Monday, August 29, 2011

Close Quarter Range

Posted by Tony Blauer On March - 25 - 2009

Close quarter combat and trapping range is another “mystical” area of training. It has been the Subject of controversy and clever marketing. I could probably write forever on this subject and discuss and train almost as long, so let’s cut to the nitty gritty. Most unarmed (and armed) fights start and hover around close quarter range. Most people are not comfortable, let alone skilled at this range.elbow_full

For street confidence, close quarter proficiency should be your focus. Here’s why: For your opponent to land a telling blow, he must always enter your close quarter range. Contact cannot be made without passing through this range. Think about that for a moment longer, perhaps.

Your confidence in this range is really your base. It is the range where you can quickly control the situation. Many martial artists preach a safe zone ‑ “stay outside my kicking range and we can talk.” Though there is merit to the theory, the theory is not the truth. The facts are simply different and though there may be a time and opportunity to employ a safe zone strategy, most situations don’t permit it and you will find yourself in an emotional bind as you discover that your strategy (your plan) is not working.

Also, the further you are from your opponent, the more likely you’ll force a blitz attack in a real street confrontation. You don’t want the blitz attack ‑ believe me.

In order to control the opponent in this range, you require serious psychological skills. You must understand the nature of escalation and understand the theory of “orientation” and the cosmos of violence. (Check out audiotapes). This is what I refer to as the behavioral approach to self‑defense. You must first manipulate the behavior of your opponent. This puts you in control of the scenario. Ultimately, you will successfully defuse or defend.

In this range you must also nurture your tactile (sense of touch) skills. Sensitivity training, energy drills and all of the other similarly termed drills are used to develop the skill of “reading” your opponent while in contact with the opponent. Your eyes account for 80% of your input and observation, but only when you can ‘see’ the object. In-close confrontations require tactile acuity.


Real fights happen inside the space of a phone booth.
-Blauer maxim

Many people try to make this skill esoteric or elitist, when, in fact, everyone possesses tactile sensitivity and everyone can further develop it.

Wrestlers use it, as do boxers and hockey players (when they fight).

Energy drills are simple and necessary; defined simply: All muscles are interconnected; therefore, you cannot throw a punch, with power, without moving parts of your whole body. Also, we are made up of electrons that carry a charge (this is a bit esoteric, but simple) and when we touch one another, we can often sense intention and a kinetic build-up. When you combine these two principles you get tactile information. Logically integrate the information with sound strategy and technique and you control your opponent (or at least you’ll have the opportunity to).


CFD Definition of Close Quarter Range:  Where the situation suggests that you use close quarter tools.

Close Quarter/Trapping Range “Pros & Cons

On a more strategic level, when you are in close quarter range you have the greatest selection of targets, naturally, so does your opponent. We know that anything—kick, punch, head butt—must enter our close quarter range to land. This is good to know. We have great “high” and “low” line opportunities, therefore, variety. (Which, as you know, is the spice of fights, I mean, life.) 

The hand is quicker than the eye, so with proper psychological skills, we are confident about a first strike advantage. If we are ethically following a force continuum, we have a much greater opportunity to control and subdue our aggressor in this range. Our greatest intuitive defense, tactile sensitivity, is engaged in this range. Close quarter range is generally the weakest range for most fighters. We will train harder so it is our strongest and since the majority of fights start here, with proper training, we will end them here.

  1. All targets close
  2. All attacks enter
  3. Variety
  4. Control potential
  5. Tactile sensitivity
  6. High line / low line potential
  7. Least telegraphic
  8. Opponent’s weak range
  9. Fights start here
  10. Overlaps boxing & grappling
  1. Your targets exposed
  2. High / low potential
  3. Hand quicker than eye
CFD Close Quarter ‘Muscle Memory’ Form
To help develop and maintain muscle memory, practice the form (a modern kata) described below. Remember to visualize where you are striking, visualize your attacker and watch your imagined opponent react to your strikes so that you adjust your movement to correspond with his movement.

IMPORTANT: This form is just a training exercise. The tactics you choose in the street MUST be appropriate to your real-life incident. Force must parallel danger.

The typical scenario:
This confrontation starts in “close quarter combat” range. Your attacker is not a martial artist, simply a macho bully. You’ve tried to verbally defuse the confrontation, but to no avail. It is too dangerous to turn your back on him. Visualize the scenario; try to create an adrenaline dump. Visualize a real-life scenario and start working the form.

