Review of the Personal Defense Readiness Seminar

“Real fights, happen in the space of a phone booth.” – Tony Blauer

On Saturday, February 18, 2012, Steve Wakefoose of Providence Combatives took 10 individuals ages 11 to 66 and made us more dangerous than before. Enter Tony Blauer’s Personal Defense Readiness Seminar,  based on the S.P.E.A.R. SYSTEM™, which is the first genetically, and behaviorally inspired self-defense course. It is the only self-defense method that fully integrates the body’s reflexive responses and instinctive survival mechanisms making S.P.E.A.R. the easiest, most natural way to protect yourself.

It was a beautiful day in Baltimore that morning, although a little chilly in the gym. Luckily, this time, the heat was working (unlike at our last workshop!) Good thing too because the first part of the seminar was lecture which meant us sitting and listening and learning the who,what and why of Blauer’s S.P.E.A.R system. Steve had a great delivery, and he quickly engaged each and everyone of us. Although it was primarily lecture based, we soon found ourselves sharing stories about our own experiences and tactics we already use on a daily basis to protect ourselves. There was a lot of laughing as Steve kept it very friendly but at the same time, very serious. We would be learning skills today that with practice, will become ingrained in us. Skills that we all, men and women, should have, should know in order to be able to defend ourselves if we ever needed to.

“Bad guys don’t want to get caught,” Steve reminded us over and over again. Once the lecture portion was over, we had a quick break and moved into the drill sequence. Again, Steve was great about breaking down the key components of what we would be learning. We partnered up and took turns being the good guy and the bad guy. Although there was a lot of laughing going on (watching my friend Nicole try to act menacing was hysterical! She is just too pretty to be a “bad guy!”), we did get serious with the drills. And they were a lot harder than they looked. We did not want to hurt each other obviously but the more we got into it, the more we practiced, the better we got. Steve was a great coach, saying things like, “Emily, that was less desirable than what we want. Let’s try that again,” instead of telling me that I looked a mess and was doing it all wrong! : ) I appreciated his positive wording. (He told us ahead of time that he does  not like to use the words “wrong” to coach people. “Less desirable is more positive,”  he said. I agree.)

We switched partners half way through which was great as it allowed us to work with someone new and have to learn new tactics. I got to work with my father, a former Marine and retired Baltimore City police officer. I think I made him proud this day as I fought him off in our drill. Steve had us complete the drill about 6 times before we switched turns being good guy and bad guy. After each practice, my dad would smile at me and say “Good girl.” I had never taken a self-defense workshop before, and I think he was really pleased that 1. I was offering it because it was something he was interested in and 2. I was taking part in it, something I think he has always wanted me to do.  It made me feel very proud.

Before we knew it, the four hours had slipped by and it was time to say our goodbyes. Steve hung around for another hour, talking to my dad and showing us more videos. When I spoke to a couple people later on about the workshop, they all loved it and agreed that four hours was way too short to really get into everything!!! We decided that to rectify this, we would just have to have Steve back for another workshop and more of “Hey! Are you following me?” drills. 🙂

For more information about Steve and Providence Combatives, click here. To learn more about Tony Blauer and the S.P.E.A.R system, click here and here.  Hopefully, we will have Steve back this summer for another round of good guy/bad guy. Thanks Steve!

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