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This first section was written by Dr.

Eric Cobb,
A very experienced martial artist and
for Blauer Tactical Systems
The Essence of a SURPRISE ATTACK
One that most martial artists struggle with especially because of the current
training paradigm that most people follow for whatever reason school
dogma, traditionalism, comfort factors, etc.
Let me state up-front that most of the concepts that I will share here are
based on the extensive research of Tony Blauer.
A concept, that we continually and dogmatically state is action is faster than
reaction, but we then structure almost all of our training around a
stimulus/response format. In other words, the current ruling class in
martial arts training says, Whenever he does this, you do that. In really
sophisticated arts there might be additional levels to the thinking that add
in Once youve hit him, his body is likely to respond like this, so you now do
this However, in the same breath, the lesson continues that action is
faster than reaction. Do you see the problem here? In essence, much
traditional training is setting up unconscious dissonance in trainees by telling
them that:
A: If he moves first hes faster than you. Action is faster than reaction.
And, B: Dont respond until he moves, intercept the attack after it has
reached maximum velocity with a fine motor skill and then respond via these
These concepts are impossible to reconcile, are tactically inappropriate, and
express a lack of understanding of the vast majority of real-world violence.
Consider if you will now a completely different viewpoint. At least 90% of the
time, the fight begins long before the actual physical confrontation occurs. It
begins the week before when you cut the guy off in your car. Or it begins, as
soon as you walk into the theater and you get bad vibes/dissonance from a
couple of fellows that stare at you and your girlfriend. Or it begins when you
walk into the Quikmart and see the clerk looking pale and sweaty and a
couple of guys wearing coats in the middle of summer. Almost every time,
there are pre-incident indicators that can clue us in to the real possibility of
violence and allow us to implement our optimum survival strategy.

There is a great myth that violence is terribly unpredictable. The truth is that
violence is one of the most predictable of all human behaviors. Gavin de
Becker teaches at great length about this from a broad conceptual framework
in his book The Gift of Fear. Tony takes this work a step further into the
tactical realm and teaches tools, targets and tactics that specifically deal with
demystifying this whole process.
So, let me give you another potential paradigm from which to think about
surprise attacks and how we might deal with them in protecting ourselves,
and our families, from violence. Imagine a long time line that stretches out
over a period of several hours. Now, at every interval along that time line,
lets arbitrarily set them at 15 minutes, mentally write in the words
stimulus/response. At the very end of the time line, mentally write in Big
Bang. What this concept mentally represents is the actual process for almost
every violent encounter. All along the way leading up to the actual physical
confrontation (Big Bang) there are S/R moments happening. At any one of
those moments you can make a tactical choice to extricate yourself from the
In TCMS we teach the three Ds detect, defuse, defend. Intelligently
applied, the first two will allow you to walk away from almost every
encounter without having to drop someone. If all else fails, the timeline
thought process above can jumpstart your survival instincts and place you in
a position both mentally and physically to proactively move toward survival.
So, are there surprise attacks? I would answer to that Yes, but only when
our training fails to actually address real-life. A better question might be Do
we place ourselves in a position either by our mental state, physical
conditioning, or our emotional fragility in which we can be surprised by
I think that the answer to that is most assuredly Yes. I recently read a
quote that I liked a lot and may help summarize my point here. Paraphrased,
it is this Practice does not make perfect. Practice simply provides us more
alternatives for recovering from our mistakes. I personally believe that this
is the real goal of training. Life is a full-contact activity and while it would be
nice to think that we can always be ready to rock at a moments notice, it
may not happen that way. The best systems then teach psychological,
emotional and physical tools for correcting our mistakes
The vast majority of the time there is no surprise attack. And in the very
rare instances that we are caught completely off-guard, our training must
support us in surviving those situations. That is why it is so vital for you to
analyze your style, system or school and understand that if you are not
finding the answers that you seek there, look elsewhere. You and you alone

are responsible for your safety and you must develop total confidence in your
toolbox for real-life confrontations.
Of course, this is real-life were talking about so I could be wrong
Stay safe,
Dr. Cobb
Eric's post was a snippet from a thread on another forum and not a total
perspective. The entire essence of our simulation approach is based on
'Adversity Recovery', 'Holy **** Moments' and 'Failure Drills' where
recovery, adaptation, character, tenacity and ultimately tactical audacity are
explored. In fact none of our training contains any 'then I do this to the badguy moments'.