Start from a Submissive Posture
Legend: YOUR ACTION ‑ opponent’s reaction
  1. SHORT LEAD FACE SLAP ‑ opponent flinches and closes his eyes.
  2. PALM STRIKE UNDER CHIN ‑ opponent steps back, growls and rushes in to nail you with a “big Haymaker.”
  3. Intercept with the S.P.E.A.R. ‑ opponent is jammed and hesitates.
  4. VERTICAL ELBOW ‑ catches opponent under the chin, snapping his head back.
  5. DOWNWARD RAKE (flows from same elbow #3) ‑ scratching attacker’s face, he flinches forward.
  6. HORIZONTAL ELBOW (opposite arm) ‑ hits opponent in the nose.
  7. REVERSE RAKE (same arm #5) ‑ causes opponent to clutch his face and turn away.
  8. DIAGONAL ELBOW (opposite arm/up and downward, slashing motion) ‑ hits attacker in the temple (clavicle, ear, etc.) region causing him to buckle.
  9. HAIR GRAB & KNEE ‑ grabbing the opponent’s hair, you drive a knee solidly into his face. He clutches his face and starts to stand up.
  10. LEAD FRONT KICK ‑ seizing the opportunity to attack the groin, you step in and snap a hard, quick kick to the groin. Your opponent doubles over, clutching his groin.
  11. REAR LEG FRONT KICK ‑ With the opponent doubled over, drive a powerful front kick, and use the shin as a striking surface, into his hands. Turn and run.
Here are some key points you want to keep in mind while you practice.
  1. Visualization (see the scenario)
  2. Synergy (use your whole body)
  3. Work in three’s (combinations)
  4. Lead with speed (suddenness)
  5. Closest weapon to closest target (ideal target)
  6. Follow‑through (aim past the point of contact)
  7. Resoluteness (total focus)
Naturally, in real life, the order of the techniques and the duration of the fight will be different. So understand that this is only a psycho-physical simulation ‑ a modern “Kata.” One thing is for sure: The movements I advocate are the ones you need to know to successfully defend yourself. These are street proven tactics.

Close Quarter Drills
A good partner drill to help you to see how the close quarter arsenal flows is to have your partner attack you slowly with a realistic street­ type attack (grab, push, hair pull, tackle, etc.). Negate the attack, by jamming, blocking, intercepting, whatever and then do the CQ Form using the techniques I described. Your partner assists by feigning the reaction to your strikes.

Slowly you will start to improvise around every type of attack and realize that the arsenal is a constant and the targets are the variable.

This is an important realization. In close quarter range your attacker is exposed to almost every tool in your arsenal.

In time you may graduate to a full level Panic attack using protective equipment (HIGH GEAR™). But take your time with this. Reckless training will only lead to unnecessary injuries.

Ah, alas, we arrive at the infamous grappling range. The subject of much debate. Due to the recent popularity of “ground” arts, I am compelled to make a statement before I reveal some of our grappling strategies and tactics.

Firstly, there is no best range. There is no best “art” or “style”. Style is about ‘stylistic’ performance. (Note: CHU FEN DO is a system comprised of inter­dependent components that function to serve the whole. It is NOT a style by design.)

The superior fighter, the true warrior, trains in all ranges and becomes proficient in weapons and improvised weapons. He is not paranoid; he is prepared. To focus purely on one arena is to invite disaster.

Contests and competition cannot determine the ultimate martial art. A “style” does not defeat an opponent. There is an old expression: “There is no superior martial art, only superior martial artists.”

Bruce Lee could have made any system work. Tyson would maul most opponents, whether he was boxing or using Tai Chi movements. In the end, it’s you that must perform. Your chosen style may enhance your efforts or it may encumber your efforts. That is for you to evaluate (hopefully, long before an altercation).

© Copyright Tony Blauer/Blauer Tactical Systems, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this column may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the publisher or author.


Posted by Tony Blauer On August - 28 - 2009

ballisticmfUnder close scrutiny, we find that there are inherent deficiencies in many modern martial arts systems in regards to self defense practice. Of these, the propensity for students to always practice personal protection from a position of tactical “advantage” is perhaps the most dangerous.
Similarly, it seems that far too few schools these days understand—much less practice—the actual “kill zone” moments in violent encounters that are the undoing of many well-intentioned, if not well-informed, martial artists.

Enter Blauer Tactical Systems (BTS). Through his lifetime pursuit of solutions to real world violence, BTS founder, Tony Blauer, has developed yet another formula to put the “good guys” a step ahead of their violent opposition: Ballistic Micro-Fights.

