CCW Safe Podcast- Episode 80: Tony Blauer Part 2
Warning: This podcast contains adult language not suitable for all audiences.
CCW Safe Podcast- Episode 80: Tony Blauer Part 2
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CCW Safe Use of Force Expert Rob High and Firing Line Radio host Phillip Naman are joined by Tony Blauer of SPEAR System and Blauer Tactical Systems in part two of his interview to discuss training philosophies for self defense.
Rob: Hi, I’d like to welcome everybody to the CCW Safe Podcast. I’m Rob High in Oklahoma City joined by Phillip Naman and once more by our special guest, Tony Blauer. We were discussing some of the neurosciences behind self-defense issues and going into all of the things that we’ve done preparing ourselves for these things. Guys that have trained a lot with a wrestling, martial arts background.
The number that has always been given to me was, you need to make something to where it becomes autonomic. It’s 10,000 reps and you’re going to do this, you’re going to do that. Having been a cop for almost 30 years, I can tell you right now that an ambush is going to throw every single one of those reps out the window. [chuckes] It’s developing the proper mindset and understanding how to go with the way that we are wired internally. Not anything that I had to do to prepare myself to have a startle flinch response. It just happens. You can get that with a small child. They do it. It wasn’t anybody in your household that taught them how, that’s just part of it.
Phillip: It’s almost like the old Pink Panther movies with Peter Sellers where he opens up the cupboard to get some cornflakes and his Cato jumps out and attacks him like that.
Tony: Inspector Clouseau.
Phillip: There you go.
Tony: There’s something that you said, Rob, that was– hang on a sec. There’s something that you said there that I want to inject something in where, hey 10,000 hours, I want to make a comment about that if I can. I also want to make a comment about the ambush and all of that goes out the windows. Both of you and probably a bunch of you on this podcast, have practiced gun disarms, physically doing gun disarms, correct?
Tony: Let’s say you’ve done 10,000 hours of someone sticking a gun in your face and you put your hands up and doing some sort of clear takeaway. What people don’t realize is if you’ve done 10,000 hours, where you say, “Hey, Tony, let’s do the gun disarm.” I take my SIRT pistol. I stick it at you. You put your hands up, you do that 10,000 times. What people don’t realize is that they’ve done 10,001 reps, letting somebody stick a gun in their face.
When you do 10,000 reps of how to get out of a headlock, you do 10,001 reps of putting your head in a headlock. Our training, our scenario training, our train the trainer programs, all that stuff is all built around understanding the neuroscience of learning, understanding to the nerdy level of what does it mean to myelinate a neuron? What is signal speed? How do we develop signal speed? Meaning mind speed because the mind navigates the body.
When you understand that, you can teach tennis, CCW, gunfighting, self-defense. If the mind navigates the body and it does, you need to understand how the brain works and that the brain is default is always trying to predict the future. If I go like this to go shake hands with you, even through Zoom, you might start feeling yourself going– If I say to you, “Man, I wonder if the–” and you’re going, “Weather?” People start guessing. “Hey, what’s for dinner? What’s the weather going to be like tomorrow?” We don’t even realize that we’re doing it because it’s just part of a behavioral pattern.
When you start to understand how the brain actually works, you could start to see how and why your training is augmenting, helping, misdirecting. I want to say I agree with your statement that, “Hey, I did my 10,000 hours. I was taught. I was a cop for 30 years. When I was ambushed, I weathered the ambush and I adapted and I improvised,” but what if some nerd came along and said, “What if we practiced off-balance on purpose? What if we created training where I had to recalibrate and reregulate my mindset, my thinking, my breathing, and also the physical components of balance?”
If you think about it– you’ve been in martial arts your whole life, how many times are you doing like a kata or something and you lose your balance and you re-stop and you reset from there. I’m doing a front kick and I lost my balance, “Damn it. Okay.” Get that or you’re at the range. Where do hot gun shooting drills start from. What’s our hand position for most people?
