Tony Blauer has made some great interviews available on Vimeo. Be sure to check them out.
Posts Tagged ‘SPEAR’
Want to learn more about the SPEAR system and train with some great people? Well here is your chance. Tony is holding is Annual Summer Combatives Camp this August 4-5, 2012, at CrossFit Rubicon in Vienna, VA. Go enroll now.
One issue I often see in self-defense training is the lack of realism, especially on the part of the attacker. More then once I’ve seen a demonstration where the attacker (aka the bad guy) tosses a punch and then holds the punch out there while the defender does his thing. Think about this: Does this really help the defender?
If your answer is “no” then Tony Blauer has a video that can help you out. Actually Tony has a lot of good videos but the one on this subject is “Be a Good Bad Guy, Secrets to Great Role-Playing“. Now this isn’t your D&D type of role-playing, but rather tips on how an attacker should behave in order to help people learn self-defense tactics.
This is a short DVD at only 35 minutes, but Tony gives enough information to get you started. He points out the importance of how good role-playing helps the defender learn to spot pre-contact cues, learn to spot openings, and know how an attacker will respond to your tactics, just to name a few things. Tony and his instructor show both good and bad role-playing to give you an idea of not only what you should do, but what you shouldn’t do. The DVD moves along at a pretty good pace and as such it is one you should watch a couple of times to absorb.
Is the DVD for everyone? I would suggest it if you teach self-defense courses, and to those that are just interested in the subject on role-playing a bad guy. If you often help out in teaching self-defense and serve as an attacker then it is something you might want to check out too.
This last weekend was spent down at Crossfit Rubicon attending the Personal Defense Readiness (PDR) 28 Instructor Certification Course, and it was quite the weekend. It would be near impossible for me to attempt to describe everything that was covered during the 2 and a half days spent in the course, but I’ll share some of my thoughts.
First was the wide variety of people attending the course. You had people from a civilian background through law enforcement and the military present. You had some like myself where this was their first time attending the course to some that attended the very first PDR course. This in itself says something about the program. How many courses are there that you have people returning multiple times? I should add that part of the reason is that this isn’t a static program, it is a continuously evolving program. You also had people from various backgrounds in the martial arts; Karate, Muay Thai, and many other martial arts.
Tony Blauer, founder of the PDR program, was the main speaker during the course. Listening to Tony speak it is easy to tell that he is passionate about the program. Tony covered the history of the program and the tenets of the PDR program. To sum this up briefly all I can is my brain is still processing all of the information covered. Even the day after the program I woke up with thoughts of materials and drills covered going through my head. Not to leave people out, but I’m probably am, Tony was assisted by Jason Dury and Eric Walker during the course.
Besides lectures we also had some drills we we taught, and later on had to teach to the rest of the class. These weren’t secret ninja techniques designed to stop a mob of angry attackers with one move, but rather drills used to teach the principles of the SPEAR system. The SPEAR System is the building block for the PDR program, and the easiest way for me to cover this subject is to point people towards Tony’s website on the SPEAR System. What was nice during the drills is we were able to work with returning instructors that offered us tips and constructive criticism on how to improve ourselves. This was helpful during the teaching mode where first we worked one-on-one with a experienced instructor and then teach one of the concepts to the entire group. Mistakes were made by all of us new to the system, but the environment was a friendly and helpful one in helping us out.
At the end of the last day we were treated to a speech from Kyle Maynard. This was the second time I’ve heard Kyle speak and if you ever get a chance to hear him speak I would highly suggest you take advantage of the opportunity. Kyle has an incredible story to tell and a great inspirational speaker too. I enjoyed how Kyle was able to tie in his life experiences to those we had this weekend at the PDR course.
Overall it was a great experience. Had a chance to meet people I’ve seen before, meet people I’ve only talked to online before, as well as meet totally new people. It was interesting talking to some of the other new people and hearing why they were at the course. Even in this area there was a wide variety of reasons. I know I didn’t absorb everything covered this weekend, hopefully my notes will fill in some of the gaps. I look forward to attending another PDR course.
Many people are familiar with the excellent Tom Hank’s movie Saving Private Ryan. If you haven’t seen this movie then I highly suggest that you watch it, the opening battle scene is probably one of the most realistic you’ll see in the movies.
What you may not know is “Saving Private Ryan” is one of the drills covered in Personal Defense Readiness (PDR) training offered by Blauer Tactical Systems. This drill re-enacts a scene from the movie where an American and German soldiers engage in hand to hand combat with the outcome determined by the one holding the knife. In the PDR drill you practice the principles of the SPEAR System defending against a knife attack with you on the ground and the attacker on top, never a good situation to find yourself.
The purpose of the drill is show the student the strength of the SPEAR, and how by using this a smaller person can hold off an attack by a larger aggressor. I won’t go into full detail of the SPEAR System in this post as one could write a chapter or two in a book on the concepts of the SPEAR System, but what you see in the drill is that by keeping the elbow angles at an outside 90 and thus engaging the extensors the defender can generate a large amount of strength, enough to hold off the attack and giving them time to mount a counter defense. In the video the two people in the drill are of similar size, so it is hard to see how the effective the technique really is for self-defense. Having witness live drills where the defender was a small woman and the attacker a much larger male, all I can say is the technique works.
This is just one drilled covered during the training offered by Blauer Tactical Systems. You can learn about training opportunities in your at the PDR Team site.
