What do we all make of SPEAR System?

Discussion in 'General Self Defense' started by BJJCop, May 17, 2016.

  1. BJJCop

    BJJCop White Belt

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    Any advice, experiences of this system from others? Practiced this for years. It's always interesting to get feedback from different perspectives. Training does involve resisting partners and the hi-gear training is good as long as your partner just doesn't give way to you intentionally. I find the outside90 principle mostly available to use when an opponent is engaging in a consistent linear/forward motion. As the main principle consists of the splayed fingers, forearm across the neck. However, I do understand that (to my understanding, correct me if you feel differently) it teaches you to get back to a point of being able to get on the aggression and back under control of a fight or person if necessary - where this "spear is a bridge to your next move" comes in. SPEAR seems to be more of a natural tool to be aware of in close quarters where you might have absolutely nothing else even though you do have a strong martial arts background - going by Blauer's word. However, I feel as though I don't have as much confidence as I should have with this system. I feel like its not so much of a primarily used method where you find yourself in any altercation and just go to outside90 straight away. I feel like I'd need to have experience using it in a confrontation outside for me to see it go to work as drilled and practiced.
     
  2. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    No experience with it. It looks like a business / religion to me, but that has nothing to do with whether or not it is effective.
     
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  3. Danny T

    Danny T Senior Master

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    I make nothing of it.
    Though it can be very effective in what it does and at the range it does, SPEAR takes in a specific portion of physical combat. Just as most fighting systems do.
     
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  4. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Pretty basic material.
     
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  5. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    The stuff that I see are some of the things that exist in other martial arts, specifically Kung Fu in reference to the Outside 90. In a martial arts system there will be more detail which will give you a deeper understanding.
    If you take martial arts then the natural tool would refer to Sensing. Any Martial arts that trains and develop sensing makes it possible to understand intention of movement by how that movement feels when it contacts your body.

    I'm not saying that SPEAR is useless, it just looks like a "fast track" self-defense system because when I watched videos of them train is can see there are some missing basics. For example: This explanation of the palm strike lacks a deeper understanding of the technique. I'm not sure if this is the extent of the teaching of it, but from the video it's definitely missing the fundamentals.


    You may be feeling this because you lack the the deeper understanding of what you are doing or the sensing ability. When you sense something your body reacts naturally, when you add sensing to technique, then the body performs the technique naturally.

    I often have discussions with the instructor at my school. His fighting tactics is to determine what he wants to do to you and then do it. My fighting tactics is to allow your actions to determine what comes next. This means I don't have a "game plan" of what attacks I'm going to do to you. I give what you allow me to give and not try to force a technique.
    It is possible that you are uncomfortable with the outside 90 technique from SPEAR because you are trying to force the application in situations where another technique is better suited. In many martial art systems, the "outside 90" technique of SPEAR is often used against punches that are coming from the outside. But there is more to it than just the positioning of the arm being more than 90 degrees. There's a lot of stuff related to stance and structure that makes it effective. Even how it is deployed matters.
     
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  6. BJJCop

    BJJCop White Belt

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    I appreciate this, so relatable. I've been whethering if I'm in the right or wrong learning space for a while. It's like a mixture of anxiousness or a low sense of confidence which makes me want to seek these types of systems? But, I practise BJJ and Wrestling on that note, and I've been so determined to learn striking for a while to supplement my grappling, I think I'd feel better with those skills :yawn:
     
  7. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I have no first-hand experience of the system, but I've been watching some DVDs that Buka sent me.

    What I find interesting about the system is not the physical technique (which seem solid, but basic), but the psychological approach. The idea of building your movements to flow from your instinctive flinch reaction when taken by surprise seems interesting and conceptually sound.

    Tony Blauer seems to have independently rediscovered a concept that was used by Moshe Feldenkrais back in the 1920's. Feldenkrais was living in Palestine during the period of British rule when Jews and Arabs were living in the same territory.

    According to Feldenkrais (don't ask me how accurate it is), the British forbid residents to carry weapons, but the Arabs were allowed to carry a dagger as an item of cultural apparel. Every so often ethnic tensions would erupt into fights between the Arabs and Jews - and since the Arabs tended to be carrying knives it didn't work out so well for the Jews. Feldenkrais got a jujitsu training group going (originally based on books, I think) to even the odds. As he explains it, the problem was that during the periods of peace, most of the students would stop training. Then once violence broke out again, the guys who had been training would try to remember what they had learned, hesitate, and get stabbed. Meanwhile the guys who hadn't trained did the sensible thing and ran away.