What is this? The surrender position. This is a silly thing is that if I were here– You guys see my Bob here. If I was here like this, and Bob had a gun here, and I was like this, I wouldn’t be going, “Beep,” and drawing from here. I’d be going, “Hey Bob.” I’d be on Bob, redirecting, fighting him here back hitting him here, driving him back, and then figuring out how to transition from there.
In other words, there’s a disconnect in how we learned. In the previous podcast, I talked about quickness versus suddenness. That inspires how we design scenarios, but you can’t design a realistic, relevant, rigorous– we call it the three R’s scenario– if you don’t also understand the neurobiology of survival and how your body works, and what’s important now.
Actions are faster than reaction. Why would I ever practice drawing if the threat was right in front of me? I need these additional skills. I talked about that airbag deploying. We need that. The little– again, another rabbit hole. I agree with you. You do 10,000 reps of something and the ambush happens it goes out the window unless 10,000 of those reps were, “How do I weather the ambush? How do I weaponize the startle flinch? How do I go from off-balance to on-balance?”
Again, at a closer demo here. Bob is here. He’s encroaching me and you know this just because you’re– everyone knows I have a gun right now on me. You don’t draw your gun out and posture with it. It’s the last thing you ever want to pull out because your life changes. You pull out a gun in a real fight, your life changes–
Tony: -and you got to be ready for that. You’re in what’s called a choice-less choice where you’re going, “If I don’t do something, this is it. I got to do something.” This guy comes at you and you’re backing off and you’re trying to defuse this and you’re– all of your, “Ah shit. I want to– What do I do here?” and the guy– I can’t do this perfectly because I’m not a role player. I’m going to push Bob. He’s very heavy and he’ll bump forward.
What I’m going to do, is he comes at me, he’s a zombie. Let’s make it fun. It’s the Walking Dead. It’s real. He’s a zombie and he comes at me and I’ve got to go, “Whoa.” My hands got to come up. That’s the startle flinch, the airbag deploys. This is not the time to do this. Running backwards is always slower than running forwards. The biggest mistake cops are taught is create space.
I know you said you never got into a SPEAR course. One of the biggest paradigm busters and shifts we do is I say if the bad guy’s moving towards you, that’s the normal access for charging. If you’re creating space and moving back and he accelerates, you’re going to fall down. It’s why cops get knocked to the ground so easily because they’re taught to move backwards.
In the SPEAR system, we create space by moving the bad guy. Notice here, airbag deploys. Regardless of gender, regardless of size, the strongest thing you can do, it’s the split jerk of self-defense is drive your hands quarter extremity forward, both hands. You’re in the centerline you’re pushing. You can go to palm strikes, eye gouges, arm, forearm, elbows, knees, all of that here, but I can drive back, pin in here and transition up and out if I’ve got to move from there.
The most important work is deploying that airbag, the body’s survival system, weathering the ambush, and then going from off-balance to on balance emotionally, psychologically, physically, morally, ethically legally threat discriminate. Don’t just grab your gun because you have one. Now if we go back to what you said, and this is a deep deep rabbit hole is you do your 10,000 hours, the 10,000 hours of reps– and here’s an interesting thing. You’re old enough to remember the term speed rock, the clearing a gun.
It’s here up, pull your gun out, cant it so you don’t cycle your slide in your shirt. Cant it, twist it. Where was the support hand always? If I’ve got a guy who’s trying to bite my head off, headbut me, sucker punch me, stab me, and my neural patterns– what everyone calls muscle memory, there’s no such thing as muscle memory. Your neural patterns have your support hand doing this.
We’re here like this. We’re like, “Oh, draw the shirt off.” If I’m in here like that, we teach people to bring their hand on the inside, correct? If I’ve got a bad guy this close to me trying to fucking hit me, where should my support hand be? on him?
Phillip: On him.
