Detect, Defuse, and Defend

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Detect, Defuse, and Defend

Postby student » Thu Feb 03, 2000 11:39 pm

Canna Sensei mentioned Tony Blauer's S.P.E.A.R. system on another thread.

I have Tony's audio tape "Cerebral Self-Defense" and his videotape "The Science Of The Sucker Punch. In both he catalogues the stages of an altercation as Detect, Defuse, and Defend.

It's Defuse I want to discuss here, and get Dr. Elgin's expertise.

(We'll assume you can detect; if you can't detect and don't have the chance to defuse OR defend, well....)

While Tony is all for exhibiting non-prey like behavior to avoid altercations, once at the stage where it is escalating, simmering, but not yet at the pressure-cooker release of physical violence, his goal is to defuse to the situtation physically and verbally: physically, by having your postures and gestures be non-threatening, natural, congruent with your message of trying to avoid and not provoke violence; verbally, by using choice speech to defuse the situation.

(N.B., you must roleplay [even if only alone in your head] to discover what gestures and postures are hard-wired within you under such stressful situtations! These are the ones your body will use; it is your assignment to discover them now and figure out what techniques can be deployed from those poses, using the strongest weapons to the closest targets! In this manner, you are prepared if the situation goes south, but are doing so without either provoking or tipping off the opponent - God forbid it should be necessary you have lowered his expectations of your capabilities: you are psychologically sucker punching him.)

Which brings us to choice speech. Paraphrasing Tony again, this is the talk that deflects the steam pressure build up that is heading toward the violent release; his maxim is "Those who talk can be persuaded to walk."

One of his pupils told him of waiting too long for his girl friend to get back from the store. He went out looking for her and saw she was surrounded by a gang of tough looking guys. Tony's pupil dealt with it thus; he went up to them and said: "Look, you're making her nervous. There's 8 of you, 1 of me; no way can I take you all. Heck, I can't even fight. But I want to ask you a question."

[Note what he did; he interrupted their progression, did not threaten or provoke then, and forced them to think about his question....]

"If this were your sister or your girlfriend, how would you feel?"

And that defused and ended the altercation. Tony says it was because it addressed the part within the tough exterior and made them identify with Tony's pupil or the girlfriend.

I see it as also having a NeuroLinguistic Programming aspect; the evocation of the Feeling/Touch mode, the first and most basic sense - how do you feel.

How do we develop defusing skills?

Suzette, please comment, evaluate, elaborate. Are there some general guidelines?


[This message has been edited by student (edited February 03, 2000).]
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Detect, Defuse, and Defend

Postby ozarque » Sat Feb 05, 2000 1:41 pm

I have to do a preliminary warble here, because the message brings in an array of items that can't all be addressed at once. I don't mean to ignore parts of the question -- just to postpone them, so that there can be some clarity. Let me get the Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) thing out of the way at the very beginning, so that it won't have to be dealt with again. John Grinder and I were students in the same linguistics graduate program; we had the same profs and studied the same texts and subjects. Ideas began developing; work got done; arguments took place. We found ourselves at a point where we could only agree to disagree. I didn't rip off anything from John; he didn't rip off anything from me. We simply agreed to a parting of the ways, primarily on ethical grounds; we chose very similar sets of terms, but we defined them differently. John went on to NLP; I went on to the Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense (GAVSD). I'm not trained in NLP, and I don't presume to discuss its terms/concepts/techniques on any basis other than personal opinion.

I also want to specify that my expertise -- on all questions, not just this one -- is only for the English language, and that what I say should not be assumed to apply to other languages unless I say so at the time.

Finally, I must tell you that I don't think I can comment usefully at this point on most of the message, because it's not clear to me how terms are being defined in it. For example: I don't understand the instruction to find out "what gestures and postures are hard-wired within you under such stressful situations." For example: I suspect that what happened when Tony's pupil confronted the gang that was harrassing his friend was not the result of the words that he said -- but I wasn't there, and I don't know the people involved. I haven't been a participant in the forum where all this took place. In an informational void, comment is unwise.

