Dear Forum Readers:
I recently read Mr. Blauer's thread DECEPTIVE TACTICS and the ‘rant' in PERFORMANCE ANXIETY.
In the DECEPTIVE TACTICS thread, Mr. Blauer alludes to reading about some recent copycat behavior. I was one of the officers who brought this to Mr. Blauer's attention, so I felt I should post my position and opinion on this forum.
In the last couple of months I have noticed incidents where 4 individuals imply that ‘their' system is based on an innovative concept based on the ‘flinch response'. All groups implied through their writing that incorporating the 'flinch' was unconventional and it was presented as somewhat original. One individual was personally trained by Mr. Blauer and yet doesn't even mention him in his article. Three others mention the flinch as well, but don't reference Mr. Blauer either.
Personally, I'd like to think that most progressive trainers in the martial arts & DT world know who Tony Blauer is. On the martial art side, he has appeared a half dozen magazines covers, has given hundreds of seminars around the world and has appeared in over 100 magazine articles & interviews. Mr. Blauer has taught at the national ASLET conference for over a decade, as well as at the Canadian Use of Force conference and countless other U.S. based tactical training conferences. He has also been featured in SWAT, Tactical Response, Police Marksman, Law & Order, his writing and other concepts on the ambush were a portion of Calibre Press' Street Survival seminar & workbook for years. He has done for the self-defense community, and even more for law enforcement, not just in the U.S., but worldwide, as well.
For those new to this forum and new to the SPEAR, the science of converting the flinch during an attack & counter was refined and developed by Tony Blauer. His method is called the S.P.E.A.R. System (Spontaneous Protection Enabling Accelerated Response). And his research on how the 'flinch' can be used during combatives dates back to 1988.
My issue isn't with the copycats necessarily, although I find their lack of honor and integrity interesting. My issue isn't with helping secure Tony's place in martial and DT pantheon. Those who have trained with him know he's regarded as a Tier 1 trainer. My real issue is with liability; something those police officers that read this forum can relate to and it's something every serious self-defense instructor and student of self-defense should understand as well. I have a concern ‘for' the students of those instructors who superficially copy ideas from videos, from articles, from websites. Where is their substance? Where is their research? Where is the sweat equity that allows these individual to teach this information? In the law enforcement community we need to justify a training procedure. We need show the methodology and be able to show the legal and/or medical logic of how & where a tactic applies. The notion that someone feels that they can copy some of Mr. Blauer's expressions and teach it without having gone through the actual instructor certification course is to me a huge liability.
Who am I to say this? I have been a martial artist since 1984 and have 16+ years as a full time police officer and SWAT operator. I am also a certified S.P.E.A.R. System instructor and have fully integrated the system within my department at the DT & SWAT level.
Let me tell you personally and professionally, the 'flinch' can save your life. Literally. The 'system' of teaching how to incorporate the flinch into a protective tactic is vital. However, if it is taught incorrectly; if integral parts of the research are missing, it can become a liability. That is what concerns me most. Ethics aside, the students of these instructors are at risk and that is why I am writing.
These recent ‘versions' of Mr. Blauer's research fail to grasp the deeper aspects of the system and the important research that makes the S.P.E.A.R. System so effective. If you have really studied with Mr. Blauer you would recognize the flaws in writing and logic in these articles and essays.
Let's take a mini refresher on what happens during a real flinch: When 'we' are surprised or startled by an incoming violent stimulus, the "instinctive" reaction is to move away from danger. Moving away from danger suddenly involves an immediate contraction and recoil. The motion is very fast and bypasses the cognitive brain (new research links the flinch to spinal reflex, which isn't even hardwired to the brain). As the brain recognizes the survival flinch it then instructs the body/mind to move (perhaps jumping away, covering up, ducking, and so on.). This sudden movement will change your balance and the position of your stance. Depending on how violent the initial assault is could even trigger a primal/fetal reaction. Therefore, the contention that you can go from flinch to favorite move (complex motor skill) is both erroneous and possibly a dangerous premise to teach without the proper education.
Very often in our train-the-trainer courses we have well-meaning trainers who miss key points about the startle-flinch. Training in this system is quite different from the conventional DT format & self-defense class. But that doesn't make the 'flinch conversion' unconventional. In reality, everyone flinches, what Mr. Blauer has done over two decades is synthesized it and created a training methodology for conscientious trainers around the world so they can attend a course and scoop up 20 years of data and drills in 5-days.
In Mr. Blauer's certification courses, a tremendous amount of time is dedicated to the rationale, the physiological and the evolution of the iterations. Quality time is spent differentiating from the primal gross motor options and logical evolutions into complex motor skills. Those wishing to be certified must review writing and video in preparation for the course. Then they must undergo a minimum of 40-hours of training, write a full lesson plan, answer detailed questions in a take-home exam and then this information must be submitted and an independent party reviews it. In other words, you cant ‘buy' a SPEAR certification.
(to be continued)