Tony: On him. Also, where would it be if it was happening really fucking fast? If I jumped through the screen right now, none of you would do this. You would all go, “Whoa.” That movement, which was created because somebody probably shot their pinky or their elbow in training years ago, “How about this.” Bang and their thumb came off. A lot of times what we do is we recreate-
Phillip: -a law over it.
Tony: -a law, but nobody knows the origin story. It’s like, “Hey,” but here’s the thing is it’s this movement has actually cost people their lives.
Phillip: And you can get your arm pinned too.
Tony: Well, you’re inside here but there’s one story and I think it was Wisconsin where I taught a lot of police courses out there where suspect’s running away, he’s got a knife on him. He pulls it out, and the cops chasing him and he goes slash he turns and the Cop is running. He gets cut across the forearm. They’re running like this. The guy is running and he goes– and he slashes like that.
The cop’s hands come up and then the cop does this. “Fuck he’s got a knife.” He does this. He draws his weapon and as he’s drawing his weapon, the guy comes back slashes, cuts him he fires at him. The cop kills him but the cop also bled out. Had he had his hand up he would have taken the shots on his hand on his arm, not across his throat. This is super super important. Anyways, it’s a huge– You can see I get a little fired up over this shit.
We would make people safer if we taught them about the neuroscience of fear, how to manage fear, how to weaponize the startle flinch. Then what you said is if you’re going to do your 10,000 reps– I’ve got a maxim that again, born out of all this, 40 years of studying violence, fear, and aggression. Be careful what you practice, you might get really good at the wrong thing.
Tony: That’s the maxim. Air quotes. Be careful what you practice you might get really good at the wrong thing.
Phillip: People are taught to create space. You’re running backwards, whatever get off the line get off the– You hear all that stuff but if you look at what you actually did there, you created space. You created an operational space that you could do what you needed to do and there was protecting yourself and defending it. When you pushed– You call him Bob. It looks like [unintelligible 00:13:55] to me.
Tony: They call them the Bob Dummy. I don’t even know– It’s an acronym for. I don’t know what it is but it’s a Bob Dummy. Bob’s an acronym. I don’t know what it is.
Phillip: I still think it looks like [unintelligible 00:14:05]. You pushed him back and there was a framed space where you could actually do what you needed to do whether it’s get off the line, move, or–
Tony: [unintelligible 00:14:15].
Phillip: You did create space. It’s just a whole different philosophy.
Tony: Well, I always look at stuff emotional, psychological, physical.
Phillip: Did you hear my mic fall? Did you jump on that one?
Tony: I didn’t. You stopped. It was nice. I know that moving backwards athletically is slower than moving forwards. If the threat is charging me, then the only way that I can stop or redirect is to do that. You don’t move backwards as a wrestler. You’re not taking anyone down moving backwards. The closest to moving backwards would be a sprawl and even that’s dynamic and violent.
Moving backwards is– This type of movement, I don’t care how good an athlete you are, if I’m charging you, we’re going to go to the ground. I’m going to run you over. There’s an emotional psychological connection to that posture. If I say to somebody, “Okay, let’s get ready, man. Things are happening.” Nobody goes like this. People are like, “Let’s go.” A range is hot. You do that, but the body naturally wants to lower its center of gravity and settle.
That’s a huge change. 1993 is when I started teaching cops full-time. I went in there and there were a bunch of things that– we changed their interview posture. We changed their stance. We changed these movement protocols. We say, “Hey.” Another thing we’d always say with the moving backwards forwards is we don’t know what’s behind us all the time but we always know what’s behind the opponent all the time.
Phillip: A strip in a parking lot.
Tony: Right. I always know what’s behind you. If you’re aggressing me, and I’m going, “Hey, man.” I don’t know if I’m at the edge of the Grand Canyon right now because I’m worried about you. I do know that you’re at the edge of the Grand Canyon, or there’s a coffee table behind you, or a car. This is the idea that I can use that knowledge to pin you. It’s like my backup. If I slam you into a car, that’s going to affect your balance, and so on and so forth.