There is one question in the message that I can address, very briefly, and then perhaps we can begin a discussion. It is: "How do we develop defusing skills?" I've written a batch of books on this topic and it would be absurd to try to write another one here; you could look at a sample lesson at if that interests you. Let me instead just lay out some basic principles. To develop defusing skills:

1. Listen _with your full attention_ to what's being said.

If you don't do this, nothing else you do or try to do is going to defuse the situation other than by blind luck. Assume that what is being said is true; try to imagine what it could be true of; don't carry on some other line of language in your head so that instead of listening you only hear. (Whether what's being said is _interesting_ to you or not is irrelevant if aquiring defusing skills is your goal.)

2. Focus your response on the behavior or event, not on the speaker.

For example, avoid personal language ("I, you, me, my, your, this class, what you said/did, the way you talk/act") and construct your utterances using what Virginia Satir called Computer mode. Don't say "You forgot to get gas again"; say "There's no gas in the car." Don't say "What you just said about _chi_ was stupid." Say "There are a number of differing opinions about _chi_." Don't say "What do you MEAN, I'm always late????" Say "Lateness is a problem in every area of life" and wait for your opponent's next move.

3. Never take the bait.

4. Do everything honorably possible to avoid loss of face for everyone involved.

I assume that for martial artists #3 and #4 are roughly self-explanatory; if not, questions would be helpful.


PS: It might be appropriate for me to mention in passing that "Satir" (as in therapist and communication specialist Virginia Satir) rhymes with "career"; it's not pronounced like "satyr."
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Detect, Defuse, and Defend

Postby student » Sun Feb 06, 2000 5:33 am

Thank you.

For those who are not yet familiar with your works, in the context of this topic, which of your book(s) would you recommend; if more than one, in what order?

Again, for those unfamiliar with the term, the Satir mode of Computer Mode is akin to having a conversation with Spock of Star Trek: unemotional, logical, responding to the words and question without taking the bait to escalate the emotional content. When in doubt of how to react it is probably the safest choice in most situations.

(I am aware of the correct pronounciation of Satir but I am an incurable punster.) Image

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Detect, Defuse, and Defend

Postby ozarque » Sat Feb 12, 2000 1:45 pm

The most basic book in the series is the first one, called _The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense_. You could start with that one (which is only available from Barnes & Noble, by the way). However, if I had known as much about verbal self-defense 30 years ago as I know today, the book I would have written is the one called _You Can't SAY That To Me!_ That one is the first book plus what I've learned over 30 years of teaching. I also recommend the book called _How to Disagree Without Being Disagreeable_, which is a little more advanced than the other two. The rest of the books in the series are written for specific purposes and specific language environments -- for example, _The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense At Work_ is intended specifically for the workplace -- and they are intended to follow one of the more basic books. You should be able to find some of these books at your public library; you can certainly get them on interlibrary loan. I apologize for the cumbersome titles; I didn't choose them.

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Detect, Defuse, and Defend

Postby student » Sat Feb 12, 2000 4:47 pm

Thank you, Suzette!

As you may have noticed, we have a Forum entitled "Library," wherein we discuss books. I have proposed discussing one of yours. From what you have just posted on this thread, it seems to me that You Can't SAY That To Me! or How To Disagree Without Being Disagreeable
would be appropriate books. Would you disagree; do you think one must start with Gentle Art?


P.S. You may wish to look at Lori Loftus' thread She Asked For It. One hopes I have correctly used and attributed your material; the readers who commented seemed very pleased at the sorting out of the miscommunications between the posters.

[This message has been edited by student (edited February 12, 2000).]
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Detect, Defuse, and Defend

Postby ozarque » Sat Feb 12, 2000 6:10 pm

No, I don't feel that it's at all necessary to start with _The Gentle Art_. That book must be useful; it's sold over a million copies and continues to sell. I think, however, that it's most appropriate for people who have no foundation in their lives for understanding strategy -- which doesn't apply to people in this forum. The books you suggest seem to me to be the right level for discussion here.

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Detect, Defuse, and Defend

Postby Ringo » Fri Apr 14, 2000 11:33 am

NeuroLinguisticProgramming Self-defense?

Why just the other night I had my arms pinned behind me as 25 armed gang members demanded my wallet, while their leader slapped my face

I simply said "I FEEL your pain, I SEE your guns, I HEAR your request (note the de-escalation by the word 'request' as opposed to 'threat') I SMELL my fear as I TASTE my blood from your slap...

