A conversation with Tony Blauer

A lot of people have a lot to say about Tony Blauer. For me personal, it was Blauer who first really pointed out to me as a martial arts practitioner 25 years ago the difference between the dojo and the street. At the police academy we did a lot of good solid drills like bear hug drills and variations, action is faster than reaction drills, high gear ballistic micro fights, stimulus cue drills and so on. Today there is more and more research about startle responses, reaction time and LEO neuro-physiology. See for example the updated ‘Modified RT paradigm considering the startle response’ from Dr. Bill Lewinski and Force Science. For me at that time (20 years ago) things like how human biology responds to an ‘ambush’, startle response, the flinch and the transition from physiology to tactics were insights I first heard from Blauer. Within LEO training in the Netherlands, his ideas ended up in the curriculum for IBT teachers. Blauer is full of stories and even more ‘maxims’ so soon 2 hours passed. I hope you enjoy this non scripted conversation as much as I do.

Topics in the conversation

About getting older and the original vision and insights

The original acronym SPEAR

The neurobiology of a fight

Action is faster than reaction

About martial arts for personal development


How far can you go in training?

Know fear

Theory of Presumed compliance

Situational awareness

The method

True safety model


Startle respons (and recent study of force science)

Biological airbag

Jack in the box

Instincts, intuition, intelligence


The 21 Foot Rule

Distraction is real / reaction time OODA

The human weapon system as an operating system

Violence loves speed

Cycle of behavior

The time line of violence

The crucial role of context

What to train (not what is possible but what is probable)

You do what you do most

Live action response drills

What would you do against lapel grab?

The essential question: what is the scenario

12 scenario’s in an hour or more / short scenario’s

Problem solving

What drive’s Tony?

When is the book coming?

Advice for new trainers

Do the work! (and meeting Steven Pressfield)