I was fortunate enough to attend Tony Blauer’s SPEAR System and PDR 2009 Summer Camp which was held on August 14th through the 16th. Three days of fun, sweat, and a few minor bruises. I would like to say I was well rested when I hit the camp on Friday but a combination of an early flight and issues on checking into my motel meant I was a little tired. Thankfully this didn’t impact me on Friday.
Camp opened on Friday with a registration and a chance to mingle and check out the pro shop. I managed to say hi to a few people I’ve met before and also had a chance to meet some FaceBook friends face to face finally. Friday’s session officially started with a presentation from CrossFit founder Greg Glassman. I first heard of CrossFit through Coach Blauer speaking about it and had done some research into it so I looked forward to hearing Coach Glassman speak. The audience was given an overview of CrossFit’s philosophy and what hey see as their goals in the in the world of fitness. The geeks in the crowd also got an X-Y plot of power against duration with the area under this curve being your total fitness. Coach Glassman brought forth some very interesting concepts, especially in how the CrossFit philosophy ties in the philosophy of Coach Blauer in the area of self-defense. After hsi presentation a Q&A session was held and that wrapped things up for the night.
Saturday started where Friday left off, with CrossFit. Only this time we weren’t listening we were doing. After a warm-up our ten minute CrossFit began with a 400 meter run, not jog, run. After that we moved to the barbells where you did seven reps of thrusters followed by 7 burpees. You then repeated the thrusters/burpess till the ten minutes were up. I still think the stop clock was running slow.
After people picked themselves off the floor Coach Blauer gave a presentation on Personal Defense Readiness (PDR) and the SPEAR System. This a good overview and of the concepts and Coach Blauer’s philosophy when it comes to personal protection. The crowd had some good questions and we had a chance to do some quick exercises to show us how the SPEAR system works. I was working with Steve, an EMT from Colorado and more then once I heard a phrase such as “f’ing amazing”Â (edited in case by son reads this)when the exercise we were during re-enforced what Coach Blauer had spoken about. We even saw how a small lady could support the full weight of Coach Blauer using the SPEAR concepts. This induced what Coach Blauer refers to as a “holy f&*$” moment. A a side note, if you are offended by strong language don’t attend a presentation by Coach Blauer. After these brief drills we had a chance to break off into three groups based on if you were in the military, a PDR coach, etc. This gave us a chance to work on more SPEAR drills with a partner. For these drills I hooked up with Robert from North Carolina and we actually ended up partnering up for the rest of the exercises throughout the course.
After these drills we broke for lunch then came back for Coach Blauer’s presentation of weapon protection (defending against a firearm or knife). We were actually the first class where Coach Blauer had taught this information with civilians present as this is a topic he usually only covers with the military and law enforcement personal. A course on weapons could cover days so we got only a brief insight into what Coach Blauer knows about this topic, but more then enough information to make my brain swim. Coach Blauer covered firearms in this session and we then had a chance to do drills to practice what he was preaching.
After the SPEAR training for the day we had a chance to listen to a presentation by Brian MacKenzie of CrossFit Endurance. Coach MacKenzie spoke on the topic of endurance athletes, those crazy people that do the Iron Man competition or 100 mile foot races, and how CrossFit can make them better in their sport. He provided some examples of how CrossFit training has helped him and others actually get better at endurance events while actually doing less traditional endurance training. For example Coach MacKenzie told us that while training for a 100 mile foot race the most he ever ran at one times was about 13 miles.Â A collective “what?” went up from the crowd when he mentioned that. I would like the chance to learn more about his running techniques, not that I’m going to go run 100 miles, but I know my current technique is bad and hard on my body. Always something to improve. This ended the day for us and I welcomed a nice cold beer with dinner before hitting the bed, sire and tired.
Sunday started off with a presentation by Kyle Maynard of No Excuses Athletics. I have seen videos of Kyle speaking before so knew a little of his background, but hearing him in person was a great experience. Kyle is a good speaker and he comes across as humble in his nature and with a good sense of humor. Hearing Kyle speak reminded me of a line from a book I read a long time ago: “Argue for your limitations and they are yours”. If you ever get a chance to hear Kyle speak in person, don’t pass it up.
After Kyle’s presentation Coach Blauer reviewed the concepts we covered yesterday and went into defense against the knife, As I mentioned I again teamed up with Robert and we spent the morning going over the drills and seeing how much pain we could induce without causing serious damage. This may not be everyone’s idea of a fun time but I really enjoyed it.
We then got together for final lecture by Coach Blauer and him and his team fielding questions from the group. After this a drawing was held for door prizes, which it seems many people lost their tickets or had left early. Which worked out great for me as I ended up winning the grand prize, a High Gear “ground and pound” kit. I’m looking forward to some chances to use it in training.
To wrap up the day the PDR coaches put on a High Gear demonstration. They covered some of the same scenarios as we did in our training but with the gear on they could go faster and harder. This was fun to watch and showed why the High Gear is great training equipment.
After this camp wrapped up for the day. Said good-byes to old and new friends, and most of us headed for home. A few were staying behind for the PDR Coaches Certification course that was starting the next day. I have this course as a goal for next week, just have to wait and see. The camp was a outstanding experience and I’m really glad I had the chance to attend. Coach Blauer and his staff were all helpful in whatever questions we had or issues we needed resolved. I would recommend this camp to anyone looking to learn more about personal protection.