Critics on the SPEAR (Sammy Franco

I was reading the posts at Sammy Franco´s forum ( and I found a critic on the SPEAR system:

I copied it and now I post it here to discuss if the critic is true or false:

"It is very easy to confuse the S.P.E.A.R (an acronym for Spontaneous Protection Enabling Accelerated Response) concept with the numerous "tactical" spear techniques found within its system. Actually, there are a few different tactical spears used in Tony Blauer's S.P.E.A.R. system. It sounds like your question relates to the "tactical" spear, more specifically, the protective spear where you (the defender) lowers your head, places both hands/arms in a spear-like fashion, move forward and jam, intercept or deflect the opponent's attack.

I do not advocate such a dubious technique for some of the following logical reasons: (we will assume that the opponent is in a left stance and has or is delivering a telegraphed haymaker at your head. You are in a right stance and apply the protective/tactical spear movement.)

1. The head positioning (chin being tucked down and low) of the protective/tactical spear drastically limits your peripheral vision. You are momentarily blind when performing the technique because your head is hidden within the spear structure. Peripheral vision is something I would like to have in a street fight. How about you?

2. If you apply the protective/tactical spear and mistake the opponent's punch for a knife, you are a dead man. After interviewing several Law Enforcement officers who were attacker with a knife, they all said the same thing, "I though it was a punch, when it was really a knife." Let's say you are attacked in a dark environment, the attacker takes a swing at you, and you apply a protective/tactical spear and then find out that it was not a punch after all - it was a KNIFE! The body mechanics of the protective/tactical spear will not allow you to control the weapon but it will naturally redirect the knife into your ribs or kidneys. Great huh!

3. The protective/tactical spear forces you into the clinch and can therefore promote a grappling situation. Something that should be avoided, if possible. Don't forget about the possibility of multiple attacker scenarios.

4. The protective/tactical spear in (some cases) requires the use of two limbs working in conjunction with one another. Why use two limbs when you can get the job done with one? What about a simple mid block that intercepts the opponent limb on a perpendicular plane? Am I to assume that the standard mid block is no longer functional in a street fight. I have been involved in over 50 vicious street fights and my blocks worked just fine!

5. I have 10 more reasons why I don't advocate or condone the use of the protective/tactical spear but I don't have time to go into it. I assume that 4 is enough.

Remember CFA is predicated on three essential criteria: efficiency, effectiveness and safety. The safety criterion is what's being violated. So I will not even consider it. Thank you for your question and I look forward to hearing from you soon."

If you want to read it and other ones, go to



Wow. It never ceases to amaze me the way people will talk about something when they have no idea what is going on.

I actually spent more time laughing and shaking my head than taking Mr Franco's words seriously.


BTW, I love how he hasn't even read "The Gift of Fear".

I don't know who wrote that but it's safe to say that He/she is an idiot. Why an idiot! Because they respond on a public forum about something that they know nothing about. Just another moron who watch's a few tapes and their inflated ego convinces them that they are suddenly expert's. No peace, Tom

I suck at turning the other cheek! Especially when the attack is on a friend. So spad! lets hear who the freak you are and your reason for starting this bullsh&t! T.C.

"Any physical theory is always provisional, in the sense that it is only a hypothesis; you can never prove it. No matter how many times the results of experiments agree with some theory, you can never be sure that the next time the result will not contradict the theory. On the other hand, you can disprove a theory by finding even a single observation that disagrees with the predictions of the theory. As philosopher of science Karl Popper has emphasized, a good theory is characterized by the fact that it makes a number of predictions that in principle be disproved or falsified by observation. Each time new experiments are observed to agree with the predictions the theory survives, and our confidence in it is increased; but if ever a new observation is found to disagree, we have to abandon or modify the theory. At least that is what it supposed to happen, but you can always question the competence of the person who carried out the observation.

In practice, what often happens is that a new theory is devised that is really an extension of the previous theory. "

Stephen Hawking

Hey steve, You haven't been in many fights have you? T.C.

Tom its a qoute by stephen hawking the physicist/mathematics professor, quite famous actually.

I think it actually does apply to tony's and other peoples maxims.

It wasn't an attack on his stuff, just a simple quote I thought people might find interesting.

My grandma once told me. "Tell the truth and you can count your friends on one hand. Lie and you will have to beat them off with a stick" I don't have many! T.C.

First all of all I would like to express that this type of question DOES NOT belong on this forum.

I think I can speak for us ME vets, that we are here for the education and inspiration provided by Mr. Blauer and the countless warriors that share their personal experiences.

Sammy Franco has decided to grossly misinterperet the S.P.E.A.R. system for what it really is. He has chosen to take the picture and analyze it from one dimension, rather than experiencing its totality. When a person like Sammy takes this approach he is showing his limitations as an educator and a teacher of the arts.

