artist's arsenal is usually categorized by four ranges: kicking, boxing, trapping, and grappling? And that each range possesses a specific tool set. I.e. Kicking range=kicks, Boxing Range=strikes, etc.

In my 'system', we have 8 definite ranges, making our system "theoretically" more complete. Also, in CFD, we are concerned with the street, our ranges involve reality based tools and our definitions are more "global" allowing for and inspiring greater versatility.

The Ranges of TCMS

#1. Cerebral {FEAR management, VERBAL defuses, etc.}

#2. Weapons {Protective strategies against knife, gun, club}

#3. Rage Attacks {sudden explosive attacks during the verbal stage: tackles, haymaker shoves, grabs, etc}

#4. Leg Maneuvers {kicks, sweeps, shins, knees, etc.}

#5. Fist techniques {punches, knuckle strikes, hammerfists, etc}

#6. Close Quarter Skills {elbows, headbutts, claws, nerves, bites, knees, controls, etc}

#7.Groundfighting {ballistic grappling tools, close quarter skills that apply to the ground, etc.}

#8. Grounded (when your opponent is standing and you are down). {Tactical Get-up, spinning, attacks to legs, take downs, etc.}
Preparation, for me, is about survival, and to evaluate the conditions I may face, I must look at real life attacks in cars, elevators, stairwells, water, a bed, and so on. Then I must think about the opponent, the personality the attacker, the conditions, the repercussions, etc. And then I must analyze the scenario. If you can tell me when you next fight will take place, against, whom, how many opponents, if there'll be weapons (you get the point) then I would agree, you could plan for it. If you can't, then you either get paranoid or practical.


Practical for me was creating a system that embraced one concept: the result. (I recently received an email from an affiliate in Germany who asked me what I considered to be the most important aspect in a fight? My answer: the result.) And how do you train for results? Simply by 'what if-ing' attacks and scenarios and then doing your research.

Although it may appear to be, my system isn't made up of hundreds of techniques and counters, etc. In fact, we don't teach defense and there are virtually no techniques to learn; only tools, tactics and targets. The magic three 'T's".

Real fights happen quickly and usually end as fast. If you review my material you'll always see that the 'basics' are doing the work.

Recognizing that being attacked is more dangerous than attacking, I created, 'adversity training' where we create worst case scenarios and work to safety from there. This philosophy engenders new drills all the time. So please don't mistake the drill for the fight.

Another point to consider is that as we all get older, we start to consider the moral and legal ramifications of violence. That prompted the development of L.A.R.D. (Live Action Response Drills), This is where the defender is faced with the exact same attack from a partner, but must demonstrate versatility through at least 4 phases of scenario awareness. (1. avoid/de-escalate. 2. Stun & Run 3. Stun & Control 4. Stun & ....)

For example: Someone grabs you by the shirt and slams you up against a wall, what do you do? Now those reading this have already started visualizing the physical counter attack (trap the arm, straight blast, knee, head butt...), but WAIT! What's the scenario? Oh, this is your girlfriend who's grabbed you and pushed you against the wall - she's hysterical because you want to break up with her. Do you still eye gouge her? Do you see my point? We can't DROP everybody. The Live Action Response Drill asks you, the defender, to recognize that every specific ATTACK is only a part of the SCENARIO. The scenario dictates the strategy and subsequent tactic (in the real world).

In the typical street scenario, always bet on basics. Scientifically speaking, most people attack in similar ways, so it is common to find that you're relying on the same tactics over & over. That's a good thing. But a technique never won a fight, it was always the person who did the work. So when you really analyze the micro-moment of combat and contact, where the result was favorable, it was usually a combination spontaneity, commitment and directness that won the moment, irrespective of the style, system or tactics.

My system is a 'way' and I enjoy the 'laboratory' environment. We are always doing experiments, looking for feedback. I love the training. I love the journey and exploration. I would get pretty bored if all I did were practice the two moves I used to win my last 4 fights. And who were my opponents? Was I ambusher or ambushee? So who cares, because 'they' do not represent every opponent. Learn , move on. As a result of my philosophy, the 'map' of the system gets larger & larger. That's why I refer to my system as 'evolutionary'.

There have been many misconceptions about my system and me. It is my desire that one day soon, people realize I am a researcher/archeologist just digging up information and sharing it with those who understand that 'knowing what you don't know is more important than not knowing that you don't know'.

Train hard. Stay safe.


Copyright Tony Blauer/ Blauer Tactical Systems 1998


I posted it in the UNDERGROUND too, s/b some interesting posts, you know the drill...


Gee Coach, that could make a good entry in the "Best Art" thread as well. For some reason you seem to be able to describe things so much better than the rest of us. =)


Spread the word!!!


must print at home...

Definately printable!!!



Thanks Coach,

You continue to be a source of wisdom and inspiration.



Reprinted from an UNDERGROUND extension of this thread.

Subject: RE: INFO
From: Tony Blauer
Date: 19-Oct-00 | 10:39 PM

I received some nice emails from UG readers. Thanks.

One of the questions/comments that comes up a lot is why do some people resist so vehemntly, while other completely understand the philosophy?

While I clearly have some CIA types {Cronies IN Action}who are compelled to sabotage threads, the only honest resistance comes from our minds and those are the people who interpret my system and posts as criticsm of what they do.

Part of that is just an innocent ignorance [like those of us who thought grappling woudn't be as effective as it clearly is!!}. What we dont understand we often reject or criticize.

As time goes by, I am more & more pleased with the responses and support I receive from 'this' martial community.

I am glad that many of you are finally realizing that I am ONLY ever trying to insire greater street survival skills and/or draw a better performance out of you as an athlete.

There is a far deeper level to my system than what meets the eye [literally in this case, because most only read about it ONLY meets the eye!].

The layers of behavioral replication drills that make up method represent the substance of the system.

When someone watches a video [and in some cases 'certifies' themselves :-) from watching my videos] they miss the behavioral layers, they end up imitating the 'subject' but - they have no substance.

The evolution for aquiring street defense skills is the very same process that creates a 'great' grappler: rolling without ego.

Most really cannot do that. They cannnot explore... Winning or rather, 'needing' to win, does not create emotional/psychological/physcial conditions to evolve.

The hurdle is that giving yourself permission to explore, goes against every ego control mechanism we design, which is why many have trouble understanding how I teach and what I teach; its an affront to the ego's desire to control the event, the drill, the counter, the action...what has taken me very long to first teach myself and then communicate to my students is that its never about winning in training, its about learing.

Red pill or blue pill?