Recently my good friend Tony Blauer and I were finally able to make due on a promise we each made years ago to team up and produce a program featuring both of our expertise. Well, the moon and stars finally aligned as we just completed our first class held in San Diego, CA of what we both hope will be a continuing education program regarding Extreme Close Quarter’s Fighting.

We couldn’t have asked for better weather, it was beautiful and we were hosted by the San Diego PD Defense Tactics unit at their training center located at the old NTC. First, I have to say, this is the first time I have been back to NTC in a very long time and man, a lot has changed. From open bay barracks to bay front property. Very nice and it is good to see the mock vessel USS Recruit still hanging around.

This was a work in progress and even though Tony and I conferred on the overall COI it was still difficult to get an exact blueprint until we were actually hands on. The first class would be a pilot class no doubt, but what we didn’t realize was how close to the final product we would be with the layout. We are going to be following up to really tweak the program, but it won’t take much and we are going to be adding a lot more to curriculum. The goal of this course was to create an atmosphere of “worse case” scenario, an officer/warfighter on their backs. It didn’t matter so much how they got there or how to avoid getting there, that is all material for another class. What mattered was controlling the situation and getting out of it. We blended Tony’s philosophy for close quarters fighting to include the use of the SPEAR™ along with fighting at close quarters with the pistol, and edged weapon and improvised weapons. These survival skills are so important they cannot be emphasized enough.

We had a saying in the Teams, “everyone wants to be a frogman on a sunny day.” Our goal was to expose and familiarize the student with the various worse case scenarios then with a brief look at the various tools we had to offer be able to quickly employ them to gain superior weaponry and superior position.

Tony Blauer going over the SPEAR(tm)

There is no way I will do justice to debriefing the SPEAR™ and all of its components, but suffice it say it is awesome for the flash type events which Tony references as ambushes. The speed of execution and effectiveness of the techniques really provide the end user with a formidable tool. I first meet Tony years ago while writing my first book. He still gives me shit for hanging around the classroom after class to work on it instead of heading out to dinner with the class. My first exposure to the system really gave me a new perspective. In this class, Tony went over the psychology of the ambush, which I believe is such an important component to the training. Understanding the “why” as well as the “how” are part and parcel to these skills.

We next spend the rest of the morning getting an exposure to the application and various isolation drills to help the student become better aware of several different components. Folks were taking to the material quite well and it was good to see the progress we were making. The afternoon session expounded on the application and really took it to the next level. The supporting drills were inch by inch moving closer to active role players which is where the real proof lies. One thing that would have been very beneficial would have been to see folks having access to real speed type training. Not always easy and definitely adds a new dimension, but I think future programs will have more access to this style of training.

Nice muzzle strike!

After the day was over, we cut everyone loose and Tony along with one of his senior instructors and I chowed down in Old Town, a great place to hangout, with some awesome food. Training day two would be on my shoulders and we started the morning sessions off with weapon strikes. We covered the various methods, targets and applications. Working in a matt room gave us access to training dummies which added to the realism of the strikes. From there we went over contact shots and near contact shots. Contact shots have some unique requirements and after covering them briefly we moved to near contact shots, which typically include off-angle shots. These are very effective, but doing them live fire can be eye opening…literally. At some point, it would be great to take this class to an advance level and do some of these drills live fire. We finished off the morning with an introduction to the folding utility knife. A brief lecture on types, selection and carrying were covered then we broke for lunch.

Near contact shots

When we returned we went into an upright template of the TRICON™ Vital Anatomy. The key point here was to give the students the exposure to the various targets. Once they were aware of them seeing them from different positions such as on their backs would make targeting pretty easy. We progressed to deploying from the carry mode and as Tony said, it’s always easy static. There is a lot of truth to that comment. Once we started moving, deploying quickly can become a bit tricky. There is a reason for the progression we use and most everyone was able to really get the gist of the deployment sequence from the various positions they found themselves in during the class.

We finished up by working from the various positions on the ground. This forced the students to apply what they had previously learned about the weapon strikes, contact shots, near contact shots and deploying edged weapons. We also covered improvised weapons and the initial response can sometimes be better with “a” weapon as opposed to the “best” weapon. From there we moved back to our feet and finished some culminating drills where students were applying everything they learned in the class, from day one all the way through.

I really liked watching all of the progress and you could see students incrementally adding new tools to their toolbox. We finished off with a short debrief and it was really good to hear the points that each student felt was most important for them.

Overall the class was a huge success and we look forward to future programs and working with Tony. Please do not hesitate to contact us for more information and if interested in setting up one of these programs feel free to contact either one of us. Be safe.

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