This thread could go on and on and we must remember that it truly is wasted time for everyone.
Threads like these can usually go up to 100 posts or more.

Just imagine all of the time it took typing up responses, when we could have been out there training.

Everyone has their opinion....judge it for what it is worth and move along just as quickly.

PDR Coach,

Robb Finlayson

It has been weeks since I have had a chance to visit the ME. I find it sad that this was the first thread I saw. However, I really do enjoy some of the insightful posts it raised.

Now, just for fun, let us evaluate the claims against the S.P.E.A.R. system.

1) Head position "drastically" limits peripheral vision... He either has forearms like Popeye or he is doing things wrong. Has he even viewed a picture of the tactical SPEAR?

2) If you mistake a knife for a punch... Firstly, this argument is used selectively. He doesn't seem to remember in argument #4 that he may be facing a knife. Secondly, the tactical SPEAR can be a very effective way to enter and control against a slash with a knife. Done properly, you would have a tactile sense of the proximity of the weapon and could, therefore, transfer to a controlling move more efficiently.

3) Forces the clinch... I like the clinch. The clinch happens. Ever watch a fight? Actually, if done properly, the tactical SPEAR will open up your close quarter arsenal while leaving the bad guy exposed to it. He should not have the opportunity to clinch. However, if he does, you will be on the inside which is far more desireable in this situation. Check out some Muay Thai.

4) Why not block... BWAHAHAHA. He would rather block than use a tactical weapon against a bad guy intent on harming him. Yeah! Teach me more Master.

Remember, I said "just for fun."


What you have to remember is that Franco is also trying to make it big. To do so he has to run down that which he fears. Tony is the man and Franco knows it. Here is an insight to Franco, he advises you not to loan his books out. He wants them to be bought by every individual that is interested. I understand the desire to make money, but...

Another way to look at it. If he hates it so much then he will not train his people in it and therefore there are people that will be easy to take down with a well placed tactical SPEAR.

Did anyone see COPS tonight. The second episode had a SPEAR by a Washington LEO in the opening scenes. Looked pretty good.



Brilliant post. Let's not forget that Franco is the one who flew off the handle at a letter I posted to the editor at BlackBelt over a year after it hit the newstand. He's been trying to stir up s**t ever since.


I agree, Franco's customized attack on the S.P.E.A.R. System is worth a bitch slap or two (or better yet a fine tactical S.P.E.A.R...I love the sound of a good 'plink' ;-) Maybe then he'll have the realization that...ahem...IT'S NOT A BLOCK!!!

I also have little patience for people who can find no way of elevating themselves expect by attacking others...and less patience when they attack my friends.
So f**k him. (Blunt? apologies...I'm training for my first title 'offense' and have a shorter than usual fuse.)


I also agree that Franco isn't deserving of any more press, it's just very important that people like Franco don't continue to spread erroneous information and prevent someone from getting to information that has the power to change/save lives.

I only hope that Tony simply ignores this piece of trash, and continues to make the world a safer place.



More later...maybe...

Deane, Loved it! Thank's T.C.

I wish I could say I'm angry about this. And in a way,
I am, but not for the reasons that you think. I wish I
could be surprised, but again...I'm not. Kinda sad...I
didn't think I was going to be terribly jaded about
anything by the time I was 24. Oh well.

Has anyone out there taken a look at some crime
statistics lately? If you have, you should be
pretty horrified, and if you're not, something is
wrong with you.

If you live in any sort of notable city, someone was
raped in your city last night. I can pretty much
guarantee you that. Someone was probably also murdered,
beaten, mugged, molested, threatened,
short, last night, a lot of people's lives got worse.
Some people's lives ended flat out.

Can you imagine, if you were the father of the rape
victim? Cruising on the Internet, you seek out sites
on self-defense: You want information to protect your
little girl from ever experiencing that kind of trauma
again. You want to make her strong...

You know what you'll find? You'll find out, that, in
fact, the martial arts are just like those cheezy
chop-socky flicks you used to see on USA up all night.

"Master Po? HA! His kung fu is no good for real

"Your dragon technique is powerful, but no match for
my southern shaolin fist!"

or the old "My kung fu can beat your kung fu!"

If I were that father, I would be horribly disgusted.

In fact, I'm pretty disgusted anyway.

I'm disgusted that Mr. Franco, a man who proclaims to
be a self-defense instructor, felt he could take time
out of his research and training to write this garbage.

I'm disgusted that it was brought to this forum.

I'm disgusted by the fact that Phil, Robb, Tom, and
other friends and associates of Tony now have to take
time out of their days to respond to it.

I mean, who the hell does this benefit? Hmmm?
Mr. Franco? Hardly...other than looking like a class-A
jerk and idiot for throwing up a post on his own forum
quite unsolicited, just to stir up trouble?

Does it help Tony? The PDR team? No.