They were immediately paralyzed with empathy. Neurally short circuited, as it were

THEN I pulled out all the stops:

"Before I give you what you requested, could you please define ki?"

They fled in terror....

I don't know if I can live with myself any longer after inflicting such a devastating counterattack, was it really called for?

I'm being sued for damages to their psyche--loss of consortium, whatever that means. The civil court in a self defense case is a total crapshoot. It'll probably cost me thousands! I'll lose my car! My cats!

Hi Student!
You were right, this is an interesting forum!

For the record, I have talked my way out of 4 armed robbers who had seen me pull up to an ATM machine and kept my dough in the bargain.

I also inadvertantly scared the hell out of some poor woman when I rushed to deposit an important letter at night in a deserted post office parking lot. Embarassing...

Apropos of women and self defense, many have the "he won't like me syndrome" engrained to an absurdly dangerous degree (newsflash: ladies you don't want a mugger to like you want to drop him cold, if running is not a viable option). We men have the "coward" syndrome to equally absurd degrees; it really is preferable to walk away from fights if at all possible...


Reverse roles. It's worked for me when invited to 'step outside'i.e;

"A coward? Gee, and I thought I was a bad mother and a messy housekeeper..."


Verbal Jutsu depends on the situation, both:

"Take one more step towards me and one of us dies. Think I'm bluffing? Try me "


"Well, I'm certainly willing to be forgiven..."

Have worked for me on the street to difuse a potentially lethal confrontation, with no injuries to either party.

Which one to use? Tough call, it's kind of a Zen thing--I'm sure Tony Blauer has a tape on this; with the appropiate koans...

And what has worked for you folks out there ? Student posted the "if this were your sister" ploy from one of Tony's people. I'd be interested in FIRST HAND accounts from forum members, dealing with defusing physical violence.

Thanks in advance.
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Detect, Defuse, and Defend

Postby student » Fri Apr 14, 2000 12:26 pm

Hey, Ringo!

Looks like you'll get to meet my first born after all; he's going to USC at LA!

Lots of familiar folks here: Sing, me, Sochin. Oh God, wait till you meet J.D....

Using the Detect, Defuse, Defend formula successfully requires you to know when to shift gears. Your reductio ad absurdem first example had already gotten to the Defend stage (actually, if anywhere near a reality it had already gotten to the Last Rites And Kiss It Goodbye stage; but I digress).

Tony Blauer's analogy is the toolbox; you have several toolboxes (or several tools, if you will) and the trick is to know which one is appropriate in which situation at which time. Your hooking kick may be just fine for tournament competition, but on the street...well, mine has a good chance of reducing an opponent into merry protoplasm from laughing himself to death....

Similarly, smashing the knee is probably a pretty good street technique but will be frowned upon and get you talked about in tournament. It's the old saying by Maslow: "If the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem begins to look like a nail." (probably not exact, but close....)

Apropos of the "If it were your sister, how would you feel;" TOny Blauer thought this to have been exceptionally inspired because it bypassed and ignored the posturing and violence button and went directly to the gangbanger's inner child, his last speck of empathy, humanity (Okay, it's psychobabble; it's still valuable.).

Suzette's works (highly recommended,my friend) use the Satir modes (originally develped by Virginia Satir) to recognize and deal with verbal assault. Her advice generally (she can write for herself - and will...) is when in doubt go to Computer Mode - reflect back only facts, no personal opinions, especially no emotions.

I, too would be interested in seeing personal reports about verbal defuses.


Oh, my wife's recovering very nicely from the operation, thank you.


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Detect, Defuse, and Defend

Postby ozarque » Sat Apr 15, 2000 4:39 pm

Greetings. Since there's been no activity on any of the other threads, I now have time to go back to this one and try to give adequate attention to the items I postponed. I'll only be able to deal with the first posting in any detail this week, but much of what I say should apply to the postings that followed; I'm sorry my response has to be so long.

All the messages (except those asking about which of my books to read/discuss) have revolved around Tony Blauer's self-defense systems. In the first posting, a student told us about one of Tony's pupils who had dealt with a potential conflict -- involving a group of males harrassing his girlfriend -- by saying, "Look, you're making her nervous. There's 8 of you, one of me; no way can I take you all. Heck, I can't even fight. But I want to ask you a question: If this were your sister or your girlfriend, how would you you feel?" The student says that "defused and ended the altercation." And he then goes on to suggest that this could be looked upon as having an NLP aspect, "the evocation of the Feeling/Touch mode, the first and most basic sense -- How do you _feel_ ..."