Having said all that, since Eric was really regurgitating my philosophy, in the
truest sense there really is no 'surprise attack'. Lets explore this:
All victims [practically 100%] have always noted that they 'knew' something
was wrong. How most arrived at the physical attack is that they negated or
undermined the first attack, their initial survival systems warning. In fact
this is where most fail, most 'look' for the physical telegraph when in fact its
usually a blip on our behavioral warning system that forecasts a
The reason many police officers fail in this moment is mostly due to
PRESUMED COMPLIANCE, where tactical tunnel vision is created because
there is an assumption that compliance is a given [have you read this
article/concept yet? s/b in the LEO pack you received], Another reason, too is
that many officers are forced to 'hurry' into a confrontation [which is a
severe limitation] but in reality, how can the attack be a surprise when you
are called to a potentially violent scene?
In my seminars, I remind officers of this reality:
1. Good cops look for bad people.
2. Bad people are always dangerous.
3. Dangerous people are found in dangerous places.

4. If you are looking for dangerous people in dangerous places...then you are
always in danger.
"It is far better to evaluate [respond] to a hunch/feeling/intuition and
discover you were mistaken than to ignore or deny it and discover you were
very wrong.'
-TCMS Maxim
Both choices are FREE the moment you get the feeling, and both choices take
just about as long to address [Ignoring something is still a choice that
requires attention and, to a degree some level of concentration, so right or
wrong, energy is spent addressing the hunch or debasing it].
Remember our ability to grasp new ideas is relative to the information we
already embrace. If part of that information does not permit us to
understand the difference between a belief and a fact then growth or
evolution/modification/ and so on are stifled.
Awareness, leads us only so far. There are times where intention cannot be
read and suddenly the **** hits the fan. So leaving surprise attack counters
to the intuitive sciences is no different than putting all eggs in one basket or
arguing that one style is better than all others. The practice and preparation
must be more complete.
One of the things that allow me total peace of mind as an educator is that my
system is behaviorally based and inspired by what humans do - not by what
I want my students to do.
This is the foundation for the SPEAR SYSTEM. It primary rationale is based on
research that shows the unconscious survival signals innate ability to flinch at
speeds way faster than any cognitive neuro-muscular transmission. This is
crucial in putting the puzzle together.
Where conventional approaches rely on identifying the attack and then
downloading from our bio-computer, the counter, the SPEAR SYSTEM
launches counters far faster.
How often do forensic specialists refer to knife and bullet wounds to the
hands as 'defensive wounds'? I believe most are 'flinch response' wounds,
where the hand was quicker than a speeding bullet, but there was no
tactical info to convert the flinch! [Youd need to see the 'Emotional
Climatization drills to understand this] but ponder the concept deeply.
That is the magic of the SPEAR SYSTEM in that there is almost always
[again] a startle/ flinch moment prior to almost every ambush, our system
has developed the conversion process where we exploit the reactive brains
lightning fast directive that sends the hands/arms to protect the command
center, our head.

Our system methodically attaches combative drills and actions to various

flinches so that when awareness and decision making is by-passed by a good
sucker shot, there are empirical triggers and blueprints from training that
can kick in [operative word here is can, the warrior must still choose to
fight back at this moment.]
There's a two-fold phase to developing the system:
The PROTECTIVE PHASE, where the re-action is created by the flinch
conversion, but triggered by the attack.
The TACTICAL PHASE where the telegraph is intercepted. But we do not wait
for a complex motor skill to be launched in our approach to extreme close
Over a period of 14 years this system has been evaluated and polished.
Through an empirical process weve analyzed combative applications of the
various flinch positions and created muscle memory sequences to help
develop the tactic
Comments for Colleagues from email feedback. [Yes, its shameless
promotion, but all from real-world warriors!]
Dear Tony,
I work for Cuyahoga County (Ohio) Department of Protective Services as a
security officer. On 14 August I was called to a fight in the parking lot of the
Children and Family Services Building. Innocent sounding name for a
government building, but when you realize that it is the center for adoption,
placement, custody competency, sex crime investigation it can be a real hot
Back to the incident.
When answering the call by myself I rounded a van to see two people
beating on another against the car. As one reared back to punch again my
instinctual response was to intercept with a spear. I then turned and again
(don't want this to sound repetitive) and speared instinctively between the
other assailant and his victim whom he was choking.
They separated and I instinctively fired off another spear (In much the same
manner as you describe using a pump action on a shotgun in your SPEAR
video) sending him out of the picture.
Not to get into all the details, but backup arrived and what could have been
an uglier situation was under control.