And most importantly, it doesn't help the end user.
There is not a single person on the planet who is
better able to defend themselves because of this...not

Mr. Franco, if you are serious about teaching
self-defense, then please: Stop writing letters to
black belt. Stop making unsolicited attacks on Tony
on your forum. Go research. Go teach. Go train. If
your teaching saves one persons life, then you have
done a great thing, and I have no beef with you.

But if you think the purpose, spirit, and essence of
the martial arts is to sit around and challenge each
other to see who has the better kung fu...go look up
Jet Li, and see if he has a role for you.

Me...I'm gonna go watch a tape, read a book, and see
if I can figure out what to teach my students on
Monday that will make them safer...

Jake Steinmann

Great post Adam. In my original post I made a reference to the protective/tactical SPEAR being the same thing in a sarcasitic manner, but wisely edited my post in order to prevent confusion.



There are some very insightful posts here responding to the foolishness being encouraged by Mr. Franco.

His childish and amateurish attempts at rebuking the S.P.E.A.R. system expose not only his complete lack of understanding of the system itself, but his underlying pettiness and jealousy of Mr. Blauer.

To put it bluntly, Sammy is in over his head. He is so wrong in his assertions that I seriously question his ability to understand the system, should he ever bother to take the time to research it.

His statement that the S.P.E.A.R. will cause a knife attack to be driven into your ribs or kidneys is not just wrong, it's just plain stupid.

He obviously knows nothing of the Close Quarter Arsenal
though he is shown using Elbows (in a biomechanically iefficient way)on the cover of one of his books, but then I quess that was just a PICTURE of an elbow technique.


Like I said, Sammy is in over his head. He should stay in the shallow end of the intellectual pool, where he belongs.

As far as the 50 serious street altercations...I KNOW I could go to King's Gym in Oakland this afternoon and find 50 guys and a few girls who could beat the s**t out of Franco, in or especially out of the ring.

Get real man.


I just finished watching the SPEAR Fundamentals tapes so I figured this would be the appropriate place to post this.

First of all I've got three words for SPEAR:


Not only is the technique itself a great one, but Tony throws in all these neat close quarter tactics that were awesome. I highly recommend the tapes to anyone who has not purchased them yet.

As for Mr. Franco, I have read one of his books and visited his website and read the posts. I think he has a lot of good ideas when it comes to self defense (most all of them Tony covers as well), but it is clear he does not understand the SPEAR principle.

Maybe he only read the Black Belt Magazine article on SPEAR and didn't understand it. Maybe somebody told him about SPEAR and they didn't explain it right. Whatever the reason, I don't think he has actually seen the tapes and been given a full explanation of the technique. I would hope if he examined SPEAR with an open mind, he would re-evaluate his comments.

What is interesting to note is in a previous post he says that Tony is "respected by many as a top-notch innovator." Not a negative comment at all. To make this comment and then scoff at the SPEAR technique is a bit odd. But a few people posted good counters to Mr. Franco's critique, so I think he got the point (pardon the pun).

I can understand the frustration some are having with Franco's original comments, but i find it hard to get worked up as a result of something said from someone who knows "jacks**t" about Mr. Blauer and his SPEAR System. Not to mention realistic street attacks and appropriate countermeasures.

I had just spent an additional 5 days with Tony at a SPEAR System Instructors Certification Course for LEO in Texas and cannot believe the value of information passed on in this one week block. Those who are familiar with me, and for those who aren't, know that i already have 5-6 weeks of hands on SPEAR training with Mr. Blauer through LEO courses as well as PDR Team involvement. During this past week my pen did not leave the notepad, sorry Jake but i think that i even exceeded your notetaking standards, nor did my jaw leave the mat. Needless to say, that even with all of my experiences with the SPEAR System, I have alot yet to learn.

So how could someone of Franco's intellect and experience be able to provide a credible critique on this topic. The bottom line...he can't! I have yet to meet an individual who has seen a picture, watched a single video tape, or read a introductory article grasp the totality of the system. Those of you who have visited Mr. Blauer's web site, have probably noticed that there is more then one video tape on the SPEAR System and more continue to be released regularly. The reason, and quoting the man who developed it himself, is that "The system is bigger then anyone can comprehend."

One last point to prove the credibility of Franco's statement. I myself am an LEO and agree that yes, during the initial sudden violent ambush attack, it is difficult to identify whether the 3%er is throwing a punch or stabbing/slashing with a knife. However the attack itself is the same, linear or angular. The Spear system addresses that 'out-of-control' moment known as the 'big bang' and identifies the cognitive responses from the positions that your behavioral system puts you in. Now pesonally, i would rather have a system which identifies proper tools and tactics required to successfully 'control' an attack to which my flinch response intially protected me from, then to hesitate while attempting to identify the attack, procees the information and select a learned response.

Sorry for ranting, but ifelt that this had to be said.