Coach Sam’s special guest in this week’s epic episode of Warrior Week: Parables from the Pit, is Coach Tony Blauer, creator of the SPEAR system that focuses on how to Detect, De-fuse, and Defend against violent encounters, and where students are trained to use the physiology of the startle-flinch response to deal with ambush attacks. Get ready to experience a fascinating and mind-opening conversation in this special episode.

Parable #1: Confidence & Certainty

  • In 2012, when Coach Sam moved to Laguna Beach from Houston, he stepped into the CrossFit world. However, after about a year, he discovered he simply wasn’t good at it and felt as if he was always at the bottom of the board.
  • As he was searching the internet one day, Sam found Tony Blauer who was teaching self-defense using CrossFit. This fascinated Sam. As he immersed himself in it, it appealed to him because it enabled him to tap into his primal side. Not only had Sam found something he could be good at, but it was also a way for him to access confidence and certainty.

How do you access confidence and certainty in your life?

Parable #2: Tony’s Light Bulb Moment

  • Tony, who has been teaching, studying, and researching violence for the past five decades, had his big light bulb moment in 1980 after a fifteen-year-old he had been training lost a fight to a bully. Tony suddenly realized the way self-defense was being taught was all wrong.
  • “In a vacuum, we break boards, we spar, we do katas, but nobody was doing research and putting people in a dynamic situation where it was scenario based. We were teaching Block Training instead of the desired Brain-Based Training. I wanted to create a self-defense system that worked in the real world”

Describe a light bulb moment you have experienced.

Parable #3: The Perfect Marriage

  • Circumstances brought Tony to a place where he had this perspective of how to marry CrossFit with self-defense. For example, a push up could be the same genetic chain as a palm strike.
  • “When I go for a run, part of what I include in my running is sprinting away from danger AND sprinting to save somebody.

What are your experiences with Crossfit and self-defense?

Parable #4: Startle-Flinch

  • We teach people that the startle-flinch is going to happen naturally; it’s part of your physiology. What we want to do is change our relationship with it and re-educate ourselves.
  • The difference between stimulus and response is the gap time or your holy shit moment where you have to figure shit out. We don’t want to be reactive, we want to be responsive.

As a man, what have you been taught to believe about flinching?

Parable #5: Bells Palsy

  • Coach Tony opens up about his experience with Bells Palsy where he awakened one day to find the left side of his face numb and drooping. He laughed when the emergency room Doc asked him if he had ever been hit in the head. “Yes, for about 30 years!”
  • As a public speaker with events to show up to, Tony was embarrassed about the way he looked and his inability to communicate as he usually did. When given the option for his team to handle things, his response was, “I’m a fucking leader.”

What is one lesson you have learned as a result of unexpected circumstances or events showing up in your life?

Parables from the Pit:

“Often, those that fear the most, in a hidden way, make others fear them.”

Sam Falsafi

“You can’t write your next chapter or make your next move unless you accept what’s going on, and then get strategic. It is what it is.”

-Tony Blauer



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