In short, Ballistic Micro-Fights are the science, psychology and safety elements behind realistic role playing for self defense and scenario-based drills. The training is created to effect one goal: greater confidence during real life dynamic confrontations.

The Premise:
A Ballistic Micro-Fight, or “explosive, short-term training incident,” helps students take the guesswork out of the “big bang” moments of violent encounters. It does this by looking not only at the static components of an attack, but by putting those attacks in the context of congruent scenarios in which they occur.

Coach Blauer’s replication theory is the key. Through the scripted, focused examination of most dangerous moments of an attack, students can learn either from replicated scenarios of their own experience, from “copying” attacks seen in video or on TV, or from creative training evolutions developed with the assistance of a knowledgeable coach.

When this practice is combined with rehearsed start-to-finish “bad guy” aggressiveness, congruent attacker physiology and realistic physical attacks, students have everything they need to understand real-life violent encounters from the inside out.

An Example:
All martial arts schools of any worth practice basic defenses to a push, a grab or a punch. But, when—if ever—has anyone witnessed an attacker push or punch anyone without an incident or pre-assault indicators proceeding that attack? Indeed, with too sharp a focus, students often lose the “forest for the trees” when attacks, rather than the context of how attacks are launched—or when—is studied.

In the three-dimensional practice of Ballistic Micro-Fights, fight sequences are precisely defined, dissected and drilled to create a cohesive “flow”. Let’s look at a common one:
At a local bar, a drunk approaches;
After a brief exchange, he threatens you verbally;
Before you can respond, he pushes you;
Immediately, he grabs with his left hand, and;
He throws a wild haymaker at you with his right.

Rationalization and Progression:
The process for building a Ballistic Micro-Fight is to first understand the scenario, making certain that the attack (or attacks) is congruent with the situation.

Next, static drills are implemented to help students stress inoculate against each individual “big bang” moment of the progression; first the encroachment, then the verbal assault, then the push, etc.

Following this dissection, the dynamics of dialogue, rehearsed attacker aggression, realistic force-on-force resistance and others are added to ratchet up the speed and accelerate the learning experience for the student.

Finally, the addition of Blauer’s revolutionary HIGH GEAR™ allows for the practice of “alive” training evolutions. Voila! You have just experienced your first Ballistic Micro-Fight: a high-speed training incident that will realistically approximate the time, energy and aggression of a real world assault.

Safety first! As Coach Blauer often states, teaching self defense is dangerous—morally, ethically and legally. After all, eventually someone is going to listen to you and believe both what they practice and what you say!

Beware of “superman tactics and techniques”. Blauer notes that far too many defensive systems focus only on what they can do when they are “on”, prepared for an attack, and firing physically on all cylinders. On the contrary, Ballistic Micro-Fights should never be allowed to devolve into “sniper” board-breaking exercises. The emphasis throughout every BMF training evolution has to remain on realism and proper role playing for them to be a success.

Like weight training and sprinting, BMF practice is never to be approached with your “max” effort or at your top speed. Many question how this “restraint” translates into realism and ask, “So you’re not really trying to hurt each other?”

Coach Blauer responds by pointing out, “No, we’re trying not to kill each other!” When it comes to training, there’s more than a semantic difference in that wisdom.

There is a vast chasm between what could happen to you in a violent encounter and what actually does happen. Ballistic Micro-Fights can help you understand this by putting our worst fears into the context of the scenarios real-life victims face everyday.

By first studying and understanding the situations in which violence occurs, and then seeking to define the probable attacks that are launched within these situations, we have all of the information we need to define, study and practice varied evolutions of our protective response.

In the end, Ballistic Micro-Fight practice is not about a technique, a “move”, the action or even the result. It’s about the entire training experience and the intellectual capital gained from that experience.

The formula is so simple, it eludes many: How and where to real fights happen? How long do they last? What are the precursors to violence and how do I recognize them? Finally, how can I recreate them, repeat them and evaluate them?

The answer, of course, is three simple letters that have been designed as the only scientific method to simultaneously improve combat conditioning, skill development and decision making under the stress of fear, fatigue and force: BMF.

For more on BMF, check out our video selection, particularly Ballistic Micro-Fights: Force-on-Force Fundamentals & Drills.

© Copyright Tony Blauer/Blauer Tactical Systems, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this column may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the publisher or author.