I want first to point out to you that the words Blauer's student used are written with ZERO information about the tune they were set to. That tune -- not the words -- is what matters, and we can't tell anything at all about it from looking at the written words. Everyone reading those words will set them to a tune of his or her own while reading; whether that tune is the one Blauer's student set them to -- the tune that _worked_ to shortcircuit the conflict -- is a matter of chance.

When I teach VSD to people who've never dealt with me before, they're usually shocked to discover that I'm there to teach them something that will require them to make some effort ... do some work. They assume that what I'm going to do is provide them with a list of magic sentences that they can memorize, and maybe some quick "tips," and that that's all that's involved. (I'm sure you've all seen the analogous situation in people at their first session of a physical self-defense course.) Everywhere I go, I see clippings on bulletin boards that offers lists like "When facing a patient who may be violent, here are ten safe things to say: ....." followed by ten sequences of written English with no indication at all about _how_ they are to be said. There are scores of books on various forms of verbal self-defense written that way. Medical textbooks, unfortunately, are written that way. And then people who get terrible results when they say the things suggested in those books insist that verbal self-defense doesn't work.

There are NO magic words, magic phrases, or magic sentences of English, just in their written form. I can think of a dozen ways that someone might say exactly the same words that Blauer's student said, with the result that he'd get beaten up by the guys he said them to. I told you in an earlier posting that John Grinder and I came to an amicable parting of the ways with regard to "communication under stress"; one of the major reasons for that was my insistence that this matter of intonation -- the tunes the words are set to -- had to be explicitly discussed along with the suggested sequences of language. John's position was that it was up to the reader to figure it out; my position was that it was up to the writer to make it so clear that chances were good the reader would be able to understand it. You will notice that most NLP writing goes the standard route; it says "Say X," and X is just sequences of written language, with no information about intonation except offhand remarks like "say it neutrally," or something of the kind. I don't think that's ethical, and I consider it very dangerous; John disagreed with me.


In the same post, we find "you must roleplay (even if only alone in your head) to discover what gestures and postures are hard-wired within you under such stressful situations." That's absolutely right. You must be aware of your own internalized "vocabulary" of gestures and postures and tones of voice and so on. But the suggestion for a way of finding out is potentially misleading. Very few people have the skill of being able to roleplay verbally while at the same time keeping track of what they're doing nonverbally. If you pay attention to your nonverbal communication (NVC), it distracts you from the words you're saying, and vice versa. Words+NVC are a seamless whole, and indivisible.

I work mostly with physicians who have communication problems. I have them videotape themselves over the course of a day [being very careful to respect others' privacy and have advance permission from everyone else involved, and with the understanding that I will destroy the tape after viewing]. Then the medpro and I sit down together alone and watch the video. It's usually a pretty devastating experience for the doctor, with a lot of repetition of "Oh, my GOD, I can't BELIEVE I do that!!!" going on. I pause the video and have the doctor match his/her NVC in the paused shot; I say, "Pay attention now. What are your eyebrows doing? What are your elbows doing? What is your breathing like?" And so on. We go over it until the doctor has, as the student says, discovered what gestures and postures and other NVC are on automatic (not hard-wired) for him or her in the situation we're studying. This technique works. Doctors who are motivated to do something about their communication problems and who go through this process improve a great deal. But it's because they learn to be consciously aware of their own NVC patterns -- what I call "bodyparl units" -- and when they feel themselves starting to assume those particular configurations of bodyparl units they _stop_. They also learn to be consciously aware of the bodyparl units that they should keep, and use more often, and subsitute for the dysfunctional ones.

If you can't videotape your roleplaying, you need to have somebody else observe while you do it and act as your coach. You need somebody who, watching you interact with your roleplaying partner, will say to you, "Freeze!" At which point you would freeze -- not moving at all -- so your NVC could be analyzed and you could try to become sufficiently aware of it to set up mental indexes for it. This isn't impossible, but it's a lot slower and more difficult than working with a videotape. Doing it "alone in your head" is, in my opinion, very close to being impossible for anyone except the very advanced expert, and even he/she would only try that in an emergency situation.