    At this point, Feldenkrais had what I consider to be a stroke of genius. He brought a bunch of untrained people into his studio and had someone attack them with a training knife. Meanwhile he had a camera to photograph whatever the subjects instinctive flinch reaction was - turning away, covering up, reaching for the knife, whatever. Once he had a clear picture of the common instinctive reactions, he started his classes again - but this time every technique started from one of those instinctive flinch reactions. The idea was that if the student was attacked for real they would go to one of those instinctive flinch reactions - and then pattern recognition would take them into the actual techniques they had trained.

    (Feldenkrais eventually met Jigaro Kano and became a judo black belt in the Kodokan. Funny story about that for another time.)

    Anyway, from what I've seen so far, this seems to be the same basic approach that Blauer's S.P.E.A.R. system is built on. I'm looking forward to seeing more of the details. When I get through all the discs I'll write up a review.
     
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  8. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    What you explain is what kung fu and other martial art systems have always known. For every kung fu technique that I know, I can show you how it exploits man's natural reaction as well as use natural reaction to defend and attack. I think the Internal Martial arts are the best at doing this.
     
  9. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    This is true sadly. There were much worst things as well but this isn't the place to go into it all.
     
  10. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    Same concepts as the beej. Position before submission. Do if you are walking right through a guy firing kill strikes in training. Then it is the same as learning Peruvian neckties but cant pass guard.

    You want to know if it works. Put on a set of boxing gloves find someone with some basic punching and punch each other.

    That way you will find out if your basic striking skill set is up to speed.
     
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  11. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    I assume he discounts the eyes closed head trying to escape out the back flinch people actually do?
     
  12. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    Tony
    What this guy is saying sounds like stuff that is said in a Tai Chi class
    ???
     
  13. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    This is what your natural flinch reaction to punches looks like.


    Not head forwards hands solid. It is punching forwards while the head is escaping backwards.
    And throwing tennis balls.

    Now if you want to work with that. Fine. For me I will advise you choose the simplest and most proven method regardless whether it is intuitive or not.

    Just like any other activity.

    we get trained to lift stuff off the ground correctly and trust that through practical experience people know the best way structurally to do this.

    But fighting we are going to go with what feels natural?
     
  14. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    Example of head moving back in fighting techniques.
    Boxing - Floyd Mayweather moves is head back. I think they refer to it as Bob and Weave

    Kung fu (drunken Boxing)

    Fighting systems that fight in a side stance will also have this natural head moving back. In the case of side stances leaning the head back would be a left or right movement away from the opponent. You can see this kung fu practitioner move his head back it's really quick


    The natural tendency is to move the head backwards so techniques were design to improve on that movement in order to make it more effective. Just like punching is a natural movement so techniques were created around that natural movement in an effort to make the punching more efficient and effective.
     
  15. hoshin1600

    hoshin1600 Senior Master

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    Good example of the hammer only seeing nails..

    As for the OP,
    I have met Tony Blauer and think he is a good guy and good teacher. In Tony B's own words "the spear system in meant to be a starting point". So for those critical of what they see in a youtube vid , especially if it's the scaled down version for crossfit gyms, i dont think it's ment to be a complete fighting system but rather a way of looking at combat and violence.
    I personally do not subscribe to the open splayed fingers. I find the concept work fine without it. I also watch what Tony does and while he will call it a flinch response, I see his actions as learnt responses that have become hard wired for him but may be different for others.
     
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  16. Buka

    Buka Sr. Grandmaster

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    Great post, Tony.

    The Hick-Hyman law. Everybody always seems to forget Ray Hyman.

    Looking forward to your review.
     
  17. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    So you become the best eyes closed tennis ball puncher you can be?

    Rather than trying to fix that

    The irony is that poor technique not fixed is also one of the major issues leveled at crossfit.

     
    Last edited: May 18, 2016
  18. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    Read my quote below

    The bold print is the fix. In terms of leaning the head back, the technique of leaning back is the fix. In terms of closing the eyes, learning to keep the eyes open is the unnatural fix because it goes against the natural reaction. Not every natural reaction is beneficial in fighting. But that doesn't stop techniques from being designed around natural movements.

    As for the crossfit video. I don't mess with those guys. They do dangerous exercises that put people at risk for serious injuries.
     
  19. BJJCop

    BJJCop White Belt

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    SPEAR being a fast track system, whoever mentioned that..That makes sense, a lot of it is basic material as discussed (most of it's built in human stuff so it is faster/if not immediate understanding) and it could be there for people who don't want to learn anything they might consider is 'super technical?' But that itself, do you think thats even a bad thing?? SPEAR could fill in blanks in an individual's arsenal such as aggression, the teachings of phycological conditioning on approach to conflict, the willingness to combat threats via indignation, and the closest weapon of the body to the closest target of the opponent mentality etc. Isn't it all just another addition to yourself as any sort of combatant regardless123
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2016

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