TONY BLAUER ON LINE INTERVIEW
1. Mr. Blauer, how long have you been involved in
the martial arts?
Technically speaking about 32 years. I started wrestling
when I was seven; I’m going to be 39 this year.
2. What instructors and/or
martial artists have had the most influence on you?
In terms of inspiration,
it would be Bruce Lee. Bruce died the year I started Tae Kwon Do. I was thirteen.
Though I loved TKD, Bruce mesmerized me. His conviction and determination shaped
a lot of my personal belief systems.
3. What is different about your martial
arts curriculum as opposed to what is currently taught by more traditional martial
arts instructors today ?
Traditional techniques only worked when fighting
was codified; when there were rules of engagement. When we agreed on what constituted
‘fair’ or ‘acceptable’ behavior. That era has long since gone. This is so obvious
it’s almost embarrassing to have to explain. To address the harsh realty of the
real-life threat our system is entirely behaviorally based. Every concept drill,
tactic and idea is passed through a filter that determines its ‘appropriateness’,
like a ‘reality check’ prior to investing time and energy. If what you practice only
works half the time - you’re wasting 50% of your training period. This premise of
‘behaviorally sound tactics’ is confusing to many, but incorporating the emotional,
psychological and bio-mechanic truths of a tactic that might actually save your life
is actually very prudent.
4. Do you have a “martial arts philosophy” that
guides you in your teaching as well as in your personal training?
is simple: all growth stems from confidence, action and motivation fuel confidence,
motivation is controlled by our fears. Fear management, therefore determines the
type of life we lead. For every conflict, there is a strategy that determines the
result; victim and victor are often separated by a single thought. I try to stay
true to this reality. It’s difficult at times, especially since so many people think
all problems are outside themselves.
5. What is your opinion on the grappling
phenomenon that has seized the martial arts community in recent years?
its great. Grappling is primal. It’s therefore natural. We’ve been grappling for
years. If you look at the first fight on my FORGING A FIGHTING SYSTEM video, there
I am sparring (1980) and the fight went to the ground within 15 seconds and ended
there. Almost all the original PANIC ATTACKS from 1982 on, involved both stand-up
and ground grappling. Due to the popularity inspired through UFC( type events, the
‘science’ of grappling is now available.
6. Several of your more recent videos
have been oriented toward Groundfighting. How does your material differ from Brazilian
Jiu-jitsu, Judo, and sport wrestling?
As I mentioned above, we’ve always
included the grappling range in our training, the videos I put out were an attempt
to remind people that not all fights should go to the ground, but if forced there,
remember it’s a fight. All my material is about surviving a real-life attack, not
running down the clock or preventing my opponent from hitting me with his favorite
technique. So our ‘grappling’ tactics are not really ‘grappling’ but rather Groundfighting
7. Your fans know that you incorporate boxing into your self-defense
training. In your opinion, what are some advantages of learning how to box?
boxing influence has changed drastically over the past few years. In fact, many
people know me only from the Panther PANIC ATTACK series and don’t realize that that
material is 10 years old (filmed in 1988). Though the tapes are thorough and well
shot, the material contains only a fraction of what we’re into today. The whole
S.P.E.A.R. SYSTEM( and all the behavioral research is so exciting…back to the boxing,
ten years ago my approach was to be tougher, faster, stronger than the opponent and
by necessity that required incorporating the science of boxing. Though I still embrace
the overkill mind-set, how we defeat the aggressor is tactically different, so boxing
is no longer a ‘choice’ range in a real-fight. However, we still use boxing for
conditioning, for sparring, to develop balance, fear management, blinking reflex/control,
proximity sense, pain management and a few other elements of intellectual capital.
You are regarded as a pioneer in the development of psychological tools for Self
defense training. How did you develop this unique approach and why do you think
more people are not teaching similar material?
The seed of the process is
found in my answer to the philosophy question. If you let truth guide you you’d
be surprised at how different your findings will be from what is considered ‘acceptable’.
I realized long ago that predator and prey decide their fate before the first blow
is thrown and even during the battle the ‘will to win’ supersedes the ego’s desire
for victory. This duality is part of our psychological system. The first our Golden
Rules of street defense asks, “Are you Challenged or Threatened?” The answer will
influence your performance and this truth is psychologically driven irrespective
of your physical prowess. As for why more people don’t embrace this? I have opinions,
but they are really irrelevant. Those who agree with my approach already know and
those who don’t will try to berate me no matter what I say, so why speculate? You
shouldn’t try to sell someone something they can’t see.
9. Here at MAVR,
your videos are considered to be among the very best for preparing people to deal
with real life violence. Which of your videos do you consider being your best work?
don’t know. Honestly, I’ve never watched one of my videos through. I’m too critical.
I have had a book sitting in my computer for 3 years, over 200 pages, and I still
can’t finish it. A week after I design a new drill I have a newer one. I turn the
camera on and film. Those who have seen my videos know this. No cuts, no breaks,
no movie magic, re-takes, choreography and so on. Since I don’t preach a ‘style’
I want my correspondent students to see the rawness and reality of training for and
surviving the street confrontation.
10. Which of your videos would you
recommend to a beginner in the martial arts?
That would depend on what their
goals were. We put together the BE YOUR OWN BODYGUARD home study course to address
the issue of personal defense readiness. After all, that’s what the majority of
started in the arts for: confidence and power as it relates to violence. Anyone
who tells me they’re in it for the health, fitness or other benefits is under some
sort if illusion. But that’s another story. As far as individual recommendations,
probably the CEREBRAL SELF-DEFENSE audio and SCIENCE OF THE SUCKER PUNCH.
Other than your own tapes, are their any other video instructors whose work you’d
There are instructors I like for different reasons;
presence, humor, flash, coordination, sometimes their information is the farthest
thing from practical, but these are personal choices, so I’m reticent to recommend
stuff, as it’ll probably be misunderstood. I don’t look at a lot of tapes, I am a
fan of Walt Lysak’s material’ he’s one of the most complete martial artists you’ll
find anywhere, his ground skills are scary. He teaches the Sento system for those
interested. Bussey, LaLa, Deane Lawler (in Australia) have all become friends of
mine and I push their stuff because their research is thorough.
that martial arts are like menus. The biggest menu is often the most cluttered.
It also makes ‘choosing’ difficult. Simplicity is where it’s. You can’t eat everything
all at once so stick to the foods ‘you’ like and digest easily. Also, your tastes
can change, don’t be afraid to try other restaurants.
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