(3) I'd like to clear up some of the confusion about the idea that what Blauer's student did involved "the evocation of the Feeling/Touch mode, the first and most basic sense....How do you _feel_?" I often run into this confusion in people who've worked with NLP before they come to me as students or clients. My opinion is that the source of the confusion is that NLP doesn't distinguish between "feeling" as emotion and "feeling" as part of touch. When NLP divides up English vocabulary according to the sensory systems, it includes verbs like "love" and "hate" and "fear" in the same set as verbs like "handle" and "grab" and "caress." This is something else that John and I disagreed about, and my experience is that it creates precisely the sort of confusion I thought it would.

"How do you feel about X?" and "How would you feel if X?" are questions about the other person's _emotions_. The expected answers are something from the set that includes "I feel angry" and "I would feel distressed" and "I would feel pleased." Such sequences -- in my opinion -- have nothing much to do with touch, and are not part of the tactile/kinesthetic [pick your favorite term] semantic field. It's easy to lump them together, because one of the ways that "I would feel angry" may be expressed is "I would feel like punching you in the face" -- which is most emphatically touch language. But only a person who is touch dominant is likely to use a sentence like that to express anger, accompanied by congruent tone of voice and intonation and gesture and posture and the like. People who are sight or hearing dominant would do it differently. The fact that English uses the one word "feel" for both emotion and touch is an accident of history; it leads to much confusion.

(4) Finally.... What Blauer's student did, in my opinion, was to choose _Leveling_ as his Satir Mode. He walked up to the 8 men tormenting his girlfriends and he Leveled with them. That is, what he said to them was the simple truth as he perceived it, backed up by congruent body language. I can't tell this from looking at the words he used; I base my conclusion on the fact that what he said successfully defused the potential confrontation -- it worked. I am quite certain that if he had not been using Leveling Mode it would _not_ have worked. Look at this pair of sentences, please.

A. "How would you feel if the woman you're tormenting were your sister?"
B. "How would you FEEL if the woman you're torMENTing were YOUR SISter??!!"

Sentence A is my best try at writing the sentence in Leveling Mode. English writing offers me no resources at all for writing down the intensity and the warmth that would be in the Leveler's voice; if I wanted to describe the look in the Leveler's eye and the postures of the Leveler's body I'd have to add a long string of sentences and details separately -- there's no way they can be added to the written words as they are to the spoken ones. And there's no way I can add the _metamessage_ that backed up the words, which I can summarize here roughly as: "I am so confident of my ability to handle anything at all that you might try in response to my words that I'm perfectly comfortable saying them to you." That metamessage is in the NVC, not in the words, and is part of Leveling. The words shown, in Leveling Mode, worked for Blauer's student, who clearly was competent to decide for himself that Leveling was both safe and appropriate in this situation.

Sentence B is exactly the same words, in either Blaming or Placating Mode; we can't tell which because we don't have enough information. Those words, in either Blaming or Placating Mode, would not have worked; Blauer's student would have found himself in the middle of a fight. The difference is not in the words, but in the tunes.

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Detect, Defuse, and Defend

Postby SEAN C » Sat Apr 15, 2000 10:14 pm

Two different times, in different bars, different people, who I had never seen before. They walked up to me after they came in the door, and asked me if I wanted to fight. Both times, I said "no", and maybe one or two other words. I didn't change my expression or posture. Both times they walked away. One of them attacked someone a minute or two later. The other time, nothing happened while I was there. I guess everyone else said "no" too.


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Detect, Defuse, and Defend

Postby Tony Blauer » Sun Apr 16, 2000 4:00 am

Ringo - thanks for the plug for my tapes and Yes I do have the ‘Secret Scroll Edition’ with Koans chanted backwards, some of which you could probably use as monologues for auditions.



This thread was emailed to me its very interesting.

I would like to share some thoughts. They’re slightly provocative [PC for inflammatory] but my intention is to help create clarity and not to incite. So please read this from the perspective of 'shocking a realization through forced introspection'.

In the defensive tactics community there are many renowned systems that the are wholly embraced & supported by agencies at local and state levels that DO NOT support most officers in a real 'holy-****' confrontation. Their complex motor skills go out the window. Their strategic verbal skills are lost to fear brought on by the imminent danger.