Posted by Tony Blauer On October - 26 - 2009

By Tony Blauer
The mind navigates the body. If the mind hesitates, so does the body.
- Blauer Tactical System’s Maxim


Apathy and denial will seal your fate. The victim mindset is often one born of apathy and then imprisoned in denial. The key to action (the remedy for hesitation and emotional inertia) is to simply accept the situation and move on. This is the first step towards tapping into the ‘victim’ to ‘victor’s’ shift.

Get Challenged

The moment you sense danger Get Challenged. The opposite of challenged is threatened. Irrespective of the situation, you always want to be challenged. It doesn’t matter the potential danger. Remember that you are there. Accept it. Now, start figuring out your strategies and tactics.
The way you communicate to yourself will reveal whether you are prone to use “victim” dialogue (I can’t) or “victor” dialogue (I can). In every challenge you want your inner coach to support your efforts.

Don’t Stop Thinking

Never fixate on one idea in combat. Your mind must be free to improvise. Plans must be flexible for you to experience spontaneity. Many people freeze in situations simply because they stopped thinking about options.


A directive is your ‘mission statement’. It is a simple mental tool that will help you sharpen your focus in the situation and realign your intention, thus, helping you to more quickly get focused and create strategies. Think of your directive as a default program that ‘kicks in’ as soon as you sense danger. Most people don’t have a true directive. Create one. It will quicken your response time because it gives your plan purpose. Your ‘purpose’, or objective, creates an internal command that sets your psychological arsenal in gear. This is fundamental for any sound strategy.
This is my personal directive and it governs my mind set during most confrontations:

When faced with the threat of attack,
I will do what I can to avoid the confrontation
With as little violence occurring to both myself and my attacker.
My directive helps me focus on my objective as I carefully select the right strategy to protect myself. I know I want to avoid violence. I now have permission to run or fight. Directives can be slightly different for each person (depending on situation, environment and occupation). But, as a rule, your directive should embody our Tactical TEN COMMANDMENTS.

Anything you do that forewarns your opponent only serves to make for a more dangerous opponent. You don’t need him more prepared. So don’t offer him a greater adrenaline dump. Let him be overconfident.
Therefore, never tell your opponent that you train. Never adopt a stance until the “physical” stage of combat has already commenced.


Musashi said, “Make your fighting stance your everyday stance and make your everyday stance your fighting stance.” There is much to learn from this idea. However, on a literal level (and in conjunction with rule “C”), it means, simply, fight from where you are. Every position you are in is a fighting stance. Learn the blocks and strikes from all “natural stances”. This exponentially increases your element of surprise.


The amount of force you use should parallel the danger you are in. This will serve you morally, as well as, legally, should the altercation go to court. As martial artists we are exposed to so many different ways of striking and rarely are the methods identified in relation to the legal concept of the Force Option Continuum. In my system we practice with “emotional motion” drills (using the same techniques while trying to feel fear or panic, or total confidence, etc.) and we give directives when practicing scenarios, i.e. stun & run, subdue, defend with extreme prejudice and so on. Using directives and practicing while in various emotional states allows participants to fully understand how emotions impact their skill and it permits them to evaluate in training the appropriate choices they should make during a confrontation.

When you create a strategy, visualize the goal. Don’t just start a strategy, which is what most people do. Your strategy is like a map, which only serves you when you have a destination. Your goal is your destination and you want to arrive alive. So create a strategy with the successful resolution of the conflict.

Remind yourself that psychological F.E.A.R (False Evidence Appearing Real or False Expectations Appearing Real) is your real enemy, more so than your opponent is. Succumbing to psychological fear induces inertia (a body’s inability to move) and will create the opposite of “F” (above).


A strategy is only useful if it works right? You must simultaneously monitor the situation while you are engaged and determine if your choices are appropriate and be willing to confidently change your strategy should the circumstances change.


Identify ‘Closest Weapon/Closest Target’. This strategy in conjunction with your natural stance awareness is an unbeatable combination and is the foundation of our SCIENCE OF THE SUCKER PUNCH seminar. Study this well, as it gets you focused on “first strike” advantage, thus, increasing your perception speed that ultimately reduces the chance of you getting sucker punched.


In the immortal words of the late Patrick Swayze’s portrayal of Dalton in ROADHOUSE, “Be nice, until it’s time to not be nice.” Don’t be cute, either. Violence is not funny and you should really make the effort to avoid the situation. Try to verbally defuse the confrontation using “choice speech” skills.
For more on this subject, check out our PERSONAL DEFENSE READINESS manual, available online.

© Copyright Tony Blauer/Blauer Tactical Systems, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this column may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the publisher or author.