SPEARtips: Close Quarter Tactics with Tony Blauer
with Tony Blauer
In your fight, you're on point (Part 1)
Irrespective of your training or position on a team, if the opponent is in your face, it's now your fight. And while there may be professional rules of engagement, it’s also now a very personal moment. If you can't subdue this threat, you likely will not accomplish your task within the professional mission and likely the confrontation will also have impact on your personal situation.
The answer: Totality in training.
While 'totality' may appear to be grandiose, the reference is merely philosophically based argument that suggests that 'we' must look carefully at the combative arena, the environment and specifically the opponent through a disciplined threat assessment filter. This will enable us to customize training to provide the greatest tactical advantage for the next engagement.
"The superior fighter has no emotional attachment to any particular range of combat." -BTS maxim
Our methodology seeks to improve spontaneous effective modification or adaptability of the warrior's arsenal. This includes personal tools (body/mind) as well as tactical tools (all other weapons). 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.
"Are you training for your next fight or are you training for your last fight? –BTS Maxim
The majority of training is out-of-date, sport-driven or knee-jerk based. Rarely do we think way outside the box about our vulnerabilities or creatively think about how our opponent will 'ambush' us. This is the secret to the SPEAR System method and its’ focus on 'startle/flinch' conversion during the Murphy moment. Our system does not replace other tactics. It is merely a bridge to those tactics you already possess. Our training paradigm provides a formula to address a problem in training rather than in the arena. Remember: "Experience is something you get, shortly after you need it!" We prefer to get our experience before someone else gives it to us. J
Our training directive is to provide greater tactical confidence by focusing on weakness (ours & theirs) rather than solely working on strength.
The mechanics toolbox metaphor
The usefulness of the toolbox is that it carries a variety of tools to address a 'mechanic's' dilemma; diagnose, treat & remedy a problem. Fighters are like mechanics. When they are confronted with a problem, they must fix it. (This applies to the street and both competitive and combative arenas.)
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, gun grab, etc.)
2. SCENARIO SPECIFIC TRAINING (The actual situation: location, time, friends or enemies present, weapons, escape routes, who the opponent is, 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?" 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.
Remember; don't necessarily use your favorite move in a fight, use the move that's the worst for your opponent! To do that takes versatility. There are times for the ground and times to stay on your feet. Most of the time, for the extreme close quarters, you want to be up and ready to move. But for real-life confidence you need to cross-train.
Should you train grappling? Yes, but with a focus on how to 'subdue' not 'submit' your opponent. Strike when you can, grapple when you have to. My friend Ron Donvito sums it up best: "Grappling may be your thing, but blunt trauma is king!" This philosophy helps create clarity in the moment. Remember; street confrontations generally start in close quarter range. If the confrontation is not taken care of verbally or physically at that range, or if the attack is so sudden, then it will probably go to the ground. Learning grappling skills is extremely important for total confidence. If you are forced to the ground you will not panic because you have the tools.
Next time we discuss three general groups of training activities that create will confidence for you in the street.
Read Part 2 of this month's column.