The point is that our overly Politically Correct world has made the 'handling of violence’ a ‘touchy feely' thing at times and all this does is make the predators job easier.

Another problem is the source. Many defensive tactics & self-defense systems are starting to incorporate modern negotiation and intrapersonal communication tolls into the systems and for the most part this is a dangerous path.

Here’s the problem: Everything works in a demo. Real fights are not demos.

Evaluating an athletes blood pressure and fine motor skill coordination after taxing his systems and then simply transposing that same info to the combat field is not realistic and potentially dangerous to the real warriors who need to have faith and will to forge on. But that is the standard for many DT groups.

Further, most verbal systems are designed to accommodate relationship strife, corporate negotiation, conflict resolution and so on. But they are founded on conditions not present in the street [risk of death & injury] and also, the consent to negotiate is present in most marital & board meetings [and still sometimes their shots fired]. The street is vastly different, and in my humble opinion, blindly adopting or adhering to systems that encourage ‘steps’ or rules can be dangerous. When you walk into harms way and you are reading from a cue card you cannot possibly see what’s going on.

The danger when I read long, detailed threads like these is NOT that the info is inaccurate, not at all, its’ just not all appropriate. Anything calculating or too methodical has a danger in that one expects a stereotypical response because of what we were trained to look for. But the predator has a plan, and you better not be locked into an XYZ systemic approach that potentially takes you out of the INTUITIVE LOOP, that loop is the very process that tells you, for no discernable reason at the time, to suddenly ‘drop’ the predator, run or defuse.

At an Officer Survival course I gave last year, I made it extremely clear that my focus for the 40 hour class would be on surviving close quarter attacks where the predator was trying to seriously harm or kill the officer. This was made clear in my opening statements, throughout the day and the next day and the next, etc.

At the end of the class evaluations were given out, one of the attendees wrote that my tactics were too ‘violent’ and that their department would not sanction them???!!!! Excuse me, but someone please tell me what is considered too violent when someone is trying to kill you? I mean, can things get any more violent?

Only our friend ‘PC’ can be blamed for this sort of Pavlovian conditioning of a DT trainer! You see, in the real world, there are tactics that work in theory but not in practice. But, there are many great tactics that do work in practice but not in theory [but PCness, doctrine, ego or cultist myopia will not allow their benefits to be experienced].

How many of you have watched videos of good guys dying because they failed to observe or integrate their intuitive survival systems warnings? Not many of you I surmise. Believe me I’m not bragging, in my capacity as a police & military consultant I have seen many films like these and trust me, one gets a sickening feeling watching a real person die, especially when you can see the mistakes happening.

Sometimes **** happens, but in many of these videos it was the ‘system’ that failed them. [My opinion]. It’s important for anyone who cares to realize that my system evolved out of analyzing real confrontations, not trying conform a system to quell confrontations to ,make the system look good.

My system, which is so misunderstood by most, is intuitively generated and then behaviorally wired. All the tactics are interconnected and the emotional, psychological and physical choices are congruous with one another, therefore there is no dissonance [other than the real life organic fear present and unsolicited negative thoughts of fear/failure], the system is theoretical reliable because I do not teach rules.

Aside from my real world confrontations, teaching only self-defense for over 20 years, , thousand of hours of ring and scenario contact drills analyzing tactics for their merits, draw backs & so on, networking and training alongside some of the world’s elite warriors, I ALSO have seen the result of people who chose NOT to fight back, and of those who tried to fight back a moment TOO LATE.

Look how abstract and simple the Three D’s are. DETECT to avoid. DEFUSE to de-escalate. DEFEND to protect. No forced sequence [though those that do not really study my material think that there is an order]. The Three D’s can start @ DEFEND or end with DETECT. I don’t really care and only the scenario and you [that day] and your opponent can decide how it unfolds.

As I wrote in a recent post: Very often we all 'talk too much' and 'do too little'...that is one of the reasons I developed the Panic Attack System way back in 1982. During a training discussion on real-life responses, I realized we were all talking about what we would do.

On judgment day, we will not be asked to make a speech..

Experience cannot be bought but can be sought. Winning is an 'ego' driven pursuit and can interfere with the intuitive genius of the body/mind connection.