There’s a lot of strategy and psychology behind why we move forward. The most important thing is to have this athletic point of domination. If you’re holding a shotgun or a rifle, your posture would be here, angled like that and that’s really the same angle of the SPEAR system.
Rob: I don’t even know where we got our upgrades from. It was probably 2005, somewhere in there that we really retooled and redirected our focus on our training to put our guys in a position to win and survive. Just for years, we were just so counterproductive to anything as far as our own real survival. It’s just like you’re talking about. The whole backing up and giving space and not taking control of the situation when we had the opportunity.
As the subject matter expert for our department, I worked with our city attorneys on lawsuits against police officers for excessive force or unjust force, or shootings, or whatever. Almost without fail, what I found was guys not handling a situation properly at the onset, and giving up ground and giving up until they were so far behind the eight ball, that they had to really go over the top to get back in a position of control.
They placed themselves in that position. Had they been more aggressive and dominant from the onset, they would have come out a lot better off and not gone over the top with the force that they used. I was lucky to be part of a department that was progressive enough, that encouraged us to get better. They let us get better and find those things and they spent the money. They sent us out to get that kind of education but we were so far ahead of other agencies. Everybody was behind the curve on that.
Phillip: Even in that Rob where you’ve got an aggressor. If you’re a police officer it’s really even worse. If you are backing up, it is encouraging that aggressor. You’re giving them space and number one, there are always bullies looking for somebody they think that they can over dominate in this type of a situation. If you’re doing that kind of a posture, you’re almost encouraging what’s going to happen next.
Rob: Well another thing, and Tony would probably speak to this, most of the guys that we have in our membership are really top-notch, good people just want to protect themselves. They don’t want to get hurt but the guys that are these predators, they really operate in the animal kingdom. They’re so good at reading body language. They’re so good at taking advantage of your fear and coming across and, with us not understanding, especially our members if you don’t have that type of training and the understanding that you’re going to have to overcome that, you’re going to have to find your way to direct this to the positive.
It really sets you up for failure if you’re– Tony pointed it out. I’d had thousands of hours of training, really a losing methodology. It took forever to make it work, and that was our deal. We finally just got to the point where we’re not starting over clean. You messed up. We’re not going to go, “Okay, reset your feet. Let’s do that all over again.” It was, “Make it work. Make it work right now.”
Tony: Yes, you said something earlier. I ended up pending a four or five-page article called Emotional Use of Force and putting a program together called Emotional Use of Force which is more of a live keynote and, or zoom presentation for agencies on that. What you talked about there was you give up ground, you give up ground, and now what could have been contained earlier, had you been more dominant and more– and you used the word aggressive.
I know what you meant in terms of competency in movement, but a lot of people confuse competence with confidence. You have a bell curve testing element where it’s choreographed and coordinated, not realizing like you said, the predator in the street is a different animal from a different animal kingdom. You’ve had drills designed for you to pass. We could check in the box, say you did put your hand here and your thumb was on the third metacarpal bone when you did this complicated disarm.
Then all that shit goes out the window. Yes, you’re lucky that your agency started to make that switch. We’re in a new era now where everything’s crazy with defund the police and everyone’s afraid to move and fear has really been weaponized and it’s a big issue, but I would say not everyone– it’s not realistic.
I don’t really know the demographics of most of your audience, but I will say most people are not going to get the street cred reps of like a SWAT team in a big city. How does the good Samaritan who just wants to be left alone, who has bought a gun for home defense, lives in a place where they can carry legally and gets the training, how do they fill in the blank?
I was on a podcast yesterday where someone said, “Well, what about the people that have been in 100 street fights but never lost?” I went, “Did they not lose because they were in 100 street fights that they started that they never lost?” In other words, you can have somebody– We were talking about famous doorman security, bouncers. This guy, he’s a legend, he’s never lost. He’s a bouncer. He’s sober watching somebody get drunk and can tell that guy’s going to be a problem in two hours.
