292: Tony Blauer | Mindsets for Survival


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"The tools and skills you need to protect yourself are things you come equipped with." - Tony Blauer

If it came down to it, could you defend yourself or a loved one in a street fight? Would martial arts save the day? Probably not says our guest for episode 292, Tony Blauer.

Tony is a self-defense expert and options facilitator who teaches people (from law enforcement to civilians) how to defend themselves in an ambush scenario, like being held up at an ATM or a thief in your house. And he teaches people without using any martial arts. In this show he talks about simple ways to pay attention to your intuition, read an attacker's intention and get yourself out of trouble…and plenty more.

More About This Show:

I originally met Tony a few years ago when I took his class while at a Counter-Terrorism Summit; it was awesome. Tony is the head of Blauer Tactical Systems (TBS), a leading consulting company that specializes in the research and development of close quarter tactics & scenario-based training. As the leader of TBS, Tony has developed systems like S.P.E.A.R. and High Gear, and many other programs.

As part of his work, for the last two decades Tony has studied the body's physiology to find out what is in our genetic wiring that has allowed us to survive when other species perished.

He says part of it is your startle response. When it is working in conjunction with your instinctive intuitive system, it alerts you to danger and creates awareness so you can take appropriate action.

In this show, Tony and I discuss how to hone those physical survival instincts and awareness, why martial arts doesn't work and might even get you killed, when to listen to that bad feeling you've having because it may save your life, how to devalue yourself as a victim and how to manage fear to get a better read on the situation you're in.

Honing those survival instincts is the first key to protecting and defending yourself and your loved ones. But you do need to practice using it. Fear is like fitness, you can exercise it according to Tony. In that respect, fear is good for you. If you face it and confront it, you get stronger and your fear management skill set becomes more adept.

If that's true, then why doesn't practicing martial arts work? Because when fear kicks in, the part of the human brain that gets activated is the amygdala and the cognitive centers of the brain get bypassed.

And where is your martial arts training is stored? You guessed it, the cognitive regions. In other words, when fear kicks in you don't have time to think and you react instinctively. That's why Tony says you must rehearse any of the strategies he gives you. They are abilities you already have, you just need to hone and practice them before you're actually attacked.

The finer details of this show include:

  • It's not who's right in a fight but who's ___. Tony fills in the blank.
  • How to avoid the victim mindset.
  • What's your reticular cortex and why does it matter?
  • The person attacking you wants 1 of 3 things: what are they?
  • Tony and I share our personal stories about how we avoided being victims.
  • And so much more!

When it comes to dealing with any situation where you're in danger, Tony recommends the 3 Ds: detect. defuse. defend. The first step is to detect the threat. Did you get a bad feeling? If so, now it's time to defuse the situation. This is where you will shift the power by using your verbal skills. You'll say something that gets in their head so you have time to shift psychological gears and better defend yourself.

The verbal defusing is where you devalue yourself as a victim. One scenario Tony gives is this: if someone confronts you with a knife and wants your wallet, say "Hey that's an awesome knife, I collect them. I'm going to give you my pants and my wallet and buy that knife from you."

That would obviously throw off your attacker, it's not a response they'd be expecting. By throwing them off, you buy yourself time to evaluate the situation further. Does it seem like they are backing down or do they not care that you just offered to buy their knife? If they're backing down, continue the verbal defusing. But if they haven't paused at all based on your response, you know they want more than just your wallet and they may be trying to kidnap or kill you. That's when you need to know how to physically fight back by gouging someone's eyes, and any other number of practical self-defense moves Tony's team will teach you.

And while using the 3 D's to get yourself out of the situation, fear management will play a big role. Tony says it is possible to stay calm when faced with a frightening scenario like being attacked. The Golden Rule of self-defense, according to Tony, is accept what is happening.

There's tremendous comfort in denying what is a scary situation but the sooner you accept what's really going on, the sooner you can take action and get out of harm's way. It's a natural human process to deny the fear: it's called cognitive dissonance. Your brain can't rectify the reality of the situation and so it makes excuses to keep you comfortable and keep you feeling like you're safe, even when you are not.

When you do realize you aren't safe, Tony says you have to fight back: those who fight back are more successful than those who cooperate in 100% of cases.

Tony is a master at the science of self-defense and reading dangerous situations; it was terrific to have him on the show and get his insider knowledge on how to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.

Resources from this episode:

Tony's web site Tony on Twitter Tony's videos on YouTube I Am Alpha's web site I Am Alpha on YouTube

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