Theories, techniques, fitness, books, sparring, etc are just components. The actual scenario has a huge influence; from time of day, weather, fatigue, who's the opponent/s, are there weapons involved, escape route, allies, is it a mugging or a murder, I could go on & on. In reality, there are many components that must be present for the sun to shine on us in a 'holy-****' moment [as we respectfully refer to it]. If we all remind ourselves that we are training to improve, we'd all see more clearly. The 3-Dimensional scenario is the missing link in 'self-defense' training. Without it, everything is theory, discussion, talking.

Many individuals in the martial art world have trouble grasping my message and misinterpret my research. No one likes to hear another 'so-called expert' [me] suggest that what they are doing may not work. But that is the reality of life, most of what we all do does not work, which is why we all ‘work’ on learning to understand our relationships, jobs, children, language, martial arts, etc.

If one of your goals is maximum confidence for a real-life confrontation then the training must be life-like . I call our process the 'synthetic experience' because no matter how hard we all try, we cannot ever create reality, and we can only replicate a past event or imagine a future one. It's only real once, when it happens. [Fight the same guy wearing the same clothes in the same bar at the same time - next week - and I guarantee it’s a different fight, get it?]

In honor of the next mission Impossible movie, let me say it this way,...should you decide to accept the mission, your job is to create the most realistic FAKE stuff imaginable.

And that has been my philosophy for 20+ years of teaching: creating realistic fake stuff. Because when you think everything you do in a laboratory type environment is real, you begin to lose the plot, to think you know more and so on. 'Fake' keeps it humble, if this makes sense.

Train hard & stay safe.


Tony Blauer
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Detect, Defuse, and Defend

Postby Van Canna » Sun Apr 16, 2000 4:54 am

Tony Blauer writes:

"Their complex motor skills go out the window. Their strategic verbal skills are lost to fear brought on by the imminent danger"

Here is what Peyton Quinn writes:

"People do choke up. But until they physically experience that, until they feel their knees shake, until they realize they can’t talk, it’s not real to them and therefore it’s not a real problem in real world self defense"

This is the most important lesson! We have discussed this on my forum, it seems forever, but it does not sink in! This is not meant to be offensive to Ozarque or anyone else, it is, as Tony explains, more of a primal response firmly in command at the “Holy ****” moment! Rational thought seems to leave town!

Van Canna

[This message has been edited by Van Canna (edited April 15, 2000).]

[This message has been edited by Van Canna (edited April 16, 2000).]
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Detect, Defuse, and Defend

Postby student » Sun Apr 16, 2000 3:04 pm

This is difficult for me, as I am the one who alerted Tony to this thread, but I believe Tony is making a few incorrect assumptions about this Forum that I now have a duty to address. I neither am attempting to attack Suzette and her work nor ask someone else to do so. I am sure Tony is not either, but (as we have all seen) there is enough ambiguity in the written word that it is possible an unwarranted attack could be construed from his post.

Tony (or, as we post here Blauer-Sensei Image):

Unlike The Mental Edge Forum, the different Forums here will take a more specialized approach to the self-defense spectrum. Our Ozarque is Dr. Suzette Hayden Elgin, at least as learned in her field of Verbal Self-Defense (she claims no expertise in the physical) as you are in yours: Chu Fen Do, PDR, S.P.E.A.R.; I recommend her works without reservation. I respect the both of you to the utmost.

But my point is that this Forum is devoted exclusively to the verbal aspects of conflict - and as such, I believe can be integrated into your system as well. Please note that my post that originated the thread specified that we were addressing the Defuse aspect, period.

I believe Suzette came up with some very valuable insights. Mental role playing per se or even scenario playing with a partner is still swimming in the sand. An observant coach to see if your behavior actually is congruent to you message is invaluable. How words are said is at least as important as what is said: the tune can control the lyrics.

Since the understanding among us here is that this Forum is about Verbal Self-Defense and the thread itself was about Defusing, a response about things extraneous to those points may seem like an unwaranted criticism, much as if someone criticised the Cerebral Self Defense audio tape for having no pictures, or How To Beat A Groundfighter for not addressing flying kicks. Synthesis has its place, and in the end everything is a part of the whole. But there is also a place for dissection, observation, and tuning the individual parts.