Then I walk up like Patrick Swayze in Road House, the guy says, “I thought you’d be bigger.” Then I say, get him out of here. The team goes to work. You can’t report on that. I don’t know how– You can’t report on that and go, “That’s a COVID death.” [chuckles] That wasn’t the same as an ambush. You can’t just mark it up there because you want to skew the statistics.
Phillip: I worked in the nightclub for a while there when I was younger. The one thing you learn is you can choose in that situation the level of violence that you want because if you want to be the jerk that there’s going to be fists thrown, you want to talk him down, talk him out, you have that ability. When in that situation, that guy is deciding who he wants to hit and who he doesn’t want to swing on.
Tony: Yes, but going back to, so what do we do as the members of your organization? How did they– They go, “Well, that’s great. You were a cop for 30 years. You were a bouncer. Oh, Tony you’ve been training for 50 years.”
Phillip: I worked in a nightclub. That’s different. [chuckles]
Tony: Okay. There are esoteric things that you can do like truly understanding the timeline of violence. When does stuff really start? We have a model called the timeline of violence. Detect, diffuse, defend. Detect and avoid, defuse and deescalate. If push comes to shove, defend. I understand I do things– I study the medical. I study the legal, not crazy.
You don’t have to be a master in it, but enough. This is what I need to know. If you looked at, let’s say over-consuming sugar does to our body, it would make you think twice every time you added more sugar. You go, “You know what? I’m going to have, just a tea a teaspoon of sugar, not two or three in my coffee.” You start to wean off.
I’m going to go to a diet soda instead. In other words, if you study violence– This is just a thought for your audience. If you study violence a little bit more from the perspective of, “This is the outcome, the result of not having good situational awareness and making good choices.” I find a lot of people in the firearms community and a lot of people in the martial arts, self-defense, cavalier about violence. “That’s why I carry,” or, “That’s why I got a knife, or, “I’d have done this.” I just wish people would go, “You know what? You just want to get home to your family, have a nice meal, say I love you, go to sleep.” It’s not about rinse, repeat, but just live a normal, safe life.
Rob: Well, and the other part of that. You’re talking about guys that are in the martial arts community. Yes, I absolutely know the guys you’re talking about, but if you and I are in a wrestling match, we have clear defined rules within that engagement. I know the things that go on in that realm, and I know that as you and I come out, shake hands, and the referee blows a whistle that the action’s going to begin right then.
Same thing with any other martial arts competition whether it’s a judoka or a jujitsu match, or muay Thai or whatever we’re doing, and I’ve engaged and got my hands dirty in every single one of these, but it was a known. It was an absolute known. [crosstalk] The violence, you’re talking about-
Tony: You do the same thing when you did Simunition force on force.
Tony: That’s what people need to understand. It’s like, “Oh, what about scenario training?” If you go guys, “We’re going to do some force on force today. You need eye protection. I want all live ammo outside the house. Go to the equipment table. You’re going to get a brief on this,” and then you do surprise attacks. It’s not a surprise attack.
Rob: Not a surprise, I guess.
Tony: You were talking about something, I love it, we call it, C-A-P, CAP, Consent Awareness Preparation. When you enter the wrestling match or the jujitsu match, or a UFC or a boxing match, or a scenario house, you’re consenting to be there, you didn’t wake up and go, “Oh, that was a good night’s sleep,” and someone snuck you in your bed into the octagon and you’re like, “What the fuck I’m in the octagon?”
Phillip: Again. I always have that dream.
Tony: You consented to be there. You went to the rules meeting and signed a waiver so you have awareness. The assumption is we’ve done some training. So there is some preparation, mental, and physical and while that’s valuable, it comes back to, in our first podcast where I talked about when a stimulus is introduced too quickly, executive function is hijacked. We can’t access our cognitive brain the way we thought we could in our theoretical discussions.