After reviewing my actions the most astounding thing is that what you teach
is effective because of its basis of truth. I have been in the martial arts for
over 25 years and instinct trained, accepted and flowed with (read Spear
principles) is what works and what will happen. Muscle memory did not kick
in even though most of my training is along the lines of kickboxing. I feel so
much more secure trusting what God already has downloaded into my body
and getting in touch with it so that I can perform at an optimal level.
I hope that I can possibly attend the February PDR. But for now thank you
for your guidance.
P.S. Sorry if this is rambling or not very in depth, but I am grateful for your
teaching and have told others. Unfortunately not to many are interested in
what works, but what looks like it came out of a Bruce Lee movie. No
disrespect for Mr. Lee.
One last statement. The beauty of what you are teaching is that it works and
is not something that will be lost if you cannot train 24/7. Or have a "willing"
assailant to let you trap or grapple within the rules.
God Bless you and your family
Joe Skovira
The week of August 20th I was privileged to attend a class taught by Scott
Huckabee of CAPCO on your SPEAR system. Yesterday I placed an order with
your company. I am sending you my e-mail address, as I would like to be
kept abreast of training classes in my area, especially instructor training. I
am a 30-year police officer, retired from New Mexico and starting again as an
officer in Texas. I am currently a Lieutenant with the Lake LBJ Municipal
Utility District Police. In my years of experience and training I have never
attended or learned of a defensive system that I believe is as valuable as
SPEAR. Thank you very much for developing a system that I am sure over
the years will save many officers lives.
Glen French

Im utterly swamped lately, I am recruiting a/some Secret Service that I
have worked with on Presidential Campaigns lately to your ground school in
St Pete.
Co-incidentally, a thought I had today about the SPEAR while doing my
morning 3 miles - during cool down plyometrics, 3 neighborhood workers
were walking with shovels toward my direction - I saw body language and
glances that equated with LEO 6th sense. While I knew it was nothing, for
practice I climbed the mental, psychological ladder (physical one was kind of
toast for the moment) - starting with, 'Is that your boss'? To give me that
split moment to grab a nearby 2 x 4 and trounce the trifecta prior to their
imaginary assault with shovels for my Sony Walkman.
Point is - that in 15 years of Law Enforcement, 10 years of SWAT, absolutely
nothing has become a part of my lifestyle more than the SPEAR. It is a way
of life - and by far has the most retention ability associated with adult
learning commensurate with law enforcement skills. It should be taught to all
basic recruits, especially due to the Millennium philosophy of diversity in
hiring, using the desirable scales to make every officer have the edge needed
to do their job.
Sergeant J.A. Bennett
Tampa Police Department
Thought I would let you know that I used some of the moves a few weeks
ago on a prisoner who decided that he wanted to kick my ass. This prisoner
was Code-4 throughout the entire booking process. I was escorting the
prisoner with a behind the elbow hold and another officer in front of him,
when he jerked away, turned and was ready to throw a punch at me. I used
the SPEAR technique (it was not real pretty, but it worked) it sent him flying
into the wall and my partner who was in front of him. I followed up with a
palm strike to the Brachial Plexus tie-in and then I went to a Hair takedown.
The prisoner was still uncooperative even after that, so I used the Mandibular
angle pressure point. He calmed down quickly after that. The prisoner was
then placed into the drunk tank where he had plenty of time to think about
his stupidity.
This whole incident took me and my partner by surprise. I thought about the
incident later and I realized that there was no time to think about what to do,
I did not have to think about these moves, they were ALMOST natural.
Please pass this message on the other instructors.

I hope you and your family is doing well. Stay strong and stay safe.
Your Friend
------------------OUR OFFICE CONTACTED Tiny for permission to use his email of this
incident, he replied:
----------Please do send the message around, this system does work. The prisoner I
used this on was not expecting me to take the fight to him, he was totally
blown away.
Ron Malamphy " TINY"
----------A lot of food for thought. Please weigh & consider before judging.
Watch your six. Expect the unexpected.
Stay safe,