[This message has been edited by student (edited April 16, 2000).]
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Detect, Defuse, and Defend

Postby Tony Blauer » Sun Apr 16, 2000 4:26 pm


The 'reactive' defensiveness that can result from reading a provocative post is merely a microcosm of the world of violence; ironically, most violence usually starts with some form of communication error.


I appreciate your concern and understand where you are coming from. However, as I pointed out in my thread, my intention was to force some introspection. Was that accomplished?

My post, and I was clear about this, was not to debase Suzette's expertise, which is obvious. My post was spawned by my passion & integrity – as grandiose as this may seem – to help make the world a bit safer. Period.

My message was simply that tools that work in 'consenting' arena are very different when there is no consent to negotiate/evaluate. When talks break down, parties can agree to disagree and/or resume negotiation with a mediator at another time...I've never heard of that happening during a violent confrontation.

I think that is a worthy message...


There are very real 'life altering' dangers when we become too analytical with the leading and/or manipulation of human behavior particularly when it interferes with the intuitive process. Why? Because intuition is a crucial, crucial, crucial, [did I mention crucial] part of total & holistic self-defense. And when we over analyze how we gesture, speak, intonate so we can calculate, formulate, regurgitate, etc…. we take the 'realness' out of the process, which can not only trigger the audience [the bad-guy] through their intuitive dissonance, but, this calculating process requires mechanics that mess with the our survival system's intuitive radar because there’s a propensity to fixate on the ‘stimulus/response’ prediction rather than applying the more Zen-like approach of staying in the moment and adjusting to the immediate emotional climate.

Intuition led me to the SPEAR SYSTEM. Intuition has saved my butt many times. Intuition has guided Generals who saved countries in battle. Real world survival always incorporates intuition. Intuition is the foundation of Gavin DeBecker's approach to understanding fear and addressing threat.


There was no ‘technical’ contention, thus I was not attacking anyone or any particular technique. I posted here because the thread ‘threaded’ many of my ideas & research and dissected my student’s experience & tactics. I posted a philosophical ‘warning’ as I felt [intuitively] that there was perhaps some risk for ‘readers’ of analysis paralysis.

The process that allowed my student to defuse a gang and escort his girlfriend to safety was a simple process, one that anyone can access and had nothing to do with ‘competence’ but rather with intuitive confidence.

My assumption - perhaps incorrect - was that this is a martial art forum and that this forum was about 'Verbal Self-defense' as it relates to total self-defense. If I am wrong, I apologize and will reserve my thoughts for the street oriented forums.

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Detect, Defuse, and Defend

Postby Ringo » Sun Apr 16, 2000 11:56 pm


"My assumption-perhaps incorrect-was that this was a martial arts forum and that this forum was about 'Verbal Self Defense' as it relates to total self defense..."

Mine too, so please accept apologies if I came off as a smart ass er...I mean Ironical and Paradoxical on my post, but I was also under the impression that this was a "street oriented" forum. i.e; emphasis on survival and verbal defusion as related to possibly lethal confrontations.

NLP? Perhaps it does not mix all that well with INTUITION; as Sensei Blauer has brought up that word. It does seem-- and my apologies in advance to ozarque if I've misunderstood her--that there was a bit too much of "if y says this then x should say z, and use high C in tone".

Also the difference in what a Dr. says in his office to a patient vs. the tapes of attacks on the street should be obvious. Again this is not to say the former can't be extrapolated to the latter, but I would like to hear first hand accounts.

(BTW there's even a tape out by someone, whose name I'm too much of a gentleman to mention,which gives the bizarre advice of raising the pitch of one's voice as this will make the knife wielding opponent raise his guard accordingly, thus giving the defender a chance to strike low---Lot's of luck!)

As to Mr. Blauer's experience to teaching CQB to LEO's and getting slammed for techniques being too brutal, he is not alone in this, but that's another thread...

Student's seconding my request for first hand experiences are , I believe, also a desire to know how well theory stacks up in practise. Something which sensei Blauer DOES talk about in his seminars and tapes. . .

I don't know, perhaps Tony, student, myself and other intuitive types should go to a Jungian MA forum, rather than an NLP 'Paint (or fight) by the numbers'. Let's see, is the mugger an extrovert or an introvert? Did you dream about or--sorry, slipping into ironical mode again.

Peace to all,

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