“I would just do this if he came in here.” Last month I did a talk with 40 reality-based self-defense instructors in Europe. I was going to mention the association, but we’ll leave the system out of it because this is pervasive around the world. It doesn’t matter what the organization is. It’s not a knock. It’s what I do as a consultant. I said, “Do you guys practice gun disarms?” They said, “Absolutely. It’s one of our big things.” I said, “What are they?” They went, “From the front, from the side, from the side to the gut from behind.”
They got the north, south, east, west and they’re very good at this stuff. I said, “You’re practicing gun disarms. Do you also practice gun scenarios?” They go, “Yes.” I go, “What do you do?” and it’s quiet. I go, “You’re confusing gun scenarios with gun disarms.”
For example, if I pull a gun and I go, “Give me your watch. Give me your wallet,” that’s a robbery scenario. If I say to you, “Pick this hood, throw it on your head, get in the trunk of the car,” that’s a kidnapping. Now, that starts to download, “Am I going to a secondary crime scene, and what happens there?” Now I come in, you’re sitting there having a beer. I go, bang, bang, bang, I shoot some people, then I’m standing, looking at you, and you’re like, “Shit,” like this. Your gun’s on you, but it happened so fast. The guys pointing the gun in your face, you’re like this. Now, you’re in an active shooter situation.
My question to them and to your audience was, “All the 10,000 hours of gun disarms you did, do they apply now?” Not yet. You still need to recalibrate from the what’s the scenario, what does the bad guy want, where am I in terms of psychological homeostasis? Meaning am I balanced right now or am I going, “Holy shit, I can’t believe this?” These are the Socratic questions that help us design scenarios. These are the questions that’ll make you all safer. “What would I do here if–” You look at the refractory delay between stimulus [unintelligible 00:32:00]. If you don’t know your answers– I know we’re running low on time.
One of my students at CCW asked me a question. I said to him, “Chuck,” I said, “Let me ask you this. You walk into a restaurant, you’re carrying. You go to the front and you go, “Hey, I’m here to have dinner. I’ve got a six o’clock appointment. I’m a little bit early,” and you go, “Yes, just wait over there.” Boom. Screaming. You hear a table go over. Gunfire. It’s around the corner on the door. You don’t know. Are you drawing your weapon and running in there? He goes, “No.” I go, “Because you don’t know what’s on there, right?” You’re not in a uniform. You don’t want to be the guy drawing a gun and maybe nine people shoot you.
What do you do? He goes, “I would stage. I’d move out. Call 911. Identify.” He goes through the proper protocols. I go, “Great. That was good. You hesitated a little bit, Chuck when I asked you what you do. Now, you’ve got a mental rep. Great. Let’s do it again.” “You’re at the podium where you’re checking in. You go, “Hey, I’m here. I got a six o’clock dinner. I’m a little bit late.” Before you were a little bit early, right?” He goes, “Yes.” “I’m a little bit late. I’m meeting my family.” He looks at me. We’re on a Zoom call. I go, “The hostess says, “Oh, come right with me,” and all of a sudden, you hear yelling.
You hear a table drop. You’re still walking. You got to walk 10 feet to come around to see the restaurant and then you hear gunfire. Now your last SOP which was correct was to back off, barricade, create distance, get an angle, call the police, but now you know your wife and your two kids are in a room in an active shooter situation. What are you doing now?” He goes, “Fuck, I’m going in.” I go, “Yes, you are.” Other people might go out. I just got goosebumps now reliving that moment.
Siri: Sorry. Could you [unintelligible 00:34:00].
Tony: Yes, thank you, Siri.
Tony: She’s always interrupting my podcast. You guys understand that that question represents more better training than you at the range shooting 500 more rounds.
Rob: They’re real live reps. The mental imaging and the things that you can do between your ears with nobody else present are so huge. It’s part of that preparation. It may be the most important part of that preparation.
