LEOs know that most of their street confrontations aren't like boxing, grappling or MMA fights. They don’t involve two athletes circling each other a few feet away and lunging in with kicks or punches. These fights aren’t like sparring, and they don’t follow the patterns of traditional martial arts. Officers intuitively know this, yet they continue to train their striking and close-quarters tools in sport-like applications.
I watch videos of some of these fights and ask myself, “Am I the only one who realizes no one looks good in a real fight?” The litmus test for those tactics is the dashboard videos. It rarely, if ever, shows the martial-arts based tactics used effectively. You almost never see anything taught in the officer safety or officer survival classes.
The close-quarter form (CQF) is a series of movements designed to assist in visualization, muscle-memory, balance, target selection and tactical flow. It is used to develop and refine fundamental close quarter tools. A real street fight won’t follow this sequence exactly but will include elements of the form.
Phase 1: Practice the following sequence, first by yourself visualizing the attacker, concentrating on timing, not power. Visualize the attacker responding and reacting to the tools and tactics. Practice it until movement is fluid.
Phase 2: Practice with a partner. LEO narrates each step of the sequence. The bad guy has to have good energy but doesn’t move until after narration. Practice good follow through with all strikes – make contact at a SLOW speed but DON’T PRACTICE MISSING.
I developed a concept called closest weapon, closest target (CWCT) ™. It is a performance enhancement filter that teaches us to attack from where we are, not from where we think we should be. The flinch locks and loads all our close-quarter tools – elbows, rakes, gouges and knees. On another level, it helps us practice attacking at 360 degrees, teaches us to respect “non-telegraphicness” and helps us choose unpredictable targets.
Here is a breakdown of the close-quarter form:
Once the close-quarter form can be done independently with good visualization on both sides, try the form with a partner, working up to faster speeds and using protective training gear. Narrate what your partner will do. Your partner should only move after your narration.
The first and foremost reason to train is for yourself. If that is your core belief, then how could you ever give a poor showing or lack of energy? You train for yourself and your family … if you are given a one-minute drill, I want to see you practicing for 60 seconds. Every time you waste a second, you are stealing time. You are stealing from yourself.
Editor's note: Tony Blauer will be instructing courses in Close Quarter Combat and Warrior Mindset & Practical Application at the upcoming HALO Counter-Terrorism Summit, taking place Oct. 29 – Nov. 2. The Summit will occupy San Diego’s entire 44-acre Paradise Point private island for homeland security training exercises, demonstrations and education. For more information, call (619) 881-9125 ext. 3 or visit www.thehalosummit.com.
About the Author
Tony Blauer is founder and CEO of Blauer Tactical Systems, Inc. Mr. Blauer has pioneered research and training methodologies that have influenced and inspired martial art & combative systems around the world. His company is now one of the world's leading consulting firms specializing in research & development of combative training & equipment for the military, law enforcement and self-defense communities.
The Blauer team has had the privilege and honor of consulting for elite elements within the federal government like U.S. Army Special Forces & Special Operations, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy SEALs, Federal Air Marshal Service, U.S. Coast Guard, Department of Energy, Secret Service, Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, and U.S. Marshals. For more information, visit www.blauertactical.com