Tony: I don’t talk about this a lot. I’ve brought it up on a couple of podcasts but it’s appropriate here. Rob, you talked about how much you can do in between your ears, the mindset, understanding, visualizing all of that. My family experienced a home invasion right at the end of 2009. I wasn’t home for it. Guys forced their way in the front door. My son heard it. He was upstairs. He was 16 years old at the time. He heard them come in. He figured out right away what was happening. Called 911. Cops were there inside three minutes but these guys were in the house.
My daughters were downstairs watching TV. They heard them come in. My daughter, Madison, grabbed her little sister. They were 11 and 8 at the time. Grabbed her and hid her in her room. My wife at the front door at gunpoint is being led. They, obviously, were casing the house. They went, “Where are the kids? Where are the kids?” The kids got identified. Imagine how terrifying this was for the kids. No masks on. They take my son, my daughter, and my two girls. They put them in the closet where my girls were hiding. They’re in there. They’re going around the house.
They come back and they want my wife to show them where money or jewelry is or whatever. They grabbed her by the arm, she resists. The guy’s holding the gun here like this. My son would call the police because we lived in an area where this shit doesn’t happen. They were there, like I said, inside three minutes. These guys hear the sirens and they panic. They were 17 and 18 years old. We ended up catching them all. Fortunately, they didn’t shoot anybody. Oh my god. It was just an emotional trauma. Everyone’s hysterical. I get home. SWAT comes, clears the house. Everything’s good. I’m debriefing the family one by one.
“You’re safe.” Hugging them. They’re crying. I’m talking to my son. I say to him, “I’m so proud of you for calling 911.” I didn’t say to him, “You saved everyone’s life,” because you guys know this. A home invasion with a mask on could go bad. A home invasion without a mask on, that’s really bad right at the start. He’s talking to me. He’s trained with me. He’s only 16 at the time. Imagine, first of all, as a father hearing this.
I want your audience to listen to this. Here’s this fucker standing there holding my wife’s arm with a handgun like this, grabbing her, “You’re going to come with me.” She’s like, “Where are we going?” “Come with me.”
He says to me and I’m holding back the tears. He says, “Dad, I remembered what you said in the training that if somebody doesn’t have a mask, that’s always a bad sign. If they take you and they move you, that’s always a bad sign. I wanted to do that gun disarm that you had taught me in that training. I also remembered you saying always expect a round to go off and never be in front of that hole. If you’re never in front of the hole, you can’t get shot.”
He says, “We were in the narrow closet. My sisters were behind me. I knew if I grabbed the gun to do that gun disarm, one of them would have been shot.” He goes, “I’m sorry, Dad. I had to let them take mom.” Police sirens– I almost started to cry there just thinking about that. What I want you adults listening to this is this is a 16-year-old kid visualizing all of that and making the safe call. “Mom’s on her own. I can’t compromise my sisters and me right now. I know what to do, but I can’t do it now.”
Rob: Making that call in the moment.
Tony: Amazing, right?
Rob: Yes, that’s just world-class, dude.
Tony: I’ve told him many times since, “You saved everyone’s life that night.” Just that idea, the presence of mind for– He grew up around me. I live this stuff 24/7. He was asleep in a car seat while I’m doing seminars building my business. Through osmosis, he heard shit. It’s not like he was a ninja and I was running around the house like the joke you made earlier, Pink Panther. I wasn’t jumping out with guns. My family, like most families, they don’t train with me. They don’t take advantage of my skill set. I made them experience some of this stuff.
The moral of the story here is this. One thing is that it doesn’t matter who you are. Shit can happen to you. When people heard this happen to me, they couldn’t believe. “Oh my god. Tony Blauer, world re-known self-defense combative instructor has home invasion.” Anyone, anywhere, anytime. Are you ready? I think part of what inspired this is just this idea of having a cavalier answer of, “That’s why I carry, that’s why I carry.” You may be in a situation where your– I call it the three Is. Your instincts, your intuition, and your intelligence is needed to solve the problem. It’s not your quickdraw skills. It’s not your shot placement. It’s the mind navigating the body going, “What is the totality of the circumstances here? What do I need to do?”
Rob: You’ve trained enough guys. You understand the rationale and the reason behind this. I was probably in 50 different scenarios where very justifiably I could have taken somebody’s life, but I had other alternatives. I had other skills to utilize and I didn’t have to. We were able to successfully resolve that situation with no bloodshed. I also worked around an awful lot of guys that would sit back and nitpick on your decision to not use lethal force and all of a sudden they’re starting to chip their teeth about, “I’d smoked him. I’d done this.” Those guys are still– They’re the guys that, “That’s why I carry. That’s why I do this.”
They’re still trying to convince themselves if they were in that season, that they could. They don’t know for a fact that I have the skillset and when it becomes necessary I’m going to do it. It’s just being truthful, being honest with yourself, knowing what you can and cannot do, and having that realization. I want to meet your kid now. That’s [crosstalk] story.
Tony: It’s so subtle because it’s not the Hollywood ending. How he did this and did that. It’s talking about self-awareness in a reasonable and mature– You think back to the other story I told. I don’t remember if it was this podcast or the prior one with the running where a grown adult, “Hey, you break contact. I want you to run.” We need to practice that. We need to have– I got these mental reps of, this is running, this is improvised weapon, this is medical, this is courageous by-stander. I ask people, always choose safety. As a model, if you said, “Hey, what’s one thought our audience should– you can leave them with.” It’s this idea of choosing safety, but don’t confuse choosing safety with playing it safe.
Sometimes the safest thing is to charge the threat. Sometimes the safest thing is to run away. Sometimes the safest thing is to barricade, but like my son, you need to look at what’s going on and weigh and consider everything and then make your decision. Don’t just default to your 10,000 reps.
Rob: That’s so good. Give us your website again, brother. I’d like to make sure that everybody can plugin and check you out if they want.
Tony: We’ve got a bunch of websites. We’ve got the main one that takes you to all my websites because I’ve got one for our gear, one for our fear management, one for our be your own bodyguard, one for our SPEAR. The main one is Blauer Training Systems. My last name, training systems.com and that’ll take you to Blauer SPEAR for the SPEAR, or the high gear or the no fear. Of course, I’m on LinkedIn and Instagram and all that. Shadowbanned on Instagram. Good luck finding me, but I’m all over and we do live courses and Zoom classes.
I’ve got a garage gym program that I mentioned in the earlier one where that’s really the most fun I have the whole week is, getting in here and giving people ideas to practice.
Rob: Brother, I know you got something else coming up that you got to attend to, but I appreciate you so much. I cannot thank you enough.
Tony: Thank you.
Rob: Again, guys, if you got comments, suggestions, questions, you can hit me directly, email@example.com. Phil, you got any takeaways for us?
Phillip: No, I just want to thank you for your time, Tony. I know how busy you are and your advice obviously, it saved your family’s life. Your family is eating your own cooking and they’re there because you had this training. You did this with your kids and your kid was smart enough and respectful enough really of the situation that saved your family. Hats off to him and you, and your mom or his mom and the kids.
Tony: Thank you.
Phillip: I’m glad they caught the guys. I hope they’re in a wood chipper somewhere.
Tony: No. They’re all out now. They were all juveniles and it was their first offense. They went from being good Americans to home invasion. Nothing in between. It was their first offense.
Phillip: It’s the first offense they were caught at.
Tony: Right. Exactly. Thank you for your time.
Rob: Well, thank you guys for [crosstalk] us. We appreciate you and we ask everybody to come back and join us again next week.
Phillip: God bless.
Rob: Stay safe.
Tony: Stay safe.
[00:45:46] [END OF AUDIO]